Ten Excellent Language Translators And Resources - InformationWeek

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12/28/2008
04:55 PM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern
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Ten Excellent Language Translators And Resources

I've spent the last few years attempting to learn German. Initially, I attended German language classes at the Goethe Institute. Last year, I moved to a new city with no Goethe Institute and my schedule made it nearly impossible to find a class that would fit my schedule. Naturally, I turned to the Internet to continue my education, and here are 10 tools to translate content and interact with others who speak German.

I've spent the last few years attempting to learn German. Initially, I attended German language classes at the Goethe Institute. Last year, I moved to a new city with no Goethe Institute and my schedule made it nearly impossible to find a class that would fit my schedule. Naturally, I turned to the Internet to continue my education, and here are 10 tools to translate content and interact with others who speak German.Nice Translator describes its service as "a fast, easy to use online translator designed with simplicity and functionality in mind." What makes Nice Translator special is that it translates what you type on the fly and can translate into multiple languages at the same time. I was able to translate from English to Dutch, German, and Russian at the same time. There are reports that the Russian translation isn't perfect but Russian appears to be one of the hardest languages for the translators to work with.

TalkBean provides a live video chat service with about 100 tutors in a variety of languages. You can schedule lessons or pick a tutor showing real-time availability. Each tutor has an about page with current reviews. Pricing varies based on a variety of factors.

MyLanguageExchange boasts more than 1 million worldwide members practicing over 100 languages. There is a pen-pal service to connect users in different languages and practice their grammar and writing. Other content on MyLanguageExchange includes games, lesson plans, message boards, and text/voice chat.

Babbel offers a very rich language learning environment. There are lessons, exercises, message boards, and chat. Babbel also offers a social network where you can find others who can mentor you and people who will "co-train" with you on your language learning.

iTalki lets you find partners to practice using the iTalki voice chat and text tool. The service offers over 100 languages and a strong file library. ITalki also offers a Q&A section which works similar to Yahoo Answers but with language options.

Novlet has a pretty interesting concept where you help collaborate on stories written in different languages. Users create passages which continue the story written by others. Reminds me of the books where you select choice a or choice b and then proceed to the appropriate page to continue the story.

Engoi offers vocabulary exercises in a variety of languages setup in a flashcard format. Not as robust as some of the other resources but does one thing very well. It's a good place to practice terms and phrases.

Internet Polygot offers flashcards and lessons in about 30 languages including some Eastern European languages I haven't seen on many of the other flashcard sites. It makes it clear that the service shouldn't be the only source of language learning, but the flashcards application is well designed. The tests include slide shows, guessing games, typing games, matching games, and a randomizer option.

xLingo provides a tutor finder to help you locate people who speak the language you want. Once you have connected with a tutor, xLingo provides a variety of ways to interact, including flashcards, chat, and forums.

Google Translate, Microsoft LiveTranslator, and Yahoo Babel Fish all provide translation services for text and Web pages. The Microsoft LiveTranslator is pretty neat as it provides both the original and translated Web pages along with sentence highlighting on the screen for easy viewing.

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