Saturday, May 17, 2008

Terrific New Gizmos

Everybody who has ever taken a foreign language in school can read it a little but it is still a foreign language. As one painfully struggles through the online text, one is constantly stymied by unfamiliar words. Even with on-line dictionaries it is still painfully slow and tedious. One gives up and falls back into monoglot sloth.

Enter gTranslate 0.3.3. It is freeware so the price is right. It is a browser plug-in so one does not have to launch it separately. It is minimalist, so the definitions are just one word.

One highlights the word one wants by double-clicking it, say "bouge". Then right-click on it. Toward the bottom of the right-click menu will appear, 'translate "bouge" >'. Click on that to get "move". Underneath "move" is a line which permits setting the languages translated between.

All the major European languages are there, including Dutch, Portuguese, Greek, and Russian. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean are there. All but Chinese go only to or from English. Arabic is included but not Hebrew. Grrrr.

Pros: It's fast, free, and easy to install and use.
Cons: One word translations are often not great.

Another gizmo which does almost the same thing is Google's Translator Buttons. They are even simpler. One goes to the URL below, then drags the preferred button to your bookmarks toolbar (click on 'View --> Toolbars' in your browser menu if you don't see it. Make sure there is a checkmark next to it.) . If you are reading this your probable choice will be 'English'.

Highlight some text (not limited to one word at a time) and click on the 'English' button you just dragged onto your bookmarks toolbar. It will detect which language the highlighted text is in and translate from that language into English or whatever language you selected.

Pros: Fast, free, even easier to use, and requires no installation at all.
Cons: Pops up a separate page with the definition on it, and you have to back-arrow to get back to your text. Takes you away from the page you were reading. Again, Arabic but not Hebrew.

Gizmo un autre qui ne fait presque la même chose que Google Translator's Boutons. Ils sont encore plus simple.

It works only one sentence at a time and generally produces garbled nonsense. It really works only for single words and short phrases.

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