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Old 11.02.2008, 15:22
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Surfing in a multilingual environment -- some useful tools

Many users happily use the spelling checker in Firefox while posting, and it works quite well with English. My posts occasionally include a few words in French, and Firefox flags them all as misspellings. I could, of course, just ignore the flagging, but since my French spelling is uncertain (at best) it would be nice to be able to check them also.

Google to the rescue!!!! Led me to Firefox 2 Spelling Dictionary Hacks; Make Firefox Inline Spell Checker More Useful which, amongst others, showed me how to download a French dictionary. Note that the page only explicitly describes installing a British English dictionary, but it contains a link to the Dictionaries :: Firefox Add-ons page.

The result is very useful, if imperfect. Only one dictionary is active at a time, so in any bilingual text all words in one of the languages will be shown as misspelled. Starting with the English dictionary active, I enter:

Here are some words in English, voici quelques mots en français

Most of the French words are flagged. Right clicking on one of them gives me the usual menu, but towards the bottom is a line where I can select the language. Choosing French confirms that all the French words are correctly spelled, but flags all the rest of my text.

Last edited by RetiredInNH; 26.06.2008 at 21:21. Reason: Made title more general, to accomodate a new posting
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Old 11.02.2008, 18:31
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Re: Spell checking multilingual posts

Since my initial posting I have been looking around and things are getting interesting!

The Dictionaries page in the add ons section has a long list of dictionaries with no comment other than occasionally cryptic abbreviations in parentheses. There are five German dictionaries; some of the abbreviations are clear. Thus (de-ch) seems to stand for the Swiss version, while (de-at) would be Austrian, with (de-de) being "standard". But what to make of (de-de-alt)? Obviously an "alternate" dictionary, but in what way?

My own confusion is with the French: There is a comment-free French and a French (fr-fr). I am not sure which I downloaded, but whichever it is I was able to check (Tools -> Add-ons) that it is "Dictionnaire MySpell en Français".

Fooling around with Google I found another extension that some may find useful, a Dictionary Switcher that, according to the web page, "Toggles between the installed dictionaries automatically or manually and displays the currently selected dictionary in the status bar". Not sure how useful it would be for me, will install it when (if!) I find a need for it.
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Old 11.02.2008, 18:35
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Re: Spell checking multilingual posts

Or you could just stick to English
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Old 11.02.2008, 19:00
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Re: Spell checking multilingual posts

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Or you could just stick to English
And, GASP, be a mono-lingual Anglo-Saxon???????? Heaven forbid
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Old 11.02.2008, 20:36
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Re: Spell checking multilingual posts

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And, GASP, be a mono-lingual Anglo-Saxon???????? Heaven forbid
Mono-lingual is one thing, but calling one Anglo-Saxon's fighting talk
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Old 26.06.2008, 21:41
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment

Earlier today I posted a brief note on using Google Translate in a long thread in which my note got lost. I would like to expand on what I see as a very valuable tool for those who surf in a multilingual world.

Google Translate gives you two options: you may either enter some text to translate, or you may enter a URL. In the latter case the whole target page will be translated and, even better, clicking on a link will lead you to a translation of the linked-to page. The quality is uneven, but the translation in almost all cases gives you at least the gist of the page (often much better).

So if someone posts a link to something in German, a language I do not understand at all, I can copy the url and paste it into Google Translate in another tab. And if I post a link to an article in Le Temps, which I do de temps en temps (from time to time), the many non-francophones here can read it in translation.
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Old 26.06.2008, 22:17
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment -- some useful tools

Retitled as requested. I've also moved it from Forum Support to Language Corner, as I think it belongs here instead.
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Old 26.06.2008, 22:27
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment -- some useful tools

If it comes to German I would recommend: http://www.leo.org
There are also other languages available
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Old 14.09.2008, 14:44
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment -- some useful tools

Another useful tool for Firefox users is the translator extension: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3361. No more need for cutting and pasting - it lets you translate a page just by right-clicking on it.
An added bonus is that you can choose from a list of translation services (babel fish, google translate and others).
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Old 19.11.2008, 13:53
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment -- some useful tools

The Centre Nationale de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales contains, amongst many goodies, an excellent dictionary. Users of Firefox can access it easily though an add-on to the search box: Extension pour le portail lexical.
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Old 19.11.2008, 14:30
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment -- some useful tools

I can see how this issue would be your bête noire
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Old 15.01.2009, 15:03
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment

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Earlier today I posted a brief note on using Google Translate in a long thread in which
If you use google translate for multiple languages and very often, then probably you would want to bookmark the google translate page. If you do that then it makes life a bit easier to bookmark the link with language auto-detect feature on.

Another very convenient way to use google translate is to use the translator robot to your gtalk friends list e.g. to translate from German to English add de2en@bot.talk.google.com to your gtalk list. Start chatting with this bot and type some German stuff and your friends will echo back the english translation. If you want to translate from english to german then the bot address to use is en2de@bot.talk.google.com. Works for other langauges too. Would have been nice if there was something like auto2en@..... but there isn't

You will soon discover that google translate isn't accurate but still very helpful. Also it doesn't tranlate a lot of complex sounding words like legal stuff etc. For those I use this dictionary.

While sending an email to people who speak only German I usually follow this.
  1. Compose the text for your email in English
  2. Translate the text to German
  3. Translate this German text back to English only to realize that things are getting messed up.
  4. Simplify the original english text and repeat the first three steps till the English text from 3rd step conveys more or less what I wanted it to convey.
  5. Translate the English text from the step above into German and use this translated stuff as the text/body of my email.
  6. Attach the original English text to the email and write a P.S. saying the german text is an automatic translation and in case of confusion English version should be referred to.
I used this to discuss something with my real estate agent for I was warned that she can't speak anything other than German. She replied back in English

Cheers,

-----------------------------------------------------------------
And now please give me my "Thank You" and "Groan" buttons.
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Old 08.07.2010, 16:22
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment

[QUOTE=kops;381904] sending an email to people who speak only German I usually follow this.

Thank you for the excellent advice. I have learned over time to use the procedure you detailed.

When there is a problem with the English>German translation, I would add, consider the possibilities for misunderstanding. Try different words that are similar and are more direct, this is, do not have other meanings that could be offensive or maybe confusing. It the subject is difficult, you can add more sentences expressing your message with different words.

Even if you discover the German can write in English, I discovered they do this for your benefit, yet, their understanding of English is very limited and subject to gross misunderstanding. My best results for difficult subjects have been speaking and writing in German and let them reply in German.
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Old 08.07.2010, 16:29
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment

[QUOTE=RetiredInNH;256666] I would like to expand on what I see as a very valuable tool for those who surf in a multilingual world.

Thank you! I live in the Switzerland mountains in the spring, summer and autumn and Palma de Mallorca in winter. Among German, Spanish and occasional French, Italian, and Latin, I am immersed every day in another language. I will use every one of your tips.
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Old 10.07.2010, 11:41
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment -- some useful tools

i'm a big fan of the quick locale switcher plugin for firefox: http://www.captaincaveman.nl/firefox...switcher.aspx#

It lets you change the language context which can be useful for google and stuff.
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Old 10.07.2010, 13:37
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment -- some useful tools

Some nice tips here, some of which I must investigate further.

Just last week I discovered http://lingro.com/ which has a browser plugin allowing you to click on a word to receive a translation. What I like about it is that it remembers the words you've clicked on and you can review them at a later time, group them into lists, and play a simple flashcard game with them.
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Old 20.04.2011, 02:08
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Re: Spell checking multilingual posts

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The Dictionaries page in the add ons section has a long list of dictionaries with no comment other than occasionally cryptic abbreviations in parentheses. There are five German dictionaries; some of the abbreviations are clear. Thus (de-ch) seems to stand for the Swiss version, while (de-at) would be Austrian, with (de-de) being "standard". But what to make of (de-de-alt)? Obviously an "alternate" dictionary, but in what way?

My own confusion is with the French: There is a comment-free French and a French (fr-fr). I am not sure which I downloaded, but whichever it is I was able to check (Tools -> Add-ons) that it is "Dictionnaire MySpell en Français".
Main page is now slightly less cryptic, but clicking on one of the French dictionaries led me to a page which explains (briefly) the 1990 spelling "reforms" and suggests which dictionary to use.
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Old 20.04.2011, 03:16
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Re: Spell checking multilingual posts

Thanks to all for these great tips! If anyone has found similar plug-ins or add-ons for Google Chrome, please post them. I would really like something to translate just a single word with a click. I think this would be a good compromise to help with learning instead of just pasting into Google translate and getting something ok, but not quite perfect. The company I work for uses Google for our email and having the ability to translate built in is helpful but on the other hand it takes away some of the "forced learning".

These translation tools are getting better all the time however, the prepositions (of, from, about, etc) are always a problem since every culture/language is different, and one of those things "you just have to memorize" when learning a language.
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Old 21.04.2011, 01:11
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment -- some useful tools

For those of you who might be using a Mac, I found this very useful plug in:
http://lipflip.org/articles/dictcc-dictionary-plugin

You can add the great (and free) dict.cc dictionary to the Mac's dictionary app, and then you can right click on any word in any window to look it up. It works great!

Thanks for this website by the way, it is great for practicing:
http://www.deutschakademie.de/online...hkurs/english/

Does anyone have any recommendations for a good iPhone German dictionary? I've tried looking, but there are so many it's quite confusing. Some even appear to be the same dictionary in different apps, and you can never tell until you buy it. I'd be willing to pay the price for a good one. So far, I use the dict.cc iPhone app, and it's very good considering that it's free, but it's lacking a few things I'd like, such as the gender. You only see the gender of a German word when looking up the translation for an English word. It will show the equivalent German word or words with gender in that case. However, if I look up a German word, it shows me the meaning in English but doesn't tell me the gender.
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Old 04.05.2011, 19:37
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Re: Surfing in a multilingual environment -- some useful tools

One more tip for those using Safari:

You can add a button in your browser bar which will send the whole page to Google Translate. I use it all the time, having just landed here.

https://extensions.apple.com/#translation

And go down to the Side Tree Software extension, click Install Now.

Yes, I do want to actually learn German at some point, but for now this helps me get by!
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