Back in November, we covered Duolingo for iOS
, and were impressed. The app is great for learning a new language, and I have been personally using it (with varying frequency) for the past few months. Thanks to Duolingo, I can now understand Spanish to a certain degree, but the app is surely not for you if you want to learn a new language just for a single trip, where only the basics will suffice. In this case, you need something like Babbel - a service that has been around on the web, iOS and Android for quite a while. It is quite refreshing to see that Babbel now has a presence on Windows Phone as well. The virtual tutor has just released separate apps for 11 languages in the WP Store. All these apps work offline, and can be useful for both quick or detailed learning.
When I first came across Duolingo
, an app that claims to teach you new languages the easy way, I was a bit skeptical. After all, if an app can teach you a foreign language, why do people all over the world take proper classes? However, after taking Duolingo for a spin, I can’t help but say that this particular app actually does what it says. Learning a new language can be tough, but Duolingo treats this complicated task like a game, where you get points for learning new words and making progress in the language of your choice. The app offers lessons for Spanish, Portuguese, German and French. You just have to start learning common words at first, and then slowly, Duolingo starts slipping in hints regarding the grammatical structure of the language. Your progress is mapped out in a graphical chart that makes self evaluation much easier. So, as they would say in France, continuer à lire.
If English is not your native language and you find some foreign language words as you browse the web, or if you’re in the process of learning a new language, then Auto Selective Translator
could be a really handy tool for you. This Chrome extension switches uncommon words/phrases from English to a language of your choice, and automatically displays inline translations, letting you quickly learn and understand new words. Translated words appear in tiny boxes over the original ones, allowing you to read with consistency without having to navigate away from the page to look up a word. Moreover, you can choose how much of the page is translated, and the number of translated words can be customized from the extension's settings.
Developed by 9spikes.com., Listen & Speak
for Android is a free app that helps you improve your listening and speaking skills in various global languages by practising them through oral dictation. Listen & Speak sports an extensive online library, complete with various basic and advanced exercises in different foreign languages. The app uses your Android’s Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine to read aloud sentences or phrases from a selected exercise set. You can listen to a sentence as many times as you like, and then repeat it after the app to have your speaking skills analyzed. Based on the extent of your precision with the spoken sentence, the app ranks your speaking skills on a scale of 0-1, with intermediate scores represented in decimal figures. Apart from practicing with a specific exercise set, you can also set the app to translate all the sentences or phrases into a global language of choice.
Learning a new language is not an easy job, and can require a lot of effort. However, Language Immersion For Chrome
aims to change that by providing you with a very easy and simple way to learn new words/phrases from a foreign language, as you browse the web. This nifty little extension switches certain words and phrases from English to a language of your choice on regular websites that you browse, letting you experience the language with a different perspective. With it, you can choose from a collection of sixty four languages currently supported by Google Translate
. Novice, Intermediate
level settings control how much of the page is translated. For instance, when you select Fluent,
entire sentences are translated, whereas the Novice
option only translates a few phrases. Additionally, scrolling over a translated word or phrase lets you hear the pronunciation, and clicking the translation turns it back to English. More after the jump.
Skype is one of the most widely used applications for text, audio and video commination worldwide. Launched almost a decade ago, it has now become the number one source of VoIP communication world wide. Such popularity even led the Redmond giant Microsoft to acquire it. Other than the communication services, it offers a bunch of features, including voicemail, group video calling and screen sharing. In addition, the folks behind it development also recently added Facebook integration for seamless experience. However, Skype still doesn’t have any native spell checker to help you locate and correct misspellings and typos. To cope with this problem, today we have a third party application that does the job, called Ursa Spell Checker
. It is a lightweight utility that checks written text, and enables you to correct any wrong spellings or typos, while sending messages on Skype. When wrong spellings are detected, the application provides you with a list of correct words to choose from. It has support for multiple languages, and can be enabled/disabled through hot keys. More on Ursa Spell Checker after the break.
If you’re learning a new language, and would like to practice your written skills, then Polyspeaks
can be of use to you. For many new learners, communicating in a new language can be quite embarrassing, and this web app give you a chance to practice your written skills by letting you find a chat partner from various language origins. This cross-language chat service allows your to send/receive requests from people using different languages, and proclaims the motto of 'practice, learn and grow'
in the language of your choice. Supported languages are exhaustive, and include common ones such as English, Spanish, French, Danish, to more complex ones in the likes of Hindi, Chinese, Punjabi and more.
The XDA forum is more of a place for hacks and Homebrews, but every once in a while, some really useful app pops up over there which does not require users to have a developer unlocked device. One such app, Abjad Keyboard
, is an alternate keyboard (of sorts) for Windows Phone 7 that brings Arabic and Hebrew typing to the platform. The app is a welcome addition to the Marketplace, seeing as Arabic keyboard is number one on the list of new capabilities demanded by Windows Phone users (as you can see on WP7’s official feedback page). Read past the break for details.
Learning a new language can be exhaustive and requires a lot of effort. Then, even when you know a language, at times you are just not sure about the grammar, punctuation, or the right words to use. Learn English Assistant
is a chrome extension that aims to change that by gathering all your online English-language resources in one place, and provides you with access to them through a single click. You can now improve your English language skills while browsing the internet.
The whole Windows Phone 7 community is looking forward to the release of Mango, with the latest update to the OS expected to be publicly released soon. The beta is already out for developers and manufacturers (and even for a non-dev user if he follows our guide to getting Mango on any device
). The excitement is incited by Mango in anticipation to all the new features promised to be coming to this update. Some have termed Mango to be everything WP7 should have been all along, as it fixes almost every known issue pertaining to the OS, and throws in a bunch of really awesome features while it’s at it. One such feature is the addition of many new languages to the update. However, if you are using the beta, the languages have been kept locked for now and can’t be accessed. There is a way however which lets you get a taste of this Mango goodness, and it involves a registry tweak. If you have a developer unlocked Windows Phone device, along with Mango beta, you can change your phone's language from English to Chinese (both traditional and simplified), Russian, Japanese and Dutch!
Imagine using Google Maps in Italian while the default language of your Android device is set to English. How about going through your news feeds in Finnish whereas the rest of your device guiding you through menus and helps screens in your local language. Such customization is now possible with Localized App
for Android and credit has to be given to XDA-Developer’s member thiagolr.
Localized Apps is a quick solution for users who prefer apps of their liking to be displayed in a specific language without changing the default language of their device. By placing ‘localized’ shortcuts of your favorite apps on your home screen through Localized Apps, you can always launch them with the preferred language. Exit the app and you are back with the default device language.
English is undoubtedly the standard language when it comes to discussing things at a global scale. That said, the smartphones and tablets of today can be dubbed as being the very first electronic gadgets that bring true multilingual solutions to the table via various apps. For instance, take Quick Locale
- an Android app that enables you to quickly switch among multiple languages with just a tap. The app is a handy tool for people who are constantly required to work with different languages. Whether you are a language student or a dedicated travelling operative, Quick locale allows a quick switch to the preferred language in no time at all. The app also supports a 3x1 widget that allows you to select languages from your home screen. You can add multiple widgets with each carrying different preselected languages. Each widget allows a maximum of three different languages. In addition, there is also an option to add a Show All
button on the widget to display the complete list of supported languages.
eSpeak Speech Synthesizer
is an open source speech synthesizer for Windows, Mac and Linux based OS. It provides the option for listening to text in multiple languages. The speech is clear and the available text in English, can be listened to in any alternative language easily.
is an intuitive search engine which primarily focuses on finding words definitions, contextual meaning of word in sentence, abbreviations, etc., with a list of famous services to translate an inserted text, including Google Translate, Yahoo Translation, Yahoo BebelFish, Click2 Translate, etc. Additionally, it comes with multitude of dictionaries, such as, Google Dictionary, WordNet Online, Spelling Suggestion, Google Web Definitions, and so on, which you can choose on the fly while searching for the meaning or explanation of the word/phrase/idiom. A great deal of complementary features is also bundled in the package to give out one complete solution to daily life numerical and word related problems. You can lookup for irregular verbs, abbreviations, install a list of appendixes for International dialing codes, Weights & Measure converter, International Time Zone converter, and many more.
If you're intending to learn a new language and want to memorize or strengthen your vocabulary, then Multi-Language Words Memorizer
will come useful. As the name implies, the primary focus is to help user in memorizing words of different languages. Whilst supporting customization of words list, it also lets you add a search filter to quickly search for the word that you're looking for.
Learning a new language has never been an easy task. Not only does it require lots of practice, but also paper, ink, books, dictionaries and guidebooks involved. But wouldn’t it suit the tech savvy in you if you can learn a new language at the same time when using your PC. That was the thought behind the creation of EasyWords
, a language learning assistance tool.
I have seen various cases where the default language of Facebook gets changed automatically. Most users are reporting that their language has been changed to Arabic, Polish, French, Vietnamese, etc without any reason. Go here and read all the comments to get an idea what I am talking about.
The most popular way to change the language is to go at the bottom of the page and then change it by clicking the Language link. But this method is reportedly not working for most users, when they change the language using this method, it gets changed back to some other language. Read More
If you are one of those users who have to change the keyboard layout frequently because you work on different languages then you would know how hard it is to work in such an environment. Aml Maple is a simple tool for Windows that makes working with multiple keyboard layouts much more easier.
It assists you by telling you which document is in which specific language by showing a flag icon and/or a color caret. It will also show you the current active keyboard layout, thus, making switching btw keyboard layouts much more easier.
Note: You need to install Windows language pack to take full advantage of this tool.
Not everything is written in English. What will you do when you need to find what videos of Barack Obama are Japanese people posting? Or when you need to find photos of a Chinese actress? Of course the Chinese newspapers and blogs would have more photos of their own actress than a newspaper in US. Now the only method is to first translate the name using Google Translate or Yahoo! BabelFish and then copy/paste the name to search engines.
But isn’t this method a little too time consuming? What if you want to perform multiple searches in foreign languages? This is where ForiSearch comes in. It is a free service that uses Google Translate API to translate the keywords and then searches them in important destinations such as Google Images, Google Videos, YouTube, Yahoo, and MSN. Read More
Since facebook relies on it’s users for translation, a bunch of Pirate fans have created a language dubbed English(Pirate)
. It adds an overall fun to the facebook profile by changing the words such as Home to Home Port, Friends to Mates Y'might Know, etc. Below is the screenshot showing the new language in action.
Click the image above to enlarge.