Sunday, October 19, 2008

Two useful online services for the translator

I came across a very useful online service the other day called Tip of my Tongue that helps you to recollect words that you vaguely remember but just can't blurt out. I tried it out immediately on a word that I never seem to get right the first time - a word that means "pulverization" starting with "com" and ending with "tion." I entered the relevant information and here is the result:

Tip of My Tongue 

Yes, I am always unsure of whether the 'u' or the 'i' comes first in "comminution." This site will be on the top of my list of bookmarks.

The other one reads out your text and the computer-generated voices are not too bad. The site at Read the Words even produces an mp3 recording of the text you paste in its window and sends it to you by e-mail. You can try out a demo by pasting text less than 100 characters in a window, selecting a voice and listening to it. If you like it, you could register and then paste larger chunks of text and have it read it out to you while you translate. You can register for a free account, and upload Word, PDF or HTML files and have the text read out to you (don't upload confidential documents!)

Read the Words

Try the 100-character demo first selecting different voices and see if you like what you hear before you register for a free account.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Searching online dictionaries and search engines through Office programs

Today, I'm reporting about a Microsoft add-in (free, of course) for all the four main Office programs (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook) called ClickSolve that searches user-selected search engines after a term or phrase is selected and hot key is pressed while in the Office application. This is called the Search It! feature. There is also a mapping feature called Map It! for mapping and directions, although the Search It! feature might be of more interest to translators.

Installation after downloading the program adds a new menu item to your Office applications. The menu in Word looks like this:

Menu item   The menu item unfolds to show the features and more importantly the Options, where one can select the engines to search for! These include Google, Yahoo, Ask, LiveSearch and others. I wrote to the developer to include several Japanese engines, and he added Eijiro to the Options menu.


Here's what the Options window looks like:


Select ALC J-E translation and you can select a word in any of the Office applications, activate Search It! and it should give you the gloss. The J-E search works fine too.

To test Map It!, I pasted the JAT meeting address in Japanese in Word (東京都渋谷区道玄坂2-10-7), selected it and activated Map It! See image below.


Currently, the option to include your own search engine does not exist, but the developer has hinted that this is being considered. Should you have your own favorite dictionary or search engine, write directly to the developer through the Contact Us tab. I requested Eijiro and Glova be included, but he encountered some problem in including Glova in the list of Options.