By Galina Vitkova
Nowadays communication and computing technologies are converging. So, simpler user-friendly interfaces of high-quality, low-cost solutions, which function across platforms, processors and operating systems, are offered. Technological advances within the miniaturization of computing and communication devices have made possible the highly effective usage of mobile devices in language learning. While the global economy becoming bound together more and more, English has become an essential tool for communication with the world, and also a key to find a better job. Hence in the following text we will chiefly concentrate on learning English.
The early projects of this kind (at the beginning of this century) having used mobile devices involved Spanish study programs, which consisted of vocabulary practice, quizzes, and word and phrase translations. Soon after, mobile phones were used to teach English at a Japanese university. A similar program was created for learning Italian in Australia. By 2005, the connection between learners and a teacher was accomplished via SMS. .
In 2007, USA-based company Moka LCC (Company Overview) started offering mobile multilingual communication and learning products. In these systems translation was one of primary functions. The products utilized the SMS and SKYPE as the means of multilingual communication. Moka currently supports English to Chinese and English to Spanish translation, and plans to introduce additional language pairs. In the same year the Bulgarian company Interlecta commercially released machine translation software for handheld devices that in addition to SMS and email involved speech synthesis and “image translation”.
The number of translation applications, including text-to-speech and speech-to-speech capabilities, available for various mobile platforms has continuously increased since 2007, and has featured products such as the LingvoSoft Full-text Translation Software , the SYSTRAN Mobile Translator , or Transclick’s translation applications for mobiles, or Phonix Speech Group. As a rule the systems have capabilities for learning languages.
Gradually handhelds competences for language learning have been refined into the powerful means of active language learning. These sophisticated flexible devices enable learning and teaching functions as follows.
Vocabulary building, including creating your strong professional vocabulary with connections to the main dictionary
Making easier comprehension tasks
English grammar and exercises
Good luck to everybody who is going to study English with the help of handhelds!
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