Why Technical English

Changing the theme of this blog

August 26, 2010
1 Comment
By Galina Vitkova

Dear visitors of my blog Why Technical English!

Circumstances wanted me to change the theme (graphical arrangement of this blog). I liked very much a former theme. I think it was ideally suited to the content of my blog. Nevertheless, I believe that the new theme will fit in with the content of the blog as well as the former one. In any case the content of the blog is the most important thing beyond a doubt and the content has been kept. Moreover, the change of the theme forced me to elaborate a classified list of posts on the blog. Now you can find the posts that are the most interesting for you much easier. Just look through the sidebar and choose appropriate post in the List of tech texts on power engineering or in the List of tech texts on computers etc. In fact there are eleven of such lists, i.e. (posts in individual lists are ordered by the date of their publishing):

  • List of Posts: Tech texts on computers;
  • List of Posts: Tech texts on WEB;
  • List of Posts: Tech texts on power engineering and renewables;
  • List of Posts: Tech texts on robots;
  • List of Posts: Tech texts on genetics;
  • List of Posts: Interviews;
  • List of Posts: Grammar issues in tech texts;
  • List of Posts: Students´ opinion on Tech English;
  • List of Posts about Technical Writing;
  • List of Posts about SKYPE conversation;
  • List of Posts: Miscellaneous.

 

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

 

The content of individual lists comprises as follows:

List of Posts: Tech texts on computers

List of Posts: Tech texts on WEB

List of Posts: Tech texts on power engineering and renewables

 List of Posts: Tech texts on robots

List of Posts: Tech texts on genetics

List of Posts: Interviews

 List of Posts: Dictionaries and Grammar issues in tech texts

 List of Posts: Students´ opinion on Tech English

List of Posts about Technical Writing

List of Posts about SKYPE conversation

 List of Posts: Miscellaneous

Good luck in study Technical English using the posts on this blog!

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Hanhelds and English learning

August 27, 2009
1 Comment

By Galina Vitkova

Introduction

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. [4].

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”.[6]

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 [7], the SYSTRAN Mobile Translator [8], or Transclick’s translation applications for mobiles[9], 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

  • Dictionaries containing hundreds of thousands of entries in the general dictionary (up to 1,000,000 words, sometimes more) as well as including specialized terminology make excellent conditions for language learning and building your own vocabulary.
  • Professional add-on dictionaries, e.g. telecommunications and computers, business, finance provide a basis for constructing your professional vocabulary.
  • You can create your own customized editable dictionary, which automatically links to the main dictionary.
  • Learner’s cards, which are provided by some models, make memorization tasks easy and work to quickly enrich your vocabulary.
  • Vocabulary practice, quizzes, and word and phrase translations help you to learn the language quicker than by current means.

Making easier comprehension tasks

  • The dictionary and translator capabilities enable much better comprehension when studying texts. At the same time the capabilities help to improve your reading skills.
  • Handheld electronic dictionaries enable individuals to speak a word in their native language and have the text read back to them in English.

Refining pronunciation

  • Speech capabilities help you to improve your pronunciation and let your speaking sound just like native speakers´. Furthermore, speech capabilities enable you to perfect your pronunciation continually.
  • Advanced English speech synthesis delivers the pronunciation of any text, not only dictionary entries. Together with a full set of enjoyable games and exams, it enables you to improve your language speaking and pronunciation skills naturally and intuitively.
  • Accent correction function will coach you and help you to perfect your English pronunciation with native speaker sound. Furthermore, you can always test yourself.
  • Speech-to-speech electronic translators understand what you say in your own language and immediately repeat the same in English.

English grammar and exercises

  • Some models of handhelds provide a complete guide to English Grammar, Vocabulary, and Phonetics.
  • Step-by-step lessons conduct you comfortably from beginner to advanced learner.
  • English grammar resources are usually accompanied by standardized testing references. Equipped with fast and powerful search functions they provide everything necessary for instant communication.
  • Some models offer i personal programs for English study depending on the level of the language knowledge. The level for Beginners comprises 230 lessons, whereas the level for Intermediates contains 190 lessons. You yourself prepare the timetable of your study. The method involves: study of reading rules, study of the grammar and spelling, pronunciation drilling and comprehension of the spoken language and active building of your vocabulary. There are tests of your knowledge after each lesson. Depending on the results you are recommended to pay more attention to certain parts of the studied material.

Language Tutor

  • Interactive English language tutor, which mostly is a part of dictionary and translator devices, provides a rapid language learning solution and helps users express themselves in day-to-day life.
  • The Language teacher system you are well on your way to complete control of a new language within minutes. It employs the advanced True Voice and Speech Recognition modules and step-by-step lessons to guide you comfortably from beginner to advanced speaker. With a full set of enjoyable games and exams, you improve your language skills naturally and intuitively.
  • Some advanced models include the so-called Car Tutor. It lets you study hands-free and eyes-free to make use of every spare moment to improve your language skills. Moreover, when starting an application, a memorizing splash screen shows you an appropriate word or phrase, a translation and a corresponding picture. It’s a superior way to improve your vocabulary and master a foreign language.

Good luck to everybody who is going to study English with the help of handhelds!

PS: See for details Talking handheld dictionaries and Electronic dictionaries .

References: http://en.wikipedia.org, http://www.ectacoinc.com/, Ectaco Russia Ectaco Inc. , LingvoSoft , Fonix Speech Group – http://www.fonixspeech.com/


Talking handheld dictionaries

August 18, 2009
3 Comments
By Galina Vítková

We have already discussed the importance of the good dictionary in studying foreign languages, in our case Technical English (see Dictionary – your best helper in mastering English words and Electronic dictionaries). Modern technologies have brought new possibilities in application of dictionaries making it more comfortable and effective. First of all, it is connected with occurrence of talking mobile dictionaries. Talking dictionaries are produced to translate in 2 ways individual words, phrases or entire sentence, full text (in this case besides they pursue a function of translators).

Talking handheld dictionaries use several technologies. They are as follows:

TTS (Text-to-Speech or speech synthesis) technology enables the conversion of the computer readable text into the audible speech. The speech synthesis technology comprises a) taking any ordinary text, b) analysing it by means of a speech synthesis engine, c) processing the information, and finally d) transforming it into human speech () in a voice stream form. The transforming is performed by a computer, which renders the voice of a native speaker of a target language. The voice stream form can be stored in several audio file formats.

Speech Recognition technology allows applications to “understand” voice commands, i.e. the user may talk to the device, which provides a translation based on this input. The quality of speech recognition is chiefly influenced by a) speed of speaking, b) correctness of pronunciation, c) male, female, child voices. Hence software affords initial voice recognition training. Then it is able to choose a translation that matches the input from a set of possible meanings of words or phrases. There are systems that don´t need voice recognition training.

Machine Translation tools apply computational linguistic analysis of source documents to prepare draft translations of the input. Even though the prepared translation is illegible sometimes. Some phrases require more accurate human translation.

The technology of image translation enables the user take a picture (using the device camera) of some printed text (a secret code, a restaurant menu, a page of a document etc.), and then translate it into the chosen language.

These technologies are used in:

  • Dictionaries – talking and non-talking applications provide translation from pre-installed databases
  • Phrasebooks – include talking and non-talking translation of travel or professional related phrases
  • Picture Dictionaries – provide translation of words based on picture selection
  • Flashcards – collections of learning games to improve vocabulary and memorization
  • Language learning

Supported languages. All talking dictionaries support the English language. Most dictionaries support other European languages, mostly Spanish, French, German, sometimes Russian. Due to a remarkable increase of the number of modern mobile devices with advanced features, the number of language pairs presented by talking dictionaries grew too. Many producers propose translation from and into over 20 languages, or over 200 language pairs, including most Latin languages. Japanese and Chinese service providers commonly offer cross-translation for Japanese, Chinese, English and Korean.

There are a lot of producers of talking dictionaries. Many of them use advanced technologies, which is especially important for the speech synthesis and speech recognition. Ectaco, Inc., a New York-based company, designs and manufactures handheld talking devices. Its software division LingvoSoft develops and releases software for more than 40 languages and for most major operating systems and platforms including Palm OS, Windows, and Symbian. LingvoSoft applications usually contain a combination of the company’s own technology and technologies of other companies. Fonix Speech, Inc. offers very interesting “voice technology solutions”. These solutions are based upon the Company’s proprietary artificial neural network-based automatic speech recognition (ASR) and Fonix DECtalk, a text-to-speech system (TTS). Fonix speech technology is user-independent, i.e. no voice training is needed. The Company is much engaged on the emerging international market of electronic dictionaries and cell phones, especially in Asia. Its main partners in Asia are Casio, Canon, Seiko Instruments. Find more information about other producers in the list Electronic Dictionary from other manufacturers

References: http://en.wikipedia.org, http://www.ectacoinc.com/, Ectaco Inc., LingvoSoft , Fonix Speech Group – http://www.fonixspeech.com/


Electronic dictionaries

July 25, 2009
8 Comments
Compiled by Galina Vitkova

Development of the modern IT has caused breakthrough in development and implementation of electronic dictionaries. Many well-known traditional companies have evolved an electronic version of their traditional dictionaries.

According to the Wikipedia an electronic dictionary is either a small handheld computer or a PDA (personal digital assistant). PDA is also known as a palmtop computer. Newer PDAs commonly have colour screens and audio capabilities, enabling them to be used as mobile phones, web browsers, or portable media players. Many PDAs can access the Internet, intranets or extranets via Wi-Fi. Very often PDAs employ touch screen technology with a dictionary program. Electronic dictionaries are also programs that can be downloaded from the Internet or purchased on a CD-ROM or DVD (Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) and installed on a desktop computer or on a laptop one, The computer–installed dictionaries can frequently be consulted directly within any application that uses editable text. The term may be used in a broader sense to refer to the features of a machine-readable dictionary or spell checker.

Content. Some electronic dictionaries contain only corpora for a single language (monolingual), but others are bilingual dictionaries and translation dictionaries and may also include professional terms, thesauri, travel dictionaries, dictionaries of idioms and colloquialisms, a guide to pronunciation, a grammar reference, common phrases and collocations, and a dictionary of foreign loan words. Electronic dictionary databases, especially those included with software dictionaries, are usually extensive and can include up to 500,000 headwords and definitions. Manufacturers and developers of electronic dictionaries may offer native content from their own lexicographers, licensed data from print publications, or both.

Standard features. Handheld electronic dictionaries resemble miniature clamshell laptop computers, complete with full keyboards and LCD screens. Since they are intended to be fully portable, these dictionaries are battery-powered and made with durable casing material. Some of the features of both handheld dictionaries and software dictionaries involve stroke order animations, voice output, handwriting recognition, language-learning programs, a calculator, PDA–like organizer functions, encyclopedias, time zone and currency converters, and crossword puzzle solvers. Dictionaries that contain data for several languages customarily have a “jump” or “skip-search” feature that allows users to move between the dictionaries and reverse translation actions.

Evaluation. There are differences in quality of the dictionary hardware, software, and content. Some handhelds are more robustly constructed than others, and the keyboards or touch screen input systems should be physically compared before purchase. The major consideration is the quality of the lexical database. Dictionaries intended for collegiate and professional use generally include most or all of the lexical information to be expected in a quality printed dictionary. The content of electronic dictionaries developed in association with leading publishers of printed dictionaries is more reliable that those aimed at the traveler or casual user. Bilingual dictionaries, which have not been authored by teams of native speaker lexicographers, will not be suitable for academic work. Some developers opt to have their products evaluated by an independent academic body such as the CALICO.

Integrated technologies. Several developers of the systems that drive electronic dictionary software offer API – Application Programming Interface and SDK – Software Development Kit tools for adding various language-based functions (dictionary, translation, definitions, synonyms, spell checking and grammar correction) to programs, and web services. These applications manipulate language in various ways, providing dictionary/translation features, and sophisticated solutions for semantic search.

Ectaco, one of the most prosperous associations in this area, is a New York – based company that designs, manufactures and sells translation dictionaries and language software. Founded by Russian émigrés in 1990 to produce handheld electronic dictionaries, it opened its development center in St. Petersburg in 1998. Find more information at http://www.ectacoinc.com/ and http://www.ectaco.com/info/ , also See.

Ectaco produces dictionaries for 47 different languages, including a translator used by police forces in the United States.

Note. This is, first of all, a technical text for studying English and training technical English. At the same time the text encompasses up-to-date information on the topic.

Reference:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Development of the modern IT has caused breakthrough in development and implementation of electronic dictionaries. Many well-known traditional companies have evolved an electronic version of their traditional dictionaries.

According to the Wikipedia an electronic dictionary is either a small handheld computer or a PDA (personal digital assistant). PDA is also known as a palmtop computer. Newer PDAs commonly have colour screens and audio capabilities, enabling them to be used as mobile phones, web browsers, or portable media players. Many PDAs can access the Internet, intranets or extranets via Wi-Fi. Very often PDAs employ touch screen technology with a dictionary program. Electronic dictionaries are also programs that can be downloaded from the Internet or purchased on a CD-ROM or DVD (Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) and installed on a desktop computer or on a laptop one, The computer–installed dictionaries can frequently be consulted directly within any application that uses editable text. The term may be used in a broader sense to refer to the features of a machine-readable dictionary or spell checker.

Content. Some electronic dictionaries contain only corpora for a single language (monolingual), but others are bilingual dictionaries and translation dictionaries and may also include professional terms, thesauri, travel dictionaries, dictionaries of idioms and colloquialisms, a guide to pronunciation, a grammar reference, common phrases and collocations, and a dictionary of foreign loan words. Electronic dictionary databases, especially those included with software dictionaries, are usually extensive and can include up to 500,000 headwords and definitions. Manufacturers and developers of electronic dictionaries may offer native content from their own lexicographers, licensed data from print publications, or both.

Standard features. Handheld electronic dictionaries resemble miniature clamshell laptop computers, complete with full keyboards and LCD screens. Since they are intended to be fully portable, these dictionaries are battery-powered and made with durable casing material. Some of the features of both handheld dictionaries and software dictionaries involve stroke order animations, voice output, handwriting recognition, language-learning programs, a calculator, PDA–like organizer functions, encyclopedias, time zone and currency converters, and crossword puzzle solvers. Dictionaries that contain data for several languages customarily have a “jump” or “skip-search” feature that allows users to move between the dictionaries and reverse translation actions.

Evaluation. There are differences in quality of the dictionary hardware, software, and content. Some handhelds are more robustly constructed than others, and the keyboards or touch screen input systems should be physically compared before purchase. The major consideration is the quality of the lexical database. Dictionaries intended for collegiate and professional use generally include most or all of the lexical information to be expected in a quality printed dictionary. The content of electronic dictionaries developed in association with leading publishers of printed dictionaries is more reliable that those aimed at the traveler or casual user. Bilingual dictionaries, which have not been authored by teams of native speaker lexicographers, will not be suitable for academic work. Some developers opt to have their products evaluated by an independent academic body such as the CALICO.

Integrated technologies. Several developers of the systems that drive electronic dictionary software offer API – Application Programming Interface and SDK – Software Development Kit tools for adding various language-based functions (dictionary, translation, definitions, synonyms, spell checking and grammar correction) to programs, and web services. These applications manipulate language in various ways, providing dictionary/translation features, and sophisticated solutions for semantic search.

Ectaco, one of the most prosperous associations in this area, is a New York – based company that designs, manufactures and sells translation dictionaries and language software. Founded by Russian émigrés in 1990 to produce handheld electronic dictionaries, it opened its development center in St. Petersburg in 1998. Find more information at http://www.ectacoinc.com/ and http://www.ectaco.com/info/ , also See. Ectaco produces dictionaries for 47 different languages, including a translator used by police forces in the United States.

Note. This is, first of all, a technical text for studying English and training technical English. At the same time the text encompasses up-to-date information on the topic.


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