TechCrunch: Toucan raises $3M to teach you new languages as you browse the web. “Toucan has developed a Chrome browser extension designed for anyone who wants to learn a new language but hasn’t found the motivation or the time. Once installed, the extension scans the text of any (English-language) website you’re visiting and will automatically translate some of the words into the language you’re trying to learn. If you mouse over the word, you’ll see the original English word. Think of it as a browser-based version of language flashcards.”
GMA News: Google releases online COVID-19 dictionary in Filipino and Cebuano. “Google Philippines has just released an online dictionary with COVID-19-related terms in Filipino and Cebuano. According to the technology company, the site ‘Isang Gabay sa mga Salitang Kaugnay ng COVID-19’ features over 115 commonly used COVID-19-related words and phrases translated in both Filipino and Cebuano.”
MakeUseOf: 5+ Creative Ways to Learn a New Language for Free. “Learning a new language is one of the best skills to acquire. Here are a few creative ways to pick up a new tongue, whether by reading, writing, or watching. There are two popular ways to learn a language. You can use Duolingo or some of the other best free language learning apps, or you can try the language immersion methodology.”
Gulf Today: Sharjah spearheads huge project to chronicle 17 centuries of Arabic. “Heralding a new era for the Arabic language lexicon, Sharjah has embarked on a landmark project to chronicle 17 centuries of development in the Arabic language spanning five distinct time periods. The Historical Corpus of the Arabic Language is a monumental undertaking that will offer unparalleled insight into the world’s fifth most widely spoken language and serve as a linguistic resource for researchers, academia, linguists and students worldwide.” Sharjah is a city in the United Arab Emirates.
San Diego Jewish World: Museum of the Hebrew Language planned in Jerusalem. “The museum will supplement the [Academy of the Hebrew Language]’s ongoing activities of writing a historical dictionary of Hebrew, covering the language’s development from approximately the 12th Century BCE, and also serving as an Internet resource for people who want to know how a word from a foreign language can be translated into Hebrew. Questions may be asked of the Academy’s volunteer experts via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”
Arab News: Google’s new tool lets you translate Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. “If you’ve ever wondered what messages the Ancient Egyptians were trying to convey with their hieroglyphics, Google’s new tool might just be able to help. In celebration of the anniversary of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, Google Arts and Culture has released a new AI-powered tool, Fabricius, that allows you to decode and translate the ancient symbols and characters into both Arabic and English.”
Neowin: New wiki project – Abstract Wikipedia – will boost content across languages. “The project was first proposed in a 22-page paper by Denny Vrandečić, founder of Wikidata, earlier this year. He had floated a new idea that would allow contributors to create content using abstract notation which could then be translated to different natural languages, balancing out content more evenly, no matter the language you speak.” My head would absolutely not wrap around this until I saw a page of examples.
Komando: Always wanted to learn Morse code? This app makes it easy. “To make Morse code easier for anyone to learn, Google has developed an input method for its wildly popular Gboard keyboard, which can be installed on your smartphone. The app includes a tutorial function, keyboard integration and several games for users to practice with. Gboard is already cool enough on its own, with features like emoji fusion and highly-intelligent auto-suggestions. But the Morse code extension actually goes deeper and teaches new users the actual letter and number meanings behind those dashes and dots.”
UCLA: UCLA creates multilingual website for coronavirus information. “It’s abundantly clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has not hit all people equally, and part of that disparity is informational. Many communities have an increased vulnerability because of a lack access to official news, public health information and safety recommendations in a language other than English. To help remedy that, faculty from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the Asian American Studies Center quickly came together recently to launch TranslateCovid.org. This new website presents health and safety recommendations and other information in more than 40 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Armenian, Japanese and Vietnamese.”
Pro Bono Australia: The project filling in the coronavirus language gap. “There’s a lot of information out on how to keep safe from coronavirus, but if English isn’t your first language, it can be difficult to track down essential information. It’s an issue that Selena Choo is trying to fix. She has created Videos in Language: Coronavirus and Handwashing, a digital library of important coronavirus health information, videos, and tips, in 28 different Middle-Eastern, African and Asian languages.”
QNS: Free and discounted online language-learning resources for kids amid coronavirus crisis. “With schools closed and students learning from home, a wide range of online language-learning resources are offering free or discounted courses to children of all ages. Resources like these, ranging from online tutors to video lessons to interactive games, can start your child on the path to advancing their skills in a foreign language or learning a new one from scratch!”
Phys .org: Not a ‘math person’? You may be better at learning to code than you think . “New research from the University of Washington finds that a natural aptitude for learning languages is a stronger predictor of learning to program than basic math knowledge, or numeracy. That’s because writing code also involves learning a second language, an ability to learn that language’s vocabulary and grammar, and how they work together to communicate ideas and intentions. Other cognitive functions tied to both areas, such as problem solving and the use of working memory, also play key roles.”
Times of India: Google Translate gets support for five new languages. “Google translate help users by giving them perfect translations in different languages. The company has rolled out the latest update for the app which will make it useful for more people. Google has announced that it is adding five new languages to the Google translate app. This is the first expansion made by the company in the past few years.”
KHON: Creative couple comes together to create Hawaiian-language themed cartoon. “A creative couple used their family as inspiration for a passion project that teaches kids about island culture. Mom is a singer, dad a graphic designer. They merged their creativity to create a labor of love: Makaʻiwa Keiki.” It’s a YouTube channel to teach kids Hawaiian language. I can easily imagine absentmindedly singing the counting to ten song, but I’ll have to play the ʻHead-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toesʻ Song at quarter-speed to learn to say “toes.”
The Bejinger: Machine Non-Learning: The Chinese Words That Trip Up Google Translate. “Humankind now speaks more than 5,000 languages, which as anyone who has traveled or lived in a foreign country can attest to, makes life more interesting, if not at times several times more complicated. It is fairly common then for us to turn to translation tools for help, and Google Translate is probably one of the most trusted popular among them (despite the hurdles of the GFW). Yet when translating a language like Chinese – one that is radically different from the Latin language family – digital translators may not be savvy enough to provide a nuanced, reliable definition after all.”