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Helping with Google Translate = Reading Practice? Vocabulary and Grammar Exposure?

2017/03/14 Leave a comment

So I’ve got an interesting idea for people who want to practice reading, get exposed to new vocabulary, etc., and would enjoy knowing they’re also doing something good at the same time.

How about helping out with Google Translate?

I was using Google Translate recently and noticed a check mark on a translation that said it was verified by the community.

I clicked the help out link, and came to this: https://translate.google.com/community.

Google Translate Community Homepage / Dashboard

You don’t have to be perfectly fluent to validate, especially if you validate translations TO your native / fluent language(s). If there are any you don’t know or are unsure of, you can just skip! So you can play it safe.

And PLEASE do play it safe, by ONLY validating texts you understand confidently.

So what’s the benefit to you? You will find some unfamiliar words or grammar structures for sure, which you can look up or infer from context and learn for yourself in a context. It may not even interfere with your validation: Google translate wants natural sentences, not just passable ones, so even if you don’t know a word, even if you look up the word and find you can’t be sure of the exact meaning, you can still contribute, if, for example, EVERY translation given is wrong no matter which way you look at it.

You don’t need to be good at Chinese in any way to know neither English translation is good, natural English

Give it a try!

I validated 100+ already of Spanish, French, and Mandarin to English, and learned a few words, refreshed some others.

WARNING: They warn you themselves that anything can come up in those sentences, of course, so make sure you’re old enough and willing to be exposed to I guess anything people may have tried to translate? Just skip anything you don’t want to deal with!

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No-English week and day: Being on a Roll and Keeping the Ball Rolling

2013/12/01 5 comments

I’m extremely busy as I’ve had some hardware failures on my computers that put some of my data at risk, but I wanted to see if I could take a bit of time to knock out an unfancy post. There may be typos; I will correct in time.

I’d like to share two good, recent, level-up / improvement experiences involving Mandarin. One was self-created, while the other was more coincidental, and I put the effort in to keep it going,

Since I always consider my language learning as quite the side project that I mostly fit into literally spare minutes and seconds, I always say I have very “lazy” and relaxed approach – something I would NOT necessarily recommend to someone, but something I’ve realized is still an option. For the most part, I have no goals other than “keep learning and see how it goes.” I have no motivational urge other than “Do it when you can – just make sure you notice those times when you can.”

However, I’ve developed drives, hopes, and somethings like goals as I’ve gone deeper into languages, particulalry Mandarin and Japanese. So, for those I have a focus on, I do give myself a push once in a while. My “lazy” approach is not a chosen method I subscribe to; it’s merely a relaxed, stress-free approach out of necessity, but if I realize I can afford the time and effort, I will definitely add that effort.

The Chinese-only week (really, a non-English week)

I have a few Chinese friends and some more Chinese acquaintances. I can’t get myself to practice speaking with them. I don’t have a lot of time, it’s hard to find good friends, I don’t see them often, etc., so when I do see them, I’d rather use that time wisely to get to know each other better and just be friends, rather than “waste time” practicing Mandarin. That being said, I’m at a level that, while speaking and following conversation is still pretty problematic, I can actually manage a lot – as long as the other person slows down a teeny bit and is willing to work with me. I’ve met people and spoken to them for 30 minutes to an hour. I go to an Asian market and get around in Chinese. But I needed to do this with my friends.

So I simply announced I would be doing this for a week. If I ran to any other friends or acquaintances who didn’t see / couldn’t have seen my announcement on social networking sites and they tried speaking English to me, I’d tell them this was my “Chinese-only week” and would kindly request their help and support.

And it worked, of course. I had a little bad luck in that I had less chances to see my friends than usual, but those I saw worked with me and stayed away from English. Only when something really problematic or important came up, did I switch to English. Merely by listening to people talking to me and being able to ask a few questions as necessary, I even picked up a few new words, confirmed the usage or pronunciation of some words and phrases I had learned but never heard before, and got a few corrections.

Two weeks later I had a different situation.  Read more…