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Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

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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My 3-Year Performance Review & Progress Report, 2009-2012

2013/07/05 Leave a comment

In this last post, I went over what was my position in languages 3 years ago, in 2009, before I started learning Japanese and got into this current stage of language learning. After reading that post, I hope I sounded like a pretty typical person. I haven’t done anything impressive, so I hope many people who may think it is can see that I don’t have any special history, skill, or natural talent that has allowed me to get to where I am now. I simply do it without consideration of excuses and misconceptions.

This is a review of what I’ve accomplished in the past 3 years, up to summer of 2012, with a brief overview on how I did it, so that you can do it too. For that reason, links will be provided to any mentioned resources, but check out my Language Resources Page for a full list.

So now it’s time to go over what’s actually happened, and where I am now.

In case you’re looking for something specific, I’ll let you know this article mentions:

  • Japanese
  • Mandarin
  • Hindi
  • Korean
  • Morse Code
  • International Phonetic Alphabet
  • Russian & Greek
  • Vietnamese
  • Cantonese
  • Hmong
  • Yoruba
  • French
  • Spanish

The Decision


Which Language?

Starting Japanese is the big landmark marking where everything started. I wanted to start a new language, with not much of a goal in mind other than to see how it goes, how far I get, and how quickly I learn. I wasn’t going to put much effort since I foresaw myself getting busier in the upcoming years, and wasn’t going to care much for motivation. The only motivation needed is to do it: keep it in mind, do it when possible, but make sure I find that time and make time as possible. I considered Italian since I’ve had the interest and it would be easy, but it’s pretty close to Spanish, so I saw little need. German seemed like a good choice, but you know what? I decided I wanted something considered totally different, so let’s check out East Asia, I thought. Chinese characters, yes! So Mandarin or Japanese? I felt Mandarin would be more useful, and I have a little more interest in China culturally, BUT I had already started watching some anime, listening to some Japanese music as introduced to me from anime, and I was beginning to pick up a tiny selection of words. Thus, Japanese had the better and most promising opportunities for “practice.” Japanese it was!

Common First Step to all Languages

Something else I do to gauge interest and get a feel for a language, is to check out its grammar, so whenever I’m curious about a language, I go look over its article on Wikipedia, looking for the grammar section or grammar article.

The scary G-word is definitely something too many people over-concern themselves with (eg., in school courses), but I do believe it’s nice to start with it. What distinguishes a language and gives it its personality, its attractive qualities? I would say grammar! If languages didn’t have differences in word order, structure, parts of speech, conjugation, etc., learning language would be nothing more than learning vocabulary to swap out, and translations could be made virtually word-for-word. So I read up on grammar.

In the case of Japanese, then, I learned that it doesn’t necessarily use a Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) structure, but it is instead primarily a topic-comment structured language. Topics can be dropped if obvious, and it’s much more common (informally) to make extremely short or single-word statements than in English. Questions are structured the same way as statements, only with question words and/or just a “ka” at the end. Different tenses/moods/aspects exist, but all persons (I, you, they, etc.) use the same conjugation. Seeing example sentences helped me see what this all means and how it really comes together.

After reading up on the basics of a language’s grammar, no matter how I continue learning, I’ll better understand why words are coming together the way they are, and the boost to my interest in the language helps make sure I keep goingRead more…