I've been doing a lot of translating of materials for our Spanish-language computer classes lately, and now I stop and wonder every ten seconds what I did before the Internet. I mean, I'm old enough to remember a time when it wasn't there, when you actually heard your computer connecting to a network and there were no animated GIFs of bike-riding kittens to be had; but I often forget that.
When it comes to learning a new language - or honing your skills at one you've picked up - here's where I go:
Reference and Translation Help:
- WordReference.com is my first stop. With dictionaries in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Russian, and 10 other languages, as well as active forums full of native speakers who can help with tricky grammatical problems or technical translation, WordReference is like manna from heaven.
- AllWords.com is another useful online translation dictionary, offering quick translation into Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, and German, as well as a host of links to other language tools.
- Google Translate or Babelfish can be useful to quickly offer a rough translation of a word or phrase. You, of course, should be careful with any automated translation (Babelfish, for example, will translate "take the kids out to play" as "saque los cabritos a jugar" in Spanish, or "take out the baby goats to play."), but sites like these can be useful for double-checking your translation. I often paste in my Spanish and have Google Translate turn it back into English to see if I'm on the right track.
Learning a New Language:
- How to Learn Any Language is a great website for aspiring polyglots, with guides on how to help you pick a new language to learn, tips and tricks on how to teach yourself, reviews of language-learning books, and forums full of people with great advice.
- Not to toot our own horn, but the learn a language guide on the Denver Public Library webpage has a host of great links, my favorites being Mango Languages (free with a DPL library card number), an online language-learning system, and the BBC languages website, which has audio and video courses in Spanish, French, German, and many more.
- The Radio Lingua Network has a terrific selection of language-learning podcasts for those who want to learn (or improve) their French, Spanish, Italian, and German.
This is a just a short list - but its the Internet, so I know there's probably a million more. Where do you go to learn a language or find help with a translation?
(By the way - I would translate "technology blog" as "blog de tecnología", but I'm always open to suggestions....)
I am looking forward to taking the Mango class offered on May 13 starting at 1:30pm in the small classroom on level 4 of the Central library.
Thanks for reminding me - I should have put that in my original post! That class will be great, and will cover all kinds of online resources to help you learn a language online. We look forward to seeing you there!
I would use blog de tecnología as well.
I'm glad I got it right! It's too bad there's not another word for "blog" - it's such an ugly word, whether in English or Spanish. Or any other language, for that matter.
Well, a beginner cannot find an appropriate word in Spanish to describe the common things happening in the day to day life. The natural flow of any language comes with regular practice.