Phrasebooks: Overcoming language barriers



Do not fear to tread the unknown-the unknown lands, which speak languages
you do not know. Communication gets across barriers with Phrasebooks, which is a
mobile application enabling users to express themselves in English, French,
German, Italian and Spanish. The software is designed for those on the move-business
travelers, tourists and students who constantly go to countries where the native
language is not English.

Talking Phrasebooks is a mobile application that can be downloaded onto a
PDA. It contains over 2,000 essential phrases and terms in both English and the
native languages mentioned before, and finds all entries in either languages
that contain the words or characters being searched for, and instantly shows the
translation of any chosen English language word or vice-versa. The translation
is read aloud in a clear native voice. It also repeats the pronunciation
automatically to aid practice and memorization.

To leverage this application, the US-based MobiLearn turned to GrapeCity,
which after understanding user perspective rolled out new versions of the
product that incorporated several new features like multilingual capability,
auto play and interactive quiz as an easy-to-use language learning tool. Five
add-on modules, each available independently, offer additional text and audio
capabilities. Happy traveling.

Microformats-Small things, Big change
Internet users have always envisioned a web that presents information that is
not only understood by humans but also computers. For long, HTML (Hypertext
Markup language) tags have been used to display items on the web, but don’t
describe what they mean. If they could, the web page could also be read by
software that could understand its date, time and location. When viewing
information on a web page about a concert, it could be added instantly to a
person’s personal calendar, or when a person’s contact information is
displayed, it could be added to the contact list or cell phone by simply
clicking rather than going on each website and entering information.

Similar to the ideals of the ‘Semantic Web’, the vision of microformats
was showcased at the Supernova 2005 conference in San Francisco in June. A
grassroot movement has emerged to attach intelligent data to web pages by using
simple extensions of the standard tags for web formatting — HTML. Addition of
the microformats markup to the content would provide better exposure to
publishers, better indexing in search engines, better opportunities to get
found, blogged and linked. Microformats leverage XHTML, which is essentially
HTML, but cast in XML.

Tantek Celik, senior technologist at Technorati, at his presentation at
Supernova said that with Microformats visible data is emphasized instead of
invisible metadata.

The Supernova conference focuses on the decentralization of computing,
communications, digital media and business with prominent technologists,
investors and business leaders networking, sharing ideas and exploring the
business impacts of key innovations.

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