Tag Archives: language

How To Chat and Translate Conversations in Different Langauge

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Do you understand the words I’m speaking right now? If you don’t understand the English language, it will be difficult for you. There are a lot of languages here on Earth. What if you want to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language well? You want to chat with them in “real-time”, and you don’t want to have to use some translator that makes you copy and paste by the sentence or paragraph. What can you do?

Enter BabelWith.Me. Communicate with anyone, anywhere in up to 45 languages. BabelWith.me is a simple, free group chat that automatically translates your conversation as you type. Simply set up a chat and invite others using your unique URL. Choose the language you are speaking (and others choose theirs). The service will automatically translate everything others say in their own language into YOUR language!

BabelWith.me is a web-based tool, so you won’t need to install any software to use it. Each conversation can have up to 45 languages at once! Language is no longer a barrier! It’s easy to talk with anyone in the world, whether they march to your drum or not.

If you know of other excellent (and free!) services, let me know. I’d love to check them out.

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The State of the English Language Online

Someone by the name of Mr. Martinez sent me this email the other day. The message struck me as unique, given that it was rather well written (and I’m quite used to receiving incoherent blather). He believes that the English language is headed towards a meltdown…

The Internet has given me endless opportunities to contact people – to exchange ideas, opinions and concerns with them. Having English as my 3rd language (in Europe, we have to learn three languages in school) sometimes results in me accidently communicating in a malformed structure. This is, however, not much of a problem with other people – so long as I can form coherent sentences.

I have, during the last few years, encountered a distinctive (and obvious) degradation of the English language online among people that carry the English language as their mother tongue. It is sometimes mind-blowing how poorly people spell and form sentences – and this coming from people who have spoken and written English far longer than I have!

I have often found on forums and chat rooms people who were born in the U.S., raised in the U.S., but cannot (for the life of them) spell correctly, form sentences correctly, etc. Some of the American people I chat with have so many poorly formed sentences that you cannot possibly understand what it is they’re trying to say.

This all began, I believe, with the emergence of SMS – where you had a limited amount of characters and you had to compress words, use acronyms frequently, and find shortcuts to get your message through the very limited space you could use. This, I find inexcusable to use on the Internet, since there are really no restrictions on how many letters you are allowed to use in one message. [Editor’s note: Twitter may be the exception.]

I know that you studied English as well, and I notice that during your live feeds, you often correct people’s mistakes (which I think is the right thing to do) – and you always put emphasis on how important it is that people learn how to communicate clearly.

Do you believe there is a degradation of the English language online?

Do you believe that this degradation will get worse, or do you believe it’s just a phase? What is your opinion about “text speak” and “elite speak” – the kind of “speak” where you either leave out vowels completely, or substitute letters with numbers. Do you encourage spell checkers in browsers, or should people just learn not to butcher the English language when expressing themselves online?

I’m curious to hear your opinion from someone who has studied English as a Major in University – or just make another live feed of it so I can watch it on YouTube later.

Yes, it’s frustrating to see that few people seem to care about how they compose their digital presence anymore. You’d have been laughed off the newsgroups if you flew in there displaying nothing more than a molecule of what might be considered intelligence. Now, we’re face to face with the AOL’ification of the English language.

Let me put it to you this way: if you can’t write your way out of a coherent sentence, my respect level for you automatically drops by half. I don’t care if you’re seventeen or seventy – if you can use a keyboard, learn to use your language skills.

I’m not bothered by ‘1337’ speak (or random truncations), but I am bothered by poor punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling. I’m not sure if it’s laziness or idiocy, but I just don’t think you have much of a future if you can’t string together more than two words.

The Chemistry of Texting English in High School

Justin McKey is a high school student who was handed an interesting assignment:

I was sitting in Chemistry class today and my teacher gave us the strangest assignment. She told us that we would be writing a summary about a paragraph in the Chemistry book, concerning Phospholipids. But here’s the twist. I would be required to write the summary in text message form (whatever that is) and to use abbreviation wherever possible. I then told her that some people use T-9 and/or predictive text input and don’t really abbreviate. She then told me that I should just use bad grammar and instead of writing, for example, “you” to write the letter u. And to use things like lol and cu8tr. I thought this might interest you since your involved in both English and technology. As you can imagine, this was a concern to me.

I totally agree and love the idea of integrating technology into the classroom, with use of Smart Boards and notebook computers. But of course there’s boundaries, such as using cell phones to text in class or cheat on a test. However, there seems to be an even more appalling feature. And that is poor or bad English. I know you’ve probably come across this since your emailed so frequently, and I’ve probably made several mistakes in this email as well. Now I’m not trying to say that texting inhibits degradation to a lower level (of) society. I think that proper English and technology can, and should become one.

According to my teacher the faculty had a meeting held by Sandy Garret, the State Superintendent, instructing them to incorporate text “lingo” into school curriculum. Am I the only person that is frightened by this?! It’s like the schools have given up and are accepting the false fact that students can’t speak/write in proper English. Think about our Constitution becoming a bunch of “lol’s” and “wtf george what’s wid the taxes”! Absolutely ridiculous.

Well, I do say “W-T-F” in conversation – but never “L-O-L.”

To Be or Not to Be: Politically Correct

This is Peggy Romero ‘s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

I’ve always wanted to write a blog about being Politically Correct. I’m going to give a speech in two weeks about this, so it made me drag out my chair and sit in front of the computer, squeeze something out of me!

Whoever has any opinions about being ‘P.C.’, feel free to have an open discussion. Note that the ‘P.C.’ here is not abbreviated from what is commonly known as ‘Personal Computer’.

Politically Correct is commonly abbreviated to PC. This term generally refers to language, ideas, politics or behaviors used to minimize offense to racial, cultural or other identity groups.
I’ve always believed in being Politically Correct. I believe we should carefully choose our words when we talk about certain issues, like race, religion, political views and gender issues.

I once had a struggle over this belief of mine. A few years ago, I happened to have a conversation with an American friend of mine who is rather intelligent. What he said about ‘politically correct’ affected what I thought ‘politically correct” had always meant to me. We were having this little debate over whether we should call people by color or not. I told him that I used the term ‘Caucasian’ instead of ‘White’ because I don’t want to be called ‘Yellow’. I’m an Asian. Therefore, I try to be more PC and I expect people to do likewise. He didn’t agree with me and here is what he said: “Saying what you mean and what you think is what Freedom of Speech is intended for. We all need to realize this (and none too soon) that first and foremost we are all humans. But since we do have differing appearances, it is easy to say ‘White’ rather than ‘Caucasian’. But what does Caucasian mean? It means white, right? So you’re still calling me white, just using another name for it. For example, poop and shit mean the same thing and refer to the same thing. So, why is shit considered bad but poop is ok? Because we, as humans have made it that way. Calling someone black is only bad if it has bad connotations with it. But in fact, they ARE black.”

As a matter of fact, he made a good point. Has the idea of being Politically Correct gone overboard? Maybe we, as humans, literally have made the words good or bad.

Meanwhile, I tried to ask a couple of people’s opinion about it. Some of them say: “Uhhh, I don’t really care. I’m not gonna get offended anyway. Words are just words. Words won’t hurt me.” Many people say: “I think we should say whatever that is in our mind. People’s feelings are eventually going to get hurt no matter how hard we try to be nice.”

There are reasons why I believe in trying to be Politically Correct: First of all, I do not think ‘Words are just words’. We humans have made definitions of words. Yet, if we should simply say whatever that is in our mind, what comes out of our mouth means what we think. For instance, if I were in a foreign country and someone would call me a ‘Chink’, he or she has the right to say whatever that is in his or her mind. But that word is absolutely going to offend me. As we all know, that is a vulgar word to Asian people. Words are NOT just words. They are a powerful tool. It’s a tool invented by humans to express our feelings, thoughts and opinions. Secondly, I believe in the ‘Freedom of Speech’. I do believe we all have the very right to speak out our own opinions.

Admittedly, people’s feelings are eventually going to get hurt. Not for nothing, there is a difference between being offended by one’s informed opinion… and being offended by ignorance. When describing a person who is lacking of certain physical or mental ability, we may use the word ‘Disabled’ rather than calling him or her ‘Retarded’. Calling someone from Asian countries an ‘Asian’ is somehow more respectful than using the word ‘Chink’.

Lastly, being Politically Correct is not censorship. Only when the term becomes institutionalized, it turns out to be a sign of censorship afoot. Being Politically Correct is a choice. It’s simply a choice of selecting a better word in our vocabulary.

The Top Ten Ways to Win a Writing Contest

Geek!This would have been swordofdestiny’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway, but he’s a chat room moderator and ineligible. However, since I’ve received hundreds of poorly written and plagiarized articles today, I felt the need to share his list with you. If you’d like to submit your own ORIGINAL how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are very close to my own:

  1. Choose a completely overdone topic. Don’t go out on a limb and try something new. Stick with what everyone else writes about. It works! Don’t contribute anything new to your overdone topic.
  2. Rant about your topic. Everyone enjoys a good soapbox rant! So do it! Make it a long and boring rant that regurgitates everything you’ve ever heard about the topic. If anything is contrary to your belief, dismiss it as bias. No one can possibly oppose you! You know it all! They know nothing!
  3. Be vulgar! Be very vulgar! Vulgarity is like the salt and pepper of a good manuscript. Your writing is useless unless it contains at least one occurrence of each word in George Carlin’s “Seven Deadly Words.”
  4. Make references to all of your favorite movies, tv shows, and books! Who cares if the adjudicator has never seen an episode of Star Trek? If they haven’t your paper is obviously too good for them to read. They should rinse their eyeballs in vinegar for such a blasphemy!
  5. Misuse the words “your” and “you’re.” Remember, those two words are interchangeable. Forget that one is the possessive form of you and the other a contraction of the two words “you” and “are.” Misuse “its” and “it’s” for bonus points!
  6. Use LeetSpeak. Obviously, if the adjudicators can’t read your manuscript they are intellectually inferior to your “pwn4g1ng 0f t3h n00bz0rz.”
  7. Don’t indent! Indentation is for people who like too many spaces! When you indent you lose precious space that you could be filling with your intellectual greatness!
  8. Forget using the enter key! The enter key is cruise control for failing! Make your manuscript one long super paragraph. When you do, the adjudicators can smell the amazing palette of words that you are sending towards them.
  9. Forget grammar, spelling and punctuation. Don’t let the mechanics of writing properly in English perturb you from emptying your soul onto the paper. Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation is for unintellectual baboons who should be banished back into the jungle from whence they came.
  10. Plagiarize. Who cares if it’s illegal? At least one person, somewhere on the World Wide Web, has written about your topic before. Why put forth the effort to make something original? Why do it yourself when someone else has done it for you?

What Do You Use to Translate Words into Different Languages?

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When I was in Germany, I needed to pick up a translation gadget. I probably slaughtered most of what I attempted to say, but at least I tried. What happens when you need to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the same language? What if you don’t have much time to wait on a translation? I gotta give credit to my friend Mona. She always finds the most amazing links to things, and this is no exception. MeGlobe is “Instant Messaging with Instant Translation”.

MeGlobe™ was built to diminish language barriers from online communication. Our free web client lets you type in your own language, but sends a translated version, in near real time, specific to the native tongue of whomever you are chatting with. With MeGlobe™ there is no such thing as ‘lost in translation.’

Signing up is quick, easy and FREE. Just click on “Signup,” give us some basic info and you’re ready to start chatting with people all over the world. No downloads are required, you don’t need to install anything and you can use MeGlobe™ from any computer with a browser and Internet connection.

We live in a highly connected global village. Isn’t it time we take language out of the equation so we can talk to our neighbors?

Read this last line again: Isn’t it time we take language out of the equation so we can talk to our neighbors? You bet it is, and MeGlobe is a great way to start.


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The Secret Language of Lovers

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As Ponzi and I prepared to leave for our Hawaiian Cruise last week, we had a discussion about different “code words” and phrases that we tend to use. I bet you and your significant other know exactly what we’re talking about.

We’ve decided to start using the word “Chumby” as our code word when we want to avoid an arguement. We’re sure this will work. In the past, we’ve had to use a code word for a stinky person. We’ve been on many flights where we had to sit next to someone who just smelled so awful. I kept trying to let Chris know that the man next to me was stinky, without letting the man know I was saying something negative about him. You know… you’re trying to tell the person next to you something, without conveying to everyone else in the vicinity exactly what it is you’re trying to say? So this is what happened to me on this particular fight. We agreed if we ever had that issue again, we’d say “when are we going to play tennis?”. That stands for “someone next to me/us STINKS!”.

So… back to Chumby. Ponzi and I both have very strong personalities, so we tend to get into arguements at times. We had to pick a word we would both remember, that would hopefully make us laugh, instead of argue. The chat room came up with the word Chumby. Not only is it a funny word in and of itself… it’s also my newest fun gadget!!


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Website Language Settings

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AJ28 emailed me from Japan, wondering why when he opens Google (or most any website), it automatically loads the Japanese page. He wonders if the browser automatically recognizes what IP he is connecting from and then determines the language to display.

Aj, you are sort of correct. You’re just a bit backwards in putting things together. Google (and other sites) look at the IP address you are connecting from, and then realizes your location based on that information. They will then serve up your site content in the native language of the country or area you are located. It’s web pages itself… not your browser… that is doing this.

Unfortunately, there really isn’t a way you can change things so that every site will automatically direct you to your native language, regardless of where in the world you happen to be at the time. Trying to do so could actually get you Swahili text when you’re in Taiwan, or German when you’re in the United States. There is a simple way to change the language preferences by site, especially for Google. Many sites may not have this function, though. According to Google themselves:

If you want to change your Google interface language without changing your browser’s accept-language preferences, you can set your Google language preferences manually on our “Language Options” page. However, setting language preferences this way does require that cookies be enabled.

And there you have it. I wish there were a better answer for you as far as making your computer automatically connect to pages in the one language you prefer. As far as I know, there is not. If anyone out there does know of such a way, please let me know!

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French to English

I speak French! Kinda. Here’s the original article, and the Google translation:

“If you like your software better than Windows, keep XP at least a year moreâ€?, advises Chris Pirillo, on the site Windows Fanatics, by giving a long list of “tricksâ€? for the difficult passage of XP to Vista.

“Your software will not go. Consider that if something goes under XP, there is a good luck that that does not function in the same way under Vista, because of new protections of safetyâ€?, explains Mr. Pirillo.

My buddy Chris Null gets Frenched, too:

“Microsoft would like that everyone adopts Vista immediately, but that would be a nightmare because the majority of the PC are not capable to make turn Vista, especially its most sophisticated functionsâ€?, specifies Christopher Null, technical adviser at Yahoo! , quoted by Orlando Sentinel.

I wonder if Victor’s errors have also been translated:

“Look at Vista, but wait later to buy itâ€?, summarizes Victor Godinez, of Dallas Morning News, which tells its problems of installation: “my printer sends from now on every 10 minutes to me an error messageâ€?, many old programs are not compatible Vista, tells it.

And humor must be the international language, because I totally busted a gut after reading the last paragraph:

According to the American press, only some rare fans were at midnight in front of the CompUSA store of especially open New York for the launching of Vista, primarily to benefit from reduction on printers rather than to buy Vista.