Pop up translater - Help or Hinderance?
xiaophilJune 08, 2010, 01:23 AM
Give it a shot if you think it might help.
That said, I vote indispensible for learning Chinese if done correctly. I can now read most newspaper articles without a dictionary and get the gist, and I think that is partly because I used a pop-up translator when reading articles at qq.com. The reason I think this way helped me is that through constant exposure I was able to slowly internalize un-studied words that frequently appeared. If I didn't have a pop-up translator, those characters would just look like interesting stuff to me. If this truly is a problem for you, I would take Baba's advice and force yourself to first read Chinese articles sans translator and then go back and use it to fill in the gaps.
Or try quitting cold turkey. Some people swear by a paper dictionary.
It sounds like you use the translator in a way that I would like to use if I was not prone to being lazy and just skimming the English words.
Did you find that your approach worked better after reaching a certain level in Chinese? For example, I am up to about 650words now and since that is just a drop in the ocean I think that has a lot to do with the laziness. I will encounter new words all the time so it's tempting to blast through something instead of taking my time.
I'm afraid I really couldn't tell ya if I wanted to. My approach is anything but systematic. I always try new methods to study so as to keep my studies fresh, so I can't really tell you what is most effective. I do have a suggestion, though. I have heard that nciku has a pop-up translator that allows one to store words for later review. Perhaps if you forced yourself to consciously choose words to take a second look at, it will make you more conscious of the words themselves, even if you never actually go back and review.
bodaweiJune 08, 2010, 03:27 AM
I think that there is a limited role for 'pop-up' translators in my learning at present - after having one loaded up for a week or two I find that I am not using it at all much. It is there for going to a Chinese website where either I am in a hurry and need information, or, as others have said, scanning newspaper articles on-line (which I don't do much at all - Chinese newspapers are pretty boring).
I find it difficult to use in the way suggested by xiao-phil - I think it works better if you are using it continuously. Curiosity gets the better of me - I know this word well, but what does my pop-up translator say? But word-by-word translators are a bit unintelligent so often I am getting information I don't use.
I guess that I am into 'slow learning'. Also, I prefer to use my electronic dictionary where I write the character myself (writing practice). Then I get a greater depth of meaning - either through sample sentences, or if I need more I switch to the Chinese dictionary and read what it has to say.
oranginaJune 08, 2010, 03:50 AM
I am also less than systematic in my study methods, but I am in favor of pop-up translators. I think there are times I would be too tired to even attempt to read if I had to physically look up every unfamiliar word. But with a translator I will read what I can and check words I am not sure about. Sure, I catch myself just scanning over things I already know, but I don't think that is too harmful. Sometimes I use my cursor like a finger on paper when reading something on which you need to concentrate. So I am reading the characters and there happens to be peripheral reinforcement of what I am reading which I can glance at if it need it. And having it available makes me much more bold about using Chinese sites like tudou.
So, yeah, I use it as a crutch. But that is what crutches are for, to let you get around when you aren't strong yet. Which is a lot better for you than doing nothing, or doing too much and losing the joy of learning.
hamshankJune 08, 2010, 05:53 AM
Its great to hear everyones opinions. I also rely on my translator for getting around websites. In fact that is what made me create this post as I didn't seem to be picking up any of the repetative vocab that websites generally use.
calicartelAugust 22, 2010, 05:58 PM
What students at advanced or upper intermediate level need, is a pop-up from an all-Chinese explanatory dictionary. So instead of getting a translation, you would get a short explanation of the term.
If there is such a thing as a Chinese-Chinese pop-up or toolbar, it must be one developed by Chinese for the Chinese. While I'm at it, I might as well mention that other "invention" I would like to see implemented: a pencil scanner with integrated dictionary that would OCR Chinese character on a paper source and display its translation or meaning. A bit like the scanners used to read bar codes. A shortcut to reading newspapers or books!
that might not happen for a while, but I think that Pleco and other smartphone applications are going to start using the camera for character recognition and translation. Not sure if you are a smartphone user, but keep on the look out for this kind of tech. It should make reading a news paper a lot more manageable.