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Immersed in French

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From E-Learning V

Fig.1. My computer is doing everything in French

Google now offers me search results in both English and French. Clicking on Wikipedia offered me the choice of selecting results that are only in French; I did this, with some trepidation as the change in what it offers as a result. Perhaps the unpredictability of it will do more good than harm. All the little instructions you get to surf the web are also in French now. At a glance you can see that generally a single word in English becomes a multi-syllable in French, or a phrase. I'll also find that in France the default would be the English anyway. I remember how, working in TV, no one said 'magnetescope' instead of 'video', for example. 

I'm now forced to read in French and consequently obliged frequently to look up a word or a grammatical construction.

From E-Learning V

Fig.2. Google Translate

I turn to Google Translate by default. I'd have this open and live on a Smart Watch if I could. With an earpiece giving me the word or phrase in whichever language I required. On its way?

In an instant, at the point of need, I have what I hazzard is an accurate translation; I'm talking about a single word, or a short phrase. Any doubt and I play around with the English translation then see how Google gives me that in French then call on buried memory banks to tell me if that sounds right.

'Le dos' is NOT how to describe the back of a house, for example.

So, I'm getting what I wished for. Will this however translate into a renewed confidence to both speak and write the language?

That's the plan.

Trouble with Java and OU Live

The L120 Student Forum on problems with JAVA now runs to over 45 responses. I don't need to tear my hair out, I can feel it curling up and dying in horror at the thought of having to sort out why my MAC and or Google Chrome are incompatible with JAVA because of the OS 7 operating system. My hope is that I can jump ship and use my wife or son's PC. I do not fancy having to delete OS 7 and reactivate OS 6, then use Safari, still to find that I cannot do the interactive exercises in Session 1, or take part in an OU Live session.

Keeping my learning French from my wife will prove trickier if I am at her computer speaking in French checking my pronounciation. I'm unsure my teenage son will want me anywhere near his computer: I'll ask.

From E-Learning V

Fig.3. Rosetta Stone. Brilliant for fixing pronunciation and accents

Or I skip those bits. I've had a year using Rosetta Stone which has a considerable amount of accent and pronunciation software. 

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Design Museum

How's your French?

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'There is no
Small annoyance
Small sigh
Small shrug of the shoulders
Small feeling nervous
Small insult
There is no small incivility
Overall, prefer the serenity'

Is how Google translate delivers.

What do you think works best?

I have a sense of what it means.

I say this poster in the booking office of SNCF in Dieppe.

I know in England such posters are more likely to state that aggressive behaviour will lead to prosecution.

If you know the poetry of Jacques Prevert, that this is what it made me thinking of. The English translation needs to be as poetic. I don't think repeating the word 'small' does it for me.

Any suggestions?!



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Is Google translate teaching me written French or am I teaching 'it' to translate French into English?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 May 2014, 14:31

It's 21 years since I lived in France.

Amongst other things I translated kids TV cartoons from French into English! I'm now trying, once and for all, to get my written French in order courtesy of:

  • Doulinguo
  • Qstream
  • OpenLearn French
  • Google Translate
  • A MOOC in French (ABC of business start ups if I have understood what is going on!!)
  • And the threat of legal action from the owners of my late Father's timeshare flat in the French alps (he died 11 years ago ... ). Only this week have they finally acknowledge my letters - probably because I chose to write in pigeon French rather than bolshy English.

When I want to write in French I give it a stab, stick it through Google Translate then  jig my English around until I get what I would have said in French out of the other end. (I can speak French - like a Belgian I am told).

When I read any tricky French I paste it into Google Translate and adjust until, once again, it has the sense of what I would have understood had I simply heard it spoken to me.

The test is how quickly will I be found out in an all French MOOC.

The only issue is that hopping around computers in our house (My teenage son has a couple of huge screens which I particularly enjoy using while he is at school) - I found one viewing of the MOOC was being automatically translated - which can in itself be quite a laugh. But at what point will such translation be seamless, at least to the non-linguists? At what point will it suffice as an adequate stab at what is being said and meant by what is being said?

Will be have a Bable Fish in our ear along with the Google Glass(es)?


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Google Translate from German - not text book, but surely adequate for comprehension and communication?

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New media and the participatory web have transformed my life from scratch. Thanks to the new media and in general the information and communication technology, I am learning, working, I enjoy myself and communicating, I, unlike in my youth. The computer-based communication tools have given me in almost all my activities greatly helped me expanded but also in many ways. I will inform and amuse me, write, teach, drive, buy, travel, listen and speak using other devices, which also means that both storing and holding of data and the transmission of information is different. My account is almost lost ancient traditions and the use of new media has become a way of life. I spend time to learn to send messages regularly to explore unknown things and learn many new things. Very often I use Wikipedia, CD-ROMs, DVDs, Google Earth, and every day I read excerpts from the online press, e-books Some forums with the participation of the user and various blogs. Oddly enough, the time element is reduced in my workflow! Everything has become faster and I love the pace of work, as I work under tight deadlines. The hooks were just superfluous, flooding and unreliable at times. I especially like the access and immediate use of the information. I prefer internet dictionaries, Web sites (the first was published on 13 November 1990) and e-books before. Moreover, I find the procedures in the study and teaching because of the multi-media forms of communication much better and more effective. OU courses have informed myself with gusto into new and entertain. The new media have enabled me to better work performance and a professional presentation of my work. My social interactions have increased recently thanks to the e-mail, Skype, video conferencing and mobile phones. More often, and regardless of Zeitz
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