File /Humanist.vol22.txt, message 190

Date:         Wed, 3 Sep 2008 21:58:17 +0100
From: Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty-AT-MCCARTY.ORG.UK>
Subject: 22.189 handheld translators
To: humanist-AT-Princeton.EDU

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 189.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to:

         Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2008 21:54:32 +0100
         From: Humanist Discussion Group <>
         Subject: Re: 22.185 handheld translators?

In brief, I am confident there is no such handheld device.

I have spent a lifetime teaching, learning, and using languages.
  Languages don't just translate one-word-for-one-word: just think of all
the very different meanings any one English word or spelling can have,
depending on the context.  I am on a language teachers' "list", and it
seems most of the younger participants don't even own a good printed
dictionary, which gives you the various meanings of a word in the target
language, with examples of the context of each meaning.  These teachers
  depend on the online pseudo-dictionaries, where you enter one English
word and you get back one foreign word for it, which has little chance
of being the correct one for the context in question.  Surely your
friend is familiar with good printed dictionaries, such as Collins
German-English / English-German Dictionary; something like that is what
you need to read German; I have seen nothing like it on the internet,
and surely no hand-held device can suffice; -- not even for one
language, let alone several.

Joseph Wilson (Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of German, Rice Univ.)
2236 Camelback Rd.
Winchester, Texas 78945-5203 <>

===========On Aug 30, 2008, at 7:37 PM, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 185.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to:

        Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 01:34:49 +0100
         From: Willard McCarty <

A scholarly friend is in need of a handheld, PDA-type device for
translating single words to and from English and the major European
languages, including, if possible, modern Greek. The vocabulary of this
wished-for device has to be suitable for scholarly purposes, not simply
for finding taxis and booking hotel rooms. She does not want a device
that speaks or one that does phrases, though either capability would not
be objectionable if it does not impede her use of it for reading
scholarly articles in quiet libraries.

All suggestions welcome.

Many thanks.


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