Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mobility@Your Library - #2 Language Translation

Here is #2 of 10 categories of how libraries use mobile devices.
#2 - Language Translation. This category includes more than simple language translation as a customer service communication tool. Here is a starter set:
  • Language Translation as a reference desk "tool"
  • Program translation - along the lines of closed-captioning for the hearing impaired.
  • Language Lessons – mobile flash cards, dictionary, phrase book, guided tours, exams, cell phone delivered lectures

Story from High School Library Media Teacher and Partner and CTO, Mouse Magic! Wesley A. Doak: He uses his mac laptop as a translation machine for folks who have difficulty in English -- or when he doesn't know their language either. “I discovered this feature at an airport when a Chinese family got totally confused by our having to unload due to an aircraft malfunction. Friends had taken them to the airport and got them on the plane but now they were totally lost. I cranked up my MacbookPro and wrote out what had happened in English, translated it into Chinese and showed them the screen. We "spoke" for a few minutes, using the computer only, until a Chinese speaking employee finally showed up. The Chinese people said they'd rather keep "talking" to me!!! Well, I now use it in the libraries in which I work and it's great. I usually use Babelfish but a few others have worked as well. I'm working on iPod applications for public and school libraries but have no stories yet. All the Best!”

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