We have all heard that the best way to learn a new language is to live in a country that speaks it. By immersing in the language we are forced to practice, learn and grow our language skills. But moving our life to a different country is not really a practical solution for most. So how else can we be immersed in a language? A new chrome extension, Language Immersion, attempts to take our digital life and turn it into that immersive language learning experience.
With 64 languages supported, the neat plugin will selectively translate portions of your page into another language. A subtle blue highlight lets you know which phrases have been translated and when clicked, will re-set back to your default language. You can even turn on text-to-speech and hear the translated text spoken back.
Using the slider you can select the level at which you would like the immersion set. ‘Novice’ will pluck out the odd key word/phrase, where as ‘fluent’ will translate the majority of the page. Even after using the plugin for a short while at “novice” level, you start to see familiar words repeating. This is really cool and it starts to feel like a very (I mean very) basic level of fluency.
You can see in the screenshots to the right the translated page vs original page. Not too obtrusive and an effortless way to begin learning or refresh a language before travel.
There are a few things to consider before cancelling your Spanish classes though… Translations are not 100% accurate as the page is translated using algorithms rather than human translators. Although it will be mostly accurate, there may be situations where literal translations are not correct. There is also a lot more to learning language than the words themselves. Conversation, culture and context are all something that can only be learnt through real life use of a language.
But, as a neat free tool, Language Immersion could be a fun way to get your language class practicing in their free time, as well as testing yourself to see just how “fluent” you really are. Give the plugin a try and let us know what you think.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, anja_johnson