11.29.2009

Lingoes: Portable Dictionary & Translation

Lingoes
Lingoes is a free dictionary, text-to-speech, and translation tool that works with any selectable text found in any program, including web browsers and word-processing applications. While Lingoes is enabled, highlighting and/or double-clicking on text returns a pop-up with the definition (if a single word) or translation (if multiple words) of the text. Translation is provided in the default language that you select, but any of the other 80 available languages are accessible by clicking the book icon, located on the pop-up.

Pronunciation of selected text is also available by clicking on the speaker icon on the pop-up, or you can have Lingoes set to always pronounce selected text. Although the computer voice is not the greatest, the pitch and speed can be adjusted to one's liking. A better option is to install language packs, which are actual recordings of words; however, the language packs only apply to a limited range of single words. Lingoes can be disabled via the taskbar, so that is always available, but not always translating. You can also configure Lingoes features to be triggered by a hotkey. Watch the screencast for a demo.

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There is a portable version of Lingoes, which means students could use the program on any computer with a USB drive, making this tool available to them whether they are in a lab, at the library, or at home. Having his own copy of the program, also means that a student would not have mess with configuration settings,e.g. whereas a special education student may just need the english definition & pronunciation of words, a Russian-speaking ELL student could have her Lingoes set to translate into Russian.

While the customizability of Lingoes makes it a powerful tool, make sure you spend some time configuring it before letting student loose with it. It is only as useful, as it is usable. And, if you find Lingoes to be helpful, consider donating to the cause.

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