By learning multiple languages, you can enjoy yourself in different parts of the world than your own. It’s a life skill that has other uses apart from simple conversations.
Yet while there are many sites that let you learn new languages, few websites let you systematically help others learn your own native language at the same time.
One of these rare sites is Tatoeba. It is a word borrowed from Japanese that means “for example.” It’s not a complete language-learning application on its own, but a complement to your main efforts.
Tatoeba Is Free, Friendly, and Fun
Learning a new language can be a collaborative effort. Tatoeba is one of those open projects that relies on our shared sense of spirit. It’s a community of learners who want to master a new foreign language while helping others do the same.
The open community behind Tatoeba is compiling a catalog of complete sentences in multiple languages. This is unlike a lot of language translation sites that focus on single words. Today, the site supports 322 languages and built a corpus of nearly six million complete sentences.
How are complete sentences useful? A word depends on context for its meaning. Like that, a sentence can have multiple contexts and, therefore, several translations. The open source project aims to capture all those nuances and build them through the wisdom of the crowds.
The ultimate objective is a database of rich sentences that anyone can use as an online translator or use it to code their own language learning app.
Key features for general users
You don’t need to register to read and learn from the sentences. Jump right in to browse and study.
- Use the search to source sentences which have a specific keyword.
- Browse the sentences, see their translations, and download the sentences.
- The advanced search form will help you find sentences which have audio pronunciations attached.
- Search for sentences by language, tag, or audio.
Key features for contributors
Register on the site for free if you want to add translations. You can use the search option to search for sentences, view random sentences along with their translations, or submit your own sentences plus translations.
- Add new sentences or translate or proofread existing ones.
- Contribute natural-sounding translations, not word-for-word direct translations.
- People can make corrections to incorrect translations through suggestions.
- Audio files can be uploaded to demonstrate the correct pronunciation of words.
Collaborative Learning Worth Your Time
Tatoeba can be an interesting side-route to practice language skills. Native speakers are invaluable because they are fluent in the subtleties of a language.
The site is going through a few hiccups but things should be running smoothly soon. The noble effort from the community should help this project reach its potential one day.
Would you like to be a part of it? Can helping others translate a language improve your own learning?
Image Credit: cybrain via Shutterstock