There are many translation plugins available for WordPress, and most of them deal with translations of articles. This might be of interest for others, but not for me. If you have a blog with visitors from various language background, because you are living abroad, or writing in several languages, you might feel tempted to provide visitors with a localized “environment”, meaning that as much as possible is translated into the native language of the visitor, without actually translating content – but allowing to.
In my case I am writing mostly in English and Japanese, but sometimes (in former times) in Italian and now and then in my mother tongue, German. Visitors from my site are from all over the world, but at least for Japanese visitors I wanted to provide a localized environment. This blog describes how to get as much as possible translated of your blog, and here I mean not the actual articles, because this is the easy part and most translation plugins handle that fine, but the things around the articles (categories, tags, headers, …). Continue reading
With the start of this semester I am teaching in Japanese – thus I am back to learning, in particular learning Japanese for mathematics. And of course I am using my preferred flashcard application, Flashcards Deluxe. This program has helped me through all the years here a lot. I have tried several flashcards programs, including the well-known Anki in various combinations, but the features and easy of use of Flashcards Deluxe (henceforth FCD) stand out from the rest of the competitors.
I have now using FCD for about 5 years, and there it satisfied and still satisfies all my needs.
Read on for more details about features, and my usage patterns
I have lived about 2.5 years in Italy, more specific in Siena. And till today I have many good friends there. During my time in Italy I learned quite a bit of Italian, or better Sienese dialect, reaching a level where I could fluently write – and of course read all kind of books and magazines, including the famous Vernacoliere.
Recently I was travelling to Siena with my Japanese wife, and I had to face a severe confusion of languages. I guess most of those having learned several foreign languages and tried to translate between several of them had similar experiences. Translating between my friends Italian and Japanese turned my brain into a washing machine spitting out crazy and incomprehensible words and combinations. One I was uttering without even thinking found all of us laughing out loud:
ho 間違to (ho machigato)
when I wanted to say that I said something wrong. Well, those capable of Italian and Japanese will see the point.
During the long flight from Narita to Vienna I spent some time with a game called “Brain Teaser”. Math, general knowledge was ok, but in the section of analytic I failed badly. Let us look at one of the questions:
Read on for more the answer and how I failed!
Hurray! I just finished my first full book in Japanese: ハリー・ポッターと賢者の石. I got the book from pottermore.com shop, the only place to get eBook versions of Harry Potter. I converted it myself to kindle format, since the PotterMore shop still does not provide Kindle Paperwhite readable versions (and still does not, which is strange, since I explained them that it is dead-simple to convert to kindle format!). Using the Japanese-English dictionary for Kindle it is a real pleasure to read, since the 魔法 words are not actually in my daily Japanese repertoire.
There is another reason why I can fully recommend starting reading Japanese books with Harry Potter: Most of the books written for intermediate Japanese learners, who are far from reading all the necessary 2000+ kanji, are quite boring children’s books. So I never got the hang of reading them. With Harry Potter you have an excellent story, and in addition, the Japanese version seem to start with a quite easy use of kanji and using a lot of furigana at the beginning, and is getting progressively more difficult (or more standard reading style).
All in all, I am very happy, since I finally got the feeling that I actually read Japanese instead of stumbling around. And even more – I am looking forward to the next book, time allowing.
An update to my recent post about tagging post languages with the language used. Another thing I wanted is the display of flags instead of the short code of the language. In this post I explain how I achieved that with one additional plugin and an extension of code (Tarski extension plugin) shown in the previously mentioned post.
As you might have seen, I am writing this blog in a few languages, mostly English of course, but also German (my mother tongue), Italian (where I lived for 2.5 years), and recently I try also to write a bit in Japanese (where I live now). I was searching for a simple solution to tag my posts with a language, and also display the respective language in the excerpt and post header (at least in the theme Tarski I am using). Since most of the solutions out there are much more involved, including translations support (which I will not do), I just came up with a simple solution (see the red marks in the screenshot):
Everyone which has fallen in love with travelling should read this book:
Arrivando a ogni nuova città il viaggiatore ritrova un suo passato che non sapeva più d’avere: l’estraneità di ciò che non sei più t’aspetta al varco nei luoghi estranei e non posseduti.
[…] I futuri non realizzati sono solo rami del passato. Rami secchi.
[…] L’altrove è uno specchio in negativo. Il viaggiatore riconosce il poco che è suo, scoprendo il molto che non ha avuto e non avrà.
Italo Calvino: Le città invisibili