You are currently browsing the bab.la blog blog archives for December, 2008


What a year.

Dear Language Lovers around the world!

What a year! Lots of new dictionaries, new language learning games, new quizzes and the brand-new vocab lessons, all in one year. So what can we say?
Thank you! Thank you for all your contributions, all your feedback, all your comments, your ideas and your spreading the word across the globe to promote bab.la. We hope you enjoyed the last year as much as we did… and just because it’s Christmas time, we’ve prepared this small little Christmas quiz. So if you are going to spend this Christmas in an English-speaking country, you should refresh the essential Xmas vocabulary right now!

Learn languages - bab.la language quiz

We hope you are ready for Christmas! Enjoy the days – and see you all in 2009!

Andreas, Thomas and Patrick and the entire bab.la team

Just one more thing…

We have quietly added and tested another feature which has been running for some time now. And since it’s so close to Christmas we wanted to share it with you as this actually is something totally new to the online dictionary world. You could also say: a world premiere. [Applause]

One thing our users keep on suggesting to us is to put the most relevant word on top of the search result list. Cool idea, but… When you get several translation suggestions, no translation is more right or wrong than the other. It depends on the context which translation works better and which doesn’t work at all. Therefore, putting the most relevant translation on top is an impossible task as we do not know the context. Now, “das kann doch nicht das Ende vom Lied sein” (German again, translating into something like this cannot be the end to the story). And actually it isn’t. The solution is quite easy: Let the users decide which translation is more relevant and should be on top of the list. Again, there is no right or wrong translation but some translations fit “most of the time” better than others. And the more users vote for one translation pair, the better it probably fits.

Let’s take the German word “sehen” as an example. Both “to view” and “to see” work as an English translation. Generally, I would say that see fits more often than view. So, although both are correct, to see should be higher in the search result list than to view.

And since it’s Christmas soon, I’ve added an appropriate screenshot. You can vote by clicking on the arrows on the right. In this case, I’ve clicked on the up-arrow for “Weihnachten – Christmas”, bringing the total number of votes up to eight.

What do you think of this new feature?

Happy Holidays!

Andreas

Our gift for Christmas: Intercultural communication :-)

Maybe the title is a little misleading but we finally launched our German-French and German-Russian dictionary today. Now, the French, Russians and Germans have no way to complain about miscommunication any more 😉

Adding the two new dictionaries makes a total of 15 dictionaries in 11 languages since our start at the end of July last year. We take a moment to look back and say: Quite impressive (I know, self-praise stinks but let this stinky smell for one time be Christmassy smells like oranges, cinnamon etc.). Not that we are loosing speed, quite the contrary. Our language enthusiasts will see new dictionaries added in the new year. But it just feels good to achieve more than we originally planned, and that’s the best present for the holidays.

We wish you and your family Happy Holidays and Frohe Weihnachten!

Andreas for the entire bab.la team

Gammelfleischparty!

The German publishing house Langenscheidt recently elected the so-called “Jugendwort des Jahres” – which is the word of the year of the German youth language.

And the winner is… “Gammelfleischparty” (could be translated into something like “rotten meat party”).

Interesting expression… and even more interesting what it stands for. A “Gammelfleischparty” is an expression for a “Ü30-Party” – a party for everyone who is older than 30 years… just rotten meat.

How mean! But how funny as well.

Read the entire article on Sueddeutsche Zeitung and click through the slide show of the top words of the German youth language. Quite funny, at least for Germans.

Have a good week-end,

Thomas

Tuesday, Dienstag, mardi, martes, 星期二, вторник

You think Tuesday is different in every language. That’s right, but apparently it also differs from region to region within one language. I came across an article on Robert’s blog on how Bavarians pronounce Tuesday differently today. He calls it his website of the year and it is pretty amazing, over 1.000 different ways to pronounce Tuesday just in Bavaria. Now, if I start thinking about China, this number must be about 100.000 different Tuesdays. Now that’s a good thought to start the weekend. I remember Tauschie Tuesday as a special Tuesday but that’s a different story.

Have a great weekend!
Andreas

The communication facilitator: Coffee

I don’t know how many million or even billion people drink coffee everyday (OK, some might prefer tea, but these are details…). Besides waking you up in the morning it is in my opinion one of the greatest facilitators to communication. Raise your hand if you ever said “Let’s talk about this over a coffee”. Yes, I can see your hands. So today I went to the Open Coffee Club in Hamburg which just started a year ago. Thanks to Tobias, the initiator in Hamburg, people can share ideas or just discuss current issues over a coffee. How much easier can it get to meet people? BTW: Thanks Tobias for the coffee and pushing this event.

So, how about a coffee now?

Andreas