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!


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{ 4 comments to read ... please submit one more! }

  1. I find it cool. However, the general look of the site does not emphasize the new features; why woud you not display the “last news” of bab.la on the frontpage? mhhh?

  2. @qwerty: Thanks for the positive comment. You are absolutely right, we need to work on the starting page. It’s pretty high up on our to do list…


  3. Je pense surtout que la capture d’écran est minuscule 😉

    C’est une feature inspirée de google.com, hein ?

  4. @required

    You are right, just check it out on our website 😉

    Our inspiration fell from the sky… Actually, it is a combination of various sources: user feedback, own thinking and various online solutions that try to sort search results better. Google has introduced a similar feature as well, but they are not the first ones (if you are interested, check out the comments on http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/16/is-this-the-future-of-search/).

    What I can definitely say is that I haven’t come across any other dictionary website that offers this feature.

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