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Lesson Transcript

Rebecca: Hi everybody! Welcome back to GermanPod101.com. I’m Rebecca.
Widar: And I’m Widar! Hallo!
Rebecca: Today, we have a great list of tools to help your German studies!
Widar: Yes, we do.
Rebecca: These are tools that, when put all together, are going to do wonders for your German.
Widar: And some of them will save you a lot of time!
Rebecca: And what’s even better is that they’re all free! Free of charge and easily found on the Internet.
Widar: What could be better?!
Rebecca: Okay, so let’s start with Babylon. Babylon is amazing. Imagine being able to read German web pages, blogs, and articles, before you can actually read or speak German.
Widar: Babylon makes it possible!
Rebecca: What it is, is an advanced translation and information source utility program.
Widar: By the way, you can find this link, and all of the links we will mention, in the accompanying PDF! So make sure to check it out.
Rebecca: The most prominent feature is Babylon’s single click translation option.
Widar: When you click on text with the right mouse button, a popup window appears instantly with a translation and definition of the clicked word.
Rebecca: Its patented technology and single click activation works with any Windows program, like Word, Excel, and Outlook, browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome, and other programs like Adobe’s Acrobat Reader for PDF documents.
Widar: Babylon is very easy to use. You can probably imagine how helpful this is when you’re trying to decipher your way through a page filled with German.
Rebecca: Yes. You can buy an advanced version of the software, or use two online services which are free of charge and do not require any software installation.
Widar: The "Free Online Translation," a dictionary for bilingual translation, and the "Free Online Dictionary," for monolingual lookup.
Rebecca: Great! Let’s see what’s next on our list.
Widar: It’s "Voca," a free online vocabulary trainer for quite a few foreign languages.
Rebecca: Including German.
Widar: Of course. This tool is fun, because with the help of Voca, you will be able to manage your own German word lists!
Rebecca: Voca offers different types of exercises and tests.
Widar: Especially grammar and pronunciation exercises. It’s really tough stuff!
Rebecca: Yeah. The good thing about this trainer is that you can choose between tests with open answers, multiple-choice, or even do a self-check. And it also supports multiple translations of a single word.
Widar: Okay. Next, we’re talking about free online dictionaries.
Rebecca: Yeah. And one of the best online dictionaries is LEO.
Widar: What does LEO stand for?
Rebecca: LEO means "Link Everything Online," and it is a free online dictionary and translation dictionary, translating English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Chinese.
Widar: Okay, but tell us about the features that make LEO outstanding!
Rebecca: Well, the translations are provided as hyperlinks to further dictionary queries.
Widar: Nice feature!
Rebecca: Yes. This also includes back translations. And then, LEO is of open collaborative nature, which means that dictionaries can be added and corrected by individuals or companies.
Widar: There are so many references to the translations, example phrases of language in use, and discussions on the LEO language forum.
Rebecca: Do you want some numbers about LEO?
Widar: Sure, but make it quick!
Rebecca: Okay. The English-German dictionary was the first one to go online back in 1995. It contains more than five hundred thousand entries and receives an average ten million queries per day.
Widar: That’s huge!
Rebecca: But we need to tell you about another high-quality online dictionary, dict.cc.
Widar: dict.cc is an English-German / German-English dictionary with an extensive database of translations and sample sentences.
Rebecca: It was put together and continues to be updated regularly by a group of professional translators.
Widar: And for that reason, dict.cc contains a huge number of difficult and obscure terms, colloquial expressions, and technical terms.
Rebecca: There are so many specialized words and phrases in there that you would have difficulty finding elsewhere. It’s quite amazing, the stuff you can find in there.
Widar: And like LEO, dict.cc is free of charge.
Rebecca: That’s right. You can use those awesome dictionaries for free!
Widar: So give at least one of them a try.
Rebecca: Put it in your bookmarks! You’ll probably be using it often.
Widar: Next, we have…
Rebecca: Social networking services, like MySpace and Facebook.
Widar: Using dictionaries and vocabulary trainers might help you to improve reading and writing in German, but you can’t learn a language without actually using it.
Rebecca: And while there may be no native Germans around your neighborhood, you will find conversation partners online.
Widar: I see where this is going…
Rebecca: Sign up free of charge for one of the big social networking services like MySpace and Facebook, and look for German friends.
Widar: Yeah. Search for "German conversation" in the forums. You will find a list of groups and people sharing an interest for German culture and language, and it is very likely you will meet someone who would practice German with you via voice and video chat.
Widar: For example, Skype and Google Talk.
Rebecca: So, you just need internet access, a small video cam, and a headset to start speaking German!
Widar: So far, so good. Now let’s try the second level!
Rebecca: Sure. So, if you already speak some German, you can sign up for a German social networking service, like MeinVZ.de and search for potential chatting partners.
Widar: Get yourself a headset and sign up for one of the social networking services, because your German conversation partner is just a click away!
Rebecca: Okay, what do we have next?
Widar: meetup.com
Rebecca: meetup.com is a really neat service. Now, when you’re studying a language, what’s really important for improving, Widar?
Widar: Practice!
Rebecca: That’s right, actually using the language. This is what is really going to help you improve.
Widar: And that’s where meetup.com comes in.
Rebecca: Exactly. While you might find German conversation partners online, it’s even better to actually meet native Germans or German-speaking people to practice with.
Widar: And you can use meetup.com to do that!
Rebecca: Like Facebook, meetup is a social networking service, but was created for the purpose of offline group meetings in various localities around the world.
Widar: So, you can use meetup.com to find German speaking groups in your area, right?
Rebecca: Yes. Once you complete registration, which is free, you can find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics, movies, careers, hobbies, or language exchange and international communication.
Widar: Let’s say I want to learn German, but I don’t know any native speakers to practice with. What can I do?
Rebecca: If you become a member, you can either search for German language meetup groups in your area, or start a group by yourself. The neat thing about it is that you use this service just for getting in touch with common interest groups and then actually meet them in a bar or pub, outside the online world!
Widar: That’s fantastic! Even if you are just getting started with German, this is an innovative way to practice speaking German and get some nice cultural insights from other group members in a friendly pub atmosphere.
Rebecca: If you don’t feel like being in a German class, there’s no pressure on you. You will improve your German naturally by chatting with the other group members.
Widar: That is why we recommend signing up and meeting German-speaking groups.
Rebecca: All right, so we hope you will take advantage of these great tools and all they have to offer.
Widar: We’ve tried them and we know how good they are, so that’s why we’re passing them on to you!
Rebecca: Remember that the links for all of these sites and programs can be found in the accompanying PDF file.
Widar: Let us know what you think of them too!
Rebecca: If you have some other resources you would like to share, you can always stop by GermanPod101.com and share them with the community!
Widar: Ok. Some of our listeners already know about the most powerful tool on GermanPod101.com
Rebecca: line-by-line audio.
Widar: The perfect tool for rapidly improving listening comprehension...
Rebecca: by listening to lines of the conversation again and again.
Widar: Listen until every word and syllable becomes clear. Basically, we breakdown the dialog into comprehensible, bite-size sentences.
Rebecca: You can try the line-by-line audio in the Premium Learning Center at GermanPod101.com
Widar: That does it for this lesson.
Rebecca: See you next time!
Widar: Auf Wiedersehen.
Rebecca: Goodbye!