Just a few weeks ago we wrote about Snap&Read Universal’s text levelling feature. But in the world of cloud based tools, like this one, the innovations keep coming. Now Snap&Read has added a whole new way to support English Language Learners; embedded translation and second language reading in over 90 languages. (Our product pages with videos on Snap&Read are here.)
Now, there are lots of ways to translate text on the web and read in other languages. But what Snap&Read’s Chrome extension does is embed key word translation right in the text. With S&Ru, you can click the text leveller and it will add synonym support to the most challenging words in the text. S&Ru does this without losing context or compromising overall meaning by embedding the supported text right in the original text — click or hover and you see the original.
We just had some visitors in our classroom from a local school board. From my office, I couldn’t hear the presenter but I could tell the exact moment when the teachers saw the levelling and translation functions in Snap&Read — the chorus of “Oh wow!” ‘s echoed through the whole office.
For ESL and ELL’s, learning and instruction
Oral fluency of Level 4 or 5 English Language Learners (ELL’s) often masks a struggle with academic language. S&Ru could be a critical tool for not just understanding complex text, but learning the academic vocabulary that conveys it. By levelling and translating only those words and still preserving context, students of English get modelling of proper usage. Remember, just by clicking they can go back to the original for just that word.
Online translation tools are notorious for garbling meaning of whole paragraphs or pages of text, particularly of idiom. But in my experience with Snap&Read using Russian as the second language, the translations have been very accurate and useable. Of course, my experience is still very limited considering this just launched the other day, but the feature performance definitely delivers consistently effective support.
You can select from over 90+ languages. When it reads, S&Ru will read in English, highlighting words and then read the translated word in the 2nd language.
Google Chrome Extension vs. the desktop tool
Snap&Read Universal gives you a Chrome extension and desktop software for Mac or Windows. But it’s only the Chrome extension that gives you levelling and translation. Not all languages, however, have Google voices available. So although S&Ru will level and translate into Russian, for example, it will not read aloud in Russian. But, I’m told that if you want to install other voice synthesizer to your computer — or if you already have one, then S&Ru will read in that language too. As you can see, the voices aren’t limited to just the standard European ones (see options picture above). By the way, if the second language is one that reads right to left, like Hebrew, you’ll see the highlighter switch directions as it reads, from left to right in English to right to left for the translated word. A cute trick.
But does it really matter if there isn’t a second language voice to read the text? It seems to me that the meaning support and quality reading in English, the new language, is what’s most important for ELL’s. But let me know if you think otherwise.