Language Immersion for Chrome Teaches you New LanguageWe know the best way to learn a new language is through complete and total immersion. Unfortunately, the only real way to get that it by moving to another country. Google might have just developed the next best thing, however, with its Language Immersion Chrome extension.
The idea is simple: take random bits of text from each page and translate it into the language of your choice. At the most basic level, you will need plenty of contextual help to figure out what each word is. Thus, the plugin offers different levels of immersion, with the lowest translating the least text on a page. Once you’ve got a few words under your belt, turn up the immersion level a bit and Google will translate a touch more.
It’s novel and it’s simple. And it is something that only a search giant with an incredible translation engine could pull off.
Google has added a number of features to make learning the language easier. First, all translated words have a slight blue highlight to show where they are. Second, clicking on the word or words translates it back into English, just in case you couldn’t figure out what the word was. Finally, hovering over the word causes Google’s Text-to-Speech engine to speak the word, so you know how it is supposed to be pronounced.
This is still very much an experiment, however. Changing the immersion level just changes how many words are translated, not what words are translated. At this stage, there is no distinction between translating “at the store” and “unequivocally inexact.” So you will frequently be thrown into the deep end with this plugin, especially if you read sites that love big words.
Still, though, this is an awesome hack. I’m running it now, with French, but it supports dozens of languages. So whether you are learning Afrikaans or Yiddish, Google’s got your back.