Chapter 10: Frequently asked questions (FAQs).
10.1. What is the aim of the WinDi Translation Help project?
WinDi Translation Help is an all-in-one tool that provides :
- Translation help in seven languages
- Understanding help in seven languages
- Learning foreign languages
These functions make it an indispensable Multilingual Driver in Windows, especially in conjunction with communication tools such as the Internet, for example!
10.2. What are the PC requirements?
The PC on which WinDi modules are installed must be at least 386 - 486, 8 Mbyte RAM. We advise a Pentium, and 16 - 32 Mbyte RAM, for a question of speed. 50 Mbytes of hard disk are required if seven languages are installed.
10.3. What kind of sound card does Voice for WinDi require?
Please refer to Chap. 2 'Voice for WinDi'.
10.4. From which to which language can WinDi be used?
WinDi is multidirectional. The dictionaries and the sentence translation can be used from any of the seven languages, and they provide the translation(s) of the words/sentences in seven languages. The user interface is available in any of the seven languages supported by WinDi.
10.5. Is it possible to install fewer than 7 languages?
The user can install fewer than 7 languages for the dictionary (each language takes +-5 Mbytes). If a language has not been installed, it will be impossible to open WinDi dictionaries from this language. Nevertheless, the 7 conjugations are always installed, so that it enables the sentence translation to work in 7 languages (case of the multilingual version).
10.6. Can WinDi translate a whole text automatically?
No! WinDi is not an automatic translator. WinDi offers several different translation help applications based on interactivity, in order to provide you with reliable and efficient tools (also read question 13). On the one hand, the Translation Help 'Double Editor' allows a source text to be pasted into a double editor and the text to be 'compiled', which means that WinDi retrieves, one at a time, the translation of each word contained in the source text, in any of the 7 languages. When the compilation is complete, the user just has to click on each word in the source text to get its translation(s). The user can himself write the translation into the bottom editor by pasting the words proposed by WinDi, in combination with his/her grammatical knowledge of the target language. The aim of this application is to integrate the dictionary database as much as possible into the translation work, in order to provide immediate word-by-word translation and understanding help. On the other hand, WinDi Direct Translation (WDT) allows translation of sentences from one's mother tongue into up to 6 other languages. This application provides a series of sentences each with a well-defined grammatical structure, in which each word is a 'variable' that can be easily modified. The user chooses one of these sentences, and modifies each word contained in it, in order to create a new sentence, completely controlled by the application. The user has full control over the context of the translation. This application provides a complete grammatical help allowing users to create sentences in foreign languages that they don't know well or to familiarize themselves with foreign languages, in a smooth and friendly way. This highly interactive solution provides high-quality translations.
10.7. Is it possible to use each module separately?
Yes. The different modules can be called up and used separately. Each answers a different translation need. Each WinDi module gives access to the other modules, through the 'menu' icon or specific icons.
10.8. Where do the dictionaries come from?
The dictionaries were drawn up by teams of 7 native speakers working together, in order to prevent any mistranslation between the seven languages. This database has been more than 9 years in the making, and its preparation has involved more than 80 people.
10.9. How old is this software?
The feasibility study of the WinDi project has been made mid 1989 and as a conclusion, the development was launched end of 1989, with the production of the multilingual database (dictionary). The different modules appeared one after the other, and Language Dynamics keeps on developing this program in order to add more and more features to this very complete range of translation tools.
10.10. How many words do the dictionaries include? What kind of vocabulary is available?
The dictionaries contain more than 40,000 words (not including the plurals and feminines of the nouns, or the conjugated forms). In fact, there are 29,000 'general' words, and 11,000 'specialized' words, belonging to several fields, namely finance, business, stock exchange, insurance, accounting, etc. Taking into account the plurals and feminines, and the different variants proposed for each verb, noun and adjective, there are more than 3,350,000 examples of translations available per language. The 'basic' WinDi database cannot contain all the necessary words belonging to hundreds of possible specialist fields of activity! The database would be gigantic, and its price exorbitant. For your information, the French academy established that the French language contains 35,000 general words (technical words not included). This makes WinDi an excellent general dictionary, whose aim is to open communication gateways (also read question 21). If you wish to enlarge the WinDi database, please refer to the User Manual, Chapter 6 'WinDi Encoding'.
10.11. Is it possible to enlarge the dictionaries?
Yes. The WinDi Encoding module allows users to add their own vocabulary into the WinDi Dictionaries, so that they can use it on-line. This encoding module is very friendly. Users don't have to add their vocabulary in all seven languages if they don't wish to.
10.12. Is it possible to share the modifications and new words added to the database?
Yes. Users can extract their modifications and give them to other WinDi users, thanks to the import / export functions in the WinDi Encoding module. See chapter 6.3.1. Automatic back-up of modifications.
10.13. How accurate is the sentence translation (WDT)?
The sentence translation is very accurate, since it is based on a concept totally different from automatic translation. WinDi Direct Translation (WDT) offers several groups of pre-structured sentences, in which each word is a variable. WDT manages all the grammatical issues of these sentences. This very interactive method for creating sentences guarantees a reliable result that users can use in their mail, for example. However, WinDi cannot translate everything, and, unfortunately, mistakes might appear. They are usually linked to agreement problems similar to spelling mistakes (especially German declensions, which are very difficult to manage because they so heavily depend on the context of a sentence). They often are complex grammatical issues inherent to the target language's difficulties. These mistakes do not prevent the sentences translated by WinDi from being understood by your addressee. Your addressee, reading these translations in his/her mother tongue, will probably notice mistakes, but he/she will easily understand what you mean, because words are placed in an order following the 'logic' of the target language. Little mistakes in your text will be easily corrected by your addressee, who will appreciate your communication effort. If you wish to check possible spelling mistakes in your translations, you can use the 'spelling checker' functions included in your word processor, as long as this function is available in the needed target language. To do so, paste the sentences translated by WinDi into your word processor by means of the 'Copy-Paste' functions of the clipboard. Then, call up your word processor's 'spelling checker' function.
10.13.1. What about idioms in WDT?
Idioms should be avoided when creating a sentence in WDT. Some expressions and idioms are already present in the WinDi Dictionaries, but they mainly contain words.
10.14. What about 'ambiguous' words?
Words that can have several different meanings are followed by an explanation between brackets. This prevents the user from choosing the wrong meaning, according to his/her particular context. The translations will be correct as long as the context of each word has been carefully chosen by the user of the WinDi software... Example: 'the Gettysburg address' refers to Lincoln's famous speech (1863), and not to the address of a house in Pennsylvania! In order to help you in your translation task, WinDi Dictionary also gives contextual information for words that have several different meanings.
10.15. What is going to happen if I write a sentence containing a grammatical mistake in WDT?
WDT will prevent you from making grammatical mistakes. The making of a new sentence is completely steered by the software. The agreements in gender and number are automatically made, the verbs are immediately conjugated to the right person, etc.
10.16. What about spell check?
When creating a sentence in WDT, you can't make a spelling mistake, because you copy and paste each word from the dictionaries. If you want to use the WinDi multilingual lexicons as spelling checkers in Word, for example, you can run a program called 'SPELLHLP'. This program extracts the WinDi vocabulary to be available for spellchecking. Beware, no grammatical functions are included in this tool. If you need more help, you should install complete grammatical checkers, working in the language you need, available on the market.
10.17. Which French, English, Spanish, Dutch, German, ... has been used?
French : the vocabulary is the French one, not the Canadian. It includes some Belgian and Swiss expressions, but these are presented as 'regionalisms' (reg.). English: from England, but includes many Americanisms, followed by (Am.). Spanish: from Spain, but includes many Latin Americanisms, followed by (LAm.). Dutch: from the Netherlands. The Flemish words (Belgium) are presented as 'regionalisms' (reg.) or (Vl.). German: from Germany. Portuguese: mainly from Portugal, but includes many Brazilian words, followed by (Br.)
10.18. Can a translation made with WinDi be imported into a word processor?
Yes. All the WinDi applications have 'Copy' and 'Paste' icons allowing you to copy a word or a sentence into the clipboard, and then to paste it into another application.
10.19. Is WinDi useful when learning a language?
Yes. WinDi provides reliable tools that can be used when learning a foreign language. The conjugation tool and the dictionaries are obvious helps, but the WinDi Direct Translation (WDT) module is extremely interesting for creating sentences, comparing the structures of different languages, and seeing what happens to the sentences, etc. It is much more 'lively' than a paper grammar, and it allows the students to study particular grammatical rules, just 'testing' them on-line!
10.20. Will WinDi speed up my translations? How?
Providing on-line tools, WinDi speeds up the way you translate, and increases the quality of your translations. You won't have to look for the dictionary before looking up a word. All WinDi tools are very well integrated into Windows applications as E-mail, etc.
10.21. How can I extend the possibilities of the sentence translation program, WinDi Direct Translation?
WDT proposes a limited number of grammatical structures. But you can greatly enlarge the possibilities of this application thanks to the WinDi Encoding program.
Let's assume you wish to use the word 'high-speed train' in a translation such as 'You will take the high-speed train', for example. The word 'high-speed train' is not in WinDi, because it is a technical word. By encoding it as a noun in the encoding program in the different languages (for example, in French 'Train à grande vitesse', in German 'Hochgeschwindigkeitszug', etc.), you will be able to use this compound noun as a single 'block' (complement or subject). The sentence above becomes a simple 'Subject + Verb + Complement' sentence in all languages.
Adding your specific vocabulary (scientific, medical, technical...) into WinDi will enable you and your colleagues to translate many types of sentences in your context. The complexity of translating will be brought back to simple grammatical structures well supported by WinDi. Moreover, the vocabulary used by your company is often already available on paper. You just have to type it into WinDi Encoding to arm yourself for translation in your specialist context.
10.22. Why is WinDi copy-protected?
We chose a low-price strategy in order to allow everybody to enjoy this tool without making heavy investments. On the other hand, this protection guarantees the right price for this package, and not a kind of inclusive price taking into account that the WinDi software could be installed thousands of times for one license. WinDi must be looked at as a piece of hardware (just as a paper dictionary), and if one needs to install the same hardware several times the only thing to do is to physically possess it every place it is needed!
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