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BBC develops Welsh-English tooltip translator

BBC Vocab - a clever idea

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A big congratulatory pat on the back to the BBC today for a new online language initiative aimed at helping anyone learning Welsh - BBC Vocab.

It's all pretty simple - the programme highlights Welsh words in the browser window which are available for translation. Roll over any of these and a tool-tip box pops up giving the English translation and a "more" link leading to further linguistic background. BBC developer Iwan Standley says the team behind the project is hoping to "expand to other languages across the BBC site soon, and even different uses such as explanations of technical terms". What's more, the whole thing will be open source, so "hopefully there'll be even more ingenious uses for it appearing on other websites," as Standley puts it.

Well, we can think of one immediate use for this smart idea: Reg Vocab, by which Proper English terms such as "punter", "boffin", "blag", "geezer", "fag", "quid", etc, can be marked for swift translation into US English (customer, scientist, robbery, guy, cigarette and pound, respectively). This will be an invaluable service for our long-suffering readers across the pond who have endured years of such alien terminology; and a welcome respite for the poor sod who has to answer all the "What the hell does [insert Cockney slang term] mean, for chrissakes?" ®

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