Happy almost-Easter from Team Linguistic!

We tried digging up some concrete facts to share with you about the origins of the holiday, but as it is mostly shrouded in mystery, here’s another interesting fact instead: did you know that the world’s largest Easter egg was actually made in February of this year in Brazil? It stands over 50 ft. tall and 35 ft. wide! Quite honestly, I’m not sure how the Easter Bunny can even carry it. 🤔

Moving on…

This week was another week of major micro-enhancements on the Linguistic platform, notably around how you read and learn from text. Let’s have a look!

📕 A more seamless way to learn

We took a long hard look at our current Learn window and asked ourselves – is this really the best way?

Opening a full-screen window every time you click on a sentence breaks the flow of what you’re reading, especially if the document is advanced and you need to consult a dictionary more often. While this approach seemed fine for shorter-form text such as text messages, it becomes quite a nuisance when you are looking up words in every sentence of a story or news article.

So we did something about it.

This week we launched “Popover Learn” (it’s a working title – not that great, we know). Now, on desktop browsers, clicking on sentences will open a miniature Learn modal directly next to the sentence so you can consult our dictionaries without ever worrying about losing track of your place while reading.

On mobile, we will still show a full-screen modal, but we now offer two new buttons to move to the next or previous sentence in the document.

The only caveat is that the previous button won’t work at the beginning of the document, and the next button won’t work if you’re viewing the last sentence. This is a known bug, and while we don’t have a timeline on being able to fix it, it’s relatively minor and shouldn’t impede anyone’s workflow.

🔤 Learn by phrase

Another exciting update is the ability to learn phrases in addition to words while reading! Currently only available for new text and web uploads, this feature preserves English phrases and multi-word expressions such as “criminal law”, “lay out”, and “come around” instead of splitting them into single words.

We hope this greatly assists in helping ESL folks in better understand colloquial English! 🎉

🤖 Fallback translations for rare words

Dictionaries are tough. We’d like to give detailed insight into every word in existence, but we realized it’s not always possible. If you’re reading about a brand-new beverage line Microsoft launched called “Microsoft Cold Brew” and we highlight the whole thing as a vocabulary word, chances are we won’t be able to find it in a dictionary just yet.

In light of this limitation, we are now automatically translating unknown words into your base language using state-of-the-art machine translation so you will always be able to have some idea of what a word means. Ideally, we as we expand the data we have in our system, the need for these translations will become less and less.

You can now identify auto-translated words via the pink and red translation symbol in the Learn popup:

👀 What’s coming up

As we seem to mention with every Recap, we always have something cooking on the back-burner, and this week is no different.

In the near future keep an eye out for:

That’s all for this week! Hope you all have a fantastic Easter 🥳🥚🐰