Dec 4, 2013
Yep, Ascendo has been in the mobile game for quite some time.
In several application categories and across several mobile platforms, Ascendo has mostly garnered a reputation for quality work, and the list of awards this development house accumulates attests to its attention to detail.
I also had an opportunity to talk with Ascendo chief Marc Bolh (while checking out it French English Dictionary app) about Ascendo’s development philosophy with regards to all its language apps. We asked a host of questions, such as what this updated version offers and the premium version.
“We’ve added lots of enhancements for tablet users such as split screen view,” he told us. “This allows users to view dictionary entries on the right of the screen while browsing the lookup list on the left. The Phrasebook and Verb Conjugator work in similar ways.”
He added, “Another great feature is the ability to add words to the dictionary. Our dictionaries include over 250,000 translations so you will find the vast majority of words you are looking for. However, there are a lot of language dialects, slang words and industry specific terms and no dictionary can cover them all. In addition, new words and usages find their way into languages every day. Our linguists are adding words regularly and now are users can too.”
And what type of people would enjoy the optional $4.99 premium features? “People who love languages and want awesome features like syncing their words between devices or ongoing access to the phrase translator” he says. “These backend features incur costs so it’s important that the business model be aligned. Subscription users also get access to the full dictionary, phrasebook and verb conjugator without ads. The free version has over 50,000 translation which may be good enough for 1st and 2nd year students and a one-time paid version is available separately for people who want the full dictionary without sync or phrase translation.”
I asked Marc about his vision of the future of mobile apps. “Languages are living and apps should reflect that by encouraging users to create and share content. We developed the first app to allow users to add notes and images to dictionary entries. Version 6 is the the first app to allow users to add dictionary keywords. This foundation will allow users to share content in future versions. Our mission is to bring language apps to life and we thank the 10 million+ people who have joined us on this journey by downloading our apps.”
The app interface is recognizably pleasant, with white font against a mostly black background. The menu opens up with the Dictionary, which has common words in both languages listed alphabetically. Selecting a word gives opens up the meaning, the translation and an audio pronunciation button. Also on the menu are phrases, verbs and a quiz utility.
All in all, the app works well, so much so that I was dusting off my French quickly and in an enjoyable manner.