A Look at Ascendo and French English Dictionary

A Look at Ascendo and French English Dictionary

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 fed1features 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.

New Barron’s Bilingual Dictionaries Are Released

New Barron’s Bilingual Dictionaries Are Released

Sep 18, 2013

Barron’s 2
Barron’s Bilingual Dictionaries are – what else – a series of digital bilingual dictionaries for a variety of languages. The traveler’s best friends are available in four languages on Google Play: French-English, Spanish-English, Italian-English, and German-English. Each one is a stand-alone app, and each one costs a hefty sum, but they’re definitely cheaper than getting another pocket translator lost in a hostel, somewhere on the outskirts of Knetlingen.

Ascendo Spanish English Dictionary + Review

Ascendo Spanish English Dictionary + Review

Jul 6, 2012

In a world that is getting smaller, bilinguality is a becoming more of a need than a want. Smartphones are the perfect hand-held tool, and Spanish English Dictionary + application for Android from development vet Ascendo helps make your Android device the perfect bridge between cultures.

The Spanish English Dictionary + comes packed with features that not only help make learning Spanish easier, but actively make you better by testing you. It contains a comprehensive list of phrases by category, a translator, and a quiz program. It comes in at $9.99 and a smidgen over 6 MB.

The Dictionary doesn’t restrict itself to “perfect” language; it contains slangs and gender. I was able to supplement words and phrases with pictures or hints to help my ability to remember terms. I tend to be visual, so matching words to pictures was a good tool, particularly on the go.

The Phrase portion incorporates audio functionality to aid learning. Phrases are paired up with audio buttons. So, if I want to see how a simple greeting sounds, I can simply hit the audio icon to hear the phrase spoken by a native speaker of the language. There are phrases listed by category: Making Friends, Sightseeing, Emergencies and even Flirting, among others.

This demanded research. I decided to use Spanish flirting phrases on my wife (who is fairly fluent in Castillian). It worked surprisingly well, as she was able to decipher what I was saying, and picked up the program’s speech quite easily. I am not yet a Cassanova in the Spanish sense of the word, but I am well on the way.

The Translator does exactly what it is supposed to. It translates inputted words both ways. This was very useful, as the translator is tied into the dictionary; words that need to be looked up can be accessed directly from one part of the program.

The Verbs section lists an exhaustive list of  action words, listed alphabetically. And yes… of course it does conjugations. For someone that learns like me, it was a pretty functional part of the application. The verbs are listed together alphabetically (Spanish and English), and corresponding conjugative terms are a tap away. I was able to see how the words were used, and also access the translation of the word in the opposing language. The application has more than 6,000 conjugated words, so there was plenty of material for me to use.

My favorite part of the application was the Quiz area. I tested myself on my Spanish vocabulary, and proved to myself how much I need this app. It gives you a running score of your multi-choice performance.

I would love to see user-defined expandability, and maybe even some cross-device functionality; Ascendo has a reputation for listening to its customers, so I would not be that worried.

The Spanish English Dictionary brings joy back to communicating across from English to Spanish, and is a great learning tool for your Android handheld and/or tablet. It is a great companion tool; the audio functionality sets it apart, and it has the full backing and support the developer (which offers complimentary copies to folks who are affiliated with educational institutions). A free version is also available in the Google Play Store.