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Old 09-15-2012, 05:27 AM   #1
fatidik
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Reader for polyglott use

Hello!

I finally decided that an e-reader could be useful. We travel 3 months a year with backpack, and carrying books, language methods, and maybe guides is not an option if you cross many countries...

Eventually at home, I would like to keep on practicing the languages I learned. So far, there are up to 12 different languages I would like to read in on my reader.

I see that most of the reader have already some basic dictionaries, but my questions are:
- How simple is it to find and add some extra bilingual dictionaries?
- Is there a difference on the device?
- Are they all displaying characters of any language? UTF8 at least.
- How simple is it on different devices to select a word, to get its translation, to change the default dictionary while reading?
- How good are the dictionaries with inflexed words? (declinations, conjugations; e.g. друзьям -> друг, olabilirsiniz -> olmak)

My idea is to be able read text in foreign languages without using my paper dictionaries to read faster, and thereby not losing the idea of what I am reading.
Is there any e-reader to recommend for that?

I live in France, so my options, or at least the ones I consider, are :
- Amazon Kindle (Basic, Touch or Paperwhite)
- Sony Reader T2
- Kobo (Touch or Glo)
Between the models, I don't know.. I think I'll go rather for Sony or Kobo, because if I got it right, they're more open..

Regarding the other contents, is it easy to add apps, or your own content (without buying from the specific shop)?
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:18 AM   #2
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I would give Pocket Book Readers lots of choices and many good bilingual dictionaries...
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatidik View Post
Hello!

I finally decided that an e-reader could be useful. We travel 3 months a year with backpack, and carrying books, language methods, and maybe guides is not an option if you cross many countries...

Eventually at home, I would like to keep on practicing the languages I learned. So far, there are up to 12 different languages I would like to read in on my reader.

I see that most of the reader have already some basic dictionaries, but my questions are:
- How simple is it to find and add some extra bilingual dictionaries?
- Is there a difference on the device?
- Are they all displaying characters of any language? UTF8 at least.
- How simple is it on different devices to select a word, to get its translation, to change the default dictionary while reading?
- How good are the dictionaries with inflexed words? (declinations, conjugations; e.g. друзьям -> друг, olabilirsiniz -> olmak)

My idea is to be able read text in foreign languages without using my paper dictionaries to read faster, and thereby not losing the idea of what I am reading.
Is there any e-reader to recommend for that?

I live in France, so my options, or at least the ones I consider, are :
- Amazon Kindle (Basic, Touch or Paperwhite)
- Sony Reader T2
- Kobo (Touch or Glo)
Between the models, I don't know.. I think I'll go rather for Sony or Kobo, because if I got it right, they're more open..

Regarding the other contents, is it easy to add apps, or your own content (without buying from the specific shop)?
As far as I know the T1 would do what you want by rooting it (for other apps). T2 doesn't have rooting figured out for it yet. Adding dictionaries can be done too. You'll want an SD card if you're adding "capabilities" such as apps and the Kindle don't have that. I haven't rooted mine but apparently its quite easy, the instructions are available in the Sony forums.
As far as content, the Sony or Kobo are your better choices in that it's very easy to get epubs from many different sources.
That said, travel guides are often pdf and reading pdf is do-able but not exactly fun to read on an e-ink reader. The Sony will allow you to "pan and zoom" fairly easily.o

Last edited by Cdesja5; 09-15-2012 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:44 AM   #4
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IMHO, the Kindle meets most though not all of your requirements.

It comes with 7 free monolingual dictionaries with inflections (UK/US English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese).

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatidik View Post
- How simple is it to find and add some extra bilingual dictionaries?
That depends on the language. There are a couple of English dictionaries available on Amazon but few dictionaries for other languages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatidik View Post
- Are they all displaying characters of any language? UTF8 at least.
All Kindle models are capable of displaying most but not all Unicode 5.2 characters. You can test the Unicode coverage with the Kindle Previewer. (Russian and Turkish are definitely supported.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatidik View Post
- How simple is it on different devices to select a word, to get its translation, to change the default dictionary while reading?
Kindles will automatically look up words based on the language of the ebook if a word is selected. You can test this with the free Kindle apps for PCs and smartphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatidik View Post
- How good are the dictionaries with inflexed words? (declinations, conjugations; e.g. друзьям -> друг, olabilirsiniz -> olmak)
The Kindle dictionary format supports inflections and all of the free monolingual dictionaries have inflection support. Unfortunately, AFAIK, there are no Russian or Turkish Kindle dictionaries available on Amazon. However, you can create simple dictionaries without inflections with free tools from tab-delimited files. (Creating dictionaries with inflections is a bit more complicated, but can be done if you have moderate technical skills and of course a good inflection list.)
IIRC, Russian Kindle users have created Russian Kindle dictionaries with inflections, but their legality is somewhat murky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatidik View Post
Between the models, I don't know.. I think I'll go rather for Sony or Kobo, because if I got it right, they're more open..

Regarding the other contents, is it easy to add apps, or your own content (without buying from the specific shop)?
Unfortunately, you can only install apps on the Android based Kindle Fire models (and other ebook readers). If you want to go that route check out StarDict compatible Android dictionary apps. (StarDict is a Babylon clone and also supports inflections if the dictionary creator has included them in the dictionary source files.)
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:02 AM   #5
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If you highlight something on a Kindle Touch and choose 'more' there is an option to run Google Translate on it. I use that more often than the built in french dictionary.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:33 AM   #6
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If you dont want to root your ereader or create your own dictionaries, PocketBook is definitely the way to go. There is a PocketBook forum here on Mobileread with a lot of info on available dictionaries; do have a look! And you can easily install fonts for any character set you might need. You can add your own content simply by copying books to your reader, or use a micro SD card. As to apps, if you want a lot of them you'd better buy an Android tablet than an E Ink reader, but there is some stuff available that you can install on PocketBook readers.

Onyx readers have similar flexibility, but their problem is that the dictionary function does not support inflected/conjugated word forms. PocketBook does.

Using a dictionary while reading is a lot easier on readers with a touchscreen. On the PocketBook touch, for instance, once you have activated the dictionary function all you need to do is tap the word you want to look up. A problem is that the dictionary window overlaps the reading window, so for comfortable reading you need to close it each time and activate the dictionary function again when you want to look up another word. This may or may not be resolved at some point in time.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:07 PM   #7
HarryT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatidik View Post
I live in France, so my options, or at least the ones I consider, are :
- Amazon Kindle (Basic, Touch or Paperwhite)
- Sony Reader T2
- Kobo (Touch or Glo)
Between the models, I don't know.. I think I'll go rather for Sony or Kobo, because if I got it right, they're more open..
Actually, as far as dictionaries go, the Kindle is more open, because you can buy additional dictionaries in the Kindle store (it comes with dictionaries for, I think, 6 languages). You can't add additional dictionaries to either to Sony or the Kobo.

How well the dictionaries handle inflected forms depends primarily on the dictionary creator. The Kindle handles them pretty well with its built-in dictionaries.
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Old 09-15-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
fatidik
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It's a bit hard to sort something out in all the answers as everyone has practically recommended a different device...
For what I understanding from my reading...
Official Kindle dictionaries are not offering most of the dictionaries I'm interested in.
(base French or English to Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Romanian, Greek, Russian, Serbian, Turkish, Swedish... for now).
Sony and Kobo, not so many more options..
The latest option would be if I got it right, to hack a device and try to install a Babylon-like app. Which sound like a hell of headache!!!

And to be clear, I am looking for an e-ink device, otherwise I would go for a tablet of course, with more flexibility with apps.

The easiest option sounded the googletranslate option. I am not a big fan of this service as a dictionary though, but the idea of an online service is not bad. At least, when reading at home...
Which device allow to set customized online searchs and how is it integrated in the display?

Last edited by fatidik; 09-15-2012 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatidik View Post
It's a bit hard to sort something out in all the answers as everyone has practically recommended a different device...
For what I understanding from my reading...
Official Kindle dictionaries are not offering most of the dictionaries I'm interested in.
True, but they're not offered in the Kobo or Sony stores either. AFAIK, Sony and Kobo only have the usual EFIGS dictionaries.
However, even with limited technical skills you can generate your own StarDict or Kindle dictionaries from tab-delimited text files. To give you an idea about the work involved, here are the instructions for generating Kindle dictionaries.
The process for creating StarDict dictionaries with pyglossary is very similar and IIRC, PocketBook also offers a custom tool to generate dictionaries from text files.
You may want to do some serious googling to find out if there are Open Source word lists/dictionaries for the language combinations that you're interested in, because it's not very likely that major publishers will offer commercial dictionaries for these language combinations anytime soon. (dict.cc has some decent lists.)

BTW, Kindles require no hacking whatsoever for dictionary installation. You simply copy the dictionary .mobi file to the designated folder to install the dictionary.

Android based eInk readers also don't require any hacks, if they have access to the Google play app store.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatidik View Post
The easiest option sounded the googletranslate option.
IMHO, for less known languages GT results for single words are often pretty much useless, because Google Translate uses an SMT algorithm, which can be hit or miss.

Why don't you experiment with generating both Kindle and StarDict dictionaries and test their functionality with the Kindle and StarDict Windows apps?
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