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Opinions of Readlang

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:03 pm
by justin
What do people think of Readlang ?

I finished the Duo Russian course a few years ago - ... d-My-story

and have struggled to find the best system to take my learning to the next level.

Readlang seems like the best available app - I really like the Web Importer and Click-to-Translate features - but there seems so much that could be improved on -

- the Web Importer uses a Chrome Extension so only works on a desktop/laptop - what if I want to import from iPad or mobile ?

- the Web Importer isn't perfect. It would be nice to have some simple editing facilities to remove unwanted text, so the reading experience isn't spoiled

- yes you get single word audio, but what about an entire article ? Audiobook- style features feel like a key missing ingredient

- the word export facilities are pretty basic. Couldn't you export words to Google Drive with a single click ? Then it's super- simple to import into Quizlet

- too many superfluous features. Does anyone ever use the Flashcard system ? The lists of recommended texts ?

- lots of other ideas for extensions. Click noun/verb to see declensions/conjugations ? Click to see word popularity/frequency ?

I believe the developer behind Readlang got a job with Duolingo 5 years ago and the site hasn't been actively developed since then - ... 436df1b737

which is a shame as I think it has a lot of potential.

Any one else agree ? Would you like to see an improved version of Readlang ?

(PS not interested in recommendations of other sites, just what people think of Readlang)

Re: Opinions of Readlang

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:04 pm
by DaveAgain
I sometimes use Readlang's 'web reader' extension for the Chrome web browser, but I don't use the website itself.

Re: Opinions of Readlang

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:37 pm
by justin
Does it not frustrate you that the reader extension doesn't work on iPad or mobile ?

Re: Opinions of Readlang

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:20 pm
by DaveAgain
justin wrote:Does it not frustrate you that the reader extension doesn't work on iPad or mobile ?
No. I use Chrome on a laptop, and the extension works on a laptop.

Re: Opinions of Readlang

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:13 pm
by Sayonaroo
use deepl for translations. they have a windows program

Re: Opinions of Readlang

Posted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:12 am
by aokoye
I've been using Readlang since it came out and honestly I'm not unhappy with it. Especially given that I use it for free as I have a free lifetime premium membership by way of being one of the first 600 beta testers. I primarily upload articles into and never use the web importer so I don't have any of the extension specific related frustrations that you've laid out. I also don't use the flashcard system, which is likely for the better. My only real issues are with some of the formatting limitations and I wish that I could upload a PDFs (but understand why I can't).

Given that the creator of Readlang ended up getting a job at Duolingo (I have no idea if he still works there and it's none of my business), I'm a. happy that Duolingo didn't buy up Readlang (which is what I thought would happen) and b. impressed and somewhat surprised that Readlang still exists and is available for people to use. It much prefer it to Learning with Texts.

Like I said from the outset, I really only use Readlang as a very robust pop-up dictionary for articles that I upload to the website, so no I don't really need an improved version. I just need it to keep existing.

Re: Opinions of Readlang

Posted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:05 pm
by MorkTheFiddle
Yesterday attempting to log in, Readlang told me my password is invalid. As Readlang requested, I asked it to email me permission to reset the password. No response came yesterday. After another try just now, still no response. Perhaps Readlang's system is another victim of the general chaos caused by Covid-19? Hopefully just a short-term glitch, because Readlang has a lot to like.

Re: Opinions of Readlang

Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:33 am
by Gordafarin2
It's a shame it's no longer being actively developed, but I'm immensely grateful it's still around. The developer could have easily let the domain expire or stopped all maintenance once he moved to Duo. I've been a paying subscriber, 2014? I wonder how many people are still using the paid features.

I don't use the flashcards, just the reading functionality. I like having a library of texts that I can access on any device and read in a standardized format. I've started using it on my eInk tablet now, and it works surprisingly well! I don't usually use the Web Reader, I'll just import articles straight into ReadLang. Or text files from my own collection.

I also use the word list as my own personal vocab and sentence database. I don't batch-export the vocab, actually - there's too much trash to sort through, mis-clicked words or long phrases or context sentences that aren't useful out of context. But every so often, I look through the frequency-sorted list of words, delete the ones I already know, and check the ones I haven't learned yet for adding to Anki.

And when I'm struggling to learn a vocabulary word, the first thing I do is to check my ReadLang database and see if I've clicked on that word before. Then, I can load those context sentences into Anki to reinforce the usage.

(I use it for Persian, by the way. There were a few issues with supporting RTL and Arabic-script text at the very start, but Steve solved them quickly and now it works fantastic, which is great since not all apps have good RTL support!)

Sometimes Google Translate fails to give a good result, which is a minor annoyance. The custom dictionary feature used to work for me, but it hasn't worked lately - I'm not sure if this is a problem with the dictionaries I use, my browser, or ReadLang itself. So RL isn't perfect, there's a lot of room for improvement, which likely won't ever be implemented. But I'm comfortable using it as it is. I've never been a person who reads a book with a dictionary in one hand and a notebook in the other, it breaks my flow too easily. But ReadLang does the admin work for me, while I enjoy the activity of reading.

Re: Opinions of Readlang

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:06 pm
by justin

>>> So RL isn't perfect, there's a lot of room for improvement, which likely won't ever be implemented

I'd be interested to know what you would improve if given the chance

Re: Opinions of Readlang

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:00 am
by Gordafarin2
justin wrote:@Gordafarin2

>>> So RL isn't perfect, there's a lot of room for improvement, which likely won't ever be implemented

I'd be interested to know what you would improve if given the chance

Here's a few ideas...
  • Better outside dictionary support - allow Stardict or other format dictionary files, fix online dictionary embedding, maybe in a more elegant way than having an iframe in the page
  • Stemming, for better dictionary results - this is kind of a pie-in-the-sky feature, because it would have to be solved on a language-by-language basis, and the only reason I'm able to use RL in the first place is because it supports the huge number of languages that GTranslate does. But dictionary lookups tend to fail on conjugated verbs, words in plural, and so on, and then I have to type the dictionary root of the word manually.
  • Statistics for motivation - right now the ReadLang homepage shows you how many words you've looked up, which is...something...but I would love to see a daily/weekly/monthly graph of how many words I've actually read.
  • Some kind of 'read offline' mode. Maybe caching the translations of the words in a text is impractical, but it'd be cool to hop on a plane, read my book, and once my connection is back, the translations of my clicked words would appear :)
  • I like seeing the CEFR levels next to each text, giving a ballpark idea of how challenging the text is. (Obviously it's just an approximation - I think it's analysed based on the amount of high-frequency vs low-frequency vocab) And once a reader has several texts under their belt, the system (in theory) has an idea about what words the reader knows - which ones they read but never click on, and which ones they've just recently learned. There's potential here for comparing the approximate vocabulary of the reader with the words in a text, and deciding whether this is a suitable level for you. Imagine clicking on a few articles on the BBC, load up the web reader for each, and one of them says "You only know ~70% of this vocabulary. Reading this will be difficult.", another says "You know 99.5% of this vocabulary. This text should be easy for you.", and you search around for the best percentage that will give you good understanding plus learning some new words. Combine this with the community shared texts, and if there's enough volume, you could have texts at your ideal difficulty level pop up at the top, recommended for you to read. Like Morphman but for entire articles. I'm really dreaming here :mrgreen: