What is the point of such an app
Like many people, I learned a foreign language at school. I mastered basic concepts and grammar, but my vocabulary is not great. Consequently I have great trouble reading anything in the language. This sort of app would help me read foreign language documents (or at least get the gist of them) by letting me easily pick words I don't know, or am unsure of, and translate them. This would help me expand my knowledge of the language, and help me to read articles and books in that language.
How to do it
No, we're not asking you to write a dictionary... This project relies on the prior existence of some sort of standard public domain dictionaries that might exist for several languages in computerised form. Assuming such dictionaries exist,, then this project becomes feasible. The scripting side of the project is probably not huge.
Additional features of such an app would be -
• user editable dictionaries (e.g. for professional terms etc.)
• a separate Mac/PC app to convert public domain dictionaries into a form that could be uploaded to the newt
• an option to have the translated word appear as a strip at the top/bottom of the screen so that it does not obscure the book contents.
A useful place might be to show this strip over the button bar (if you are reading you are unlikely to be using the bar).
The strip would have a button to bring up a larger window (e.g. with a history), or to make the strip disappear
• There would be an option of having the Newton speak the translated word instead of showing a dialog (possibly in addition to a strip).
The application might work a bit like a combination of Spellbox and NewtWord
The dreamy bit
A killer application that would reinvent the Newton world would be to link this program to Dragon's Newton OS speech recognition software for its input, and to Apple's Newton OS text to speech software for its output, THEN stuff the whole lot into your ear. The ultimate BabelNewt would then be born!! See the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (as a Newton book, as an adventure game on Yazi, as a radio show via an MP3 player, or as an entry on the guide itself) for more information on this idea.
• What are the best standardised, publicly available, translation dictionaries suitable for such a project?
Note that similar things are available for pocketPC/Pilot and BabelNewt could use their dictionaries
This project is not under development