5 Reasons why every translator should own a Kindle
Translators love words and have a passion for reading. By indulging in this passion we improve our understanding of the words we love and acquire new ones along the way. Most of us spend lots of time reading to stay up-to-date in our specialty areas, as well as reading for pleasure. The more we read in both our source and target languages, the better the chance of coming up with that often elusive word that allows meaning to shine through.
EBook readers are fantastic gadgets for anyone who loves to read, but when you consider the benefits they offer for translators they become, in my opinion, essential learning tools.
1. You’ll read so much more
One thing that soon became apparent when I switched over from traditional books to the Kindle was that the amount I read more than doubled. Now wherever I go, my library goes with me. I can always choose something I’m in the mood for and get the most out of whatever I’m reading.
Another major contributing factor to my improved reading capacity is the TTS Feature that comes with the Kindle.
2. Text to Speech (TTS)
This is a truly fantastic feature and the English voices that come with the Kindle have excellent pronunciation. You can choose from male or female voices and there are three options for adjusting how fast they read. Of course you won’t get the inflections of an actor’s rendition as in a recorded audio book, but you can receive all of the information clearly without needing to look at the device. Now you can read while you’re driving to work, washing the dishes or taking a long walk on the beach.
Furthermore, I recently discovered that there are voicepaks available so that you can have the text to speech feature in several different languages. Check out this link to learn how: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=153107.
3. Built in dictionary
The New Oxford American dictionary that comes with the kindle is fantastic and looking up words with it is practically effortless. All you have to do is navigate the cursor to the beginning of the word in question and an abbreviated entry appears at the top or bottom of the screen. If you need more information just press “enter” and you jump from the book you’re currently reading to the complete entry in the dictionary. Once you’re through, just press the “back” button to return to the page of the book you were reading.
Next you’ll need to find some good dictionaries in your source languages for the Kindle. Whenever you read in a different language, all you have to do is select the dictionary in that language as the primary dictionary. In my case I added the “Diccionario de la Real Academia Española” to my kindle. Now I always have two excellent monolingual dictionaries at the tips of my fingers and no excuse for passing up opportunities to expand my vocabulary.
4. Fetch news for free
With Caliber, a great free program that helps you manage your library on your computer, you’ll find lots of free newspapers and periodicals in several different languages available for download. Just click on the “Fetch News” button and schedule whatever interests you. With minimal time and effort you can configure both Calibre and your Kindle so that you receive the newspapers and periodicals of your choice as often as you like; absolutely free. Once configured, all you have to do is connect your Kindle to the internet via Wi-Fi and the news that you have scheduled for download will appear on your home screen. Now it’s much easier to stay on top of your area of specialization by reading the latest news in both your source and target languages. It’s also worth noting that there are over 2 million free out-of-copyright books, including the most popular classics, available for download at no cost.
5. E ink displayAnother great translator friendly feature of the Kindle is its display. As translators we spend lots of time viewing the electronic display of our monitors. Personally, when I read I’m looking for a break from anything that resembles a monitor. The Kindle’s E ink display does an excellent job of imitating paper and looks best when viewed in direct sunlight. This is not a light emitting device like your monitor, tablet or Smartphone. So when you’re ready for a break you can head for the hammock in the back yard for some leisurely reading in the sun, and you won’t feel like you’re using anything that resembles a computer.