ming-a-ling is a Firefox extension to add phrases in your language, and when they appear on pages you visit, they're replaced by Google's translation into the foreign language. Hover cursor over translated phrase and see the original.
The first time you run ming-a-ling, it will ask you to choose a "source language" (the one you already know) and a "target language" (the one you want to practice). You can change this later from the ming-a-ling submenu in Firefox's "Tools" menu.
Here's an example. You choose English as the source language and Spanish as the target language. Next you highlight "sentence" in this sentence, then right click and select "Add phrase". ming-a-ling sends "sentence" to Google, shows you what Google says the Spanish translation of "sentence" is ("frase"), and then asks for a confirmation. Click ok. Now every occurrence of "sentence" on this page will be replaced with "frase", in bold. If you hover your cursor over one of those bolded occurrences of "frase", a tooltip will show up with the word "sentence".
Ok here is the main hypothesis and hope: often enough, when "frase" occurs in a sentence you're reading, the context will be enough to remind you of what it means. And then you've done a tiny bit of solid practice. The association between "frase" and "sentence" in your brain becomes a tiny little bit stronger. That's the theory, anyway.
Disclaimer: ming-a-ling currently does not try to do word sense disambiguation. For example, it would translate "bark" the same way in the sentences "That dog has an annoying bark" and "The tree's bark is sticky". Eventually it will be good at this! Or good enough that it's not a major complaint. Until then, you might want to stick to practicing words and phrases that do not have two (or more) meanings that are both commonplace and unrelated. Yes, it'd be great if ming-a-ling always chose a good translation, but it should still be a little beneficial if it replaces (say) the word "milk" in the sentence "Who is going to milk the cow?", with the Russian word "молоко", which refers to the liquid produced by mammals (a better translation would be "доить").
Ok now back to the instructions.
Besides the tooltip feature, another way to prevent ming-a-ling from slowing your reading speed down too much is by telling it not to translate two phrases if they are too close to each other. Click "Translate more/less often" in the "Tools"-->"ming-a-ling" menu. By default, there needs to be at least 2 characters between two translated phrases, so for example, if you've told ming-a-ling to translate "sentence" and "long-winded", then by default ming-a-ling will translate "long-winded" but not "sentence" in the text "long-winded sentence". If you change the number to 1, both will get translated.
To make ming-a-ling stop translating a word or phrase, highlight it, then right-click and select "Remove phrase". If you reload the page you'll notice that phrase isn't translated anymore. If you click "Remove phrase" or "Add phrase" with no text selected, you'll be presented with an empty box, and asked to type in a word or phrase.
If ming-a-ling mangles a page you're viewing, you can tell it to completely stop translating text, without disabling the entire extension. This option is in the "Tools"-->"ming-a-ling" menu.
You can practice more than one language. ming-a-ling will keep a separate record for each pair of languages (source language, target language) you've used.
One more thing. ming-a-ling's icon/mascot, a letter 'm' with eyes, should appear in the status bar on the lower right of your screen. Left-clicking it disables or enables translation of text. Right-clicking it gives you the same options as in the "Tools" menu.
SUPPORT: If you encounter any problems, or if something just annoys you, please send email! You'll definitely get a quick response, and probably a fix within a day or two. The address to use is "mingaling.the.extension" followed by "@gmail.com". OR you can use Get Satisfaction; if you scroll to the top of this screen, you'll see the link in a blue box that says "Need help with this add-on?".
· Mozilla Firefox
What's New in This Release: [ read full changelog ]
· Just a bug fix. The "Import from file..." button was broken.