Oct 31 2012


Roberto Tedesco

Nowadays, the world is becoming increasingly multilingual that the ability to speak a second language has never been as vital as it has been today. People can use many different ways to develop their proficiency in foreign languages, and reading is undoubtedly one of the best ways to improve their skills.

Reading a book written in original language is not easy task, however, and often leads to the reader giving-up the activity. From this point of view, reading multilingual books has many advantages for foreign-language learners; for example, they can read in the original language and use the translated text as a resource to verify their understanding.

Although multilingual books provide text in two languages, switching between them and finding the translations is not easy. Readers have to move their eyes back and forth from the original language text to the translation, and this will eventually cause breaks in reading activity. Moreover the reader, having the translated text too close to her/his visual field, tends to read it too often. Using two books, the one in original language and the other containing the translation, solves the latter problem, but accentuates the former.

As a solution, ebooks can be used to handle this valuable multilingual content representation efficiently without the need of moving reader’s eyes. BiText is a multilingual ebook reader for iOS iPad. The application exploits ebook natural “dynamicity” to encounter difficulties in understanding the foreign language content by uniting the original text with the literary translation. Furthermore, it makes use of gestural interfaces in order to avoid distractions while presenting original-language content and provides engagement in reading.

Single tap on the text is used to display line translation dialog. A popover object is used to display line translation and it hovers above the contents of a screen. Moreover it displays an arrow that indicates the point from which it emerged.

When users double tap on a text fragment, the literary translation appears above the original text. Similar to inline translation dialog, a popover object is used to display translation.

Users can touch on a footnote link and view additional information in the dialog. BiText reader supports two types of footnotes, one is added by the author and the other one is by the translator. author’s footnotes contain a translation but- ton next to footnote content. Users can tap on this button and view the translation of the footnote. Naturally translator’s footnote do not have a translation button since they are only available in translator’s language.

Summary and PDF of the thesis.

Designed and developed by:
G. Gokce, L. Sbattella, and R. Tedesco

eBook listing

Picture 1 of 4

A short demo of BiText

The source code will be released soon, as open-source software.