The technology tag features blog posts about and related to the latest technologies, innovations, the Internet of Things and more. Subscribe to our blog for more technology and language updates.


Robot Teachers, Language Tutors

Robot Teachers, Language Tutors

Robot Teachers, Language Tutors

Children Learn Languages with Robot Teachers

Across Europe, robots are helping young immigrant children learn new language skills necessary for social integration and education. It is tough for anyone to cope with moving to a new country and different culture, which is one of the reasons a team of robotics engineers decided to test out their robot teachers.

The youngsters are learning new language skills to help them enter the school system. Only four cities are taking part in the trial phase: Tilburg and Utrecht in the Netherlands; Bielefeld in Germany; Istanbul in Turkey. Lead by a consortium of roboticists and linguists from universities across Europe, the project is called L2TOR while a French company called Aldebaran Robotics build the new teachers.

A robot called NAO watches over the children and aids them in the lessons while the work on a tablet. Before each lesson begins, NAO explains to the kids what they will learn and then assists each child if they become struck by observing their body language.

“We want to help these children improve their language skills through one-to-one interaction with a robot, to help them catch up,” — Paul Vogt (L2TOR), Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

Other studies have shown that children learn best in a one-on-one environment rather than a classroom setting. But doing this with human teachers is highly prohibitive due to costs. The L2TOR project will not replace teachers rather, they will give each child a tangible three-dimensional presence to learn more effectively along a human teacher.

Infinite Patience

The NAO robots can repeat lessons over and over and take their time with each child; human teachers can become impatient and get bored. These psychological factors that affect humans cannot affect the robots.

“Sometimes the human teacher can get bored or angry by repeating things again and again,” — Amit Kumar Pandey, head of research and development at Aldebaran Robotics

But it’s not just the children that learn. On the tablets is a software system, CoWriter which helps children practice their writing skills. The robot can write on the tablet too, but if the robot makes a mistake the child can step in and teach the robot where it went wrong.

Is this the future of learning at school? Let us know what you think.

Source: New Scientist

Graham O'Mahony, Blogger and Web Designer
Web Designer and Blogger
The STAR Team
Follow the conversation on Twitter logo @STARTranslation

Google: Augmented Reality, Real-Time Translation

Machine Translation

New tech in machine translation, Real-Time Translation

Real-Time Translation Tool from Google

In January, Google released new features to its translate app.

Available on both iOS and Android platforms, the app can make on-the-spot translations using its Word Lens tool and text translations by inputting words or sentences manually. But this year, the app was updated with voice translation functions in 36 languages. Users can tap the mic button in the app and begin talking. It recognises multiple users and the language being spoken. Once the languages have been recognised, the app is ready is translate without the need to tap the mic button again. Impressive!

Word Lens

Word Lens tool from Google

Word Lens tool from Google

The Word Lens tool in the Google Translate app allowed user to take a photo of a piece of text, a road sign etc. and translate it accordingly. Now, all the user has to do it point the phone’s camera towards the object and see the translated text overlaid on their screen. This is referred to as augmented reality and Google acquired the technology in May last year when they bought the California-based tech firm, “Quest Visual“.

Prior to the augmented reality tech, the app required a data connection to fulfill a request to translate. But now, that’s not an issue. Word Lens can also translate from English to and from German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Russian.

Closer to the Future

These futuristic features take us closer to turning our phones into something like the universal translators out of a Star Trek movie. Closer to a new age where language is no longer a social barrier for communicating new ideas, and to one another.

Often the hardest part of travelling is navigating the local language“, states Google Translate’s product lead Barak Turovsky. “Now Google Translate can be your guide in new ways…

Are you using it? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

The STAR Team

Duolingo Free App Brings Classrooms Online

Language Learning

Duolingo Free App brings online learning to classrooms

Duolingo Free App for Schoolchildren, Teachers

A new app that has been on the market for over two years will help schoolchildren learn a new language, for free!

In developing countries like Malaysia, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, learning a new language such as English is seen as a ticket out of poverty. Well, at least a certain level of proficiency. The need for English language teachers is unquestionable. However, despite the demand, English teachers in these countries cannot speak English either.

For two developers, and co-founders of the popular app, Duolingo, Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker, believe it could aid language learners where resources are limited.

Duolingo first appeared on the App Store over two and a half years ago and today is holds an estimated 60 million users worldwide. But it’s not just benefiting those where access to good education is a problem; von Ahn sees it as a language educational tool for classrooms the world over.

With this in mind, von Ahn and his colleague Hacker are launching a new platform, ‘Duolingo for Schools’: an app that will enable teachers to track students’ progress and activity, and subsequently tailor lectures and classroom exercises.

“It’s hard to know how many, but we think right now we have a few thousand teachers using Duolingo without this feature. I think this will multiply that by a factor of ten easily,” von Ahn states.

Duolingo’s success is down to an increase in the activity of online learning, and the fact that it’s perceived by many that you can get a quality education for free online; an idea that has gone mainstream as the online learning space swells with newer and better learning apps, and even learning games!

Making money for free!

How does a free app pay the bills? The co-founders developed a business model to help pay for the free service. After a student finishes a lesson in Duolingo, they can test how much they have acquired by translating a piece of text in a news article or the like. With companies like Buzzfeed and CNN who pay Duolingo for these crowdsourced translations, according to von Ahn, it is Duolingo’s millions of students who churn out several hundred articles a day.

With all these advantages, some language academics have cautioned the use of apps like Duolingo, saying it can never replace the teacher, or the textbook, particularly at the university level.

“You can review vocabulary and practice verb forms, but it’s not giving you any cultural context.”

“You can review vocabulary and practice verb forms, but it’s not giving you any cultural context,” says Elise Mueller who’s an academic technology consultant specializing in language teaching and technology at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Whether or not Duolingo was designed for the classroom, teachers started incorporating it into their curriculum and since the original app wasn’t designed for this, teachers have had to make some unconventional workarounds. But ‘Duolingo for Schools’ will change all that.

Do you use Duolingo? If not, would you consider learning a new language through it? Let us know in the comments below.

The STAR Team

Source: Wired

How to test your website on iPhone and iPad

Test your website on iPhone and iPad

Test your website on iPhone and iPad
iPad testing

You’ve designed your beautiful new website, optimized its SEO, CSS, HTML and included amazing new imagery and copy. What’s next?

The key question

How does it look to your users? And how does it appear on smartphones, tablets and “phablets”? How to test your Website on iPhone and iPad?

Mobile computing is on the rise, so you need to check your site and apps on various platforms, particularly iPad and iPhone as they are the leaders in the mobile technology market.

We’ve come across a great online tool that allows you to view any website as if viewed on iPad or iPhone: iPad Peek. Just visit this site and enter your website’s details or even those of any other site.

You can view your site on multiple platforms and orientations.

If you enjoy using an iPad, you may also like to visit the official iPad developers’ site.

And other developer sites such as …

Another noteworthy tip is to enable your website to be mobile aware using HTML5 and CSS3. There are a few great tutorials on this subject on YouTube:

Happy Web development!

The STAR Team

Smartphones change Irish way of Life


Smartphones change Irish way of life, finds survey

A recent survey reveals that smartphones are having a real impact on the Irish way of life.

The use of basic mobile phones have already changed Irish daily behaviour and, as a result, their convenience and mobility enables all of us to use them virtually anywhere we go.

Some figures show that:

  • 49% of the Irish population owns a smartphone
  • An increase of 71% by the end of 2012
  • 95% of the users use their smartphone at home whereas 26% use it at school
  • 25% are not addicted to smartphones since 75% can’t leave the house without it
  • 67% think that smartphones are good to pass the time away while waiting. I may be part of the 33% that prefer Sudoku or magazines for they are much cheaper
  • 50% think smartphones make them more modern looking and feel that they should have Internet access on their phone. Does it mean that the remaining 50% should consider themselves out-dated?
  • 77% use their smartphone to take photographs. Are professional photographers becoming an endangered species right now?

Irish smartphone users are multitasking: indeed, they use it while listening to music, watching TV or browsing on the Internet.

They mainly use it to communicate (83%), to stay informed (61%) or for entertainment (89%) purposes.

Obviously networking is one of the most popular activities since 86% of users update and visit their social networks on their phone.

Regarding apps, people have about 29 of them installed on their smartphones with about 9 paid apps installed. 43% will use more apps in the future.

Are you using any Irish apps on your mobile devices?

The STAR Team

View the full statistics on Irish mobile use.

National Entrepreneurial Business Awards, Shortlisted

National Entrepreneurial Business Awards 2012, shortlisted

Wish us luck for the National Entrepreneurial Business Awards.

National Entrepreneurial Business Awards 2012

We have been shortlisted for the Entrepreneurial Business Awards in Dublin. We are delighted to share the good news with our followers.

The EBA Gala night will take place in Kildare on the 18th of May. This is the first year for the EBA Awards and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate Irish Entrepreneurs at all levels.

The event has regional awards per county and an overall All-Ireland Award for the best companies. We are shortlisted for our customer service and technology development for our customers. It’s great to hear good news about so many companies doing well, supporting our country and growing Ireland’s new business culture.

For more information visit the EY Entrepreneur of the Year website.

The STAR Team

Enda Kenny’s Business Visit to China

Enda Kenny visits China for talks on further economic cooperation between the two states

Kenny starts four-day business trip to China

Business Visit to China

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny is on the last of his four-day visit to China. He is joining a trade mission involving 90 companies from Ireland. The purpose of Kenny’s current visit to China is to encourage economic and trade collaboration between Ireland and China.

Ireland has advantages which China can benefit from and China represents a vast market for Irish goods and services.

Irish companies are engaged in a continuous dynamic process of transformation centred on innovation and internationalization.

“Both Ireland and China have moved rapidly toward a knowledge-based economy built on innovation and technology and our companies have all the elements for working closer together”, stated The Irish President.

Irish culture is very popular in China and there is a great interest in Ireland among Chinese tour operators. There are also great links and possibilities in the education sector.

Mr Kenny’s visit follows the recent visit to Ireland of Xi Jinping, vice-president of China. Mr Xi said he was “deeply impressed” by his recent visit to Ireland and that he had “many pleasant memories of the warm welcome” he received in Ireland last month, reported RTÉ World News.

The STAR Team

International CES Show, Las Vegas

Internation CES Show, WorldDesk  software localization
Computers / iStockphoto

International CES Show, Las Vegas

The International CES Show took place in Las Vegas from 10th to 13th of January 2012. It is the largest technology event in the world and gathers manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, and technology delivery systems every year.

On the Irish front, one exhibitor in particular who caught our eye is WorldDesk Ltd. This Northern-Irish start-up specializes in the cloud computing and virtualisation software space. So impressive is their technology that they have reached an acquisition agreement with DeskStream Inc. a leading Californian and Indian company providing desktop virtualization software.

The acquisition of WorldDesk Ltd was announced on 12th of January. Employees of WorldDesk including co-founders Jonathan Chesney and Claire Moore will join DeskStream. The 2-year-old Irish company will still be located in Belfast. We wish them all the best.

We love to hear Irish success stories. If you have one, share your stories with our visitors.

We support Irish companies, helping them grow their global businesses with quality translation services. We translate software and e-commerce websites for customers in more than 70 languages. We provide website translation services and e-commerce services.

The STAR Team

Apple iPad Localization and Translation

Translation for iPad, localization
Damian discusses iPad translation with Pat Walsh of DiaryPlan.

iPhone and iPad Localization for Apps

Yesterday we got our hands on one of the first iPads in Ireland at the Guinness Enterprise Centre’s Open Enterprise day for new software development start-ups.

It was a tough day — 08:30 to 19:30 — probably one of the most exciting events we’ve attended. Congratulations to all involved.

The keynote speaker was Jonathan Siegel, founder of the consultancy ELC Technologies. ELC build cool applications from FunnyOrDie to ESPN and Nascar. Jonathan showed a great passion for software application development and how the iPhone and iPad had broken the mould and opened up some very exciting development opportunities for software companies.

He demoed the new iPad and some of their applications. Apple have already sold over one million iPads worldwide. The iPhone technology currently has an installed user base of some 80 million users.

We discussed iPad Localization and iPhone app translation and how this was the next challenge for the platform.

Pat Walsh from Diary Plan and Damian Scattergood, STAR Translation, Dublin discuss the iPad localization process.

Make an iPad App

The interactive session with Collin Ruffenach took a brief look at the iPhone and iPad marketplace and then dived into the dirty work of building an iPad application. With the help of a few iPads in the room, a brief overview of XCode and the iPhone SDK, we got a glimpse of how to build your first application.

Visit the Apple iPad developer kit for more information.

If you would like to learn more from the experts in Jonathan’s Team at ELC, visit iCode Blog.

If you are developing an application for the iPhone or iPad and are looking at localization, we would be really interested in partnering with you in this area. Call us for a free quote today on +353 1 836 5614.

The STAR Team

iPhone International Market Update

iPhone International Market Update conference

The International Macintosh Users Group: a forum for multilingual, multiscript and multiplatform computing.

iPhone international market update takes place 17th September 2009 from 18:30 to 21:00 Pacific time. (17th September 2009, 6:30 to 9:00 PM). Note: special start time: 18:30 (for refreshments); panel session 19:00 to 21:00.

Recommended Conference

Localization World: Silicon Valley, 20 – 22 October at the Santa Clara Convention Center. See for
more information.


Date: 17th September 2009

Special time: 18:30 (for refreshments), panel session 19:00 to 21:00.

Topic: iPhone International Market Update. Speaker panel: David Cao of ExtendLogic and several others to be announced soon.

Special location: Apple campus, 4 Infinite Loop, 2nd Floor, Garage II conference room. Please see links below for directions.

Another joint production of IMUG and the iPhone for Business meet up group , this event will offer several short presentations on iPhone markets around the world, followed by a panel discussion and questions; China, Japan, Korea and other markets will be covered.

Refreshments will be provided by a corporate sponsor. Please arrive at 18:30 to take advantage of this generous offer and to meet members of IMUG and the visiting group.

Location and Directions

Apple campus, 4 Infinite Loop, 2nd Floor, Garage II conference room.

The STAR Team