Archive for July, 2012

Source code samples

Trados translation memory from TMX

    1. Open Trados studio professional 2011
  1. choose from the menu: file / new / translation memory
  2. in the create translation memory dialogue
    1. choose source and target language (the same as in the file name of the TMX files which follow the source-target naming convention)
    2. select “Allow multiple translation for the same source segment”
    3. choose as name for this translation memory the file name of the TMX files you are going to import (some include a year)
    4. click button: “create”,
    5. choose from the menu: file / import
    6. in the “import” dialogue window
      1. select “large import file”, “keep most recent”, “add to setup”
        1. click button “ok”
    7. and in the dialogue “open import file”
        1. select as file type TMX 1.4b, if this does not work, 1.4, if this does not work, 1.1
        2. browse to C:\Temp\Trados to select one file (after the other)

Example 7: Exercise dictating in German to an LRC Windows 7 computer

How can we get language students more speaking practice with qualified, but affordable feedback ? Native speaker contact remains difficult to organize even in the days of online conferencing. The LRC hosts language tutoring, but numbers are limited. Enter speech recognition, the holy grail of iCALL,  much easier for learners to relate to than the voice graph that digital audio can be broken down to, and thus for a long time a standout feature of costly second-language-acquisition packages like Auralog Tell-me-More (speech recognition in English tested here) – but now the LRC has Windows 7 Enterprise (and its free add-on language packs), and another crucial prerequisite: headphones with excellent microphones.

We are setting up the new Windows 7 computers in the LRC to allow for speech recognition in Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. Here is an example of me using this facility for a practicing my German during a dictation exercise:

Granted, German is my native tongue; but the example text is from the online component for the final chapter  of the “Treffpunkt Deutsch” 1st-year textbook in use here, which sends the readers to the website of the Swiss (-German) employment agency.

Apart from infrequent words ("Archiven") and Lehnwörtern ("Bachelor" etc.), Windows 7 speech recognition accuracy seems quite impressive. The above example was actually my first dictation, except that immediately beforehand, I invested a few minutes into the standard Windows 7 speech recognition training (aimed at training the user, although may behind the scenes teach the computer a few things about the speaker already also) and a few more minutes of voice training (this one is meant exclusively for the computer, but the user can also see it fail and why). The – rather simple trick to boost speech recognition results – certainly accessible to our students – seems to be to speak not only  clearly, but also slowly, with short pauses between most words.

Speech recognition in these languages is a feature of the Windows 7 (Enterprise/Ultimate version) “language packs” that we installed and switched to – that is why the entire computer interface appears in German. Practicing the L2 with (computer—operating) “voice commands” (instead of with a mouse) is also possible, simpler than replacing the keyboard (mostly) by voice, but not as easy to devise homework exercises for.

Tips for designing exercises using speech recognition: As the example shows ("Archiven") , doing all corrections by voice can quickly become tedious. But there is no pedagogical need to have your students’ bang their heads against this wall. Instead, just ask your students to correct their automatically recognized words manually at the end of their video, after their dictation. This way both you and your students get a clear summary of what they achieved – even clearer if they dictate in MS-Word with the spell and grammar check for the language (automatic with the switch to the language pack for the language) and (using key combination CTRL+SHIFT+E) track changes. We will show you later TBA:how we now enable students to easily record their screen and TBA:upload their screencast into Moodle Kaltura.

How to peek inside your MSI files with LessMSI

In spite of a few typos in the (generally very helpful) descriptions (and the pun at the cost of poor Victor), this seems a very useful tool that gives you an overview of what you are embarking on when installing software, like so:



LessMSI allows you can even extract individual files to investigate further:

imageMoreover, it is extremely easy to install using chocolatey after which it is going to be in your PATH, to be called as “LessMSI.bat”.

SOLVED: How to record, in Adobe-Flash, video from my built-in iSight web camera on an 2010 iMac, combined with sound from an external cs100 PnP USB audio device

  1. Problem : Our new campus-wide Moodle Kaltura installation enables authentic oral proficiency examinations (we have no other Moodle Plugin for audio recordings). However, we still have no webcams on our mainstay PCs. We do have a few iMacs with built-in iSight webcams, but for providing students more privacy during their assignments in the language resource center, we need headphones. We have for spare some old headphones which we would like to use up, but they are analogue. These iMacs do not have an analog headset connector, only a line-in which would require a preamp. We have good sturdy USB headsets from Sanako, but these are too expensive to purchase for the iMacs that have no ways to secure them and little other specialized language learning use which we do not already get from the PCs (and more…).
  2. Workaround :
    1. Try an inexpensive USB audio device that has 3.5mm analog headset inputs.
    2. On my iMac 2010
    3. If in system preferences / sound/ I direct input and output to the USB PnP device
      1. test passes playing system sounds
    4. in audacity (if you CRANK the microphone sensitivity to the max!)
      1. recording test passes: The headset loudspeakers and micro work (not well, but they work, as a tab on the microphone indicate: there is static, and the recording volume is still softish, but better than the built in webcam microphone)
    5. in Kaltura,
      1. Flash only brings up the security dialogue (in Safari 5  and current Firefox ESR and Chrome) for allowing the  web application accessing to the built-in iSight web camera, but no options to choose a separate audio device
      2. However, if you control-click on Flash’s a video preview window for the  web camera, and click on “settings” (not “global settings”, although that is useful for always allowing access from certain URLs like your LMS) .
      3. CIMG0020
      4. Click on the microphone icon :
      5. CIMG0021
      6. Make sure the USB PnP  device is selected.
      7. CIMG0022
      8. You can bring up the settings dialogue, make sure the USB PnP device is chosen for audio and CRANK up the microphone input sensitivity! Then test the volume levels with the built-in volume meter (should  show lots of green bars when you speak. You may have to adjust the Califone headset microphone arm so that the microphone is very close in front of your mouth. ) Unlike in the picture, do not choose “reduce echo ”.
      9. CIMG0024
    6. Remaining
      1. Questions :
        1. Can this sensitivity setting be permanently stored for all users in the iMac software image, or do our students always have to adjust the microphone sensitivity?
        2. It remains to be seen whether this inexpensive and unsecurable device survives long when being used by our student population.
      2. Problem : The review video function of the Moodle Kaltura Flash video remains very temperamental on the Mac OS X (In my testing, one of the numerous problems we had with Moodle Kaltura on the iMacs popped up again: when starting to review the recording, the time counter goes, but the video stalls for  a few seconds – afterwards everything seems to play  fine, but this is enough to confuse the heck out of my users) . While we made another small step of progress towards  enabling Moodle Kaltura webcam recordings in the language resource center, it seems easier to just get web cameras for the PCs.

Pronunciation exercises using speech recognition with dictation

TBA: this is a placeholder, stay tuned…

Categories: Uncategorized

Summer 2012 Learning materials creation clinic for preparing oral assessments/assignments

1.     I am holding a “Clinic”, open to anybody who needs help with preparing their classes using oral assessments/assignments in the LRC this fall term – RVSP if interested.

2.     This clinic focuses on material creation for delivery in upcoming specific courses – based on, but different from  my faculty workshops on this topics, If you have not attended, please view the below links for what was covered in the workshops






1.       Materials creation

    1. with SANAKO

                                                             i.      make teacher  audio recording  for model-imitation/question-response oral exam:

                                                            ii.      Make teacher recording ( for model imitation with voice insert (like reading practice homework assignment, ):

    1. with Moodle

                                                              i.      Moodle Kaltura webcam recording assignment:

                                                            ii.      Prepare Moodle metacourses learning materials upload: and

    1. with PowerPoint (visual speaking cues with timers):
    2. Materials delivery with SANAKO
    3. remote control student pcs, collaborate over headphones:
    4. pairing students’ audio using headphones:
  1. You must bring some assessment ideas that fit into your skills course which we will turn into audio recordings. You can also bring prerecorded audio files from textbooks as mp3 which we can edit to turn them into materials. If you would like some examples of what colleagues have done
    1. With Moodle Kaltura:
    2. With Sanako oral (formative) assessments/(outcome) exams:  please email me, I make accessible to you samples that we do not publish to preserve exam integrity.