Search the Bible and Taggloo Library

Taggloo has previously been updated to include results from selected books held in the Taggloo Library in translation results. Whilst this was useful, Taggloo now goes a step further in search.

Book search

You can now search a Book within the Taggloo Library using the search-form at the top-right of each page. This allows you to discover words and phrases without going via the route of Translation.

A subtle improvement that has already been made available is the highlighting of search results in the text, so when searching for “thie”:

Highlighted search result

Underneath, Taggloo fully supports any number of books and articles which will hopefully be made available soon. If you have any content that you wish to be published, get in touch.

Alas, the translation and searching is slower than I’d hope. This is being worked upon to strike a balance between performance and affordability. Hopefully there’ll be some modest improvements soon!

Translate and search the Taggloo Library (and The Manx Gaelic Bible)

There is a wealth of Manx Gaelic literature available for access both on paper and on the web. Taggloo launched a Library service last year, with what is possibly the best starting point for any library, The Bible. The Bible is a time capsule, showing us how the language was used when it was the primary language of the island – even before people started to use their own language in a written form themselves.

Using the Library function, it’s a short jump to providing the ability to search and translate the Taggloo corpus. You can enter a word or phrase for translation as you usually would and receive the results. If you’re interested in a deeper translation and understanding of the word or phrase in literature such as The Bible, you can Extend your search by selecting the book(s) you want to search and clicking the Search button.

Taggloo Library Translation and search

The translation and search has been deliberately broken into two steps, which was a carefully considered pattern to balance convenience with performance. Searching an entire book (or set of books) can be taxing on the indexes so results from books are held back unless you need them.

Once you’ve performed your search, you can expand the results as you would translations by word or retrieve the entire set of results.

Ayns y toshiaght

Below each result will be the translation (if available) and the book, allowing you to click to jump to that point in the text.

The Library function can support many texts with differing levels of translation. The next step in the Taggloo story is to provide the tools to allow additional texts to be added into the Taggloo Library, providing even greater insight into the words and translations of Manx Gaelic.

Increased browser compatibility, more media and a new API

Taggloo hasn’t had much visible changes lately, but eagle-eyed users will have noticed that the build date has been changing. As promised, moving Taggloo to the Microsoft Azure platform enables much more rapid and regular changes, not all of which are obvious.

Microsoft Edge support

Keener users will no doubt have started experimenting with Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system. Windows 10 represents a key strategy change for Microsoft, not least of which is their unceremonious dumping of Internet Explorer in favour of Edge for the consumer. Edge is a “new” browser in that it is almost a rewritten browser, well, it represents the latest of the code in Internet Explorer and dumps a lot of baggage in the process.

Taggloo remains compatible with the latest browsers, including Microsoft Edge. This will carry across to other platforms using Microsoft Edge such as XBox One and Windows 10 Mobile. Of course, WebKit (Chrome) and Firefox remain supported across screen sizes. Hopefully you’ve seen the responsive design work well across desktop, tablet and ‘phone.

Increased playable media items

Taggloo has over 10,000 indexed media items, allowing users to hear the pronunciation of thousands of words within the dictionary.

Media Items

For those users still on Internet Explorer, which has limited support for the HTML AUDIO element that is used for these media items, you would probably be left with:

Invalid source screenshot

As part of a lot more of somewhat invisible work, the likelihood of this being shown is much lower. Using the new Taggloo API, existing media items have been indexed, transcoded and re-indexed to maximise availability across devices and browsers.

… About that API

An API (Application Programming Interface) provides developers with the opportunity to leverage the functionality and data within a web site for their own purposes. Taggloo’s new API enables developers to access the indexed Manx Gaelic resources to build and extend their own products and experiments. This represents an exciting opportunity for Taggloo, which can now be integrated into other web sites, “apps”, Internet of Things (IoT), wearables and much more.

The API is currently in BETA, which means that you’re welcome to go and play and see what you (or your developer friends) can build. We’re currently tweaking the performance of the API and adding more functionality every week, hence the BETA stage. You can have a look if you’re so inclined at http://taggloo.im/developers. The API currently covers about 75% of the entire functionality of Taggloo and will emerge from BETA before the end of 2015.

 

 

 

Some changes for Taggloo

Taggloo is slowly but surely growing in popularity and this brings greater demands on the software and demands on its maintenance. You could say the problem with launching a web site is that people will start using it! Alongside this my own time is curbed somewhat due to study obligations so time spent on Taggloo’s upkeep was rare – but not entirely neglected.

Alongside an increased collaborative effort within the Manx Gaelic community which will see more resources made available for users, the site has had to be refitted to include new features and content over the next 12 months.

In order to accommodate these changes (some of which are quite exciting), the site has been rebuilt to work on cloud infrastructure delivering increased reliability and [hopefully] performance. The development experience is also made significantly easier and deploying code is now much more reliable and faster, allowing more updates to be released – more often. Keep returning to the site to make sure you don’t miss out!

So what’s new in this new [first] version?

New design

Whilst I’m still fond of the old design, it was somewhat restrictive in terms of the upcoming plans and changes that are being discussed. We needed to change the site to accommodate new sections, functions and content.

The new design retains the easy to use search form, allowing you to enter your translation requests as before, but adds new sections which can contain information about the dictionaries, statistics and social media engagements. The stratified-design hopefully separates types of content and the reactive design will work in all browsers no matter their size.

Translate page

Over 10,000 sound files added to the dictionaries

When translating a word, you might find a new section in your results including audio files of Manx Gaelic speakers pronouncing the word to help you understand word’s true sound.

Media Items

The words are from Phil Kelly’s collection of over 6,000 individually recorded sound samples. These sound files have been indexed against the existing Taggloo dictionaries, providing over 10,000 opportunities for search results to include media items. It’s well worth taking some time to listen to these sound samples to understand the differing dialects and accents within the language.

The sound samples are playable in all HTML5-compliant browsers, though some browsers don’t support all of the formats of sound files within the dictionaries. We’re working on this, but in the meantime, to be sure that media can be played, consider using the Google Chrome browser.

What’s next?

There are a whole bunch of new features coming, not all of which can be published right now. Expect to see improved social media integration and improvements in the presentation of results and social media engagements. A key feature planned for development starting in a few months is a reimagined data structure of the dictionaries allowing machine-learning and free-form phrase translation, a feature requested by many users for some time.

A benefit of the new hosting platform is much greater visibiltiy of the performance of the site, but your input is still extremely important. If there are any issues or feature requests, do get in touch using the form available on every page of the site. And keep returning, Taggloo’s new home enables much more frequent updates to be made which you wouldn’t want to miss.

Remember the address:

http://taggloo.im

Twitter aggregation and some statistics

I know some of you noticed a slight bug in the Taggloo site for the last month or so. Due to Twitter changing the API that I used to extract #Gaelg Twitter content, the Twitter aggregation hasn’t been working for a while.

Upon further investigation, this needed some fairly extensive refactoring. I had been relying quite heavily on the particular format that the data was previously published in. This was great as I could pretty much use the same code for blogs and YouTube, too. Unfortunately, Twitter were keen on developers using the full API and as such I have had to rewrite large portions of the community content aggregation code.

Alas, this has taken longer than I had hoped. As some of you will know, I’ve had good cause to be distracted lately. However, some discipline and Diet Coke has enabled me to fix the problem. Taggloo is now collecting Twitter content once again!

As a small apology, I thought I’d share some statistics with you:

  • Twitter contributes over 97% of aggregated community content.
  • Since May 2011, over 2,000 Tweets with #Manx #Gaelg content have been aggregated. Most of which has been within the current calendar year.
  • We’ve been trying to encourage users to show their support of the language in social media, which has been shown to be successful, with a significant increase in content aggregated since March this year.
  • Saving users’ blushes, it is obvious some users have contributed real value to the community, with the top 10 Twitter users (excluding bots) posting over 50% of #Manx #Gaelg tweets!
Chart showing Community Content Items aggregated over time
Community Content Items aggregated over time

Remember, tweet in Manx using the #Manx #Gaelg hash tags and contribute to the island’s heritage in modern media whilst building an even stronger Manx dictionary within Taggloo.

Crowd sourcing Manx

In my previous post I hinted on the improvements made to Taggloo in the latest significant release. Key amongst these is the ability for users to contribute their own content to the dictionaries. One of the beauties of Manx in particular is the fascinating vocabulary, even different pronunciations and words used in communities within such a small island. By adding content and improving existing content, we can help create a living, social dictionary.

Adding content to the Taggloo dictionaries is easy. Perform your search and at the bottom of every screen is a link to “Improve this entry”.

Improve link screenshot

If you’re not already logged in, you’ll be asked to log in. Remember, you don’t need to create an account. You can just use your Facebook login.

The opportunities of improving an entry are significant, as shown in the screenshot. Clicking on the tile will allow you to add improved content.

26-04-2013_12-41-44

You can add a definition, a plural, pronunciation, a sound clip of the word being pronounced, a translation to another language, a phrase, mutation or a web site with relevant information. Have a look at how you could improve the dictionary:

  • Add a definition: What does the word mean? This is useful for when you would like to describe the meaning of a word instead of relying on synonyms.
  • Add a plural: Plurals in Manx aren’t as straight forward as in English, so you can add how the plural form is used.
  • Add a pronunciation: Using phonetic syllables or the phonemic alphabet, define specifically how a word is pronounced.
  • Add a sound clip: Dictionaries are great for finding formal definitions of how words are pronounced, but there’s no better way than hearing someone say it. Add a sound clip to show how the word sounds “for real”.
  • Add a translation: Add a translation or synonym for the word in another of the supported languages.
  • Add a phrase: “Use it in a sentence”! A great way to understand what relationship the word has with other words in a sentence or when you could use a word.
  • Add a mutation: Languages sometimes mutate words for reasons of ease of speech or more technical reasons such as the context the word is used in. These rules aren’t always clear, so add a mutation to help other users.
  • Share a web site: Another opportunity to help other users understand how the word is used for real. An example of a good web site example would be if the word is featured heavily in an article, for example.

You can also add a new word that’s not already in the dictionary. If no matches are returned, you’ll have an option to add the word:

26-04-2013_13-32-36_494x125

Over time the dictionaries will become fortified with rich content, submitted by real users of the language. Have a look at the screenshot below for the result of searching for “thie“:

26-04-2013_12-43-27

Taggloo: even more social

Hopefully you’ve seen Taggloo by now and read about how it was inspired. Taggloo was always intended to bridge the gap between translating words and the use of those words in the community. The last major feature launch was the aggregation of community content where minority languages such as Manx were used in social media. This allows a user to identify other interested people that they can connect with and for these real-life uses of language to be included in translations. It’s a neat idea and one that is starting to bear fruit now the code has been active for around 9 months.

Taggloo logo

The next step was to extend the idea of community with user-generated content and authority. The Taggloo dictionary contains tens of thousands of phrases and translations, but they were fairly static. The inclusion of community content in social media extended the richness of the dictionary, but without the structure of a dictionary.

With the latest update, users can contribute their own words and add a wide variety of improvements to existing words. For example, you can add a phrase, sound file, web site or definition. Taggloo also supports the concept of mutations and plurals to further extend the richness of the dictionary. Learners and experts alike are encouraged to add common phrases, their own translations, perhaps modern concepts such as internet terminology or idioms to help extend the richness of the dictionary.

Social Taggloo screenshot

But how do you know how reliable dictionary data is, if anyone can submit their own content? Content is submitted by users with a seeded vote of zero (0). Then, as other users use it, they can “vote up” the item, increasing the item’s score. Search results are sorted on this score, so the authoritative submissions are always presented first. Conversely, if a translation or resource isn’t appropriate, then it may be “voted down”.

To add to the “social” dimension of Taggloo, the site now supports Facebook authentication. You don’t need to create a new username/password if you don’t want to (though you can if you wish or are not a Facebook user), instead, just log in with your Facebook username and password. The site will never know your password, so that’s one less thing to worry about!

If you haven’t yet come across them, check out the Facebook page or Twitter stream at @TagglooIM where you can be introduced to new phrases and keep in touch with Taggloo developments.

This last update was a big one and I hope to introduce the features in detail in the coming weeks in future blog posts. Why wait till then? Have a play …

Aggregating a “living” language

Community dudesBetween work, TT and various obligations I’ve finally managed to finish what is the majority of the second key phase of Taggloo.im: social content.

Language is nothing if not used in a social context, and using Manx online is no different. I’m a big fan of Social Media and particularly how it can be used to promote the visibility (if not learning/teaching) of our island’s language and heritage. Modern technology is already leveraged very well by teachers and learners of Manx using mediums such as Twitter, You Tube, blogs and Facebook.

It was always my intention to bring together what is currently a disparate and siloed set of high quality language content and aggregate it for presentation and showcasing it, alongside other, similar content. In the spirit of open-data, why not take the content, re-form it and publish it side-by-side?

Currently, Taggloo is pulling in content from:

  • Twitter (based on a set of rules which should hopefully provide fairly relevant Manx content)
  • You Tube (specifically the Gaelg You Tube channel)

Taggloo community screenshot

Try it out: http://taggloo.im/Community

Hopefully by integrating this live Manx content, it will encourage users not only to develop their understanding of the language by accessing previously unseen channels, but also to participate in the discussion using Twitter.

Maybe in the future I’ll also add a Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr feed, or just more content from You Tube or more blogs. If you’d like to see a particular set of data included, make sure you suggest it on our UserVoice site. The site is able to gather and parse a wide variety of data-formats, which will increase as more content feeds are discovered.

Remember, if you’re using Twitter to write in Manx, add the #Gaelg hash-tag!

Taggloo launched

It seems that my Taggloo (http://taggloo.im) experiment has been sufficiently successful to warrant some determined effort on producing a site that I would be happy to launch and have people use. After collecting some ideas from some Manx speakers and adding few of my own ideas, I’ve developed the site and am happy to publish the site for wider use. I’ve even had some positive feedback for my very limited design skills!

Taggloo logo

Taggloo, as the site says, is a means of bringing learners and seasoned speakers of niche languages together to help keep the language living. Taggloo is Manx Gaelic for “speech” and as such is designed to be an informal aid to existing resources that may be available, rather than a definitive or technical language resource. Currently, the site only has Manx Gaelic, but it is designed from the outset to support other languages.

Taggloo dudeMy aim for the site is for to create a Social Dictionary. This will be achieved by aggregating electronically published content such as Tweets, blog posts or You Tube videos and by encouraging users to get involved by submitting their own interpretations and uses of words, or their own words. I’ve been learning Manx Gaelic long enough to understand that spellings, pronunciation and meanings of words can vary between dictionaries, contexts and even regions of this small island. So called “dead languages” are often still living, evolving and growing through use in the community and this includes the internet community.

Ultimately, I want to answer a key problem I had in trying to access useful Manx content in an electronic format, by opening the dictionaries and enabling opportunities for users to leverage this data. Users can access this data either by using the web-site or, using the comprehensive API, via mobile phone “apps” or even applets embedded in other web sites.

The site currently performs basic translations, though this will be extended over the coming weeks as I find time to introduce my intended improvements. Here’s what is on my roadmap so far:

  • Community content aggregated from Twitter, blogs and You Tube.
  • Language use “in the wild” drawn from such community content added to translation results to show context within sentences and discussions.
  • Uploadable media items, including a subset of Manx Gaelic vocabulary to prime the collection of user-submitted media.
  • Submission of words missing from the dictionary by expert speakers and learners alike and rating of community submitted content.
  • Submission of comments regarding people’s individual understanding of word meanings and uses, providing a very personal interpretation on language use.

How can you contribute?

The site is intended to be open from the outset and this includes accepting users’ comments and suggestions on how to improve the site. I’ve set up a UserVoice forum to collect users’ impressions. Maybe you have new languages in mind, or have a killer-feature in mind. Or, perhaps there is a bug on the site that needs to be fixed!

Any and all feedback is welcome, and you can submit your suggestions and queries at http://taggloo.uservoice.com.

Taggloo – an early look at user behaviour

Taggloo, my experiment with Manx translations is proving to be surprisingly popular. Even at this very early stage, a select few people are using it regularly and are providing me with excellent feedback.

I thought I’d just have a quick look at the analytics I’m collecting on the usage of the site (not personally identifiable) this morning. Bearing in mind that this site is an experiment, I was surprised by the results. I was further pleased by the correlation of translations with work we’re doing in class.

At the time of writing, in the first month of use the site has had over 1,200 queries, which will be sourced from both the web-site and clients using the API, such as the Windows Phone 7 application.

The most popular word is the English “because” . This is particularly interesting as it is exactly what we’re learning in class at the moment. This word has a complex structure in its Manx form, with one translation being “er yn oyr”. Literally, “on the reason”.

The second most popular query is for the Manx “poyll faarkee”, which is “swimming pool” in English. Some queries are clearly unexplainable!

By far, the most popular platform for conducting queries is the Apple iPhone web browser, with over 450 individual requests. This is probably due to most of the users who I’ve asked to try out the service having Apple devices and maybe will serve to encourage some kind soul to volunteer to write an iPhone client.

The Windows Phone 7 application accounts for over 150 requests, not bad for the 13 downloads this application has obtained so far. Due to the current lowly position of Windows Phone 7 in the smartphone space and the very niche community of Manx speakers who may be involved with this experiment, I’m obviously not expecting this download figure to be high!

This weekend was spent working on an improved index and rebuilding the current word lists to match it. This will serve faster and more accurate lookups and paves the way for further additions to the served content in the future. Having had such surprisingly good feedback, I just wish I had the time to get stuck into the other ideas I have. It’s all very exciting, I’m working towards a social, living dictionary. Who needs Google Translate?