Smart Characters literally puts thousands of Chinese characters at the fingertips of the user. It overcomes the most burdensome task of Asian language study and usage: mastery of the written language!
Rather than requiring more that a year of language study just to be able to use a dictionary, Smart Characters enables the user to look up words instantly. And, these words are accompanied by annotations providing English translations and pronunciations (furigana, pinyin, or bopomofo).
Moreover, as a business tool, Smart Characters empowers users who may have only minimal language skills, giving them the ability to communicate effectively in the written language, having the power of tens of thousands of characters in their hands.
In contrast to words written in alphabetic languages, words written in Chinese characters (kanji or hanzi) are bewilderingly easy to forget since they give no clue to their pronunciations, a valuable trigger of aural memory.
Previously, a forgotten kanji or hanzi required a printed dictionary search that took from 2 to 15 minutes (compared with, say less than 1 minute for an English search). The length and increased frequency of dictionary searches tends to overwhelm the wouldbe reader.
Smart Characters eases the burden of memorizing thousands of Chinese characters by applying the power of the computer to provide instant annotations of characters so that the user can reinforce his or her knowledge instead of being crushed by memory lapses.
Since annotation of Chinese characters (kanji or hanzi) by hand consumes the bulk of the time required for document translation, the reading and annotation tools found in Smart Characters significantly simplify and accelerate the translation process. Smart Characters allows the translator to focus his or her concentration on the subtleties of meaning rather than mere word identification.
As handy as Smart Characters' annotations and tools are, mastery of the language requires continued learning. Smart Characters' intelligent vocabulary tutor encourages the development of language skills so that, with continued use, users can work towards the goal of complete fluency.
By not allowing the student to become lazy or sloppy, and prompting the student to respond quickly, as in a video game, the vocabulary tutor accelerates memorization by a factor of about 10 over traditional flash card methods while reducing response time to that of native speakers, eventually training the student to read unannotated text fluently.
For writing letters, faxes, and other documents, Smart Characters accelerates the text entry by eliminating the need to consult a dictionary by providing the dictionary entry during the selection process. By preserving the user's train of thought, Smart Characters allows the user to focus on Japanese or Chinese modes of expression, rather than word substitution.
The preponderance of the difficulties outlined above has resulted in individuals setting aside their interest in Japanese and Chinese out of frustration from their inability to actually use the language even after years of schooling.
The Smart Characters system, by eliminating the most difficult and annoying hassles and "gotchas" from Asian Language reading and writing, makes it feasible for those with some language instruction to actually use the language they studied, and encourages the continuing development of language proficiency. As users acquire greater proficiency, they can "turn off" or hide Smart Characters annotations while retaining them for later reference, or for the benefit of those less proficient.
Copyright © 1996 Apropos, Inc.