Friday, January 06, 2006

CALLT 4/5: Annotators

Annotators are programs, which take a web page as an input and annotate foreign words with extra information. For example, the annotated page could be such that when you hold the mouse cursor over some foreign word, it shows you its meaning in English.

The first annotator I saw was for Lojban. Here is one. I'm not sure if this is the same one. Lojban is an artificial language with a few tens of speakers. However, its grammar belongs to some easily parsable category (LL(k) etc.), which makes it easies to write an annotator.

Here is a Japanese annotator.

The Lukutulkki advertised in the is also an annotator. I've also seen a web page which claims to contain a Chinese annotator; however, the annotator didn't produce any output.

In general, annotators are very scarce when compared to dictionaries and flashcard programs. Are they really so difficult to implement? Is the process of annotating so straining for servers? Do so many dictionaries have a copyrighted vocabulary that they can't allow anyone to download it with an annotator?

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