+ What Is Libera: Parallel Text Reader?
Libera (short for Learner’s Interactive Bitext Electronic Reading Application) is a language-learning tool that enables users to easily read foreign language texts alongside the same text in their own native language.
+ Who is Libera aimed at?
Libera is aimed at learners interested in studying a foreign language through the sheer pleasure of reading. Though it is most effective for intermediate and advanced learners, Libera’s supporters and users range from complete beginners to language professionals.
+ On which platforms is Libera available?
Libera is currently available for iOS (iPad, iPhone and iPod). There are no immediate plans for Android and web-based versions.
+ Is Libera free?
The application Libera is free and can be downloaded through the App Store. It comes with a free package of full-featured demos in different language pairs.
Full publications can be bought as in-app purchases.
Note: Price Drop for Stories in Libera: On June 1th we're reducing the price of the full text of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (Arabic for English speakers) by 40%. If you've downloaded Libera but have been undecided about buying the story, now is the time to try it.
Also, as an introductory offer for the Japanese market, both currently available stories for Japanese speakers learning English -- (Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and Roman Holiday) -- will be free of charge.
You can find these stories by accessing the Store tab in Libera.
+ Are there different versions of Libera?
All Libera publications offer full-featured Interactive Parallel Text (IPT), with the exception of the novel Roman Holiday, available for Japanese learners of English. This publication has all IPT features except for segment alignment and audio alignment.
Interactive Parallel Text
+ What is Interactive Parallel Text (IPT)?
Interactive Parallel Text (IPT) is a new paradigm that embodies the benefits of traditional paper-based parallel texts along with numerous features specific to the smart mobile platform.
Whenever a segment (word or phrase) is selected in one of the text panels, the corresponding segment in the parallel text is highlighted simultaneously, linking the two languages dynamically.
Moreover, each story features a customized dictionary, full native audio recordings, and grammar notes, creating a fully self-contained learning environment without the need for outside resources.
+ What is a “segment”?
Libera uses a system of interactive text-to-text links. In order to make these links truly meaningful, each text is carefully broken down into meaning-level units called segments, which can be composed of one or multiple words. Tapping a segment in one panel immediately highlights the linked segment in every other panel, making cross-lingual correspondences clear and unambiguous. These highlights also provide cross-script pronunciation, grammar, and word meanings in context.
This segment-level breakdown of the text is especially important when the segment is not continuous; that is, when the words making up a segment are separated within the text.
For instance, in the phrase “to pick the crying baby up,” tapping any of the words in the segment “to pick ... up” will simultaneously highlight all three words and their equivalents in the other versions of the text. This allows readers to see for themselves that the complete verb is properly “to pick up,” and that this is the unit that is translated into the other language.
This innovation eliminates guesswork when text-to-text correspondences are unclear, letting even beginning learners enjoy a smooth reading experience.
+ What are the benefits of IPT?
Parallel texts are unique among language learning tools in that they allow learners to enjoyably read texts in a foreign language. Furthermore, IPT puts vast amounts of reading material within the learner’s immediate reach so he or she will be able to naturally absorb both vocabulary and grammar with greater efficiency than through traditional classroom learning or rote memorization.
+ How is an IPT made?
Interactive Parallel Texts are the product of critical selection of source texts, meticulous translation to have aligning segments, careful linking of words and phrases between translations and the creation of grammar notes together with customized dictionary entries. Furthermore, audio of native speakers is recorded.
These tasks are fundamentally labor-intensive, but we are actively researching advanced techniques that will speed up and automate the process. This will allow us to release additional language pairs and content more quickly, and enable students to choose reading topics of greatest interest to them.
+ On which dictionaries is the customized dictionary based?
Language pairs and publications
+ Which language pairs are available for Libera?
Libera is available for the following language pairs: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish for English speakers. English for Chinese speakers. English for Japanese speakers. New language pairs will be announced soon, but the main focus of our next publications will be on the English-Japanese/Japanese-English pairs.
+ What kind of content is available for Libera?
Libera currently offers the classic fable Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves in all available language pairs. (Chinese-English, Japanese-English and Spanish-English, English-Chinese are currently only demo versions and cannot be purchased yet).
The full version of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves for Arabic-English can be purchased at a discount, and the same story as well as Roman Holiday are made available in English-Japanese for free as an introductory offer for the Japanese market.
Users will soon have access to a broad range of stories and texts in different new language combinations. You can keep track of our future releases, new language pairs, and collaborations with publishers on our blog or through announcements on our social media channels.