PanLem: Tutorial

PanLem is an experimental expert web interface for exploring and editing the PanLex database. It is designed to test the concept of PanLex as a localization tool (interacting with PanLex while also using PanLex to translate the interface into any language chosen by the user). It is used mainly by our developers and is not intended to be easy for the general public to use.

The special feature of PanLem is that all messages to you are “lemmatic”: They consist of words in dictionary form (lemmas, i.e. PanLex “expressions”), not sentences. So PanLem uses PanLex as its localization engine and tries to localize itself into all of its 9,000 language varieties. In this early stage, the results are often inadequate, but as PanLex grows it will get better at translating the PanLem interface into all languages.

PanLem requires browsers that comply with certain Internet standards. Some older browsers don’t comply or are extremely inefficient in processing certain elements. These include Safari 5.1.0–5.1.3 and Internet Explorer 1–7.

Your basic routine for using PanLem is this:

  1. If you plan to interact with PanLem with Safari 5.1.0–5.1.3 (now obsolete) on OS X, prepare Safari first.
  2. On the home page, choose the language you want to interact with PanLem in.
  3. After that, treat the labels as hints about what you can do and how. Explore.

Here is one example that you can perform step by step, to get some familiarity with PanLem:

  1. On the home page, choose “eng-000 English”. You are asking PanLem to interact with you in English.
  2. Click “begin”.
  3. Choose “translation: one — see”. You are asking to see translations of one expression.
  4. Choose “every”. You are asking PanLex to look for the expression you’ll enter among its expressions in all language varieties.
  5. Type the word “duvar” after “expression—text”. That’s the expression you’re asking PanLex to translate.
  6. Check “exact”. You’re asking PanLex to limit itself to “duvar”, not “dúvar”, “väljasõiduvärav”, “Saint-Laurent-du-Var”, etc.
  7. Choose “whole”. You’re asking PanLex to limit itself to “duvar”, not “panduvari”, “ara duvarı”, etc. You find that “duvar” is an expression in at least 2 language varieties.
  8. Choose “tur-000 Türkçe” (Turkish).
  9. Choose “translation—translation”. You are telling PanLex to get ready to give you not only direct translations of “duvar”, but also indirect ones (translations of translations). You now see a list of all the language varieties in PanLex.
  10. Choose “bel-000 беларуская” (Belarusian). You are asking PanLex to give you translations of “duvar” into Belarusian, whose ISO 693-3 code is “bel”, and in particular into its main variety, to which PanLex has assigned the variety code 0 (formatted as “000”). If you see “nothing” under “translation—into—expression”, PanLex contains no translation of “duvar” into Belarusian. If you see any expressions, they are the direct translations of “duvar” into Belarusian known to PanLex.
  11. Choose “translation—translation: best”. You are asking PanLem to get indirect translations, estimate their probabilities of being good translations, and give you the best 10 (if there are that many). You see that PanLem has found indirect translations and has given the top 10 of them scores (under the heading “good”), with the highest score assigned to the translation with the highest estimated validity.
  12. Choose “сьцяна” to see how PanLex found it. You see that PanLex found translations of “duvar” into numerous other expressions in at least 9 language varieties, and found translations of all these into the Belarusian expression “сьцяна”.
  13. Click on the intermediary translation “rus-000 русский: стена” (in Russian). You see that PanLex found several paths through it.
  14. Choose any of the paths under “see” to see details about it. You see a page that starts by identifying the source expression (“duvar”), the target expression (“сьцяна”), and the intermediate expression (“стена”). After that it displays records of 2 meanings. The first meaning joins the source and intermediate expressions (in other words, the specified PanLex source assigns that meaning to both of those expressions). The second meaning joins the intermediate and target expressions. Any other expressions sharing either meaning are also shown.
  15. Under either of the “translation — source” headings, choose “source—fact” to see some facts about that source. This gives you information about the authors, title, publisher, etc. One of those facts is the estimated quality of the source (labeled “person—good”). That estimate is considered in the computation of the indirect translations’ scores.
  16. Now feel free to navigate spontaneously. Any time you want to stop, you may choose “stop” in the upper left corner, or just close your browser window.

As PanLex grows, some of what you see in this tutorial example may change. If you notice a discrepancy, or have any other comments or questions, feel free to contact us.

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