You can download the latest version of the brocrobes browser extension here
Brocrobes is the extension that allows you to enrich any webpage with your own, personalised help. When you click on the extension button (or menu item in Firefox for Android), the extension will look for all text in the language you are learning on the page, and send that to the server. The server will then get context-based definitions for all the words, and translations for all the sentences, and send that back to the browser. The browser will then replace each part of the webpage with special, interactive text, including inline translations for the words you don’t know. A picture is worth a thousand words, and four are worth four thousand!
Popup for the word “湿地” (wetland)
Popup with sentence translation showing
To use brocrobes, simply navigate to the webpage you are interested in - any webpage - and click on the button
Transcrobe Me!. Depending on the complexity and size of the webpage, it might take a few seconds for the enrichment process to start to be visible but rest assured, Transcrobes is working hard in the background.
Sometimes brocrobes will make a bit of a mess of a webpage, due to bad webpage coding by the site developers. The better you know the language of the webpage, the less of a mess it will be. The idea behind brocrobes is that if there are so many words on a page that get translated inline that it makes a mess, you definitely won’t be able to understand anything on the page without it. So short of using a full webpage translation tool like Google Translate (which can make a mess too), you either have a choice of not being able to understand anything, or having the page a bit messy. It’s up to you - click on the Transcrobe Me! button or not - you decide!
This will definitely get better over time, and we hope that eventually some sites will add direct support for Transcrobes. We are also thinking actively about new features that will make brocrobes even more useful - each language learner has different needs and Transcrobes wants to let each learner mix and match the exact things they need at the current point in time.
A good example of new options for learning Chinese would be to not include the English translation (gloss) in-line but rather the pinyin. Another option would be not to put glosses at all but rather highlight the unknown words. One more, particularly relevant for Chinese, might be to only highlight compound words that it knows you know the component parts of. Or maybe a mix of all of them, depending on how common the words are and the particular part of speech. Text-to-speech, so you can hear individual words, or even entire sentences, is also on the roadmap. All these options, and many more, will become available over time and as Transcrobes gets a better picture of your knowledge, the rate you learn will increase dramatically.