27th February 1998 at 00:00
GCSE Bitesize Revision

Launched this month by Michael Barber, head of the Government's Standards and Effectiveness Unit, this Web site holds the on-line element of BBC Education's multimedia revision package for students sitting GCSEs this summer.

The BBC is producing a comprehensive revision service, with the Internet site working alongside television programmes and books designed to help revision for GCSEs in subjects. The Web site has a searchable data-base of practice questions, examiners' tips, and offers expert answers to all e-mail queries within 48 hours.

The TV programmes begin on February 28 ( on BBC2's Learning Zone) and the accompanying books will be available in bookshops.

Alta Vista Translation Service http:babelfish.altavista. digital.comcgi-bintranslate?

It might sound a little like science fiction, but can you imagine typing a letter or essay and then pushing a button to translate it into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese or Italian? This is what this little site offers - a free, instant translation

service. You write what you want in English and in a couple of seconds it translates it into another language.

This site can also perform an even more impressive party trick. If you type in an Internet address, the site will open the Internet site, but with all the contents trans-lated into the language that you've chosen. Which means that, if you wanted, you could put in The TES's web address and then call up the newspaper in French.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the translations. When I tried translating text from French to English, the system struggled with anything idiomatic. But as a starting point for the hesitant adult linguist, wanting to put together a simple letter (or even to translate individual words), it could prove to be a useful secret ally.

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