Two easy ways to immerse yourself with content created by native speakers in your target language:
1) Listen in your target language whenever possible (via audio books, movies, tv shows, and podcasts). I like podcasts best.
2) Read in your target language. Major news sites and blogs will most likely exist in your target language for free. And you maybe be able to buy books (fiction or non) written by native speakers as well.
You can supplement those two with working through exercises in a grammar book of your target language.
Obviously, if you have a native speaker to practice speaking with, do so, but the listening and reading suggestions alone will get you very far. I'm immersing in Spanish right now, and this is working well for me.
One thing my French teacher keeps telling us is to not use a dictionary. Why is that? Because then everytime I try to speak/write in French I end up constructing the sentence in English and then translating it. This is a bad way of using a language. If I were to learn a language from scratch and independently, I can use it much better. Even though I'm not a native English speaker I'm able to think, write and speak in English without too much effort because inside my head I don't translate it from my mother tongue.
Putting the level of the extension on "fluent" seems to be useful. This translates entire sentences and thus gives me context. Even for an A1 level guy like me (novice) it's only useful on the "fluent" mode.
For instance I saw "tomber en amour" for "to fall in love", which is a literal translation but somewhat awkward. Even worse was "était due à arriver" for "was due to arrive"; once a gain a literal translation but this time the french version doesn't make any kind of sense.
So, definitely something to take with a grain of salt but still pretty useful IMO.
Maybe a more fool-proof approach would be to do it the other way around: have an extension that would translate most of a foreign website except for some words/expressions. This way the foreign language would always be correct (given the source is reliable enough, of course) and having mistakes in the automatically translated native language wouldn't be a problem.
It's awesome that you're immersing yourself but I'm never going to do that unless my priorities change significantly. I installed this extension and now I'm going to learn some spanish words.
I'm also looking for Spanish TV shows (on the Internet, since I don't own a TV), that have subtitles in Spanish as well. So far I only found them with English subtitles, but I guess they must exist in Spanish, too, for example for hearing impaired people.
As icing on the cake, the story is so engaging that I've seen native speakers watch it. :-)
But at the moment, the plugin seems to expect people to have prior knowledge of the language and its so-called immersion revolves around reading and literacy uptake. Pin yin is more for speaking/oral purposes so translating articles into phonetic characters is unconventional for languages that are not meant to be read in such a way.
I use it too.
I will mention that a long time ago, I had trouble with the dictionary file extensions being "incompatible" with new Firefox releases. They're just dictionaries, though, so I hacked them to make them stop. They might have fixed that by now.
Although while this extension is a neat idea, it the word “Immersion” in its title is probably misleading. It only automatically translates select words and phrases from web page—while immersion, I believe, means not using any other language except the one you're learning.
Still, the extension might be useful to acquire some initial knowledge of the language prior to actual immersion.
I'm still skeptical of people without prior knowledge of the language using this plugin because learning via computational translations is unnatural and detrimental to beginners who don't know any better. Beginners don't know when something has been translated wrongly or if that phrase is how a native would express it. This makes the plugin a little redundant, since their market would have to be people who are neither beginners nor completely fluent (since someone that is fluent can engage in actual immersion). The only instance where the plugin would be useful is for people with prior knowledge of the language (can read and write it to a certain extent) but would like to expand their vocabulary bank.
Also, there are two great shows aired by the same basque guy, "Ciudad K" and "Escepticos". Both of them are available for free viewing anywhere in the world (I am located in Brazil)
I do have two worries about it, though. The first is that they seem to be using translations which aren't particularly accurate, which means its possible that if it works, you'll still end up sounding like a beginner.
The other worry is that the language you are learning is still embedded in your native language. I'm pretty sure this will not help with learning the grammar of words, and when you are constantly switching between your language and another language, it won't be very conducive to memorisation of the new language (from my own experience learning Japanese).
Its still a really neat idea though, and I wish the best to the creators.
It's interesting how many of the comments here are similar to the ones there.
Maybe "brush up" would be more appropriate than "learn". The main advantages I see are that;
a) It's pretty passive
b) You're likely to learn vocabulary related to areas of interest, or at least areas you read about (work related perhaps).
It might benefit from some gameification or stats perhaps (e.g. number of pages, number of words, range of words)...
This extensions allows you to browse the internet and specifically your interests while immersing you to a language...uh whoa. Half the reason I didn't like my language courses was the content and classroom was hardly stimulating or relevant to my interests; this changes that entirely.
A great model if we could apply it to education more broadly.
Silly me for using Chrome on ICS.
edit: Never mind, you can hear pronunciation as described by the post replying to me.
I wonder how they will manage to increase the reliability of the translations. It would also be interesting to be able to practice multiple languages at the same time.
I put it on intermediate spanish, it's interesting but it feels like it's doing literal, disjointed word translations which gets messed up with the different sentence structure.
The giant translating box is really annoying, it needs to be something much more discrete I think.
I think the main problem is that Japanese requires a lot more context to make meaning clear than most languages. A translation of an English sentence can be pretty good just based on the context of the sentence itself. Japanese doesn't even indicate in any way who the subject of a sentence is. Lots of sentences don't even require a verb.
And it doesn't help that Japanese has a quirky preposition system that doesn't line up with other languages.
There's only one problem I see with learning vocabulary this way, you need a way to store what you've learned. I thought of one solution, you could drag and drop words into a box linked to your Quizlet (or a similar service) account.
Great Extension. Thanks!
Guess I won't be using this one since I don't use Chrome (I still find it a surprise to discover that most web developers actually use Chrome and not Firefox).
I'm going to keep this on for a while. My inlaws are visiting from abroad, so I need all the help I can get.