Here's what's up at zKorean…

New: Hide Romanization

Some folks love Romanization, some hate it, some feel it’s helpful, and some have moved past it in their studies.

We’ve received requests over the last few months to add the ability to hide Romanizations. So that’s what we did!

We added a Preferences area under “Account”. This option is the only one there for now.  By unchecking the box, we won’t show you Romanization in:

  • dictionary results
  • flash cards
  • translation helper

hide romanizations with this new option

Thanks for waiting!

For the last few months, I’ve been working on something that I’d put off for years – working on a translation engine. I know that the dictionary on zKorean was not as comprehensive as it should be, and I also knew that I needed to have a way for people to be able to search for words that were in more conversational form instead of dictionary form.

So I had an idea: when people search for words, see if I can find a translation from the massive amount of data I’ve collected over the years. This is general translation data that I’ve purchased over the years, with the thought that I could do something fantastic with it.

So I was able to organize it in a way that allows me to hit it when I need to look up something short. Then when you search the dictionary or click a word in the translation helper and it isn’t found, I’ll check for it in my data set.  And if it’s there and passes a number of checks, I add it into the dictionary results. Then you immediately get the results!  You will find the word you’re looking for.

translation helper

What this means is that as others search the dictionary, the dictionary improves – and grows.  So over the next few months and years, the dictionary will become huge.

You may not see the word you’re looking for when typing in the autocomplete box. But keep typing to the end of the word, and if we have it, it will show up:

autocomplete - foodie

So you won’t see a fancy new redesign, but know that now there is a shiny, powerful engine under the hood.

However, it’s not perfect, and may give you odd results from time to time, but since this was a huge undertaking involving data generated by humans and a computerized understanding of language (with little context), there will be bugs. I’ll be monitoring what comes through and making adjustments for a while until I’m comfortable with it.

Thank you for your patience!

I ran across this fine article on Lifehacker this morning.  It explains the steps to take on learning a foreign language in 90 days.  In a word, immersion.  Thinking, listening, reading, and speaking in the foreign language (with those who know the language, not who are also learning it) and learning new grammar and vocabulary for hours a day.  If your schedule and resources permit, it seems a solid approach.

Check it out!

lifehacker_language

We Now Accept Credit Cards

You’re probably thinking "it’s about time".  We agree.  It’s been a long time coming.  An enormous amount of research went in to finding the right payment processor and billing system to build upon in the future.  We nailed it.

credit card logos

Accepted credit cards:

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • JCB

For those new to zKorean, just subscribe.

If you subscribed in the past or have an account (can log in but have no special access):

  1. Log in to zKorean.com
  2. Go to your Account  area.
  3. Click “subscribe” and choose the credit card option.

Extra Awesome

Your Payment Information is Safe With Us. We NEVER even see it!

security seal

We use 128-bit SSL encryption so your payment information is encrypted from your computer to the payment processor.  In addition, our servers at zKorean never receive or access your credit card number. It’s a level of PCI compliance that ensures your credit card information is secure to the maximum.  Even when you need to update your credit card information later in the future, we don’t present it to you because we don’t store it on our servers. Awesome, right?

Sorry Site Was Down ALL DAY

I want to apologize personally for zKorean being unavailable today. It’s completely my fault and I’m sorry. I know thousands of you use the site daily as a tool for translating Korean, whether it’s for school work, personal study, or just enjoyment.

I got notice that there was an issue with the site at about 9am my time. I get an email anytime the site goes down. I thought it was just a brief downtime of a few seconds, so I went back to making coffee.  I had no idea until this evening that it had been down all day, and I scrambled to fix it. And the fix was simple.  So I feel even worse about it.  It’s not like it was a challenge that I overcame after hours of effort.

I deeply apologize.

Romanization Improvements

Thanks to the subscribers who have pointed out issues in the Romanization! I just fixed quite a few and now the Romanization is better than ever!

The changes I made affected 2,087 Romanizations in the dictionary, flash cards, and Romanizer, too!

Here is a small sample of some of the changes. I think you’ll be pleased.

The before and after:

Sample of Romanization changesKeep in mind that zKorean’s Romanization is based on standard modern Romanization rules, but then I add some special sauce to help Korean learners pronounce Korean better. I have plans to show the standard and zKorean together, but have bigger fish to fry before that.

 

Thanks for reading. If you are not a subscriber to zKorean, you won’t get the benefit of these improvements. Why not subscribe (it’s pretty affordable at only $4.95 per month) and get all these great benefits?  I’m workin’ hard for ya!

Introducing ReadyPrompt

Keep Calm and Trust ReadyPrompt

You may know that ReadyPrompt is the parent company of zKorean. If not, that’s OK. I run it, and recently converted the business to an LLC. So I’ll be updating some copy on the site, and updating accounts to move them away from the name zKorean and change them to ReadyPrompt. 

So what does this mean to you? Not much. The services won’t change at all. Just some names.  So if you are a subscriber, you’ll see “READYPROMPT” on your Paypal or Amazon Payments charge on your credit card, not “ZKOREAN”.  I just didn’t want you to be alarmed and call your credit card company asking about charges from ReadyPrompt.

Also, for new subscribers, you’ll see the seller in PayPal as ReadyPrompt. No worries. Again, it’s just me.

I’ll be sending out an e-mail notice to all subscribers once this change is made.

That’s all. Nothing to see here.

Dictionary Improvements

The interesting thing about making web sites and cool features is that not every feature is cool to everyone. Sometimes a feature can be annoying. I’ve found that out about the auto-suggest feature. So I’ve added the option to disable auto-suggest. It’s snuggled right underneath the Search button. I’ve made a space called “options” so that you can get to these settings, and they take up little space. See below:

New dictionary options box

Read to the end »

HTML5 LogoThrough the magic of HTML5, you can now listen to the native Korean pronunciations on your mobile device. No need for an app! Just use the site as you normally would.

iPhone and iPad

 

 

 

 

 

Seems like this was easy, right? Ugh. There were a myriad of issues I had to solve. I won’t bore you, but if you’re wondering why this took so long, there were many issues solving technical problems. But with love in my heart for our super zKorean customers, I pushed through and stretched my simple brain in new directions.

Whew. Enjoy.

Work in progressLast May, I did a redesign of the site, and I have been pretty happy with it, but I think zKorean can be better. A better UI, especially for the dictionary, and a prettier, simpler UI overall would really make it pop.

I know that under the hood there are some improvements to make: more words in the dictionary, a better lookup system, a better translation helper, just a lot of places where it can be better.

You deserve better.

So in the comments here, let me know how I can improve things, and I’ll mash your ideas with mine and we’ll make something fantastic. I’m looking for your help to make this a fun, special place to learn Korean.