Erase Language Barriers with a Pocket-sized Electronic Translator
Touch Screen Devices: A quick tutorial
If you are already the proud owner of an Ectaco touchscreen translator or are considering one, but are not familiar with touchscreen devices, this tutorial is for you. For other support issues, see our support pages.
If you already use a Blackberry, PocketPC, or other touchscreen device, you can skip this tutorial because you will be able to use the device instantly. But you might want to review the list of icons in the manual, and you might want to note we have support pages you can access at any time.
In this short tutorial, we'll answer these questions:
Touchscreens have been around a long time. They've been used in process control systems in power plants, refineries, and pharmaceuticals with great success. When they first began appearing in consumer devices, it was really a breakthrough in usability. They allow the device to be much more portable, highly customizable, and just plain easier to use. They really took off with the introduction of the Apple Newton in the mid-1990s.
You may have seen people tapping away on a screen with a slender device resembling a pen. That's the stylus. When you're not using it, the stylus gets cradled in the device--it slides into the case and locks in place.
It's a symbol that will cause something to happen if you tap it. Most digital devices have a chart that shows what icons are being used. The Ectaco devices are no exception. Many icons are standard, and if you see them on one device you will see them on another. Many users learn icons by position, the way touch typists learn keys by position. The more you use your touchscreen device, the more you'll know what certain icons do. It'll become second-nature.
This is a big barrier for many people. They're expecting to see some function or another (e.g., translation) on top. But this isn't how touchscreen devices are arranged. Their arrangement is, however, quite logical.
Controls are grouped by function. So, you can think of categories of functions. For example, if you want to change a setting, then you'd go to the settings menu and select the setting you want to change.
But keep in mind that there are device settings and there are application settings. An application is a program that runs on the device. If you want to change something global, like font size, you would do that in the settings area. If you want to change the language direction of the phrasebook application, where do you think you will find that?
You may feel lost, but you're really not. There are all kinds of ways to get to where you want to be. For beginners, the best way is probably to close open windows, one at a time, until you get back to the window you want to be at. As you get more familiar with the device, you'll know how to get to the main menu.
Many digital devices have buttons you can press, if you get lost (most of these are user-settable). For example, you can press a button and get back to the Welcome Screen.
On Ectaco devices, there are "fixed" icons on the left and the right of the screen, rather than buttons on the device. You can get directly into the phrasebook, for example, just by tapping the one that opens the phrasebook.
This is also a problem for people who aren't used to a touchscreen. You turn the device on, and nothing you see appears to be useful. The best way to solve this problem is to explore the device a little rather than try to jump in right away and try to (in the case of translators) translate with it.
And the easiest way to do that is to set aside some time (it doesn't take much) to follow the printed manual step by step. Don't rush ahead. Just work your way through a few pages and follow along on your device. Don't worry about how you will use the function shown. Just go through the motions and let the device reveal itself to you. Again, this does not take long. If you rush ahead, you will end up using more time than if you follow this simple process.
After you've made a "walk through" of the device, you'll find that using it is pretty easy. You're now familiar with the controls and have seen things happen when you use them. So at this point, you're caught up with people who've been using touchscreen devices for several years. Just practice, and you will become more fluid and proficient with translation.
Finally, remember that the underlying principle of touchscreen devices issimplicity. If you feel lost or frustrated, stop. Take a deep breath. Remember that the device was designed to be simple. Tell yourself, "I can do this. It's really simple." Because you can and it is.
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