Can’t afford a personal Russian language coach? The “Interactive Dictation” (Интерактивный диктант) feature on www.gramota.ru may be the next best thing. It’s always available and is never in a bad mood. You can practice at your own pace, and—best of all—it’s free!
Here’s how it works. Once you go to the website, you’ll see a list of names of authors.
Each author’s name is followed by the name of one of his or her works. Pick one.
You’ll then see a passage of text sprinkled with yellow boxes.
Each yellow box is a test of your skills in Russian grammar or spelling. Click on a box to reveal a dropdown menu of punctuation or letter combinations. Choose one of the options for each yellow box.
Then click the “Check” (Проверить) button to see how you did.
Correct answers will be rendered green, and incorrect answers will be red.
That’s great, but there’s more! Not only do you get to see what you got wrong, you get to learn why! Click on each red box to see an explanation of the grammar or spelling rules that you broke.
I’ve come across a helpful translation tool called IntelliWebSearch that can accelerate your translation speed. It allows you to create keyboard shortcuts for repetitive web searches. For example, I’ve created a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+I) to automatically initiate an image search using whatever text is currently selected as the query string. The more time consuming alternative would be to copy the query string from your document, switch to your browser, navigate to the image search page, paste the query string, and hit enter. If you find yourself searching the web a lot during a translation job, this tool is for you! Kudos to the developer: Michael Farrell. There are dozens of preconfigured search engines and online dictionaries. You can tweak them as needed or add your own.
Mr. Farrell has created some explanatory videos for IntelliWebSearch: