26 July 2010
Computerized grammar checkers
One of the problems in working with a second language is unfamiliarity with its grammar. Except for English (which is covered by Microsoft), other languages are sometimes difficult to use because of the lack of writer-friendly grammar guides. Computers may come to the rescue, the way they now do spelling checks and word counts. Of course, like translation tools, computer programs deal only with the most common issues and are not much help with the nuances that writers work with. Nevertheless, it's a first step in not looking silly to users of other languages. For example, we could try CrossCheck for Swedish, BonPatron for French, and LanguageTool for several other languages. A good writer, needless to say, knows not just common grammatical rules but the intricacies of grammar and usage of the other language, in order to know when and why to break the rules for more important aesthetic considerations.