VocabEncounter: NMT-powered Vocabulary Learning by Presenting Computer-Generated Usages of Foreign Words into Users’ Daily Lives

CHI 2022

By : Riku Arakawa, Hiromu Yakura, Sosuke Kobayashi

We demonstrate that recent natural language processing (NLP) techniques introduce a new paradigm of vocabulary learning that benefits from both micro and usage-based learning by generating and presenting the usages of foreign words based on the learner’s context. Then, without allocating dedicated time for studying, the user can become familiarized with how the words are used by seeing the example usages during daily activities, such as Web browsing. To achieve this, we introduce VocabEncounter, a vocabulary-learning system that suitably encapsulates the given words into materials the user is reading in near real time by leveraging recent NLP techniques. After confirming the system’s human-comparable quality of generating translated phrases by involving crowdworkers, we conducted a series of user studies, which demonstrated its effectiveness on learning vocabulary and its favorable experiences. Our work shows how NLP-based generation techniques can transform our daily activities into a field for vocabulary learning.

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