English to Chinese: Carriers Sweat as Texting Cools Off General field: Science Detailed field: IT (Information Technology)
Source text - English Growth in the volume of text messaging is slowing sharply, just as new threats emerge to that lucrative source of wireless carrier profits.
While U.S. cellphone users sent and received more than 1 trillion texts in the second half of 2010, according to CTIA, a wireless industry trade group, that was just an 8.7% increase from the prior six months. It was the slimmest gain since texting exploded last decade.
Text traffic will come under more pressure in the months ahead. This week, Apple Inc. showed off an application that will allow iPhone and iPad owners to bypass carriers and send text messages over the Internet to other people with Apple devices.
Google Inc., whose Android software is the most popular operating system on smartphones, has also recently worked on a messaging application, a person familiar with the matter said.
The new messaging tools—answers to Research In Motion Ltd.'s popular BlackBerry Messenger—are a growing threat to a texting business that generated $25 billion in revenue in the U.S. and Canada last year.
Carriers, such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless, charge fees ranging from 20 cents per text to $20 a month for unlimited texting. The texting business has low costs and high margins. A dollar of texting revenue produces at least 80 cents of profit compared with about 35 cents of profit from $1 in wireless data or voice services, according to analysts at UBS.
The challenges posed by alternatives to text messaging reflect the broader changes roiling the wireless industry as carriers scramble to adjust to devices like the iPhone and Android handsets, which give cellphone users more flexibility in how they communicate.
"It's not cool anymore to SMS," Eelco Blok, chief executive of Dutch telecommunications company Royal KPN NV, acknowledged on an April earnings call. The company reported its youth-oriented brand, Hi, saw an 8% decline in outgoing SMS or text messages per customer in the first three months of this year compared with the first quarter of 2010.
Carriers are betting that sales of smartphone data services that let users connect to the Internet will offset the fast decline in voice revenue. In the meantime, however, text services are playing an outsized role in holding up carrier profits.
In the U.S., carriers are contending with subscribers like Hadi Mulhem, a 27-year-old New York City beer vendor and iPhone owner who says he texts more than he talks and would welcome the chance to lower his bill by using Apple's iMessage. "If I'm able to use it and not pay $20 a month, then of course I will," Mr. Mulhem said.
Texting growth has been uneven at the biggest U.S. operators. At Verizon Wireless, the number of text messages sent by its retail customers dropped from an average of 2,110 in the third quarter of 2010 to 2,068 in the fourth quarter, then reached 2,104 in the first quarter of this year.
At AT&T, year-to-year growth in text messages per handset was 21% in the first quarter, but down from 41% the year, according to UBS.
Mark Collins, AT&T's senior vice president for data and voice products, expects high demand for texting plans to persist for a long time, because texting, unlike the Apple or BlackBerry messaging services, allows cellphone users to send instant messages to people with different devices.
Verizon said the number of texts sent by its users continues to grow every year and highlighted that a high percentage of its smartphone users select pricing plans that include SMS, an abbreviation that dates to 1985 when texting was known as short message system.
Texting stems from a decades-old technology that with relatively modest investments let users swap brief bits of text (under 160 characters a piece) over carriers' voice networks.
The technology is outdated now that carriers offer wireless Internet services. In fact, some carriers are already shifting their messaging traffic to their data networks, according to Devesh Agarwal, vice president of mobile messaging at telecommunications company Tekelec. It's only natural that subscribers would follow suit.
By downloading applications developed by other companies, smartphone users can make calls and send texts via the Internet without adding to their minutes or message count. Voice-over-Internet apps like Skype allow users to make voice calls over the Internet while instant-message apps from WhatsApp to Kik let people exchange text and photos without being charged for a text message.
Adoption of such technologies by companies like Apple and Google could push Internet messaging into the mainstream.
In some countries, that's already happening.
In the Netherlands, KPN saw a surge in adoption of the free WhatsApp messaging app—from 0% of Hi's Android phone users in August 2010 to 85% in April 2011. The company's CEO, Mr. Blok, said the move from texting to such applications was expanding rapidly from its younger subscribers to adults.
A KPN spokesman said the carrier plans to roll out a new portfolio of subscriptions this summer that likely will charge customers more for data use to make up for the decline in texting.
Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG insists SMS remains a dominant platform that continues to post slight growth. "It's a very established way to communicate," Chief Executive Rene Obermann told analysts last month. "Not everybody is a techno freak, and not everybody wants to deploy these new applications such as WhatsApp."
Part of KPN's problem, analysts say, is that many of its users pay for each text message individually rather than subscribing to a texting plan. In the U.S., texting ballooned in the mid-2000s, as more carriers started offering unlimited plans.
Text volumes soared from 25 billion text messages in the second half of 2004 to 823 billion five years later, according to the CTIA, before moderating more recently.
English to Chinese: Ubiquitous games for learning (UbiqGames) General field: Other Detailed field: Education / Pedagogy
Source text - English The UbiqGames project is the natural extension of previous
efforts at MIT’s Scheller Teacher Education
Program (STEP) lab to develop casual, mobile, and
educational games. They seek to take advantage of
the appeal of games as an alternative to other forms
of schoolwork, the ability of well-designed games to
engage players for extended periods beyond the initial
appeal, and the learning that can take place through
games (Gee 2003). UbiqGames are a genre of mobile
learning games based on casual design, which enables
them to fit more easily into the formal school setting by
being played in short, frequent bursts throughout the
day. In addition, their browser-based nature enables students
to utilize the games not only from a wide variety
of mobile devices they may carry with them but also from desktop, laptop, or netbook computers – making
access to the games ubiquitous across time and devices.
These affordances, combined with the infrastructure
that provides teachers with real-time feedback and
student data, make UbiqGames a promising genre for
implementation in the classroom.
Weatherlings is the first example of a UbiqGame
developed by the STEP lab. Designed for mobile
screens, it is a collectible card battle game in which
the characters on the cards have traits that depend on
weather conditions in the arenas in which battles take
place. By using real weather data from real cities
throughout the United States from the recent past, the
designers posit that students will become better at local
short-term weather forecasting as they strive to improve
their performance in the game. The pilot study
described in this paper is an initial exploration of the
usage patterns of UbiqGames as they move beyond
tightly controlled research tools on restricted devices, to
games that are deployed on everyday devices that can be
used throughout the day.
Translation - Chinese 泛在游戏工程在麻省理工学院施勒教师教育计划（STEP）实验室项目的基础上，继续研究休闲游戏、移动游戏和教育游戏。他们寻求游戏替代其他形式功课的优势，探求精心设计的游戏可以长时间吸引玩家的能力，从而找到通过游戏来学习的方式（Gee 2003）。泛在游戏指的是一系列基于休闲设计的移动学习游戏，它们周期短，被玩的频度高，这样就可以将它们很好地融入到正规学校的教学中去。此外，由于这些游戏是基于浏览器的，学生不仅可以用他们的手机玩游戏，还可以使用台式机、笔记本电脑或者上网本玩游戏，这使得游戏跨越时间和设备的限制而变得无处不在。有了这些基础设施，加上教师的即时反馈和学生学习记录，泛在游戏将会成为一种课堂教学中很有前景的教学方式。
Master's degree - shenzhen university
Years of translation experience: 8. Registered at ProZ.com: Feb 2011.