Skritter Newsletter (please enable images)

Hi visitor! This is the Skritter newsletter. Look for it on the 15th of each month. In this issue: the monthly stats, some fun mnemonics, four cool new features, inside the dictionary translation project, the monthly top learners, and an EXTREME CHALLENGE!

Monthly Stats: Hours spent: 8,034 // Items studied: 6,009,886 // Characters learned: 101,057 // Retention: 90.22%

Cool Mnemonics - see if you can guess what characters go with which memory device!
ceggiman: Harvest grain with a knife and get the benefit.
muer: A person, taking a rest next to a tree.
aeriph: The sun moves an inch at a time.

New This Month

The Professor

For too long users have had to rely on email to get their questions answered. Waiting for us to respond took too long, and it forced us to slow our development of new features! Now, however, The Professor is here to remedy the situation.

IE 9 Support

It's no secret that we try to encourage Skritter members to use non-IE browsers. For this reason, the site was looking increasingly broken on IE until recently when Scott put in some hard hours getting everything back up to snuff.

User Profiles

You can now view general statistics about your fellow Skritter users by clicking on their user names while perusing the forum. We are going to be building more social/game features in the coming months that tie in to the profiles!

Privacy Options

With more social features comes the risk of abuse, which is why we also built a way you can keep your personal information private. We want to protect your privacy while also letting you socialize. We aren't Facebook, after all.

Translating the Skritter Dictionary

Behind our effort to offer Skritter definitions in all different languages.


Students of Chinese and Japanese hail from all corners of the world, not just English-speaking parts. So here at Skritter we want to make our methods of language study as accessible as possible to speakers of all languages. Most of our definitions are in English, but we've managed to incorporate some other languages as well, especially German, Russian, and French. But the quality of these non-English dictionaries is highly variable. You guys have told us you want this situation to improve, so we're starting a major push to flesh out these alternative dictionaries.

First a quick overview of how the system works currently. At any time you can switch your source language (and target language) at the top right of any page to the right of your username. All words then show up with definitions in that source language, using the English definitions as a fallback. Since most languages have very few definitions, most words still show up with English definitions, no matter what source language you choose.

But you can help! You can add a definition to our system for any word you see during study or elsewhere. While studying, simply click the definition to put in your own custom version in the given language, and click the 'submit as correction' checkbox. The correction will automatically be submitted in whatever source language you've currently chosen, but we'll soon be adding a way to choose manually. You can also submit corrections from the word popup, such as when browsing a list, just make sure you click the 'submit as correction' checkbox.

What happens to these submissions? Everything gets checked over by ballers, that is, people who are designated to polish and double check all corrections. When you submit a definition for a word that doesn't already have one, the submission is automatically accepted and made available for everyone, though eventually it will be gone over just like all other corrections.

Unfortunately, we only have a few intrepid ballers! German, Spanish and English to Chinese are being handled for now, but every other dictionary has no one handling corrections, and some are getting rather backed up. We could use more dedicated souls to devote some free time to handling these corrections and helping us improve our dictionaries in general. A few hours per week can go a long way, and we've been told that doing this sort of work is actually quite an effective form of study! As an added bonus, while working as a baller, your Skritter account will be completely free, which can save you a good bit of money over the long term.

To become a baller, you would ideally have intermediate to advanced knowledge of both source and target languages, preferably with an insatiable thirst to learn lots more. We're very flexible in terms of when and how much time you put in, as long as it's fairly regular and we stay caught up with the corrections we get. Here are the languages that have the biggest backlogs with no one to handle them:

  • French to Chinese (6000+)
  • Italian to Chinese (6000+)
  • English to Japanese (3000+)
  • German to Japanese (1000+)
  • Russian to Chinese (700+)
  • Chinese to Chinese (600+)
  • Russian to Japanese (400+)

We can of course take on more ballers for the languages that are already being handled, or really any language combo you want to tackle. Even if you aren't qualified for being a baller, or don't want to make the time commitment, anyone can still submit corrections to be gone over later; every little bit helps!

James Roland jlm2jlm2

And finally, much thanks goes out to our ballers! Right now we have Roland working on German to Chinese, James (jww1066) and jlm2jlm2 working on Spanish to Chinese, and our very own Chris Clark handling both English and Spanish to Chinese. You guys are doing a terrific job. When leaderboards and badges get set up, we'll be sure to have some special recognition for everyone who helps with the dictionaries, for both those who submit corrections and those that go over them. Thanks again, we really appreciate your contributions to the site.

If you'd like to become a Skritter baller, send us a message through our contact form, or email me directly at scott at and I will get you set up.

Top Learners This Month


Time Spent: 88 hours

New Words Learned: 847

New Chars Learned: 537

Total Chars Learned: 1637


Time Spent: 80 hours

New Words Learned: 3054

New Chars Learned: 1943

Total Chars Learned: 1943


Time Spent: 76 hours

New Words Learned: 355

New Chars Learned: 126

Total Chars Learned: 1486


Time Spent: 64 hours

New Words Learned: 140

New Chars Learned: 79

Total Chars Learned: 1275


Time Spent: 59 hours

New Words Learned: 1830

New Chars Learned: 493

Total Chars Learned: 1556


Time Spent: 53 hours

New Words Learned: 386

New Chars Learned: 356

Total Chars Learned: 880

Extreme Challenge

Okay, here's the deal: we've had learning challenges in the past, and we'll have them in the future, but we though we would do something a little more challenging, and potentially rewarding, for this month's contest.

This challenge will work differently from previous incarnations. Here are all the details:

To be eligible, you must practice for an average of 60 minutes per day for 25 consecutive days in a 30 day period starting on May 1st and ending on June 1st This means that you could practice for 30 minutes one day, and 90 the next and you'll qualify, but you have to make sure you are hitting the 60 minute target. Because we are only requiring 25 consecutive days, you can begin the challenge as late as May 6th and still be eligible so long as you meet the daily study limit and then study all the way through June 1st.

So what's in it for you? Simple: prizes. Unlike previous challenges where, say, 30 people qualify and we randomly pick 5 to receive prizes, everyone who completes this challenge will receive a prize. That means there's no drawing, no random selection, your reward is based purely upon your own dedication. Like previous challenges, you will have a choice of 5 different prizes which are pictured above. We will cover shipping to you and with the every prize except for the Wacom, you will also get you choice of what Skritter is printed on it.

Since this challenge will be running from May 1st to June 1st instead of from the 15th to 15th, we will announce it on the blog to remind everyone both before it starts and ends.

Skritter Team

That's the April newsletter. Got ideas for other things to include in the next one? Let us know or just respond to this email. Now, learn some characters and push those monthly stats ever higher.

The Skritter Team

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Copyright 2011 Inkren, Inc.

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