New Compass version 2.5 released

We’ve released Compass version 2.5, which adds Arabic language support.

Screenshot of Compass configuration screen for Sentence test, showing Test Language set to Arabic

I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a new Compass version that adds Arabic language support. To choose Arabic language for a Compass test, simply go into the configuration screen for that test, and select Arabic as the Test Language. Screenshot of Compass configuration screen for Sentence test, showing Test Language set to Arabic This means that test items like words, sentences, prompts can all be presented in Arabic, to provide a more comfortable and valid assessment for Arabic speakers. The screenshot below shows the Sentence Test in Arabic, with the text to be copied on top, and the partial text entered by the user on the bottom.Screenshot of Compass Sentence test, showing a sentence to copy and the partial text entered by the user in Arabic.

Many thanks to Noha Ibrahim Halawani, who produced the Arabic translations during her graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh. She used Compass within her Masters’ project with users in Saudi Arabia, but was limited to the pointing skill tests since the text entry and switch tests did not present items in Arabic. It was her idea to add Arabic language support to Compass, and she volunteered her time to do the necessary translations and provide feedback along the way. We hope the opportunity to use Compass with Arabic language speakers will be useful to practitioners in Arabic-speaking nations and around the world. All Compass tests are supported, including the Scan test, as shown below in one of the available setups. Screenshot of Compass Scan test using a row-column grid of Arabic letters

As a bit of an aside, this was a really interesting project, since Arabic is so different from English. Not only is text read from right-to-left, the letter forms change depending on their position in a word. So the task of just copying an Arabic word using a computer keyboard is very challenging for someone with no familiarity with Arabic (like me). Fortunately, Noha has great language skills in English and Arabic, so that really made the project possible.

This brings the total number of languages supported in Compass to five: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic. The practitioner interface is still in English (sorry!), so practitioners still need a working understanding of English. But user tests can be provided in any of the five supported languages. We support new languages based on user needs and requests, so if you have a language that you need, please let us know.

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