University of Southern California
Dornsife College

User's Guide for The Language Center

All users are responsible for abiding by university policies as outlined in SCampus as well as Language Center policies as outlined in this handout. Users who violate these policies may lose their privilege to use the Language Center and/or be referred to Student Conduct.


In keeping with the mission of The Language Center to serve the needs of modern language students, time limits for using all equipment and media are enforced according to our commitment as follows:

  1. Students, faculty, and staff enrolled in, teaching, or administrating modern foreign language have no time restrictions for use of equipment and media during our regular hours of operation.
  2. Those students, faculty, or staff not enrolled in, teaching, or administrating modern foreign language will be limited to two hours for use of equipment and media during our regular hours of operation.
  3. Those users who have exceeded their time limits will be immediately be checked out and asked to leave, in order to make room for priority users. At least three PCs and three Macs will remain reserved for priority users at all time.
Visit your instructor for language help or conversation practice. No check-in is required to meet with your instructor during their posted lab hours.
Most audio files that are used with language lab manuals are available online in streaming audio format. Visit your language page to see what audio is available.

The USC College Language Center is open to all current students, staff, and faculty in the USC community at our discretion, space permitting.  By entering The Language Center and our spaces, you agree to abide by the following rules and procedures:

  • All users must exchange their USCard for a usage card before logging into a computer or borrowing lab equipment--except when using the "A" station computers.
  • "A" station computers are for 5-minute use only and no checkout is required.
  • You must sit at the station that is checked out to you.
  • If you abandon your station for more than 10 minutes, all of your materials and possessions will be put behind the front desk and your station will be checked out to another user.
  • Food and drink are only allowed in the International Lounge, provided you clean up after use and are not permitted in The Language Center Commons, conversation or multimedia rooms, or the breezeway.
  • Headphones are required for all audio listening.
  • Do not remove Language Center equipment, magazines or media from The Center.
  • Do not change computer settings or install applications on any computer in Language Center spaces.
  • Do not move, rearrange furniture, or otherwise change Language Center spaces including conversation rooms.
  • Posting of fliers and solicitations of any kind are not permitted in The Language Center.
  • Pets are not allowed in The Language Center at any time. (Registered service animals are exempt.)
  • Sleeping is not permitted in any Language Center spaces, including in chairs and conversation rooms, and feet must be kept off of the furniture.
  • To help prevent the spread of infectious diseases and fungi, shoes must be worn at all times and feet must be kept off of the furniture.
  • Filming of Language Center space is not permitted except with written permission from the Assistant Director for Administration or the Executive Director.
  • Follow directions--without disruption--of all signs and/or all lab assistants who are authorized to enforce Language Center policies and procedures. Disruption includes threatening, rude and insulting words or actions. Disruption also includes any act that would interfere with work practices of staff or study practices of users.

Language Center rules, policies, and regulations are strictly enforced.  

We reserve the right to make changes or additions without consultation or notification at any time and as the need arises.  If you have questions or concerns regarding Language Center policies or procedures, please email us.

Comfortable conversation rooms, modern PC and Macintosh computer classrooms are available for reservation to Priority instructors only.

Reservation requests must be received 48 business hours in advance of the request date. Confirmation will be emailed to the requester. If the 48-hour deadline has passed. Priority users can check-out a room with a valid USCard on a first-come, first-serve basis. Room request and further rules are available online.

Films in languages other than English are available on DVD and VHS to watch only in the Language Center. Every VCR and DVD player at the Language Center is able to play multiformat and multiregion DVD's and VHS tapes. Visit the media catalogue on your language page to see what is available.
The Language Center no longer subscribes to foreign periodicals. However, all titles, such as, Italian Vanity Fair and La Monde, a weekly French newspaper, are available online via the publishers' websites.
Instructors can use foreign broadcasts in their instruction by requesting a recording that can then be checked out for a maximum of 45 days. Visit the satellite page for program schedules and a request form.
Several foreign broadcasts are available for anyone to watch in the hallway viewing areas or in the International Lounge on a first-come basis. Broadcasts are also available in each conversation room for Priority reservation or check-out.
  • Before you print, always do a Print Preview.
  • Select THH Konica from the printer window.
  • Always ask a Lab Assistant if there is any doubt about how to print because you will have to pay for each page printed.
  • Tell the printing assistant at the front desk which print jobs you want to print and if you want them printed in simplex (one-sided) or duplex (two-sided) and whether you want them in color or black and white.
  • Your discretionary account will be charged before your print jobs are released. User errors or failure to tell the printing assistant which jobs you want to print are not the responsibility of the Language Center.
  • Except for printer malfunction, all printouts will be charged at the following prices:
    Black and White Simplex $.15 per page
    Black and White Duplex $.15 per page
    Color Simplex $1.00 per page
    Color Duplex $1.50 per page

Payment for printing can be made ONLY using your USCard discretionary or payroll deduction plans. USCard Services in Parking Structure C (PSX) adjacent to McCarthy Quad. Services are available in PSX 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday - Friday, or click here to add funds to your card.

To get technical assistance on lab software and USC login issues, speak to a qualified technical consultant at Information Technology Services, ITS, at 213) 740-5555 or via email at

For specific problems related to your class work or how to use a language program, see your instructor.

For all other questions, ask a Lab Assistant or visit Language Center Tech Support.

The Language Center no longer subscribes to foreign periodicals. However, all titles, such as Italian Vanity Fair and La Monde, a weekly French newspaperr, are available online via the publishers' websites.

Technical Help

To access the online language activities (audio and Mellon exercises) you will need a valid USC ID and password. Your ID and password are the same as your USC email username and password.

After logging in, you will be able to access the activities on your computer for eight hours or until you end your browser session.

You can access these activities from any internet connection as long as your USC ID is valid. For help with your USC ID, contact ITS at 213-740-5555 or email

USC WebMail is a full featured, web based E-mail client. Features include sending and receiving e-mail and managing messages, addresses and mail folders. It supports most popular browsers including all Firefox, Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 5 and higher.

Note: Internet Explorer on Mac OS does not work with USC WebMail due to a security certificate bug in Internet Explorer. Other Web browsers such as Netscape 7 and Safari will work.

In USC WebMail, basic functions such as compose, send, receive, read, reply to, delete and forward messages, are accessed by using icons on an option bar. When you click an icon, its corresponding form appears with an option bar at the top and information below it for you to view or respond to.

Since USC WebMail is a component of Messaging Server (which provides a standard-based, enterprise messaging system), it does not require additional resources on your local machine.

USC WebMail is available for use at:

The Language Center Epson scanner is located at the 5-minute station @ A2; however, the 5-minute rule does not apply to users who are scanning. This scanner is the same scanner found in other userlabs on campus. To use it:

  1. Click on Productivity Tools
  2. Click on Epson Smart Panel
  3. The Epson scanner is very intuitive. Spend some time using it and you will get the hang of it fairly quickly.
Problems: If the scanner doesn’t turn on or stops scanning, make sure the plugs are secure and restart the computer with the scanner on. If this doesn’t start the scanner, then ask a lab assistant to assist you.

Saving files on Macs
As soon as you log out of a Mac, anything you saved on the hard drive will be erased so you need to save your work somewhere. All computers in The Lab support USB flash drives. If you do not have a flash drive with you, there are other alternatives to saving your files:

  1. FTP – File Transfer Protocol allows you to log into your USC UNIX storage from home and any PC or Mac on campus. Click here for steps on how to use FTP.
  2. USCdisk is a network storage link to your UNIX account.  When logging into the Mac, you will be asked to log in again to the aludra server. Follow the prompts.  Or, follow the directions here to log into your USCdisk.  You can then FTP from a PC or Mac to retrieve the file or use USCdisk again from any Mac on campus to retrieve your file.
  3. Email the file to yourself using USC Webmail.

Saving files on PCs
When you log out of a PC, your work may not be there again when you log back in. All computers in The Lab support USB flash drives. If you do not have a flash drive with you, there are other alternatives to saving your files:

  1. FTP – File Transfer Protocol allows you to log into your USC UNIX storage from home and any PC or Mac on campus. Click here for steps on how to use FTP.
  2. Email the file to yourself using USC Webmail.

Macintosh Diacritics
Most web forms are processed by unix operating systems that recognize only ASCII characters, so any text input that is not ASCII will probably not be processed or sent correctly. To make diacritics in ASCII, see the table below.
You can place a diacritic mark only over letters that take a diacritic mark. For example, you can place a tilde (~) over the letters a, n, and o. You cannot place a tilde over any other letters.

Windows Diacritics
Diacritics can be made in any windows application by pressing the Alt button + a four-digit number. Make sure your "Num Lock" key is turned on and use only the right-hand number keypad if you are using a desktop computer. For laptops, see below:

To insert
On Windows
desktop: Hold Alt, then type... laptop: Hold Fn + Alt, then type...
On Mac
Press Then Press
ã, ñ, õ
Ã, Ñ, Õ
0227, 0241, 0245,
0195, 0209, 0213
Option + n a, n, o
A, N, O
à, è, ì, ò, ù
À, È, Ì, Ò, Ù
0224, 0232, 0236, 0242, 0249
0192, 0200, 0204, 0210, 0217
Option +
` (grave accent)
a, e, i, o, u
A, E, I, O, U
á, é, í, ó, ú
Á, É, Í, Ó, Ú
0225, 0233, 0237, 0243, 0250, 0253
0193, 0201, 0205, 0211, 0218, 0221
Option + e a, e, i, o, u
A, E, I, O, U
â, ê, î, ô, û
Â, Ê, Î, Ô, Û
0226, 0234, 0238, 0244, 0251
0194, 0202, 0206, 0212, 0219
Option + I a, e, i, o, u
A, E, I, O, U
ä, ë, ï, ö, ü, ÿ
Ä, Ë, Ï, Ö, Ü, Ÿ
0228, 0235, 0239, 0246, 0252, 0255
0196, 0203, 0207, 0214, 0220, 0159
Option + u a, e, i, o, u, y
A, E, I, O, U, Y
Option c
¿ 0191 Option + shift ?
¡ 0161 Option 1
ß 0223 Option s

Word processing in Chinese and Japanese are supported by NJStar-Chinese and NJStar-Japanese. NJStar is supported through the Chinese and Japanese language programs. Contact your Chinese or Japanese language instructor for instructions.

Didn't find what you need?
See your instructor for help on how to work in the language you are learning.


Nero Burning ROM located in System Tools allows for CD or DVD burning if the burner hardware supports it. Nero is the only burning software for PCs that ISD supports. ISD does not support Microsoft products like Media Player.


CD burning on Macs is available through many methods.

  1. Drag and Drop
    • Insert a blank CD-R
    • Press OK at the dialog box
    • A CD-R icon should appear on the desktop. Open the icon
    • Drag and drop the files to be burned into the CD-R folder.
  2. iTunes
    • Insert a blank CD-R
    • Place the songs you want to burn into the iTunes playlist
    • Click the burn disk icon
    • View iTune's Help menu for more information
  3. Photo
    • Insert a blank CD-R
    • Upload the photos you want to burn
    • Click the Burn icon at the bottom right corner of the program window
    • View iPhoto's Help menu for more information
  4. iMovie
    • Insert a blank CD-R
    • Upload the movies you want to burn
    • Export the file(s) to be burned onto the desktop
    • Use the drag and drop method in #1 above to burn the exported files onto the CD-R
    • View iMovie's Help menu for more information

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