Exploring the use of online machine translation for independent language learning
The free availability of online machine translation (OMT) on the Internet via computers, tablets and smartphones makes it convenient for use by language students of all levels. Google Translate has been widely listed as an independent language learning (ILL) resource and we cannot deny its role for ongoing education.
We are aware of the fact that this developing piece of technology was not designed with language learning in mind and, as a consequence, has limited current abilities depending on the language pair, language direction, genre, etc. However, as educators, we cannot help but wonder how the students use it independently and what pedagogical implications this may have in the language class.
This study sets to analyse how language learners assess the usefulness of machine translation output and what they think about the use of OMT (in combination with other online language resources) for oral and written comprehension and production (e.g. writing and translation). This will help determining whether its use by language learners can be counterproductive or whether, if used wisely, can assist ILL and help boosting language instant communication.
Benson P. (2011) ‘Language Learning and Teaching Beyond the Classroom: An Introduction to the Field’, in Benson P., Reinders H. (eds), Beyond the Language Classroom, Palgrave Macmillan, London. doi: 10.1057/9780230306790_2
Candy, P. (1991) Self-Direction for Lifelong Learning: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice, Jossey Bass, San Francisco, CA.
Carreres, A., Muñoz-Calvo. M. & Noriega-Sánchez, M. (2017) ‘Translation in Spanish language teaching: the fifth skill/La traducción en la enseñanza del español: la quinta destreza’, Journal of Spanish Language Teaching, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 99–109. doi: 10.1080/23247797.2017.1419030
Clifford, J., Merschel, L. & Munné, J. (2003) ‘Surveying the landscape: what is the role of machine translation in language learning?’, @tic. revista d’innovació educativa, vol. 10, pp. 108–121. doi: 10.7203/attic.10.2228
Cook, G. (2010) Translation in Language Teaching, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
García, I. & Pena, M. I. (2011) ‘Machine translation-assisted language learning: writing for beginners’, Computer Assisted Language Learning, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 471–487. doi: 10.1080/09588221.2011.582687
Károly, A. (2014) ‘Translation in foreign language teaching: a case study from a functional perspective’, Linguistics and Education, vol. 25, pp. 90–107. doi: 10.1016/j.linged.2013.09.009
Knowles, M. (1975) Self-Directed Learning: A Guide for Learners and Teachers, The Adult Education Company, New York.
Laviosa, S. (2014) Translation and Language Education. Pedagogical Approaches Explained, Routledge, New York.
Leonardi, V. (2010) The Role of Pedagogical Translation in Second Language Acquisition. From Theory to Practice, Peter Lang, Bern.
Leprince-Ringuet, D. (2018) ‘Why is Google’s live translation so bad? We asked some experts’, Wired, [online] Available at: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/live-translation-pixel-buds
Lingualift.com. 100 Best Language Self-Learning Resources, [online] Available at: https://www.lingualift.com/blog/best-language-learning-resources/
McCarthy, B. (2004) ‘Does online machine translation spell the end of take-home translation assignments?’, CALL-EJ Online, vol. 6, no. 1, [online] Available at: http://callej.org/journal/6-1/mccarthy.html, ISSN 1442-438X
Mundt, K. & Groves, M. (2016) ‘A double-edged sword: the merits and the policy implications of Google Translate in higher education’, European Journal of Higher Education, pp. 1–15. doi: 10.1080/21568235.2016.1172248
Newmarks, P. (1991) About Translation, Multilingual Matters, Clevendon.
Niño, A. (2008) ‘Evaluating the use of machine translation post-editing in the foreign language class’, Computer Assisted Language Learning, vol. 21 no. 1, pp. 29–49. doi: 10.1080/09588220701865482
Niño, A. (2009) ‘Machine translation in foreign language learning: language learners’ and tutors’ perceptions of its advantages and disadvantages’, ReCALL, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 241–258. doi: 10.1017/S0958344009000172
Pym, A., Malmkjær, K. & Plana, M. (2013) Translation and Language Learning: The Role of Translation in the Teaching of Languages in the European Union. A Study, European Union, Luxembourg.
Reinders, H. (2010) ‘Towards a classroom pedagogy for learner autonomy: a framework of independent language learning skills’, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 40–55. doi: 10.14221/ajte.2010v35n5.4
Somers, H. (2003) ‘MT in the classroom’, in Computers and Translation: A Translator’s Guide, ed H. Somers, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 319–340. doi: 10.1075/btl.35.20som
Tsai, S. C. (2019) ‘Using Google Translate in EFL drafts: a preliminary investigation’, Computer Assisted Language Learning, vol. 32, pp. 5–6, 510–526. doi: 10.1080/09588221.2018.1527361
Warschauer, M. & Kern, R. (eds) (2000) Network-Based Language Teaching: Concepts and Practice. Cambridge Applied Linguistics, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Zanettin, F. (2001) ‘Swimming in words’, in Learning with Corpora, ed G. Aston, Athelstan, Houston, TX, pp. 177–197. doi: 10.1400/34712
The results presented in this paper were originally presented at the Google Translate and Modern Languages Education Conference organised by the Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham on 29th June 2018. A video recording was made public in July 2019. The link is as follows: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/conference/fac-arts/clas/google-translate-and-modern-languages-education/conference-videos/conference-videos.aspx
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors contributing to Research in Learning Technology retain the copyright of their article and at the same time agree to publish their articles under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, under the condition that appropriate credit is given, that a link to the license is provided, and that you indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.