Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Response: Online translators

It's interesting that after I mentioned online translators in my last post, that we are looking at online translators today.  However, after further thought, online translators can operate as sophisticated dictionaries.  If students attempt to rely on a translator to do their work for them and plug in complex sentences, the translator most likely will not translate properly.  I think that online translators is one of the first issues to be addressed in an L2 classroom.  Once in my practicum, I did discover that a student used a translator.  It was mostly correct except for a handful of very awkward words.  The level of the French I saw was also beyond that student's ability level.  Now I wonder if the student found someone to translate it for her.  Either way, it was obvious and I had her rewrite the assignment for me in class.  I also noticed that the spacing between letters and the odd placement of periods made me suspicious.  That student was meticulous and would never put in strange periods and spaces like that.  Once again, I'm wondering if there is a technological solution to this besides having the students write in class with pen and paper.  It seemed like even if my SA and I were clear about online translators, they would still try to use it anyway thinking that we wouldn't notice.  The most frustrated person in the end would still be the teacher.

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