The use of translators is becoming more and more common today. If you need to say something in a language you don’t know just go to Google translate. It’s probably right. Right?!?

translations fail 1 translations fail 2 English in Asian Airports translations fail 4 translations fail 5 translations fail 6

There was clearly no language expert on duty when these errors were committed! (My favorite is “Spanish here”! Ha!)

Translators can be a huge help to a language learner. They are a lot like dictionaries. They shouldn’t be banned but students need to learn how to use them!

This is a fun video to show students about Google translation problems…

If you’re noticing more and more translation errors, than it’s time for a little talk with your students. (It might even open the door to talk about careers in translation or advantages to knowing a second language in each of their potential job fields.)  Getting mad or giving the student a zero for translating is pointless. Put yourself in their shoes… Would you ever do long division on paper if you had a calculator in your pocket? Students most likely won’t have their conjugation tables with them all the time, but they will have their phones!

Instead of fighting the translator tool, learn about it together. Take a day and look up phases and words and let students discover what works and what doesn’t! Compare translators, dictionaries, and apps. Which ones are most reliable? Maybe they can write a guide on “how to use a translator in a language class” for you to give to future classes!

Don’t be afraid to learn with them. You know the language and they know technology, but in the end we are on the same team!