Web resources

25 Oct

[Translation] is learners’ ‘preferred strategy [and] an inevitable part of second language acquisition’ (Atkinson 1987).  In other words, like it or loathe it, it’s going to take place. At the same time,  our learners are going to be familiar with online short-cuts to translation (in fact, I’d argue that they need to have an informed opinion about the relative merits of online translation tools). Increasingly, they’ll have these available on their smart phones. We can do quite a lot with these tools in the classroom.

There are quite a lot of options available, but the starting point must be


Then, there is the Bing / Microsoft tool and Yahoo’s Babelfish (not such a wide choice of languages)



Compare them for yourself. Cut and paste the first paragraph of this post into one of these translating tools and decide which you prefer.


2 Responses to “Web resources”

  1. philipjkerr October 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    There’s a fun online tool that allows you to type or paste in a text and ‘Babelize’ it. This means that it first translates the text into a random other language, then translates it back into English, then again into another random language, back into English and so on.
    You get some quite entertaining results. Here, for example, is a Babelized version of the first few lines of the British national anthem.
    God, our noble queen live longer save our kind Queen, God save the queen
    Try singing it!

  2. philipjkerr February 15, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    You can watch a short video clip about how Google Translate works here:

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