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Is your class or club (Model UN maybe) preparing for a research paper or spring conference? You can find documents on your topic in any language, and have them translated for you.

For example one student may need info on infectious disease in Cape Verde.
(1) He searched for [dengue fever Cape Verde]
(2) He opened the left hand panel (by clicking “More Search Tools”)
(3) He clicked on the “Translated foreign pages” link.

Google ran the search in Portuguese, and brought back pages written in Portuguese but displayed in English for his use. Also a great way to access newspaper articles, speeches, and government reports.

More search tips available at our Search Education website.gwebsearcheducation #GoogleEduTip +Tasha Bergson-Michelson +Kelly Fee +Dan Russell +Kate Pacher
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Niilo Alhovaara's profile photoMark Hurn's profile photowasaweb.net's profile photoNick Chapman's profile photo
14 comments
 
I know this is nitpicky, but there's a typo/grammatical error or just plain bad sentence in the first paragraph.

We expect more from our educators.
 
I would be more worried about the translation service, the results are often so bad as to be a source of entertainment.
 
Machine translation can be a useful tool in getting the gist of a piece of text, but nothing beyond that. If machine translation were to be used in academic context, then students ought to be informed about the limitations of machine translation: some mistakes are entertaining, but serious mistakes can lead to serious consequences.
 
+wasaweb.net Kind of my point exactly. Though I'd argue it's not even that useful for getting the gist of an article, it can be that badly wrong.
Students NEED to be informed I would say, and people ought to be. I come across far too many of them who have formed the impression that it's a pretty much infallible system.
 
+Mark Hurn I think you have a very strong argument. I'd add to my previous comment that students should have a reasonable reading knowledge of the source language. They don't have to be fluent, but if something doesn't make sense in the target language, then they should be in a position to look at the original, and figure out which bits are not making sense. It is quite odd that some people seem to accept machine-translated text as accurate, even when it doesn't make any sense, linguistically and/or contextually.
 
Wow. Great thing for us. We can now search pages from other languages and use them.
 
+wasaweb.net I think that's the only group of people who would gain a decent benefit from machine translation. It's limited for sure, but anything that can be a help is a great thing - if used properly.
It is quite odd, yes - but that's people for you :)
 
Quick tips:
To show how useful the service is, translate one word - I haven't found a faster system on the net for finding different meanings and use cases.
To really drive home to a group how fallible it can be, get them to translate a short paragraph and then translate the results back again. Do that a couple of times and you arrive very quickly at complete nonsense. A kind of digital version of that game where something is whispered around a line of people (I've no idea what it is called anywhere else) if you will.
 
Thanks for your points, +wasaweb.net and +Mark Hurn . Just to expand, it is clear that the problem comes in with idiomatic phrases. If you know enough of the source language you can usually spot them, and spot when a translation isn't right, but most of the machine translation I have seen just doesn't handle enough idioms, or handle them well enough.

Consequently, it works well for some kinds of documents - technical manuals, eg - and less well for others - blog posts, people's "talking." Journalistic pieces tend to fall in between. The more formal and uptight the publication, the better machine translation does.

(Amusingly, this post appeared in my stream just above a post in Spanish, which used an idiom that Google Translate did not handle correctly.)
 
+Niilo Alhovaara Exactly. Of course, it takes a decent copy editor to turn that machine translated text into something a human would WANT to read a lot of the time, and my own experience is that it is a bit different from copy editing stuff that was just written in the one language - and ideally you have to have someone who can go back and deal with those pesky idioms.
 
I'd say I cut the translation time close to half using GTT, even on my own. Of course, this applies to fact based texts only - machine translation and poetry don't mix too well!
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