Quick overview: Google Translate (translate.google.com) performs instant text translation between two different languages. If desired, the translated text can be spoken out loud with a realistic sounding synthesized voice.
How does it work? Google Translate works best on short phrases and single words. However, students should be aware that translating complicated bodies of text or common expressions may not work as well. Case in point, here’s an actual example of a Google translation (for our French speaking readers) that has gone very wrong. I can’t stress enough, if this tool is used in a classroom, it’s important to tell students to proofread the translations!
How can it be used in the classroom? If you have a student who doesn’t know the odd word, Google Translate will allow your student to type in a phrase (or a single word) in their native language and then have it translated into the language they are learning. As the translated sentences are often far from perfect, it forces students to analyze and improve their writing skills by constantly having to proofread the translations. In addition, as the text can be spoken out loud, this tool can help our ESL or FSL students with pronunciation. Lastly, for teachers that use the iPod, iPad, or iPhone in the classroom with their students, you may want to check this video out.
Video Tutorial: For more information on how to use Google Translate, please click the large play button below: