Using online translators in the second language classroom: Ideas for advanced-level Spanish

Elizabeth Enkin, Errapel Mejías-Bikandi


In this paper, we discuss the benefits of using online translators in the foreignlanguage classroom. Specifically, we discuss how faulty online translator outputcan be used to create activities that help raise metalinguistic awareness of secondlanguage grammar and of the differences between grammatical constructionsin the first and second language, which can help with the language learningprocess. Specific structures for advanced-level Spanish that produce faulty onlinetranslator output are explained, and then we provide sample editing-type activitiesfor these structures, as well as anecdotal evidence regarding students’ reactionsto these tasks. Although the activities discussed are specifically designedfor Spanish, they may also be used as a model for other languages. Importantly,these activities may prove helpful for Spanish teachers because these structuresare covered in many university-level advanced Spanish grammar courses. Thesetypes of activities could also ultimately help students who will be seeking translation-oriented jobs.




Online translators; editing online translator output; advanced-level Spanish learning; metalinguistic awareness; learning subordinate clauses in Spanish.

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