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


  • Elizabeth Enkin Author University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Errapel Mejías-Bikandi Author University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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


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.




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Author Biographies

Elizabeth Enkin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Elizabeth Enkin is an Assistant Professor of Spanish Applied Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research focuses on foreign language learning and teaching. Her research projects have focused on novice-level L2 sentence processing, advanced-level online L2 learning, and TA professional development.

Errapel Mejías-Bikandi, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Errapel Mejías-Bikandi is an Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research is on the semantics and pragmatics of mood.



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How to Cite

Enkin, E., & Mejías-Bikandi, E. (2016). Using online translators in the second language classroom: Ideas for advanced-level Spanish. Latin American Journal of Content & Language Integrated Learning, 9(1).




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