Using Google Translate

How do we communicate content effectively to our EAL learners? How do we save time in creating resources? Google Translate is one way that we can do that.

Over the last few weeks, I have been using Google Translate as a tool to support my EAL learners more and more. There are several ways in which we can use it in the classroom.

  1. Finding vocabulary – Looking up unknown words through Google translate can be very helpful. As well as this, Translate can give you verb and noun examples of words as you can see below:

2. Writing responses in first language and translating into English. Although not perfect doing this gives EAL learners a real opportunity to communicate what they know about the content they are learning. There is a certain amount of decoding that might need to be done especially if your learners are only partially literate in their first language.

3. Camera function – If you have a device such as an IPad it is possible to hover the IPad over a text and translate it into learners first language. You can also highlight parts of the text and have those specific parts translated. Again, making the job of communicating content slightly easier.

4. Translate whole documents – Now you can upload a whole document and have it translated into your learners first language. As you can see in the screen shot, Click documents and then chose the file you wish to translate.

5. Using the speaker function – for EAL learners that are not literate in their first language you can get them to communicate content by speaking into your device and Google translate will translate it into the language required. This works both ways in so much as you could say something into the speaker in English and have it translated into your learners first language. I’ve found this extremely helpful for EAL learners with low levels of literacy in their first language.

Google translate and many other translation tools are improving all the time. They allow our EAL learners to understand content beyond what was possible before because they can use their first language as a tool to learn. I have seen some of my EAL learners write fantastic responses to content they have heard in English through the use of their L1.

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