Web-based translation for promoting language awareness

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This chapter reports on a study that explored how students in a Spanish conversation course worked collaboratively to evaluate sentences translated from English to Spanish by a Web translation site. An analysis of language-related episodes (Swain & Lapkin, 1998) indicated that learners’ offline collaborative dialogue provided opportunities to become aware of and to correctly solve many of the grammatical and lexical problems in the translations. Recommendations for adapting this study’s task in order to show affordances and limitations of translation tools for reading and writing are provided. This chapter also analyzes translations from English to Spanish using selected parts of speech in different morphosyntactic environments to compare the overall quality of three Web translation sites. Future research could examine two or more grammatical features such as tense, mood, or aspect, the effectiveness of translations of idiomatic expressions and false cognates, or the quality of online translations of narratives, expository texts, and other genres.


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