Translation fails

In a world where technology is increasingly efficient at translating for us, how do we show our students that the computer or an app might not always have the best answer when it comes to understanding language and that they still need to learn a language for themselves.

My answer is by showing them computer generated translation fail(ure)s.

Below are two videos that I have used with students to demonstrate a computer’s difficulties with reading of context, understanding of complex grammar and recognising whether a sentence makes sense.

In the Jimmy Fallon clips we watch and pause to discuss how some of the translations could have been generated. For example word for word literal translations. (With Miley Cyrus and Anne Hathaway).

The CDZA Fresh Prince clip is more of a silly language experiment but I am always surprised by how many students are still familiar with the show.

(To be clear – I don’t want to name and shame Google Translate, they are just a widely recognised platform of computer generated translations )

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