Posted by: crudbasher | December 17, 2010

Realtime Text Translation App

H/T Gizmodo

This is probably the coolest App I have seen on an iPhone. Period.  The implications for Education are obvious.  What an amazing way to learn another language! Update: @SECottrell on Twitter suggested that translation is a terrible way to learn a new language.  Could I perhaps say that this is a good tool to help learn a language??

Awesome!

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Responses

  1. I agree that this is an amazing app! It could help travelers a whole lot. I’d love to see it come out in other languages as well. However, it’s a common misunderstanding (even among Spanish teachers!) to think that translation helps in language education. Translation is a high-level skill that comes very late in language acquisition, for two reasons. One is that the two languages usually do not match each other very well and so a lot of mental juggling has to go on in order to get a general meaning match–this is why low-level students when asked to translate on assessments produce a bunch of garbled sentences that only language teachers can read because we know how they mapped English syntax onto them. The other is that the goal of language acquisition is to develop the very strong ties in the brain between the concept (the idea in the brain of a thing) and the word in the second language (L2), the same ties that exist between the concept and the L1. When you have to route through the L1 in order to get to the concept, which is what happens in translation, this slows down speaking and comprehension.
    Incidentally, this is why Rosetta Stone can charge such prices for its product and the cassette tapes you get for $20 get thrown away–the one works, and the other doesn’t. (and no, I don’t work for Rosetta Stone 😉
    This is the tag on my blog for “no translation”
    http://musicuentos.blogspot.com/search/label/no%20translation
    And there’s a post with a conference presentation that contains a slide illustrating the whole L1-L2-concept thing, in case my explanation was confusing. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!
    @secottrell


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