Category: Educación

Can computer translators ever beat speaking a foreign tongue?

Photo by KOBY Agency @Unsplash

Put crottin de chèvre into Google Translate, and you’ll be told it means goat dung. So, if it appeared on a menu, you might pass. Alas, you would be ruling out a delicious cheese made of goat’s milk that is often served as a starter in France. Such misunderstandings are why Google admits that its free tool, used by about 500 million people, is not intended to replace human translators.

Tourists might accept a few misunderstandings because the technology is cheap and convenient. But when the stakes are higher, perhaps in business, law or medicine, these services often fall short.

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How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language

Photo: Sharon McCutcheon @Unsplash

Language sits deep within every one of us. It influences the way we see the world and guides how we relate to one another and to events happening around us. Studies have long shown that people who speak more than one language may unconsciously change their personality when they switch between the languages they speak. It is suggested that our relationship to language shapes and influences our mental imagery in response to events around us. They argue that, unlike native languages, foreign languages give rise to less vivid mental imagery.

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The things that do – and don’t – motivate kids to succeed

From the time they are toddlers, children are naturally interested in exploring their environment. From examining a blade of grass to playing with the family pet, toddlers want to know how everything works, feels and tastes. According to experts, it’s not until later that they learn to do something – like sit quietly at a snack table – in order to gain a reward or avoid a punishment. These two drivers of behaviour are known as intrinsic motivation (natural curiosity) and extrinsic motivation (linked to reward). But which is better for helping children learn – and can you nurture a joy of learning without handing out rewards?

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Young translators: children helping their parents to communicate

When a family arrives in a new country, often the children are first to pick up the new language – and inevitably, they become the family translators. Thousands of migrant children in the UK translate for their families every day. Often the children were not pleased to be dragged from Italy to the UK; learning a new language and translating for their parents was a burden. Researcher Dr Humera Iqbal describes what it’s like to be a child responsible for dealing with doctors and landlords, bank staff or restaurant suppliers.

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“Oh my God! Es muy heavy.” Does English interfere with your day-to-day conversations?

English is increasingly mixing up with other languages, as it is the case with Spanish, which has already adopted a wide range of terminology as part of its own vocabulary. See, for example; feedback, post, hashtag, CEO, brainstorming or community manager. And who doesn’t remember the famous ”relaxing cup of café con leche in Plaza Mayor” during Spain’s bid for the 2020 Olympic Games? The RAE states that not all Anglicisms are needed because the Spanish language is rich in the lexicon but the proper use of vocabulary is being lost, is this the case? Do you think that learning English can interfere with your mother-tongue linguistic usage?

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