Google Translate: Friend or Foe? An exploration of the use and attitudes to the use of Google Translate among teachers and pupils in two Norwegian upper secondary schools
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In this qualitative study, I explore uses and attitudes to the use of Google Translate among teachers and pupils in two Norwegian upper secondary schools, and what potentials and problems they see connected to its use in the language learning. By interviewing four teachers and four pupils at two different upper secondary schools in Norway, I have tried to find an answer to these questions. The results show that there are varied attitudes to Google Translate as a translation tool, and, accordingly, varied answers to whether they see Google Translate as a useful tool in the language learning or not. However, all informants seemed to agree on a few things, e.g. that Google Translate can favorably be used to grasp the essence of a second or foreign language text, and it can also be used similarly to a dictionary, that is, by using it to look up single words. Furthermore, consensus was that Google Translate output of grammar was inaccurate and unreliable. Regarding use of Google Translate as a tool in a language learning context, some were inclined to see its usefulness and also some potential ways to include it, while others rejected it completely, and did not find it useful for any sort of purposes. I discuss the findings in light of theories on translation in language learning generally, as well as theories on what we know about machine translation and Google Translate in language learning specifically.