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Mobile Translation Tools for the Classroom

Author: Mark Page Posted: 2015-01-19

Teachers in the classroom who have students with limited amount of host country language proficiency can now use a couple of really good translations tool offerings from Google and Microsoft on their mobile devices. Having these tools on their phones and tablets really frees both the teacher and students from the confines of their desks. Google has combined their Google Goggles with the translation engine to create a robust translation app with a multitude of supported languages, as has Microsoft with their Bing Translate tool. The real-time aspect is a real winner for teachers who have students who need language support in the classroom, and have limited access to a language support specialist. The translations tools can translate text and voice. There is even an offline capability, but requires downloading of language packs that are not as comprehensive as the online versions. Microsoft’s translation program for their computers and mobile devices is very similar in all aspects to Google’s offering, but with a more limited amount of languages to choose from. Apple doesn’t offer their own translation tool, but both Google and Microsoft’s translations programs and apps work on their devices.

These tools can be used for host country language support, but also can be used for language classes for project creation and any lesson requiring work to be done outside of the classroom such as a field trip. As a teacher having the ability to work with students that don’t speak or have limited host country now have tools that are much faster and better than in years past. These tools are not perfect but are a stopgap measure that can help when a language support specialist is not available to help in the classroom. There are other companies that offer translations apps and tools, but both Google and Microsoft's offerings are by far the most robust. These mobile translations tools will improve with time and are worth downloading onto your devices as they are free.

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