International students’ use of online translation tools

Rina F. de Vries and Jake Groves

Abstract

Translation and language-checking tools such as Google Translate and Grammarly show ever higher degrees of accuracy, enabling students to error-correct or translate texts with generally good quality and comprehensible results. Increasing use of this technology is transforming learning and teaching, triggering mixed opinions from assessors of students’ written work (Clifford et al, 2013). This applies in particular to international students, who must develop the graduate attribute of being able to function in a global, English-speaking environment. In this context, using such software could be regarded as compromising authenticity of authorship (Mundt & Groves, 2017). In our study, we explore how international students at a UK university use translation and language-correcting software. Conducting surveys and in-depth interviews, we investigate whether students use such software merely to avoid language learning, or it could form a constructive tool, promoting the communicative competence needed for successful participation in the global academic community (Hyland, 2018).

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