Google translator is definitely an amazing tool. Thanks to it we can learn many words in different languages. One of my aunts who live in Brazil found herself a Canadian boyfriend; on a quick side note, she is 67 and speaks no English; how is that possible? Google translator, so yes, Google has been bringing people together across the globe.
However, like any other technology, it can be quite harmful if you don’t know how to use it. Sometimes I ask my students to send me an email to see how they are writing, and occasionally I receive some ‘pure google’ essay. In this case, google is harming more than helping.
How to use google translator wisely?
- Use google to correct your text. It might not be 100% correct; after all, Google is still a tool, not a teacher, even though it counts with collaborators from all over the world. However, it can help you with spelling and sometimes grammar.
- Translate words, not sentences. For language learners, google has to work as a dictionary; if you ask Google to do your job, you are not learning. You are cheating and missing the whole point.
- Check the other meaning. Nowadays, when you translate a word on google, it comes with other possible translations; always check them to see if they fit better with what you are trying to say.
- How about the old traditional dictionary?
When you start your learning journey, you will often count on your buddy, google translator, but as time passes and you learn more and more, you will realize that Google is nothing but a machine, and no matter how much improvement has been made on it, It can still get things wrong. The old traditional dictionary, though, won’t, so why not use it?
As you stop translating things, google must be less and less part of your life. Don’t be afraid to start trying to find the meaning of words in an online dictionary. I know that sometimes we are really lazy and prefer to do things easier, but easier doesn’t mean better; you will improve your English or whatever language you are learning by pushing yourself harder.
What dictionary should I use then?
Here are my favorites online dictionaries:
- Cambridge – You can search for words and phrasal verbs, Idioms & expressions. It usually gives you the British and the American pronunciation as well.
- Oxford – It’s a great one to search for individual words.
- Merriam Webster – If you are looking for example sentences to understand better a word or expression, use this one. It has an incredible and wide range of them.
- Thesaurus – When you learn a new word is always very good to find out more about its meaning; on this website, you can find the synonym & antonyms of all English words.
The bottom line
Google is great, and it’s there to help you, but it doesn’t suppose to do your job. After all, you pay for classes, and you study; you can’t let google take all the credit, right/! So, how about starting to use online dictionaries for a change? Choose your favorite and go nuts!