Author Topic: A handy website for Romance Language translation  (Read 1066 times)

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Offline ashishval44

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A handy website for Romance Language translation
« on: May 18, 2016, 02:22:09 PM »
When I was taking French in high school, my teacher allowed us on occasion to use French-English dictionaries, but often the problem students run into with them is that they'll pick a word that has the correct dictionary definition for what they're trying to convey, but not the right connotative or situational meaning. A useful website she also allowed us to use (since Google Translate was forbidden and also not always helpful) is WordReference: http://www.wordreference.com/. The dictionary works between English and several romance languages, such as French, Italian, and Spanish, allowing students to type in a word in a language and get definitions back in a requested language. However, its strength is that not only does it give the searcher multiple translations of the word, but it also returns context for each translation depending on how it would be used. If a searcher types in "school" into the English to French search, for example, WordReference returns the several words in French that could all mean "School" (French has different words for "school" depending on the students' age, so an ecole for younger students is a different word from a "lycee" for high school-age students.). WordReference also returns all of the different senses of the word "school" as it could be translated, for example, "school" as a unifying theory or belief as opposed to school as an educational institution, or "to school" as a verb as opposed to "the school" as a noun. WordReference also provides examples for all of the words in sentences.


WordReference works best with single words or short phrases, but also has an extensive forum where people can ask questions and receive answers about how to translate more complicated ideas, or idiomatic expressions. In my experience, every time I've been unable to find an adequate translation on WordReference (which has been rare), I met with success on the forums. The tool is also helpful for students because it still doesn't do the translation work for the student - while Google Translate will spit out a (possibly incorrect) ready-made translation, WordReference still forces students to translate by the word, and to use their own judgment in picking which translation of the word is what they are looking for. This website helps them not only get a better sense of the words they're learning, but also still hone their own composition skills while writing in an L2.