Thursday, April 22, 2010

Language Translation programs

One of the benefits of an internationally-known website is to receive emails from educators throughout the world; one of the challenges is to understand what is being written in some of those emails; worse is the challenge to read papers that appear to be translated by computer programs. For example, here is the first paragraph of a document that was sent to me, where the author asked me to recommend a journal where this paper could be published:
The Psychology of the Education, while scientific area, in its flowing triple, basic, projective and technique, of has long date, has eventide, between many other subjects, a vast panoply of forms to learn and to teach, its advantages and disadvantages, relevancy and conditions of implementation, questions of validity and effectiveness, under aide of the quality of education, formation, education, in general, in any context of comment and intervention.
I'm not sure I have the energy to try to interpret what is being said. But even more difficult is trying to interpret the translation of the concept of the portfolio (whether paper or electronic) between different world cultures and education traditions. Just as I have discussed different metaphors for portfolios, there are also different issues with translation of the portfolio concept. Portfolios have been called "electronic file delivery" and I know some languages do not have comparable translation of the words reflection, assessment and accountability. These linguistic as well as cultural differences make communication difficult. Technology alone cannot solve that problem, as shown by the translation quoted above. I wonder which program was used?

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