Web-Based Machine Translation as a Tool for Promoting Electronic Literacy and Language Awareness


  • Lawrence Williams

    1. University of North Texas
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      Lawrence Williams (PhD, Pennsylvania State University) is Assistant Professor of French at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas


This article addresses a pervasive problem of concern to teachers of many foreign languages: the use of Web-Based Machine Translation (WBMT) by students who do not understand the complexities of this relatively new tool. Although networked technologies have greatly increased access to many language and communication tools, WBMT is still ineffective for translating text into another language, especially when the user of the software is not able to make grammaticality and acceptability judgments in the target language. This article explains some specific limitations of WBMT (with examples from French) and provides a pedagogical plan for teachers to present this tool to students in order to promote language awareness and electronic literacy, which could help reduce the widespread misuse of this tool by students.