Digital translation tools and dictionaries have become an indispensable part of language use. DeepL, Leo and Co. are used extensively and for various purposes, however, their benefits for foreign language teaching and learning remain contested. Some consider these tools to be of educational value, while others express their doubts on the sustainability of their contribution to language learning. This project examines the advantages and limitations of digital translation aids with regards to the following questions:
- To what extent do digital translation tools contribute to language learning?
- How do they influence the development of language skills, in particular writing and vocabulary learning?
- What learner groups are likely to benefit particularly from these tools?
A survey will be conducted to find out more about how users employ digital translation tools (e.g., purpose, frequency, attitudes). An experimental study with learners at vocational schools for business, management, and services, investigates how digital translation aids are used in text production. Of particular interest is their impact on text quality, writing processes and potential learning effects.
Survey and experimental study belong to the larger research project Digital technology and vocabulary learning in vocational training and education which is part of the RCM’s 2021-2024 research programme.
As part of the study, teaching materials were developed that give learners practice in using digital translation programmes and draw their attention to the benefits and pitfalls of such tools. The materials are suitable for students from lower and upper secondary school and freely available on https://digitalvocabulary.wordpress.com/.