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What is Machine Translation Literacy?

Machine Translation (MT) tools are simple to use. Just open the tool in your browser, paste or type in your text, choose your languages, and click “Translate”. Hey presto, you’ve got a translation! Well, sort of. Using an MT tool may be easy, but using it critically requires some thought. Thinking about whether, when, why, and how to use MT are part of what we term “MT literacy”. It basically comes down to being an informed and critical user of this technology, rather than being someone who just copies, pastes and clicks. Want to know more? We’ve got you covered. Read on!


To Machine Translate, or not to Machine Translate? – THAT is our first question.


The MT Literacy Project

Our goal is to inform all kinds of users about how MT systems process information, as well as to teach them how to interact with MT tools either before or after the translation phase to get results that meet their needs. Of course, not all users have the same needs, so during this first phase, we’re focusing on researchers and scholars to try to help this group use MT more effectively. Later, we’ll focus on other groups, such as newly arrived immigrants, or school kids, whose MT needs might be different.

What do I need to know?

We aim to help users learn how to use MT critically in order to maximize its effectiveness. This includes deciding whether MT is the right tool for a job, evaluating whether information is too sensitive to paste into a free online tool, learning how to write in a translation-friendly way, recognizing common (and not-so-common) MT errors, and learning how to fix them.

Machine Translation Literacy Project – All rights reserved

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