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Should I (not) use Google Translator?

Most of my students usually use Google Translator to help them with their home assignments. And often they ask me: "Why the translation of the word is different from what we've learned?"

I often try to clarify to my students that Google Translator is not the best resource that they can use to translate words.

However, it's not the worst either. There are some tips that I can give you to make your Google translator work more efficiently.

First things first.

Open the main page of Google Translator or download an app. The browser option that opens when you just search the word in Google doesn't work properly all the time. Using an app you will find more features and translation options, definitions, and examples of usage.


Remember that Google Translator is not flexible. Never use -s, -ed, or -ing endings. These endings will only confuse this translation service. If you want your results to be clearer - use Infinitives only.

In addition to this, try translating word by word, not the whole phrase. In fact, if you translate the whole collocation and the outcome doesn't make any sense, most certainly it's an idiom or a metaphor. In this case, just type your phrase in the search bar in Google adding the word "meaning". Nine times out of ten you will get a proper definition of this idiom.

If you're an Intermediate or Advanced English learner, use online dictionaries (Cambridge Dictionary, Oxford English Dictionary, Collins Dictionary, Urban Dictionary for slang, Merriam-Webster Dictionary) and search for the definitions of your target vocabulary.

In conclusion, I NEVER forbid my students to use Google Translator! It's a nice service and it's getting better every year. Just remember to apply all the mentioned tips, and you will get a high-quality translation!


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