Using online volunteer translation communities for language learning in formal education

Comas-Quinn, Anna (2019). Using online volunteer translation communities for language learning in formal education. In: Plutino, Alessia; Borthwick, Kate and Corradini, Erika eds. New educational landscapes: innovative perspectives in language learning and technology., pp. 41–46.



This paper reviews three attempts to incorporate technology-enabled online volunteer translation communities into language teaching in formal education. Through taking part in these communities, participants can develop many important skills, including digital, participatory, and information literacy, alongside improving their language skills and acquiring knowledge of translation and subtitling. Despite the challenges, an open pedagogy that connects learners with communities outside the classroom offers valuable opportunities to engage learners in meaningful tasks that add value to society, and relates well to a project-based, situated, and experiential pedagogy. Through an action research process, several activity designs for using TED Translators in language and translation education were implemented, evaluated, and refined to offer learners and teachers effective ways of engaging with this rich resource. An overview of the opportunities and challenges is presented, including ethical considerations of using open online communities in formal language education.

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