The use of translation technology for Asian languages in research and teaching

Panel organised by: Shobna Nijhawan (York University)

Panel description

Long-gone are the times when undergraduate and graduate students of languages and literatures in the so-called foreign-language classroom as well as Area Studies scholars had to turn over the pages of dictionaries when in search of the meaning of unknown vocabulary in a text. Today, the world wide web has turned into a much consulted virtual space for scholars seeking „fast“ information on Asian „facts“ and „fictions“. Whether this development has been for the better or worse is the topic of the proposed panel. With information often being only a „mouse click“ away to students and scholars with high-speed internet access, the panel focuses on the most recent developments in translation and language-acquisition technology. How useful and reliable are online translation machines (such as those launched by the Google corporation) and online language courses (such as Duolingo) in research on Asia and Asian language teaching? What ideologies underlay the efforts of offering such free services? Can such sites offer information on the linguistic and cultural background of Asian languages and how is language pedagogy impacted by the technology? What is lost and what is gained?

Paper proposal

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