Machine Translation in the Language Classroom: Turkish EFL Learners’ and Instructors’ Perceptions and Use

10.22492.ije.9.4.06

Authors:
Murat Ata, Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus
Emre Debreli, European University of Lefke, Northern Cyprus
Email: [email protected]
https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.9.4.06

Citation: Ata, M, & Debreli, E. (2021). Machine Translation in the Language Classroom: Turkish EFL Learners’ and Instructors’ Perceptions and Use, 9(4). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.9.4.06


Abstract

Online machine translation (OMT) tools are not exclusively designed for language learners; however, these tools are popular among them. This quantitative study investigated the perceptions and attitudes of Turkish speaking EFL learners and instructors in a university English program regarding the use of OMT tools. Two online questionnaires were administered to 462 Turkish-speaking learners and 34 instructors. The results revealed that 94% of the learner participants reported using OMT tools for their language learning studies. The learners predominantly used these tools for single-word or phrase translations. Reading and writing assignments were the main areas where the learners most frequently referenced to OMT tools. The learner participants thought the accuracy of the tools was not high, and the ethicality of using them depended on how they were used. Three-quarters of the instructor participants reported using OMT tools, and their judgements concerning the accuracy of these tools were more positive than the learners’. The results also revealed a mismatch between learners’ and instructors’ perceptions and attitudes regarding OMT tools in foreign language learning. Accordingly, the instructors often overestimated how much learners use OMT tools, while learners underestimated the instructors’ interest in them. These findings suggest policies should be developed within language learning institutions to guide students’ use of OMT tools, as well as improve the mutual understanding between students and teachers in terms of their ethicality.

Keywords

attitudes, EFL, language learning, Google Translate, machine translation, perceptions