The effect of computer-assisted translation on L2 learners’ mastery of writing

2014 IJRSLL – Volume 3 Issue 3


Kazemzadeh , Ahmad Ali*
Kashan University, Iran (


Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) is an alternative approach to computer translation that integrates human expertise into the automatic translation process. In this realm, the few studies that deal with Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) as a language learning tool focus on its use by advanced learners, not by beginners. Yet, freely available CAT engines (i.e. Google Translate) position themselves to cater precisely to the needs of learners with a limited command of a second language (L2). Anecdotal classroom evidence points to beginners availing themselves of CAT help, even against the advice of teachers. In order to find out whether CAT could help develop learners’ writing skills in L2, some tests were run asking participants to write directly into L2 in one instance and into L1 in another, while pre-editing the L1 and post-editing the L2 within the CAT’s interface. The analysis of the output shows that CAT helps beginners to communicate more, particularly when they have a lesser mastery of the language. The less their mastery of the L2, the greater the difference between the number of words composed with the help of CAT and the number of those written directly into L2. It also helps them to communicate better, with blind marking indicating higher quality when writing with CAT mediation. Looking at the screen recordings, on the other hand, we found that writing directly into L2 requires more effort, as measured by number of pauses, and involves more engagement with the task, as measured by the number of editing interventions.

Keywords: translation technologies; computer-assisted language learning; computer assisted translation; foreign language teaching and learning; second language acquisition



*Corresponding Author