geralt / Pixabay


As we all try to get our heads around teaching online, I was thinking about teachers who don’t speak the home language of many of their students and the challenges that presents.

I speak Spanish, and 90% of my students this year are Spanish-speaking, so it’s not an issue for me.

However, when you’re looking at screens and are obviously more limited by what you can do to communicate, what do you do?

Then, I remember something I wrote about earlier this year.  Here’s what I wrote:

The Microsoft Translator looks pretty cool.  It seems to be its latest version of a simultaneous translation tool.  I’m still figuring it out but, at least online, you can have a bunch of different people speaking different languages and it will turn everyone’s audio into each other person’s language with immediate text.  It says they plan to upgrade it specifically for classroom use soon.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing what that looks like.  I’m adding this info to The Best Sites For Learning About Google Translate & Other Forms Of Machine Translation.

It’s basically an audio enable multilingual chatroom.  If you and your students are on a video conference, I wonder if it would be possible to use this simultaneously? Yes, I know you don’t want to translate everything.  But if have students (or even just one student) who knows no English at all, and you don’t speak his home language, and you’re doing online learning, I think it’s worth thinking about.

What do you think?