The Challenges and Possibilities of Machine Translation for Transnational Higher Education

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation at conference/workshop/seminar


Machine translation (MT) has recently improved dramatically in accuracy, convenience, and accessibility. What was once an inaccurate and limited technology has benefited greatly from neural processing and big data sets, and is now a standard feature in computer and smart phone operating systems and software applications. Yet outside of the disciplines of Translation and Language their has been little discussion of the use of such technology in higher education, except to note that students are using it (!!!). This paper considers the use of MT in the context of transnational education, as transnational education brings together instructors and students from different linguistic backgrounds. The possibilities of MT in this context are first, MT can enable instruction and research beyond the instructors and students’ language competencies, which can broaden both their experience and knowledge; and second, the use of MT by students presents the opportunity for developing their MT literacy and post-editing skills, which may be beneficial for later study, work, or life in multi-lingual environments. The challenges of MT in this context are first, use of MT can lead to miscomprehension and the stunting of foreign language comprehension; second, MT enables plagiarism techniques that are currently undetectable by originality checking software and difficult to investigate; and finally, citation formats have yet to account for MT or to grapple with the questions it poses for ideas of authorship. These possibilities and challenges, some of which mirror each other, present an opportunity to address this technology and best shape its use in transnational education.
Period1 Jun 2022
Event titleXJTLU Annual Transforming Education Conference
Event typeConference
LocationSuzhou, ChinaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational