Volume 16, Issue 2  August 2020, pp. 69–84          Download PDF

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Machine versus human translation outputs: Which one results in better reading comprehension among EFL learners?

Mojtaba Maghsoudi1, Vahid Mirzaeian2

1 Farhangian University, Tehran, Iran maghsudi@cfu.ac.ir
2 Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran mirzaean@alzahra.ac.ir

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/jaltcall.v16n2.342


Abstract

EFL university students in general and Iranian EFL university learners in particular, specifically in the commencement of their study at bachelor degree prefer to have their assigned English texts translated into mother tongue since they do not have a good command of the language. Machine translation (MT) has recently turned into a favorite tool for all students including EFL ones since it is free and readily available. The aim of this study, therefore, was to evaluate the effect of MT output on such students. To achieve this goal, two sample texts in students’ mother tongue were selected and translated into English by a proficient human translator whose native language was English and by an MT system (Google Translate). Next, 167 homogenous EFL freshman students were given a proficiency test and 152 homogenous ones randomly assigned to two groups, namely, control and experimental groups. The control group was given the human translation (HT) and the experimental group was exposed to machine translation. Using an independent t-test, indicated that there was a negligible difference between mentioned groups. That is, MT has improved to such an extent that it can compete with the HT. It can be concluded that due to its great improvements in the last few years and its widespread use among university students, EFL educators should accept the presence of this tool and try to implement it effectively in their teaching instead of banning students from using it.



Copyright

© Mojtaba Maghsoudi, Vahid Mirzaeian

CC  4.0
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Suggested citation

Maghsoudi, M., & Mirzaeian, V. (2020). Machine versus human translation outputs: Which one results in better reading comprehension among EFL learners? The JALT CALL Journal, 16(2), 69–84. https://doi.org/10.29140/jaltcall.v16n2.342


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