5 Reasons To Avoid Google Translate When Learning a Language

Ever used Google Translate? Technology and the Internet is great, right? There is so much information available by a simple click of a button. Google Translate is a tool that may at first seem helpful when learning a new language. However, there are some issues with using Google Translate as a tool in your language studies. Here are Swedish teacher Daniel’s top 5 reasons for why you should avoid using it when learning a language.

  1. Google Translate is a blunt tool

Translation from one language to another is not simply about translating word for word (‘direct translation’). You need to also translate according to grammatical, idiomatic and cultural patterns, which may mean that a sentence might look quite different in terms of the actual words, but mean the same thing. A quick look at direct translations of sayings illustrate this point.

The Vauquois triangle (below) shows different levels of translation. The higher up in the pyramid, the more precise the translation. The highest level of translation (‘interlingua’) is still an issue in Google Translate, which means sentences will still contain errors (sometimes grammatical, and often idiomatic).

Google translate is built on an algorithm that has access to a large amount of texts written in two languages, which allows for a basis on which to predict and make guesses. Translation is made sentence by sentence; the more text available, the better the predictions. The issue here is that a translation with 90% correct translation can still turn out as a result which is 100% wrong. On top of this, there are many poorly translated texts now on the Internet (many of them have used Google Translate). This means that they are now in ‘the system’ and have become part of the basis from which Google Translate predicts, making the errors self-enhancing and re-occurring.

Learning a language is like going on a long journey: you’re planning for the whole trip, preparing for bad weather, and you need routines. Google Translate stops your progress even if you don’t notice at first. When you do, however, you might have to turn back and choose a different road.

  1. You can’t trick anyone (at least not your teacher!)

A teacher’s job is to know their subject, but it’s also to know their student. They identify the student’s level, where they’re going, and how to help them reach the finishing line. While your teacher knows how intelligent you are, that perfect paragraph with no spelling errors is not your writing and hasn’t even been taught by your teacher yet.

  1. No learning

To learn anything from the beginning is an uphill struggle against waning willpower and outside influences. Don’t let Google Translate be part of that negative influence. Use a real dictionary, if you must.

  1. Learning from mistakes is essential learning

In learning, mistakes are the key ingredients to understanding what is correct. You don’t bake the perfect cake on your first try; maybe not even after your hundredth try. But each time you prepare the next batch of batter, you change something to avoid making the same mistake.

Google Translate doesn’t teach you the nuances of language. A particular sentence can be written in different ways, depending on context, and that is what your teacher will show. We all desire flawless work, but that has to be set aside while learning the language.

  1. Your writing is your reward

The feeling of personal satisfaction is more than ample reward for all the sweating, flicking through pages, and trying to make sense of something you previously knew nothing about. The glint in a student’s eye when they are able to produce a paragraph in Swedish is priceless, and doubly so when it’s written independently.

To book a lesson with a Swedish teacher, go to our booking system to check availability.

 

What can I expect from a lesson?

Our lessons usually include the following:

  • brief improvised conversation
  • going through homework together
  • working together in the course material
  • new homework being given

It is important that you do your homework before the next lesson, if you want to progress your Swedish. You need to send your homework to your teacher before the next lesson. After every third chapter in the course material, you will do a test during a lesson.

You also need to set aside some time to revise what you have already learnt. We recommend to budget approximately 2 hours after one Skype lesson. It’s good practice to break the revision into smaller chunks. This could for example be:

  • 30 min doing your homework for next lesson
  • 15-30 min practicing with flashcards the new words you have learnt during the lesson
  • 15-30 min practicing with flashcards words you have learnt previously
  • 30 min revising exercises you have done previously (for ex creating sentences using old vocabulary, recording your voice when you speak)

 

Quick questions for Amanda

Amanda is a conversational trainer and she offers “Skype-fika”, which is an opportunity to get to practice improvised conversation with a native Swede. She grew fullsizerender-1up in Sweden in a small town called Lindesberg, though she has roots in Stockholm and in Jukkasjärvi (where the famous Ice Hotel is located). She now lives in Exeter in the U.K. Beyond having Skype-fika with people from all the corners of the world, she currently works for a travel company, and also works with ceramics and art. She and her wife have two dogs, a hamster and a big stash of yarn since they are both avid knitters.

Here are 10 quick questions for Amanda.

  1. Which Swedish storybook/cartoon character turns you on the most?

Pippi Långstrump! I love her total non-concern about convention and her hedonistic happy-go-lucky attitude. It’s very inspiring!

  1. Can you play any instruments?

I sure can. I’m really good at playing the flute traverse! I can also play a bit of bodhran drum and African drums. I can also do ‘kulning’, the traditional Swedish herding call – though that’s not exactly an instrument. Unless you count your voice as being one =)

  1. What was your favourite TV show when growing up?

Charmed!

  1. Midsummer, Lucia or Christmas?

Midsummer definitely. It feels so magical, there is just something about in the air during that time of the year.

  1. How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?

Eeeh, five years maybe? I’m not that bothered with shoes so I tend to just have a few that I wear until they fall apart and I am forced to buy new ones.

  1. What, or who, are you a “closet” fan of?

I’m pretty open with all my weirdness so there isn’t anything I’m afraid to share, haha. However, I am a total Pokémon nerd, and currently I am enjoying catching them all in Pokémon Moon which my wife gave me for my birthday (23rd December). I have loved Pokémon since I first discovered the games when I was 12 years old and have played the games one after another…

  1. What is the oldest thing in your fridge?

No idea, we love food in our household so things tend to get eaten. The oldest thing is probably the garlic, but that will also soon be used up.

  1. What Swedish food do you never want to live without?

Salt liqourice! I love ‘Turkisk Peppar’.

  1. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

That’s probably playing Pokémon. And it’s not just that I play the games, I know so much about the game world and the different pokémon you can catch. I know which generation the creatures are from, what they evolve into, what type they are…

  1. Do you have any strange phobias?

Not really. The worst fear I have is going on planes and boats I think. Especially boats. They might sink!

  1. Favourite Swedish saying?

‘Ingen fara på taket’ (no danger on the roof), and my own ‘Kom igen, det blir kul!’ (come on, it’ll be fun!).

  1. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

Learn leather mask making. Get another tattoo, this one along my spine. Buy a borzoi (a beautiful large sight hound dog breed)

 

To book a Skype-fika with Amanda, go to the booking system and select “Skype-fika” and then “Amanda” as your trainer.

 

Quick questions for Daniel

Daniel is a Swedish teacher here at Swedish Made Easy. He teaches all levels, from 14962990_10154660030213735_856244307_nbeginner to advanced. He comes from Göteborg in Sweden (which he would adamantly argue is the best city in Sweden), and lives with his family in London, UK. He has worked in education for over 8 years, and taught Swedish since 2013. He has a real passion for languages and has helped to improve literacy levels of children in secondary schools in London (and even helped a school to set up a library!). He also writes books and short stories (check it out).

Here are 11 quick questions for Daniel!

1. Can you play any instruments?

I learned to play the guitar when I attended a music course at university. Wrote and composed a Gospel song called “Godissången” for the children’s musical we performed at the end of term. Radio stations across the world played it for years and years and … oh, right. That part was just a dream.

2. What was your favourite TV show when growing up?

Transformers, He-Man, and Star Fleet in the 1980s; X-files and Twin Peaks in the 1990s.

3. Favourite Swedish band?

I realised in 2000-2001 that my favourite band was Kent. Favourite “foreign” band is R.E.M.

4. Do you collect anything?

I had a strange fascination collecting postcards for a long time, but these days that obsession has changed to coffee mugs. I like drinking my fancy Italian coffee in style.

5. Choose a movie title for the story of your life.

A Life Less Ordinary.

6. What is the oldest thing in your fridge?

A frozen House elf from 1821. Mind you, the fridge is from the glorious year of 1816.

7. What, or who, are you a “closet” fan of?

Dolly Parton.

8. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

I’m a member of a Swedish film site and record each new film I watch. So far, I’ve watched 2603 of them. The latest one was Independence Day: Resurgence, which I gave a solid 1 (out of 5).

9. Favourite film?

Are you crazy? There are too many to pick from! Help! Okay, okay, depends on the genre. Overall I’d go with the original 12 Angry Men.

10. What about a favourite Swedish film, then?

That’s very difficult too. I’ll go with a timeless classic comedy and say Att Angöra en Brygga. All my favourite Swedish actors gathered on an island to celebrate Midsummer, what can go wrong?

11. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

Publish books, travel outside Europe, and provide tools for my children to become decent and caring human beings.

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To book a lesson with Daniel or to check his availability, click on “Swedish with Daniel” on the booking system

Quick questions for Jessica

Jessica is a conversational trainer here at Swedish Made Easy. She offers “Skype-fika”, which is an opportunity to get to practice improvised conversation with a 12748117_10154000986042372_6885427495407892589_onative Swede. Jessica is born and bred in Stockholm but has roots in Austria. She is married and has one child. She has always been interested in people and communication and various contexts, perhaps since she has three fluent languages under her belt. When she worked as an ambassador for “The Swedish Number“, she spoke to people from all over the world, which she found fascinating and fun. She has lived abroad, both in Germany and Austria, through different periods in her life. Jessica works in finance in the entertainment industry for a company in Stockholm (SoFo), and prefer to visit cities and beaches to soak up some sun when she can.

Here are 10 quick questions for Jessica.

1.Which Swedish storybook/cartoon character turns you on the most?

Birka Borkason when I was a child.

2. Can you play any instruments?

Played the Clarinet for 3 years.

3. What was your favourite TV show when growing up?

Alfons Åberg

4. Midsummer, Lucia or Christmas?

Christmas

5. What, or who, are you a “closet” fan of?

I don’t kiss and tell 😉

6. What Swedish food do you never want to live without?

Bregott butter!!

7. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

I don’t know if it’s nerdy but I clean and organise a lot.

8. Do you have any strange phobias?

Sharks

9. Favourite Swedish saying?

“Det man inte har i huvudet får man ha i benen”

10. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

So so much!!!

 

To book a Skype-fika with Jessica, go to the booking system and select “Skype-fika” and then “Jessica” as your trainer.

Quick questions for Sophie

Sophie works as a Swedish teacher at Swedish Made Easy. She is a native image1-1-jpgSwede who spent her 20’s in London, but these days she is based in Stockholm where she lives with her husband and two children. She works as an rhetoric consultant as well as a equality consultant, with a focus on communication. She has a great love for the Swedish language, its development and uses of languages generally.

 

Here are 12 quick questions for Sophie.

1.Which Swedish storybook/cartoon character turns you on the most?

Pippi, because she did everything the other way around, didn’t follow conventions and had her own very cool look.

2. Can you play any instruments?

A bit of piano and a little bit of guitar

3. What was your favourite TV show when growing up?

Laverne and Shirley

4. Midsummer, Lucia or Christmas?

Midsummer!

5. How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?

My Doc Martin, I bought them in 1996!

6. What, or who, are you a “closet” fan of?

Make up tutorials

7. What is the oldest thing in your fridge?

A year of coconut butter. I know it’s good, but can’t eat it.

8. What Swedish food do you never want to live without?

Sill!

9. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

Play simpsons on my phone

10. Do you have any strange phobias?

Dirty hands

11. Favourite Swedish saying?

Det ordnar sig!

12. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

Jump out of an airplane (preferable with a parachute), Tatoos, My own TV show.

 

Sophie is available on Thursday mornings for lessons. To book Sophie, go to the booking system and select “Swedish with Sophie”.

Welcome Amanda – conversational trainer

Skype-fika seems to be a sought after service here at Swedish Made Easy! So much so, that we now introduce another conversational trainer: Amanda. She will be available to book for some Skype-fika (conversational training).

Skype-fika does not include specific grammar training, but it is a chance to increase your confidence in speaking, by speaking with a native Swede, who will of course help you with new words, correct pronunciation and grammar glitches. You should be on at least B1-level to do conversational practice with Amanda. You book her through the booking system.

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Here are a few words from Amanda:

My name is Amanda, and I offer Skype-fika; conversational training. I grew up in Sweden in a small town called Lindesberg, though I have my roots in Stockholm and in Jukkasjärvi. I live in Exeter in the U.K now since a couple of years back, and I lived in Colchester when I was studying at university. I have always had a great interest in and passion for language and literature, and I have a BA in both Creative Writing and Literature. I currently work for a travel company called Risskov, and I also work with ceramics and art. My wife and I also have two crazy happy dogs, a hamster and a big stash of yarn since we are both avid knitters. I love talking to people about anything and everything, and I can’t wait to have a chat with you at a fika! Because of my flexible schedule, I’ll be offering fika almost all times of the day.

Jag heter Amanda, och jag erbjuder Skype-fika; konversationsträning. Jag är uppvuxen i Sverige i en liten stad som heter Lindesberg, fast jag har mina rötter i Stockholm och Jukkasjärvi. Nu bor jag i Exeter i England sedan ett par år tillbaka, och jag bodde i Colchester medan jag pluggade på universitetet. Jag har alltid haft ett stort intresse och passion för språk och litteratur, och jag har universitetsexamen i både Creative Writing och litteraturvetenskap. Just nu jobbar jag för ett resebolag som heter Risskov, och jag jobbar också med keramik och konst. Min fru och jag har två galna glada hundar, en hamster och ett stort lager garn eftersom vi båda älskar att sticka. Jag älskar att prata med folk om allt och inget, och jag ser verkligen fram emot att prata med dig över en fika! Tack vare mitt flexibla schema, så kommer jag erbjuda fika nästan alla tider under dagen.

Welcome Daniel – Swedish teacher

Swedish Made Easy is growing and we now have a new teacher onboard. I am very pleased to introduce Daniel Lind, who from now on will work as a Swedish teacher at Swedish Made Easy.

Daniel comes from Göteborg in Sweden, and lives with his family in London, UK. He has
worked in education for over 8 years, and worked with students of all ages. He has a real passion for languages and has helped to improve literacy levels of children in secondary schools in London (and even helped a school to set up a library!). He has taught Swedish to both children and adults since 2013. Daniel is also an author, and writes books and short stories in his free time (check it out!).

Daniel will be available for Skype Swedish lessons via the booking system, under “Swedish with Daniel”, and he teaches all levels – from beginner to advanced.

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Welcome Jessica – conversational trainer

Today, we welcome a new trainer to Swedish Made Easy – Jessica! She will be available to book for some Skype-fika (conversational training) a couple of hours a week.
Skype-fika does not include specific grammar training, but it is a chance to increase your confidence in speaking, by speaking with a native Swede. You should be on at least B1-level to do conversational practice with Jessica. You book her through the booking system.
Here are a few words from Jessica:
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Hej!

Jag heter Jessica och är född och uppvuxen i Stockholm med rötter i Österrike. Lyckligt gift med barn. Med tre språk flytande i bagaget har människor och kommunikation alltid varit av intresse i olika sammanhang. Som ambassadör för ”The Swedish Number” så pratade jag med folk från hela världen vilket jag tyckte var spännande och kul. Jag har bott utomlands i både Tyskland och Österrike i olika perioder av mitt liv.

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Jag vet hur svårt det kan vara att hitta rätt ord och utrycka sig, men även hur underbart det är när man kommit över tröskeln. Jag jobbar med ekonomi inom underhållningsindustrin på ett företag i Stockholm (SoFo). När jag reser så föredrar jag att besöka storstäder och sol med bad, att tälta är inget för mig. Långa promenader med snabba steg är något jag gärna gör så ofta jag kan.

Jag är en god lyssnare och pratar gärna med dig, men med ett varierande morgonhumör hoppas jag att vi hörs senare på dagen 🙂

Hoppas vi ses!

//Jessica

My name is Jessica and I am born and bred in Stockholm with roots in Austria. Happily married with a child. Having three fluent languages under my belt, people and communication have always been an interest of mine in various contexts. When I worked as an ambassador for “The Swedish Number“, I spoke to people from all over the world, which I found fascinating and fun. I have lived abroad, both in Germany and Austria, through different periods in my life.
I know how difficult it can be to find the right words and express yourself, but also how amazing it is when you succeed. I work in finance in the entertainment industry for a company in Stockholm (SoFo). When I travel, I prefer to visit cities and beaches to soak up some sun, camping is not my cup of tea. I go for long, fast-paced walks as often as possible.
I am a good listener, and I would love to talk to you, although given my varied morning mood, I hope that we can chat later on in the day. 🙂
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