For those of you who might have ELLs in your class, or maybe you’re simply studying another language for your own pleasure, you might have found yourself in the situation where you don’t want to have the Kindle in one hand, and your smartphone dictionary app open in another.
Many people don’t know that Kindle actually introduced a translate feature right into the device. In fact, at the moment it can translate into 16 different languages: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Japanese happens to be my language of choice, so I’m going to use that as an example.
Let’s take a look:
1) Open your book. I’ve chosen Flatland, but the nerdiness of your choice is completely up to you:
2) Highlight your text or word. Simply touch the word you want, or touch and drag your finger across the phrase that you’re looking to translate.
Then, tap on the “More…” option.
3) Choose “Translation” from the menu that pops up.
By default it will go to English:English. After you’ve chosen the language that you want, it will set that as its default choice.
4) Tap on the “To: English” Box
There’s your list of languages. As mentioned before, my choice is Japanese, so…
5) Slide your finger up and down the screen to see your options. Tap on Japanese (or the language you or your student wants)
6) View the translation!
Here I chose the text “Imagine a vast sheet of paper” and it translated it to ”紙の広大なシートを想像します。” Which, minus the imperative form is actually pretty spot on.
Give it a try and let me know if you get any interesting returns.
NOTES to be aware of:
1) While the value of direct translation is fairly low, and the technique as pedagogy is frowned upon, I think looking up the occasional word while trying to read a book in English is something to be encouraged.
2) The translation works through an online service, so if you’re using a wifi only kindle and are not in a hotspot, the translation won’t work