The use and abuse of artificial intelligence-enabled machine translation in the EFL classroom: An exploratory study

Wael Alharbi

Royal Commission Yanbu Colleges & Institutes, Industrial Yanbu, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Keywords: Artificial intelligence, English as a foreign language, Google translate, Machine translation, Writing.


The integration of machine translation (MT) and artificial intelligence (AI) has significantly enhanced the precision of MT systems producing translations that rival the quality of skilled human translators. This innovation has broadened the applicability of AI-enabled MT systems attracting users   for a variety of purposes. This paper explores the following areas: the application of AI-enabled MT, specifically Google Translate (GT) in English  as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom. Empirical findings and recent research indicate that students are increasingly reliant on MT particularly in higher educational settings where English is not their first language.  The purpose of this research is to provide insight on the practices, beliefs   and goals of EFL learners who use GT in the classroom. Data was gathered from 234 university students through a questionnaire along with pre- and post-tests to compare the quality of writing drafts created with and without the aid of GT. The findings are consistent with those of previous research conducted worldwide highlighting the immense potential of AI-enabled MT in not only boosting students' learning experiences but also cultivating more independent learners. The study also indicates that students have positive attitudes towards GT and employ diverse search strategies to address various language-related challenges.


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