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Google Translate

Nyree Scott from Cambridgeshire Library Learning Services background is software training means she’s well placed to work with communities, helping them get online and make the most of online facilities. Google Translate provided a solution to a problem she’d had for a while, how to help those who spoke little or no english learn basic computer skills.

Why did you look for this tool in the first place? What did you need help with?
The community I work in has a high level of migrant families, and the predominant languages are Polish, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Portuguese. This can make learning sessions difficult at best and impossible at worst. Google Translate seemed like something that could help.

How did you find out about the tool?
I was searching for a solution to the language issue. We tried various apps on both Android and Ipad and Google Translate was the best.

What is this tool mainly used for?
During learning sessions to translate speech so the group made up of many different nationalities can communicate with each other.

What have been the benefits of using this tool?
Working with a community where so many languages are spoken is difficult to say the least! Doing it on ‘paper’ or even with a translating dictionary just doesn’t work when you’re trying to hold a conversation with someone.

Using the latest technology (ipads, mifi dongles and Google Translate app) means that real conversations can take place, translation costs are kept to a minimum and the technology gives people a real chance to exchange ideas and talk together a lot more easily.

Is there any cost attached to using this tool?
We used the free version. It’s worth noting that to get Lithuanian and Latvian “spoken”, a different app had to be used. Translation could still take place just not in a spoken format. Other languages have been no problem though.

Are there any online tutorials available?
Realistically this technology is so simple to use it doesn’t need an online tutorial. A bit of
practice talking to it at a speed both you and the device is comfortable with are all it takes.

Did this tool need much of you time to set up at the beginning?
It’s very quick and easy to use once downloaded onto the ipad.

Are there any limitations to using this tool?
Not as far as we’re aware.

Do you have any top tips for using this tool?
A quiet room works best. We’re still experimenting with whether it is better to lay the ipad flat
on the desk or to hold it in your hands.

Do you have any other recommendations of tools that could help you do something similar?
Translate Pro is a similar tool but there are cost implications.

Are there any other online tools that you have used that you would recommend and why?

  • Wordpress lets your community create its own simple site and gain a powerful voice. You don’t have to be an expert to use it. Pages can be updated simply by email!
  • is superb image editing software – available to use for free and you don’t have to download it onto your computer! As long as you have access to the internet this is absolutely excellent software.
  • Windows Live Movie Maker allows the “amateur” video maker to enter the world of creating videos, adding effects, sounds, fade in, fade out and even voice overs! Excellent software if you are going to be using Youtube to publicise your work. It does require a bit of study to get used to it, but it gives very satisfying results.