BLC Awarded USDOE Grant for Machine Translation Project

September 29, 2023

The Berkeley Language Center (BLC) is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded a FY 2023-26 US Department of Education International Research and Studies (IRS) grant for the project Translating Machine Translation for Language Education to Promote Language Learning, Critical Digital Literacies, and Global Citizenship

The grant will provide funds to support the development of specialized instructional materials that promote learner use of machine translation tools (MT) with the following objectives: 

  • Improve language proficiency in the target language in writing, speaking, listening, and reading; 
  • Support the development of critical digital literacies, including critical thinking and understanding the affordances and limitations of technologies like machine translation;
  • Prepare students for global citizenship, including uses of MT in increasingly multilingual workplace contexts and the ethics of MT use.

These open access instructional templates will be adaptable to any language/teaching context and will train language learners 1) to use MT critically; 2) to evaluate, analyze, and apply what is learned from MT use to understandings of language, its use, and overall meaning making processes; and 3) to explore important ethical questions around when and why to use MT tools. In addition, the templates will  be transformed into full-fledged instructional modules in eight (8) languages (Arabic, Dutch, German, Filipino, French, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin Chinese) with the help and expertise of partner instructor participants. These materials will be adapted to and disseminated in other learning contexts, specifically K-12 classrooms and community colleges, thanks to the participation of the Berkeley World Language Project (BWLP) and local community colleges. This project will have immediate and long-term impacts on language instructors and students, at UC Berkeley and beyond.

We’d like to thank everyone who supported this project, in particular A&H Dean Sara Guyer, Jeroen Dewulf (IES), and Rick Kern (Department of French).