Why Learning Spanish Is Still Better Than Relying On A Translation Device

Tools like Google Translate are getting very good, but learning the language is still the best way to get a Spanish-English translation.
A woman practicing Spanish-English translation on her laptop while sitting in a dimly lit cafe on a winter's day.

The proliferation of automatic translation tools has made moving from one language to another easier than ever before. This has opened many doors, but it’s also used too often as an excuse to skip learning another language entirely. Why learn Spanish when you have a Spanish-English translation device in your pocket at all times? Despite all these technological advancements, though, there are countless benefits to learning another language on your own. Let’s break down some of the biggest reasons that learning Spanish is still a useful alternative to automatic translation.

Why You Shouldn’t Rely On Machines To Translate Spanish To English

One of the greatest arguments for learning Spanish on your own is that learning a new language is good for you, period. You’ll be able to speak to new people, dive into new cultures and exercise your memory with regular lessons. If that’s not enough to convince you that learning is the best option, however, there’s another aspect to consider: automatic Spanish-English translation is still very flawed.

The Biggest Problems With Automatic Spanish-English Translations

They make mistakes.While tools like Google Translate are getting better all the time, they’re still far from perfect. If you’re relying on them entirely, you’ll definitely end up with mistakes from time to time. And unlike the kinds of mistakes you make when learning the language, these will be much harder to understand and fix.
They don’t give you much info.When you look up a word in a Spanish-English dictionary, you’ll get a lot of information about possible translations and how the word is used in a sentence. Too often, automatic translation gives you none of that information, and the translation you’re given might not make sense for the situation you’ve encountered.
They’re bad with lengthy phrases.We don’t want to be all negative here. If you want to translate a single word or phrase, there’s a good chance that an automatic translation will be helpful. The longer the content you want to translate, though, the worse the translation is likely to be. Even simple sentences can trip up a translator from time to time.
They don’t get colloquial language.Want to understand slang using a translator? Good luck. Translators tend to focus on “standard” varieties of a language rather than other dialects, and won’t necessarily understand the new meaning of a word until after it’s been around for a while.
They slow down conversation.Yes, automatic translators are getting better and faster, but putting a machine between you and the person you’re speaking to still interrupts the flow of communication.

We don’t mean to say that automatic Spanish-English translations are never helpful. Used the right way, they can actually become a part of your language learning, supplementing other tools like language apps and dictionaries. While the technology will become consistently more impressive, it’s far from a perfect replacement for natural human conversation. So if you want to communicate with someone in the language seamlessly, you might want to brush up on some Spanish vocabulary.

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