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What’s the difference between translation tools and language learning systems

Some people may seem to have an aversion to learning other languages. For Americans, this could be because English is by far the most popular second language worldwide. When traveling, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find someone who also speaks English. Even if you can’t find someone, many translation devices can offer you assistance. 

However, there is a big difference between using a translation tool, such as Meta’s No Language Left Behind, and learning another language’s nuances via a language learning system. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. It is important to know the difference so you can choose which is best for you.

What is No Language Left Behind

No Language Left Behind is an open-source project that seeks to tear down language barriers without changing the way an individual expresses themselves. It is an artificial intelligence-powered translating tool that seeks to attain global inclusion in online communities. Currently, No Language Left Behind can deliver high-quality translations between 200 languages.

How does AI work when applied to translate languages?

From a very high-level perspective, AI recognizes patterns in data sets and analyzes how these patterns are used in different contexts to solve a specific problem. Since language is built on a series of patterns that individuals use to communicate, AI can be harnessed to recognize similar patterns in different languages to provide a better translation. In other words, instead of translating “la pelota del chico” to “the ball of the boy,” it translates to “the boy’s ball,” which sounds much more natural. 

Why is AI language translation better?

Meta’s belief is that using open-source AI-powered translation tools will provide the context needed to understand complex sentence structure and phrases and interpret tone, slang and humor successfully. The goal is to create an online community of inclusion, where no one is left out because they cannot adequately express themselves in another language.

What is a language learning system?

A language learning system is a systematic way of learning a language. It is a comprehensive approach that includes a broad scope of skills. For instance, there is much more to a language learning system than simply memorizing endless vocabulary lists. You study reading, writing, speaking and listening, so you have an in-depth, practical and balanced understanding of all aspects of the language. In short, using a language learning system ensures you develop a well-rounded set of skills.

AI translation tools vs. language learning systems

While some people speculate that AI translators may eventually take the place of language learning systems, there are many reasons why that isn’t a likely scenario.

AI Translation tools and a language learning system are two different things

AI translating tools are just that: tools. A language learning system, on the other hand, teaches you how to utilize those tools best. It is the difference between going to an art museum and admiring a finished painting versus knowing what to do with a blank canvas, a set of oils and brushes. Each has its purpose, and one will never fully replace the other.

Language is alive and ever-evolving

Language constantly evolves. Even if an AI translator perfected translation between two languages, over time, those languages would change, making the algorithms that were once so effective, not as accurate. 

The best way to understand your native language is to learn a foreign language

If you really want to understand the various parts of speech and their function in communicating, study the structure of a foreign language. This shakes things up and forces you to relearn what you picked up over the years through context so you have a deeper understanding of how and why.

Learning a second language has benefits beyond communicating

Even if you never plan on leaving your hometown, there are a few important reasons to learn a second language. Learning a language engages areas of your brain that might be otherwise under-developed. People who know a second language tend to do better in school and lower the risk of degenerative brain diseases. Besides helping you gain a better perspective of other cultures, learning a second language can improve your concentration, memory and listening skills.

Best language learning systems

Rosetta Stone Lifetime Access

Rosetta Stone (Lifetime Access)

Rosetta Stone is one of the top language learning systems available. This lifetime subscription gives you access to 24 languages, allowing you to switch freely between them without additional fees.

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Babbel Language Learning Software Lifetime Access

Babbel Language Learning Software (Lifetime Access)

This lifetime subscription to Babble lets you choose from 14 languages with courses designed with over 100 linguistic experts. The concise 10 to 15-minute lessons let you move at your own pace whenever convenient.

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The beauty of Pimsleur is all you need to unlock the lessons is a subscription to Audible Premium Plus. These 30-minute lessons can be done in your car, on vacation, in your home with Alexa or anywhere you want because you can stream or download each lesson. When you purchase a lesson, you also get an accompanying PDF.

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With Udemy, you scroll through the list of available courses and click on whatever catches your interest. This takes you to a page that gives you an overview of the course and lets you know if you will receive any certificates so you can decide if it is right for you. This method allows you only to purchase the courses you want to take so that the cost may be significantly lower than other options.

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Pocketalk Classic Language Translator Device

Pocketalk Classic Language Translator Device

If you aren’t interested in learning another language but want to be able to hold your own during a conversation in a foreign country, this portable translator is for you. The device translates as you speak to help break down language barriers so you can focus on enjoying your travel adventures.

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EdX gives you access to online learning from over 160 member universities, such as Harvard, Berkeley, MIT and more. After signing up, you will receive access to courses in English, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and more. The courses range from improving your grammar to helping you conduct business in foreign countries.

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Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone offers online learning courses in 25 languages. For almost 30 years it has helped people gain fluency in a second language. It offers plans for individuals, schools and enterprises.

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