Recently I was browsing some teaching groups on facebook and came across a link to a Firefox add-on called languageBOB. This is a program which you can download and which works on Firefox translating some words into a foreign language with the aim of “drip-feeding” the foreign language so that the reader absorbs the language through context. I’ve had it on for a couple of days and have been practising my long-forgotten French, whilst finding some amusing bugs in the program at the same time!
Yesterday for example, I discovered that my cousin is “unventilateur of Summertime” and that I too could become unventilateur if I liked. The problem, as with many online translation programs, is that here the translation is incorrect but, rather than being nonsensical as is often the case, turns out to be quite a fun pun!
So, would I recommend languageBOB to my students? Yes, because the program-writer admits that there are faults in the program and that it is not a language course but as he says, “it takes the drudgery out of learning” and anything that can motivate students to learn in their freetime can’t be a bad thing.