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  • 1.  Fluently and Grammarly apps

    Posted 15-12-2021 11:09 AM
    I teach a freshman composition course (post-matriculation) for ELLs.  One of my students is producing very high quality writing–suspiciously high quality. When I met with him to discuss it, he told me that one way he achieves this is to write sections of his paper in his native language and then first use an app called Fluently to translate it into English. He also writes some portions in English himself. When he is finished, he runs his paper through Grammarly to check for grammar errors.

    In the past, when a student used a translation app, it was immediately apparent because the writing was incomprehensible.  Now, it seems that AI translators and grammar-checking software have progressed to the point where they can produce coherent, grammatical English writing.

    These are my questions:

    (1)  Does anyone have any knowledge or literature on how apps such as Fluently work?
    (2)  Has anyone had programmatic discussions about setting policies or guidelines on the use of apps like Fluently or Grammarly?

    Ohio University

  • 2.  RE: Fluently and Grammarly apps

    Posted 16-12-2021 10:19 AM

    Apps like Fluently, Google translation, etc. use software to translate. Most are based on algorithms and formulas and in their beginning they translated literally, like you said, incomprehensible. However, they have improved and, in the case of Google translate, people provide corrections of translated text, which has also improved translations.

    I use Google translate and Grammarly. Grammarly is good but you still need to be wary of things that are incorrect because the program doesn´t always correctly understand what you´re trying to say.

    I agree. What do we do about students using these tools to write their essays? Is it ethically correct or are they showing good judegement in producing quality writing? The world is moving in that direction. You have to imagine that regardless of the fact that they took classes to learn to write when they go into the real world, they will continue to use these tools.

    It will be interesting to hear other comments and opinions.


    Sergio Lozano
    Scientific Publications Coordinator
    Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon

  • 3.  RE: Fluently and Grammarly apps

    Posted 16-12-2021 10:53 AM
    Hi Mr. Butler,
    I would ask the same questions too. This year I have a student in 9th grade whose first language is Spanish. The student can hardly speak in English but when I am checking her work in Biology or English, her responses are quite detailed and to the point. I have never experienced something like this before. I noticed that she uses translating apps most of the time. Since in my school the main focus is on Engineering and Science subjects, sometimes I feel it is okay. So far I think that her comprehension skills are very good.

    Tabinda Khan
    ESL Instructor
    P-Tech, New Brunswick, NJ
    United States