First, let go of perfection. Clinical psychologist Sheryl Gonzalez Ziegler says testing is the first step. “You often stumble upon the gist of what he’s saying—and that’s great, isn’t it?” It’s good enough. An attempt—marred by grammatical errors—is better than nothing.”
Part of letting go is understanding on both sides that you are both trying to resolve differences, and that requires patience. Dana Nakano, a professor of sociology says Dana Nakano, another professor of sociology. at California State University, Stanislaus.
He also said that we are comfortable with children when they learn a language, and we understand when they make mistakes, but we also have to forgive when we grow up and accept the imperfection of learning a new language.
Second, remember that communicating in different languages, even with the help of technology, is work. You have to work with your problem. When dealing with family communication, there may already be levels of language understanding in place. If you can speak Chinese, and your parents have English language skills—in that hypothetical sense, how do you mix it up?” Nakano says.
I realized that my mother and I used the app in different ways to communicate. Sometimes, we read or play subtitles to fill in missing information; sometimes, we sent each other whole passages. As my voice grew, I began to find it difficult to use emotional words that I was not comfortable saying at first.
As part of this process, May suggests asking a lot of questions and repeating things to get your point across. He says: “Be comfortable with the fact that the conversation may take a long time so that you can ask the question in different ways, and that the answers match your perspective on the question.”
Third, be careful with complex sentences and phrases. May says that we often use language in everyday communication and it does not translate well into other languages. It is best to keep words and sentences short and simple.
“The longer you write, the more complex your sentence will be and the worse it will translate,” May said.
Fourth, don’t trust the translation software after the first pass. We all know that translation software is not good, no matter what you use it for. Do your research and double-check words that can have multiple meanings, says May. Every time I write a sentence to my mother, my daughter’s name, April, is translated in Chinese as “the fourth month.” I usually analyze the text and edit it.
Fifth, use translation software as a way to learn the language yourself and improve your communication skills. “You can build it there, can’t you?” says Ziegler. “We all know how language works: The more you do, the better.”
May feels the same way. He said: “When you get to the point where you want to start teaching yourself to speak these things, do it by just saying one word at a time and trying to understand the grammar.” “So this program can be a helper – a tool to help – in trying to learn a language, but you have to take it seriously.”
It’s only recently—about 15 years or so—that technology has come this far in machine translation, May says. In addition to Google Translate, there are other programs available to the public, such as Apple Translate. With Skype and Microsoft Translator, users can have conversations translated into speech.
May says that despite AI’s advances, humans still have a poor understanding of what’s going on because language is so simple. I recently started taking Chinese lessons on the Duolingo app to improve my conversation with my mother. We’ve already come this far, and I want to see what else we might be saying that we haven’t said yet.