Lesson Plan

Language Translation

This is a first day introduction to foreign language exploration
Amanda T.
Classroom teacher
Huntington East Middle School, Huntington, WV
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My Subjects Arts

Students will be able to develop an understanding of how languages evolve over time and how having an awareness of other cultures is a 21st century skill set for American students as they prepare to live and work in a global society.

Students will understand that languages have a high volume of words, grammar rules, are messy and evolve.

Students will also be able to translate words from one language to another in the correct context and intended meaning of the words.

English Language Arts
Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Investigating

Begin by viewing the 5 minute TedTalks video Are Elvish, Klingon, Dothraki and Na'vi real languages? on how languages are constructed and how they evolve over time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5mZ0R3h8m0&safe=active. Follow up with a quick survey of familiar foreign languages among students and add a few highlights about similarities between some of the mentioned languages and English. 

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Investigating

Next show students this fun 4 minute video on how diverse translations can be using google translate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMkJuDVJdTw&safe=active. This video shows us what happens when we translate the lyrics of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air through every language in Google Translate (64 times), and then taking what remains and translating it BACK into English.

3 Guided Practice

Walk students through a few translation apps (such as googletranslate, itranslate, translate free, translate voice free, etc.) using a master list of words to translate into a few target languages and compare/contrast translations. Discuss how the differences result form multiple meaning words and the use in context.

4 Independent Practice

Have students create a few sentences and work with a partner to translate the words and phrases. Students will experience the difficulty of word by word translation bringing attention to the fact that each language has varied phrases that communicate different meanings over simple word by word translations. 

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Assessing

Homework--prepare a short paragraph or 1 minute oral presentation on the question: How can having no knowledge of a foreign culture and language can cause harm in the work and social environments? Site 3 sources with your answer.