Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number3  September 2020                                      Pp. 226 -240

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‘I Can’t Live Without Google Translate’: A Close Look at the Use of Google Translate App
by Second Language Learners in Saudi Arabia

Nada Bin Dahmash
College of Applied Studies and Community Service
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia



Google Translate App (GTA) use is ubiquitous among second language learners in Saudi Arabia for translating between Arabic and English and vice versa. Learners perform various translation tasks drawing on different features of GTA. However, what specific features they draw on when using Google Translate, and how the app influences their English learning process is unknown. This study aims to answer the following research question: what are the affordances of GTA as perceived by second language learners in Saudi Arabia? The research participants were twelve second language learners at a university in Saudi Arabia. Focus group interviews and individual interviews were conducted to gather the data over six-weeks. Thematic analysis indicates that GTA provides five different modes of writing in English, offering options to use the app in-class and in everyday life, and serving as a language learning resource. The findings also indicate that the personal histories of learners with GTA related to their introduction to and frequency of using the app in everyday life, and the benefits they observed when doing so. The study recommends language instructors promote the use of the app as a mini dictionary, and encourage language learners to use it as a resource to ensure accurate spelling and pronunciation.
Keywords: affordances, English learning, Google Translate App (GTA), Saudi Second Language learners

Cite as:  Bin Dahmash, N. (2020). ‘I Can’t Live Without Google Translate’: A Close Look at the Use of Google Translate App by Second Language Learners in Saudi Arabia. Arab World English Journal11 (3) 226 -240.


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Nada Bin Dahmash is an assistant professor at King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
She obtained her PhD degree in 2019 from the Department of Linguistics and English Language
at Lancaster University, United Kingdom. She is interested in second language practices, use of
English outside the classroom and the effects of technology on language learning. 0001-5918-5124