Google Translate. The popular service, which began in 2006, has steadily grown to over 200 million active monthly users, with more than 92% of them identified as international users outside of the United States, using both computers and mobile devices according to the digital media culture news site Mashable.
While it has been noted that many free online translation services often sound like literal dictionary translations, Google's ubiquitous presence and digital pervasiveness from the well known Google Search to Gmail to YouTube, and recently, Chrome, have made such flaws a more viable option than not being able to communicate at all.
In fact, global communication is core value not uncommon is at UC San Diego, ranking 7th in the nation with 2,375 international scholars from China, South Korea, India, Japan, Germany, France, and others, according to a publication in the UC San Diego International Center 2010 Annual Report. Student demographics resemble similar statistics with 2,493 international students.
These statistics are not only indicative of the university's globalization, but also of the efforts put in by staff and students to exchange knowledge in this digital age. To put it in another perspective, people are exchanging without the constraints of language fluency or dependence on formal schooling. Benefits like tolerance, awareness, and shared culture are priceless considering the recent focus on diversity within the university.
That isn't to say this software is absolutely fine and dandy. It's perhaps the reason why I just failed my Korean Language midterm because of my own reliance on Google Translate to complete homework. Let's just hope the program keeps up with slang, but I'm grateful nonetheless.