Use Google Translate to Break Down Language Barriers… in Church


Today at church I had a wonderful experience with a member of our ward that would not have been possible with Google.  We have a new member that was baptized recently in our ward from China.  She has a wonderful testimony, but struggles a bit with English.  She would like to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead so it was my responsibility to meet with her and assess her preparation for the temple.  We sat down and started talking but it became clear to me that we were having a hard time understanding one another (curse you tower of Babel!).  Then the Spirit reminded me about Google Translate.

So I did a quick Google search and found the temple recommend questions, put them into the English side, selected Chinese and flipped the computer around so she could read it.  Her face lit up as she read English and Chinese side by side and we went through the temple recommend questions. It was wonderful to be able to have this conversation with her and a few other times as we talked I wrote in sentences to help us make sure we understood one another.

Today I am grateful to the Lord for inspiring men and women in our day to create technologies like this that help the work of the Lord go forth.

What are some ways you might use Translate in your calling?

  1. My brother-in-law is dating a girl from Brazil and she is here visiting for a few weeks. She doesn’t speak any English. When I arrived home from work yesterday I found my wife and her passing their smart phones back and forth. I took a closer look to see what they were doing and found that they were using Google Translate to communicate with each other. I thought that was pretty cool and was glad to see that they were able to break down the language barrier and really get to know each other instead of sitting in awkward silence! Yay, for Google Translate!

  2. There are a number of Spanish speakers in my ward and this Sunday I ran the dedication prayer of our local temple through Google Translate. I handed out English and Spanish versions to the class. Afterward, one of the sisters came up to me and told me what a blessing it was for her to have it in Spanish. She had actually been at the dedication and heard it in English but had never had the opportunity to experience it in her own language. 🙂

    It might not be the most perfect translation but my Spanish instructor admitted that while such translations had been obviously off a few years ago, now they had a good chance of fooling her.

  3. I recommend checking out the Google Translate app, as well as the SayHi app, for iPhone/iPad. Both of these apps enable you to have a back-and-forth conversation, in speech, with someone else in a different language. SayHi might even me just a bit better than Google Translate for conversational translation. Fantastic tool!

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