New school policy clarifies use of language translation platforms in Hebrew courses


photo by Maya Preuss

The CESJDS Administration has recently implemented a new policy clarifying how students can use translation platforms in Hebrew courses.

Maya Preuss, Assistant News Editor

With the beginning of the new school year, the Hebrew department implemented a policy stating that the use of translation tools such as Google Translate and Morfix will no longer be permitted for use in Hebrew classes or for Hebrew homework. 

The original rule stated that students were allowed to use Morfix for translating a word, but over time teachers noticed that students were starting to misuse this tool. Many were translating full sentences and paragraphs instead of single words. 

“What we were finding is that Google Translate was actually impeding students’ ability to learn language because it was very tempting to just dump a sentence in and get the translate back, which A, is incorrect and B, doesn’t help you learn the language,” Dean of Academics Aileen Goldstein said. 

The Hebrew department and administration realized that there may have been confusion since the World Languages and Hebrew department’s policies were different. However, with this new Hebrew department policy, the two are now aligned. 

“Our goal is for you to learn the language, and I know that in Spanish they do the same. I think it’s across languages, and we’re not interested in [students] using anything other than what you know to be able to write what it is you need to write, and in that way you’re strengthening your skills based on your knowledge,” Hebrew Department Chair Hannah Rothschild said. 

The department does realize that sometimes students will need to translate a word every once in a while, but misuse of translating tools will result in academic honesty violations. 

“When we see whole sentences we know that that is not your work and we can tell by the Hebrew,” Rothschild said.

The department is currently working on finding an online tool that will translate one word at a time to limit misuse. 

However, some students still believe that their ability to learn will be impeded if they are unable to translate full sentences. Sophomore Sophie Schweitzer, a new student from The Field School, who has had no experience with Hebrew in the past, believes that translators can be beneficial. 

“I have little-to-no experience in Hebrew and having that extra aid to not really do my work for me, but to provide a base on top of what I know–which is very little–would be really helpful for my quality of learning,” Schweitzer said.