Berkeley Language Center receives grant to support critical uses of A.I. in language instruction

October 23, 2023

The Berkeley Language Center (BLC) announced that it received a $150,000 grant from the Department of Education’s International Research and Studies Program to develop instructional materials on critically utilizing machine translation technology in language acquisition.

Artificial intelligence (or “AI”) is rapidly transforming the educational landscape, and UC Berkeley researchers are striving to maximize the societal gains. Large language models are the backbone of widely used tools like ChatGPT and Google Translate. The increased power and ease of use of these tools can improve productivity and knowledge transfer — but they remain controversial among educators who fear inaccuracies and misuse.

Over the past several years, Berkeley Language Center Director Kimberly Vinall and Associate Director Emily Hellmich have researched shifting instructor perceptions of machine translation tools and documented how language learners use these tools to complete writing assignments. 

“This research has made clear to us that language-based, artificial intelligence technologies represent both a source of frustration and possibility in language/culture learning and teaching,” said Dr. Hellmich. “With this grant, we are excited to be able to put our findings into action.”

Berkeley Arts & Humanities