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What's New? Translating Foreign Newspapers With Word



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Foreign Language


  • 6-8
  • 9-12
  • Advanced

Brief Description

This lesson plan for foreign language classes gives easy-to-follow steps for copying newspaper articles from the Internet, pasting them into Word, then converting the passage into a table format. Instructions on how students then can use that table to help in translation also are included.


Students will

  • translate a word or phrase into its literal equivalent in English.
  • translate a word or phrase into its figurative equivalent in English.
  • practice technology skills of copying, pasting, and manipulating text.


Foreign language, translation, ESL

Materials Needed

  • computer access for each student (can be done in a lab, small group, or one-on-one setting)
  • Internet access on each student computer.
  • Microsoft Word on each student computer.

Lesson Plan

Before beginning this lesson, select a newspaper paragraph for students to translate. The Internet Public Library online index of newspapers from around the world is a great resource. Find a passage that is easy enough for students to translate in one class period. You can allow students to decide which paragraph to translate, but in that case, be sure to add extra time for them to surf and select.

Begin by explaining to students that they are going to practice literal and figurative translation skills by decoding an article from a foreign newspaper. Then, walk students through the following steps.

  • Open the Internet on each computer.
  • Go to an article you or a student has chosen.
  • Highlight the first paragraph of the article.
  • Click Edit > Copy.
  • Open Microsoft Word.
  • Click Edit > Paste Special, select "Unformatted Text" and click OK.
  • Click File > Page Set up, change the page orientation to Landscape, and click OK. (Mac users: Click Format>Paragraph then change to Landscape.)
  • Highlight the first paragraph again.
  • Click Table > Convert > Convert Text to Table, and click OK. You now should have a row with 8 cells of phrases from the paragraph. (Note: If you're using a paragraph from another article, the number of cells will vary.)
  • Highlight the table.
  • Click Table > Insert > Row Below.
  • Repeat the steps above to highlight the table and insert another row below.
  • Now, under each cell containing phrases, are two other cells.
  • Save your work

Have students type in the cell just below a phrase, a direct (literal) translation of the phrase. In the cell below that, have them type a figurative translation of the phrase.

When the table is complete, tell students to click just above the table and type their names. Then have them print the worksheet and hand it in.

The lesson plan above can be modified for translating songs and poems as well. English teachers can use the Text-to-Table tool to identify symbolism or other literary elements in a piece of text.


Students will be evaluated on the
  • literal translation of the passage as evidenced by the completed table.
  • figurative translation of the passage as evidenced by the completed table.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lorrie Jackson

National Standards

LANGUAGE ARTS: Foreign Language
NL-FL.K-12.1 Communication