Leveraging L2 academic writing: Digital translanguaging in higher education
Although the literature on computer-assisted language learning has demonstrated that digital tools such as online translators offer affordances to second or foreign language writers of English to solve lexical and syntactic issues, the extent to which digital technology supports multilingual students in producing academic texts has been underexplored. In this study we investigate what digital technology enables and does not enable students to do in communicating meaning by examining the writing experiences of two multilingual students. The data were derived through screen sharing and online stimulated recall interviews and analyzed using the concept of digital translanguaging, which focuses on meaning making using students’ entire meaning making repertoire. The findings suggest digital translanguaging afforded students to self-resolve their linguistic issues to varying degrees. However, it also became evident that these affordances hit a wall at a certain point beyond which no further progress could be made, constraining their ability to communicate intended ideas in L2. We conclude by providing insights into instructional and strategic support to effectively support multilingual students to offer greater opportunities to achieve their communication goals and create equitable higher education spaces.
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