Revising your assignment ft. Google the rapper

Monday, March 2, 2020
by Nicole Bourque

Have you ever tried getting Google Translate to rap before? It’s probably one of the funniest things you can do with translate, outside of totally messing with Disney songs. When I’m not using translate as a means to laugh though, I’m using it to revise my essay by having Google read it out loud to me. Granted, that usually is also very funny, as the automated voice has a habit for tripping over lengthy sentences as well as butchering incorrect spelling of words. Use that last bit with caution though, Google Translate does have a habit for pronouncing everyday words like “get” very wrong.

How should you revise a paper then?

Well, the right answer to that question, is however you want. I can’t tell you how to write, but I can suggest some tips and tricks I have learned over my 3 years in uni.

Lesson #1

Try your best to NEVER schedule your editing time on the same day you plan on finishing your assignment. That means, don’t write the paper the day before and expect to have the necessary brain power to edit. The cliché is that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the reality is that your paper reads like it was written in a day, especially when you don’t budget your time. I speak from experience here, I have had moments where I use the wrong “there, their, or they’re” because I was sleep deprived and decided to edit 20 minutes after I finished writing.

GIF of a bunny falling asleep at the computer and falling out of its chair.
Your brain needs a break, your body needs a break, and believe me friend, you deserve a break. If you’re like me and you need a schedule to be given to you (thanks high school) then check out the assignment planner on the UW library website. It’ll make the schedule of work for you, and it makes the task of starting feel less “task-like”.

Lesson #2

Try editing your own work first, before you get a second set of eyes to help catch any lingering mistakes. I’m someone who emotionally attaches to their work, so anything anyone says about my work is like telling my dog that he isn’t a good boy, it’s just uncalled for and mean.

Nervous dog image with text: When a stranger pets you but doesn't call you a good boy.
If you look over your own work first however, you’re more likely to catch something wrong with secondary sources, proofs, or clarity. After you feel like you’ve edited as much as you possibly can, and you’re comfortable parting with your word baby for a little while, consider letting someone else help you edit (just don’t break any of the rules within “Framework for the Assessment of Unauthorized Collaboration Involving Undergraduate Students” though). A second pair of eyes, especially if those eyes belong to someone not in the class this paper is for, will be able to find instances in your writing that don’t make sense, or are grammatically messy.

Lesson #3

Be kind to yourself! Writing isn’t about how good your first draft turns out, but more so about how good your work ends up being in your mind. If you love it, and you’re proud of it, then you’ve already succeeded. Try not to focus on the grade that comes back with it, as a person you are defined, not by numbers in sequence, but the memories you make through life’s moments. Give yourself credit for working hard, and doing the best work you could at the time. If you really aren’t content with the way your work is turning out check out the resources on campus. The WCC is available with bookable appointments or drop-in appointments. You’ve also got your professor who sets office hour time aside specifically to interact with their students, you have every right to use it! Plus, if your class has a TA, then reach out to them with your concerns, like your prof, they are there to aid you, and want to see you succeed.

Gif of a stick figure sending a virtual hug.

So, next time you start revising, I hope you paste your essay in Google Translate and give yourself some time to laugh, because that voice is hilarious (#sorrynotsorrygoogle). Until then, I hope someone creates a true rap song using Google Translate, because I would definitely listen to that. And of course, never forget to always #writelikeawarrior!