John is taking his first Spanish class this semester. He has an important assignment due soon.  

John had promised himself that he wouldn’t wait until the last minute to write his paper for Spanish class– after all, it was worth 30% of the class grade. To John’s disbelief, it was already the night before the paper was due, and he hadn’t even started.


He remembered his teacher’s warning about the lack of accuracy of online translations, that she would know if they used one to write their papers. Yet he also thought about the length of time it would take to write a paper in a language he had only recently started to learn.

After weighing both sides he asked himself, “how hard could it be?” In a few minutes he dashed off in English what he thought would pass for a paper, subsequently copying and pasting the translation from the translation program.


The next day in class, when Señora Gonzalez told the class to turn in their papers, John smugly pulled his paper out of his folder.

“She’ll never suspect a thing,” he thought to himself.

But when John glanced down at his paper, he realized, in horror, that his paper was not written in Spanish. He couldn’t even tell what language it was– some kind of Slavic language, maybe? John suddenly realized that he had made a horrible mistake. He must have selected the wrong language and been too tired to realize it.


“Has everyone turned in their papers?” he heard Señora Gonzalez call.

“Yes,” the rest of the class responded in unison.

John started to panic, desperately trying to think of an excuse. What should he do?

Suddenly he woke up and was relieved to find himself in his bedroom. It was all just a dream! He still had two weeks left to write his paper and decided to start working on it right away.


  • Why doesn't John turn in his paper?
  • What are the pros and cons of using online translators?