As the world grows smaller the ability to communicate in various languages becomes a significant advantage. Languages such as Spanish and French are taught in schools and universities often with little effectiveness. For some, traveling to countries of interest for extended periods of time has proven successful for speaking a new language. However for most a quicker more convenient solution is desired. Scientific AmeriKen will explore one such quick and easy solution - listening to the radio while driving to work.

Used in this experiment was an April 2005 edition of People magazine in Spanish. 5 articles were chosen from this magazine. Either the first or the second paragraph from each article was then translated. For the following 30 days, only Spanish radio stations were listened to any time while driving (or as passenger assuming driver's permission). After the 30 day period, either the first or second paragraph from the same articles were translated. All Spanish words were counted and totaled for each paragraph. All English words were counted as translated and scores were derived from dividing English words by total Spanish words.

Click here to view the raw data for this experiment.
Before the Radio
Article12345 Total
Translated6546674843 269
Total Words8682926652 378
Percent76%56%73%83%71% 71%

After the Radio
Article12345 Total
Translated6751799246 335
Total Words89649812061 432
Percent75%80%81%77%75% 78%

When best and worst scores were dropped and total average recalculated - Before radio averaged 73% translation while after radio averaged 77%.
The data suggest listening to the radio does exert a positive effect on the ability to translate Spanish. Although it could be argued whether a 3-7% difference is a significant gain, however if those values held constant it would take a minimum of 4 months to achieve 100% translation ability. Although it would be interesting to see if this trend continues as the months go by, the risk involved with staying awake while driving and listening to this radio will make further experimentation unlikely.
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