How do you troubleshoot?

Doug Peterson is one of my favourite bloggers. For a while now, each Sunday at 5:00, he shares a recap of his reading highlights from the week. Since Doug often points me to interesting stories, blogs, and news articles, I always enjoy perusing this weekly post. As part of each post, Doug often includes some “technology troubleshooting.” While I like reading these troubleshooting stories, Doug’s far more advanced than me in his technology skills, so I’ll admit that I frequently sit in awe of what he accomplishes and his thought process throughout. An experience today though had me thinking more about “technology troubleshooting.”

I was out with a friend for lunch today, and when I returned home, I heard from another friend of mine. She just received a personal report from a doctor in Montreal, but the report was in French. She was hoping that I might be able to help her translate it. Now I’ve used Google translate many times before, but never for text contained in a document. I figured that there must be a way to do this. I started with the help of Google.

I thought about asking “how to translate a document from French to English.” Google suggested a couple of different apps. I downloaded both of them. Apps are always easy … right?! These might have been easy, but in order to translate documents, they required a paid subscription. No thank you. There must be another way.

I went back to Google, and saw a list of steps to translate a document from my computer. Perfect! I would just download the file to my computer and go from there. I’m good at following steps. It was going great until I saw this message.

At this point, I gave up. I called my friend back and explained that since the document was scanned, I could not translate it. She would need to call her doctor to ask for a translated document or a copy of the original text (that I could then copy and translate). She thanked me for the help, and figured that she would investigate more tomorrow.

While there was no push for me to do any more, I couldn’t stop thinking about this translating problem. There must be something that I could do. I decided to sit with the problem until after dinner tonight. At one point during my Google investigations, I saw that you could use the Lens App for translating documents. I have Microsoft Lens on my iPhone. I know that with Lens, you can share documents to the Immersive Reader. This got me thinking: text in the Immersive Reader would no longer appear as scanned. If I could then export this text, I could copy it and put it into Google Translate. Hmmm …

  • I took a screenshot of the report.
  • I opened the screenshot in the Lens app.
  • I shared it to the Immersive Reader.
  • Then I exported it from the Immersive Reader and opened it in Word.
  • I copied the text from Word and put it into Google Translate.
  • I translated the text to English.
  • Then I copied the English text and emailed it back to my friend.

Yay! Something that I was sure today wouldn’t work — and couldn’t work — did work with a few additional attempts, some extra wait time, and the drive to solve this problem.

In another moment of problem solving joy, as I’m writing this blog post, I realized that I could have done the same thing in fewer steps.

  • Take a screenshot of the report.
  • Open the screenshot in the Lens app.
  • Save it to Word.
  • Copy the text from Word and put it into Google Translate.
  • Translate the text to English.
  • Copy the English text and send it back to my friend.

While I haven’t tested it out, I could probably have exported this Word Document as a PDF, saved it to my computer, and followed the steps to translate a document that I started out with earlier this afternoon.

Why bother blogging about this? Even as an adult, it’s amazing how much joy you can feel when you solve a hard problem.

  • What’s a hard problem for you, might not be for someone else.
  • Maybe your solution to the problem is just one of many, but that’s okay.
  • If we want to understand how students feel when challenged with problems, maybe we also need to experience this for ourselves.
  • Could reflecting on the process of how we solve a challenging problem, help us when guiding and/or supporting kids?

When was the last time that you had to do some troubleshooting? What’s your story? I’m going to be looking out for a few more troubleshooting experiences this summer. It’s amazing how good you can feel when something that you don’t think can work, actually does!


2 thoughts on “How do you troubleshoot?

  1. And you say I’m a story teller!

    Loved following your logic, Aviva. One of the things that I truly like about using the power of the blog is what you’ve done here. You’ve worked your way through a problem and shared your work. There are two benefits.

    1) If you ever run into the situation again, you’ve already worked your way through things.
    2) Anyone smart enough to follow you has access to your line of thinking and, step by step, they should be able to replicate your procedure to solve a similar problem that they might have of their own.

    I supposed it would be easier to just live in a silo and keep these steps to yourself but by sharing, you’ve potentially made many unknown people smarter.

    Way to go.

    • Doug, I love how you pulled this back to the benefits of blogging. These are things that I appreciate about blogging too, especially when others also share their thinking to help me with my problem solving. Thanks for inspiring a different kind of blog post from me tonight! I do love some storytelling. 🙂


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