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Poetry in a foreign language can be hard to get to grips with.

It uses the kind of language which is far removed from the day-to-day French you might normally learn in school or during a practical language course. Two University of Birmingham specialists helped The Gadget Show's Jon Bentley test some new technology that works in real time to help people handle complex language. 

Filming for the Gadget Show

Dr Nina Rolland, Research Associate on The Baudelaire Song Project (, recited a famous poem by nineteenth-century French poet Charles Baudelaire which uses lots of complicated vocabulary and difficult word order to see how good the latest technology is in helping people understand what is going on. 

Professor Helen Abbott, Chair in Modern Languages and leading expert on poetry translated into other media, evaluated what the different technologies came up with in real time. Can technology really replace humans when it comes to complex French poetic language? Find out by watching The Gadget Show which airs this Friday 20 April 2018 at 7pm.