Using Translation In Foreign Language Classes

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The first decade of the twenty-first century was marked by a renewed interest in and support of students’ own languages (Cook, Translation 37). This has been made possible by the changes that had taken place in the academic and political climate which surrounds language teaching and learning (Hall and Cook 278).
Many theorists, linguists, and teachers agree on the importance of using translation in foreign language classes. Schaffner (1998) claims that the translation and related exercises could be beneficial to foreign language learning in the following ways:

1. To improve verbal agility.
2. To expand students’ vocabulary in L2.
3. To develop their style.
4. To improve their understanding of how the language work.
5. To consolidate L2 structures
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The students translate in class for other students, interpret signs and notices in the environment, and translate instructions, letters to friends and relatives. Additionally, they mentally translate ideas from their mother tongue into English. Translation might provide a guided practice in reading. Leonardi(2009, p.143) adds, before starting translating a text, it “should be read carefully and analyzed in detail to determine the contents in terms of what, how and why it is said”. Leonardi (2010) claims that a good translation should flow naturally, re-create both the style and the context of the original text, and follow target language conventions. As translation is regarded a communicative activity, it involves communication between the teacher and the student. Leonardi (2011) proposes that translation as a pedagogical tool can be successfully employed at any level of proficiency, at school or university, as a valuable and creative teaching aid to support, integrate and further strengthen the four traditional language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Nolasco and Arthur (1995) suggest that translation activities should meet the following…show more content…
In the former, translation into L1 is merely a tool--and a very effective one--to help learners grasp a particular L2 structure. As such, stylistic considerations are set aside. In the latter, the focus is on the communicative value of a given text. Learners are then expected to produce a text that could function in the L2 culture. Carreres adds, both approaches, provided they are carefully applied, have their place in the languages classroom and they should be viewed as mutually enhancing rather than

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