The role of translation in teaching foreign language | Статья в журнале «Молодой ученый»

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Библиографическое описание:

Сапарова, Интизор. The role of translation in teaching foreign language / Интизор Сапарова. — Текст : непосредственный // Молодой ученый. — 2017. — № 24.2 (158.2). — С. 60-62. — URL: https://moluch.ru/archive/158/44755/ (дата обращения: 17.07.2024).



Translation is one of the most demanding and intellectually difficult tasks. It is connected with translation either as an action or as a result of an action. According to Oettinger “Interlingual translation can be defined as the replacement of elements of one language, the domain of translation, by equivalent elements of another language, the range.” It is an action of transferring meaning from one language to another taking into account a number of constraints. These constraints should include words, context, grammar rules, culture, writing conventios and words or utterances difficult to translate, e.g idioms. The 20th century can be characterized as dominated by giving up application translation and explanations in students’ mother tongue to the Direct Method, in which using native language was forbidden. This trend caused that many well-known techniques such as e. g. Translation was rejected as faulty. Of course, not all theoreticians agreed with the Direct Method and in the 70s of the century Noam Chomsky introduced the Cognitive Method to language teaching. This is a modernized Grammar-Translation Method and its main aim is to develop a language ability which would allow one to understand and create a great number of correct sentences. Using translation on lessons plays an important role in teaching. Helps students to understand the connection between languages and explores the potential of both of them. It is a necessary and natural activity, because in many common places foreign words are met and they need to be decoded.

Translation develops qualities necessary to all language studying: flexibility, accuracy, and clarity during searching for the most appropriate words to convey what is meant. The students can contribute their own thoughts while focusing on the text and feeling freedom in putting up their ideas. Before the translating a number of crucial factors ought to be taken into account. In the opinion of Harmer it is necessary to consider the four main elements of a plan:

– Activities — what students will be doing in the classroom, the way they will be grouped, what kind of activity each of them will solve.

– Skills– what language skill the students will develop

– Language– what elements of a language will be practiced

– Content — lesson planners have to select content which has a good chance of provoking interest and involvement.

Equivalence is the central issue in translation. It appears as a main problem among children at primary school. According to Wilss it consists of three components: “an undesirable initial state, a desirable goal state, barrier which prevents the transformation of the initial state into the goal state.” There are three types of barriers between an initial state and a goal state which constitute a problem. The first of them is a synthesis problem which concerns the means for the unknown transformation. The second obstacle deals with an interpolation problem that is an abundance of already familiar means and combinations of them for the transformation. The third regards a dialectical problem which appears because the goal state is vaguely known or unknown, and initial state is considered to be undesirable. This type of barrier occurs in the production of lyrical work and also in everyday life, e.g. in writing letters. According to Nord there are four categories of translation problems:

– Pragmatic translation problems which arise from the particular situation and represent a specific contrast. Those problems can be identified by the extra textual factors of the text-analytical model.

– Cultural translation problems are a result of the differences in culture e. g. specific habits, expectations, norms and conventions concerning verbal and other behavior.

– Linguistic translation problems which are connected with the structural differences between languages in lexis, sentence structure and supra segmental features e. g. ‘false friends.’

– Text-specific translation problems are those which may appear in a particular text and cannot be classified as pragmatic, cultural or linguistic ones. Translation is a demanding and intellectually difficult activity. Apart from knowing the language, it is essential to have general knowledge about the world. The process consists of many complicated tasks that people’s mind is able to cope with. Therefore, the main problem is a feeling of fatigue and frustration among students. They may go for the easy solutions, e.g. check the answer, or even give up the task. This work is time-consuming; therefore using it during the lesson is not effective. The working speed can be also the problem.

Language learners are needed to acquire rather communicative than translating skills, thus that is the case that among people who are learning a foreign language a concept of equivalence is a big problem, because they do not understand the difference between synonymity and equipoise. Many of them have an assumption that a direct one-to-one correspondence of meaning between the word or sentence in the target language and those in the source language exists. Hence, the central problem is concerned with specifying the nature of equivalence. Equivalence is doubly understood. It is an agreement between a word or a group of words in a second language with a word or a group of words in a specific context in a teaching language. Common words carry many problems for learners, particular for children. For example, the verb ‘to get’ in all its versions cover even several columns in a dictionary.

To guess the meaning from the context appears as a problem for young people. Words are untranslatable, texts can always be translated”, the next problem comes into view. Untranslatable’ words may be translated by description, e.g. ‘Living room’ is a room when people spend a day, watch TV, have a rest etc. Finding an appropriate word for English ‘lunch’ in Polish seems to be unrealizable too, because in England it is a light meal or a sandwich usually eaten at people’s place of work around one p. m.

To sum up, translation needs to be practiced in favorable conditions under the supervision of the teacher. Learners should have a possibility to exchange their knowledge and compare their choices of words. In this way, every task will develop their translating skills. Only systematic treatment of translation leads to a success.

Classroom activities involving translation

The importance of translation in language learning is implicitly recognized in the fact that almost all university first-degree programs in foreign languages include at least one course in it. This is because translating is one of the things that a student might want to do, professionally or paraprofessionally, with their foreign language after graduation. To that extent, the fact that our respondents have generally accepted translation as a ‘fifth skill’ should come as no surprise. As should be clear from the literature review and case studies, translation is rarely seen as a language-learning method in itself. It was part of the nineteenth century grammar-translation method, but it has since evolved into one kind of activity among many.

As such, we must accept that it can and usually is combined with a number of general teaching approaches. In this context, the question is no longer whether or not translation should be used in the second language class, but how it can be used effectively and creatively. Our aim here is to present a series of variables with which teachers and curriculum designers might be free to experiment. We also present a few suggested activities, in the hope that they might provide a basis for further experimentation. These activities seek to stress that translation can be used in ways that are communicative (so there is no conflict with communicative language teaching), adaptable to new technologies, and possible in situations where there are multiple L1s in the classroom. They are also formulated in the belief that, in an age of user-developed online cultures, translating is one of the things that students might actually want to do with their second languages, both in class and in their future lives, be it professionally or as motivated volunteers.

General models of translation activities

Leonardi [1, p 43] offers the following ‘pedagogical translation framework’, which is a set of classroom activities that can be associated with the use of translation:

– Pre-translation activities: brainstorming; vocabulary preview; anticipation guides (where a question-and-answer process establishes the students’ level of prior knowledge).

– Translation activities: reading activities; speaking and listening; writing; literal translation; summary translation (‘gisting’); parallel texts (the study of texts in L2 on the same topic as the text in L1); back-translation (a text is translated from L1 to L2, then back into L1, by a different person); grammar explanation vocabulary builder and facilitator; cultural mediation and intercultural competence development.

– Post-translation activities: written or oral translation commentary; written or oral summary of the L1 text; written composition on the topic of the L1 text.

The main point is that any learning activity you can think of, or almost, can be associated with translation. A second message is that ‘translation’ can involve much more than the mere exercise of ‘literal translation’, which here very clearly becomes just one possibility among many.

– Learner groups work on translating different sections of a text, and then regroup to connect together their parts into a full text, with suitable connecting language.

– Learners bring in examples of L1 language (in their own country) or L2 (in another country) for discussion and translation. Signs can be particularly interesting. This can also be done by sharing material via group e-mails.

– Learners bring in short texts/proverbs/poems and present them to the class, explaining why they like them. These are then used for translation.

– Learners work in groups on short texts then regroup and compare their versions, before producing a final text. This can then be compared with an ‘official' published version.

– Learners translate and other learners back-translate, then compare versions and discuss why there are differences.

– Ask learners to find different kinds of texts for comparison and translation, for example recipes, e-mails, graffiti, technical texts, post-its, etc.

The following activities are presented as no more than ideas that each teacher, in each specific situation, should be able to adapt, extend and experiment with. We suggest language levels in accordance with the CEFR system. Our aim here is to focus on activities that are communicative (translation is not the opposite of communication), textual (more than sentences are involved) and close to the uses of translation, mostly technological, that tend to be part of the students’ everyday experience. Many teachers think that translation makes the student look backwards at a text, rather than forwards towards a person. The easiest way to counter this perception is to start translation activities from spoken interactions (i.e. start from interpreting, then move to written translation). Numerous simulated situations can be created in class in order to get students to act as mediators, in roles where they are obliged to use L2 (and L1) in order to create understanding.

Literature:

  1. Chomsky, Noam Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, Cambridge, MA:MIT Press, 1994.Duff, Alan Resource Books For Teachers– Translation, Oxford University Press, Oxford,1994
  2. Harmer, Jeremy, The Practice of English Language Teaching, Pearson Education Limited, Longman 2001
  3. Munday, Jeremy Introducing Translation Studies Theories and Applications, 20017.Nord, Christiane Translating as a Purposeful Activity. 2006
Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): CEFR.


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