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The Role of Pedagogical Translation in Second Language Acquisition

From Theory to Practice

Vanessa Leonardi

Translation can help improve foreign language teaching and learning – this study shows how. In an increasingly globalised world and in an increasingly multilingual Europe, translation plays an important role. Significant signs of a new revival of translation in language teaching have become visible, as shown by recent literature on applied linguistics. This book contributes to this movement, embracing both a theoretical and an empirical purpose by integrating viewpoints from Applied Linguistics, Translation Studies and Second Language Acquisition.
In an attempt to show how the use of translation in foreign language classes can help enhance and further improve reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, this work calls for a re-evaluation and a rehabilitation of the translation activities in the foreign language classes.

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1. Introduction 17

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17 1 Introduction 1.1 Aim and hypothesis of the present study This book is about the use of translation for pedagogical purposes in Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Translation seems to be perceived differently by people and its use in foreign language (FL) teaching is surrounded by a great deal of controversy and criticism. This work stresses that there is a strong relationship between translation and foreign language teaching because, whereas translators tend to be viewed as good bilinguals and life-long language learners, language learners are meant to be natural translators who face this activity everyday as stu- dents and workers. The use of translation in language classes is not a means aimed at training professional translators but rather a means to help learners acquire, develop and further strengthen their knowledge and competence in a foreign language. In other words, translation in SLA should be thought of as a means rather than an end in itself. González-Davies (2002a: 65) also makes a clear-cut distinction between translation to be used as a means in FL classes ‘as a communicative learning activity’ and translation as an end ‘to prepare students who wish to follow Translation and Interpreting Studies at University’. Translation plays a very important role in an increasingly globalised world and in an increasingly multilingual Europe where it is used on a daily basis. From a European perspective, in particular, more and more emphasis is laid upon the role of learning foreign languages in order to overcome language barriers and facilitate...

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