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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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4. Pedagogical Translation Framework and Practical Activities 85

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85 4 Pedagogical Translation Framework and Practical Activities 4.1 Authentic texts One of the most heated controversies within the field of ELT is whether teachers should make use of simplified or authentic texts. This work supports the need for authenticity which, in line with McDonough and Shaw (1993: 43), can be defined as ‘a term which loosely implies as close an approximation as possible to the world outside the classroom, in the selection both of language material and of the activities and methods used for practice in the classroom’. This statement, therefore, seems to legitimate the use of translation in the FL classroom as a realistic activity which takes place every day outside the classroom. For the purpose of this work, it is important to provide a working definition of ‘authentic texts’ which can help readers better understand how the texts for the practical translation activities were chosen and selected. Authentic texts are texts written by native speakers for native speakers and, although they cannot be controlled and thus graded in terms of difficulty, there are undoubtedly several advantages in using them for pedagogical purposes, such as: 1) Bringing students into direct contact with real-world facts 2) Providing students with authentic exposure to language forms and uses rather than artificially designed language features 3) No alterations or manipulations are carried out thus making the language appear genuine and content-based 4) Large availability of material which keeps up-to-date not only with real-world facts but also with language changes (e.g. introduction and/or...

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