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Exploring Translation in Language Learning


Malgorzata Smentek

This book explores the functions and potential of translation in language learning. It demonstrates that despite its changing fortunes in the history of foreign language teaching, translation has a prominent part to play both in the L2 classroom and beyond. As a cognitive process and a quintessential communicative activity, it not only boosts the learner’s bilingual and bicultural competence, but also promotes and accelerates the development of the skill of translation. Considering its diverse educational assets as well as the results of a research survey presented in this book, the author argues that translation practice should become an integral element of contemporary foreign language education.

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Chapter 3 Translation: Selected Theoretical Issues


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Chapter Three Translation: Selected Theoretical Issues

In order to thoroughly pursue the role of translation and the extent of its applications in the process of language learning, it is not only necessary to examine the objectives of the latter, but it is equally important to understand the complexity of the former, i.e. the study of translation perceived as a discipline in its own right.

Therefore, in an attempt to support the forthcoming discussion with some basic theoretical scaffolding, the present chapter sets out to introduce some notions and phenomena central to the discipline of translation studies, in particular, what translation is, what processes it involves and what challenges it poses for the translator.

3.1 Defining translation

Let us begin with a definition of the concept of translation. Interestingly, it is already at this point that the complexity of the activity comes to surface. It appears that the number of possible interpretations and approaches is, indeed, countless and depends only on the adopted perspective. Consequently, the words denoting ‘translate’ and ‘translation’ have been conceptualised differently at different times in different languages and cultures.

3.1.1 The etymology of the term translation

Etymologically, the word translation comes from Latin translatio(n-), which derives from Latin translatus, past participle of transferre (from trans- ‘across’ + ferre ‘to bear’), meaning ‘bring across’, ‘carry across’ (The New Oxford Dictionary of English, Pearsall (ed.) 1998: 1969). In other words, in the course...

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