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Exploring Translation in Language Learning

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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 5 Towards an Integrated Approach to Translation

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Chapter Five Towards an Integrated Approach to Translation

[I]nside or between languages, human communication equals translation.

A study of translation is a study of language.

(Steiner 1998: 49)

5.1 Introductory remarks

As argued in the previous chapter, translation − as a convenient and fairly precise resource − has multiple applications at different levels of the L2 teaching processes, and even at various stages of the lesson, where it can be used by the learner or employed by the teacher for the presentation of new linguistic knowledge as well as for practice, elicitation, testing, error correction and feedback (see Muskat-Tabakowska 1973: 131, Dakowska 2005: 30).

This chapter attempts to demonstrate that the role of translation in language learning goes beyond its traditional classification as a tool for teaching L2 lexis and grammar. Apart from facilitating and enriching the process of foreign language acquisition in all possible areas of linguistic knowledge, translation practice introduced along the lines advocated in the present study promotes and accelerates the bilingualisation of the 21st century language learner, and significantly contributes to the development of his/her translation skills.

5.2 Translation as part of the bilingualisation process

Among the most powerful arguments in favour of an integrative approach to translation in the context of L2 learning, there is one which deserves particular attention here as it points to a new direction which should be adopted in FLT. The argument in...

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