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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 6 Current Views on Translation: The Expert and Learner Perspectives

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Chapter Six Current Views on Translation: The Expert and Learner Perspectives

6.1 Introductory remarks

As stated in Chapter One, contemporary communicative methodology advocates a less conscious and less form-focused approach to foreign language learning and teaching. It also appears to be a monolingual approach, where even if the learner’s L1 is occasionally allowed, it is rather as the last possible course of action. “Maximise the use of the FL, minimise the L1” is the usual advice language teachers and learners hear (Butzkamm and Caldwell 2009: 18). After all, the main emphasis is on fluency and on what is conveniently referred to as “successful communication” − interpreted primarily in terms of the learner’s ability to “get by” in the L2. And yet, even in this context, where, as Rogers (2004: 637) notes, translation has suffered from “some confusion of purpose”, there are some signs that translation in language learning can be approached afresh, by integrating and adapting elements of professional translation and interpretation in an imaginative way.

Translation is increasingly recognised as an integral part of the modern world,

a valuable means of promoting understanding between individuals, groups, organisations and nations as well as a medium of cultural transmission and information and technology transfer. In the ‘age of translation’, it now has a certain vogue. It has its own fascination, is a source of personal pleasure, is continually a puzzle and a mystery, and is a source of access to new...

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