LINGUIST List 25.4159

Tue Oct 21 2014

Review: Applied Ling; Translation: Tsagari, Floros (2013)

Editor for this issue: Sara Couture <saralinguistlist.org>


Date: 20-May-2014
From: Arnaldo Robles <aroblesalbany.edu>
Subject: Translation in Language Teaching and Assessment
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Book announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/25/25-727.html

EDITOR: Dina Tsagari
EDITOR: Georgios Floros
TITLE: Translation in Language Teaching and Assessment
PUBLISHER: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Arnaldo Robles, University at Albany - SUNY

Review's Editor: Anthony Aristar

SUMMARY

Inside this volume, “Translation in Language Teaching and Assessment”, edited by Dina Tsagari and Georgios Floros, readers can find 12 chapters written by experts in their field. As its name suggests, this is a volume that provides different, innovative ground-breaking methods and contexts to use translation as an approach to language teaching. It examines ways of informing other domains of language-related activity. The volume in its entirety, is composed of two parts. The first part is about the application of translation into language classrooms and its implementation in learning. Light is shed on new perspectives as how translation can serve for teaching core language skills. The second part focuses on using translation in the field of assessment to accommodate diverse learners. The book also includes a List of Contributors, a Preface, Works Cited, and Table of Contents.

In Chapter 1, “Incorporating Translation into the Language Classroom and its Potential Impacts upon L2 Learners”, Tszu-yi Lee highlights the eminent tendency for English teachers to often neglect or discard translation in classrooms, and how translation is, actually, still a valuable component in reading comprehension. Translation seems to serve as an urgency for students to read more carefully, improving comprehension of passage readings among students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Chapter 2, “Teaching Grammar through Translation”, Melita Koletnik Korošec calls for attention at re-examining the role of translation in Foreign Language Teaching (FLT). The necessity to move from implicit to explicit teaching (translation, which serves as a norm at most universities) of grammar. This is marked with positive results as students are motivated to be engaged, thus creating a skill that is transferrable to other domains of instruction. In, Chapter 3, “Audio Description as a Tool to Improve Lexical and Phraseological Competence in Foreign Language Learning”, Ana Ibáñez Moreno and Anna Veremulen operationalize Audio Description (AD), and also introduce the role it plays in the development process. The researchers detail how it serves as a central function to further lexical and phraseological competence, and how it allows students to perceive the significance of choosing the utmost colloquial expressions.

Chapter 4, “Translation Techniques in the Spanish for Heritage Learners’ Classroom: Promoting Lexical Development”, Flavia Belpoliti and Amira Plascencia-Vela describe concepts of ambiguous terms within idiomatic expressions, along with representations of false cognates. Ultimately suggesting translation as a type of pedagogy inside language classrooms of Spanish. Chapter 5, “An Optimality Translation Proposal for the Foreign Language Class, Christine Calfoglou investigates if the faithfulness constraint found in the Optimality Theory maintains its relevance in the translation process of output. Like in the previous chapter, this chapter highlights the ability for bilinguals to employ methodologies when translating or interpreting, which marks the importance of taking learner’s first language (L1) into account. Also introduced in this chapter are the components of the Grammar Translation method, and frameworks such as the Bilingual Reform. Furthermore, in Chapter 6, “The Engaging Nature of Translation: A Nexus Analysis of Student-Teacher Interaction”, Marie Källkvist investigates the impact of student-teacher interaction in a translation and composition task. Subsequently, Chapter 7, “Resurrecting Translation in SLT: A Focus on Young Learners”, Silva Bratož and Alenka Kockbek target essential questions regarding theory and practice in translation. Interestingly, we learn that the translation of vocabulary is still the fastest and effective way of explaining the meaning of L2 words and expressions. The chapter also provides an overview of the underlying origin and objective-language taken into account as a caveat for researchers of translation. The chapter concludes by introducing translation as a tool in beginning levels of Second Language (L2) teaching.

Chapter 8, “From Intercultural Speaker to Intercultural Writer: Towards a New Understanding of Translation in Foreign Language Teaching, Raphaël Beecroft investigates the issues of inter and transcultural communication and responsibility that is placed upon the translator. Here, Beecroft points to re-introducing written translation into the English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms. The researcher suggests that translation can be used to promote Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) among students, along with how translation tasks may also contribute to the learner’s gain in becoming intercultural writers. The author places demand on the need for new task-oriented language learning formats to assure prosperous communication methods. Finally, Chapter 9, “The Didactic Use of Translation in Foreign Language Teaching: A Practical Example”, Anna Kokkinidou and Kyriaki Spanou give matter-of-fact recommendations on issues that range from literary translation drills for contrastive analysis (CA) to advice on the text-linguistic process.

While Part 1 introduces some attributes of antecedent and prevailing translation in teaching, the smaller section of the volume, Part II, investigates translation within language assessment. Chapter 10, “Test Adaptation and Translation: The Language Dimension”, Samira ElAtia provides descriptions on back-translations, while in Chapter 11, “Using Translation as a Test Accommodation with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners”, Sultan Turkan, Maria Elena Oliveri, and Julio Cabrera focus on diverse learners who are English Language Learners (ELLs), along Culturally and Linguistically Diverse students (CLDs) around the world. Moreover, Chapter 12, “Assessing Second/Foreign Language Competence Using Translation: The Case of the College English Test in China” by Youyi Sun and Liying Cheng, is the concluding chapter of the book, where Sun and Cheng delve into the College English Test (CET), for learners of English as a Foreign Language (FL), and different types of innovative approaches to teaching. The chapter concludes by calling for future researchers to investigate student´s perceptions, and strategies involved in the completion of translation tasks.

EVALUATION

In this book, each decisive theory of translation research is evident and distinctly explained. Each chapter begins with imperative literature discussed early-on in each chapter that delves into the essential focus and main ideas. In doing so, each chapter serves as a building for the succeeding one, and the reader is fitted and qualified for what is next. The experiment descriptions and methodological sections, in each chapter, after the Introduction, gives a holistic perspicacity, along with matter-of-fact data, concerning the principal analysis. These methodological procedures construct the places where we feel the greatest handle of the authors as researchers. The researchers write frankly about Translation Studies within the discipline with precision and expertise. We see this aspect from the start, for example, in Tsagari and Floros’ preface about the volume of high-quality original submissions from a theoretical, and empirical point of view, in addition to how the idea for the book developed for a long time and across various educational contexts and countries. Throughout the volume, we also see the authors offer admonishments, often regarding circumstances in translation research. In Chapter 5, for example, the authors draw attention to the difference between the Bilingual Reform framework and the framework for screening language outputs. In other words, there exists universal constraints which come ranked on a language-particular basis.

The widespread tone of the book signifies the importance of this work in language translation research. When the authors provide a concise literature review of the field, they resolutely spot gaps and impressions in aforementioned research. In Chapter 7, for instance, Bratož and Kocbek point to the fact that the use of translation for Second Language Teaching (SLT) purposes has been negatively affected by its association to the Grammar-Translation Method. This is, again, the chapter where the authors call for a fine-grained approach of a pedagogical tool or strategy aimed at increasing the effectiveness of other successful SLT approaches. The researchers elaborate on these strategies throughout the chapter, just like the many other chapters in which researchers thoroughly review and explain. Consistency remains evident, where almost all the chapters include an analysis in their empirical studies regarding the topic being measured.

One of the shortcomings of the volume, or lack of, is its content. The Preface only functions as an extended index, where summaries of each chapters are given and no more- It doesn’t set the tone upon the reader, indicating where it is that the latest research in translation, as a whole, left off. Instead, the tone is distinctly created upon each different author in each of the chapters. Furthermore, there is no concluding chapter that summarizes the findings holistically. There is no trajectory made by the editors, as to indicate where the research in translation currently stands, and what are the gaps that still need to be filled further on. Rather, each chapter indicates their own gaps, depending in the area of translation they touched upon. There are no synthesized results that bring everything together. The volume is simply a compilation of studies.

Despite some of the criticism, this is a volume compiled of recent theoretical and empirical studies about language translation research and methodology, which overall has much to offer. It can be an invaluable resource for graduate level students, looking to find methodological procedures, along with translation tasks. The volume also serves as a good reference for researchers studying pedagogical approaches through translation. Professors teaching the subject in their classes can use it as an additional resource, and people with a special interest in translation theories can simply read it for further knowledge enhancement. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in translation, or as a reference for Second Language Acquisition (SLA)/ Education courses.


ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Arnaldo Robles is a lecturer of Spanish in the department of Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the State University of New York at Albany where he currently stands as ABD (All But Dissertation) in the Ph.D. program, specializing in second language acquisition (SLA). He previously obtained his Master’s degree from Illinois State University where he concentrated in Spanish Linguistics with a subsequent focus in Pedagogy. His recent research interests include partnering heritage and second language (L2) learners of Spanish for learning opportunities in L2 pronunciation, and testing corrective feedback (CF), in L2 learners through computer mediated communication (CMC), for modified output.


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