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Translation and language learning

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

This interesting article published yesterday in The Guardian deserves to be promoted and commented upon. You will indeed find some interesting arguments in favour of the use of translation in language teaching, which is what we also try to promote with Juvenes translatores.

Translation is a “mediation” between different languages. It helps the comparisons between languages, suggests the etymology of words, and reveals the structure of languages as well as the cultural differences. It also deepens the command of the mother tongue which is crucial for language learning, since this begins with the learning of one’s own language.

Unfortunately, translation still suffers from being seen as old-fashioned, and some teachers hesitate to use the mother tongue in the foreign language classroom. This is a tricky issue, and there are good arguments for and against. But the truth is that students are facing translation everywhere outside the schools and they will be confronted to it during their studies and their professional lives. The question remains: when the skill of translation is being promoted during school time,? Would it be possible to find a way to re-examine its interest and use? Wouldn’t it also be a good opportunity for facilitating interdisciplinary work and team teaching, bringing together the different language teachers for a better language learning experience?

What do you think? Share your experience with us!


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