25.4159, Review: Applied Ling; Translation: Tsagari, Floros (2013)

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LINGUIST List: Vol-25-4159. Tue Oct 21 2014. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 25.4159, Review: Applied Ling; Translation: Tsagari, Floros (2013)

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Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:35:04
From: Arnaldo Robles [arobles at albany.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


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

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.


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.


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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