Article published in:Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts
Vol. 4:2 (2018) ► pp. 223–247
Stepping into others’ shoes
Beginner students as cultural mediators
The purpose of this paper is to examine possible uses of translation in language teaching in the beginner-level language classroom. In particular, it analyses students’ performance in the translation of e-mails of refusal from Japanese to English before and after a series of five study sessions. The results show a significant change in students’ performance before and after the sessions. Before the study sessions, students largely focused on the transfer of the referential meanings of words and syntactic structure. In contrast, after the sessions, students took into consideration a range of the factors at stake in translation, including the relationship between the writer and reader, the nature of e-mails, and the writer’s intentions/feelings. Based on these results, this paper argues that (1) translation activities enable beginner students to act as cultural mediators between the writer of the source text and the reader of the target text, by mitigating potentially offensive acts to the reader; and (2) they encourage students to be more conscious of their choice of words and of the consequences of those choices.
Keywords: translation in language teaching, Japanese, English, beginner-level, cultural mediator
Published online: 26 April 2018
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