Using translation as a pedagogical tool: A case study in a writing class at preparatory school

Ekoç A.

RumeliDE Dil ve Edebiyat Araştırmaları Dergisi, no.15, pp.346-357, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


There has always been a controversy around the use of translation in language teaching. When the word “translation” comes to one’s mind, grammar-translation method is echoed at the same time. It is criticized as an old-fashioned approach in language teaching. Nowadays, most English language teachers agree that the teacher-centred grammar-translation method does not make much pedagogical sense and only raises passive learners in terms of creative thinking skills. Some scholars feverishly argue that translation should be totally banned in language teaching. However, the grammar-translation method and translation as a pedagogical tool in language classes should be differentiated. Translation is a communicative activity as it takes place in the real world. Students can think upon how they are saying something and can promote their thinking skills when translation is used as a classroom practice. In this case study, 23 B1 level students were asked to translate Turkish songs and subtitle film scenes into English as a task in a writing class for a month. Students regarded translating task into L2 as a valuable class activity in their writing classes. In the semi-interviews conducted with the students, it was seen that it helped them to expand their vocabulary knowledge and consider pragmatic factors while translating. Moreover, it increased their awareness of L1 and L2 differences. Therefore, there is a need for further research on the effects of translation tasks on language learning and how it can be used in the best way in language teaching.