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Masaryk University

Faculty of Arts

Department of English
and American Studies

Teaching English Language and Literature

for Secondary Schools

Bc. Martin Svrk

Translation in English Language


Masters Diploma Thesis

Supervisor: James Edward Thomas, M.A.

I declare that I have worked on this thesis independently,
using only the primary and secondary sources listed in the bibliography.

Authors signature


First and foremost I would like to thank my supervisor, James Edward Thomas,

M.A., for his friendly support and timely advice. My very special thanks are due to my

girlfriend for her immense patience.


The present thesis aims to provide an overview of the history of the use of

translation in language teaching in order to account for the vilification of translation and

its current reappraisal. The thesis further intends to become a part of the recent

discussion striving for a rehabilitation of translation and aspires to defend it as both a

means and an end of language teaching and learning. It presents the most frequent

arguments against the use of translation in language teaching and relevant

counterarguments in its favour. The thesis also discusses the actual practice of

translation as done by secondary school students and the resources used during this

process. The theoretical discussion is supported by qualitative and quantitative research

carried out at seven Czech secondary schools. The quantitative data were gathered using

student questionnaires, and the data from the qualitative research were collected using

interviews with students following two translation tasks.

The findings suggest that the monolingual principle prevalent in the academic

discussion of language teaching has not greatly affected the teaching situation at the

secondary schools in the Czech Republic, since the mode of instruction is largely cross-

lingual with a fairly frequent use of translation. Further findings show that the students

believe that translation is an activity beneficial both to the improvement of their

language and translation skills. However, they do not avail themselves of all the

resources available to them when translating and do not distinguish between L1 and L2

translations, which may suggest that the students at Czech secondary schools do not

receive proper instruction in regard to the translation process and this fact,

consequently, somewhat hinders the development of their translation skills.


Table 1 Number of Respondents according to School Type ...................................................................... 17

Table 2 Translation of Sentences by Czech Secondary School Students................................................... 24

Table 3 Framework for Study of SLA ....................................................................................................... 31

Table 4 Textbooks Used at Secondary Schools in the Czech Republic and their Content of the Czech

Language .......................................................................................................................................... 36

Table 5 The Amount of Czech Spoken by English Teachers at Czech Secondary Schools ...................... 38

Table 6 The Need of Translation Skills by Czech Secondary School Students ......................................... 50

Table 7 Pair and Group Work in Translation Activities at Czech Secondary Schools .............................. 59

Table 8 In-Mind Translation of Czech Secondary School Students .......................................................... 64

Table 9 In-Mind Translation according to the Year of Study .................................................................... 65

Table 10 Use of Bilingual Dictionaries when Translating ......................................................................... 73

Table 11 Use of Monolingual Dictionaries when Translating ................................................................... 74

Table 12 Use of Monolingual Dictionaries when Translating according to the Year of Study ................. 74

Table 13 Use of Collocations Dictionaries among Czech Secondary School Students ............................. 75

Table 14 Use of the Thesaurus among Czech Secondary School Students ............................................... 76

Table 15 Use of Google Translate among Czech Secondary School Students .......................................... 78

Table 16 Use of Google Translate as a Dictionary among Czech Secondary School Students ................. 79

Table 17 Use of Corpora during Translation among Czech Secondary School Students .......................... 80

Table 18 Use of Google Search Engine to Look Up Words in Context .................................................... 81


Fig. 1. Major directions in English language teaching theory. .................................................................. 32

Fig. 2. De Swaans hierarchy of languages (adopted from V. Cook, Language User 58). ..................... 48


CA Contrastive Analysis

CAH Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis

CLL Community Language Learning

EFL English as a Foreign Language

ELT English Language Teaching

FL Foreign Language

FLA First Language Acquisition

GT Grammar Translation

IRF Initiation Response Feedback

MT Machine Translation

SLA Second Language Acquisition

ST Source Text

TILT Translation in Language Teaching

TT Target Text


ABSTRACT................................................................................................................................................ 4

LIST OF TABLES ..................................................................................................................................... 5

LIST OF FIGURES ................................................................................................................................... 6

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................................................................................................... 7

TABLE OF CONTENTS .......................................................................................................................... 8

1 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... 11

2 AIMS OF THE THESIS ................................................................................................................ 12

3 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS .......................................................................................................... 14

4 METHODOLOGY ......................................................................................................................... 15

4.1 DESIGN OF THE QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH ............................................................................. 16

4.2 DESIGN OF THE QUALITATIVE RESEARCH ............................................................................... 18

5 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND .................................................................................................. 19

5.1 EARLY HISTORY OF LANGUAGE TEACHING ............................................................................. 19

5.2 GRAMMAR TRANSLATION ....................................................................................................... 20

5.3 THE REFORM MOVEMENT ....................................................................................................... 22

5.4 ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES ................................................................................................... 32

5.5 THE SITUATION IN LANGUAGE CLASSROOMS .......................................................................... 34

5.5.1 Field Research 1 ................................................................................................................ 34

5.6 PROPONENTS OF TRANSLATION IN ACADEMIC LITERATURE.................................................... 39

6 DEFINING TRANSLATION ........................................................................................................ 41

6.1 TRANSLATION AS A MEANS AND AN END ................................................................................ 44



7.1 COMMON ARGUMENTS AGAINST TRANSLATION...................................................................... 53

7.1.1 Translation is Independent of the Four Skills .................................................................... 55

7.1.2 Translation is Radically Different from the Four Skills ..................................................... 60

7.1.3 Translation is a Time-Consuming Activity ......................................................................... 61

7.1.4 Translation is Unnatural .................................................................................................... 62 Field Research 2...................................................................................................................... 63

7.1.5 Translation is Natural ........................................................................................................ 65 Scaffolding .............................................................................................................................. 66

7.1.6 Translation Misleads Students into Thinking that Expressions in Two Languages

Correspond One-to-One ................................................................................................................... 68 Field Research 3The Use of Dictionaries by Czech Secondary School Learners ................ 71 Field Research 4The Use of Additional Resources by Czech Secondary School Learners . 77

7.1.7 Translation Prevents Students from Thinking in the Foreign Language ........................... 82

7.1.8 Translation Produces Interference .................................................................................... 83 The Views of Practitioners ...................................................................................................... 83 Empirical Findings .................................................................................................................. 86

7.1.9 Translation is a Bad Test of Language Skills ..................................................................... 87

7.1.10 Translation is Only Appropriate for Training of Translators ....................................... 88

7.1.11 Translation is UnethicalL1 versus L2 Translation .................................................... 90

7.2 OTHER ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF TRANSLATION ................................................................. 94

7.2.1 Focus on Form ................................................................................................................... 94

7.2.2 Vocabulary Building and Retention ................................................................................... 96

7.2.3 Communicative Use of Language and Active Students ...................................................... 97

7.2.4 Introverted Learners ........................................................................................................ 101

7.2.5 Raising of Cultural Awareness ........................................................................................ 102

8 REMAINING PROBLEMS AND LIMITATIONS .................................................................. 102

8.1 MIXED-LANGUAGE CLASSES ................................................................................................. 102

8.2 TEACHERS REQUIREMENTS ................................................................................................... 103

8.3 LEARNERS REQUIREMENTS ................................................................................................... 106

8.4 THE DANGER OF OVERUSE .................................................................................................... 109

9 CONCLUSIONS........................................................................................................................... 110

APPENDIX 1: STUDENT QUESTIONNAIRE .................................................................................. 113

APPENDIX 2: A LIST OF THE PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS ..................................................... 115

APPENDIX 3: INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE A ......................................................................... 116

APPENDIX 4: INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE B ......................................................................... 118

WORKS CITED .................................................................................................................................... 120

RESUM ................................................................................................................................................ 127

SUMMARY ............................................................................................................................................ 128


Translation in the language classroom is by no means a new phenomenon; it has been

used in various forms and to varying extents for many centuries and, needless to say,

classroom language teaching started with translation. Translation as a teaching method

was first put into practice in the teaching of classical languages. The students were

required to carry out word-for-word translations and memorise extensive vocabulary

lists and rules of grammar. The expected result was the improvement in the ability to

read and write with a particular aim at being able to read and translate literary works.

This method was later adapted to teach modern languages and in some parts of the

world still survives and remains popular. It does not, however, comply with modern

views on language instruction as represented by communicative language teaching

which is fed by continuous education and linguistic research. The needs of language

learners are nowadays distinctly different from the needs of learners instructed by

means of Grammar Translation several centuries ago. The grammar translation method

is undoubtedly out of fashion now, yet a time has come for translation to be revived and

employed within the communicative framework, since a large part of the research

community dealing with language pedagogy has started to recognise the role of the

mother tongue in the classroom, translation notwithstanding.

New research has led to question purely monolingual approaches to language

teaching. A great deal of research has been done on the effects of the use of the mother

tongue in the classroom, however, a specific case for translation has been heard only

from a few lone voices. In 2007, Guy Cook called for research to be carried out in the

field of translation in language teaching claiming that translation in English language

teaching should be a major topic for future applied linguistic research and discussion

(A Thing 396). Cook further mentions that almost all SLA research is on

monolingual teaching situations . . . (397). It is nonetheless argued that a large part of

English teaching around the world takes part in bi- or multilingual classrooms, where

the cross-lingual mode of instruction is the norm.

Six years later, the situation seems to be rapidly changing, though it is far from

complete. A major turn around in ELT thinking on the way towards a rehabilitation of

translation came with the publication of the book Translation in Language Teaching by

Guy Cook in 2010. This book has sparked a heated debate even among the most active

proponents of monolingual instruction. Cook explains at length how the climate in ELT

has been changing in favour of bilingual instruction with many notable researchers

presenting arguments for the use of cross-lingual classrooms. However, the support for

the use of the mother tongue in the classroom does not always mean that translation is

supported as well. Arguments in which translation is the main focus of attention, rather

than bilingual teaching, remain few and far between (G. Cook, Translation 51).


This thesis strives to respond to Guy Cooks call and help fill the gap from within the

Czech secondary school perspective. It deals with translation, which covers not only the

process of translating a text from one language to another, but also the use of the mother

tongue for classroom instruction. The reasons for this are discussed in greater detail in

the section Defining Translation. The present thesis aims to achieve several main

objectives. First of all, it aims to explore the development of the belief that sees the use

of the mother tongue and therefore translation as the skeleton in the cupboard1 of

Prodromou qtd. in Hall and Cook.

English language teaching with negative perceptions of the issue maintaining a

stranglehold2 on teachers attitudes and beliefs (Hall and Cook 294). The history of

the vilification of translation in English language teaching (TILT) and the reasons

behind it will be explored and presented. Secondly, the main arguments against the use

of translation in language teaching, both derived from ELT theories and common

perceptions of how languages ought to be taught, are surveyed, and the thesis presents

counterarguments drawing on current research literature dealing with the subject.

Translation is defended both as a means and an end of English language teaching and

regarded as the fifth skill (Baker; Leonardi 25; Ross 61).

The present study also hopes to reveal the extent to which secondary school

teachers in the Czech Republic have been convinced by the monolingual movement not

to use translation in English language teaching. Furthermore, Hall and Cook pose the

question of whether learners actually prefer monolingual instruction and learning as is

often taken for granted by teachers and ELT theorists (296). The thesis aims to provide

valuable insights into attitudes of learners towards the use of translation in the

classroom. It is the learners, after all, who should co-operate on shaping the courses, if

any calls for humanistic education and learner-centred teaching are to be in accord with

current thinking. As G. Cook says: Students themselves are the ultimate arbiters of

success (Translation 120). Finally, the thesis concentrates on the level of Czech

secondary school students sub-skills, i.e. how they approach the process of translation,

which aspects of the text they focus on, which tools the students use and what

differences and similarities they notice and take into account when translating.

Prodromou qtd. in Hall and Cook.


The traditional terms used to describe the language known by the students and the

language they are endeavouring to learn are a part of the long-term discourse in the

fields of language teaching and second language acquisition. These established terms

usually reflect established views of the disciplines and are often not satisfactory for a

discussion of translation, since translation was for the several past decades not a part of

the discourse. The traditional terms used to describe the language the students know are

first language or L1, native language and mother tongue. The terms for the

language which is learnt are second language or L2, foreign language and target

language. The terminology used in this thesis is adopted from Guy Cook, who

suggested these terms be replaced by own language and new language (Translation

xxii). The reasons for this replacement are understandable. L1 and L2 are

unsatisfactory, as the language used as a medium through which the language-to-be-

learnt is approached may not be the first language the students encountered first in their

lives. Similarly, L2 would imply that the language being learnt is the second language

in order for the students, while many of them may already know several other

languages. The term native language is also problematic. Pokorn offers at least four

criteria on which a person can be regarded as a native speaker, and these do not

necessarily go together (6-9). Finally, mother tongue can again be defined according to

several criteriaorigin, competence, function, identification (both internal and

external)and is, therefore, rather inaccurate (Pokorn 3).

As it is with terminology, the whole situation is much more complicated and

certain limitations and inadequacies can be attributed to any term. Multilingual people,

for instance, may approach the language being learnt through several of the languages

they already know. Which one is their own language then? Or does this mean that one

of their languages is more own then others? We may conclude that no terminology is

perfect. Own language and new language will be used throughout this thesis, as these

two terms are politically neutral and seem to carry the least controversy, at least so far.

However, the remaining terms are occasionally used as well for the sake of

convenience. Particularly when citing other authors or when speaking about specific

concepts, e.g. L2 translation. When one of these terms is used, they should always be

interpreted as own or new language, unless stated otherwise.

The word translation itself needs to be defined. For a discussion of this term, the

reader may refer to the section called Defining Translation.


This thesis draws on theoretical works in the field of language pedagogy and SLA.

Furthermore, it contains field research that has been carried out at several secondary

schools in the Czech Republic. The research is twofold. The first part is quantitative in

nature and involves a questionnaire which was distributed among secondary school

learners. The questions were designed to examine whether translation in language

teaching is used at Czech secondary schools, and to gauge students sub-skills and

attitudes in relation to translation-based tasks.

The second part of the research involves a qualitative survey conducted among

eight secondary school students. Two questionnaires are devised for this purpose. Each

of them is preceded by an authentic translation task (L1-L2 and vice versa)an

interview with the student follows. The questions were designed so as to comply with

the thesis aims i.e. to find out more about the attitudes of secondary school learners

towards translation, and to learn more about how they perceive and approach the

translation process itself. Special attention is also paid to what kind of resources the

students use when translating.

4.1 Design of the Quantitative Research

The research consists of a questionnaire, which was chosen as the most convenient way

of addressing a large number of students across several secondary schools in the Czech

Republic. The Student Questionnaire (see Appendix 1) was distributed to seven schools.

Several teachers who are acquaintances of the author of the present thesis were asked to

administer the Student Questionnaires in the schools at which they are active. This

procedure ensured a one-hundred-percent return rate of the Student Questionnaires.

Secondly, it accounts for the geographical distribution of the schools included. Five

schools are located in Moravia, two schools are in Bohemia. Both technical schools and

schools of the gymnzium type were addressed so as to provide a representative sample

(for the list of schools, see Appendix 2). All of the teachers participating in this research

are native speakers of the Czech language. The research method of a questionnaire was

also chosen for its easy administration and because it is not excessively time-consuming

for the respondents. All questionnaires were printed out and the teachers who

administered them were given clear instructions to pass onto the responding students.

The Student Questionnaire was anonymous and all the question items were in students

first language, i.e. in Czech.

The total number of respondents is 188 of which 114 are represented by

technical school students, and the remaining 74 come from students attending schools of

the gymnzium type (see table 1).3 The study covers thirteen teachers, and therefore

thirteen different classes with varied teaching styles.

Table 1

Number of Respondents according to School Type

Type of School Number of Respondents

Gymnzium Schools 74

Other Secondary Schools 114

Total 188

The Student Questionnaire is written in Czech to ensure a complete

understanding of the question items by the respondents. Looking at the individual items,

the Student Questionnaire contains sixteen question items in the form of statements. The

first two question items are exceptions, as they are questions per se. The first question

item has the form of an open question; the second item is a multiple-choice question.

The rest of the Student Questionnaire, i.e. questions three to sixteen, are constructed

using a three-point Likert scale with possible answers never, sometimes and

often. The design of this scale ought to guarantee a reasonable level of validity and

reliability, as it is one of the most common scales used in quantitative research.

Questions 1-6 generally seek to find out the extent to which the monolingual

approaches described in the first part of this thesis influenced the teaching of English at

Czech secondary schools. Question 7 is intended to reveal students attitude towards

translation in terms of its usefulness in their future lives and careers. The remainder of

Gymnzium schools are slightly overrepresented when compared to the distribution of schools in

general. According to the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, there were 372 gymnzium type

schools as compared to 911 schools of other types in 2010 (6).

the questions, i.e. questions 8-16, ought to shed light on the actual practice of translation

among Czech secondary school learners.

4.2 Design of the Qualitative Research

The research uses interviews with students. Six students from different schools were

selected for this survey. All of the students studied in the last year of secondary school

and were not informed in advance of the subject of the interview to ensure an equal and

unbiased starting position.

A pilot study preceded the survey itself. Two first-year university students, not

studying English as their major subject, were interviewed to pilot the Interview

Questionnaire. Based on this pilot study, several questions were discarded as redundant.

As the results of the pilot interviews did not differ from the data gathered from the six

interviewed students, their responses are evaluated together. This means that the

quantitative research comprises interviews with eight students.

The interviews took place in a quiet environment so that they could be recorded.

All of the students were interviewed individually. The students were set two translation

tasks. The first one was to translate a synopsis of a film (L1 translation), the other one

was to translate a short article providing tourists with information about a castle (L2

translation). The students were provided with a laptop and dictionaries and were

instructed to use any resources on the Internet they needed. They were given sufficient

time to produce the translations. After finishing the first translation, the students were

interviewed based on the Interview Questionnaire A. After the interview, the same

process followed with the second translation. The translation tasks and the Interview

Questionnaires are provided in the Appendix (see Appendix 3 and 4). The individual

question items are discussed in greater detail in the relevant sections of the present



This section maps the development of translation in language teaching and pedagogy

from its early history until today. It is essential to understand the position of translation

in current academic discourse.

5.1 Early History of Language Teaching

The long history of teaching languages is complicated by the passage of time and the

relatively few records kept. Compared with the abundantly documented research into

the issue of language teaching in the last two centuries, there is very little that we know

about language teaching in the two or three millennia prior to the nineteenth century.

Translation, however, was not unknown in early foreign language instruction. In the

Western world, foreign language learning in schools was synonymous with the

learning of Latin or Greek (Brown, Principles 26). Brown further notes that Latin was

taught by means of the so-called Classical Method which consisted of techniques

focusing on grammatical rules, memorization of large amounts of vocabulary and a

plethora of grammatical rules, and finally on the translation of texts (Principles 26).

According to Howatt, Latin had dominated the school curriculum since the Middle

Ages and had shared this pre-eminence with Greek since the Renaissance (129).

Translation was still the popular method in the teaching of both the languages in

question in the sixteenth century (Machida 2011).

5.2 Grammar Translation

Classical languages were still taught at schools all across Europe at the beginning of the

nineteenth century, as they were held to be indispensable to an adequate higher

education (Brown, Principles 26). According to Howatt, very few schools taught

foreign languages except as optional extras to the principal work of the school, the

teaching of classical languages (129). The situation in the educational institutions,

however, started to change and by 1900 most secondary schools had altered their

curricula in order to teach one or more of the major European languages (Howatt 129).

The students as well as teachers naturally used techniques that they were familiar with,

and so the principles of the Classical Method were used to teach the new languages.

This proved to be a tall order for secondary school students. Traditionally, literary

works and classical texts were studied with the aim of gaining reading or writing

proficiency, or just for the sake of being scholarly, as Brown suggests (Principles 26).

The traditional scholastic techniques of the Classical Method were therefore adjusted

for the requirements of secondary schools in a teaching methodology which came to be

known as the grammar-translation method (GTGrammar Translation).

The grammar-translation method was introduced in Prussian Gymnasia at the

end of the eighteenth century (Howatt and Widdowson 151). The first grammar-

translation course for the teaching of the English language was published by Johann

Christian Fick, and was modelled on an earlier course in French written by the

originator of the method Johan Valentin Meidinger (Howatt 132). Ficks method used

both L1 and L2 translation of individual sentences, which were designed to exemplify

specific grammatical points (Randaccio 78). Foreign language structures were graded

and presented in units; sentences for translation aimed to practice only vocabulary and

grammar encountered in the covered units (G. Cook, Language Teaching 117).

Prator and Celce-Murcia (qtd. in Mehta) listed the salient features of the

Grammar Translation method as follows:

1. Classes are taught in the mother tongue, with little active use of the target


2. Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words.

3. Long elaborate explanations of the intricacies of grammar are given.

4. Grammar provides the rules for putting words together, and instruction often

focuses on the form and inflection of words.

5. Little attention is paid to the content of texts, which are treated as exercises in

grammatical analysis.

6. Often the only frills are exercises in translating disconnected sentences from

the target language into the mother tongue.

7. Little or no attention is given to pronunciation.

Some of the weaknesses of Grammar Translation, such as the exclusive focus on the

written form, hardly any pronunciation practice or no development of communicative

competence, are readily visible even from this brief digest of the method, and it did not

take long for the first waves of criticism of GT to emerge.

Astute readers will have noticed that the name, the grammar-translation method,

itself draws attention to the two less significant aspects of the approach (Howatt 129).

The emphasis on grammar in particular came to be problematic. By the second half of

the nineteenth century, the characteristics of the language learner had changed, given

the proceeding industrialisation. Howatt asserts that a new class of language learner

without grammar school education and therefore unable of learning languages by means

of traditional methods came into being (139). He further claims that [a] new approach

was needed . . . and it eventually emerged in the form of direct methods which

required no knowledge of grammar at all (139).

This section outlines how the grammar-translation method came to be criticised

on the account of its relative complexity for learners whose aims were no longer to

become proficient readers of literary texts in the new language and for whom the

practices of the grammar-translation method were not well-suited. These learners often

lacked classical education and a detailed linguistic analysis of the target text was

beyond their capacities and, in fairness, beyond their needs. Grammar Translation was

originally developed to simplify the techniques of the Classical Method with the aim of

making life easier for the secondary school student, and as such was an important step

ahead in the development of language methodology. It was, however, not suitable for

the new emerging class of learners who needed the language to communicate

effectively when travelling for work. This marks the commencement of the Direct

Method era which will be briefly explored in the next section.

5.3 The Reform Movement

The first voices against Grammar Translation, however, came from the Reform

Movement towards the end of the nineteenth century. Grammar translation was

criticized for ignoring the spoken language, for encouraging false notions of

equivalence, and for presenting isolated sentences rather than connected texts (Howatt

173). According to Randaccio, the Reform Movement was based on three fundamental

principlesthe primacy of speech, the importance of connected text in language

learning, and the priority of oral classroom methodology (79). Vermes considers these

criteria and maintains that the use of isolated, out-of-context sentences that are used in

written translation tasks hinder foreign language acquisition, as such exercises do not

provide a contextualised or situationalised use of language in communication (86).

Having studied English as a foreign language, however, the author of this thesis

experienced the translation of isolated sentences as a common practice. Personal

experience brings memories of fellow students abhorring this activity, but

appreciating its effects. It would be therefore interesting to see whether translation of

isolated sentences is still in use at Czech secondary schools and to which extent, as it is

a controversial practice with several advocates and many critics. Question 5 of the

Student Questionnaire aims to find out more about the extent to which students


5. I translate sentences at school or as homework.

The basic assumption is that students usually translate isolated sentences, hence

the word sentences in the question item. The practice of translation at secondary schools

may arguably not be limited to the translation of sentences, however, the experience of

the author of the present thesis and of other teachers who were consulted reveals the

translation of isolated sentences as the most frequent and often the only practice of


The results of Question 5 are summarised in the table below (see table 2). By

interpreting the results, it can be said that only 6% of the students never translate at

school or as homework, whereas 63% of students translate sometimes, and the

remaining 30% of students translate often. In other words, almost a third of the

respondents answered that they often translate sentences at school or as homework.

Adding the two values together, we can see that 93% of the respondents translate at

least sometimes. The differences between schools of the gymnzium type and technical

schools do not seem to be a determining factor.

Table 2

Translation of Sentences by Czech Secondary School Students

Question 5: I Translate Sentences at School or as Homework

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
5 187 74 113
a 12 6% 3 4% 9 8%
b 118 63% 46 62% 72 64%
c 57 30% 25 34% 32 28%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

Translation of isolated, artificial sentences had been one of the most frequent

objections to the grammar-translation method (see above). However, some researchers

advocate the translation of isolated sentences for teaching purposes. Perkins, for

instance, argues that the teacher can quite legitimately get students to translate L1

sentences designed to pinpoint and clarify structures and patterns the student still has

not assimilated (qtd. in Ross). Once a language learner himself, the author of this thesis

believes that this is a valid practice of translation, and if used moderately, it may

contribute to students better mastering of certain grammatical structures and

vocabulary. Dagiliene also supports the translation of isolated sentences and sees it as

an effective warm-up activity (127). The results of this research may imply that the

teachers of English working at Czech secondary schools recognise the positive effects

of translation, as most of them make use of such activities. The numbers may possibly

hide other uses of translation, such as translation of texts with context or oral

translation, therefore it cannot be claimed with certainty that the teachers believe in the

use of translation of isolated sentences as such, however, the results show a strong

inclination of English teachers at Czech secondary schools represented in this sample to

make use of translation in general.

To return to our historical overview, the Reform Movement consisted of

linguists and phoneticians, and it is thus little wonder that they based their claims on the

new science of phonetics and on the primacy of speech (G. Cook, Translation 4).

Among the notable members of the Reform Movement were for example Otto Jespersen

and Henry Sweet, who were influential in Denmark and England respectively.

Translation, however, is a rather complex phenomenon and the attitudes of its

detractors were far from unanimous. Howatt and Widdowson see the essential role of

translation in language learning as twofold (191). Firstly, it is the use of the mother

tongue for grammar explanation and also for the so-called glossing, i.e. as a tool

enhancing comprehension of the foreign language text by provision of meanings of

unknown words. Most of the members of the Reform Movement considered glossing a

useful technique which secured more time for other activities and sped lessons up. Guy

Cook depicts the reformers as not excessive or fanatical in their attitude to translation,

acknowledging a role for it, and allowing for its judicial use (Translation 5). Henry

Sweet, one of the key figures of the Reform Movement, explicitly advocated the use of

translation for glossing: We translate the foreign words and phrases into our language

simply because this is the most convenient and at the same time the most effective guide

to their meaning (202). Others were more careful in their judgement of translation and

admitted its use as a necessary last resort (G. Cook, Language Teaching 118).

The second role of translation seen by Howatt and Widdowson is the

conversion of texts in the mother tongue into foreign-language texts with the same

meaning . . . (191). In this case the reformers were unanimous in their position. Such

learning through translation was educationally indefensible (Howatt and Widdowson,

191); this view attacked the practice of translating sentences found in most textbooks of

that time, a practice which is still popular among teachers, learners and publishers

today. An example of a textbook based on this approach is the Cviebnice anglick

gramatiky used by some teachers in the Czech Republic.

Guy Cook assumes that the arguments presented by the Reform Movement were

largely based on academic and pedagogic reasons and that their chief concerns were

aimed at the education of secondary school learners (Translation 7). Meanwhile, the

harshest attack on the use of translation in language teaching came from the commercial

sector dominated by private language schools and publishers. Probably the most notable

was the network of language schools established by Maximilian Berlitz in the USA and

later in Europe. It was in the so-called Berlitz Method, G. Cook claims, that the first

true hard-line rejection of translation could be found (Translation 6). Berlitzs schools

allowed no translation under any circumstances (Howatt and Widdowson 224),

focused on speaking, and employed only teachers who were native speakers of the

language they taught. The Berlitz Method still thrives today and is proudly presented on

the company webpage as the most efficient form of language learning yet discovered.

One of the advantages of the total immersion and natural approach of the method is, as

the Berlitz websites boast, that you learn faster and your learning progress is

significantly greater than in bilingual teaching sessions. A bold claim in the light of the

evidence presented by this thesis.

Although far from new,4 the monolingual principle of the Berlitz Schools came

to be accepted as the model to follow by later methodologies. A typical classroom

consisted of learners who were speakers of different languages; teachers were

exclusively native speakers, and so the typical learning situation appeared to disregard

bilingual instruction completely. Such a situation reflected vested interests of the

publishing companies which were mostly based in English-speaking countries and

whose agenda was to produce monolingual materials which could be marketed globally

without any alterations and additional information derived from speakers of other

languages (Hall and Cook 275). The emphasis in language teaching was shifting from

the written towards the spoken language with a complete exclusion of translation. Guy

Cook ascribes the term Direct Method to describe any and all teaching which excludes

use of the students own language from the classroom, whether for translation or for

explanation and commentary (Translation 7). This interpretation is used throughout the

present thesis. The no translation rule is characteristic of almost all approaches and

methods following the Berlitz Method well until late twentieth century (G. Cook,

Translation 7; Vermes 86). The Berlitz Method thus can be seen as the beginning of the

Direct Method era.

Guy Cook asserts that this movement away from the use of learners own

languages represents the first revolution in English language teaching theory

(Translation 22). Despite the fact that the language of instruction is now the new

language, other characteristic traits of the grammar-translation method remain in place.

Teaching of language is still conceived as a set of grammar rules to be learnt,

instruction is carefully graded and presented to students gradually, and great emphasis is

Monolingual instruction was known even in medieval times (see Hall and Cook 274)

laid on form (G. Cook, Translation 22-23). The Direct Method thus can be seen as


5.4 Contrastive Analysis

The monolingual paradigm played a dominant role in leading English language teaching

literature from the late nineteenth century onwards. This, however, did not mean that

teachers and course designers lost interest in own language completely (Hall and Cook

276). Even though the knowledge of own language was discouraged from the

classroom, some fields of research admitted its usefulness. Such was the case of

Contrastive Analysis (CA).

Contrastive Analysis was a subdiscipline of linguistics which dealt with the

comparison of two or more languages with the aim of establishing the differences and

similarities between them. The languages compared must have a common measure by

which they can be compareda tertium comparationis (Hoey and Houghton 46). CA

assumed that the learner transfers rules of his own language when learning the new

language, i.e. that L1 transfer affects the second language learning. This is the basis of

the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH). CA believed that a comparison of the

differences could predict the errors and prevent their occurrence. In the 1960s, it

became apparent that CA did not explain or predict all the errors occurring during

language learning, and it, therefore, lost popularity. However, the CAH using

translation remained popular among practitioners, as translation can be viewed as the

perfect tertium comparationis, which may be used to compare words, sentences, texts,

languages and cultures (Leonardi 42). Even if we accept that own-language interference

does not account for all errors that may occur when learning a language, there are well-

documented cases in which it is so, and there is no reason why translation could not be

used to draw students attention to these.

5.5 Second Language Acquisition Theories

In the 1970s and 1980s, the field of second language acquisition became the leading

theoretical basis of language teaching. SLA theories are derived from theories of

childrens first language acquisition (FLA). An influential early FLA theory is

behaviourism, which sees language development as a formation of habits. This theory is

consequently linked to the CAH, as second language learners form their habits based on

their first language, and such habits may interfere with the new ones that they need for

the second language (Lightbown and Spada 34). Subsequent SLA theories, such as

Chomskian nativism based on an assumption of the existence of Universal Grammar i.e.

a tool for a natural acquisition of language inherent in all children, or functionalism in

which language acquisition is explained as resulting from a need to convey social

meanings do not make use of the CAH, as it does not provide a viable explanation of

the occurrence of all learners errors (Lightbown and Spada 34; Odlin 17). SLA theories

of interlanguage and natural acquisition assume that own-language interference is only a

minor source of errors (G. Cook, Translation 25). There is no space for a pedagogical

use of translation within the framework of these theories, just as in most SLA-

influenced teaching methods (G. Cook, Language Teaching 119; Leonardi 60).

The scope of the thesis does not allow the author to present a larger-scale probe

into the study of SLA in general. However, a brief overview of SLA approaches is

presented in the table below (see table 3) excerpted from Saville-Troike, according to

whom the inquiry into SLA can be categorised as based on linguistic, psychological or

social frameworks (24).

Table 3

Framework for Study of SLA

Framework for study of SLA

Timeline Linguistic Psychological Social

1950s and before Structuralism Behaviourism Sociocultural Theory

Neurolinguistics Ethnography of
Transformational- Information Communication
1960s Generative Grammar Processing Variation Theory
Acculturation Theory
1970s Functionalism Humanistic Models Theory
Principles and
1980s Parameters Model Connectionism Social Psychology

1990s Minimalist Program Proccessability

Source: Muriel Saville-Troike, Introducing Second Language Acquisition (Cambridge:

Cambridge UP, 2006) 24. Print.

The two SLA theories introduced in the 1970s, the Natural Approach and CLT,

both believe that focus on the communication of meaning is more important than formal

accuracy. Both led to the second major revolution in language teaching theory in which

it was not only translation that was outlawed, but also other form-focused activities. The

two revolutions are clearly depicted in the following overview (see fig. 1) which is

adopted from G. Cook (Translation 22).

Almost all the teaching methods derived from SLA theories are based upon the

principle of L1 avoidance (Leonardi 60). Nonetheless, there have been a few exceptions

such as Suggestopaedia and Communicative Language Learning to which we will turn

our attention in the next section.

Fig. 1. Major directions in English language teaching theory.

5.4 Alternative Approaches

Butzkamm offers an example of a university language teacher who disregards all the

principles inherent in Direct Method, and who is yet outstandingly successful. He

further reports that there are highly elaborated bilingual methods which have enjoyed

some popularity, such as Community Language Learning or Suggestopaedia. Guy Cook

mentions these very techniques alongside two others, which also make use of

translation, albeit indirectly.

The American Army Method, formally known as the Army Specialized Training

Program, was developed after the entry of the USA into World War II for language

training of military personnel, as the American forces lacked skilled interpreters

(Brown, Teaching 23). Angiolillo claims that the general principle of the Army Method

was based on the mediation of the unknown language through the known, and that

translation was used in practice (qtd. in G. Cook, Translation 24).

Total Physical Response developed by James Asher (1972) requires the students

to listen to a series of instructions, which they later act out without speaking (Lightbown

and Spada 146). Guy Cook likens this approach to intersemiotic translation as defined

by Jacobson, during which words are translated into gestures and vice versa

(Translation 24).

Suggestopaedia developed by the Bulgarian psychotherapist Georgi Lozanov in

1979 was based on the assumption that the human brain could work more effectively if

the right conditions were provided (Brown, Teaching 27). Baroque music was used to

release the stress of the learners and create the ideal conditions for concentration.

Students were provided translations of input so as not to become stressed by not

understanding it.

Community Language Learning (CLL) is an affectively based method

introduced by Charles Curran who believed that learners in a classroom are not a class,

but a group in need of counselling (Brown, Teaching 25). The success of the method

depended largely on the translation expertise of the teacher (Brown, Teaching 27).

The four methods may have had their successes, but these were not attributed to

translation. Their successes were, as Butzkamm notes, either explained away or

ignored. It is not the bilingual teaching techniques that are critical, but rather the

energetic and good-humoured personality of the lecturer in York, her meticulous

planning; or it is the friendly learning atmosphere created by the Suggestopaedia

technique . . . not the translations. The success of the Army Method was ascribed to its

intensity and the high level of motivation of the students (Cherrington 27). Cook

concludes that these four methods have proved to be minor ones compared to

mainstream teaching methodologies (Translation 24), which continued to be dominated

by the Direct Method approach.

5.5 The Situation in Language Classrooms

In spite of the deeply entrenched position of the monolingual principle in SLA research

and language teaching theories which held sway until the late twentieth century,

learners own language and translation have remained a common practice in language

classrooms worldwide (Hall and Cook 277). Guy Cook aptly described the situation

noting that . . . although translation has long been glibly dismissed in the inner-circle

academic literature, it has rather stubbornly refused to die elsewhere, notably in locally

written syllabuses around the world, and in the teaching of languages other than

English (A Thing 397). Philip Kerr assumes that in the last thirty years there has

been a conspiracy of silence that translation should not be used in the classroom, and

that nobody agreed with this situation, which in turn was reflected in practicenobody

taught in English only. This radical break with tradition (G. Cook, Translation xv)

was evident in everyday teaching situations, but was largely ignored by academia.

5.5.1 Field Research 1

Looking at some of the results of the quantitative study carried out as a part of this

thesis, we should be able to arrive at an informed opinion as to how deeply the strictly

monolingual approach to language teaching has become entrenched in Czech secondary


It has been pointed out that one of the driving forces of the monolingual

approaches were the vested interests of textbook publishers, who helped to drive

students own languages out of classrooms, since monolingual textbooks could be

marketed worldwide without any changes. Such a practice certainly secured vast profits.

However, the situation is believed to have changed with the turn of the twentieth

century. It is assumed that widely distributed mainstream course materials by major

publishers . . . have since the 1990s also begun to integrate translation into activities

(G. Cook, Translation 148). The quantitative part of this thesis endeavours to reveal

whether any use of translation is present in the textbooks used at Czech secondary

schools. Let us now have a look at the first two questions of the quantitative research

whose aim is to map which English textbooks are used at Czech secondary schools, and

whether they contain any Czech-written partsat least as perceived by the learners

themselves, as a thorough analysis of the individual textbooks is well beyond the scope

of this thesis and may be the focus of further research. Question 2 ought to put the

abovementioned claim to the test within the context of Czech secondary schools. The

English translation of the first two questions is provided below:

1. What English textbook do you use in your class?

2. Does this textbook contain any Czech-written parts? Choose one or more

options: (a) a vocabulary list at the end of a unit or at the end of the book (b)

translation exercises (c) grammar explanation (d) instructions for exercises and

tasks (e) nothing (f) other (specify what is in Czech in the textbook).

The results revealed that the seven schools in which the Student Questionnaire

was administered use eight different English textbooks (see table 4). Question 2,

however, has proved to be very difficult to evaluate. In the vast majority of cases,

students were not unanimous in their description of their textbooks. The results are

therefore interpreted as the mode value, i.e. as the most frequent answer (see table 4).

The reasons why the answers were so varied may lie in the fact that most textbooks are

accompanied by a workbook. Some students may have answered Question 2 only in

regard to the students book; others may have reflected the workbook as well. This fact,

however, does not hinder the interpretation of the results for the purpose of this

research, as the textbooks are used as a set, and it may be argued that it does not matter

whether the mother tongue parts are included in the students book, in the workbook, or

in both.

Table 4

Textbooks Used at Secondary Schools in the Czech Republic and their Content of the

Czech Language

Textbook Mode
Headway a
Gateway e
Longman Exam Accelerator e
Maturita in Mind a
New English File a
Maturita Solutions a
New Opportunities a
Success e

These results suggest that the textbooks used in the Czech secondary schools

mostly contain some parts written in Czech, i.e. in students own language. According

to the students, five of the textbooks include a bilingual list of vocabulary. This could

mean that students own language is used in textbooks, however, it does not provide any

direct evidence of the inclusion of translation activities. In three cases, the students

believed that their textbook did not contain any instances of the Czech language. This

may partly indicate that some publishers distributing textbooks for the Czech secondary

school market still subscribe to the monolingual approaches to language teaching,

however, we need to bear in mind that these are only students reflections and that the

actual situation may differ. A special study into the structure of textbooks and the

amount of Czech used in them would be in order. Guy Cook asserts that there is

always a tension for publishers between the desire for worldwide distribution, . . . and

the necessarily language-specific focus of TILT (Translation 148). This is probably the

case with textbooks used at Czech secondary schools, as they include a certain amount

of translation in the form of mother tongue inclusion, but do not go as far as to give

space to translation-based activities.

It has been argued above that even though translation had been ousted from

serious academic discussion, it continued to be practised in a number of language

classrooms around the world (G. Cook, Translation xv; Kerr). Questions 3 and 4 of the

quantitative research are, then, aiming to discover whether this discrepancy between

theory and practice holds true at Czech secondary schools, or whether the monolingual

approaches hold sway in this context. In these two questions, translation is considered in

its broader sense as the use of the students own language by the teacher. This will

allow us to evaluate what is actually happening in English classes at secondary schools

in the Czech Republic in terms of monolingual vs. cross-lingual instruction. The

translation of Questions 3 and 4 is provided below:

3. Our teacher speaks Czech in the English lessons.

4. Our teacher speaks Czech in the English lessons, but only for administrative

purposes (taking attendance, setting homework etc.)

A summary of the results for Questions 3 and 4 is provided in table 5 below (see

table 5). The most important finding when interpreting the results is that only 5% of

teachers at secondary schools in the Czech Republic use English (L2) exclusively,

whereas 19% of teachers speak Czech (L1) very often in English classes, and 76% of

teachers at least sometimes lapse into Czech in English lessons they teach.

Table 5

The Amount of Czech Spoken by English Teachers at Czech Secondary Schools

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
3 188 74 114
a 9 5% 0 0% 9 8%
b 143 76% 57 77% 86 75%
c 36 19% 17 23% 19 17%
4 187 74 113
a 21 11% 12 16% 9 8%
b 116 62% 44 59% 72 64%
c 50 27% 18 24% 32 28%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

It is also interesting to look at how the use of Czech differs when the two types

of schools are compared i.e. technical schools and schools of the gymnzium type.

Overall, the numbers are rather similar, but what is striking is that at gymnzium schools

not a single teacher uses English only, as reported by their students. At technical

schools, nine students responded that their teachers never use Czech in the English

lessons they teach. However, these data may be looked into qualitatively by examining

the responses of individual classes. Such an analysis shows that all these instances but

one were reported in a single class. This number may therefore be ascribed to the

teaching style of a single teacher. The majority of teachers at Czech secondary schools

seem to use the students own language in English lessons.

Question 4 revealed that only 11% of the teachers speaking Czech in English

classes use it solely for administrative purposes. This may suggest that the remaining

89% of the teachers use Czech as a teaching tool of one sort or another, although this

evidence is only indirect, and therefore more or less hypothesis generating than


5.6 Proponents of Translation in Academic Literature

Admittedly, there were a few voices arguing for the viability of translation in language

teaching. Butzkamm for example relates the harsh attack on the ban of the use of the

mother tongue, which came in 1967 in the form of the book Language Teaching and the

Bilingual Method published by C. J. Dodson. Dodson developed a new bilingual

method which inspired several researchers around the world to carry out experiments

comparing monolingual and bilingual methods. The latter were found to be superior. In

the 1980s, several specialists found a use for translation in the language classroom

(Randaccio 80). Duff, among others, realised that translation can be used as a

communicative activity, as it develops three qualities essential to all language learning:

accuracy, clarity, and flexibility. It trains the learner to search (flexibility) for the most

appropriate words (accuracy) to convey what is meant (clarity) (7). One has to agree

with Duff particularly in regard to the first two. Clarity of the message conveyed is the

basic requirement of communication and is well practiced by monolingual approaches,

however, accuracy is often neglected. In translation, the learner has to find the most

appropriate and accurate solution, whereas in monolingual instruction circumlocution

skills are often employed and slight inaccuracies are overlooked.

Guy Cook regards these defences of translation as lone voices which made a

case for the use of translation in particular contexts, and maintains that they did not

attract mainstream attention (Translation 33).

5.9 Changing Context

The first decade of the twenty-first century was marked by a renewed interest in and

support of students own languages (G. Cook, Translation 37). This has been made

possible by changes that had taken place in the academic and political climate which

surrounds language teaching and learning (Hall and Cook 278). The arguments of the

proponents of own-language use are derived from many different perspectives. Early

SLA theories have now been largely discredited and the learning of a second language

is seen as different from first language acquisitionlearners clearly rely on their own

language when learning a new language (Hall and Cook 281). A new social turn is now

making its way into linguistics and SLA, and these disciplines consequently more

readily acknowledge complexity, difference and indeterminacy within language and

language learning (G. Cook, Translation 38). Butzkamm views ones own language as

the greatest asset people bring to the task of foreign language learning. This

bilingual reform (Hall and Cook 282) is, however, not completely identical with a

support of translation in language teaching and does not appear to be congruent with

happenings in the UK and the USA where the monolingual principle has a long-

standing tradition, as these are, in Kachrus terms, inner-circle countries with largely

English native-speaker populations. It is, then, little wonder that the use of own

language in foreign language classrooms is supported more vigorously by non-native

speakers than by native ones (Leonardi 61). Moreover, according to Guy Cook TILT

has never ceased to be associated with Grammar Translation (Translation 37), and as

such is still kept at a distance by many advocates of bilingual instruction who refuse to

grant its comeback. Cook observes that the distrust of translation has become so deeply

rooted that using own-language for advocacy of translation is for many a step too far

(Translation 52). Guy Cooks book Translation in language teaching (2010) argues that

translation cannot be separated from other uses of own-language in language teaching,

and presents pedagogical and educational arguments, as well as arguments based on

language learning research, to promote translation as an essential part of language

teaching and learning. A later section of this thesis will survey the most frequent

arguments against TILT and counterarguments in its favour in an attempt to provide

evidence that there is no reason why translation ought not to be incorporated into a

foreign language lesson, but first we should arrive at a consensus as to what is meant by

translation in language teaching in the context of this particular thesis.


It would be counterproductive to speak lengthily about translation, to present arguments

of those advocating its use, and to refute arguments of its objectors without first actually

expressing what is meant by the word. This is necessary, since many people concerned

in this discussion just take the word itself for granted or tend to generalise by

identifying translation with Grammar Translation. Unfortunately, defining translation is

not nearly as easy as it may seem. Guy Cook asserts that its meaning is by no means

straightforward and that it is also rather slippery (Translation 54). Let us now

explore the term in order to, at least partially, grasp its meaning and specify what is

meant by translation within this thesis.

In the Western world, the word translate has Latin and Classical Greek origins

in the forms transferre and metapherein respectively (Leonardi 65). In these traditions,

its basic meaning denotes to carry across. Etymologically, it is also the origin of the

word transfer. If we accept this metaphorical and etymological point of view, it should

be remembered, however, that translation has not been associated only with the West,

and that other cultures, in the histories of which translation played an essential role,

often ascribe to translation words with strikingly different meanings. Interesting

examples can be found in Tymoczko who describes the common words for translation

in various countries. In India, for example, the words for translation are rupantar,

change in form, and anuvad, speaking after, following. The Arabic term is tarjama,

which means biography and which is likely to be connected to the focus of early

Syriac Christian translators on the Bible. The Chinese provide yet another way of

looking at translation; it is expressed by the phrase fan yi, which means turning over

and is linked to the concept of embroiderythe source text is the front side, and the

target text forms the back side of the same item (22).

The meaning of the word varies culture from culture, and there is a plethora of

definitions of translation that could be mentioned here, consequently, it is almost

impossible to select a single one. Leonardi concedes that it is often the case that

translation is considered from a purely linguistic point of viewas a merely mechanic

. . . activity aimed at replacing lexical and morpho-syntactic elements from one

language to another (65). She mentions an example in the form of a definition from the

MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, which is remarkably similar to

the one in the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary which defines translation as the

process of changing sth [sic] that is written or spoken into another language. Such a

view of translation with no attention to the extra-linguistic reality is arguably a little

simplistic, nonetheless, it has been adopted by a great many translation theorists. A

question remains as to what happens during this change. When something is changed, or

carried across, there is the inevitable danger of losing something on the way. This is

referred to in Translation Studies as the translation loss, and is one of the reasons why

most linguists discarded the notion of meaning transference and adopted the weaker

notion of equivalence (G. Cook, Translation 56).

The idea of equivalence may be concisely explained as replacing the source text

with a target text which is its equivalent. There are, of course, several levels of

equivalence and the ST and TT may not be equivalent at all of them. These levels could

be categorised as linguistic, semantic and pragmatic,5 resulting in equivalence of

meaning, pragmatic equivalence, functional and discoursal equivalence, and cultural

equivalence (G. Cook, Translation 57-74). Leonardi concludes that a precise definition

of equivalence is not needed for the purpose of her work, as she regards translation as a

tool for enhancing learners critical and analytical language skills i.e. she regards

translation as a means of language teaching and learning (81). The position of this thesis

is, however, congruent with Guy Cooks stance, in which translation is seen as both a

means and an end of language teaching. The notion of equivalence is important for this

position, as it is related to the question of what makes a good translation and what does

not. Consequently, we will return to the issue of translation equivalence in a later

section when dealing with TILT at different levels of proficiency.

Another division of translation comes from Jakobson who distinguishes three

types of translation. Intralingual translation, i.e. rewording of verbal signs with different

verbal signs of the same language, interlingual translation, i.e. translation proper in

which verbal signs are interpreted using verbal signs of another language, and finally

intersemiotic translation in which verbal sings of a language are interpreted using sings

of nonverbal sign systems. The third type is also referred to as transmutation (114).

Translation in language teaching falls into the second category; it can be viewed as

interlingual translation and it is discussed as such in this thesis.

The term translation can also be applied for the use of the mother tongue in the

classroom or for the inherent process of translation which occurs in a learners mind.

The notion of equivalence is one of the central concepts in Translation Studies and for this reason there

are several typologies. For the sake of convenience, this thesis follows Guy Cooks division of

equivalence. A useful overview of the issue of equivalence can be for instance found in the Routledge

Encyclopedia of Translation Studies.

Originally, the present thesis intended to disregard this view of translation and limit its

scope to a text-based translation, sometimes referred to as act of

translation/translating (Machida 740). However, these two phenomena are so closely

interconnected that they ought not to be treated separately. For this purpose, Hatim and

Mundays definition of translation can be used:

1. The process of transferring a written text from SL to TL, conducted by a

translator, or translators, in a specific socio-cultural context. 2. The written

product, or TT, which results from that process and which functions in the

socio-cultural context of the TL. 3. The cognitive, linguistic, visual, cultural and

ideological phenomena which are an integral part of 1 and 2. (qtd. in Leonardi


In the view of this definition, translation will be regarded as a cognitive activity which

is inherent to the process of second language acquisition and cannot be avoided. The use

of the mother tongue in the classroom does not play a central role in this research,

however, it is so closely connected to the issue of translation, that it is subsumed under

the heading of translation. The process and product distinction is maintained, however,

translation in this thesis is not seen only as textual transfer, but also accounts for oral

translation, i.e. interpreting.

6.1 Translation as a Means and an End

It has already been established that the translation employed in language teaching and

learning is a kind of interlingual translation not limited to a text-based view definition

of translation. A further division is needed, as it comes without doubt that a translation

carried out at schools must necessarily differ from translation performed by

professionals. The former can be called pedagogical translation and the latter real

translation. Vermes argues that these two types of translation differ from each other on

three accounts: the function, the object and the addressee (83). In regard to function, the

translated text in pedagogical translation serves as a tool for improving learners L2

proficiency, whereas in real translation the text is the goal of translation itself.

Secondly, the object of real translation is information about reality which is contained in

the source text. In pedagogical translation, on the other hand, the object is information

about learners level of proficiency. The addressees are also different in the respective

cases. With real translation, it is the target language reader who wishes to gain

information about the reality, whereas in pedagogical translation it is the teacher, who

looks for information about learners proficiency (83). Vermes, similarly to other

proponents of a rigid distinction between translation pedagogy and language pedagogy,

concludes that secondary schools and traditional foreign language departments of higher

institutions can only deal with pedagogical translation, while the teaching of real

translation should be left to translator training programmes (84). Contrary to this sharp

distinction between using translation either as a means or as an end of language

learning, there are reasons to believe that TILT ought to encompass both. Since most

translation proponents acknowledge the use of translation as a means and do not pay

much attention to its benefits as an end, a special case for translation as an end of

language education will be made here.

Most authors approving of the use of translation in language teaching and

learning regard translation as a means through which learners language skills are

enhanced (Duff; Kerr; Leonardi; Malmkjaer). In this light, translation is often seen as

the fifth skill of language learning, accompanying the four traditional skills of

reading, listening, speaking and writing (Baker; Leonardi 25; Ross 61). Translation as

an end of language learning in itself is not given much attention. It may be partly caused

by the fact that the means and end dichotomy equals the division between process and

product for some researchers, with the product being the translated text. Kerr, for

instance, advocates his view of translation as a means in light of this division by

asserting that traditional approaches to translation have usually focused on the product

of the translation process: the final, correct translated text. In more contemporary

approaches . . . the focus is now the process of translating itself. However, such a

distinction between a process and product is not satisfactory. The aim of language

pedagogy is by no means the creation of a correct, final product. Translation as an end

of language learning ought to be viewed as the skills needed to produce translated texts

(of a reasonable quality, depending on learners proficiency and other factors), as

compared to translation as a means which is a tool for enhancing the remaining four

skills. Translation as the fifth skill of language learning is, therefore, both a means and

an end of language education. A lot is going to be said about the former, but is the latter

worth pursuing? Is it necessary to learn how to translate? The following lines should

shed some light on this issue.

In the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies Guy Cook claims that it

is acknowledged that the good practice of translation is an end in itself for many

students (Language Teaching 119). He also asserts that translation as a skill in its

own right is traditionally assumed to be useful only for learners who would pursue a

career in translation and interpreting (Translation 109). This assumption does not seem

to apply any longer in the globalised world of today in which English serves as the

lingua franca for millions of people. Bilingualism and multilingualism are the norm in

many parts of the world and translation is a daily necessity in the personal and

professional lives of a great many of individuals. Still, not everyone is bilingual and a

lot of people have to rely on the translation skills of their friends, relatives or

colleagues. It would be nave to thinkto provide an example from everyday business

experiencethat the vast majority of companies use English exclusively as their official

language. Employees from the bottom strata of the corporate hierarchy often work with

their colleagues in their native languages and use an intermediate to translate for them

when they deal with the more senior staff. An email may arrive in English and then be

translated for the non-English speaking employees by someone else. Translation is

simply used as a mediation of meaning between people of different language


Much of language teaching has traditionally presumed that the primary goal and

need of students is to operate in a monolingual environment with native speakers only,

and that the principal aim of a learner is to pass as a native speaker (G. Cook,

Translation 110). The actual situation is, however, markedly different. According to

Vivian Cook, English has a L2 user group of people across the world, . . . for whom

the native speaker community is virtually irrelevant (Language User 57). To

demonstrate his point, he uses De Swaans Hierarchy to define groups of languages and

groups of language users. The hierarchy of languages is depicted in the diagram below

(see fig. 2). In De Swaans division, languages are of four types: peripheral, central,

supercentral and hypercentral. Peripheral languages are used within a limited area for

the purposes of a local community, such as Welsh in Wales, Japanese in Japan or

Kurdish in Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Central languages are used in a given area between

different language groups mostly for education and government purposes, for example

English in India. Supercentral languages are used for cross-national communication for

a limited number of specific purposes, for instance Seaspeak English for mariners. The

final step in the hierarchy is occupied by hypercentral languages that are used mainly by

non-native speakers for wide selection of purposes. Nowadays, this group comprises

English only (qtd. in V. Cook, Language User 58).

Fig. 2. De Swaans hierarchy of languages (adopted from V. Cook, Language User


What is more important is the division of speakers into groups of language users

according to De Swaans hierarchy. It is only the so-called Group A, which consists of

people using their first language with each other in the local area and is therefore the

only group containing only monolingual native speakers of the language. All the other

groups are second language groups, whose members use the language to communicate

both with its native speakers and with users of many other L1 languages (qtd. in V.

Cook, Language User 58-63). This hierarchy is far from perfect, as it does not

account for all the possible situations that may occur in the real world, which is much

more complex, and because it is bound to territorial divisions. Nonetheless, it can be

used to illustrate the variety of language uses in the globalised world of today in which

millions of people operate bi- or multilingually and translate on a daily basis.

Guy Cook presents another argument in favour of the use of TILT as an end in

itself. He examines various curriculum philosophies and aims to provide educational

arguments for the use of TILT. One of the educational perspectives is a technological

one which has practical aims of developing skills needed by both individuals and

society (Translation 109). Translation is a skill needed to communicate in todays

world of global communication, be it a translation in its written form, or oral translation

used to mediate between speakers of different languages. Cook further develops his

argument and regards translation as a necessary skill and a frequent activity in the

personal and professional lives of many individuals, essential for the economic survival

of many organizations and for engagement in international affairs (Translation 109).

Under the influence of everyday experience, one has to agree with this claim. It is also

born out by the results of the quantitative and qualitative survey which was carried out

as a part of this thesis.

The rationale for Question 7 is a simple assumption that learners will benefit

more from something they deem important for their lives. The respondents of the

questionnaire were therefore asked to evaluate the following statement:

7. I think I will need to translate in my life (outside school, in my job for example).

The results are unequivocal (see table 6). More than 93% of the students asked

believe that they will need to translate outside school at some point in their lives.

Moreover, 46% of the respondents believe that they will often need to translate. This

view is slightly more prevalent among students of the gymnzium type, out of whom

51% expect that they will translate often. Furthermore, all the eight subjects interviewed

for the qualitative study expressed their need to translate in the future. These are

significant numbers and they certainly provide further support for the case of translation

as an end of language teaching itself.

Table 6

The Need of Translation Skills by Czech Secondary School Students

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
7 188 74 114
a 12 6% 6 8% 6 5%
b 89 47% 30 41% 59 52%
c 87 46% 38 51% 49 43%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

As mentioned above, the usefulness of translation practice is also borne out by

the interviews with students (Questions 10 and 11 of the Interview Questionnaire).

Question 10 enquires about a general improvement of students English as a result of

including translation exercises (translation as a means), Question 11 asks about an

improvement of translation skills (translation as an end). All eight subjects of the study

were unanimous in their answers to these two questions. Translation, according to them,

would improve their English in general. Moreover, all eight interviewees believe, to

quote one of them, that practice makes perfect and that their translation skills would

improve as a result of the inclusion of translation exercises into English lessons. These

opinions can, therefore, also be regarded as a part of the argument for the case of

translation used as both a means and an end of language teaching. These are students

opinions, and it would, therefore, be valuable to support them by showing how they

correlate with research findings. However, there are very few empirical studies dealing

with the effects of translation on the improvement of students language proficiency,6

and there are no studies, as far as the author of this thesis is aware, which would asses

the effects of translation on the development of translation skills among secondary

school learners. The positive influence of translation practice on the development of

translation skills is based on the traditional assumption that practice makes perfect and

on personal experience of the author of this thesis as a translator trainee.

In the light of the arguments presented in this section, there is no reason to

believe that translation in language learning should not be regarded as an end of

language learning in its own right, as a set of skills needed to successfully function in

the increasingly globalised world.



As we saw in the previous sections, translation was criticised on many fronts, but the

principal reason why it fell out of favour was its association with the grammar-

translation method, a method which Richards and Rodgers view as having no

advocates . . . a method for which there is no theory . . . no literature that offers a

rationale or justification for it, or that attempts to relate it to issues in psychology,

linguistics or educational theory (7). Grammar Translation was not criticised only for

this theorylessness, but for a number of other reasons, two of which stand out as the

most notorious traits of the method. Firstly, the practice of translation of isolated

sentences which played out the role of context and was miles away from using authentic

texts. Secondly, the medium of instruction was students own languages, which did not

For an overview of the existing empirical work on the topic, see Kllkvist, The Effect (164-165).

provide any room for the practice of listening or speaking skills resulting in a low

communicative competence of the learners. To be fair, a communicative use of

language was not the aim of the grammar-translation method. Using language for

communicative purposes lay at the heart of the Direct Method which superseded

Grammar Translation in many parts of the world. The Direct Method, however, had

flaws of its own. Leonardi mentions three features for which it was criticised; the Direct

Method required native or near-native teachers, its success depended more on the skills

of the teacher than on a textbook, and it did not take into account the fact that all

teachers were not proficient in language teaching (22). These arguments are somewhat

connected in that they are teacher-centred. In farness, the nativeness or nearnativeness

mentioned above is problematic, as the Direct Method often disregarded non-native

speakers as language teachers. As discussed earlier, the term native is so problematic

in itself that the whole method based on native-speakerism seems slightly dubious.

The third argument, however, cannot be taken seriously today. While the standards for

teachers still differ widely around the world, at least in Europe and the USA an average

teacher trainee language-wise approaches the proficiency of well-educated native

speakers (if the term is viewed in terms of the criterion of proficiency), and this has

little to do with the teaching method the teachers apply. Nevertheless, the fact that

translation activities can be prepared in advance, and as such can be suitable for less

proficient or beginning teachers, cannot be completely disregarded. Schjoldager adds

that the Direct Method was criticised for overemphasising and distorting similarities

between natural L1 learning and classroom L2 learning (Are L2 129). It is now

widely accepted that first language and second language acquisition differ considerably.

Translation, therefore, continued to be practiced in many parts of the world

either in its grammar-translation form or, more frequently, in its modified versions. The

term Grammar Translation has become so demonised and so distant from the practice of

translation this thesis endeavours to advocate7 that it will not be used hereafter.

7.1 Common Arguments against Translation

There have been, unfortunately, many other voices inveighing against any use of

translation in language teaching. Newson (2004), for instance, sees the disadvantages of

translation as a teaching and testing tool in an EFL (English as a Foreign Language)

setting as shown in the following list, in which translation:

1. encourages thinking in one language and transference into another, with

accompanying interference

2. is independent of the four skills which define language competence

3. deprives teacher and learner of the opportunity to benefit from accruing

advantages of working within one language

4. it gives false credence to the nave view that there is such a thing as simple

word-to-word equivalence between languages

5. does not allow or facilitate the achievement of such generally accepted

foreign language teaching aims as:

- initial fluency in spoken language,

- attention on the controlled introduction of selected and graded structures

(1960s style) or communicative competence strategies (1990s style)

- attention to controlled introduction of and mastery of selected and graded

lexical items,

Translation as both a means and an end of language teaching and learning within a communicative


- the use of situationalized, contextualized language

- communicative language use,

- learner-centered language learning,

- absence of observable learning effect, either of new vocabulary or structural

items. The latter is not surprising since each translation task provides normally

only one (random) example of new language items; there is no repetition and

practice as in classic forms of language learning and teaching, no grading and no

structuring. (63-64)

Malmkjaer includes some of Newsons points in her summary of the most common

objections to the use of translation in foreign language classes:

1. translation is independent of the four skills which define language

competence: reading, writing, speaking and listening

2. translation is radically different from the four skills

3.translation takes up valuable time which could be used to teach these four


4. translation is unnatural

5. translation misleads students into thinking that expressions in two languages

correspond one-to-one

6. translation prevents students from thinking in the foreign language

7. translation produces interference

8. translation is a bad test of language skills

9. translation is only appropriate for training of translators. (Introduction:

Translation and Language 6)

The use of translation in language teaching is also often seen as unethical. Another

weighty argument, which has at least a partial justification, is that translation cannot be

used in mixed-language classes.

Let us now survey the individual objections in greater detail, and present

relevant counterarguments which will reveal the possible advantages of TILT.

7.1.1 Translation is Independent of the Four Skills

Critics of translation in language teaching sometimes see it as independent of the four

skills, as a merely mechanic activity in which a text is translated from one language

into another (Leonardi 23). Translation is, however, much more complex and far from

being mechanical. Here, translation is seen as a process. Translation as a product i.e. as

a text in one language which is a translation of a text in another language (Cook,

Translation 54) is less significant for language teaching. Translation as a process or

product roughly equals the distinction between translation seen as a means and an end.

See the section dedicated to translation as a means and an end for further details.

Malmkjaers understanding of translation can serve as an illuminating example. In her

view, translation is a text-production process during which a translator produces a target

language text (TT). This text has to fulfil a specific purpose for a specific readership,

and is elaborated from a different text in a different language for a different

readershipthe source text (ST). The translator engages in a minimum of five activities

prior to concluding the process. These are anticipation, resource exploitation, co-

operation, revision, and translating, i.e. activities that are commonly regarded language

learning activities (Introduction: Translation and Language 7). These four activities

encompass a great amount of reading, writing, listening and speaking, and as Malmkjaer

claims, translation cannot be done without them and is therefore not independent of the

four skills, but inclusive of them (Introduction: Translation and Language 8).

Leonardi comes to the same conclusion. In terms of reading, the ST always

needs to be read before starting the translation proper, and the only difference between

translation and reading is in the degree of attention paid during the two processes. The

former is more demanding in this respect, as a misinterpretation of the message of the

source text should be avoided (23). The second claim seems to be rather dubious, as it is

hard to envisage a situation in which a teacher would wish for their pupils to

misinterpret a text assigned for reading. Nevertheless, this makes the point that

translation is an excellent task for practicing reading skills any less true.

Writing is an integral part of translation. When a person translates, they often

need to do so in writing and have a good command of writing skills. Furthermore,

Leonardi suggests additional ways in which writing is enhanced through translation.

Written commentaries, in which students reflect on the difficulties encountered while

translating and on the strategies used to deal with them, can serve as an example (24).

Writing can be enhanced through translation in many more ways. In case of translation

from learners own language into their new language, i.e. L2 translation, translation can

even be seen as a very special variety of second language writing (Campbell 58).

Consequently, by practicing translation, students improve their productive skills in

English in general.

In regard to listening and speaking skills, translation can be used as a trigger of

communicative activities. A discussion of the topic to be translated may precede the

actual translation. Alternatively, the translated texts can be discussed afterwards. Using

translation communicatively is very different from the practices of the grammar-

translation method. However, as a language learner of several languages at several

institutions, the author of this thesis has experienced a solely uncommunicative use of

translation in language lessons. Even thought the individual activities differed from an

on-the-spot translation when the learners translated into L2 just as the teacher was

speaking to the traditional translation of sentences from a textbook to exemplify a

particular grammar point, none of them promoted communication in the new language

and the students worked independently of each other. Question 16 of the Student

Questionnaire, therefore, endeavours to reveal if the uncommunicative use of translation

activities prevails, or whether students translate in pairs or groups and an opportunity

for communication to take place exists. Question 16 reads as follows:

16. When I translate at school, I work in groups or pairs with fellow students (i.e. I

do not translate individually).

The rationale for question 16 is based on the Comprehensible Output Hypothesis

originally defined by Swain in 1995 and her notion that the production of language

makes learners process the new language more deeply. It further leans on the notion of

Collaborative Dialogue as defined by Swain and Lapkin which promotes the co-

construction of linguistic knowledge by learners engaging in production tasks

(Lightbown and Spada, 48). Individual learners may be novice users of the new

language when working on their own, but they gain access to their partners knowledge

and may temporarily become more expert users of the new language when working in

pairs or groups (Ryan 43).

What is the situation at the schools covered in this research? Do the students

work individually or in pairs or groups? Table 7 shows that only 12% of the respondents

never use pair or group work when fulfilling translation tasks. The numbers are more in

favour of pair and group work at technical schools as compared to schools of the

gymnzium type. At the former schools, 8% of the students never work in pairs or

groups while engaged in translation activities, as compared to 19% of the students of the

latter. This difference may be explained by the fact that the students of the gymnzium

type are generally regarded as more independent learners, so their teachers perhaps rely

less on pair and group work when translating. This can be viewed as a mistake on the

part of the teachers, as they do not make use of the communicative strengths of

translation activities and its other advantages. The percentage of students working

individually is, however, relatively small. Overall, the results speak in favour of the use

of pair and group work for translation activities at Czech secondary schools. Results

which are contrary to the expectations of the author of the present thesis, and which are

positive in the view of the notion of the Collaborative Dialogue.

Moving on from the real practice at schools, let us now consider what the

students actually think about a communicative use of translation activities. During the

interview, the eight students were asked if comparing and discussing the translated

passages with their colleagues would help them in any way to improve their English

(Question 9 of the Interview Questionnaire). Seven of the students asserted that

discussing translations would have positive effects on their English. One of them

mentioned that this is actually done with their English teacher. One of the students did

not think that a discussion of translations with other students would be helpful. Having

observed the student in question in about ten lessons, the author of the present thesis

ventures to suggest that her opinion may be heavily influenced by the students personal

learning style. She preferred to work alone in most activities, and was known as the

quiet Tereza. One of the students believed that such a practice would be beneficial to

her English, however, not as a result of discussing translation itself, but because the

discussion would take place in English. There are two other interesting findings. Two

interviewees explicitly criticised the translation of separate sentences based on their

school experience claiming there was no context. Lastly, one student expressed

something which can be regarded as the essence of Collaborative Dialogue. She said

she could co-operate with her fellow students and use their knowledge, words she did

not know, to successfully complete the translation task. In Vygotskys words, the

students would engage in a co-construction of knowledge.

Based on the interviews, it appears that secondary school students in the Czech

Republic mostly see translation practised communicatively in a positive light, and this

fact could be used as another argument in favour of the use of TILT.

To sum up the arguments of this section, using translation to foster

communication in the new language lies at the core of TILT, which strives to embed

translation in a communicative framework. Whether learners discuss a text in a textbook

or speak about grammar and the language itself is not that important after all, as long as

the discussion is authentic.

Table 7

Pair and Group Work in Translation Activities at Czech Secondary Schools

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
16 188 74 114
a 23 12% 14 19% 9 8%
b 133 71% 49 66% 84 74%
c 32 17% 11 15% 21 18%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

7.1.2 Translation is Radically Different from the Four Skills

Several voices have been heard arguing against translation on the basis of this claim.

Lado, for example, did not recommend translation, as it is more complex, than

different from, and unnecessary for speaking, listening, reading, or writing (qtd. in

Randaccio 79). Translation may be slightly different in form from the traditional four

skills and learners and teachers may not be quite familiar with translation techniques,

since they are not usually included in textbooks and teachers who use them may have

only a limited stock of such activities to choose from, but this does not mean that

translation is more different from the other four skills than they are different from each

other. Furthermore, in the light of the previous section, which shows how translation is

inclusive of the four traditional skills, it would be wrong to think that translation is

radically different from them. Malmkjaer supports this view when she states: It is

misleading to suggest that translation is radically different from other language skills if

it depends on and includes them (8).

Lado argued that due to its greater complexity, translation should be regarded as

an independent skill that cannot be achieved without mastery of the second language,

and should only be taught after the second language has been learnt (qtd. in Randaccio

80). Vermes, however, puts forward evidence which refutes this claim. This evidence is,

according to him, provided by modern cognitive theories which describe the process of

speaking, listening, reading and writing as based on a kind of mental translation (88).

This claim seems very tempting for the proponents of translation and is partly supported

by the quantitative research of this thesis (see the discussion of Question 6 of the

Student Questionnaire below). Vermes concludes that translation viewed as separate

and subsequent to the other four skills does not seem to have a substantial basis (88),

which is perhaps slightly exaggerating, but why not give our learners the opportunity to

practise what feels natural to them? Other authors are now calling for a closer co-

operation between language teaching and translator training in the belief that the

language learner may benefit from translating by improving their language skills, just as

a translator improves theirs and is thus regarded as a lifelong learner.8

In the light of the abovementioned arguments, translation ought to be regarded

as an additional skill, one that would enhance the remaining four skills and would be

aimed at their development in a more comprehensible manner.

7.1.3 Translation is a Time-Consuming Activity

One of the most frequent arguments of translation critics objects to the relatively large

amount of time needed to conduct translation activities. It is believed that the time

devoted to translation could be better used to teach the traditional four skills. These

objections are, in fairness, not completely invalid. It is, however, crucial that we

understand that such criticism stems mostly from people who regard translation as text-

bound and confined to reading and writing only. Such an approach to translation is, of

course, uncommunicative and does not include any oral interaction. The time and effort

spent on translation may in turn not be worth practicing these two skills only.

Nevertheless, translation within a communicative framework addresses all the skills as

shown in the previous sections. Its greater time demands are therefore only relative and

the time and effort spent on translation activities are amply compensated for by the fact

that all four skills are practiced at once with a minimal use of materials. If we accept

that translation as the fifth skill is not only a means of language learning, but also an

end in itself, there are five skills developed concurrently when applied in language

See Carreres 1-18.

teaching. It is, however, essential to bear in mind that only a judicious use of translation

is called for, as there is always the imminent danger of overuse.

Leonardi mentions several practical ideas which serve for minimising the time

demands of translation in the language classroom. She proposes that only short text

could be worked on at school, whereas longer texts might be set as homework

assignments and later discussed in class. Alternatively, additional practice of writing

skills may be achieved by writing of the already mentioned translation commentaries

(25). These are valuable practical ideas, and it is without doubt that teachers would

develop other strategies that would suit the particular need of their students and of their

teaching situation.

7.1.4 Translation is Unnatural

One of the key arguments of the Direct Method proponents is that translation is not a

natural process. Since learning a second/foreign language is likened to first language

acquisition in these approaches, emphasis is laid on thinking directly in the new

language in order to imitate the process of first language acquisition. E.V. Gatenby

argues that: We as teachers are trying to bring our pupils to use English without

translating in their own minds, to say without hesitation the right things on the right

occasion. . . . Our aim is to get our pupils . . . to the stage where they can use English

without having to think (qtd. in philjkerr). Kerr then ridicules Gatenby for not wanting

his learners to think, which may sound unduly harsh, for what Gatenby probably had in

mind was nothing more than a call for his learners to automatise the use of some

language structures. Nonetheless, the presumption of translation being unnatural

perseveres among Direct Method partisans.

TILT supporters, on the other hand, frequently point out that learners tend to

translate anyway, regardless of the teaching method within which framework they

receive instruction. The relatively limited teaching experience of the author of this

thesis tentatively supports this view. Lower-level students in particular tend to translate

regardless of their task. It happens quite frequently that a student being asked a question

first translates this question for themselves (often in a whispering voice), and only then

the answer is given. Danchev comes to the conclusion that learners translate from the

new language into their own language even when asked not to do so and supports the

use of TILT as a natural and universal feature of foreign language learning (qtd. in

Randaccio 82). Field Research 2

Question 6 of the quantitative research accompanying this thesis aims to test whether

Danchevs opinion holds true among Czech secondary school students, i.e. whether they

apply translation skills even in activities in which they ought not tothe author of this

thesis can testify that it is a common belief among many teachers that students should

be thinking directly in the new language when listening or reading. Translation is

viewed as an unwanted practice that slows down perception and learners are

discouraged to translate in their minds during receptive activities. Question 6 reads as


6. When reading a text in English or when listening to an English recording, I

translate into Czech in my mind.

Students answers to Question 6 (see table 8) show that only 7% of the students

who responded to this question never translate in their minds when reading or listening

to texts in English. This trend does not seem to be affected by the type of school the

students attend. It would also be very interesting to know whether the amount of in-

mind translation tends to decrease with students growing level of proficiency. The

present study cannot provide a definite answer to this question; it can only illuminate

what happens in the minds of the students who participated in this research. A much

broader sample would be needed to draw definite conclusions and generalisations. It is a

simplification, but if we accept that fourth-year students are generally more proficient

L2 users than first-year students, then in the case of Czech secondary school students

responding to Question 6, the level of proficiency does not seem to play a role in the use

of in-mind translation during receptive activities, as the highest percentage of learners

who never translate falls into the group of first-year students (see table 9). It has been

suggested above that these results are not statistically significant, and can therefore only

serve as a basis for further research. The numbers for the whole sample (see table 8),

however, support Danchevs view that translation is practised by learners more often

than not.

Table 8

In-Mind Translation of Czech Secondary School Students

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
6 188 74 114
a 13 7% 7 9% 6 5%
b 87 46% 32 43% 55 48%
c 88 47% 35 47% 53 46%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

Table 9

In-Mind Translation according to the Year of Study

No. Answer Year of Study
1 % 2 % 3 % 4 %
Total 39 29 39 81
a 5 13% 0 0% 2 5% 6 7%
b 14 36% 13 45% 21 54% 39 48%
c 20 51% 16 55% 16 41% 36 44%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

7.1.5 Translation is Natural

There are psycholinguistic arguments to support the view that translation is a natural

phenomenon. Vivian Cook criticises the tenet which lies at the core of monolingual

instructionthat successful language acquisition is based on the separation of

languages in the learners mind. In psycholinguistic terms, such a separation is called

coordinate bilingualism (V. Cook, Second Language 154).9 This contrasts with

compound bilingualism which suggests that two or more languages are interwoven in

the new language learners mind. As a consequence, learning a second language

cannot be the same as first language acquisition, for the learners own language plays a

central role in the development and use of their new language (Hall and Cook 281). V.

Cook asserts that the presence of the first language is the inescapable difference in L2

learning (Second Language 14).

It is also argued that efforts to compartmentalise and separate learners own

and new language(s) date back to theories of transfer in which learners own language

posed a major source of negative influence on the acquisition of the new language.

The concepts of compound and coordinated bilingualism were originally developed by Uriel Weinreich.

However, in the light of cognitive SLA research of today, learners own language is

accepted as a resource which learners actively use when learning the new language

(Hall and Cook 281). Butzkamm notes that successful learners benefit from all the

linguistic and world knowledge that they have gathered using their own language.

According to him, learners are aware of the meaning of words and concepts, as they

have encountered them in their own language, and that this holds even when the cultural

concepts of the two languages in question differ. It is better, then, not to reconceptualise

the world, but to extend our concepts of it. Learners own language, therefore, serves as

a kind of scaffolding. Scaffolding

The term scaffolding is used by various authors to denote different concepts. Its origins

have roots in the work of the psychologist Lev Vygotsky who saw it as social and

instructional support. Spada and Lightbown define it as: The language that an

interlocutor uses to support the communicative success of another speaker (204).

Generally speaking, scaffolding means any support for students learning new concepts

and may, therefore, take several forms. For Butzkamm, scaffolding closely relates to

Bruners concept of Language Acquisition Support System (LASS), which is in foreign

or second language learning provided by learners own language with learners engaging

in their own self-scaffolding. The learner can rely on the concepts in their own

language, until the new language firmly establishes a new framework for itself. In this

way, the scaffolding is not removed after the new concept is developed, but it remains a

part of learners knowledge. Learners are then aware of the differences and similarities

between own language and new language concepts.

Cognitive psychology offers other reasons to believe in the usefulness of

translation. Solid evidence is provided by research on bilingual language processing.

Kllkvist refers to Hummels notion of elaborateness of processing which is specifically

linked to translation:

[A]n elaborated trace is characterized by additional information which allows

the formation of an increased number of interconnections. When translating, a

dual set of structures are activated: (a) the first language structure from which

the meaning or message is derived, and (b) the second language structure which

are constructed to match the message. Thus the translation process should entail

just such an increased set of interconnections, resulting in a more elaborate set

of memory traces associated with the L2 structures. And, according to the

elaborateness of processing view . . . the L2 structures should therefore be

more resistant to forgetting. (qtd. in Kllkvist L1-L2 Translation 185)

Kllkvist further mentions empirical work aiming at retention of L2 vocabulary that

supports Hummels view. It is for example argued that by watching subtitled films,

learners retain the most vocabulary with reversed subtitles i.e. when the sound is in L1

and the text in L2 (L1-L2 Translation 185).10 This finding is rather surprising and

may have some practical implications, as the widely held assumptions among teachers

favours the use of L2 sound with L2 subtitles.

Guy Cook expands on this by saying that other researchers into the bilingual

processing have come to similar conclusions regarding elaborateness of processing

(Translation 92). This issue can be summed up by saying that certain language tasks are

processed much faster by bilinguals than by monolinguals, and vice versa. This,

For more empirical support of the effects of subtitling on vocabulary retention see Kllkvist, L1-L2

Translation 185.

according to Cook, proves the popular belief that translation slows down

communication much more complicated (Translation 93).

All the arguments mentioned earlier in this section were predominantly

theoretical and well-founded in empirical research. There is, however, a practical

dimension to the naturalness of translation. Since such a large part of the population

worldwide is bi- or multilingual, Malmkjaer asserts that there is no reason why

translation should not be regarded as a natural skill in its own right and why it should

not be used as a natural classroom activity (Introduction: Translation and Language

8). This claim also indirectly supports the use of translation as an end of language


Having read the present evidence, this section can be concluded by saying that

translation is a natural phenomenon which occurs in all language learners minds. It is,

therefore, unnatural to ask foreign/second language learners to think directly in the new

language and deprive them of their possibly greatest asset, of their own language.

7.1.6 Translation Misleads Students into Thinking that Expressions in Two

Languages Correspond One-to-One

In this connection, Guy Cook speaks about the concept of word-for-wordism which he

sees as related to transfer and interference that are to be produced by learners when

speaking or writing as a result of translation. However, he distinguishes between these

concepts claiming that transfer and interference are cognitive phenomena, whereas

word-for-wordism is a textual phenomenon (Translation 97). The correlation between

translation practiced by language learners and their subsequent production of word-for-

word translation pairs seems to be unsubstantiated. Several authors express their support

in favour of translation. Michael Lewis, in his book Implementing the Lexical Approach

(2002), asserts that every teacher knows that learners have a tendency to translate

word-for-word (qtd. in Koppe 5). Leonardi maintains that any speaking or writing

activities may lead to word-for-wordisms, as learners always tend to refer to their own

languages as if one-to-one correspondence exists for any situation (26).

Guy Cook ventures to suggest that word-for-word translations are not likely to

be produced by learners who have studied in educational contexts in which TILT was

used, but by those who did not encounter translation when studying (Translation 98-

99). This argument appears to be perfectly logical. Such learners are more prone to err

and produce word-for-wordisms, since they are probably confronted with translation for

the first time in real-life situations, having no experience translating. Students who have

studied a language with the support of translation activities have been systematically

advised to avoid word-for-word translations. Many a thinker in the history of translation

theory warned of the dangers of word-for-word translation. Cicero (106-43 BC), for

instance, opposed to word-for-word translation and advocated a freer approach,11 for

which he coined a new term sense-for-sense translation (Robinson 87). Cooks

argument is thus well-grounded in Translation Studies theory.

The students interviewed for this thesis were asked about the differences in the

structure of Czech and English sentences in order to evaluate how aware they are of

structural differences between the two languages (Question 6 of the Interview

Questionnaire). They were also enquired whether they exactly kept the structure of the

source text when producing the target text (Question 7) in order to assess the degree of

The issue of free and literal translation fed endless debates in Translation Studies. Some theorist had

opposing views and literal translation was the only option for them. The issue was particularly sensitive

in regard to Bible translation, with several translators coming to bitter ends on the stake for not being

faithful to the ST.

word-for-wordisms in their translations. All of the eight students believed that the two

languages seemed to be different in terms of their word order. All of them tried not to

copy the original word order and adjust the target text to the norms of the target

language. It is, therefore, probable that the translations of these students would include

fewer word-for-wordisms than the translations of students who had received

monolingual instruction only, because translation heightens language awareness and

awareness of interlingual differences (Dagiliene 125). The real usefulness of translation

lies in comparing and contrasting the grammar, vocabulary and word order between

students own and new languages.

Another important feature of TILT which helps avoid word-for-wordisms is the

fact that translation activities make use of dictionaries. There is far more to using

dictionaries than resorting to the first word found in a bilingual lexicon. Leonardi

believes that translation raises learners awareness in regard to the use and importance

of bilingual as well as monolingual dictionaries (26). She expands on her idea by saying

that the actual practice in language classrooms is frequently different and that there

seems to be a widespread belief in FL classes that all you need to do when faced with

unknown words is to look them up in a dictionary (27). Her claim is supported by

empirical evidence, as the results of the quantitative as well as qualitative research

which was done as a part of this thesis shows that learners at the Czech Republic

secondary schools are not familiar with the advantages and limitations of monolingual

dictionaries and do not use them when translating. For a more detailed discussion of the

findings, see the research results in the subsection below.

Translation, then, may be one of the possible tools to enhance learners

competence in using dictionaries and, by extension, their overall language proficiency.

Lastly, to return to Michael Lewis, we shall conclude this section by referring to

him once more. He wrote that: We often complain that learners translate word-for-

word but rarely suggest a better way. The secret, of course, is to translate chunk-for-

chunk (qtd. in Koppe 6). As the present thesis does not call for a creation of a new

teaching method based on translation, but rather for translation to be used in

combination with other approaches, the ideas of the importance of the grammar of

vocabulary and chunks of language which are central in Lewiss Lexical Approach, may

be applied when using translation in the classroom and further help with tackling word-

for-wordism. Field Research 3The Use of Dictionaries by Czech Secondary School


In the teaching of foreign languages, the emphasis is often laid upon the exploitation of

grammar books and textbooks, while dictionaries receive less attention. Dictionaries

are, however, very useful tools for language learners. It is also certain that the

consultation of a dictionary constitutes an important stage in the process of translation

and that dictionaries present one of the most important tools for the translator

(Snchez Ramos). In congruence with Carreress view of the translator as a long-life

language learner and the language learner as a natural translator (18), and taking into

consideration Leonardis belief that by translation learners raise their awareness of the

importance of dictionaries and improve their dictionary using skills (26), it is self-

evident that translation and the use of dictionaries come hand in hand and that we need

to know how to consult and use dictionaries effectively in order to complete the

translation process with success (Snchez Ramos). Having been a long-life language

learner and a trainee translator, the author of this thesis recognises this importance of

using dictionaries both for learning and translating. Questions 8, 9, 14 and 15 of the

Student Questionnaire were therefore designed specifically to reveal what dictionaries

learners of English at Czech secondary schools use when translating, with the aim to

understand their approach to translation and their awareness of the various dictionaries

that are at their disposal. The use of dictionaries was also examined qualitatively during

the interviews with students. The results show a tendency of Czech secondary school

students to use bilingual dictionaries. The use of other types of dictionaries is limited.

Let us now turn our attention to the individual results in greater detail.

Questions 8 and 9 of the Student Questionnaire enquired about the use of the

two most common lexicons, i.e. the bilingual and the monolingual dictionary. Each of

them has its advantages and disadvantages. A good bilingual dictionary, according to

Fox and Potter, is suitable for non-advanced learners, since it offers a quick answer to

their enquiry which they can understand immediately without having to worry about the

complexities of a language they have not yet fully mastered. Monolingual dictionaries

are suitable for more proficient students. Rizo-Rodrguez notes that they can be made

use of as an aid for both productive and receptive purposes. The productive mode is

predominantly useful for writing and translation into English, and the receptive one is at

its strongest when reading and comprehending English texts (32). Questions 8 and 9

read as follows:

8. I use bilingual dictionaries when I translate (e.g. a Czech-English dictionary).

9. I use monolingual dictionaries when I translate (e.g. an explanatory dictionary).

The research shows that Czech secondary school learners make a fairly frequent

use of bilingual dictionaries (see table 10). 54% of the respondents use them sometimes

and 38% use them often. Only 9% of the students replied that they never used bilingual

dictionaries when translating. It should be borne in mind that these 9% include the

students who never translate, so it is likely that the actual percentage of students using

bilingual dictionaries during translation is slightly higher. It is also rather interesting

that a smaller percentage of learners of English at technical schools often use bilingual

dictionaries than the learners at schools of the gymnzium type (33% versus 45%). The

reasons for this cannot be drawn from the data gathered for this research, and may be

the subject for further studies.

Table 10

Use of Bilingual Dictionaries when Translating

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
8 188 74 114
a 16 9% 6 8% 10 9%
b 101 54% 35 47% 66 58%
c 71 38% 33 45% 38 33%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

In regard to monolingual dictionaries, the situation is markedly different (see

table 11). 70% of all the respondents never use them when translating and only 2%, i.e.

three students out of 188 in total, use monolingual dictionaries often. These numbers are

similar for both types of schools examined. This is an alarming finding, as the author of

this thesis can testify how invaluable the help of monolingual dictionaries is when

translating. There is little doubt that monolingual dictionaries are more suitable for

advanced learners. This is reflected in the results of the research. The percentage of

learners not using monolingual dictionaries at all when translating is lowest (63%) in

the fourth year of study (see table 12). However, the number is still too high and

suggests that not enough students recognise the benefits of using monolingual

dictionaries as an aid to achieve a better translation. This may be a consequence of not

enough emphasis being laid upon dictionary using skills by teachers, rather than a fault

on learners part.

Table 11

Use of Monolingual Dictionaries when Translating

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
9 188 74 114
a 132 70% 49 66% 83 73%
b 53 28% 22 30% 31 27%
c 3 2% 3 4% 0 0%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

Table 12

Use of Monolingual Dictionaries when Translating according to the Year of Study

No. Answer Year of Study
1 % 2 % 3 % 4 %
Total 39 29 39 81
a 29 74% 22 76% 30 77% 51 63%
b 10 26% 7 24% 8 21% 28 35%
c 0 0% 0 0% 1 3% 2 2%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

Questions 14 and 15 focused on the use of less frequent types of dictionaries,

namely the collocations dictionary and the thesaurus. Collocations are a key area of

English lexicology. Collocations are basically fixed-two-word combinations which must

be learnt as building blocks or prefabs, and the importance of collocations dictionaries

lies in the fact that general monolingual learners dictionaries have a number of

shortcomings in covering this language area (Rizo-Rodrguez 38). The author of this

thesis makes a frequent use of collocations dictionaries when translating into English

and beliefs that they are particularly important when producing a text in the students

new language in general.

The thesaurus is also a valuable tool for text production in general and by

extension for translation. A good command of synonyms adds to the stylistic elegance

of a text. Are secondary school learners in the Czech Republic aware of the existence of

these tools and make use of them? The results of this research suggest that this is not the

case (see table 13 and 14). 72% of the learners never use collocations dictionaries and

almost 80% never use thesauri. In both cases, only two students answered they used the

respective tools often. The data are consistent for both types of schools examined. These

findings do not appear to be entirely surprising. Collocations dictionaries as well as

thesauri are fairly sophisticated tools, and if most of the learners do not use monolingual

dictionaries very often, they cannot be expected to use these resources. A question

remains whether secondary school students should be made aware of these advanced

tools and be encouraged to use them. They undoubtedly offer many features from which

the learners might benefit even at the secondary school level.

Table 13

Use of Collocations Dictionaries among Czech Secondary School Students

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
14 188 73 114
a 136 72% 52 71% 84 74%
b 50 27% 21 29% 29 25%
c 2 1% 1 1% 1 1%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

Table 14

Use of the Thesaurus among Czech Secondary School Students

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
15 188 73 114
a 149 79% 59 81% 90 79%
b 37 20% 13 18% 24 21%
c 2 1% 2 3% 0 0%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

The results as to the use of dictionaries calculated from the data gathered in the

Student Questionnaire were confirmed by the interviews conducted as the qualitative

part of this research. All the eight subjects were asked about the use of dictionaries and

monitored during their translation process. All of them were provided with two

electronic dictionaries. The first dictionary was a monolingual one, The Macmillan

English Dictionary for Advanced Students, the other one was a bilingual Czech-English

and English-Czech dictionaryVelk anglicko-esk a esko-anglick slovnk Josef

Fronek. All of the students were provided with a laptop with a connection to the

Internet and were instructed that they could use any other dictionary they wished. Six of

the eight subjects marked in their Interview Questionnaires that they sometimes used

monolingual dictionaries when translating. None of them did so during the interview,

with each of them preferring the bilingual dictionary. The subjects did not use any on-

line dictionaries, any collocations dictionaries or a thesaurus. It might thus be concluded

that the use of dictionaries among Czech secondary school students is strictly limited to

bilingual dictionaries.

76 Field Research 4The Use of Additional Resources by Czech Secondary

School Learners

Apart from dictionaries, there are other tools which can be used in the language

classroom and when translating and which can be highly beneficial both to language

learning and to the quality of translation. The first category encompasses high-tech tools

such as mobile phones that can be filled with a plethora of useful applications, ranging

from regular electronic dictionaries to state-of-the-art applications where students

record their voice and receive an assessment of their pronunciation. This category

includes programmes used for machine translation (MT). The history of MT dates back

to the 1930s, but technology has come a long way since the first bizarre inventions of

Petr Smirnov-Troyanskii who patented the first translation machines. Fully automated

machine translation is now available for the general public, even though the resulting

target texts widely differ in quality, depending on many variables, such as the language

pair, the text type etc. One of the most commonly used programmes is the service

provided by GoogleGoogle Translate. This programme is a fascinating tool, however,

there are pitfalls and limitations that each user needs to be aware of. Questions 10 and

11 of the Student Questionnaire aim to reveal if and how Czech secondary school

students avail themselves of this electronic tool.

The results indicate a massive popularity of Google Translate among the

secondary school students in the Czech Republic (see table 15). Only 6% of the

respondents confided that they never use the programme. In other words, 94% of the

students asked at least sometimes make use of the Google machine translation software.

The results also show that the students of technical schools are more likely users of the

programme, as only 3% of them never use it, compared to 11% of students studying at

schools of the gymnzium type. This is hardly surprising. Who else should be adept at

using new technologies than the students of technical schools? Let us now address the

issue of how the learners use the programme in question.

Table 15

Use of Google Translate among Czech Secondary School Students

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
10 188 74 114
a 11 6% 8 11% 3 3%
b 107 57% 42 57% 65 57%
c 70 37% 24 32% 46 40%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

The rationale for Question 11 is derived from personal experience with young

language learners and the data appear to confirm it. Table 15 above indicates that 37%

of learners use Google Translate when translating often. This rises to 46% when it

comes to using Google Translate to look up unknown words (see table 16). The results

are not conclusive, but they may suggest that many learners use Google Translate as a

dictionary. It is without question that this programme was not designed as a dictionary,

and certainly not as one for language learners at that. Even though its functions have

been considerably improved and it is now for instance possible to view alternative

translations of a word, Google Translate should not be used as a dictionary and our

learners should be made aware of this. This does not mean, on the other hand, that

Google Translate should be disqualified from the classroom. It can actually be used as a

source of illuminating examples serving to tackle word-for-wordism. Students may be

presented with sentences incorrectly translated by Google and encouraged to discuss

what could have gone wrong. By doing this, students awareness of the differences

between the two languages is increased, as well as their ability to properly use the

software itself.

Table 16

Use of Google Translate as a Dictionary among Czech Secondary School Students

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
11 188 74 114
a 10 5% 8 11% 2 2%
b 92 49% 42 57% 50 44%
c 86 46% 24 32% 62 54%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

The second category of resources is subsumed under the term corpora. A corpus

is a collection of naturally occurring examples of language, which have been collected

for linguistic study. . . . A corpus is planned . . . and it is designed for some linguistic

purpose (Hunston 2). There are many types of corpora, but the one which is of interest

to us in this thesis is a general corpus such as the British National Corpus (BNC).

Pedagogically, such a corpus may be used for a variety of purposes, such as studying

the collocations, connotations or prosodic features of words and phrases. Leaving aside

specific parallel or comparable corpora which are used by professional translators, a

general corpus may be used to improve ones translations, as it is a source of

information about the natural behaviour of language. As such, a general corpus is an

ideal tool to accompany L2 translation.

Question 12 of the Student Questionnaire seeks to find out whether secondary

school learners in the Czech Republic avail themselves of this useful tool when

translating. Question 13 enquires about an alternative practice, looking up words in

context in the Google search engine, which is not recommended by language teachers

and researches, as it displays results of unattested language. The results are summarised

in the two tables below (see table 17 and 18). It appears that secondary school learners

of English in the Czech Republic do not make frequent use of corpora, as 72% of all the

subjects of the survey responded they did not use corpora whatsoever. This does not

come as a great surprise, since corpora are fairly sophisticated tools and not many

students know how to use them even at the university level. What is more interesting

are the answers to Question 13. More than 50% of the respondents at least sometimes

use the Google search engine to look for examples of the use of words in context. This

may indicate continuing students need to find out how words are used. A question

remains whether this need arises as a result of students poor dictionary using skills, or

because the dictionary contains only a limited amount of information and the students

are forced to seek additional resources. The answers to Question 9, which revealed a

low use of monolingual dictionaries among Czech secondary school students, may

suggest that the former is true. Even if we confine the use of corpora for more advanced

learners and for the university level, our students should be made aware of the

shortcomings and limitations of googling words up, and offer alternative solutions to

their need.

Table 17

Use of Corpora during Translation among Czech Secondary School Students

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
12 188 74 114
a 136 72% 53 72% 83 73%
b 44 23% 17 23% 27 24%
c 8 4% 4 5% 4 4%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

Table 18

Use of Google Search Engine to Look Up Words in Context

No. Answer Total Percentage Gymnzium Technical
Total Percentage Total Percentage
13 187 73 114
a 85 45% 34 47% 51 45%
b 83 44% 33 45% 50 44%
c 19 10% 6 8% 13 11%
a) never b) sometimes c) often

Using dictionaries and other resources mentioned in this section is a prerequisite

for achieving a good-quality translation. If we wish to improve translation skills of our

students, they should be made aware of these tools. There are, however, other

techniques and practices that lead to a final translation of good quality. Mastering these

techniques can also be regarded as the aim of TILT. Any good translator, for example,

knows what they are going to translate and for whom. This information is derived from

the translation brief. The students interviewed for the qualitative part of this thesis

were given a translation briefthey were instructed what they were going to translate,

why and for whom. Based on this information, they should have approached the

translations. Not many of them did so. Questions 2 and 3 of the Interview Questionnaire

asked the students about two procedures which are done by professional translators after

reading the translation brief and before commencing the translation process itself. The

translator should predict the content of the translated text and how it relates to the target

text reader. The translator should also read the whole text before translating, at least

with such short texts. The interviews revealed that the students do not follow these

procedures, as none of them thought about the content of what they were going to

translate. This may be perhaps explained by the fact that they are used to translating

isolated sentences without the context, as they had revealed in their answers. None of

the eight students interviewed had read the text to be translated before they commenced

translating. This implies that they approached the text sentence by sentence, without

paying attention to the text as a whole. Moreover, none of the students read their

translations after they had finished them.

It seems that secondary school students in the Czech Republic are not aware of

the basic techniques and procedures of the translation process, perhaps because their

translation experience is often limited to the translation of isolated sentences. Should we

wish to improve the translation skills of our students, and to teach them more through

translation, more emphasis should be laid on enlightening them in these techniques.

7.1.7 Translation Prevents Students from Thinking in the Foreign Language

A very common argument against the use of translation in language learning and

teaching is that it prevents learners from using the new language automatically. Guy

Cook notes:

The process of translation is seen as a slow and laborious one, focused more

upon accuracy than fluency. . . . The person who has learnt through translation

will forever be locked into this laborious process, always condemned to start

production and finish comprehension in their own language, and unable . . . to

think in the language they have learnt. (Translation 88)

It is not possible, however, to make learners think in their new language, as this is not a

cognitive function which may be controlled (Leonardi 27). The naturalness of

translation has been discussed in an earlier section, and it is a feature of human mind

that simply cannot be switched off during language learning. Any attempts to do so will

run counter to the natural process of second language acquisition.

Moreover, banning translation from the foreign language classroom, and

consequently relying on techniques that focus on an indirect conveyance of meaning,

such as miming, drawing or describing the meaning of words by definitions, may even

prove harmful. As Butzkamm suggests, learners may be led to make wrong associations

with own language equivalents as a result of these ersatz-techniques. Every teacher

has probably experienced a situation when after a laborious five-minute explanation of

the meaning of a word the class sighed in relief only when somebody shouted the own-

language equivalent of it. A frustrating situation for both the teacher and the students

indeed, but the result could have been even worse, had it not been for translation. The

students could have associated the meaning with a different word, which could in turn

have led to fossilising the error, which could one day perhaps even materialise in an

embarrassing situation. A sensitive use of translation can prevent all of this. Butzkamm

concludes that what is important is not rough comprehension, but precision of meaning.

7.1.8 Translation Produces Interference

Why do learners err? Why do certain errors tend to be more frequent than others? The

search for answers to these questions may be approached from many different

perspectives and many possible explanations exist. Nevertheless, a very common belief

is that the cause of such errors is L1 interference and, by extension, translation. The Views of Practitioners

There are of course good reasons to support these claims which are based on everyday

classroom observations and teachers experience. Perhaps the most immediately evident

evidence of interference at work is the powerful influence that own-language phonetics

and phonology have on learners pronunciation. The basic division of pronunciation

errors pertaining to a foreign accent may be twofold with errors resulting from phonetic

or phonemic differences (Odlin 113). The former mean that sounds in any two

languages often display different physical characteristics even though they seem to be

identical. A Czech learner of English for example often tends to pronounce English /r/

in the same way as the Czech /r/, when the two sounds, in fact, acoustically differ. The

latter, i.e. phonemic differences, result from different phonemic systems between two

languages. A Czech learner of English is thus likely to produce errors when

pronouncing //, as this sound is not a part of the Czech phonemic system.

Another area in which interference frequently occurs and is particularly evident

is lexical semantics. Learners often err when mislead by cognate vocabulary in cases

when there is only a partial semantic overlap or even when these are faux amis. A Czech

learner of English may thus be lured by the Czech expression sympatick into producing

a sentence like His friend is very sympathetic, when they actually mean likeable.

There is little doubt that such errors occur as a result of the influence of learners

own language, however, to ascribe interference of the own language solely to

translation would be unjust, since interference is a feature of language acquisition in

general (Leonardi 27). Vermes argues that interference may be engendered by any

teaching procedure, with or without the use of translation, in any language learning

situation (89).

We must not forget that there is another side to interference, a positive one.

Own-language interference (i.e. positive transfer) may play a major role in the

acquisition of vocabulary. Odlin suggests that similarities and dissimilarities in word

forms . . . and . . . in word meanings, play a major role in how quickly a particular

foreign language may be learned by speakers of another language (77). Butzkamm

expands on this and asserts that using lexical and syntactic parallels between learners

own and new language fosters retention and raises awareness of the historical

relationship of languages and cultures.12 It has been shown that if a word is explained in

terms of family resemblances, students are more likely to remember it for a longer

period of time, partly due to the fact that the semantic links may more easily intertwine

in their mind.

Positive transfer is not, however, limited only to lexical semantics. The

argument can be extended to cover other features of language. The more two languages

are related, the more positive transfer can take place during second language learning.

But even in cases of negative interference, translation can become a useful tool for

tackling own-language influence. Errors caused by negative interference, such as the

Czech to English faux amis example mentioned above, may as well go unnoticed in a

monolingual lesson. Here we return to the principles of Contrastive Analysis which may

help learners overcome the adverse effects of interference. Ross adds to this point that

the real usefulness of translation in the EFL classroom lies in exploiting it in order to

compare grammar, vocabulary, word order and other language points. The author of

this thesis views this, i.e. contrasting the aspects of the two languages, as the essence of

using TILT.

It emerges, then, that translation actually may suppress negative interference, as

it draws students attention to problems arising as a result of their own-language

influence, and it therefore raises their awareness of such issues, which is not the case of

purely monolingual language learning situations.

Butzkamms maxim is limited to the teaching of European languages.

85 Empirical Findings

These are all valuable opinions based on teachers experience or classroom

observations, but do they have any empirical support? Schjoldager (Are L2 127-149)

carried out a comparative analysis of errors occurring in L2 translations and picture

verbalisations in L2 in order to find out whether learners who translate err more than

learners who write comparable picture verbalisations, and whether any such errors may

be caused by L1 interference. She selected two groups of students, the first one

consisting of final-year secondary-level students specialising in languages, the other one

of third-year university students of English. The results showed that there were

considerably more errors committed in translation than in picture verbalisation. This is

hardly surprising, as it is impossible to use various avoidance strategies during

translation. As a result, there are more mistakes occurring during translation as

compared to freer production activities in which students are not forced to translate the

ST, but rather reformulate the ideas of the original. What is more interesting, though,

are the inconclusive findings as regard to L1 interference. An overrepresentation of

interference errors was detected only in the secondary-level students group. The

university students of English committed fewer L1 interference errors in translation than

in picture verbalisation.

There is thus some support for translation-induced errors occurring among

secondary-level students, but the evidence is inconclusive for more advanced students,

and actually showing tendency in the opposite direction. More empirical work needs to

be done to validate these findings, however, the results of Schjoldagers study suggest

that L2 translation used with learners at a higher-level of proficiency may tackle own

language interference, as suggested earlier in this section.

7.1.9 Translation is a Bad Test of Language Skills

In 1989, Duff wrote that: . . . translation is largely ignored as a valid activity for

language practice and improvement. And even where it is still retained, it tends to be

used not for language teaching, but for testing (5). While the context in academic

literature has nowadays considerably changed and translation is more frequently seen as

a beneficial language practice on the way to language improvement, the use of

translation as a testing tool has been criticised in various sources. This, however, does

not mean that translation for testing purposes does not have any proponents.

Newson mentions two key areas of criticism of the use of translation as a means

of testing language competence. Firstly, the examinee tends to be presented with

random translation problems. Secondly, translation seems to be an unreliable measure

of language command (64). Newson introduces a model for teaching translation, where

translation is used for testing L2 competence. He suggests that the limitations can be

solved by fixing as many parameters as possible by using filters to select texts to be

used in examinations. These filters would include genre, subject matter, originality and

length of the text. Based on these filters a text to be translated can be limited according

to these criteria, and in this way control what the learners are expected to know (65).

Leonardi argues that translation demands a simultaneous application of all four

language skills, and as such it presents a very comprehensive test for an assessment of

language skills (28). An objection can be raised to this opinion. Translation may be a

comprehensive test indeed, however, perhaps a little too comprehensive to be used with

lower proficiency learners. The time needed to design and correct a reliable translation

test is another issue that can be easily disposed of by the use of some other testing

devices. Nonetheless, Newsons above mentioned filter may prove to be a viable

solution to these reservations.

There is also an empirical study by Gary Buck, who examined L2-L1 translation

as a test of reading comprehension. The subjects were English learners whose own

language was Japanese. The study included a comparison with other testing methods.

The results of the study showed that the reliability and acceptability of translation as a

testing tool of L1 comprehension was satisfactory, and its author proposed that its

results were generalisable for other translation tests (123).

Having mentioned researchers favouring the use of translation as a testing tool, it

is only fair to give space to those criticising it. In an empirical study, Klein-Braley

surveyed the objectivity, reliability, and validity of L2 translation as a testing tool of L2

proficiency when compared with other means of assessment. The findings suggested

that even though translation tests measured language proficiency, their reliability and

validity was worse than the remaining tests (qtd. in Schjoldager, Translation 203). L2

translation tests were seen as the least satisfactory and least economical of the tests

examined (qtd. in Schjoldager, Are L2 138).

Evaluating the evidence presented so far, it can be argued that the claim that

translation is a bad test of language skills is difficult to rebut. There is empirical

evidence both in favour of translation and against it in this respect, and to use

translation as a testing tool is, therefore, rather unreliable. If used for testing purposes,

translation ought to be accompanied by other testing means.

7.1.10 Translation is Only Appropriate for Training of Translators

Most translation and language teaching scholars concur that there is a difference

between the training of professional translators (i.e. translation pedagogy) and language

teaching (language pedagogy). However, there is also little doubt that the two

disciplines are closely related. In order to become a professional translator, according to

Malmkjaer, one has to be able to operate literately in more than one language, and most

people need at least some kind of language education to become literate in any language

(Introduction: Translation as an Academic 4). It can be, therefore, inferred that

translation pedagogy and language pedagogy are interconnected. Carreres criticises the

traditional division of these two disciplines and notes that the divide between the

teaching of translation as a language learning tool and as a professional activity has

been overemphasized to the point of preventing useful dialogue and exchange (12).

This brings us back to the issue of translation as a means and translation as an end. As a

means, translation focuses on the development of language skills; as an end in itself, it

develops translation skills. It has already been argued that in the world of today most

language learners need to be equipped with at least basic translation skills. This is

believed by learners themselves13 and the fact is also beginning to be recognised by

various academics. Carreres, for example, sees professional translators as life-long

language learners who continually improve their L2 competence as a result of their

work, and language learners as natural translators who translate regardless of the

classroom rules. She concludes that the two disciplines, translation pedagogy and

language pedagogy, ought to co-operate more vigorously, as they may positively

influence one another (18). Similarly, Malmkjaer claims that language and translation

learning are maximally beneficial, . . . when they are mutually reinforcing

(Introduction: Translation as an Academic 4).

The argument can be summed up by saying that translation as a means of

language learning does not, and should not, be kept neatly separated from translation as

an end in itself, i.e. as a tool for the development of translation skills. Students will

benefit greatly if TILT is used as both a means and an end.

See the results of the qualitative research Question 7 discussed above.

7.1.11 Translation is UnethicalL1 versus L2 Translation

This strand of criticism is aimed at the practice of translation from learners own

language to their new language i.e. L2 translation. Whether a translator translates from

their mother tongue into a foreign language or vice versa is in Translation Studies

referred to as translation directionality (Lonsdale 63). According to Schjoldager, the

objection of many critics of TILT is based on a widely held assumption that translating

into L2 runs counter to a professional norm of only translating into L1. It is assumed

that only L1 translators reach professional standards, and by using L2 translation for

teaching purposes, students could be led to think that they are able to carry out such

translations professionally (Are L2 133). It is also argued that while translation into

learners own language is a natural activity which may be encountered in later life, L2

translation is totally unrealistic, and as such useless and pointless (Leonardi 18). There

is one more argument against the use of L2 translation in the classroom, which can be

found in Carreress summary of arguments against L2 translation. Here translation is

viewed as a frustrating and de-motivating exercise in which the student, in terms of

accuracy and stylistic value, can never attain the qualities of the original presented by

the teacher (5).

The issue of L2 translation breaking professional norms is highly debatable and

there is a whole discourse dealing with it in Translation Studies. Most translation

scholars, according to Pokorn, share a conviction that only translation into ones mother

tongue guarantees good results (30). Baker, for instance, addresses the issue of

directionality as follows: [T]he professional translator would normally be working

from a foreign language into his/her native language or language of habitual use (55).14

Newmark asserts that translators should translate into [ones] language of habitual use,

since that is the only way [one] can translate naturally, accurately and with maximum

effectiveness (3). The general assumption consequently favours L1 translation.

However, practice is often strikingly different. Many translation agencies boast that they

employ only native speakers, but some even dare go as far as to vilify L2 translations,

as can be documented by the following extract from the web pages of a Czech

translation agency Peklady Puri:

Jen na rozshl projekty nasazujeme stl spolupracovnky vhradn rodil

mluv: Nevyuvme slueb takzvanch nauench pekladatel. . . .

Vsledn prce nauenho pekladatele nakonec dopadne bu komicky nebo

keovit a dle nach zkuenost je asto i nepouiteln.

Only for extensive projects do we use regular external contractorsexclusively

native speakers: We do not use the services of so-called learned translators. . .

. The final product of a learned translator ends up either in a comical or a

clumsy translation which is, in our experience, often useless.

While most translation providers and agencies blatantly claim that they employ only

native speakers, the actual situation proves the contrary. How many English native

speakers with a good command of a minor language, let us say Czech, are there to work

as translators?

From early history, translation in the Western tradition was carried out into a

non-mother tongue (Pokorn 34). The smaller a language community is, the more it

needs to translate into its own language in order to be recognised. Pokorn concludes that

Terminology differs from author to author, but the basic distinction is L1 translation vs. L2 translation.

communities using one of the less translated languages15 must translate into a foreign

language if they want their works translated at all (35). Considering the global

situation in which English dominates as the global lingua franca, it could be said that a

great many languages can be categorised as less translated languages, including widely

used languages such as Arabic or Chinese. In the light of this evidence, L2 translation is

often necessary and does not deviate from the norm, at least as far as English represents

the L2.

Practice thus favours L2 translation, moreover, there are now theoretical works

supporting it. Pokorns theoretical assumptions and empirical findings have waived the

stigma of inappropriateness given to inverse translation [L2 translation] by the

majority of Western translation theorists and contributed it to a post-Romantic,

aprioristic, scientifically-unproven and sometimes ethnocentric conviction of theorists

coming from major and central linguistic communities in which L2 translation is not

practice to such an extent as in peripheral and minor linguistic cultures (122).

The question of directionality was also addressed in the quantitative research of

the present thesis. During the interviews with students, eight students were given two

translation tasks. The first one was a translation into their own language, the other one

was an L2 translation. The most important finding is that the students did not

distinguish between these two types of translation activities. The L2 translation was

administered after the L1 translation, and the answers gathered after the L2 translation

did not offer any new data when compared to the answers gathered after the L1

translation task. Translation directionality, therefore, does not seem to play any role for

students. This finding is in accord with Lonsdales claim that laymen and general public

Less translated languages are those which are less often the source of translation in the international

exchange of linguistic goods, regardless of the number of people using these languages (Branchadell 1).

make no distinction between translating from L1 into L2 and vice versa. Professional

translators as well as translation researchers are, on the other hand, aware that linguistic

and translation competence is rarely symmetrical (64). There is an implication for

teaching practice in this finding. Knowing that the two types of translation are markedly

different, teachers subscribing to TILT should bear in mind that the two activities will

lead to different results, and they should also address the issue of directionality so as to

raise students awareness of the possible dangers and advantages of the individual types.

With regard to the objection that translation poses a de-motivating and

frustrating activity for learners, this may be partly true and there are differing views of

this issue. What is certain is that L1 translation differs from L2 translation, and the

expected output would have to be different in both cases (Carreres 7). The problems that

learners need to overcome when translating into their new language are consequently

different. In the former, students, and translator in general, do not struggle with the

comprehension of the ST, the main difficulty lies in the production of the TT. In the

latter, the situation is reversed. If teachers draw students attention to the respective

areas of difficulty and help the students in overcoming these, the students will benefit in

all respects. Their production skills will be enhanced as a result of the treatment of L2

translation difficulties, and their general receptive skills will be improved by focusing

on L1 translation related issues.

7.2 Other Arguments in Favour of Translation

7.2.1 Focus on Form

A substantial part of monolingual language teaching was influenced by Krashens

Monitor Model which was described in terms of five hypotheses. Krashens model of

second language acquisition was inspired by Chomskys model of first language

acquisition, and crystallized in notions which stated that learners acquire the new

language following the same sequence (natural order hypothesis) and that conscious

learning is not necessary to acquire the new language when the learners are exposed to

comprehensible input (input hypothesis) (Lightbown and Spada 37). Guy Cook

mentions that subsequent SLA research acknowledged that a fully subconscious

acquisition of a language may not be as beneficial to students learning, and that

students may gain more when noticing and when exposed to focus-on-form instructions

(Translation 89). Form-focused instruction can be of two basic kinds. Firstly, focus-on-

form, i.e. occasional explicit attention to form when a need arises in otherwise meaning-

centred activities (G. Cook, Translation 89), and focus-on-formS, which according to

Ellis requires a pre-selection of target structures for focus-on-form treatment (qtd. in

Kllkvist, L1-L2 183). If texts to be translated are selected in advance, it may be

assumed that translation is a focus-on-formS activity par excellence. It has already been

established that explicit attention to form has its advantages, but it is interesting to see

what effects such an instruction may have on students when compared with other kinds

of form-focused instruction. Kllkvist has undertaken to explore this issue in an

empirical study of the effects of two kinds of focus-on-formS exercises in otherwise

meaning-centred curriculum on learners L2 morphosyntactic accuracy (L1-L2 182-

202). The subjects of the study were Swedish (L1) university students of English (L2)

and the focus-on-formS activities were translation activities, and fill-in-the-blank and

transformation exercises. The students were divided into two groups. The first one

followed translation exercises only, the other one fill-in-the-blank and transformational

exercises. The instruction the groups received was identical. There was also a third

group of students who did not receive any form-focused instruction. All these groups

were tested before, during and after a thirteen-week-long semester. The results have

shown that students involved in focus-on-formS exercises, i.e. the first two groups,

outperformed the third group of students in all three tests. These results confirm the

research on focus-on-formS exercises on grammatical accuracy, which suggests that

grammatical accuracy is enhanced when such exercises are used, at least when the gains

are measured in terms of test-like elicitation tasks (Kllkvist, L1-L2 197). The study

has also shown that the type of focus-on-formS exercise makes a minor difference, as

most of the subject record a greater gain when the test was of the same type as the type

of exercise they had worked with throughout the semester. It is suggested that learners

would benefit most from a combination of both types of focus-on-formS activities

(Kllkvist, L1-L2 198). The study carried out by Kllkvist presents further evidence

in favour of the use of translation in language teaching. Admittedly, similar knowledge

gains as those provided by translation exercises in a meaning-centred framework may

be achieved through other types of form-focus activities, but if we accept that students

will need to communicate in situations which require translation, there is no reason why

they should be deprived of the chance to improve this skill.

7.2.2 Vocabulary Building and Retention

In the previous section the effects of L2 translation exercises within a communicative

framework on the gain of L2 morphosyntactic structures were examined. In a similar

fashion, this part will endeavour to provide evidence for translation being beneficial to

vocabulary building and retention.

It is very common that even advanced learners commit errors in the choice and

use of vocabulary. By this stage, the learners have usually acquired a substantial number

of vocabulary items. Two kinds of problems may arise. Firstly, the process of

vocabulary development grinds to a halt and the students are reluctant to learn new

vocabulary. Heltai suggests that this is caused by the fact that advanced learners have

already mastered sufficient vocabulary for a successful communication and also

circumlocutions strategies that allow them to avoid lexical problems (288). The second

type of problem arises when students indeed possess a vast knowledge of vocabulary,

but when the knowledge is only superfluous. Machida suggests that in such cases

learners either overgeneralise one meaning of a word and use it in other contexts in

which this meaning does not apply, or simplify the meaning of an L2 word by

identifying it with an L1 word (744). It is believed that both problems can be remedied

by the use of translation. In the first case, translation exercises force students to search

for particular words that they otherwise may not encounter or that they would tend to

avoid. In the second case, translation acts as scaffolding which helps to integrate the

new words into an existing framework of knowledge, i.e. when the students translate

into their own language, they base the foreign language words on the knowledge they

already posses in their own language. Later, when they translate from their own

language into their new language, translation helps learners realise that the originally

established relation between words may have certain constraints and needs to be

reconceptualised. A judicious use of translation may therefore foster gradual vocabulary

building even at advanced stages when students frequently tend to rely on

circumlocutions skills which may hinder their further vocabulary development.

In regard to vocabulary retention, there are also reasons to believe that

translation may be a useful tool. Laufer and Girsai, for example, conducted a study in

which they taught identical vocabulary to three groups of high school students using

three types of approachesmeaning-focused instruction, non-contrastive form-focused

instruction and contrastive analysis and translation. The groups were then tested on the

retention of the vocabulary items by two batteries of tests aimed at passive and active

recall respectively. The results were that the contrastive analysis group, which used

translation, significantly outperformed the other two groups in all tests (694). The

results of this study are fairly convincing and suggest that translation activities

accompanied by contrastive analyses may indeed aid vocabulary retention. In view of

these results, which provide far more convincing evidence compared to Kllkvists

study aimed at morphosyntax, it may be presumed that translation is particularly

valuable for the teaching of vocabulary, as vocabulary learnt with the use of translation

is more likely to be remembered by students. However, Laufer and Girsais research is

one of the very few studies dealing with the effects of translation as a contrastive form-

focused instruction of vocabulary, and the validity of its results should not be

generalised before they are replicated in future research. Nonetheless, there is no

evidence contradicting their research to date.

7.2.3 Communicative Use of Language and Active Students

One of the arguments against the use of translation listed by Newson (see above)

targeted translation as not allowing the achievement of communicative language use

(64). This is one of the most common objections, and is valid in teaching situations in

which translation is used slavishly, with little or no context, and with overwhelming

emphasis on grammar and vocabulary, just as it was practised in Grammar Translation.

Such a view of translation may also be perceived as a shortcoming of traditional SLA

research, which when dealing with the effects of translationin the few cases it

bothered to survey them at allconcentrated entirely on grammar and vocabulary, as

may be documented by Kllkvists and Laufer and Girsais studies above. Guy Cook

suggests that SLA research did not research all the possibilities of using translation in

language teaching and took monolingual instruction for granted (Translation 91). There

is, however, much more that translation can offer to language learners than an explicit

attention to grammar and accuracy. It is fortunate that recent research has started to

address these issues and translation has come to be reappraised as a multidimensional


It is actually the communicative use of translation, when translation is discussed

before, during or after the act of translation itself, which is eminently valuable for

language learning. According to Kllkvist, translation is a task which involves a

comparison of two languages, and as such is likely to engender languaging

(Languaging 218). The term languaging has been used by various authors in several

disciplines, but here it is used as defined by Swain who sees it as the process of

making meaning and shaping knowledge and experience through language (98). Swain

viewss this concept as occurring during any learning when language is used to mediate

problem solutions but she is particularly concerned with languaging about language

which she views as one of the important strategies leading to learning (96). The effects

of languaging have been examined in various studies, but it is beyond the scope of this

thesis to review the results of all of them.16 Nevertheless, one study dealing with

languaging ought to be mentioned here, as it examines the effects of the use of

translation. Marie Kllkvist explored languaging in the teacher-led discourse when L2

translation was used and compared it to languaging resulting from four other tasks

focusing on grammar. The results showed that translation tasks had the effect of

students asking a larger proportion of student-initiated questions when compared to the

remaining four tasks. This pattern seemed to break the traditional initiation-response-

feedback pattern (IRF), and translation activities thus commonly led to the creation of

discussions about the English language. The other finding of Kllkvists study is that

the translation tasks led to a weaker focus on the target grammar, as students attention

was mainly drawn to vocabulary (Languaging 217-238). The attention to vocabulary

itself does not have to be seen as a serious disadvantage of translation tasks in general.

The grammar of vocabulary is now seen as an important part of language teaching and

may help the students immensely. Translation provides an opportunity to focus on this

in greater detail.

The results of Kllkvists study seem to be in accord with the beliefs of the

students interviewed for the qualitative part of this thesis. The students were enquired

about the most difficult aspects of translation, based on the text they had translated

(Question 8 of the Interview Questionnaire). Five of the eight interviewees maintained

that unknown vocabulary was the most difficult aspect of translation for them. This was

mostly in relation to the source text comprehension. One of the students regarded the

comprehension of the source text as the most difficult aspect of translation. When

translating into L2, vocabulary was again the most difficult aspect for most of the

For an overview of the different effects of languaging on language learning, see Kllkvist,

Languaging 218.

respondents (five). This time the difficulty lay in the finding of a proper equivalent in

the target language. These difficulties with vocabulary could be tackled by improving

students dictionary using skills, as none of the interviewees used any other resource

than the bilingual dictionary. Alternatively, collaborative learning and dialogue could

also provide the students with a richer vocabulary stock than they would have if

translating alone. As a result, the translation process would not be as difficult.

It is interesting that vocabulary was also mentioned by all of the interviewees as

the area of language which could be improved by translating (Question 10 of the

Interview Questionnaire). Only one of the eight students reported that translating could

lead to enhancing her knowledge of grammar.

The results of Kllkvists study may have strong implications for language

pedagogy. It is suggested that other types of form-focused activities are preferable when

the aim of the instruction is the teaching of complex morphosyntax, and that the focus

on grammar when using translation can only be successful when the texts to be

translated do not contain difficult vocabulary (Languaging 230). The other

implication is, and here it becomes interesting, that translation may be particularly

useful when engendering learners activity, as the students are less likely to follow the

traditional IRF sequence during translation tasks. The implication of the study therefore

is that translation may lead to more active students, and as such it is a very useful

activity especially when the focus of the lesson is on communication. Newsons

argument thus does not seem to be valid when translation is used communicatively.

7.2.4 Introverted Learners

Drawing on his own teaching experience, Heltai wrote that:

Many adult learners are reluctant to engage in role-play and other

communicative exercises, while some students fail in such exercises simply

because they do not have the sort of imagination or personality that such

exercises, properly conducted, require. (292)

This is a valid observation and many a teacher would agree with it, offering examples

from their experience with learners. Penelope Sewell discusses this issue and offers

reasons why translation is better suited for certain learners than communicative

activities. She mentions four possible principles inherent in learning in which

translation dominates over communicative approaches: the need for confidence and

self-esteem, the need not to loose face, the need to be rewarded, and the need for

certainty, for closure, for autonomy (153). (a) Sewell maintains that: role-play can

seriously damage our self-image and confidence when we assume roles in which we

may become ashamed; (b) communicative approach to learning exposes students to

face-threatening acts; (c) the results of role-play are not fully dependent on the learner,

are unpredictable, and when successful, they need to be shared; (d) role-play does not

put the learner in charge of their own learning (154-158). Sewells argument is further

extended by considering learning styles and personality traits. She concludes that all the

four aspects are in negative correlation with introversion and that communicative

methods . . . seem to favour risk-taking, extroverted personalities and high levels of

interaction, whereas, translation seems to favour reflection, introverted personality

traits and low levels of interaction (159). Sewells opinions are supported by research

on the effects of personality on speech production which bears out the favouring of

translation by introverted learners only indirectly. Quantitative data as to what activities

learners of different personality traits actually prefer would shed more light on this

issue. However, with the evidence we have at our disposal, it is safe to say that

translation may be beneficial to introverted learners whose acquisition of a new

language is hindered by their personality.

7.2.5 Raising of Cultural Awareness

Translation activities can be designed to raise learners awareness of cultural

differences. The text used in the qualitative part of the thesis can be used as an example.

The students were asked about the differences between Czech and American culture.

Six of the eight interviewees were able to locate the difference in using metrical as

opposed to imperial units in the translation (miles and feet mentioned in the text). None

of them thought about converting them in their translations. Noticing these differences

is great in itself, but teachers could do even more by providing the students with

additional information about cultural differences. Learners may, for instance, be

instructed to convert imperial units into metrical ones based on the translation brief. In

monolingual teaching, on the other hand, such differences may remain unnoticed.


8.1 Mixed-Language Classes

The use of translation in language teaching in mixed-language classes can be regarded

as one of the most serious drawbacks of the approach. Another limitation to the use of

TILT is when the teacher does not speak the language(s) of their students, be it a single-

language or mixed-language class. These problems may not be as serious as they seem

to be at first glance. A substantial part of language teaching all around the world takes

place in a bilingual setting with single-language classes and bilingual teachers. The

limitations of TILT, therefore, apply only in some contexts, and even in these teaching

situations (for example language schools in the UK or USA) TILT may still be

integrated into the lessons. Its use will certainly be limited compared to single-language

classes, however, it does not have to be disqualified completely.

Guy Cook lists several activities suitable for mixed-language classes

(Translation 151). For example, pair and group work may still be practiced in classes in

which there are more speakers of a certain language. Students sharing common own

language may be divided into groups and translate for each other. The problems

encountered during translation may then be discussed with the whole class in order to

share knowledge and compare how they are similar or different from the translation

experience of speakers of other languages.

8.2 Teachers Requirements

Let us now consider the more frequent teaching settingclasses with students sharing a

single language, i.e. students whose own language is the same. What characteristics

should an ideal teacher using TILT have? According to Newmark, a teacher using

translation in language teaching is expected to have the following skills:

1. Be organized and inform the students about the syllabus;

2. Be confident, admit mistakes, teach students more gifted than the teacher thanks

to experience;

3. Have translators skills;

4. Have a good command of pedagogical techniques;

5. Be prepared to experiment with new methods;

6. Listen to students suggestions;

7. Consider translation as a form of linguistic exploration;

8. Have a good command of the two languages. (qtd. in Mehta)

This appears to be a very reasonable list. Some of the points listed by Newmark are

valid for any language teacher in general, not only for those applying a translation

approach to teaching. Particularly points one, two, four and six describe skills any good

teacher should posses. Points three, seven and eight, on the other hand, are more

relevant for the TILT perspective. A closer inspection of them is needed.

Starting from the end, the eighth point prescribes that a teacher has a good

command of the two languages. This is a presupposition for the application of

translation in language teaching. Bilingual teachers coming from universities are

expected to have proficient knowledge of both their native language and the language

they are going to teach. A problem arises with monolingual teachers, the teachers who

are the native speakers of the students new language. The knowledge of students own

language among these native speakers differs widely. Some have no knowledge of it

whatsoever, while others may have a working knowledge which would allow them a

limited use of it in the classroom, yet, an extensive use of the language for contrastive

analysis purposes is beyond their capabilities. Translation is, arguably, not particularly

suitable for these teachers. Even though there are translation activities which may be

done in the classroom taught by a monolingual teacher, their strengths lie elsewhere.

Guy Cook suggests that what is needed is an accommodation between intra-lingual and

cross-lingual teaching . . . supplemented by and inventory of ways in which translation

can be used in mixed language classes and by monolingual teachers (Translation 128).

While such an integration of both approaches seems fruitful, the use of translation

activities per se by monolingual teachers should not be supported. Let them do what

they are good at. The latest statistical data gathered by esk koln inspekce (the Czech

School Inspectorate) reveal that the number of native speaker teachers of foreign

languages is rather small3.1% of elementary schools employing a native speaker of

English (80). Arguably, when a native speaker is available, they should not be wasting

time on activities which can be carried out by bilingual teachers, and the little time

students have for contact with native speakers ought to be used more wisely.

The arguments of the abovementioned paragraph seem to imply that a bilingual

teacher is a better candidate for using TILT than monolingual teachers. The situation is,

however, more complicated. Looking at Newmarks list, points three and seven state

that an ideal teacher should have translators skills and consider translation as a form of

linguistic exploration. There are two main types of teachersthose with university

education from teacher training institutions, and teachers with qualification based on

teacher trainee courses like Cambridge CELTA and DELTA. The former are likely to

come across translation during their teacher training only in translation seminars which

they take in order to improve their translation proficiency. Such courses do not in any

way instruct these teacher trainees in how translation could be used in teaching. The

latter group largely consists of native speakers, but there are notable exceptions.

Nonetheless, these courses very often ignore or frown upon the use of translation for

teaching purposes. It is, therefore, unlikely that most bilingual teachers, regardless of

their education background, will possess translators skills and the knowledge of

methodology for applying TILT. Given the raising interest in TILT in current EFL

literature and the support it has received from teachers in practise, these two

requirements present a serious drawback of the current teacher training syllabus.

Teachers are indeed perfectly capable of experimenting with new approaches and

testing for themselves how they work in their classes. However, they need to learn

about these approaches and trends first. Discussion of translation at teacher conferences,

sharing experience in discussion forums for teachers, and further education of teachers

may help to enlighten language teachers in this respect.

8.3 Learners Requirements

The previous section discussed the skills needed by teachers who subscribe to the use of

TILT. In order to offer a complete picture of the issue, it is necessary to survey the other

side of the barricade, i.e. the learners. Parallel to the teachers requirements above,

Newmark lists the following skills for learners in ELT settings using translation:

1. Sensitivity to language;

2. Ability to write neatly, plainly and nicely;

3. Good knowledge of cultural background;

4. Master the text being translated;

5. Good reading knowledge;

6. Common sense;

7. Discrimination;

8. Speed in working;

9. Think of several things at the same time;

10. Meticulousness. (qtd. in Mehta)

Again, these skills are rather a general account of what is required of any learner, such

as sensitivity to language or common sense. Moreover, some of the skills can be taught

by translation. A certain understanding of culture is needed to successfully translate a

text, however, (re)search skills can be trained for the students to be able to obtain

information about an unknown cultural concept. Mastering the text being translated is

closely connected to good reading knowledge. Both skills are developed through

translation. The same can be said about the speed of translatingit is improved with

practice. The practice of translation thus increases the level of competence and skills

required of the students. Translation may again be viewed as a means and an end of

language teaching.

This, however, does not mean that translation is a uniform activity suitable for

all learners. Just as Guy Cook asserts, . . . the type, quantity, and function of translation

activity must vary with the stage which learners have reached, with their ages, and with

their own preferences, learning styles, and experience (Translation 129).

A long-held, traditional assumption is that translation is not suitable for students

with lower levels of proficiency (Carreres 14). Presently, however, many researchers

accept the usefulness of translation for all levels of proficiency (Carreres 14;

Cunningham; G. Cook; Dagiliene 125; Machida 744). Such translation, however, must

naturally take different forms. Here we shall return to the question of equivalence

adumbrated in the section Defining Translation. For a better orientation of the reader, let

us now reiterate the types of equivalence. They are: equivalence of meaning, pragmatic

equivalence, functional and discoursal equivalence, and cultural equivalence.

Beginners do not know much of the new language by definition, and it is,

therefore, quite impossible for them to concentrate on the more sophisticated levels of

equivalence when translating, when they use up most of their attention for decoding and

encoding of the meaning of the text. Guy Cook argues that beginners attention should

largely be focused on the semantic equivalence in translation activities (Translation 73).

This seems perfectly logical. Once the literal meaning is understood by the students, i.e.

on the way from intermediate to advanced levels, focus can be shifted onto the

discoursal and pragmatic equivalence. This, according to Guy Cook, reflects the

division between translation as a means and an end of learning (Translation 74). When

the focus of translation is to enhance students knowledge of their new language, i.e. in

translation as a means, it is usually best to ensure that the students understand the

meaning before dealing with issues beyond the semantic equivalence. When the aim is a

good translation as a product, i.e. translation as an end in itself, it is usually necessary to

analyse the text much more rigidly than just on the level of semantic equivalence.

Bearing in mind the broad definition of translation in this thesis, which

encompasses own-language use in the classroom, it needs to be said that there should be

a natural twofold tendency in the use of TILT. At the beginning levels, translation will

be more frequently used as a means of ensuring students understanding, as a reference

tool which may be approached as needed by the teacher and the learners. Its particular

advantage will lie in its psycholinguistic value (see Section 7.1.5). As the level of

proficiency of the students develops, this use of translation gradually makes way to the

development of translation skills per se.

The discussion presented in this section implies that the requirements for

translations done by students must clearly be different from requirements for translation

done by professional translators. Not only are these demanding on all levels of

equivalence, but they also include other factors and skills needed to succeed as a

professional translator in the translation industry. MacKenzie mentions, for example,

word processing skills, competence in using the Internet and various translation tools,

touch typing, interpersonal skills, as a great number of translations is nowadays worked

on jointly by several translators, and, not surprisingly, marketing ability (32). Some of

these specialised skills may be developed from an early age (touch typing, word

processing etc.), but in general, they should be reserved for the education of

professional translators or for other classes (marketing abilities can be dealt with in

economics, word processing in IT classes etc.), as they are beyond the capacities of

foreign language teaching.

8.4 The Danger of Overuse

The aim of this thesis is not to advocate a replacement of Direct Method teaching with a

teaching based on translation. That would be a step in the wrong direction which would

in due time probably result in the same rejection, as the grammar-translation method

once did. The real aim is to show the potential benefits of translation integrated into a

largely communicative language teaching setting. The question remains of what

constitutes the optimal amount of translation and own-language use in the classroom.

There is the elusive notion of judicious use which is frequently mentioned by authors

dealing with TILT (Hall and Cook 293; Kllkvist, Languaging 217; Schweers 13),

unfortunately none offers a precise definition or amount which could define this vague


Hall and Cook suggest that there is an absence of clear research findings which

would provide clear guidelines for teachers, and that there are consequently two views

on this issue. The first one is concerned that teachers, having no guidelines, would make

arbitrary decisions in their use of code-switching and translation. The other one justifies

teachers and learners in making such decisions, as they are the ultimate arbiters of what

suits their particular classroom best (293). While the consequences of an arbitrary

approach of teachers towards TILT may understandably be adverse, teachers should

arguably be the ones to make decisions for the teaching of their students. However, the

decisions should be based on a system the teacher creates for their own teaching

situation. The teacher ought to be at all times aware of what they are doing and why

they are doing it. We should not go as far as is suggested by Kerr, who believes that a

policy on the use of translation should be discussed in schools (as well as on the level of

the individual teacher). This would be a step too far considering that there is not enough

empirical evidence. The decision should rest with teachers for the time being, until

sufficient data is available for a larger-scale discussion.


The present thesis aimed at answering multiple questions concerned with the use of

translation in language teaching. Several methods were employed to provide reliable

answers. The thesis offers a theoretical discussion of the issue of translation in language

teaching based on a wide selection of academic literature dealing with the topic.

Furthermore, the methods employed include qualitative and quantitative research in the

forms of the Student Questionnaire, which was administered at seven secondary schools

in the Czech Republic, and interviews with eight students based on the Interview


The theoretical discussion focused on the history of the use of translation in

language teaching and the development of the vilification of own-language use and

TILT which resulted in a global preference for monolingual language instruction. The

data gathered from the Student Questionnaire revealed that the monolingual principle

does not seem to hold sway at secondary schools in the Czech Republic. Even though

the research maps the situation in thirteen different classrooms and as such its results

cannot represent the secondary schools in the Czech Republic as a whole, the

geographical and typological variety of the schools represented ensures at least a partial

generalisability of the results.

The thesis also discussed the most frequent arguments against the use of

translation in language teaching and presented relevant counterarguments in favour of

TILT. Translation was viewed as a holistic activity through which all four skills of

language learning could be developed. It was also regarded as the fifth skill, and

justified as an end of language learning in itself. This justification was based on

theoretical evidence as well as on the beliefs of the respondents of both the quantitative

and qualitative research. The vast majority of the students believed that they would need

to translate at least from time to time in their lives. Translation was thus confirmed as a

purposeful and useful activity which can positively stimulate students motivation to

learn a foreign language.

The research also revealed how students proceeded when translating and what

resources they used. In most cases, the students showed a preference to consult bilingual

dictionaries as opposed to monolingual ones. The results further suggested that Czech

secondary school students did not make extensive use of other resources available to

them, including collocation dictionaries, corpora and thesauri. On the other hand, most

of the students tended to use Google Translate, either for the translation of whole

sentences, or as a dictionary.

Other notable research findings revealed that the students interviewed for the

qualitative part of the research did not distinguish between L1 and L2 translation.

Translation directionality, therefore, did not seem to play a role. A striking revelation

was that none of the eight students interviewed read their translations after finishing

them to check for mistakes, typos etc.

In regard to resources, the findings of the quantitative and qualitative research

can be summarised by concluding that the students at the secondary schools in the

Czech Republic do not avail themselves of all the resources they have at their disposal

when translating. They are not aware of the merits and limitations of the individual

resources and of the specific traits of the translation process. This lack of awareness

may deprive them of valuable opportunities for an improvement of their skillsboth

linguistic and translational. One recommendation emerging from this research is that

teachers ought to devote some time not only to including translation activities into their

classes, as they can be highly beneficial to their learners, but also to the raising of

students attention in relation to the resources available and the translation process

itself. It should be also borne in mind that translation is not a suitable activity for all

learners and learning contexts. It is only one of the tools in the teachers toolbox which

can be used depending on the needs of a particular class. Nevertheless, in the light of

the evidence presented in this thesis, it would be highly desirable to re-introduce

translation activities into the language classroom, since translation is, to lend Guy

Cooks words, not only the fifth skill of language learning, but also a dimension of

every skill, as it can be used to enhance and practice the learning of any of the four

traditional skills (An Interview).


Peklad v hodinch anglitiny na stednch kolch v esk republice

Vyplte prosm nsledujc dotaznk, kter obsahuje celkem 16 otzek.

Typ koly (nap. gymnzium):


1. Jakou uebnici anglitiny ve kole pouvte?

2. Je v tto uebnici nco psno esky? Vyberte jednu nebo vce monost:

a) Seznam slovek na konci lekce nebo na konci knihy

b) Cvien na peklad
c) Vysvtlen gramatiky
d) Zadn cvien, kol
e) Nic
f) Jin (uvete, co pesn je v uebnici esky)

3. N uitel/uitelka v hodinch anglitiny pouv etinu.

nikdy obas asto

4. N uitel/uitelka v hodinch anglitiny pouv etinu, ale jen pro

administrativn zleitosti (napklad dochzka, zadn kolu atp.)

nikdy obas asto

5. Ve kole pekldm vty nebo je pekldm za domc kol.

nikdy obas asto

6. Kdy tu njak text v anglitin nebo kdy poslouchm anglickou nahrvku,

pekldm si v duchu do etiny.

nikdy obas asto

7. Myslm, e ve svm budoucm ivot (mimo kolu, nap. v zamstnn) budu

muset pekldat.

nikdy obas asto

8. Kdy nco pekldm, pouvm dvojjazyn slovnky (nap. esko-anglick).

nikdy obas asto

9. Kdy nco pekldm, pouvm jednojazyn slovnky (vkladov).

nikdy obas asto

10. Kdy nco pekldm, pouvm Google Translate.

nikdy obas asto

11. Kdy neznm njak slovko, vyhledm ho tak, e jej zadm do Google

nikdy obas asto

12. Kdy nco pekldm, pouvm jazykov korpus.

nikdy obas asto

13. Kdy chci zjistit, jak se njak anglick slovo pouv, vyhledm je v Googlu a
podvm se, jak se pouv ve vtch.

nikdy obas asto

14. Pouvm slovnky kolokac.

nikdy obas asto

15. Kdy potebuji najt synonymum njakho slova, abych jej znovu neopakoval(a)
kvli zachovn dobrho stylu, pouiji tezaurus.

nikdy obas asto

16. Kdy ve kole nco pekldm, pracuji ve skupinkch nebo ve dvojicch se

svmi spoluky (tj. nepekldm samostatn).
nikdy obas asto


Stedn kola podnikn a obchodu Prostjov

SO a SOU Andr Citrona Boskovice

VO a SP umperk

SO a SOU Kolrova Lankroun

Gymnzium Boskovice

Gymnzium ternberk

Gymnzium Praha Vodradsk


Pette si tuto synopsi filmu 127 hodin a pot ji pelote do etiny. Pedstavte si

napklad, e dan film jet nen v eskch kinech a chtli byste obsah filmu peloit

pro kamarda, kter neum anglicky. Po dokonen pekladu prosm zodpovzte nkolik


Official synopsis of the film 127 Hours:

127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralstons remarkable adventure to

save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated

canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the

elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself

by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he is

finally rescued. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family, and the

two hikers he met before his accident. Will they be the last two people he ever had the

chance to meet?

V peklad:

1. Slyeli jste nkdy o filmu 127 hodin?

2. Po peten nzvu lnku, zamysleli jste se nad tm, jak informace me obsahovat?

3. Peetli jste si cel text ped tm, ne jste zaali pekldat?

4. Kter z nsledujcch zdroj jste pi pekladu synopse filmu pouili?

a) slovnk aj-j
b) vkladov slovnk (jednojazyn)
c) vyhledvn v Googlu nebo jinm vyhledavai
d) peklad pomoc sluby Google Translate
e) jin (uvete konkrtn):

5. Jak jsou v tomto textu rozdly mezi eskm a americkm prostedm?

6. Kdy se podvte na oba texty, jak se li struktura anglickch a eskch vt?

7. Dodrel(a) jste pesn strukturu anglickch vt ve vtch eskch?

8. Co vm pi pekladu textu dlalo nejvt pote. Jak st textu byla nejobtnj a


9. Kdybyste mli monost danou pas srovnat s peklady vaich spoluk a diskutovat o
nich, pomohlo by vm to ke zlepen anglitiny?

10. Myslte si, e by vm zaazen rznch pekladovch cvien (jako je toto nebo
napklad peklad e-mailu od znmho atd.) do hodin anglitiny pomohlo zlepit vae
jazykov schopnosti? Pokud ano, jak?

11. Kdyby podobn cvien byla soust hodin anglitiny, byli byste schopni lpe
pekldat, kdybyste to ve svm budoucm ivot i povoln potebovali?


Pette si tento krtk odstavec informujc nvtvnky zmku Buovice o jeho

historii. lnek je pevzat z oficilnch internetovch strnek zmku. lnek po peten

pelote do anglitiny. Pedstavte si napklad, e Vs pijeli navtvit ptel ze

zahrani, kte neum esky, a na zmek by se rdi vypravili, ale nic o nm nevd.

Zmek Buovice

Sttn zmek Buovice byl postaven v letech 15671585 Janem emberou

ernohorskm z Boskovic a je uniktn stavbou italsk renesance na sever od Alp. Na

rozdl od vtiny naich renesannch zmk se nejedn o renesann pestavbu starho

sdla, ale o realizaci originlnho projektu italsk pozdn renesann stavby typu

palazzo in fortezza. Rovn umstn v dol je pro tehdej dobu neobvykl.

Projektoval jej Jacopo Strada, vzdlan znalec umn, historik a architekt, kter byl

sprvcem umleckch sbrek t Habsburskch csa - Ferdinanda I., Maxmilina II. a

Rudolfa II.

V peklad:

1 Po peten nzvu lnku, zamysleli jste se nad tm, jak informace me

2 Peetli jste si cel text ped tm, ne jste zaali pekldat?

3 Kter z nsledujcch zdroj jste pi pekladu lnku pouili?

a) slovnk aj-j
b) vkladov slovnk (jednojazyn)
c) vyhledvn v Googlu nebo jinm vyhledavai
d) peklad pomoc sluby Google Translate
e) jin (uvete konkrtn):

4 Kdy se podvte na oba texty, jak se li struktura anglickch a eskch vt?

5 Dodrel(a) jste pesn strukturu anglickch vt ve vtch eskch?

6 Co vm pi pekladu textu dlalo nejvt pote. Jak st textu byla

nejobtnj a pro?

7 Kdybyste mli monost danou pas srovnat s peklady vaich spoluk a

diskutovat o nich, pomohlo by vm to ke zlepen anglitiny?

8 Myslte si, e by vm zaazen rznch pekladovch cvien (jako je toto nebo

napklad peklad e-mailu od znmho atd.) do hodin anglitiny pomohlo zlepit
vae jazykov schopnosti?

9 Kdyby podobn cvien byla soust hodin anglitiny, byli byste schopni lpe
pekldat, kdybyste to ve svm budoucm ivot i povoln potebovali?

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Tato diplomov prce se zabv uitm pekladu ve vuce anglickho jazyka a jeho

statusem. Prce erp z poznatk teoretickho i empirickho vzkumu v oblastech

osvojovn druhho jazyka, jazykov pedagogiky a translatologie. Soust tto

diplomov prce je kvantitativn i kvalitativn vzkum, jen byl proveden na sedmi

stednch kolch v esk republice. Vsledky tohoto vzkumu obohacuj teoretickou

analzu problematiky pekladu o perspektivu eskch stednch kol. Tato diplomov

prce si klade nkolik hlavnch cl. V prv ad obhajuje peklad jako prostedek i cl

jazykovho vzdlvn. Dle si klade za cl zmapovat historick vvoj pozice pekladu

ve vuce jazyka. Prce pedkld historick souvislosti provzejc uit pekladu ve

vuce jazyka. Historick pehled je zahjen prvopotky jazykovho vzdlvn, kdy

byl peklad uvn pro vuku klasickch jazyk. Nstupcem klasickch pstup

k vuce jazyka a tak hlavnm terem kritiky pekladu se stala gramaticko-pekladov

metoda, je zaala bt stigmatizovna s pchodem pm metody Direct Method okolo

roku 1900 a metod zamench na vznam, kter vznikly v sedmdestch letech

dvactho stolet. st prce zabvajc se touto problematikou je zakonena popisem

souasnho stavu, kter je charakterizovn obnovenm zjmu o uit pekladu ve vuce

jazyka. Prce se dle pokou zjistit, do jak mry monolingvn doktrny ovlivnily

uitele psobc na stednch kolch v esk republice. Prce rovn pin cenn

poznatky o pstupu k k uit pekladu ve vuce. Dle prce pedkld nejastj

argumenty pro i proti uit pekladu ve vuce jazyka. V neposledn ad tato diplomov

prce poodkrv samotn proces pekladu a sousted se na to, jak k nmu ve

skutenosti pistupuj studenti stednch kol v esk republice. Zvltn draz je kladen

na problematiku zdroj a nstroj, kter studenti pi pekladu vyuvaj.


The present thesis deals with the use and status of translation in English language

teaching. The discussion draws on theoretical and empirical research in the fields of

Second Language Acquisition, language pedagogy and Translation Studies. The thesis

includes quantitative and qualitative research conducted at seven secondary schools in

the Czech Republic; the results of this research accompany the theoretical discussion of

the issue in question from the Czech secondary school perspective. The thesis has

several main aims. Firstly, it aspires to defend translation as both a means and an end of

language teaching. Secondly, it strives to map the historical development of the position

of translation in language teaching. A survey of the historical background of the use of

translation in language teaching is provided, with the early periods in which translation

was used for the teaching of classical languages taken as the starting point of the

discussion. Later, the grammar-translation method is described as the successor to these

classical approaches and as the main reason for the vilification of translation, which

came to be stigmatised with the emergence of the Direct Method around 1900 and of the

meaning-focused approaches in the 1970s. The section is concluded by a description of

the current situation, which is marked by a renewed interest in the use of translation for

teaching purposes. Furthermore, the extent to which the monolingual doctrines have

influenced Czech secondary school teachers is examined. The thesis also aims to

provide valuable insights into attitudes of learners towards the use of translation in the

classroom. Secondly, the thesis presents the most frequent arguments against the use of

translation in language teaching as well as relevant counterarguments in its favour.

Finally, the present thesis sheds light on the actual practice of translation as done by

secondary school students. It particularly surveys which resources the students avail

themselves of when translating.