To Translate or not to Translate: The Value of Re-introducing Translation Exercises in the Secondary School Curriculum for Second Language Acquisition
Sjoerd Lindenburg
(Leiden University)
Friday (April 21st), 14:15-15:15 (Poster presentation round)
'Café Noord' (
Matthias de Vrieshof coffee room)

This thesis investigates the ongoing debate about the role of translation in second language learning. In the past, scholars and teachers alike assumed that translation caused interference and therefore halted a learner’s progress in learning a second or foreign language. More recent research, however, has attempted to counter common conceptions regarding translation’s ineffectiveness as a language-learning and language-teaching tool. My thesis provides an overview of past and current language acquisition theories and teaching methods, and explains why most of these theories and methods are considered to be flawed. The recently developed task-based teaching method aims to address these flaws, and calls for task-based language exercises, including task-based translation exercises. In a pilot study I investigated the value of task-based translation exercises when Dutch secondary school students are learning grammatical aspect (i.e. the present perfect) in English. Overall, the study showed that using task-based translation exercises enhances the use and understanding of grammatical aspect (i.e. the present perfect), although there appeared to be a discrepancy between HAVO and VWO participants.