and Foreign Language Teaching
Said Shiyab* and Mohammad Abdullateef**
* Associate Professor, and ** Assistant Professor, Dept. of European Languages and Translation, College of Languages & Translation, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
(Received AH. 30/12/1420; accepted AH. 22/1/1421)
Abstract: This paper starts with the assumption that translation, when applied adequately and effectively, can be used as a means of language learning and language teaching. Despite the controversy of the adequacy or inadequacy of using translation in the teaching of a foreign language, this paper argues that analytical and descriptive studies along with teachers' observations have revealed valuable additional information about the validity of using translation as a tool for language learning and/or language teaching. Therefore, those who believe that translation has a minimal role to play in the teaching of a foreign language are invited to think again of its role and contributions it makes to the fields oflanguage learning.
Over the last decennia, many linguists and translation theorists argue that translation is a form of comparative linguistics [1- 4]. Since linguistics studies language contrastively and comparatively, i.e., focusing on the differences between one language and another, especially in a language teaching context, or identifying common characteristics of different languages, it is reasonable, then, to say that translation can be utilized as a method of comparing and contrasting between two languages [5- 6].
Furthermore, translation is transferring the meaning of a text from one language to another, and such transference has to account for the textual, grammatical and pragmatic meanings of the tex! to be translated, taking into account that meaning necessitates reference to linguistic and non-linguistic factors embedded within the text. The non-linguistic aspects of the text include thought, situation, (cultural) knowledge, intention, and use. Any successfultranslation has to be based on the analysis of all these aspects of meaning within texts. Therefore, translation should yield useful information as it brings up the similarities and differences between one language and another. It is in this particular way that tran~tation facilitates and speeds up the learner's comprehension . -._~ 1
Said Shiyab and Mohammad Abdullateef
process. The role translation plays in foreign language leaming and language teaching will be investigated later. However, in order to envisage translation and translators, one has to examine the way this profession and those who practice it are viewed within the Arab and Westem worlds. Status of Translation This section focuses on the present situation of translation and translators. It attempts to examine the way translation and translators are perceived within the Arab world, compared with translation and translators in western countries. This section highlights the problems that both translation and translators face in their academic profession, and the role they play within cross cultural communication. Although translation has suffered from lack of characterization and delimitation for the last twenty years, it is placed as one of the important professions ever practiced. One may note that translation played its different traditional roles within the Arabic language and culture. It also enriches the most vital dimension and that is being the link and mediator not only between different cultures, but also in terms of everyday business, educational programs, and technology and science. The problem, however, remains to be that translation is looked upon as an amalgamation of different and sometimes unrelated subjects. And for translators, they are divided among themselves and in a state of flux, as to what should be done towards the role translation should play in