A new pair of glasses

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Ever since 1989, students in some secondary schools in Israel have had the option of participating in the two-year Translation Skills Program, focused on written translation from English (L2) into Hebrew (L1), with particular emphasis on developing their meta-linguistic awareness while enriching their command of the two languages. Classes are taught by English teachers, who are first required to participate in a two-semester (112-hour) teacher training course focusing on translation skills, methods of teaching translation and the meta-linguistic insights one may glean from the process of translation. Throughout both courses – the one administered to the teachers and the one they then teach to the secondary school students – the point is made that the course is neither a foreign language (English) class, as such, nor a program for training full-fledged translators. Rather, it is a self-contained module aimed at enhancing students’ grasp of inter-linguistic similarities and differences and exploring relations between language and culture. The paper reports on a study of the direct and indirect effects of the program on fourteen novices’ development of meta-­linguistic awareness. The study is based on both qualitative and quantitative data, including questionnaires, interviews and test results collected over the year during which the program was administered, and points out the advantages of introducing the translation skills program as an elective enrichment course at secondary school level and to its potential contribution to language-related skills in general.


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