Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2352-1805
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1813
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The aim of this study was to determine to what extent translation may be an effective pedagogical tool for use by UK GCSE language students. It is offered as a contribution to the ongoing debate regarding the use of pedagogical translation. In March 2015, 41 students preparing for their GCSE Spanish exams were presented with a variety of translation-based activities, including a discussion about professional translation, a mistranslations exercise and a group translation task. The research design combined both translation as a means (explicative and process-oriented) and translation as an end (communicative and product-oriented), and was based upon a realistic, student-centred, socio-constructivist pedagogical foundation. Qualitative data, and a small amount of quantitative data, were collected via a post-session questionnaire and semi-structured group interview, through which students were asked about their experience of the translation sessions in order to answer the following questions: (1) According to students, does translation have a place in UK secondary school foreign language education? (2) If it does, what do students feel are its main benefits? (3) What form should translation activities take, according to students?

Students felt that translation could add to their language classes in a variety of ways, including building their confidence, making their language learning more engaging, giving their learning a more ‘real-world’, practical focus and increasing their general language competency. They also felt that it was best delivered in the form of task-based group work. Students’ responses to the translation sessions were overwhelmingly positive, providing compelling support for further use of both explicative and communicative translation tasks in UK secondary school language education.


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