Vertalen in onderwijs en beroep
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Translation usually is a solitary activity, but it is often taught in the classroom and not as a skill (or art) leading to a goal, a text in a target language, but as a means of helping language learners to increase their awareness of the subtleties and intricacies of a foreign language. Unfortunately, teachers are rarely sufficiently equipped to anticipate all the variants which students may come up with in a classroom situation. It may difficult to convince students that certain options are wrong, and others acceptable only in a certain context. When the translation training does not take place in the classroom, but rather in a written form, on the basis of a large number of translations sent in by students, the teacher/author can select all variants in the quiet of his study, and argue his choice carefully and with an eye for details. An added advantage is that the teacher/author will be able to distinguish between very common mistakes, between variants which occur very often, and those that are very rare. For more than a century, the Dutch magazine De Talen [the languages] has offered students (in the broadest sense of the word) the opportunity to increase their language proficiency through carefully discussed translations. Five times a year, students are offered texts in French, German, Spanish and English for translation into Dutch, and five times Dutch texts must be translated into these foreign languages. Subscribers to the magazine can send in their attempts at a translation, using a pseudonym. These translations are corrected and used as the basis for a thorough discussion of all possible variants. It does not concern a correspondence course, although the submitted translations are graded, and these grades are published under the pseudonym. It is assumed that the mother tongue of the subscribers is Dutch, although quite a number of people whose native language is not Dutch use the magazine to improve their command of Dutch. This article, by the editor of the English part of the magazine, describes in some detail the history and setup of De Talen.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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