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TRANSLATION IN TEACHING OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES





Translating as a means of teaching foreign languages has no independent value of its own for it is impossible to teach all aspects of a language in their complexity by means of translation only. Neverthe­less translation in foreign language teaching (and learning) can not and should not be ignored altogether since in many a case it remains


 




not only the most effective but also the only possible teaching means in achieving the necessary aim. That is why translation is often resorted to in the process of teaching and presenting some important aspects of a foreign language.

Translation in teaching is employed by the teacher both at the initial, at the intermediary and at the advanced stage of learning/ teaching foreign languages. But irrespective of the level at which the foreign language is studied or taught, translation is both helpful and indispensable in the following cases:

1. When introducing even simple abstract lexemes or notions, which can not easily be explained in a descriptive way or by actions (gestures): think, hate, love, actual, invincible, generally, peace, turn, friendship, image, dream, consider, feeling, firstly, immensely, at last, gray, immense, strongly, beautifully, haggis, lordship, ladyship, etc.

2. In order to save time and avoid diverting the attention of students by lengthy explications of the meaning of words, various, word-combinations or sentences in the process of reading or listening to an unfamiliar passage.

 

3. When checking up the comprehension of the lexical material (new words, expressions) and in order to avoid the unnecessary ambiguity which may arise in the process of teaching through «pic­tures», since a picture of a tree, for example, may be understood as «a tree» or as a kind of tree (oak-tree, birch-tree, pine-tree, etc.).

4. While introducing at the lesson (usually at the initial stage of teaching/learning) the new grammar/phonetical material, especially the phenomena which do not exist in the native tongue (e.g. the continuous or the perfect forms of the verb, different passive constructions, infinitival, gerundial, and participal constructions (secon­dary predication complexes).



5. When revising the lexical or grammar material studied at the lesson/at previous lessons or answering questions like: 'What is the Ukrainian for the «gerund», sequence of tenses, the «progressive/ perfect form» of the verb?' etc.

6. While discriminating the meaning of synonyms or antonyms of the foreign language, for example: explain the difference between greatand large, smalland tiny, tall and high, cleverand unwise, etc.

7. When checking up the knowledge of students in written and oral tests on lexical or grammar material.

8. When introducing idiomatic expressions which is mostly im­possible to teach and learn otherwise than on the basis of translating


(cf. Hobson's choice, to play hooky, look before you leap; when at Rome, do as the Romans do; the game is worth the candle, etc.).

9. Before learning any text by heart (poems, excerpts of prose
or the roles of characters in plays).

10. When dealing with characteristic national figures of speech
(metaphors, epithets, similes, hyperboles, etc.) in the process of read­
ing or translating the belles-lettres passages even at the advanced
stage of studying a foreign language.

11. When comparing the expressive means in the system of
the source language to those in the target language, etc.

Translation helps the student to master the expressive means in the source and in the target language. In the process of translating the student establishes sets of equivalent substitutes in the target language for the correspondent lexical, grammatical or stylistic phe­nomena of the source language. No wonder that the student at any stage of learning a foreign language, when not understanding some word, word-combination or sentence always resorts to intuitive trans­lating it into his native language.

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