Translation in Language Teaching: A Review of Guy Cook's Book
Translation is a controversial topic in the field of language teaching. Some argue that it is an outdated and ineffective method that hinders learners' communicative competence and intercultural awareness. Others claim that it is a valuable and natural strategy that enhances learners' linguistic and cognitive skills and respects their linguistic and cultural identities.
In his book Translation in Language Teaching, Guy Cook challenges the prevailing negative views on translation and proposes a new role for translation in language pedagogy. He provides a comprehensive overview of the historical, theoretical, and practical arguments for and against translation in different teaching contexts. He also suggests ways of incorporating translation into materials, curriculum development, and teacher education.
The book consists of eight chapters. The first chapter examines the reasons for the rejection of translation in language teaching since the late 19th century. Cook traces the influence of the Reform Movement, the Direct Method, the Audio-Lingual Method, and the Communicative Approach on the marginalization of translation. He also criticizes the commercial and political interests that promote monolingualism and native speaker emulation as the ideal goals of language learning.
The second chapter reviews the main developments in applied linguistics, second language acquisition, and language teaching methodology that have ignored or opposed translation. Cook argues that these fields have been dominated by a focus on meaning rather than form, a preference for spoken over written language, and a disregard for contrastive analysis and cross-linguistic influence.
The third chapter explores the positive effects of translation on language learning. Cook cites evidence from various sources, such as psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, bilingualism, learner strategies, learner errors, and learner feedback, to show that translation is a natural and beneficial process that facilitates comprehension, production, memorization, and transfer of linguistic knowledge.
The fourth chapter discusses the ethical and educational implications of translation in language teaching. Cook contends that translation can promote learners' rights, needs, and empowerment by acknowledging their existing linguistic and cultural resources and by enabling them to express themselves in multiple ways. He also claims that translation can foster learners' intercultural competence by exposing them to different perspectives and values.
The fifth chapter presents a typology of translation activities for language teaching. Cook distinguishes between four types of translation: explanation (using translation to clarify meaning or form), practice (using translation to reinforce or test linguistic knowledge), comparison (using translation to analyze similarities and differences between languages or cultures), and creation (using translation to produce original or artistic texts). He provides examples of each type from various sources, such as textbooks, websites, blogs, poems, songs, films, and advertisements.
The sixth chapter addresses some practical issues related to the implementation of translation in language teaching. Cook considers factors such as the level of difficulty, the direction of translation, the mode of delivery, the degree of accuracy, the type of feedback, and the role of technology. He offers some guidelines and suggestions for designing effective and engaging translation tasks.
The seventh chapter explores the potential of translation for curriculum development and teacher education. Cook argues that translation can be integrated into various aspects of language teaching programs, such as syllabus design, assessment methods, materials selection, teacher training, and teacher development. He provides some examples of how translation can be used to achieve different objectives and outcomes.
The eighth chapter concludes the book by summarizing the main points and highlighting the contribution of translation to language teaching. Cook also acknowledges some limitations and challenges of his approach and calls for further research and experimentation on translation in language pedagogy.
Translation in Language Teaching is a groundbreaking book that challenges the long-standing prejudice against translation in language teaching. It is a well-written, well-researched, well-argued book that offers a fresh perspective on translation as a valuable and versatile tool for language learning. It is a must-read for anyone interested in language teaching theory and practice. aa16f39245