Will language translation find a place again in language teaching?
Over the past 50 years or so, language translation has been pushed aside as a language-learning method. This could change.
For many years, before the time when there was a cassette player in every classroom, translation played a key role in language teaching.
But it fell out of favor in a big way. For example, English teaching methods over the past 50 years or so have featured various forms of "communicative learning" or "direct learning," where students discover the language in classrooms where only English is spoken.
Of course, in international classes, this approach is necessary.
But in classes where all of the students share the same native language, translation has also been eschewed –but some language teaching experts are now arguing against the "no-translation" approach.
On a YouTube video broadcast on an Oxford University Press channel, Guy Cook, author of the book Translation in Language Teaching, explains that there is a current movement back to bilingual teaching – when it is possible.
Cook considers using translation as a way to recognize and adapt to learners' cultural and linguistic identities.
In addition, as he explains in an article on the OUP English Language Teaching blog, "Translation is also [a] useful skill in itself. And not just for professional translators and interpreters. In multilingual societies and a globalised world, translation is all around us as an authentic act of communication."
Of course, when studying to become a professional translator, it is crucial to have extensive practice and training in the field.
But how do you feel about translation exercises as a way to learn a language for personal or business purposes?