Rebranding Translation

Part of the Language Policy book series (LAPO, volume 23)


Immersion ideologies long tried to banish L1 from additional-language teaching, and translation with it. Translation is now returning to the language classroom, however, bolstered by new ideas of what it can be and just a few empirical studies of what learning outcomes it can contribute to.

This chapter looks back on the history of translation in additional-language teaching, with particular attention to the social contexts involved, the dominant ideologies of language learning, and the various types of translation used. The basic claim is that the exclusion of translation relied on the assumption of a monolingual community, and that this assumption necessarily relegated translation to a post-hoc checking activity. On the other hand, when the community is assumed to be multilingual, translation assumes a more central role as a set of socially useful skills and its conceptualization broadens into a range of dynamic communicative activities. This second frame is then further reinforced by the availability of online translation technologies, widely used but rarely taught.

A second aspect of this history is the way in which ideologies have operated in the absence of controlled empirical research. A few new empirical results nevertheless indicate that communicative translation activities correlate with some improved learning outcomes. They might provide an occasion to improve on the past.


Translation Additional-language teaching Immersion Online translation technologies Communicative translation Learning outcomes 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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