Translation is back! As translation makes a come-back at GCSE and consolidates its status at A Level, there is a growing need to start developing an understanding of translation techniques with younger learners.
At KS3, translation exercises ensure that grammar and vocabulary are taught explicitly and demand a focus on accuracy. Translation can also be presented as a ‘real life’ activity that would be used when travelling to the target language country or as a future career. At this stage, it is also particularly important to embed translation in good classroom practice such as consistent use of the target language in class.
At KS4, developing translation skills is essential to prepare for the new GCSE specifications. Providing a focus on sentence structure and accuracy, translation will also benefit students’ speaking and writing. Using a wide range of text types – ranging from short stories to jokes in the target language – will also help to inject creativity into translation tasks.
Finally, at A Level, translation activities consolidate the assimilation of target language syntax, as students construct and deconstruct the texts. Translation also encourages reflection on idiomatic structures and style in both English and the target language.
Traditionally considered a challenging activity for our most able linguists, it is high time we made translation more accessible to less able and younger language learners. This could be done by breaking tasks down into word, sentence and text level activities, linked with speaking as well as writing. In this way, translation will enable us to help all language learners build up their vocabulary and improve their command of key idiomatic structures.
Here are five examples from this resource:
You can see all 20 teaching ideas in the resource below.