University of Leicester
2016loswphd.pdf (6.44 MB)

Using Translation in L2 Classrooms: An Empirical Study on Non-language Major Students’ Engagement in Class Discussions and Improvement in Language Usage

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posted on 2017-01-09, 16:06 authored by Sio Wai Lo
As interest has grown in recent years in the relationship between translation and language learning, a rising number of studies have begun to examine the pedagogical value of translation and explore the best ways to use translation in L2 classrooms. Some doubts have been raised about this practice, but few empirical studies have been undertaken. This study compares how L2 learners react to particular translation tasks and to monolingual tasks and specifically investigates the outcomes of using translation tasks to (1) engender language-related discussions in class and (2) foster improvement in students’ written language in grammar and lexis, as compared to corresponding monolingual tasks. The study also examines non-language major L2 learners’ perspectives on the use of the two different types of tasks in L2 classrooms. The study is longitudinal. It includes two Experiments. In Experiment I, half of the participants worked on translation tasks and the other half were exposed to monolingual writing tasks that resemble the translation tasks in terms of topic. In Experiment II, the two groups swapped roles and worked on the other type of tasks. In this way, both groups experienced the two different types of tasks. Data were collected over two semesters and from multiple sources, including class-discussion transcripts, completed translation and writing drafts and revisions and questionnaires. The findings reveal that those who worked on translation tasks (1) showed a higher level of engagement in L2 class discussions, (2) made more lexical and grammatical improvements in their writing, and (3) had more positive views on the use of translation in L2 classrooms.



Malmkjaer, Kirsten; Ying, Yan

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Modern Languages

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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