Document Type: Original Article

Author

Department of English Language, Shahryar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shahryar, Iran

Abstract

The study was intended to provide a description of the attitudes of English-major students towards the teaching methods in translation courses to find out more about the quality and relevance of such methods to students’ needs, concerning the necessary educational resources provided in the methods of teaching. Accordingly, a multi-item Likert-scale questionnaire containing 32 items was developed based on the principles applied in the traditional, complex and modern methods of teaching translation in order to collect the required data for the study. Cronbach’s alpha was administered for estimating the reliability of the items which was .939. Besides, experts’ judgments and item analysis were used for the coverage and relevance of content and construct validity. To collect thedata, 100 questionnaires were distributed among participants to obtain their responses for each item. The responses to the items were stored as numbers. Moreover, the frequency tables were then extracted via descriptive statistics of SPSS software to generate the summary of the participants’ responses to the items, based on which the final data analysis and reports were provided. The results showed that although all the methods were common, the modern methods were the superior to the other methods and emphasized the necessity for further incorporation of teaching principles for assuring the quality and relevance. The results of the study would be helpful for students and instructors in translation studies by enabling them to find out how the features of teaching methods might lead the students with various attitudes in learning how to translate.

Keywords

1. Introduction

Concerning the ever changing needs of higher education, the increasing demand for the adaptation of educational curriculum to the novel needs and the related evaluation processes, various courses and methodologies applied in different programs of study come into attention (Tiropanis, Davis, Millard, Weal, White, & Wills, 2009).

Currently, one of the academic courses of study which has a crucial role equipping the learners with the ability to translate and reaching other academic resources for their studies is the Translation Courses (TCs) provided for the English-major students. Accordingly, by limiting the focus of the present study to the teaching methods applied in TCs, it was possible to investigate more about the effectiveness of higher education since the methods were quite influential in shaping competitiveness among curriculum designers, instructors and learners concerning the quality and relevance of the teaching methods according to the learners’ attitudes.

Although translation has gradually become one of the dominant factors in English language teaching, but there have been limited number of studies which have given attention to the teaching methods applied in the field. Generally, the specific courses focusing on translation have not been much concerned with the debates and issues emerging in recent years in the field of language teaching (Dudley-Evans & St. John, 1998). Even the published reports in specific fields of language learning were limited and organized for specific objectives, although the exceptions such as the study of interlanguage use in relation to discourse domains existed (Selinker & Douglas, 1985). Considering other methods, Gerding-Salas (2000) proposed a cooperative translation work procedure for training the translators at undergraduate levels in which, the instructors act a facilitator in learning and students accomplished in the translation task via collective and individual practices. Through studying translation within functional perspective, Holmes (1988) proposed framework for translation studies in an attempt to develop the map for the field via focusing on what was referred to as the missing link of Holmes’ map of translation studies. The gap was regarded as training in translation which could be the evolution of translation studies (Munday, 2001) and a basis for other works like Holmes’ map of translation studies.

2. Literature Review

Besides all the efforts carried out in recognizing the resources for translation training and the consequent effects in teaching methodologies, it is valuable to refer to the present age of digital technology which brings fundamental changes to translation studies, through which the activities involved in translation training have been changed dramatically. The changes are shaped via the students’ access to different resources of science provided via the internet infrastructures (Cronin, 2012). Incorporating the high-tech resources in the teaching learning process, modern didactics significantly compensates the lack of materials for trainers and trainees in translation. Even so, the ever increasing interest on electronic resources in translation studies led the instructors to benefit the advantages of large multifunctional and free available databases found in a simple survey on the web.

The use of such resources in the professional sphere and corpora application for learning to translate are now getting more and more common in the academic curriculum of higher education institutions (Beeby, Rodríguez-Inés, & Sánchez-Gijón, 2009; Corpas Pastor, 2008; Gallego Hernándes, 2012). It is important to consider the barriers of using online resources in the process of developing translation proficiency via applying different methods of teaching since they are very different from one another. In order to provide answers to the queries like “can translation be taught? If so, can it be taught through precepts, rules, and principles? Or can it only be taught through doing it and getting feedback?” (Robinson, 2012, p. 87), the authors of corpus-informed didactic resources provide the opportunities to make the teaching-learning process active and natural. In this view, due to the importance of the E-learning resources in the current perspectives of teaching methodologies, it is noteworthy to consider the resources as one of the determining factors for both language and translation learning.

What has been shown by the experienced instructors of languages was to put emphasis on the role of translation abilities in developing languages among the learners. The evidence to the issue is the use of Grammar-Translation Method (GTM) which dominated language learning for a long time. Another issue intertwined with the importance of TCs is the teaching methods used by instructors to teach translation to learners. Therefore, due to the essential role of TCs in educational contexts, it was valuable to examine the current classification of teaching methods TCs proposed by Alekseeva (2000). The classification composed of traditional, complex and modern methods in teaching translation. According to Alekseeva (2010), the criteria for providing such a classification is mainly rooted in the spatial and temporal practices of translation occurred within academic educational context in the last four decades. The fact led translation studies to be considered as an interdisciplinary field of study covering first and second languages acquisition perspectives and methodologies.   

The traditional methods consisted of four sub-categories. The first sub-category, as the most popular one, was translation training in a specific field, in which the teaching process began with studying the terms of the field and, consequently, giving the related equivalents in the language of translation. Through this, students proceeded with complex grammatical structures of specific written texts.

The second reputable sub-category for teaching translation was text analysis and translation. The method resulted in identifying peculiarities and general principles of the text types under training. The method assumed intuitive choices in a translation strategy and characterized a conventional practice of text analysis focusing on problematic elements of a translation.

The third sub-category in traditional methods of teaching TCs consisted of finding all existing translation equivalents which was common within educational settings for many years. The sub-category was derived from the form-content relations, based on which there exited more than one equivalent term for a single word. Thus students should consider all the possible equivalents for a word when translating a text.

The last sub-category of traditional methods was comprised of the translation training, implemented by an experienced talented translator, which can be used alone or along with the other categories to meet the necessary requirements in a translation. Through the method, an experienced translator trained other translators by selecting varieties of texts. The trainer rarely gave the grounds to students and the assessments of translation were provided by the trainers’ own variants of translation. The trainer relied on his/her own knowledge, by which the sub-category, as proposed by Alekseeva (2000), the teaching can be called the authoritarian-creative method.

Besides the traditional methods, Alekseeva (2000) also proposed complex methods of teaching TCs in which the training process passed through preparatory, basic, and training stages. The preparatory stage consisted of examining different types of texts by investigating the issues like critical reading, text analysis, and writing practices to cover the objectives of the stage. The practices in this stage focused on analysis and synthesis of text type in the native language via finding similar types of text in the language of translation, detecting their features and writing the text at the same time.

Thanks to the methods, students can familiarize themselves with the skills for reproducing different peculiarities of texts.

Finally, the last methods of teaching TCs applied to the translation of specialized texts, called modern methods, proposed by Alekseeva (2010). In the author’s opinion, the methods were the specific branch of translation studies, which challenged previous methods of teaching in which the text was treated as an objective phenomenon and translation was defined as dealing with signs of an original text. In these methods, translation techniques were selected based on the following statements, by which translation was considered as the modeling and the consequent transmission of complex-structured meanings: (a) the methods were implemented based on handling with the text and the use, (b) the choice of texts for translation depended on translators, (c) the translator may add his/her comprehension to the translation, and (d) translation techniques were determined by the text integrity.

Most recent studies on the methods of teaching translation have focused on mere teaching methods, neglecting the translation learning techniques. By considering this fact, Garant (2010) discussed the model of translation-oriented text analyses, the process-oriented and the competence and skill-led approaches to teach translation. In this view, Alekseeva (2000) mentioned to the necessary separation of training interpretations and written translations, in which complex methodologies that incorporated traditional perspectives of teaching methods, were suggested for written translations. Alekseeva (2010), as a critique to the traditional and methods, raised the issue of inadequacy in traditional and complex methods and proposed the modern methods based on the idea that translation should consider the modeling of the original  meanings of the texts and emphasize the role of translation within educational contexts. In this respect, the educational translation practices were defined by Vermes (2010), as the pedagogical or instrumental translations.

Methods of teaching translation were also considered the sub-methods of second language acquisition. The examples of such interconnection were the input-based systems for the assessment of students’ translation practices and the output based systems to focus on the feedback provided for the learners. The methods were defined through Krashen’s (1982) Monitor Model and Swain’s (1985) Comprehensible Output Hypothesis.

However, the commonalities existed in all methods of teaching TCs made it necessary to find out more about their effectiveness by applying different perspectives in educational studies and designs.

On the other hand, TCs were also influenced by the linguistic types of research in translation, such as what had been proposed by Vinay and Darbelnet (1995) and Catford (1965), through which linguistics did not incorporate sociocultural and pragmatic factors in teaching process. As a result, the studies did not emphasize the role of translation as a communicative act. The continued application of linguistics-based models had demonstrated their obvious and in-built link with translation such as the models used in generative grammar, functional linguistics, and pragmatics.

All the mentioned issues via imposing different perspectives teaching to the learning procedure might be challenging to the instructors and learners since they were expected to ensure effective interlanguage communication and to provide adapted teaching ideas to different learning environments (Davies, 2004).

Thus based on the aforementioned problems and importance of taking into account the viewpoints of the learners, as the main influential element in evaluating the effectiveness of higher education, it is necessary to conduct studies with the purpose of providing the instructors with the learners’ attitudes about the teaching methods in translation. The reason for such a claim is that the result of such studies could provide the instructors of the field with the solutions to the challenging aspects of teaching. In this view, the present study was carried out to find out more about the phenomenon through providing answers to the following research questions:

  1. How differently are TCs taught to the Iranian English-major students with respect to the different methods of teaching including traditional, complex and modern methods?
  2. What are Iranian English-major students’ attitudes towards the traditional, complex and modern methods of teaching TCs?
  3. What are Iranian English-major students’ attitudes towards the significance and justification of E-learning resources in the methods of Teaching TCs?

3. Methodology

Since the study attempted to provide a deep understanding the concept of teaching in translation, the descriptive research deign was followed to reach the expected results.

 

3.1. Design and Context of the Study         

The study as a subset of descriptive studies in humanities, intended to provide a description of the trends, attitudes and opinion of English-major students about the common teaching methods applied in TCs. Thus, by delimiting the study to the theme-based quality, the relevance to course evaluation, and availability of E-learning resources, the three traditional, complex and modern methods of teaching TCs were investigated.

The reason for choosing the survey study was to investigate the different attitudes of the students drawn from the data gathered through their responses to the items of questionnaire.

 

3.2. Participants

The participants of the study were English-major students studying at faculties of foreign languages at Islamic Azad University (IAU), North and South Tehran Branches. The students who were the juniors and seniors in English language translation participated in the study to ensure their acquaintance with the initials of the translation principles and methods via the necessary translation courses in the approved curriculum of the study. The number of participants was determined based on the margin of error 5% and confidence level 95% for the population size of 1000 by computing the minimum sample size required for accuracy in estimating proportions and considering the standard normal deviation set at 95% confidence level (1.96), percentage picking a choice or response (50% = 0.5) and the confidence interval (0.05 = ±5).

 

Table 1.

Descriptive Statistics for the Homogenous Participants of the Study

Number of Participants

Minimum

Maximum

Mean

Std. Deviation

100

15.20

16.86

16.18

.31

 

 

 

Accordingly, the required sample size for the study was 100 which were randomly selected from among 140 homogenous students by the results obtained from the Preliminary English Test (PET) provided by Cambridge English Language Assessment. In doing so, after the administration of PET, the students whose scores fell within the range of one standard deviation above and below the mean formed the main participants of the study, the descriptive statistics of which are shown in Table 1.

 

3.3. Research Instruments

The instruments applied in the current study were among the common research tools in descriptive studies.

 

3.3.1. Language Proficiency Test

The Preliminary English Test-PET, provided by Cambridge English Language Assessment was used as the instrument to select the homogenized participants of the study. The participants were selected based on their score on the general language proficiency of PET’s result through administrating the test in the class time among the 140 English-major students.

 

3.3.2. Questionnaire

Since a questionnaire was used as the instrument for the data collection, after developing the items, the instrument underwent several piloting studies for estimating the reliability and validity of the items. At first, the item analysis with Cronbach’s alpha, as the measure of internal consistency, was administered for estimating the reliability of the items. The item analysis results helped the researcher to understand how well a set of items measured a characteristic (or construct). As a result, the researcher identified the problematic items before the final administration. For this purpose, the reliability of the questionnaire was examined based on the statistics resulted from the reliability coefficient of the items computed through SPSS software version 21. Thus, the items resulting in a lower reliability coefficient (lower than 0.7) were omitted. The overall Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient of the questionnaire was 0.934 before deleting the problematic items and reached to 0.935 and 0.939 after estimating the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient.

The items of the questionnaire for the traditional methods’ category were classified into the teaching methods in a specific field (items 1-4), teaching translation as text analysis (items 5-8), finding translation equivalents (items 9-13) and training by an experienced talented translator (items 14-17) as the sub-categories of the traditional methods.

Regarding the category of complex methods, in addition to item 18 which was provided for the overall viewpoints of the participants about complex methods, further items were devoted to the stages of training in the category. By the stages of acquisition, the study focused on the preparatory, basic, and training stages in teaching TCs which had been pursued in traditional methods to some extent.

Accordingly, the next three items (19, 20, and 21) were provided for the preparatory stage in details by providing the specific features of the stage including, studying the different types of texts in the language of translation, practicing for analysis of texts type, and synthesis in the native language to enable the learners of TCs to familiarize themselves with the types of text and acquire the skills of reproducing the features of different types of text. Items 22, 23, and 24 of the questionnaire were also devoted to the features of basic stage concerning the stage’s subdivisions and the concept of ideal translation. The last items of the complex category (items 25 and 26) were provided for the role of editing and teaching processes in the methods’ training stage.  

Regarding the modern methods of teaching TCs, items 27, 28 and 29 were provided in the survey’s questionnaire by focusing on the limitations provided by the traditional methods and the contemporary views of modern methodologies in teaching TCs. The last three items (30-32) were used for the category of E-learning resources’ role to grasp the significance of the resources in the three methods of teaching via the participants attitudes.

The Likert-scale values for each item of the questionnaire were shown in numerical values, as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 standing for the students’ responses to the items (Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree), respectively. These values are applied to all items in the tables provided in the result section of the study.

 

3.4. Data Collection Procedures

Since a questionnaire was used as the instrument for the data collection, from among 140 English–major students at their third and fourth academic semesters, 100 homogenous participants were selected to answer the questionnaire items. The participants were selected from Islamic Azad University, North and South branches and homogenized by the results obtained from the Preliminary English Test-PET. In doing so, after the administration of PET, the students whose scores fell within the range of one standard deviation above and below the mean formed the main participants of the study at intermediate level of English proficiency and speaking Persian as their first language.

The reliability of the questionnaire’s items was examined based on the data gathered from the pilot study and results computed through SPSS software version 21 for identifying the items scoring a lot higher or lower than other items. In addition, for the validity of the questionnaire, the face validity of the items regarding the readability, feasibility, clarity of wording as well as layout and style of items were investigated. Experts’ judgment was also used for the content coverage and relevance in the content validity. The construct validity of the items in the questionnaire was examined by item analysis to determine the interrelationship among items and to identify the clusters of items that share sufficient variation and to justify their existence as a factor or a construct to be measured by the instrument.

In doing so, the various items of the questionnaire were gathered in to common factors labeled by traditional, complex, modern and E-learning components. The common factors were synthesized into fewer factors and then the relation between each item and the factors was measured by using a panel of experts and a field test through the pilot study by which, further modifications were made to the items.

After providing a brief description of the methods used for developing the items, the questionnaire with 32 items was administered among the participants. They were asked to answer the items by themselves after receiving the questionnaire and reminding how to answer the items.

 

3.5. Data Analysis Procedures

After completing and submitting the questionnaires to their instructor, the students’ responses to the items, as the data of the study, were analyzed and reported in SPSS software version 21. For each of the participants and items, one row and column was created, respectively. The responses to the items were stored as numbers from 1 to 5 according to the Likert-scales. Besides, value labels were used to ascribe text labels to the numbers. Moreover, the frequency tables were then extracted via descriptive statistics of SPSS software version 21 to generate the summary of the participants’ responses to the items, based on which the final data analysis and reports were provided. The study analyzed 100 questionnaires distributed among the participants.

 

4. Results

Reliability indices for the items of the questionnaire were applied to ensure the existence of reliability in the questionnaire.

 

Table 2.

Item-Total Statistics-Reliability Statistics in the Pilot Study

Cronbach’s Alpha if Item Deleted

Squared Multiple Correlation

Corrected Item-Total Correlation

Scale Variance if Item Deleted

Scale Mean if Item Deleted

Items

.935

-

.272

412.185

83.43

Item 6:

.939

-

.314

392.938

82.60

Item 27:

.935

-

.242

411.941

83.30

Item 32:

             

 

The result from Cronbach’s alpha revealed the acceptable reliability (α=0.934) for the questionnaire based on the standardized items analysis in the pilot study. Most items appeared to be worthy of retention, resulting in a decrease in the alpha, if deleted. The exceptions were items 6 (in traditional methods) and 32 (in modern methods) which would increase the alpha to 0.935 as well as item 27 (in complex methods) which would increase the alpha to 0.939 as shown in Table 2.

 

Table 3.

Scale Statistics-Pilot Study

Mean

Variance

Std. Deviation

N of Items

85.97

423.89

20.58

35

 

Thus, the removal of the items was considered for the acceptable reliability and the data was gathered via the reliable questionnaire including 32 items. The scale statistics of the items in the pilot study are shown in Table 3.

The first research question of the study concerned with how differently TCs are taught to the English-major students with respect to the different methods of teaching including traditional, complex and modern methods as well as other common methods. Thus, in order to provide an answer to the question, the results and statistical analysis retrieved from the students’ responses to the question are reported and the summaries of the data analysis are shown in Table 4.

 

Table 4.

Frequencies and Percentages of Teaching Methods Applied in TCs

Method

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Traditional Methods

37

37.0

37.0

37.0

Complex Methods

26

26.0

26.0

63.0

Modern Methods

22

22.0

22.0

85.0

Other Methods

15

15.0

15.0

100.0

Total

100

100.0

100.0

 

           

 

Further to the Chi-square test’s results, the differences in the frequencies were meaningful since p≤.5.  The results represent that all the mentioned methods were common in teaching TCs, through which 37% of the participants indicated the use of traditional methods based on focusing on the specific field, text analysis, translation equivalents and authoritarian-creative perspectives. Further to this, according to the students’ viewpoints, 26% of them had experienced the translation training via complex methods and utilizing preparatory, basic, and training stages. Besides, modern methods were also common in teaching TCs, since 22% of the responses were devoted to the application of modern methods via specialized texts translation training. The rest of the students were trained through other methods of teaching TCs that consisted of 15% of the total participants.        

The second research question of the study was proposed to find out English-major students’ attitudes towards the traditional, complex and modern methods of teaching TCs, for which the frequencies and percentages of the students’ responses to the items regarding the training of translation in each method are shown in the following tables.

Table 5.

Summary of the Participants’ Responses to Items  for Traditional Methods’ Sub-Category 1

Q1

Freq.

Percent

Q2

Freq.

Percent

Q3

Freq.

Percent

Q4

Freq.

Percent

1

14

14.0

1

11

11.0

1

18

18.0

1

11

11.0

2

66

66.0

2

59

59.0

2

44

44.0

2

48

48.0

 

As the responses to the first question indicate, 66% of the students believed that the training which began with studying and training the vocabularies of a specific field and giving equivalences in the language of translation was useful in the first sub-category of traditional methods. Besides, 59% of the participants asserted that, since the method proceeded with the complicated grammatical structures of specialized written texts, the learners were able to acquire translation within specific fields.

To mention to the disadvantages of the first sub-category of traditional methods of teaching, it should be noted that nearly half of the learners (44%) believed in the unawareness of the learners from the stylistic peculiarities of the texts that probably caused failure in the translation, in addition to the limitation of the sub-category for its mere application in a specific genre of translation which was indicated by 48% of the participants.

Another sub-category in traditional methods of teaching TCs was translation as the text analysis. The summary of the participants’ responses to the items are shown in Table 6.

 

Table 6.

Summary of the Participants’ Responses to Items  for Traditional Methods’ Sub-Category 2

Q5

Freq.

Percent

Q6

Freq.

Percent

Q7

Freq.

Percent

Q14

Freq.

Percent

1

11

11.0

1

13

13.0

1

16

16.0

1

8

8.0

2

49

49.0

2

26

26.0

2

51

51.0

2

53

53.0

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q5=60

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q14=61

 

As shown in Table 6, through investigating the second sub-category of traditional methods, it was revealed that 60% of the participants (i.e., 11% Strongly Agree and 49% Agree) believed in appropriateness of the text analysis which resulted in identifying the features of texts and principal aspects in training languages and translation within higher education context which may result in intuitive choices in a translation task. On the other hand, further to the 51% of the participants’ viewpoints, the method may not be appropriate for considering the features of the text as complete substance and required additional drawbacks to the processes in translation. Thus the features such as the type of the text, sphere of application and recipients might be neglected. Also, according to responses provided for item 8, 58% of the participants expressed their positive viewpoints towards the second sub-category of traditional methods. The reason for the students’ viewpoints might rely on the existence of text analysis which could be completed by discourse analysis and concerning the translation as an integral communicative message.

Regarding the third sub-category of traditional methods applied by instructors of TCs, the participants’ viewpoints revealed that through investigating the form and content relations, it was possible for the learners to find out further equivalents and thus a better translation was resulted.

Finally, almost half of the participants (49%) considered the third category in traditional methods as an extensive practice of active vocabularies without much concerns to make intuitive choices in a translation task.

The last sub-category in traditional methods consisted of the training translation by an experienced and talented translator. The method could be used alone or together with other traditional sub-methods, whether within a specific field or through text analysis. As shown in Table 6, further to the participants’ responses to item 14, it was revealed that learners had a positive attitude (61%) towards the method.

 The discussion in the traditional methods was finalized by the responses provided for item 17 in the questionnaire aiming at grasping the English-major students’ overall perspectives towards traditional methods of teaching TCs. All the four sub-categories of the methods may have certain advantages and disadvantages for the learners based on relying on equivalents and finding grammatical structures, unawareness of stylistics features, intuitive choices, polysemanticity, and text analysis.

Concerning the second methods of teaching TCs, the first item of the questionnaire for the complex methods asked the participants’ general viewpoints about the helpfulness of methods in teaching translation, for which 60% of the responses agreed with the concept. Due to the fact that item 18 considered the overall attitudes of the participant towards complex methods via the role of stages in training, the percentages of the participants’ responses are shown separately in Table 7.  

 

Table 7.

Summary of the Participants’ Responses to the First Item  in Complex Methods

Q18

Freq.

Percent

1

9

9.0

2

51

51.0

3

24

24.0

4

14

14.0

5

2

2.0

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q18=60

 

With respect to the participants’ to the items devoted to the preparatory stage the complex methods, more than 50% of the responses revealed the helpfulness of the stage through specialized preparatory practices before translation, simultaneous analysis and synthesis and acquiring the knowledge to reproduce the text. The summary of the participants’ responses to the items for the preparatory stage in complex methods is shown in Table 8.

 

Table 8.

Summary of the Participants’ Responses to the Preparatory Items in Complex Methods

Q19

Freq.

Percent

Q20

Freq.

Percent

Q21

Freq.

Percent

1

9

9.0

1

6

6.0

1

11

11.0

2

43

43.0

2

46

46.0

2

40

40.0

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q19=52%

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q20=52%

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q21=51%

 

The next stage of training in complex methods of teaching TCs was the basic stage which was subdivided into text analysis for translation, analytical search of translation variants and analysis of translated text. In this regard, further to the responses provided by the participants for item 23, 46%  of the students (13% Strongly Agree and 33% Agree) declared that text analysis for translation was the necessary step in training which should not have a scientific or research character, rather it should concentrate on the needs of the consequent translation to complete the process. The search of translation variants lied in finding an appropriate translation equivalent subject to the results obtained in text analysis.

According to the 52% of the responses-12% Strongly Agree and 40% Agree- provided for item 24, it was also essential to formulate and write down the “ideal” translation for each word or phrase. Moreover, the teachers’ role was significant in this process and they should not impose their own variants of translation to students, as it can demotivate the learners. Accordingly, the best translation equivalent should be chosen from those offered by student.

As it is shown in Table 9, according to the students’ responses, almost 50% of the respondents expressed their positive attitudes towards the importance of the basic stage in complex methods of teaching TCs as the learner centered approach of teaching.

 

Table 9.

Summary of the Participants’ Responses to the Basic Items in Complex Methods

Q22

Freq.

Percent

Q23

Freq.

Percent

Q25

Freq.

Percent

1

13

13.0

1

12

12.0

1

10

10.0

2

33

33.0

2

40

40.0

2

43

43.0

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q23=46%

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q24=52%

 

Further to the responses provide for item 25 of the complex category in the questionnaire 50% of the respondents (i.e., 10% Strongly Agree and 43% Agree) believed in the concept that at the beginning of the basic stage of training, however, it was the teacher who should edit students’ translations; later on, the students were to edit one another’s translation and finally, students were asked to edit their own translations and read it aloud to the audience, which was considered as the most complicated task in learning TCs. Thus, the steps in acquisition may result in a better translation practice.

Regarding the last item in the complex category, more than 50% of the participants –9% Strongly Agree and 46% Agree- declared their positive attitudes towards the applicability and properness of training translation via the processes applied in the methods. The summary of the participants’ responses to the items is shown in Table 11.

Regarding the third methods of teaching TCs, more than 50% of the participants declared that modern methods challenged previous methods that treated the text as an objective phenomenon and defined translation as working with signs of an original text. Meanwhile, the methods via ignoring the signs and symbols of a language put emphasis on other principles and statements for teaching. The issue was stated by more than 50% of the respondents through confirming the existence of the required techniques, and adding comprehension to the final translation to achieve the text integrity.

Considering the limitation of the other methods and the necessity for their incorporation as a supplementary element in modern perspectives of teaching TCs, the participants mentioned to the process of modeling and transmission of a complex-structured meaning. According to the responses to the last item in modern category, more than 50% of the respondents believed in the vital role of the stages in modern methods for building, compressing and interpreting the knowledge of translation along with identifying the theme and rheme of the text. The summary of the participants’ responses to the items is shown in Table 10.

 

Table 10.

Summary of the Participants’ Responses to the Items in Modern Methods

Q27

Freq.

Percent

Q28

Freq.

Percent

Q29

Freq.

Percent

1

8

8.0

1

14

14.0

1

14

14.0

2

48

48.0

2

43

43.0

2

46

46.0

3

23

23.0

3

23

23.0

3

24

24.0

4

17

17.0

4

17

17.0

4

13

13.0

5

4

4.0

5

3

3.0

5

3

3.0

 

The third research question of the study was proposed to find out the English-major students’ attitudes towards the significance and justification of E-learning resources in the methods of Teaching TCs, for which the total of 3 items of the questionnaire were provided.

Table 11.

Summary of the Participants’ Responses to the Items on the Role of E-learning Resources in the Three Methods

Q30

Freq.

Percent

Q31

Freq.

Percent

Q32

Freq.

Percent

1

8

8.0

1

14

14.0

1

14

14.0

2

48

48.0

2

43

43.0

2

46

46.0

3

23

23.0

3

23

23.0

3

24

24.0

4

17

17.0

4

17

17.0

4

13

13.0

5

4

4.0

5

3

3.0

5

3

3.0

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q30=56%

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q31=57%

Sum of Strongly Agree and Agree Responses to Q32=60%

 

Regarding the answers to the items on the role of E-learning resources category, more than 55% of the participants declared the significance of E-learning resources’ role in applying the traditional and complex methods. Moreover, 60% of the participants-14% Strongly Agree and 46% Agree- stated the significance of the resources in applying modern methods of teaching TCs. In other words, the respondents confirmed that the existence of E-learning resources was quite influential in the applicability of all the three methods, despite the fact that such resources were not sufficiently available in the traditional and complex methods of teaching TCs due to the objectives arising from the spatial and temporal requirements of methods. In other words, the E-learning resources could be beneficial in learning TCs if applied appropriately and sufficiently.

The summary of the participants’ responses to the items is shown in Table 13.

 

5. Discussion

In this study, the English-major students’ attitudes towards the teaching methods applied in TCs were examined in an attempt to provide the instructors of the field with the guidelines to adapt their teaching methods, aiming at fitting the methods with the students’ needs regarding the fundamentals of teaching and learning translation covering translation activities for finding the ideal equivalents and proceeding with complicated grammatical structures in source and target languages.

Meanwhile, the students needed to deal with the contextual features when transferring a concept from one language to another concerning the recipients’ reflections on the final translation products. In this respect, the findings of the study confirmed that nearly all the focused methods, besides providing further creative and common translation activities, were common in the Iranian educational settings via applying the various resources of learning including traditional text books and electronic materials.

It is noteworthy to mention that during the last century, a limited number of studies focusing on the teaching methods in translation were carried out, despite the fact that the findings of such studies are beneficial for both translation and language acquisition studies. Most recent studies on the topic mainly focused on the use of different resources and activities by the instructors to make the students feel in a real and professional context via the use of dictionaries, parallel texts’ information, online resources and other specialized electronic learning devices. In this view, teaching translation has been regarded one of the major topics of translation studies which could target not only future professional translators but also advanced language learners. Thus the interconnection between translation studies and language acquisition was proposed.

The map is generally accepted as the starting point of the new or interdisciplinary discipline which does not make a distinction between training for professionals and non-professionals, and the  training of translator might not be exactly the same as translation education at university level. This framework explicitly includes translator training in the applied part of the new discipline. Therefore, when investigating translation education, all related factors within the discipline could be taken into consideration. A good example in this topic is functional orientation translation training which is important in training due to its pertinent to the concepts retrieved by the notions of register and strategies in translation.

All the mentioned studies and the related tools can be the convenient guides during the translation process for the terminology and documentation purposes. At the same time, it is crucial to know more the students’ convenience with the procedures within a specific method of teaching that might result in the best use of such guides and techniques as the encouraging factors for the students to translate in a real-life experience or work in a collaborative project through applying the accessible resources.

6. Conclusions

The results of the survey made it clear that instructors of TCs used different resources and activities in developing the students’ translation proficiency via providing a professional context of use in a translation task in different methods. However, further detailed aspects were revealed via analyzing the student responses to the items of the questionnaire as follows:

Via the traditional methods of teaching which were quite common within the Iranian higher education context, students may need further aids to develop a professionally competent ability to translate in various genres and contexts concerning the quality and relevance of the methods. Although the use of vocabularies and their equivalences along with complicated grammatical structures were among the crucial components in the methods, but the stylistic features may be neglected, since the methods applied to the particular examples of specific genres or contexts of use. Even by adjusting the methods through text analysis, the intuitive choices as the translation strategies may not be applied. Accordingly, it was not possible for learners to consider different features of a text and specific needs of the final product into account, through which the communicative abilities of translation might be neglected.

The methods also put emphasis on the form-content relations for further adjustments that caused the learners’ attention to the polysemantic nature of a translation task and cooperative learning procedure with the absence of intuitive choices in finding the equivalents. In this respect, the students might be able to find as many equivalents as possible for a specific term, for which the instructors of TCs according to the students’ viewpoints were required to be equipped with both principles of translation and the experts’ knowledge of several different fields. Accordingly, further to the participant’s perspectives, a combination of different sub-categories of traditional methods seemed to be essential in the first steps of training to ensure the quality and relevance of methods to the related needs.

The need for a combination of different teaching techniques was investigated through the items provided for the complex methods of teaching TCs. The items were provided based on the different and important stages of training in the methods including the preparatory and basic stages. The stages were to some extent neglected in traditional methods, despite their impact on the translation proficiency of learners through getting acquainted with different types of text in the preparatory stage and preserving the features of the texts in the basic stage. The stages in training were considered as a new concept in teaching methodologies in comparison with traditional methods.

In addition, with respect to the participants’ attitudes, complex methods were more helpful through providing the stages, in which different text genres, critical reading, and analysis and synthesis were required to assure the quality and relevance of teaching methods. However, finding equivalents was based on text analysis and helped the translators to delimit the scope of analytical research in a two-way interaction between the instructor and student.

Furthermore, according to the students’ viewpoints, the concept of ideal translation was achievable through the methods upon considering the factors comprising of different roles assigned to the teacher, the translator, and the texts for providing the needed integrity in translation learning tasks. The factors were considered as the suitable guides during the translation training processes, but may deemphasize the cooperative learning procedure by neglecting the role of teacher as a facilitator and feedback provider according to the participants’ perspectives.

However, concerning the participants’ responses to the items devoted for modern methods of teaching TCs, the case was changed by challenging the previous methods of teaching TCs. The items in modern methods disclosed the limitation of the other methods and the necessity for their incorporation with modern perspectives in teaching TCs for assuring the quality and relevance to the learners’ needs.

The issue was proposed through modeling and consequent transmission of a complex-structured meaning of the text consisting of four stages for building space for translation, compressing the special knowledge, interpreting the special meaning, and identifying the theme and rheme of the text.

Finally, according to the participants’ viewpoints all the three methods of teaching were dependent on the use of resources as the materials for learning. In this view, E-learning resources could be considered as the most significant resources due to their vital role in the current perspectives of teaching and learning. However it is clear that such resources were not sufficiently available in the traditional and complex methods of teaching TCs due to the specific objectives arising from the spatial and temporal requirements of methods. Concerning the fact that all the three methods were common in the Iranian educational context, the instructors should rely on such resources more extensively to develop translation proficiency among the learners via applying the methods.  

Concerning the pedagogical implications of the study, it is noteworthy to mention the fact that in almost all higher education settings, the concepts of quality and relevance could be investigated through the teaching methods applied in various programs and fields of study as the elements in evaluating the higher education. Although, the variety of methods could be applied for specific courses, but the resources which are considered as the platform for implementing the methods seems to be vital for the best performance. Thus, a specific method’s principles might be considered as the bases for the others within the specific educational contexts for teaching and learning and the same case was exited in teaching TCs. The examples of such cases are presented as follows:

  • The procedure of equivalents’ finding which was emphasized in the traditional methods seems to be fundamental to the all the methods due to the fact that the meaning concepts should be challenged by a translator to achieve the best results. Thus, the ignorance of equivalents was not regarded as a neutral procedure in this context.
  • Syntactic features of various text types should be included in all the methods of teaching, whether through text analysis or through other types of recognition processes. This was the reason for the necessity of providing a mixed perspective in teaching TCs that was partially satisfied in complex methods.
  • The combination of the teaching principles in a specific method was not enough, because translation was a creative activity, in which the translators might deal with creative concept making procedures for providing the ideal translation. Thus the emphasis on the role of translators in the teaching process required a method, in which the translator could maneuver with various translatological concepts.
  • Many of the methods proposed by the scholars such as Alekseeva (2010) overlapped in their major principles such as equivalent finding and analysis of texts due to their dependency on the principles of language teaching. Although the modern methods of teaching TCs used widely by the instructors, still there is a need to adapt them to the local contexts of teaching, specifically in their practical points of teaching.
  • Different methods of teaching TCs applied various resources for the optimal implication. However the E-learning resources seem to be of further assistance in justifying all the methods’ deficiencies due to their availability and variety. The reason to mention the deficiencies of the three methods was their commonality in the Iranian educational context and thus the instructors could apply the E-learning resources in their classes for further justifications in the methods.

The results of the present study can be used by practitioners and researchers in the language teaching and translation studies via enabling them to find out more about the effect of subtle variations in learning procedures. The variations might lead the learners to the right or wrong directions in learning the concepts, depending on the content provided by the educational context and curriculum.

The results can also be useful for the students and teachers of translation studies, because all the mentioned methods in the study are among the most popular methods of teaching TCs all over the world. Moreover, the translational concepts were also investigated through student’ attitudes which might shed light on the fact that how various methods of teaching could be a determining factor in the translation proficiency development of learners besides the assurance of quality, relevance and resources resulted by the methods.

 

 

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