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Translation here should be interpreted as including the following aspects:
- A history of the use of translation as a form of teaching classical languages
- Translation in the context of the 'Grammar-Translation' method of teaching English – (what were the criticisms, what are the recent arguments about the role of translation in language learning?)
- Translation and Interpreting as a career path, or as professions
- Translation/code-mixing/translanguaging/multilingualism in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India, China, Hong Kong
- How cultural and historical texts change in translation from one language to another (e.g. folk tales, children's stories, proverbs etc.)
- How 'linguistic landscapes' may be used as a theoretical lens through which one might analyse and discuss the use of different languages and practices of translation to reveal the status of languages in a multilingual context
Translanguaging is defined as 'the process of making meaning, shaping experience, gaining understanding and knowledge through the use of two languages' (Baker 2011 p.288). Bilinguals are reported to show increased cognitive control in areas that do not overlap into linguistic processes (Kroll 2013; Antón et al. 2014). Translanguaging is an effective style for communication, cognitive activity, and language production. Students use this process when developing their second language (L2) through the help of their first language (L1) (Lewis et al 2012). In this paper, I focus on translanguaging within a second-language classroom with a close look into translanguaging in writing in L2.
Lewis, Jones, and Baker (2012) highlight that dual literacy and translanguaging in the classroom is relevant as language features such as writing have the same base in all languages. Chomsky argument is that the human brain has a set of limited rules that organise language the implication of being a universal grammar – a common structural basis for all languages exits (Cook & Newson 2014). By writing in L2 with the help of L1, bilingual students strengthen their ability to communicate information from one language to another and are able to summarise information received in one language and represent it accurately when writing in another language. (Cook 2007)
Canagarajah (2011) admits the possibility of learning from students' translanguaging strategies using a dialogical pedagogy. The strategies are voice, interactional, re-contextualisation and textualisation strategies. This study defines how peers' and teachers' feedback can help students understand/question choices, improve critical thinking about choices and assess the usefulness of choices, and increase metacognitive awareness. (p.401)
Gort (2015) studied code-switching patterns in the writing conversations of 6 first-grade bilingual students. Data was gathered for 6 months and then analysed for code-switching occurrence. The results revealed following code-switching function categories, signifying budding bilingual writers’ “(a) evaluation and self-regulation skills, (b) sociolinguistic and socio-cultural competence, (c) meta-linguistic insights, and (d) use of code-switching to indicate a shift in topic, person, or syntactic form” (p.45) These findings show that students’ have the ability to activate their bilingual linguistic selection for a variety of social and academic reasons. This suggests that code-switching functions as a cognitive and linguistic source for bilingual students in writing.
Advantages of Translanguaging
Translanguaging promotes a deeper understanding of subject matter. Through transferring thoughts using two languages, students will be able to stretch pre-existing knowledge, as in Vygotsky’s 'Zone of Proximal Development' (Martin-Beltrán, 2014 ). In ZPD, bilingual students face a higher-order challenge than monolingual students in processing a task proposed in their L1 and transforming that process into L2. This assists language learners’ “intellectual development by refining their ability to think, understand, and internalise information in two languages.' (Lewis et al 2012)