The Role of Source Text Translation in a Simulated Summary Writing Test: What Do Test Takers Say?
Keywords: Summary writing, source text translation, test-taker perception
Department of English, Xiangtan University, Hunan, China
Weiqing Wang received her Ph.D. degree from Michigan State University in 2009 and is currently teaching at the Department of English, Xiangtan University, Hunan, China. Her major research interest is form-focused L2 instruction.
This paper reports on a small-scale study which examined test takers’ perceptions of the role of source text translation in a simulated summary writing test. Three Chinese learners of English who were living in the United States took a test which required them to summarize a Chinese text, their first language, into English, their second language. A telephone interview was then conducted with each participant. Analysis of the interview comments revealed that while two of the participants tried to avoid directly translating the original text in the writing process, one participant used source text translation as the major strategy. Accordingly, the test assessed either more of their writing skill or more of their translation skill. This result suggests that summary writing based on an article in a test takers’ first language may not always fully assess test takers’ writing ability.