From Reading to translation- the effects of L1/L2 supplementary reading on Taiwanese university students’ translation performance

| June 4, 2014
Title

From Reading to translation- the effects of L1/L2 supplementary reading on Taiwanese university students’ translation performance

Keywords: background knowledge, L1/L2 reading, translation

Author

Yi-hsuan Lin, Yu-Ching Tseng and Tzu-yi Lee
Soochow University, Tamkang University, and Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan

Bio

Yi-Hsuan Lin is a lecturer in the English Department of Soochow University in Taiwan. Her research interests are in L2 reading, translation, and second language acquisition. She can be reached at yihsuan24@yahoo.com.tw

Yu-Ching Tseng is an assistant professor in the English Department of Tamkang University in Taiwan. Her primary research interests include syntax, Optimality Theory and general linguistics.

Elaine Tzu-yi Lee received her PhD degree in Translating and Interpreting in Newcastle University , UK , in 2010. Currently she works as Assistant Professor in the department of Applied Linguistics and Language Study at Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan. Her research interests include literary translation, gender and translation, culture and translation, translation pedagogy, translation and ideologies, to name just a few. She can be reached at: t.y.lee@cycu.edu.tw.

Abstract

This study adopted translation as the measurement to examine the effect of background knowledge, provided in the form of reading from university students’ first (Chinese) or second (English) language, on their performance of an English-to-Chinese translation text. 150 EFL English majors were involved in this study. They took a GEPT reading test and a translation pre-test as the evaluation of their English reading proficiency and translation performance on the designated topic. Before taking the post-translation test, they were randomly divided into two groups, half receiving Chinese reading material, and the other half in English. Statistical analyses were conducted to examine the improved scores between L1 and L2 reading treatment and also the effect of reading for participants of different reading proficiency. The results showed that while all participants demonstrated more content familiarity after reading, the group who received Chinese treatment performed significantly better than the English group. The study then discovered that participants of different English reading proficiency did not show difference in the improvement of translation after receiving either Chinese or English reading treatment. Finally, pedagogical implications were discussed in the end.

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Category: Quarterly Journal