Translation Students’ Use of Dictionaries: A Hong Kong Case Study for Chinese to English Translation

| October 28, 2010
Title
Translation Students Use of Dictionaries: A Hong Kong Case Study for Chinese to English Translation

Authors
Wai-on Law
University of Durham,School of Education
Abstract
The use of the dictionary and translation are both common language experiences. The dictionary is an indispensable tool to translating. Yet dictionary skills are grossly neglected in translator training, which assumes that students have acquired all the necessary knowledge and skills before training. In order to reveal the situation in Hong Kong, this case study attempts to investigate the dictionary use pattern of 107 translation students from five local universities for Chinese to English translation, and the dictionary consultation process of four respondents. Triangulation methods were employed: questionnaire survey, interview, think-aloud protocol, and performance exercise. A coding system for think-aloud protocols has been adopted from Thumb (2004), with modifications for Chinese-English dictionary use for production. Results found that most of the respondents had not been trained to use the Chinese-English dictionary, and that they had difficulties in using it for Chinese to English translation. Curricular assessment discovered a gap between student needs in dictionary skills and the curriculum. Pedagogical recommendations are made, and the notion of Dictionary Use Competence is proposed for translation students, while dictionary skills should be treated as a learning strategy across the curriculum from the primary to university levels. The study contributes to the teaching and learning of dictionary skills, with special relevance to Chinese-English translation, and to the research on dictionary use for production in terms of the language combination of Chinese/English, and to the method of introspection.
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Category: Thesis