FIRST STEPS IN TRANSLATION: REVIEWING TRANSLATION BOTH AS A TEACHING METHOD AND AS AN ASSESSMENT TOOL. RESEARCH IN THE SCHOOLS OF ENGINEERING, PEDAGOGY AND FINE ARTS, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN MACEDONIA GREECE
With this paper we aim to refer to the speculation on innovating university students’ teaching styles in ESP (English for Specific Purposes) classes of the School of Fine Arts and the School of Pedagogy, Department of Primary Education of the University of Western Macedonia in Florina and the School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Department of Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering in Kozani. It is generally admitted that the Greek students entering the university are already familiar with at least two foreign European languages, according to the educational system’s standards, one being English, so they are mature enough to discover mediation techniques and develop their metalinguistic skills in translation/interpreting fields.
Therefore, we decided to introduce translation assignments from English to Greek as a means of improving the students’ reading skills in the foreign language and understanding of academic and scientific texts and apprehension of terminology deriving from their fields. All the above were implemented both during the teaching sessions and in the final assessment. Within this framework, on the one hand we tried to help students understand and familiarize them with the meaning and appropriate use of the terminology of their own scientific fields in both the English and Greek language and on the other hand we attempted to stir the students’ interest in learning and researching the English bibliography of their discipline. Our aim was to encourage students to increase their interest in Greek terminology and produce scientific texts in proper Greek. A psychometric questionnaire was prepared and distributed through the e-class to all the students that had opted for the translation assignment. We wanted to motivate students to live more of their lives in English without forgetting their Greek identity, communicate their attitude towards translation through the questionnaire, and improve their language skills while being at the same time free from stress of translating texts as an examination task. To this end, even though we had to face various problems such as multi level classes or reluctant participation in the lecture process, we partially put grammar aside, reintroduced translation as a teaching method where necessary, assisted students to develop a critical view towards various sources (translation machines & Greek<>English web dictionaries), and conducted an amount of experimentation described in this paper.
Apart from the use of the e-class, to the aid of the teacher-students communication and the distribution of English academic and scientific extracts, the completion of the translation task had as a prerequisite the participation in an oral interview. The material was mostly assigned individually and pair work was the only other form of work that was permitted. In the latter case a larger piece of translation material was assigned. The results of the questionnaires in discussion demonstrated a differentiation of attitudes amongst students belonging to different departments and along with the oral interviews comments consisted a profile for each student’s translation problems, a profile useful to the teacher in order to deduct conclusions about problematic areas in the students’ L2 acquisition.