Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Introducing High-Tech Translation at Undergraduate Level to Enhance Students' Language Competence and Awareness: A Case Study Geared to Improve the Standards of English and Arabic of Khulais Undergraduate Students of Faculty of Science & Arts, Department of English & Translation

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Introducing High-Tech Translation at Undergraduate Level to Enhance Students' Language Competence and Awareness: A Case Study Geared to Improve the Standards of English and Arabic of Khulais Undergraduate Students of Faculty of Science & Arts, Department of English & Translation

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of introducing teaching of translation at the undergraduate level by the Department of English & Translation, Faculty of Science & Arts, King Abdul-Aziz University, Saudi Arabia with the aim of exploring and developing aspects of communicative competence and language awareness. The study is applied to 1st year students studying science subjects and humanities. The research hypotheses have been tested against a sample group of 40 respondents out of 160 students. The researchers explored a number of linguistic and non-linguistic, namely socio-cultural factors responsible for the students' lowering standards of language proficiency. Then an intensive language course to acquire the requisite basic skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking was designed in order to place the students at a reasonable position to initiate their remedial translation program.

Keywords: Translation teaching, Communicative competence, Language awareness, High-tech

1. Introduction

The majority of the students who are admitted into the new branch of King Abdul Aziz University at Khulais, Faculty of Science and Arts, have very poor knowledge of English language. Despite the fact that these students have scored significantly high marks in the admission exam to college, they still have very disturbing problems with reading and writing and they can hardly communicate orally. What is more upsetting is that they show a distinct lack of interest for learning. They are not motivated. So many of the students have a very scanty opportunity to study English at the university as they have majored in science subjects. Moreover, they are not well placed to receive knowledge in the area of their scientific majors as long as English is used in these departments as the medium of instruction. For some students, the situation is further blurred by a number of non-linguistic factors which might act as a stumbling block preventing any kind of intervention to set the bar for developing language competence.

There are as many as 160 students who have been admitted to the college this year. Two thirds of these have enrolled in humanities - which include English and literature. The overall level of achievement of this category is generally observed to be lower compared to the science students. One crucial factor is also detected in connection with the majority of the students is that they have been to public secondary schools wherein the quality of teaching is dreadfully shocking. Even the few who have frequented the private schools, their levels do not display any marked disparities from those of their public peers, and both sectors, exam scores have been deliberately rigged or inflated, judging by their poor performance. Though the private schools hire teachers from abroad who are well trained and well placed to perform the teaching operation along the known methods of teaching, they are tempted to follow the footprints of their counterparts at the public schools. Expatriate teachers shall not have their contracts renewed unless they conform to the policies of the administration of the private school which implicitly entail exerting all kinds of efforts to help students acquire higher marks in final exams. So, as a defensive mechanism, expatriate teachers who have quitted their homelands to realize certain financial ends, have to fall into the quagmire of their peer national teachers.

At public schools most teachers, who are nationals, did not receive any rigorous kind of teacher training required to handle their classes effectively. The luckier ones have attended short on-the - job training sessions where their training course has barely touched on the core methods of teaching not to mention the absence of the complete teaching which should be part and parcel of any training course. So they have, if any, a relatively inadequate mastery of the proper teaching methods and techniques. Hence, the use of instruction aids is noticeably ignored as they relied heavily on the text-books and the chalkboard. …

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