Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Applying Back Translation Task (Btt) on Iranian Efl Learners' General Translation Ability

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Applying Back Translation Task (Btt) on Iranian Efl Learners' General Translation Ability

Article excerpt


Back-translation is the process of translating a document that was translated from one language to another back to the original language. Back-translation is a mechanism that ensures that consent forms, surveys and other clinical trial documents are clear and accurate in the translated form. Introducing Translation Studies is among the few very best textbooks on translation studies that brings together translation theory and practice. In the book, Munday has done a superb job in presenting the myriad of up-to-date translation theories in a concise, lucid, and interesting manner. Its translation studies made easy, hence good for translation students, teachers, professional translators, or simply anyone who wants an introduction to the subject (Defeng Li, SOAS, UK).


Up until the second half of the twentieth century, western translation theory seemed locked in what George Steiner (1998: 319) calls a 'sterile' debate over the 'triad' of 'literal', 'free' and 'faithful' translation. The distinctio n between 'word-for-word' (i.e. 'literal') and 'sense-for-sense' (i.e. 'free') translation goes back to Cicero (first century BCE) and St Jerome (late fourth century CE) and forms the basis of key writings on translation in centuries nearer to our own. The 'theoretical' branch is divided into general and partial theories. By 'general', Holmes is referring to those writings that seek to describe or account for every type of translation and to make generalizations that will be relevant for translation as a whole. 'Partial' theoretical studies are restricted according to the parameters discussed below.

The other branch of 'pure' research in Holmes's map is descriptive . Descriptive translation studies (DTS) has three possible foci: examination of (1) the product, (2) the function and (3) the process:

(1) Product-oriented DT Sexamines existing translations. This can involve the description or analysis of a single ST - TT pair or a comparative analysis of several TTs of the same ST (into one or more TLs). These smaller-scale studies can build up into a larger body of translation analysis looking at a specific period, language or text/discourse type. Larger-scale studies can be either diachronic (following development over time) or synchronic (at a single point or period in time) and, as Holmes (p. 185) foresees, 'one of the eventual goals of product-oriented DTS might possibly be a general history of translations - however ambitious such a goal might sound at this time'.

(2) By function-oriented DTS, Holmes means the description of the 'function [of translations] in the recipient sociocultural situation: it is a study of contexts rather than texts'. Issues that may be researched include which books were translated when and where, and what influences they exerted. This area, which Holmes terms 'socio-translation studies' - but which would nowadays probably be called cultural-studies-oriented translation - was less researched at the time of Holmes's paper but is more popular in current work on translation studies.

3) Process-oriented DT Sin Holmes's framework is concerned with the psychology of translation, i.e. it is concerned with trying to find out what happens in the mind of a translator. Despite later work from a cognitive perspective including think-aloud protocols (where recordings are made of translators' verbalization of the translation process as they translate), this is an area of research which is only now being systematically analyzed. The results of DTS research can be fed into the theoretical branch to evolve either a general theory of translation or, more likely, partial theories of translation 'restricted' according to the subdivisions.


In 1978, in a brief appendix to the collected papers of the 1976 Louvain Colloquium on Literature and translation, Andre Lefevere (1978) proposed that the name Translation Studies Should be adopted for the discipline that the itself with "the problems raised by the Production and discipline of translation". …

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