The Art of Teaching Spanish: Second Language Acquisition from Research to Praxis

By Rafael Salaberry; Barbara A. Lafford | Go to book overview

11
Spanish Second Language
Acquisition
Applications to the Teaching of Professional
Translation (and Interpretation)

Sonia Colina    University of Arizona


1.0 Applications of Spanish Second Language Acquisition to
the Teaching of Professional Translation (and Interpretation)

This chapter deals with the application of L2 (second language) research, in particular Spanish second language acquisition (SLA), to the teaching of translation and interpretation. By translation and interpretation I mean cross–linguistic and crosscultural communicative acts for meaningful purposes as opposed to, for instance, translation as a formalistic language exercise. Consequently, I do not deal with translation as a language teaching method or task as used, for instance, in grammar translation; rather, it is concerned with showing how the findings of second language acquisition can inform the teaching (and thus the practice) of professional translation.1 The emphasis will be on translation with some mention of interpretation.2

The chapter is divided in three sections. After a brief introduction, I focus on SLA applications to the teaching of translation by reviewing applications of general concepts first, followed by applications in the areas of reading and writing, pragmatics, discourse and transfer, testing and advanced proficiency, and think–aloud protocols.


1.1 Models of Competence and General Concepts

A significant number of applications of SLA theory to translation studies and, in particular, to the teaching of translation and interpretation are concerned with general models of competence and theoretical concepts, such as communicative competence, the acquisition and learning distinction, and so on. These are, therefore, concepts drawn from general SLA theory and not restricted to Spanish SLA.

Cao (1996) applies Bachman's (1991) model of the components of communicative language competence to the development of a model of translation proficiency (fig. 11.1) for the purpose of testing translator skills. What she terms translational competence includes organizational competence in the source language (SL) and target language (TL), consisting of grammatical and textual competence, and pragmatic competence in SL and TL, made up of illocutionary and sociolinguistic competence. Cao also applies standard SLA assumptions about developmental stages to translation competence: She concludes that in her model of translation, proficiency follows a developmental path and can be acquired/developed/learned from zero to professional levels (339).

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