Prof. Christian Nord的演講會上，有位師大譯研所的教授問Nord教授，是否贊成以「翻譯」做為語文教學的方法。Nord 教授持反對意見，其中一個理由認為翻譯的技巧頗複雜（牽涉到所謂的「風格對稱」問題），在學生的語文基礎還未穩定之前，教這些無益於學生的語文程度。
所以，將（雙向）翻譯大幅融進我們的英語教學過程中，應是我們未來所應做的事。而且，我這幾年的一些生活經驗（特別是坐火車時）也讓我了解到翻譯也是一件可以幫忙促進中文進化和淨化的事。當我在思索「為了本車廂安寧，請（各位旅客）小聲談話」英文應該如何翻譯時（※鐵路局的翻譯：For the tranquility of the coach, please speak in a low voice…），我也突然了解到，我們也有太多（就文化而言）非常可笑的中文，呵呵…
Objections to using translation
We can consider possible problems with using translation by looking at possible negative impact on learners and then on teachers. Under each heading we can consider some of the concerns expressed.
Translation teaches learners about language, but not how to use it. Translation does not help learners develop their communication skills.
Translation encourages learners to use L1, often for long periods of class time, when the aim of modern teaching is to remove it from the classroom.
The skills involved in translation may not be suitable for all kinds of learners. It may, for example, be best for learners who are more analytical or have preferences for verbal-linguistic learning strategies. It may not be suitable either for young learners or lower levels.
Learners may not see the value of translation as an activity to help them learn English, and instead see it as a specialised, and difficult, activity.
Translation is a difficult skill which must be done well in order to be productive and rewarding. Learners and teachers not only have to take into account meaning but also a range of other issues, including form, register, style, and idiom. This is not easy, but too many translation activities rely on it being done well.
Translation activities are tricky to set up and take a lot of preparation, especially anticipating possible problems.
Translation requires a motivated class.
The teacher needs to have a sophisticated knowledge of the L1 and the L1 culture. Without this translation can create more problems than benefits. This level of awareness is almost impossible in a multi-lingual class.
Following on from this, if a teacher uses L1 in a translation activity then this can undermine their work to maintain an English-speaking environment in the class. Learners inevitably see them as an L1 resource.
Translation is by definition text-bound, and confined to the two skills of reading and writing. This makes it hard to justify for many classes with time restrictions.
Translation is time-consuming and difficult but the teacher must be as good as and better than the learners at it, to be able to manage the activity well.
Many ELT teachers and theorists now see the validity and value of translation as an activity in communicative classrooms (although few coursebook writers offer ideas and materials for this area). Below are some of the ways translations can have a positive impact; many of these also serve as responses to the objections and criticisms expressed above:
Designed well, translation activities in the classroom can practise the 4 skills and the 4 systems. In terms of communicative competence, they require accuracy, clarity and flexibility. Duff: it ‘trains the reader to search (flexibility) for the most appropriate words (accuracy) to convey what is meant (clarity)'.
Following on from this, translation is by its nature a highly communicative activity; the challenge is to make sure that the content being communicated is relevant and that we exploit all possibilities for communication during the activity.
Translation in groups can encourage learners to discuss the meaning and use of language at the deepest possible levels as they work through the process of understanding and then looking for equivalents in another language.
Translation is a real-life, natural activity and increasingly necessary in a global environment. Many learners living in either their own countries or a new one need to translate language on a daily basis, both informally and formally. This is even more important with the growing importance of online information.
Whether we encourage it or not, translation is a frequently used strategy for learners; if we accept this, we need to support them in developing this skill in the right way, e.g. by discussing its role.
Translation can be a support for the writing process, especially at lower levels. Research has shown that learners seem able to access more information in their own L1, which they can then translate.
Discussion of differences and similarities during the translation process helps learners understand the interaction of the two languages and the problems caused by their L1. It also helps learners appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of the L1 and L2, for example in the comparison of idiomatic language such as metaphors.
Teachers can focus translation activities on highly specific learning aims, such as practice of certain vocabulary, grammar points, styles and registers, etc. It also lends itself well to work with other tools such as e-mail and class web pages.
Finally, for many learners developing skills in translation is a natural and logical part of reaching higher levels, and being able to do this well is highly motivating.