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Title: An experimental evaluation of translation methods in English language essay writing by Chinese international students in Singapore
Authors: Khoo, Simon Kian Seng
Keywords: Humanities::Language
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Khoo, S. K. S. (2022). An experimental evaluation of translation methods in English language essay writing by Chinese international students in Singapore. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: Despite the growing influx of Mainland Chinese students enrolling in tertiary educational institutions in Asia in recent years, there has been a dearth of research on the second language acquisition of Chinese learners at the high school level, and even less so in the context of Singapore where English is the predominant medium of instruction in educational settings. Most international schools adopt the Direct Method of teaching English to students only using the target language. Therefore, the Grammar-Translation Method and bilingual approaches are perceived as unorthodox pedagogies for teaching writing skills in Singapore schools. This paper aims to investigate the issue of L2 learners being affected by L1 thinking. It also hypothesizes that errors in L2 writing could be minimized via translation methods and lessons. The research participants are a group of 37 Chinese international high school students. The study employed an experimental approach with a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods: surveys, essay writing, interviews, translation exercises and error analysis. The findings revealed that the teaching of contrastive linguistics and the error analysis approach were effective in helping the participants to reduce their errors in L2 writing, with similar results in the error reduction rates for both the experimental and control groups. Bilingual dictionaries were useful for recommending lexical choices but not reducing syntactic errors in L2 writing. The inclusion of short translation and back-translation exercises were beneficial in predicting and corroborating the nature of errors, as well as clarifying learners’ intended ideas in their L1. Further research on learners with specific profiles, abilities, and psycholinguistic issues pertaining to language acquisition will be required. Educators are strongly encouraged to capitalize on benefits that can be reaped from allowing learners to compare the linguistic differences between L1 and L2 in helping them to reduce errors in L2 writing.
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