14 Nov

This blog was written to accompany a series of talks that I will be giving (or have already given) between 2011 and 2013 on the subject of translation in English language teaching. Its primary purpose is to act as a handout for the talk.

There won’t be any new posts, but anything new that I (or you) want to add will be done through the comments or through edited versions of the original posts. You might want to check from time to time to see what is new.

A number of versions of this talk can be viewed online.  Here’s one:


I hope that at least some of the ideas and suggestions will prove useful to you. In the spring of 2014, my book, provisionally entitled Translation and Own-Language Activities, in the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series, will be published.



12 Responses to “Welcome”

  1. philipjkerr December 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    The British Council in Istanbul have posted on Youtube a very short video of me talking about the presentation I gave there. It can be seen here

  2. lclandfield January 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Hi Philip

    Finally got around to checking this out. An excellent initiative, and an original spin on the use of a blog. I’ll be sharing this with other teachers around the world at conferences (actually, at ThaiTESOL at the end of January to start with!)

  3. Tamaz Murtskhvaladze January 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Hi Philip,

    The idea itself is very interesting and I am sure it will help lots of teachers all around the world, but the difficulty also lies in translating special texts, how to teach students of different professions to translate their professional texts. Precisely, translating legal documents.

    Are there any textbooks developing this skill? Or can you suggest any methods to develop it?

    • philipjkerr January 31, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

      Hello Tamaz
      My primary interest is in the process of translation as an aid to language acquisition, rather than in specific translation practices – an area in which I have absolutely no expertise whatsoever!
      Apart from the coursebook that is being used at Tbilisi State University (which I thought looked good), I see from a search at Amazon (using ‘legal translation’ as a search term) that quite a lot of titles come up. Some of these are language-specific (e.g. Spanish and Polish), but others look very interesting (e.g. ‘Translating Law’ by Debora Cao, 2007, Multilingual Matters). You are no doubt in a better position than me to evaluate such material.

  4. eslnotes February 26, 2012 at 7:30 pm #


    Thanks for writing about the use of translation in class, I jotted down some thoughts of its use here: http://t.co/MpB0bYuM


  5. Karin Grech December 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    I attended your Macmillan webinar today and I really liked your presentation and the fresh ideas of how to use translation in our teaching. I teach groups of young Italians in summer and the bilingual take on “Chinese whispers” will come as a welcome addition to my games repertoire. Especially, since it will be an opportunity to let them speak their native language without admonishing them for it.
    One (unrelated) question I have though: you said the”Straightforward” booklet on dictation and translation can be downloaded, I went on the website you gave us, but it does not seem to be downloadable. There is an ‘Expand’ button which did not work for me.
    Thanks, Karin

    • philipjkerr December 5, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

      Sorry about this problem. I’ll try to get it sorted, but, in the meantime I’ve sent you a pdf. If anyone else wants a copy, let me know!

  6. Phil Stoneman December 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    I wanted to send you a quick message to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed your webinar; I’ve thought for some time that L1 is a resource to be utilised, as opposed to something to be forcefully avoided, and it’s good to see this being addressed.

    I teach and run training sessions in Colombia, and a number of teachers have asked me rather sheepishly if they can use Spanish in their classes, as they’ve been told not to, but it would seem to have a number of uses. Another problem here is not just what teachers and coordinators think, but also that many students echo this in believing that good teachers always use English, and one must be rather mediocre to use Spanish; it’s difficult to get students to reassess this.

    It recently struck me how strange it is that L1 is essentially prohibited in the Celta, whereas when you progress to the Delta (which I’m currently midway through) it becomes a viable option; is this perhaps to avoid the historical problems of grammar translation and L1 for the sake of laziness, and an example of having to know the rules before you can break them?

    All the best,

    • philipjkerr December 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

      Thanks, Phil.
      I think the rules about what is acceptable in Celta and Delta courses vary enormously from tutor to tutor. But I think it’s true to say that the average tutor on these courses is not always terribly up-to-date … As for getting students to believe that the best teacher is not necessarily a native-speaker who only ever uses English, I appreciate the problem. It must be not dissimilar for doctors whose patients expect them always to prescribe pills.

  7. SAM December 16, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

    Hi Philipp
    The video that shoul be on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niW83epFdtw, is not available. Is it possíble to fix the problem? I need to watch it.



    • philipjkerr December 16, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

      I’m sorry about that (but thanks for pointing it out). I think it might have been a British Council recording, but if they’ve decided to take it down, there’s nothing I can do about it, I’m afraid.


  1. The Role of Translation in Language Learning « English@METU DFS–Ankara - August 21, 2012

    […] https://translationhandout.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/welcome/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Published: July 25, 2012 Filed Under: Uncategorized […]

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