Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 141

King Saud University Deanship of Higher Studies Department of English Language

Deanship of Higher Studies Department of English Language Autonomous Learning in Teaching Translation: A Comparative

Autonomous Learning in Teaching Translation:

A Comparative Study between Conventional Teaching and Autonomous Learning

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics in the Department of English at the College of Arts, King Saud University

Prepared by Sarah Ahmad Al Shubaily

Supervised by Prof. Mahmoud I. Saleh

1429 / 2008

دٕعع كهًنا خعيبج بٛهعنا دبعاسذنا حدبًع بٓثادآ ٔ خٚضٛهجَلإا خغهنا

دٕعع كهًنا خعيبج بٛهعنا دبعاسذنا حدبًع بٓثادآ ٔ خٚضٛهجَلإا خغهنا ىغل

:تمجزخنا سٌرذح ًف مقخسمنا مهعخنا سٌرذخنا هٍب توراقم تسارد تمجزخنا سٌرذح ًف مقخسمنا مهعخنا و يذٍهقخنا

زٍخسجامنا تجرد ىهع لىصحنا ثابهطخمن لاامكخسا تناسزنا يذه جمذق دىعس كهمناتعماج ، بادلآنا تٍهك ، تٌزٍهجولإا تغهنا مسق ًف تٍقٍبطخنا ثاٌىغهنا مهع ًف

داذعإ ًهٍبشنا ذمحأ ةراس

: فازشإ حناصنا دىمحم / رىخكذنا

1429 / 2008

:تمجزخنا سٌرذح ًف مقخسمنا مهعخنا سٌرذخنا هٍب توراقم تسارد تمجزخنا سٌرذح ًف مقخسمنا مهعخنا و يذٍهقخنا

Autonomous Learning in Teaching Translation:

A Comparative Study between Conventional Teaching and Autonomous Learning

Submitted by

Sarah Ahmad Al Shubaily

This dissertation was defended and accepted on 6/24/2008

Dissertation Committee:

Prof. Mahmoud I. Saleh

Dr. Shadiah Sheikh

Dr. Ahmad Al Banyan

I

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate whether following the

autonomous learning approach in teaching translation gives better

results than the conventional method in the development of translation

skills, and the promotion of a positive attitude towards this method of

the students in the commercial translation course at the College of

Languages and Translation at King Saud University. The four main

aspects tested in this study were; (1) lexical accuracy, (2) structural

accuracy, (3) the overall accuracy of the students‟ translation, and (4)

their attitude towards autonomous learning. The subjects of the study

were

sixty-seven

female

students

at

level

eight

attending

the

commercial translation course, and were divided into a control group

(33 students) taught following the conventional method, and an

experimental group (34 students) taught following the autonomous

learning method. They were required to take a pretest before the

experiment,

and

two

post-tests

after

it

to

measure

performance

differences, and the experimental group only had to complete a

questionnaire and an interview at the end to measure their attitude

towards

this

method.

The

finding

showed

that

there

was

no

significant difference between the scores of the two groups in the

II

lexical

and

structural

accuracy,

but

the

experimental

group

outperformed the control group in the overall accuracy at a 0.04 level.

In addition, the study found that the subjects had a positive attitude

towards autonomous learning.

III

تسارذنا صخهم

ٗهع ٘ذٛهمزنا ظٚسذزنا ٔ ممزغًنا ىهعزنا ةٕهعا شٛثأر ٍٛث خَسبمًنا ٗنإ خعاسذنا ِزْ ذفذْ

خفشعًن ٔ ,خًجشزنا داسبٓي شٕٚؽر ٙف خٛهعبف شثكأ بًٓٚأ خفشعًن خًجشزنا ٙف دبجنبؽنا ءادأ

خٚسبجزنا دلابجًنا ٙف خًجشزنا حدبي ٙف كنر ٔ ظٚسذزنا ٙف ةٕهعلأا ازْ ٍي دبجنبؽنا فلٕي

)1

( :سٔبحي خعثسأ ٗهع خعاسذنا دضكس .دٕعع كهًنا خعيبج ٙف خًجشزنأ دبغهنا خٛهك ٙف

خيبعنا خلذنا )3 ( ,صٕصُنا ٔ مًجنا تٛكشر ٙف خلذنا )2 ( ,دبحهؽصًنا واذخزعا ٙف خلذنا

.ظٚسذزنا ٙف خمٚشؽنا ِزْ لٕح دبجنبؽنا معف دٔدس )4( ٔ ,خًجشزنا ٙف

ٙف خٚسبجزنا دلابجًنا ٙف خًجشزنا حدبي دبجنبؼ ٍي ٌٕزع ٔ عجع ٗهع خعاسذنا ِزْ ذمجؼ

واذخزعبث ٍٓغٚسذر ىر ٔ )خجنبؼ 33 ( خؽثبعنا :ٍٛزعًٕجي ٗنا ًٍغل ذل ٔ ٍيبثنا ٖٕزغًنا

مجل .ممزغًنا ىهعزنا كٚشؼ ٍع ٍٓغٚسذر ىر )خجنبؼ 34 ( خٛجٚشجزنا ٔ ,٘ذٛهمزنا ةٕهعلأا

بزهك دشعح ىث ,ًبٛهجل ًبَبحزيا ٍٛزعًٕجًنا بزهك ءبؽعإث خثحبجنا ذيبل خثشجزنا ءاشجإ

عٚصٕزث ًبعٚأ خثحبجنا ذيبل بًك .خٛجٚشجزنا حشزفنا خٚبَٓ ٙف بٚذعثً

بَبحزياً

ًبعٚأ ٍٛزعًٕجًنا

لٕح ٍٓئاسآ خفشعًن كنر ٔ ػمف خؽثبعنا خعًٕجًنا دبجنبؼ عي خهثبمي ءاشجإ ٔ خَبجزعا

خٛئبصحإ خنلاد ٔر شٛثأر ّن ٍكٚ ىن ممزغًنا ىهعزنا ٌأ خعاسذنا دشٓظأ ذل ٔ .ممزغًنا ىهعزنا

دبجنبؽنا ءادأ ٌأ لاإ خًٛهغنا مًجنا تٛكشر ٔ دبحهؽصًنا خًجشر ٙف دبجنبؽنا ءادأ ٗهع

معف دٔدس ٌأ بًك ,خٛجٚشجزنا خعًٕجًنا دبجنبؼ ٖذن معفأ ٌبك سذصًنا ضُنا ىٓف ٙف

.خٛثبجٚإ ذَبك ممزغًنا ىهعزنا لٕح دبجنبؽنا

IV

IV
IV
IV
IV
IV
IV
IV
IV
IV

V

Acknowledgments

Thanks to almighty Allah that I was able to accomplish this

work. In the beginning, I would like to thank my supervisor Professor

Mahmoud I. Saleh, who has been the ideal thesis supervisor in being

so generous in giving advice

and guidance to

help

me

in

the

completion of my work. For his support and encouragement I shall

always be indebted.

I

would

also

extend

my

sincere

thanks

to

the

Deputy

Chairperson of the College of Languages and Translation, Mrs. Hoda

Al Helaisi for giving me the permission to carry out the experiment in

the college, and to all the faculty members in our College for their

moral support.

My appreciation and gratitude goes to a very special person,

Miss. Sharifah Al Zahrani, the teacher of the commercial translation

course at the College of Languages and Translation, who allowed me

to conduct the experiment in her classes and spared no effort to help

me throughout the data collection, and for her cooperation, helpful

advice and suggestions without which the completion of this thesis

would not have been possible. I would also like to thank the subjects

VI

of this study for their cooperation especially Dareene Al Malki, for

her help.

Last

but

not

least,

my

warmest

thanks,

appreciation,

and

gratitude are due to my family and in-laws especially my mother. Her

encouragement, faithful heart, and invaluable advice inspired me to

accomplish this work, Dr. Fahad Al Abduljabbar and Dr. Latifah Al

Bassam who motivated me to pursue my postgraduate studies, my

sisters Mashael , Nourah and my sister in-law Amal AlAbduljabbar

who were the most supportive. Finally, I would like to express my

appreciation to my brothers Khalid, Abdallah and especially Fahad

who stood by my side and was always there to help.

VII

Table of contents

Page

Abstract………………………………………………………

Dedication…………………………………………………… IV Acknowledgments…………………………………………… V

I

Table of contents………………………………………………VI List of tables……………………………………………………X

List of figures…………………………………………………

XII

Chapter One

1

Introduction and Research Problem

1

1.1. Introduction

1

1.2. Significance of the study

3

1.3. Statement of the problem

5

1.4. Purpose of the study

8

1.5. Hypotheses of the study

11

1.6. Delimitation of the study

12

1.7. Definition of terms

13

Chapter Two

15

Review of Related Literature

15

2.1. Introduction

15

2.2. Theoretical Background

16

2.3. Translation Teaching

19

2.4. Studies on Autonomous Learning

24

2.4.1. Autonomous Learning and Language Skills

24

2.4.2. Autonomous Learning and Translator Training

31

2.4.3. Autonomous Learning and Learners‟ Attitudes

33

2.4.4. Autonomous Learning and Self-access Centers

38

2.5.

Conclusion

42

Chapter Three

45

Methodology and Instruments

45

3. Methodology

45

3.1. Subjects

46

3.2. Instruments for data collection

47

3.2.1. Pre-test

48

3.2.2. Post-test 1

48

3.2.3. Post-test 2

49

VIII

3.2.5. Tests‟ validity

50

3.2.3. Diaries

50

3.2.4. A questionnaire

51

3. 2. 4. 1. Questionnaire validity

52

3.2.

4. 2. Questionnaire reliability

52

3.2.5.

Interviews

52

3.3. Treatment

53

3.4. Measurement

57

Chapter Four

59

Data Analysis and Results

59

4.1. Introduction

59

4.2. Results of the t-test and the analysis of variance of the two groups

in the pre- and post tests

60

4.2.1.

Results of the control and experimental groups

in the pretest

60

4.2.2.

Performance of the control group in

the pre and post-tests

63

4.2.3.

Results of the experimental group

in the pre and post-tests

65

4.2.4.

Results of the t-test and the analysis

of the scores of the two groups in the lexical accuracy of the assigned texts in the post test

67

4.2.5.

Results of the t-test and the analysis

of the scores of the two groups in the structural accuracy of the assigned texts in the post test

69

4.2.6.

Results of the t-test and the analysis

of the scores of the two groups in the overall accuracy

 

of the assigned texts in the post test

70

4.2.7.

Results of the second post-test

72

4.3. Results of learners‟ questionnaire.

73

4.4. Diaries

80

4.5. Interviews

84

4.6. Discussion of results

87

CHAPTER FIVE

95

Summary, Implications and Suggestions for Further Research

95

5.1.

Summary

95

5.1.2.

Summary of the main findings

96

IX

5.2.1. Theoretical implications

100

5.2.2. Pedagogical implications

101

5.3. Suggestions for further research

102

References

104-109

Appendixes

110-125

X

List of Tables

Table (1) T-test experimental against control group English into Arabic for the pre-test

61

Table (2) T-test experimental against control group Arabic into English for the pre-test

63

Table (3) T-test control group English into Arabic for the pre- and post-tests

64

Table (4) T-test control group Arabic into English for the pre- and post-tests

64

Table (5) T-test experimental group English into Arabic for the pre- and post-tests

65

Table (6) T-test experimental group Arabic into English for the pre- and post-tests

65

Table (7) T-test experimental against control group English into Arabic for the post-tests in the lexical accuracy

68

Table (8) T-test experimental against control group Arabic into English for the post tests in the lexical accuracy

68

Table (9) T-test experimental against control group in English into Arabic for the structural accuracy in the post-test

XI

Table (10) T-test experimental against control group in Arabic into English for the structural accuracy post tests

70

Table (11) T-test experimental against control group English into Arabic for the post-test in the comprehension

71

Table (12) T-test experimental against control group Arabic into English for the post-test in the comprehension

71

Table (13) T-test experimental against control group according to the results of the second post-test

73

Table (14) Experimental group‟s responses to the questionnaire (items related to the effects of autonomy on their performance)

74

Table (15) Experimental group‟s responses to questionnaire (in relation to using the internet as a resource)

75

Table (16) Experimental group‟s responses to questionnaire (in relation to the relevance of autonomy to their needs)

77

Table (17) Experimental groups‟ responses to questionnaire (in relation to the teacher‟s role)

78

XII

List of Figures

Figure (1) Results of the Experimental against Control group in the English into Arabic for the pre-test

61

Figure (2) Results of Experimental against Control group in the Arabic into English for the pre-test

62

Figure (3) Results of Experimental against Control group English into Arabic and Arabic into English for the post-tests in the lexical

accuracy

Figure (4) Results of Experimental against Control group English into Arabic and Arabic into English for the post-tests in the structural

accuracy

68

70

Figure (5) Results of Experimental against Control group English into Arabic and Arabic into English for the post-tests in the comprehension of the assigned texts

72

1

CHAPTER ONE Introduction and Problem

1.1. Introduction

Over the last two decades, there has been considerable interest

in learner autonomy as a necessary condition of effective learning. It

is seen as an issue principally of students taking greater control over

the content and methods of learning (Holec, as cited in Chan et al.,

2001). It grows out of the individual‟s acceptance of his or her own

responsibility for learning. The learner is perceived as a decision-

maker who has, or will develop, the capacity for choosing among

available tools and resources to create what is needed for the task at

hand.

Learner training is a concept that bears the same meaning as

learner autonomy. The main components incorporated in learner

training are: that learners establish what needs to be learnt, they use

the resources available to achieve these objectives, and they monitor

their

learning

progress.

According

to

Fernandez-Toro

(1999),

a

complete learner training program must ensure that the learners are

2

able

to

tackle

each of

these

three

aspects successfully,

and

as

autonomously as the particular circumstances of the course allow.

In the autonomous learning approach, the roles of both learners

and teachers are different from their roles in the conventional or

teacher-centred approaches. While in the latter teachers control all

aspects of teaching and learning, the former emphasizes that learners

take control of the learning process by having choices over what and

how to learn, and teachers are portrayed as helpers, facilitators,

resources, consultants, counsellors, coordinators, and advisors (Little,

1996; Chan et al., 2003).

It is worth noting, however, that one of the assumptions

associated with learner autonomy is that it is a Western educational

trend unsuited to Eastern contexts which have different educational

traditions (Chan, 2001; Schmenk, as cited in Ellili & Chaffin,2007).

Nevertheless, some scholars in the field of applied linguistics believe

that autonomy is valid for all learners, and that all language learners,

no matter what their culture is, are individuals with their own set of

needs and preferred learning styles. Therefore, educators need to

match the different aspects of autonomy with the characteristics and

needs of learners in specific contexts (Littlewood, 1999).

3

The

present

study

will

try

to

examine

the

effects

of

autonomous learning in the teaching of translation. Instead of relying

on teachers to overcome the problems associated with translation, the

students will be provided with some resource materials on translation,

and they will be required to refer to them, on their own, in order to

produce the proper translation of texts.

1.2. Significance of the study:

This study deals with a very important issue that is related to

the pedagogy of translation teaching, which is identifying the effects

of autonomous learning on the accuracy of English-Arabic translation.

The significance of this study, for researchers in the field of

applied linguistics and translation training, lies in the fact that it will

shed

light

on

the

important

effects

of

autonomous

learning on

translation teaching. To my knowledge, and as mentioned in the

review of related literature, the issue has not been explored in any

empirical study, especially in relation to English-Arabic translation.

This

study

also

combines

the

investigation

of

the

effects

of

autonomous learning on lexical, structural, and overall accuracy on

the performance of translation students.

Moreover, this study may

serve as a common basis for further research attempting to investigate

4

the effects of autonomous learning but in different classroom settings,

or to investigate other aspects of autonomous learning using the same

methodological procedures implemented in this study to define and

analyze the effects under focus.

On the other hand, the results of the study will contribute to the

pedagogy of translator training by improving the current programs in

that it requires students to search for all the information they need. It

will also develop their ability to do research which is an important

skill for university students in general, and for translation trainees in

particular. In viewing the characteristics of most Saudi university

students, it is possible to state that they need to view themselves

undertaking more responsibility when selecting, analyzing, evaluating

and applying information for their purpose.

Despite the research that was conducted on the impact of

learner autonomy on learning foreign languages, it is still unclear

whether such an approach will have a positive influence on translation

students‟ performance, particularly when it comes to English-Arabic

translation.

This study is also significant to students for two reasons. First,

it involves how best to improve the performance of translation

5

trainees: their lexical, structural, and overall accuracy. Hence, giving

the students responsibility for their learning in groups enables them to

develop effective independent learning strategies in all areas. Every

classroom activity from project work to writing portfolios and self-

assessment can be turned into an opportunity for enhancing our

students‟ lifelong learning skills. The same concept can be applied to

any learning environment.

The second significance of this study to students is that in

autonomous learning they have the chance to escape from canned

knowledge and discover thousands of information sources. As a

result, their education fulfils the need for interdisciplinary learning in

a multicultural world (Lee, 2002).

To my knowledge, there has not been any attempt to clarify

precisely the impact of autonomous learning on the accuracy of

students‟ translation. The study would therefore be of benefit not only

to students, but also to teachers and curriculum designers.

6

1.3. Statement of the problem

Our students in Saudi Arabia in general, and at the university

level in particular, have been studying in teacher-centred classrooms

where teachers feed them all the information they need to know

throughout the different

courses.

They are seldom asked to

do

research or obtain any knowledge they need on their own. Besides,

university students are supposed to be in a position to determine the

skills that they would like to acquire, and to know what would be

required from them after they leave the university as translators and

interpreters.

Almost

all

graduates

of

the

College

of

Languages

and

Translation, Department of European Languages and Translation at

King Saud University, get involved in translation tasks in their

professional careers. While the instruction and training those students

receive at this Department covers several fields of translation, the

approach used in training them is usually teacher-centred. Aside from

the focus and quantity of translation tasks which students carry out in

these courses, much of the work is done in the classroom with direct

instruction from teachers, and minimal reference to some materials

that are related to the field of translation or to the specialized subject

7

of the text, which are mainly some articles from books or newspapers

that are usually used to help students identify correct equivalent

terminology and texts. However, the teachers are considered the

centre of the classroom, and they discuss the translation with their

students throughout the duration of their meeting.

To

clarify

the

problems

that

the

students

of

translation

encounter, the researcher conducted some interviews with 15 teachers

in the Department. Based on the teachers‟ responses, it was found that

the problems that students encounter during their training are mainly

in three areas: difficulty of the terminology in the texts, the structural

ambiguity

found

in

texts

of

different

genres,

and

the

lack

of

background knowledge about the topics dealt with in each field which

affects the overall accuracy of the translation. It was also found that

the teachers usually help students to identify the different elements of

the

structures

used

in

the

assigned

texts,

give

definitions

and

equivalents

for

difficult

terminology,

and

provide

background

information about the topics presented in the texts. So, it is possible to

state that learners rely totally on their teachers to overcome the

difficulties of translation. Teaching translation in the Department can

be described as conventional and teacher-centred.

Throughout

the

8

translation of texts, teachers usually help students and give them

direct

instruction

on

how

to

go

about

the

translation

process.

Dictionaries of different types are not present in all translation classes,

and if students encounter any difficulties, the teachers help them and

provide answers to all their questions.

In his discussion of the problems of the teaching of translation

in some Arab universities, Bahumaid (1995) mentions two important

issues. First, that the standard of most Arab undergraduate students in

both native and foreign languages as they embark on the translation

course is unsatisfactory. Second, he mentioned that translation is not a

„lecture‟ course, it requires a considerable degree of „sensitivity‟ in

assessing alternative versions suggested by students while translating,

as well as „resourcefulness‟ in the utilization of translation techniques.

He also mentioned the importance of providing translation trainees

with samples of translated texts in different versions in order to

illustrate the techniques and procedures of translation. Some of his

ideas support the views of the teachers at the Department of European

Languages and Translation, College of Languages and Translation,

King Saud University. Bahumaid assumes that students‟ interaction,

9

through extensive discussion with instructors and peers is possibly the

best solution to the translation problems.

1.4. Purpose of the study

This

study

will

try

to

shed

light

on

the

problems

associated with translation skills. English and Arabic texts that are

specialized in certain fields may have some ambiguous words and

sentence structures and are usually written in different styles, and this

is where the difficulty comes when students attempt to translate them.

As

a result, this

will have an impact on the accuracy of their

translation. In this study, the effects of a different approach in training

students in translation will be examined.

The study aims at changing the students‟ traditional view of

learning

to

take

more

responsibility

for

their

own

learning,

to

encourage them to think, and reflect critically on their learning habits.

The translation process requires more personal responsibility from the

learners. Therefore, the autonomous learning approach will overcome

the problems associated with translator training programs which do

not provide learners with training in translation of all sorts of

specialized texts that translators tackle in real life situations. By

providing

resources

in

translation

classrooms,

students

will

be

10

exposed to a wide range of texts, and will read a lot of material which

will improve their mastery of specialized terminology, their ability to

write proper structures in the source and the target language, and will

learn more about the variety of topics that are dealt with in each field

of translation. Finally, they will become ready to carry on with their

careers as translators.

The researcher has designed an experimental study where

students of a translation course will be the centre of their classroom.

The

course

will

be based on

the students themselves,

with

an

introduction of a pedagogy based on specific objectives, and a shift

away from the dominance of the teacher to a situation in which the

teacher acts as the supervisor of self-directed learning. Such a system

implies profound changes in the attitudes and habits of both teachers

and students. The former have to discard their traditional role as the

authority from whom all the knowledge flows, and develop instead an

aptitude for empathy, and act as listeners. The latter must no longer

hold a passive role they used to have in the old system, but, on the

contrary, must take charge of their own training. In other words, they

are expected to become capable of defining their needs, objectives,

11

techniques, materials, and the system of the evaluation of their own

performance.

The objective of this study is to discover whether or not

autonomous learning, when used as a teaching method in translation

courses, gives better results than the conventional methods of teaching

in

the

development

of

translation

skills

of

students

attending

translation courses at the Department of European Languages and

translation at the College of Languages and Translation, King Saud

University.

More

specifically,

following questions:

the

study attempts

to

answer

the

1. How does the availability of resource materials help students

achieve overall accuracy by gaining background on the topics

of commercial texts?

2. Will students‟ abilities to resolve the ambiguity of unfamiliar

lexical items in commercial texts improve as they follow an

autonomous learning approach?

3. Will students‟ abilities to resolve the ambiguity of the structure

of commercial texts improve as they follow an autonomous

learning approach?

12

4. How do students react to the utilization of autonomous learning

in their commercial translation course?

5. What

recommendations

can

be

made

to

improve

the

performance of students in translating commercial texts?

1.5. Hypotheses of the study

This study is designed to test the following null hypotheses

which are drawn from the earlier mentioned questions:

1. The lexical accuracy of students‟ translation will not improve when

following the autonomous learning method in translation training.

2. The structural accuracy of students‟ translation will not improve

when

following

training.

the

autonomous

learning

method

in

translation

3. The overall accuracy of students‟ translation will not improve when

following the autonomous learning method translation training.

4.

Students

do

not

support

following

the

autonomous

approach in their translation training.

1.6. Delimitation of the study

The

study

will

be

conducted

on

female

students

learning

at

the

Department of European Languages and Translation at the College of

Languages and Translation, King Saud University in Riyadh. Two

13

groups of students who are attending the commercial translation

course are going to be the subjects of this study.

Another limitation of the study is the time that will be spent to

complete the study: five to six weeks only, and this can be justified on

the grounds of two reasons: the first is that a longer period may

influence the performance of the students negatively. If they do not

achieve the anticipated goals of autonomous learning, they may

achieve low grades in their in-term exams and this will affect their

overall grades in the course. Another reason is that the students are

unfamiliar with the method, and they might reject or oppose it.

1.7. Definition of terms

Autonomous learning:

The ability to take control of one‟s own learning, which entails being

able to define one‟s learning aims, select the content and monitor the

progression of one‟s learning (Holec, 1981).

Bergen‟s definition: a readiness to take charge of one‟s own learning.

He added willingness and capacity, and also claims that this ability is

not innate, but training in that area is very important i.e., training

learners to take charge of their own learning (Dam, 1995).

14

According to Little (1996), learner autonomy is often regarded as a

defining characteristic of all sustained learning that attains long term

success. The aim is to enable learners to transfer school knowledge

into action knowledge, and use it in their lives, prepare learners for a

lifelong learning process.

Self-directed learning: Teaching how to learn in second language

instruction (Wenden, 1998).

Autonomous learner: An active participant in the social processes of

classroom learning, someone who knows how to learn and can use

this knowledge in any learning situation she/he may encounter at any

stage of one‟s own learning (Dam et al, cited in Gardner & Miller,

1999).

Self-access:

The

integration

of

resources,

people,

management,

individualisation, needs analysis, learner reflection, counselling, and

learner training to provide a learning environment (Gardner & Miller,

1999).

Commercial translation: The translation of commercial (business)

texts. This category may include marketing and promotional materials

directed to consumers, or the translation of administrative texts.

15

CHAPTER TWO

Review of Related Literature

2.1. Introduction

According to Yumuk (2002), in all formal educational contexts

in developing countries, recitation is a common teaching mode. The

classrooms are usually teacher-centred, and students receive their

knowledge from their teachers passively. Recitation-based teaching

mainly

encourages

learners

to

develop

skills

to

master

school

knowledge, which involves memorization of information learnt at

school rather than action knowledge, which encompasses critical

reflection on new information and its application to a wider context

(Holec, Tharp & Gallimore, as cited in Yumuk, 2002).

Vilmi 1995, (as cited in Hobrom, 2004) stated that cultural

awareness among students in different parts of the world is enhanced

by

opportunities

for

interaction

offered

by

online

resources.

Moreover, in searching for and retrieving information online, students

have greater interaction with course materials, providing them with a

sense of ownership as well as enjoyment of the course content.

16

2.2. Theoretical background

Vygotsky (1978) developed his theory of “the zone of proximal

development” in order to explain how we arrange the environment so

as to make it possible for the child to progress from one level to the

next. He defines “the zone of proximal development” as the distance

between the actual development level as determined by independent

problem solving and the level of potential development as determined

through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with

more capable peers. Therefore, it is possible to state that if a child

passes successfully through the zone of proximal development, then

he/she is able to become an autonomous learner.

In 1985, Burner illustrated how this process of development can

be transferred to more formal pedagogical contexts. He discussed the

gradual handing over of control to the learner, and how this is a

condition for successful learning. He adds that in order to gain the

psychological

benefits

of

successful

learning,

the

learner

must

gradually assume control of the social interaction that gives outwards

form and substance to the learning process.

As for foreign language learning, Little (1996) assumes that the

aim of language learning is that the learner could acquire knowledge

17

and skills that he can deploy independently of the immediate context

of learning. Language use depends on the capacity that the language

user is able to cope with unfamiliar situations and new discourse

types. Thus we must always think of learner autonomy in relation to

both to learning and using the target language. If the teachers‟ task is

to support learners in the “zone of proximal development,” at every

stage of the learning process we must think of the zone and the

gradual relinquishing of control to the learner simultaneously and

equally in terms of the skills and knowledge that underpin language

learning and the skills and knowledge that underpin language use.

To achieve successful learning, school knowledge must be

integrated

with

action

knowledge,

and

this

task

requires

more

responsibility and control from learners (Barnes, as cited in Yumuk,

2002), otherwise “learning becomes abstract and removed from reality

and as a result less likely to engage intrinsic motivational processes

since students are unable to make a meaningful connection between

what is learned and what is experienced in life outside.” (Condry, as

cited in Ushioda, 1996).

Action knowledge should play a central role in the theory of

learner

autonomy.

The

outcome

of

developmental

learning

is

18

autonomy,

in

the

sense

that

it

enables

the

child

to

operate

independently

across

a

range

of

domestic

and

social

contexts.

However, the growth of this autonomy, whether in speech or in

behaviour

generally,

requires

not

only

the

constant

stimulus

of

interaction with others, but also guidance and supervision (Little,

1996).

Wolff (1994) believes that learner autonomy can take language

learning

beyond

the

communicative

approach.

He

discussed

the

different role that teachers can take in the language classroom; they no

longer control everything that happens in the classroom, and their

main function is to help learners develop their autonomy. This is done

by helping them choose appropriate and adequate learning materials,

by explaining learning strategies and techniques, and by helping them

improve their evaluation processes.

As a global concept of language learning, learner autonomy

goes

far

beyond

communicative

language

learning.

Developing

language awareness and focussing on language forms and functions

are of the same importance as project work. Promoting language

processing

and

language

learning

is

as

important

as

authentic

materials and authentic interaction. In a way, the concept of learner

19

autonomy unites all the post-communicative approaches to language

learning (Wolff, 1994).

2.3. Translation teaching

In translating and interpreting, field can be a problem when

working from a source language such as English which has developed

a scientific and technical culture, and a wide variety of what Gregory

(as cited in Hatim & Mason, 1990) calls „marked fields of discourse‟

to reflect this „world experience‟. Translators working into target

languages

in

the

developing

world

face

the

challenge

of

new

expressions in these fields (Hatim & Mason, 1990).

Snell-Hornby (1992) proposed a curriculum for translation

courses. Her model begins with preparatory language programme,

which is not part of the degree course itself, but rather represents a

transitional phase between school and university levels and should

ensure that anyone aiming to be a translator or interpreter must start

the training with adequate command of all languages concerned. The

next part of the curriculum is very essential and will concentrate on

areas such as the following: cultural studies, contrastive work with

texts, language for special purposes, and introductory courses in areas

like translation theory and translation methods. In the advanced part

20

of the course, students will be specialized in either translating or

interpreting. The focus will be on intensive practical training allowing

for specializing in different fields, and these should be accompanied

by theoretical seminars on specialized areas, problems of translation

and relevant areas of linguistics.

Sainz (1992) presented a number of techniques for improving

translation skills. First is introducing passages where different texts

that deal with a new topic are given to learners. These texts are in both

source and target languages. At this point students will compare them,

and this will help them overcome some of the problems that are

related to vocabulary. The second technique is called back-translation

of the students‟ own work. After translating the text, students will

keep it for a certain period of time, and then they will translate it back

to its original source language. Finally, they will compare it with the

original text. The third technique is based on a comparison between

the translations of a text that was done by the students to published

translated versions of the texts taken from an official source. This

process will help make students aware of their mistakes as they

compare their texts to higher standard texts. The fourth technique is

called collaborative translation. In this case, students compare their

21

translations

with

their

colleagues

in

pairs

or

groups.

The

fifth

technique is reporting to a group or to the class. This technique

encompasses different activities. Students present articles on general

knowledge to the class in the source language, and as they do, they

must take notes in the target language; later, the students will report

back collectively in the target language. Finally, Sainz (1992) presents

the technique of transcribing and translating. As students listen to a

text, they must transcribe it. Then, they must translate what they have

transcribed.

Mok (1995) conducted a study that deals with the issue of

lexical equivalence in legal translation between English and Chinese.

It claims that the ability to match equivalent lexical items in English

and Chinese is one of the criteria, though not the only criteria for

producing a piece of good legal translation. She also adds that

specialized lexical items vary in their order of accessibility and hence

present

themselves

in

varying

degrees

of

difficulty to

students,

depending on the knowledge and vocabulary gaps among different

students. Legal knowledge should as well as syntactical structures of

legal language should therefore be an integral part in the teaching of

legal translation.

22

Trinh

(1995)

discussed

the

problems

associated

with

collocations in translation, and how interpreters and translators tend to

make errors in using the appropriate collocations while translating.

She claimed that the reason behind these errors was the lack of

knowledge of English collocations by the translators and interpreters

from Vietnamese into English. The errors are also related to both

lexical and grammatical collocations. The solution she suggested for

this problem is creating extensive matching collocations in source and

target languages as well as compiling workbooks and exercises in

each specific language so that students of translation will be taught

collocations according to their level of proficiency.

Hale (1996) presented trainee interpreters with dialogues that

illustrate a common, real life interpreting situations involving medical

and legal issues and terminology. Each involved both Spanish and

English languages. This material was designed to be used as a

resource in teaching interpreting. The situations occurred in offices of

medical practitioners and in legal contexts.

As for the teaching of commercial translation, Defeng (1999)

states that some of the problems in teaching commercial translation in

Hong Kong include: the unclear definition of commercial translation,

23

the inadequate teaching and resource materials, the improper use of

assessment, the separation of theory and practice, and the inadequate

approach to translation teaching. According to him, the pedagogical

implications to solve those problems are to provide a pedagogical

definition of commercial translation, to develop the teaching and

reference materials, to follow an integrated approach to teaching

commercial translation, and to diversify the use of assessment.

Jarvella, et al. (2002), state that in translation, a range of types

of knowledge and competences are brought together. These include

knowledge in specific subject domain, theoretical and functional

knowledge about human language and its use, knowledge of the

source and target languages, and understanding the linguistic genre

being used. Moreover, Bell (as cited in Robert et al. 2002) believes

that competence in translation includes socio-linguistic ability to

understand and produce texts adequately in relation to the subject of,

participants in, and purpose of a communication.

Snel Trampus (2002) describes two approaches that are usually

followed in translation classrooms. These are norm-based, and the

other is the target audience-centred approach. In the former, students

are usually more sensitive to linguistic aspects. They deal with the

24

micro-level of the text, and only in an advanced phase they become

able to grasp the text as an organic whole. For a translation problem

they give a tentative solution as a first hypothesis and then they ask

their colleagues or teachers for error elimination. On the other hand,

target audience-centred approach requires the translator‟s awareness

of the social and psychological contexts of both the target and source

languages.

2.4. Studies on autonomous learning

2.4.1. Autonomous learning and language skills

This section will provide some studies that showed the positive

effects of learner autonomy on second language learning. Some of

them dealt with different language skills such as listening, speaking,

writing, and the teaching of grammar. Other studies dealt with the

attitudes of learners towards taking charge of their own learning

processes, and their readiness for autonomous learning.

In the eighties, learner autonomy implementation started in the

language classrooms. Bertoldi, Kollar and Ricard (1988)

describe

a

three-step process of autonomization designed for adult students

within the framework of an intensive ESL program of the Canadian

federal government. The process begins by raising students' awareness

25

of individual linguistic strengths and weaknesses. Next, students are

encouraged to set personal priorities for areas which require most

attention. Then, students take action in a variety of ways which suit

their learning styles and strategies. They also explained the way in

which the process is reinforced throughout the major components of

the program.

Cresswell (2000) conducted a study to determine the effects of

autonomy in teaching writing. He states that giving learners control

over

the

initiation

of

feedback

and

student

self-monitoring

are

valuable ways of increasing the element of autonomy in the learning

of writing. In order to overcome the problems that are associated with

learning writing skills, a three-stage programme of procedures was

applied, which involved (a) raising awareness of process and product,

(b) demonstrating annotations, and (c) evaluating annotations. The

programme was effective in developing responsible self-monitoring

so that students prepared in this way were found to be capable of

articulating their concerns in composing and in paying attention to

content

and

organization,

while

technique to learn language.

also

using

the

self-monitoring

26

Dias (2000) demonstrated introducing autonomous learning in

Japan. His study tested the effects of introducing information and

communication technology into selected oral English classes. The

students were attending a Japanese university specializing in health

and animal sciences, and were required to enroll in a course that had

speaking and listening skills as primary focus. The aim of that study

was to free the learners from dependence on teachers. The results

showed that the participants in the information and communication

technology classes made greater efforts to speak English with their

classmates and teachers. They were also more likely to anticipate a

need for English in their future lives.

Sullivan and Lindgren (2002) present the results of a study

carried out in Sweden to investigate the promotion of self-assessment

and reflection in the adult second language (L2) classroom. The

method that they proposed utilized the computer to record a writing

session, and later to replay the entire text production in retrospective

peer sessions. The method provides the students with an opportunity

to look into their own composing processes both linguistically and

holistically as they view and discuss the reasons behind the different

actions during the writing process. Results show that after using the

27

method, all writers experienced useful, although different, insights

into their own writing behaviors. Furthermore, this method is not

restricted to an L2 environment, but is likely to be effective in other

learning situations where reflection is useful for the acquisition

process.

Hobrom

(2004)

investigated

learner

autonomy

and

online

resources for college-level students of Arabic. His study aimed to

answer

three

questions;

how

do

college-level

students

perceive

themselves as autonomous learners? What is the value of online

resources as learning aids for the autonomous language learners?

What are the inherent features of online resources that empower the

autonomous learner? He collected his data through interviews with

students, their instructors, and journals written by the participants. The

participants were asked to express their views on autonomy, online

resources, and how they might have been empowered by using such

resources in their language learning experience. The findings of the

study

suggested

that

the

participants

perceived

themselves

as

autonomous

learners

in

two

ways.

One

has

to

do

with

such

characteristics

as

taking

more

responsibility

and

being

more

motivated.

The

other

was

about

them

as

learners,

such

as

28

improvement in their skills and being able to evaluate themselves. It

was also found that having multimedia-type materials online made the

learning

experience

participants.

interesting,

engaging,

and

exciting

for

the

Chiu (2005) investigated the reactions of language learners in

response to teacher roles that were practiced to promote learner

autonomy. The study aimed at investigating the relationship of teacher

roles and learner autonomy in a cyber pedagogical context, a context

where the teacher and learners were L2 users of English with diverse

linguistic

and

cultural

backgrounds

and

experiences.

The

data

consisted of email messages generated in a twenty-month period of

the cyber English class. The results showed that the teacher‟s teaching

roles

became

less

active

as

the

course

progressed

whereas

the

counseling roles remained active throughout the instructional period.

Data analysis also called into question the universality of established

categories of teacher roles, suggesting that cultural context and

experience need to be taken into consideration. Moreover, the results

showed

that

teaching

roles

did

not

provide

opportunities

for

promoting

learner

autonomy,

but

counseling

roles

created

a

29

supportive learning environment for the learner to develop autonomy

in language learning.

Vickers and Ene (2006) explored the ability of the advanced

learners of English as a second language to make improvements in

grammatical accuracy by autonomously noticing and correcting their

own grammatical errors. In the recent literature in second language

acquisition, it is suggested that classroom tasks can be used to foster

autonomous language learning habits (Dam, 2000). Therefore, it is

important to consider classroom tasks that encourage autonomous

language learning behavior. Working with 13 advanced English, as a

second language composition students, the researchers engaged the

subjects in an explicit task in which they compared their own use of

grammatical

form

in

their

own

written

output

to

the

use

of

grammatical form as used in a text written by a native speaker. Based

on the comparison between their own written output and the native

speaker‟s

text, subjects subsequently corrected

their grammatical

errors. The results suggested that such a comparison task is beneficial

in allowing learners to make gains in grammatical accuracy.

Alsop (2006) states that extending more decision-making and

choice in the learning process to students is a central principle in

30

theoretical

formulations

of

learner

autonomy.

His

study

was

conducted in a Spanish course, and students completed three choice

plans or choice projects during the semester. Each one corresponded

to a three week cycle during which they selected the content and

materials to prepare for a culminating presentation to the class. The

presentation was required, but the manner in which it was developed

and executed was at the discretion of the learners. In addition, learners

participated in self-evaluation of their work. Although the participants

reported some difficulties adapting to this initiative, primarily a

discomfort with self-evaluation and tension between the choice and

the non-choice elements of the course, the overall response was

favorable. Particularly salient findings include participants‟ emphasis

on the increased activity, target language use, and role reversal

between student and teacher that choice added to the course. The

researcher suggests that the choice component, along with some other

aspects of the teacher‟s instruction did, in fact, assist learners in

engaging in numerous autonomous learning activities to varying

degrees.

31

2.4.2. Autonomous learning and translator training

Yumuk (2002) investigated how an internet information

search based programme in an academic translation course in a

Turkish university can encourage learners who have a traditional view

of learning to take more responsibility for their own learning. The

programme was implemented to encourage students to use the internet

in order to select, analyze, evaluate and apply relevant information to

enhance the accuracy of their translations. The results indicate that the

programme had a significant impact on students, in that it promoted a

change in the view of learning towards more autonomy, and learners

began to view learning more meaningfully.

Frankenberg-Garcia

(2005)

states

that,

in

addition

to

dictionaries, grammar books and encyclopedias, it is also possible

nowadays

for

students

to

look

things

up

on

the

internet.

She

conducted an exploratory study on translation students at a Portuguese

university; the aim of that study was to investigate the ability of

students to use paper references as well as new technology combined

together as resources to help them in resolving the problems they

encounter while dealing with translation tasks; how they interacted

with dictionaries combined with corpora, search engines, term banks

32

and other language references they chose to use. The findings of the

study indicated that while there was no clear competition between

paper and electronic references, there was a marked preference for

bilingual

over

monolingual

support,

for

materials

mediated

by

terminologists

and

lexicographers

over

ones

requiring

more

autonomous user interpretation, and for more prestigious over less-

known resources. The study also emphasized that in addition to

training learners to use separate resources, it is important to teach

them how to integrate their skills at using them together, particularly

with respect to combining bilingual with monolingual research.

Monzo (2005) conducted a study to foster a certain degree of

autonomy in the documentation tasks on the part of the translator-to-

be by developing a textual information resource consisting of an on-

line database fed with original and translated legal documents and a

search engine through which the retrieval of documents was based on

textual classification criteria. He also suggested that this tool may also

be used in professional translation practice by real translators in order

to improve their efficiency. In the translation classroom, texts are used

so that trainees can learn those conventions applying to the original

texts they have to translate. Both the original system and the target

33

system are observed so that, in an English-Spanish course, students

can learn how a sales agreement works both in English and Spanish.

This way of proceeding seeks to develop a writing competence in

translators so that they use the conventions which sound familiar to

their audience in their own texts. Though very roughly explained, this

is a well-known and widely-accepted methodology in translation

training (Baker, Borja Albi, Hurtado Albir, as cited in Monzo, 2005),

which may nevertheless need to be altered when working with texts

which are intended to be overt translations (Snell-Hornby, cited in

Monzo,2005).

2.4.3. Autonomous learning and learners’ attitudes

Kraus-Srebri , Brakus and

Kentri

and learners’ attitudes Kraus-Srebri , Brakus and Kentri (1981) carried out an experiment in self –

(1981)

carried out an

experiment in selfdirected learning in which Bloom's Taxonomy of

Educational Objectives was used to establish six levels of cognitive

ability. For each level different learning tasks were prepared. Children

in four classes in a Belgrade school were each invited to select the task

that they individually felt to be the most appropriate and to complete it

together with others who had chosen the same task. During the

experimental lessons, pupils showed enthusiasm and an ability to

34

select their own learning tasks, and to cooperate well in their

learning.

Takeda

(2002)

conducted

a

study

to

examine

how

the

experience of a self-directed learning (SDL) process has influenced

autonomous L2 learning behaviour and perceptions, by focusing on

learners‟ behavioural changes in frequency and total time spent in

learning Japanese outside the classroom, factors that were influential

in participants‟ achievement compared to their initially set goals, and

participants‟ perceptions of their future SDL extracurricular studies.

The study employed a survey and two interviews with students in

Japanese 201 at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. The findings

suggested that the implementation of the SDL process influenced

participants‟ behaviour as well as their attitude toward their future

SDL studies. Feasibility of topics, flexibility of objectives, motivation,

availability

of

materials,

meeting

with

instructor,

and

time

management were the major factors that influenced participants‟

achievement of their SDL objectives.

Gan (2003) conducted a research to find out empirically about

perceptions

and

(SDLL)

among

experiences

in

university

EFL

self-directed

language

learning

students

in

two

different

social

35

contexts: Mainland China and Hong Kong, and to provide empirical

grounding for the potential attitudinal and behavioural differences in

SDLL between successful and less successful language learners. The

survey study identified significant differences concerning the overall

patterns of SDLL attitudes, strategies and motivation between the

above mentioned two groups of subjects. The results revealed that the

different levels of success as EFL learners might be explained by a

complex and dynamic interplay of internal cognition and affect,

external

incentives

and

social

contexts.

Most

importantly,

the

successful

students,

motivated

by

their

enduring

interest

and

satisfying learning history in English, consciously chose to aim above

and beyond what was required by the university, whereas the less

successful students, frustrated and demotivated, were struggling to

meet the university English course requirement.

(2005)

reported

a

small-scale

research

on

the

predisposition of adult ESOL learners in a further education college to

the components of autonomous learning. The research was based on

the perception that there is an untested assumption that all students

will react positively to the concept of autonomous learning and, by

implication, are positively predisposed to it. Using a questionnaire

36

administered among 20 selected students and supplementing this with

a focus group discussion, the research sought to test this assumption in

the context of ESOL students. Towards achieving this, the research

sought

the

reaction

of

the

subjects

to

various

components

of

autonomous learning. The findings indicate that students in this group

are

to

a

large

extent

negatively

predisposed

to

many

of

the

components of autonomous learning. It concludes with the injunction

that teachers should not assume that all students would be positively

predisposed towards autonomy because of a number of reasons,

ranging from the psychological to the historical. It suggests that a lot

of work needs to be done in order to bring these students around to

accepting the usefulness of autonomous learning.

The study conducted by Booth (2007) was an exploration of

adult undergraduate learners' experiences of becoming and being self-

directed

in

their

learning.

Sixteen

adult

undergraduate

learners

enrolled in a university that educates and serves adult learners and

that, in its mission statement, describes its learners as self-directed.

The study gathered learners' own conceptualizations of self-directed

learning and analyzed the different meanings that they placed on their

experiences of becoming and being self-directed in their learning.

37

Data was collected through interviews with students, and written

responses to a number of open-ended questions about themselves as

learners. Four dimensions of participants' experiences of becoming

and being self-directed in their learning emerged from the data, and

they

are: responsible

learning, "do-it-yourself"

learning, integrative

learning, and mindful learning. The four dimensions reveal significant

differences

in

how

participants

experienced

course

content

and

knowledge, the role of the university, their instructors, other students,

forms of feedback, and themselves as learners. The implications of the

study

include

the

importance

of

surfacing

and

examining

our

assumptions

about

adult

learners,

realizing

the

benefits

of

epistemological development in adult learners, promoting the role of

the

instructor-as-mentor,

institutional change.

and

taking

a

systems

approach

to

2.4.4. Autonomous learning and self-access centers

One of the components of autonomous learning is that learners

should refer to self-access centres or resources in order to obtain

information. Littlejohn (1985) states that learner-centred approaches

normally

focus

either

on

the

design

of

syllabuses

that

relate

specifically to an analysis of students' needs or on the provision of

38

classroom activities that encourage more student participation. He

argues

that

a

truly

learner-centred

approach

should

instead

be

concerned with allowing learners a greater role in the management of

their learning, by providing opportunities for learner choice in the

method and scope of study. Such opportunities could be introduced

into the traditional classroom with minimal problems, and some

suggestions for this are put forward. Learner choice as a more

fundamental aspect of a language course can be provided through the

establishment

of

self-access

centers,

and

his

work

reports

on

experiments conducted at the University College of Bahrain. Teachers'

and learners' attitudes to the centre are discussed, and it is suggested

that more needs to be done to guide both teachers' and learners'

expectations in order to make learner choices an active feature of

foreign language study.

Healey (1993) examined self-directed learning in a technology-

intensive

language

learning

centre.

She

addressed

the

issues

of

personal and environmental factors that influenced learner behavior,

the

factors

influencing

learner

choices,

reasons

for

initial

and

sustained engagement in learning, and the role of technology in self-

directed language learning. The results of the study showed that

39

certain aspects of the Learning Centre and learner behavior in this

centre, enhanced motivation and the use of resources, while other

aspects created difficulties. In general, motivation was enhanced by a

supportive emotional climate, facilitators who took a proactive role,

collaborative

activities

and

the

use

of

technology.

Learners‟

personality traits were also an influence: those who were relatively

autonomous did well with the human and other resources available.

However, problems arose due to lack of knowledge of self-directed

learning strategies, including decision-making, the need for technical

assistance with equipment and software in a busy environment, and

mismatches between learning style and material.

Thomson (1998) states that a curriculum within an institutional

setting has many limitations. Autonomous learning skills can assist

learners in overcoming these limitations (Thomson, 1995). Though it

might be difficult for teachers to shift their roles from “pedagogy,”

which means the art and science of teaching, to “andragogy” which

means the art and science of helping learners learn (Nunan, 1996). In

his

discussion,

Thomson

asserted

the

importance

of

identifying

learning resources, making the learners aware of them, and making

the resources accessible through innovative curriculum arrangements.

40

He believes that this will promote diverse usage of learning resources

and encourage a variety of interactions between the learners and

resources. This in turn is hoped to promote learner autonomy.

Yeung (1999) believes in the importance of the availability of

self-access centres (SAC) in language learning institutes. She asserts

that learners and teachers can make use of these centres in order to

reinforce course objectives at the individual level. This will bridge the

gap between independent language learning and total teacher control,

and may be particularly valuable for students whose past experiences

have led them to expect a great deal of teacher direction. She

investigated the issue by describing how self-access learning was

integrated as part of a class-taught course in Business English and

evaluated the effectiveness of this approach.

On the other hand, Detaramani (1999) states that the integration

of self-access approach to language learning requires learners to be

responsible, diligent, and motivated. The aim of his study was to

ascertain the needs of the learners and to investigate their attitudes and

motivation towards this mode of learning. To go about that, the

researcher

utilized a

questionnaire

and

the

results

revealed

that

learners consider that the major roles of self-access centres are to help

41

learners to learn English independently and equip them for their

studies and future careers. Moreover, they prefer multimedia materials

and facilities which focus on speaking, listening and English for the

work place. The interviews with learners showed that they had strong

extrinsic motivation to improve their English, yet they seemed to be

reluctant to use the self-access mode of language learning. It was also

found that students who are keen on using the self-access centre have

a stronger desire to improve their English, have intrinsic motivation

and more positive attitudes towards learning English.

42

2.5. Conclusion

From the previous discussion and presentation of studies on

autonomous learning, it can be seen that most of them dealt with the

application of such an approach to teaching foreign languages and to

teaching skills. However, not much work has been done to explore the

effects of autonomous learning on the teaching of translation. To my

knowledge,

there

has

not

been

an

attempt

to

tackle

this

issue

especially in translation training except for the two studies by Monzo

(2005) and Yumuk (2002). However, the researcher was not able to

find studies on autonomous learning in translation teaching in the

context of English/Arabic translation training. Nor were there studies

that tackled the issue of autonomous learning in the Saudi educational

context.

Regarding the conventional methods of translation training

mentioned

above,

there

are

different

teaching

methods

that

are

followed. However, some of them focus on the importance of the

comparison between different versions of translated material, and

between source and target languages texts such as Sainz (1992) who

considers using this method as a very useful way in helping students

overcome

vocabulary

problems.

On

the

other

hand,

introducing

43

background information to learners was not taken into consideration

in Sainz‟s method. While Mok (1995) mentioned the importance of

providing background knowledge as an integral part of translator

training, his focus was on lexical equivalence only and not on the

structure of the texts. Moreover, the two approaches presented by

Snel-Trampus (2002) for translator training did not consider the

importance of background information, and proposed that trainees

should refer to peers or teachers only for error elimination.

These studies have some disadvantages in that none of them

designed an approach that combines the three areas that should

receive

training

in

translation

teaching:

lexical

equivalence,

background information on the topics in order to achieve overall

accuracy, and structural equivalence.

The aim of this study is to test the applicability of autonomous

learning to the training of translation students dealing with texts from

English into Arabic and vice versa. This will be done by providing

learners with the suitable resources that help them understand the

process of translation by focussing on three areas: lexical equivalence,

background information, and structural equivalence.

44

The study also aims to measure the readiness of our students to

become autonomous learners and to find out their attitudes towards

their experience. It can be seen from the studies presented in the

review of literature that teachers should not assume that all students

are ready to become autonomous learners because of a number of

historical and psychological reasons, but more effort should be spent

in order to bring students to accept the usefulness of autonomous

learning (Ade-ojo, 2005; Gan, 2003). The researcher will also try to

focus on that particular issue by providing the subjects of the study

with detailed explanation of the method of learner autonomy and its

advantages.

45

CHAPTER THREE Methodology and Instruments

3. Methodology

As mentioned earlier, the aim of this study is to investigate the

effects

of

following

the

autonomous

learning

approach

on

the

accuracy of the students‟ translation of commercial texts. This was

done through a comparative study between conventional teaching and

autonomous

learning

in

teaching

commercial

translation.

The

researcher

designed

a

quasi-experimental

study,

where

both

quantitative and qualitative data were obtained and analyzed to find

answers for the questions of the present study.

A short-term fully controlled experimental design would be

suitable to measure individual well defined outcome effects, while a

longer-term non-experimental study using qualitative measures such

as observational procedures and think-aloud protocols would yield

important data related to effects on learning processes. A combination

of various data collection methods within one single study will help in

strengthening

confidence

levels

about

results

(Felix,

2005).

Therefore, the design of this study involved the collection of both

quantitative

data

obtained

through

pre-

and

post-tests

and

questionnaires to the subjects, and qualitative data obtained from

46

diaries and interviews with the subjects as well in order to give

comprehensive answers to the questions of the study.

The basic difference between this approach and the traditional

practice that was followed is that the researcher provided resources

including:

different

kinds

of

dictionaries,

some

translated

texts,

reading materials related to the topics of the course and a list of some

useful websites related to the field of commercial translation so that

the learners can refer to them in order to translate. The teacher‟s role

in

that

case

was

to

supervise

and

guide

students

on

how

to

successfully make use of these resources, and not to give direct

answers or solutions to the problems of translation.

The

next

section

will

give

details

on

the

participants,

instruments

for

data

collection,

treatment,

and

methods

of

data

analysis.

3.1. Subjects

 

The participants of the study were (67) female students of the

commercial translation course at level eight in the Department of

European Languages and Translation at the College of Languages and

Translation at KSU. As mentioned earlier, the research design was

quasi-experimental since participants were two already existing intact

47

groups i.e., not randomly selected by the researcher (Brown &

Rodgers, 2002). Their ages were between 21 and 23 years old, and

they have received training in translation through a number of

different courses of translation in different fields including; mass-

media translation, translation in natural sciences, translation in the

field of administration, translation in the field of medicine, military

translation, and literary translation. They were divided into two

groups: experimental and control. The experiment involving the

implementation of autonomous approach to commercial translation

training lasted for about five weeks.

3.2. Instruments for data collection

The researcher used five tools in conducting the study (1) a pre-

test and a post-test, which were translation tests of two paragraphs,

one in Arabic and the other in English taken from the same resource

in order to ensure that they are of the same level of difficulty, (2)

another post-test was administered at the end of the semester to

identify any possible long-term effects of following the autonomous

learning approach in translator training, (3) a questionnaire to measure

the students‟ attitude towards autonomous learning, (4) students‟

diaries reflecting on their experience which were obtained through

48

forms that were given to students to fill out with their beliefs about the

problems

they

encountered,

the

progress

they

made,

and

their

suggestions for improving their performance, and (5) interviews that

were conducted five months after the experiment to find out the long

term effect of autonomous learning.

3.2.1. Pre-test

The

pre-test

was

given

to

both

groups

to

measure

their

translation

accuracy

and

their

ability

to

select

the

appropriate

equivalent structures in the target language. In addition, it aimed at

defining the difficulties that students encountered at the beginning of

commercial translation training. It consisted of two paragraphs: the

first was in English and was about „commerce,‟ and the second was in

Arabic and was about „credit facilities.‟(See appendix 1)

3.2.2. Post-test 1

A post-test was administered after the treatment to measure the

performance of students in commercial translation in both groups. It

consisted of two paragraphs: one was in English about „liquidation‟,

and the other was in Arabic about „taxes.‟ They were both taken from

commercial

texts

(see

appendix

2),

and

were

administered

immediately after the last week of the intervention.

49

The anticipated difference in the performance of the pre-test

and post-tests clarified the relative learning efficiency of the two

instructional methods.

3.2.3. Post-test 2

A second post-test was administered at the end of the semester

to measure the possible long-term effect of learning the skills of

commercial translation following the autonomous learning method

(see appendix 7). This test was the second in-term exam of the

commercial translation course, and was around the eleventh week of

the semester.

In grading the pre- and post-test 1, each text was given three

different scores; for lexical equivalence, for overall accuracy, and for

structural accuracy. The results were then analyzed to give accurate

measurement of the performance of the subjects, and to give clear

answers to the first three questions of the study. As for the second

post-test, it was corrected by the teacher of the course, and the results

were given to the researcher at the end of the semester.

3.2.4. Tests’ reliability

The reliability analysis of the pretest and the post-tests that was

calculated revealed a relationship between individual items in the

50

scale. The researcher got an overall index of the repeatability or

internal

consistency

of

the

scale

as

a

whole,

since

the

Alpha

Cronbach's ranged from (0.7903 to 0.8652) which is considered

highly accepted.

3.2.5. Tests’ validity

To validate the tests, they were shown to some instructors who

are teaching translation courses and their insights were taken into

consideration in modifying the two passages.

3.2.3. Diaries

At the end of each lecture, students were given a form that has

open-ended

questions

about

the

difficulties

they

encountered

in

translating commercial texts, the resources that they used while

translating the assigned texts, their evaluation of their performance,

their suggestions regarding possible ways to improve their proficiency

in

translation,

and

comments

on

the

method

of

teaching.

(See

appendices 3 & 4) the responses of the subjects were summarized

according to the most repeated answers and are presented in the

results section in chapter four.

51

3.2.4. A questionnaire

At the end of the treatment, the subjects of the experimental

group

were

given

a

questionnaire

to

express

their

impressions,

remarks, and attitudes towards the autonomous learning approach.

(See appendix 5). The questionnaire consisted of twenty-two items

that were grouped into four categories to find out the attitudes of the

subjects towards autonomous learning as follows; items 1 to 5 were

intended to target the perceptions of respondents to the effects of

autonomy on their performance, items 6 to 10 were about the use of

the internet as an important resource in autonomy, items 11-14 were

to find out the subjects‟ opinion about the relevance of autonomous

learning to their needs, and 15-22 were to know their perception of the

teacher‟s role. The responses of the questionnaire were analyzed and

the results are presented in chapter four.

3. 2. 4. 1. Questionnaire validity

To validate the questionnaire it was shown to colleagues in the

department and modifications were made to the items in order to meet

their comments.

52

3.2. 4. 2. Questionnaire reliability

To define the internal homogeneity of the questionnaire, the

Pearson‟s correlation coefficient was calculated. It was revealed that

there was a linear association and the variables were perfectly related.

(Appendix 8) shows that all of the items were significant at 0.01 level.

This means that the questionnaire was suitable to achieve the research

objectives

and

questions.

The

Alpha

Cronbach

of

the

internal

consistency of the variables was also calculated, and the questionnaire

achieved 0.8439 which means that it had internal consistency (see

appendix 7)

3.2.5. Interviews

The researcher conducted interviews with eighteen students

who were subjects in the experimental group five months after the

experiment in order to find out the long term effects of autonomy on

their performance in translation. The interview consisted of eight

questions which were mainly to ask the subjects whether this method

was useful for the students or not, whether they have applied what

they have learned through the autonomous learning approach to other

courses or not, if they have used it in translating their graduation

53

project, and to ask about their suggestions in order to make this

approach more useful for translator training (see appendix 6).

3.3. Treatment

The control group, consisting of 33 students, attended regular

classes in the commercial translation course, and were taught by the

traditional method i.e., teacher-centred. Their teacher gave them a

new text every week to work on during the class time, and continued

the

unfinished

translation

of

sections

each

text,

of

the

texts

the

teacher

as

homework:

discussed

the

during

the

problematic

structures and guided the students throughout the whole translation

process, solving any problems, and directly correcting any mistakes.

The experimental group, consisting of 34 students, practiced

commercial translation following the autonomous learning approach.

This

approach

is

learner-centred

where

learners

dealt

with

the

difficulties of both concepts and structure on their own, and without

any direct intervention from the teacher. They went about that by

using resources that were provided in the classroom. These included:

books and text-books on English/Arabic translation that explained the

issues of difficulty in translation and training of translators, reading

materials on economics and business in the source and the target

54

languages, magazines and newspapers that contain articles related to

business,

commerce

and

economics,

bilingual

and

specialized

dictionaries, lists of useful internet websites, and some translated texts

from and into Arabic and English. The students were asked to refer to

these resources to obtain any information they needed in order to help

them translate the assigned texts. During the class time, students were

divided into groups and worked on the assigned texts in the class

together using the resources available. Later, they were asked to

search the internet for texts about the same topics they tackled in class

in both English and Arabic, and use them to complete translating the

assigned texts. Then, they submitted those along with the diaries to

their teacher.

It is worth mentioning that students rejected this method of

teaching in the first two lectures, and they complained about how

difficult it was for them to go about translation without guidance from

their teacher. Therefore, the teacher explained, and illustrated clearly

for the students how to search the internet and what exactly to look for

during the searching process. Later, in the following lectures students

got familiar with the method and started to get used to it and actually

translated complete texts.

55