chapter  12
Translation in the communicative classroom
ByDouglas Allford
Pages 21

Attitudes towards translation in the modern foreign languages (mfl) classroom are currently so sharply divided as to suggest a fault-line running through foreign language education in the UK. On the one hand, translation is so gravely out of favour that it is viewed almost with hostility under certain interpretations of communicative approaches to foreign language learning at Key Stages 3 and 4. The target language (TL) should be the exclusive medium of instruction, as the OFSTED Handbook prescribes: ‘Teachers should insist on the use of the target language for all aspects of a lesson’ (OFSTED 1993, section 37). And in a classroom where exclusive use of the TL applies, translation can by definition play no part.