From Translation to Audiovisual Translation in Foreign Language Learning – Jeniffer Lertola, Università di Bologna

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Although the pedagogical role of translation in foreign language learning has been often debated, translation has never completely disappeared from the language classroom either upon teachers’ or learners’ initiatives. This paper has attempted to trace the role of translation throughout the years within the diverse methods and approaches applied in SLA in order to help better understand translation’s ambiguous reputation, while emphasising how, at any rate, theorists and teachers have recognised its applications and how learners can benefit from them. The CEFRL’s acknowledged importance of language mediation activities which imply the reformulation of a text in order to communicate is a prime example of this reality. Audiovisual Translation —the transfer of verbal language in audiovisual media through captioning or revoicing— fits well into this paradigm, and subtitling in particular, one of the most used and studied AVT modes, has been successfully employed in the foreign language classroom. Besides offering the pedagogical benefits of translation, due to its multimodal nature, subtitling allows for the development of AV skills, namely AV watching, AV listening, AV writing and, in some cases, AV reading. Furthermore, recent research has reported that subtitling fosters vocabulary acquisition, pragmatic awareness and intercultural education. Subtitling practice is a motivating activity, its time and space constraints challenge learners to avoid word for word translation and, importantly, to identify the core message to be translated. It is a task suitable in classroom and online contexts both for autonomous and collaborative learning. Subtitling has proved to have a great potential and is thus capturing scholars and teachers’ attention. Further research in subtitling is desirable in view of a fuller integration of subtitling in the foreign language curriculum.

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