Yinyin Wu



Back-interpreting practice refers to interpreting the translated version of a speech back to its source language. The learning opportunities provided by back-interpreting practice can be explained by Swain’s (1985) comprehensible output hypothesis, Laufer and Hulstijn’s (2001) involvement load hypothesis, and Schmidt’s (1990) noticing hypothesis. In the present study, back-interpreting tasks, blended regularly into the undergraduate EFL classroom for 12 weeks, involved 43 high-intermediate to advanced learners working in pairs and interpreting the Chinese translation of English spoken discourse back into English. They then learned useful expressions from the original English discourse before discussing relevant topics in small groups. Two task types—role plays and chain games—were created to avoid monotony. Qualitative data from focus-group interviews were analyzed to understand 12 lower-level speakers’ and 11 higher-level speakers’ perceptions of the two task types and of the practice in general. Results showed that the format of role plays primed learners to put themselves in the listeners’ shoes by focusing on the gist and avoiding literal interpretation. However, the problem of incomprehensibility still existed for some lower-level speakers, and some higher-level speakers might have slacked off by being vague, failing to exhaust their linguistic resources. On the other hand, chain games engaged learners more because higher concentration, faster responses, and language flexibility were required. The format also facilitated more collaboration and peer-learning. Back-interpreting practice exposed learners’ blind spots and enhanced their awareness of native-like expressions. The practice may address the challenges of large class size and heterogeneous oral proficiency levels witnessed in EFL contexts.


Key Words: Chinese-to-English back-interpreting, materials for English oral training, task-based language teaching








口譯形式的回譯練習,是把已經翻譯完成的演說,用口譯的方式翻回原語言。回譯練習帶來的學習機會可由以下三種理論解釋:Swain (1985) 之可理解輸出假設、Laufer and Hulstijn (2001) 之投入量假設,以及Schmidt (1990) 之注意假設。在本研究裡,回譯練習在大學部EFL課堂上固定實施,為期12週,參與者為43位中高級至高級程度的英語學習者。練習方式為兩人一組,把英語口語語篇的中文譯稿用口譯的方式翻回英語,再從英語原文當中學習實用的表達方式,最後小組討論相關議題。為了避免單調,研究者設計兩種任務類型:角色扮演及接龍遊戲。本研究採用焦點團體訪談及質性資料分析的研究方法,探索12位口語程度較低者與11位口語程度較高者對於兩種任務類型及整體回譯練習的想法。分析結果顯示角色扮演的形式促使學習者為聽者著想而著眼大意、避免直譯。然而,有些口語程度較低者仍有可能譯得令人難以理解,或聽不太懂對方的口譯。有些口語程度較高者則可能偷懶而粗略帶過,沒有窮盡自身的語言資源。另一方面,接龍遊戲讓學習者更為投入,因為必須更為專注、反應更快、語言更為靈活。接龍的形式也促進互助合作與同儕學習。口譯形式的回譯練習暴露學習者的盲點,提升他們對於道地表達方式的意識。EFL情境裡可能遇到的挑戰為班級人數過多及學生口語程度不一,而口譯形式的回譯練習有助於教師面對這兩項難題。




DOI: 10.30397/TJTESOL.201904_16(1).0003

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