EFL writers often think in native language and translate later. There is a large amount of research focusing on the transfer of L1 thinking, and most researchers advocate to make the best use of translation instead of being entangled in whether translation brings positive transfer or negative transfer. However, few researchers pay attention to the effect and application of translation in EFL writing process. In this paper, text analysis and retrospective interview are conducted to find out how students use translation in EFL writing, especially in the process of idea-organizing and text-generating. This paper also investigates the factors that influence the use of translation. Results show that translation in EFL writing exists among students in different proficiency and it influences their writing process, especially in idea-organizing and text-generating. What’s more, proficiency in English and Chinese both affect the use of translation. This study plays a much more significant role in interdisciplinary teaching and in the development of students’ proficiency in EFL writing.
Key Words: EFL writing; translation; writing process; L1 thinking
1 Introduction 1
2 Literature Review 2
3 Methods 5
3.1 Research questions 5
3.2 Participants 5
3.3 Data collection 5
4 Results 7
4.1 Text analysis 7
4.2 Interview results 9
5 Discussion 12
5.1 Role of translation in writing process 12
5.2 Factors that influence the use of translation in EFL writing 13
6 Conclusions 14
An Exploration of the Influence of Translation on EFL Writing
Although the researchers in the EFL writing area reveal the existence of first language thinking and its inescapability (Friedlander, 1990; Cumming, 1989), they pay less attention to the translation part than the thinking part and neglect to stress the importance of translation. Yang emphasizes the importance of the writing proficiency in translation, but appropriate use of translation in EFL writing is not included. Among different phrases of students’ thoughts in the EFL writing process (Wangamp; Wen, 2002), two portions have direct relations to the use of translation: idea-organizing and text-generating, which can be a suitable entry for this research.
Based on the research background, this paper analyzes the EFL writing status at present and makes a qualitative analysis on the translation in EFL writing process from the perspective of its existence and significance. In-depth exploration will also be made in terms of the usage of translation and its relation to Chinese writing proficiency and English proficiency.
The first chapter of the paper is the introduction of the research in translation and EFL writing. The second part focuses on the introduction of empirical research in this paper. The third chapter is the specific empirical research, including the research questions, the participants and data collection. Then the following chapter shows the results of the outlines and essays as well as the feedbacks in the stimulated recall. The fifth chapter is the discussion of the data, analyzing the role of translation in the two sections of EFL writing-idea-organizing and text-generating and the elements that influence the use of translation in EFL writing-Chinese writing proficiency and English proficiency. At last, conclusion is made and suggestions are given on practical teaching with the intercommunity of EFL writing and translation, making the best use of translation and optimizing the writing pattern at present.
2 Literature Review
The study of EFL writing in China starts from the 1960s and the initial study of the research on EFL writing process focuses on the similarity between the writing processes of two languages. At present it focuses on four areas: (1) research on EFL writing process, including cognitive model and operational model, strategy of conception, individual differences among the learners and variation in different phases; (2)research on EFL writing products, including text analysis, error analysis, contrastive analysis, contrastive rhetoric analysis and corpus analysis; (3)research on EFL writing environment, including analysis of social structure and register, analysis of individual differences in terms of knowledge, motivation and requirement;(4)research on EFL writing teaching, including learning process, learning strategy, development of linguistic proficiency, classroom teaching, writing assessment and courseware development of writing on the internet.
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