Direction of Translation from English to Japanese

Page No.: 
Shirley Leane, Tottori University; Chinatsu Nobetsu, Hyuga High School; Meredith Stephens, Tokushima University

Translation of written texts from English to Japanese, which poses numerous challenges because of the contrasting word order of the two languages, may be facilitated by right-to-left processing of the original sentence. One drawback of this method is that students may become reliant on processing English in this manner and therefore be less inclined to read English in its natural order. A further disadvantage of processing English from right to left is that it encourages learners to process the text visually rather than phonologically. Their mental representation of the text may be in Japanese rather than English. A questionnaire was given to 115 Japanese university students to elicit their experiences of translation and their preferences for the direction of translation. Many of them believe right-to-left translation helps achieve a detailed and accurate understanding of the text but limits their acquisition of other essential English skills.