I run a project where young bilingual volunteers translate English-language media into the home language for their families.

I believe one of the benefits is that, because our volunteers have to really understand the thing they are translating, it improves their knowledge of English (presuming that they are working on content that stretches them). I've been asked for some academic evidence of this by a funder.

Are there any reasonable academic studies on this?

To put this another way, is there any academic evidence that I would improve my Spanish understanding by working on translating a comic book from Spanish to English? I feel like it's a really obvious thing, but...


1 Answer 1


Like you said.. it would be stating the obvious. Let me try simple logic. To translate a text, you have to study it first. All words or structures with ambiguities have to be clarified in your mind, then the translator has to analyse whether the raw translation has the same meaning, rephrase if not.this often means reprocessing the original text till the translation is as exact as possible. In the procedure, one learns three skills Better understanding of the source language, improving your lexical and analytic skills Better understanding of the text's subject .......................................................................................................... This is an article about the benefits of watching subtitled programs in language learning. It shows that translation improves the acquisition of vocabulary. Further there is something about translation in general. https://www.erudit.org/fr/revues/meta/2004-v49-n1-meta733/009021ar/ In paragraph 4 it says Current methodology, however, tends to discourage any use of the first language, although recent research in language and memory processing shows that selective recourse to translation can also lead to cognitive benefits. In particular, the effort of establishing paired equivalents through translation, and the use of a redundant and interconnected network of encoded propositions, lead to greater elaborateness of processing, which usually results in better recognition and recall (Hummel, 1995: 449, 450, 453).

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    This is a reference request and you have not provided any links (sources) to back up your claims. Simple logic is simply not enough for these questions Mar 3, 2018 at 12:41
  • Unfortunately, the article you reference is irrelevant to the question. The question is about translating as a learning activity, while the article is about the use of captions and subtitles. The section you quote is about translating single words or sentences during class and is also irrelevant.
    – Tsundoku
    Mar 8, 2018 at 10:50

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