Pedagogical translation in Scottish Picture book for Japanese Children

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This paper probes the area where foreign language learning/teaching and translation overlap. Here, translation is used as an academic exercise to promote JFL learners’ language and cultural awareness and research skills through a learner-centred group project. The 11-week-long course was designed to encourage social interactions through a collaborative translation project based on a blended-learning model, which allowed students to use both a face-to-face mode and an online discussion forum on a VLE platform called LEARN or through Facebook messages. The source text was a children’s picture book written by a Scottish author Mairi Hedderwick. The aim of the project was to give young Japanese mothers and their children an understanding of Scottish culture and riddles. In particular, students were asked to 1) make the Japanese text sound natural and enjoyable for children and adults reading aloud, 2) keep local elements to create the imaginary world, and 3) keep the rhythm in the source text in their translation.

In other words, the translation project challenged lower-proficient learners as translators as they were made aware of the actual linguistic, cultural and translation problems involved in rendering a text from English to Japanese. Firstly, at the lexical level, students conducted cultural research of ST colloquialisms because typically Scottish words such as ‘wee ones’ immediately created a translation problem. Next, online logs showed that students often discussed whether they used the appropriate grammar for the given text, and students later reported that constant self-checks/peer ratings helped them improve their knowledge of sentence structuring in Japanese. As second language learners of Japanese, they inevitably lack the knowledge of the L1 literacy practices and conventions. Yet, they managed to control the level of text complexity to suit the kanji knowledge of the target audience.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2014
EventEast Asian Translation Studies Conference - University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Jun 201420 Jun 2014


ConferenceEast Asian Translation Studies Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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