skip to content


Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Conference on translation in language teaching and learning

Cambridge Map_Chris Lamb

The translation turn: current debates on the role of translation in language teaching and learning


Cambridge, 9th September 2019

Venue: Runcie Room, Faculty of Divinity, Sidgwick Site, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9BS


Translation in language teaching is currently undergoing a process of reassessment and revival. The increasingly diverse linguistic background of today’s populations has led to new needs and challenges in the foreign language classroom, with the mother tongue (L1) and foreign language (L2) occupying different positions to those they were accorded previously. Thus, the strict monolingualism in the target language that became dogma in the latter part of the 20th century has been replaced today by bi-, multi- and plurilingual approaches. In this context, the reintroduction of translation in the foreign language classroom needs to take account of a changed and changing landscape. The inclusion of the notion of mediation as one of the core language activities in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR 2001, Volume Companion, 2018) has provided further basis for normalising the use of translation in language teaching. While there is now wide consensus that translation has an important role to play in language learning, much work remains to be done on the design and implementation of mediation and translation-based activities in the language classroom, and in the language curriculum more broadly.

This conference aims to provide a forum for specialists in the areas of translation pedagogy, language teaching, education, and professional translation to exchange ideas and approaches on the role of translation in language teaching and learning. By engaging with current research and practices coming from a range of disciplinary areas, we hope to bring in a fresh critical dimension to the question that might lead to transformation in the way we view—and operationalise—translation for language learning.

The topics to be discussed will include among others: theoretical and empirical considerations on the role of translation in second language acquisition, the notion of mediation and its pedagogical applications, curricular design at school and higher education level, the multilingual classroom, audiovisual translation for language learning, and teacher training.


Abstracts and speakers' bios


Conference presentations and suggested references


Maria González-Davies

Use of translation in an Integrated Plurilingual Approach to language learning

Sara Laviosa

The multilingual turn and the role of pedagogic translation in English language studies

Inma Pedregosa

Linguistic mediation in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Rocío Baños-Piñero

PluriTAV Project: acquisition of multilingual competences through audiovisual translation

Katrina Barnes

Translation in the UK MFL classroom: research and practice at the coal face

Christophe Gagne

Uses and abuses of translation in language teaching


Suggested references



Dr Ángeles Carreres (Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, Cambridge),

Dr María Noriega-Sánchez (Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, Cambridge),

Dr Lucía Pintado Gutiérrez (School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University),


The event is supported by the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge, and its Outreach Office.