Effect of ‘Focus on Form’ versus ‘Focus on Forms’ Cultural Instruction on Translation of Culture-Bound Texts

Vahid Rafieyan


The significant role of cultural background knowledge of the source and target language societies in the process of transferring meaning across languages whose speakers possess totally distinct cultures has been emphasized by numerous scholars (e.g., Malinowski, 1935; Nida, 1964; Toury, 1995; Agost, 1998; Agost, 1999; Paniagua, 2000; Nord, 2001; Riccardi, 2002; Albirini, 2009; Yang, 2010; House, 2015). To this end, the current study investigated the effect of cultural instruction in general as well as ‘Focus on Forms’ versus ‘Focus on Form’ methods of cultural instruction in particular on developing translation quality of culture-bound texts. Participants of the study were 98 undergraduate students of English translation at a university in Iran. These participants were divided into three groups: ‘Focus on Forms’ group which received explicit instruction about cultural features of the source language, ‘Focus on Form’ group which received instruction about cultural features of the source language through input flood and input enhancement, and control group which merely received translation exercises. Participants’ ability to translate culture-bound texts was then assessed through translating some excerpts of news adopted from Voice of America, following a 4-week intervention. The results of one-way between-groups analysis of variance revealed that both ‘Focus on Forms’ and ‘Focus on Form’ methods of cultural instruction are influential in developing ability to translate culture-bound texts at a high quality. The pedagogical implications of the findings suggested supplementing translation courses with cultural features of the source language society.

Keywords: Culture, Focus on Form, Focus on Forms, Instruction, Translation

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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