Distinguishing Text Analysis and Translation: Overcoming the Security Barrier


  • Paul Mirabile


Translating texts and the grammatical or literary analysis of texts adhere to distinct methodical pedagogies and very different psychological approaches. Translation requires thinking in and with the two languages translated, whereas text analysis necessitates thinking in and within the one language of the text. Continual translation of texts during grammatical or literary analysis erects a psychological and linguistic security barrier between the mother tongue and the foreign language studied which prevents the thinking in and with the foreign language. The methods of text analysis aim at decoding or interpreting the text with the use of synonym and antonym exercises, the application of syntax deconstruction and morphological formation, with aspect, tense and mood verbal phrases, with etymological research, tropes and figures of speech, with the comparing of different discourses through the study of learned words and common words, jargon and slang. Translation and literary analysis should be taught as parallel subjects the very first year of university with the same texts or easy-to-read books in order to show students how both apply different methodical terminologies, and how they require contrasted psychological approaches. Their parallel study is the first step towards bilingualism, and consequently biculturalism since it demarcates clearly the two disciplines, and at the same time, obliges students to reconsider his or her mother tongue in relation to the foreign language in question. For to learn a foreign language has no negative bearing or impact on one's mother tongue; on the contrary, they are mutually enriched.

Author Biography

Paul Mirabile