consider that you may be wrong (ukelele) wrote in doceo,
consider that you may be wrong

translation speed

Any ideas for increasing people's translation speed? In particular one of my honors students -- despite being fairly bright and very hardworking (as you might expect of an honors student) -- is alarmingly slow.

Or, on a related note, what are the reasons you have found for people being slow translators? (This particular student clearly hasn't memorized a lot of the grammatical charts well enough, but I don't think that's the only thing going on.)
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While I'm not a teacher, but rather a 5th year Latin student, I find that what renders me slowest during a translation isn't grammar, but simple vocabulary.

I took a year hiatus from Latin between my senior year of high school and sophomore year of college (I audited the Advanced Classics class my first year because I couldn't fit it into my weekly schedule, but didn't want to become rusty). During that year I didn't lose a whit of my grammar knowledge--it was the vocab that disappeared.

I'm now in the class I was auditing (probably for the last time, as I need to focus on classes that will actually let me graduate), and the most wearisome and time-consuming task is looking up words. Granted, these aren't 1st year words like "puer" and "amo", but it's still quite frustrating.

At least for me, this is what slows me down the most (though I consider myself a fast translator; looking up words in a dictionary takes considerably less time than looking up constructions and applying them to the text).

Regarding ways to up translation speed--I'd consider assessing what slows down the student most first. Vocabulary? Flashcards. Grammar? Simple study of charts, really--assuming it's something related to "How do I translate this infinitive/participle/subjunctive?" Most people in my classes have a bad case of both.

Also, it might have something to do with the content. Translating passages can be fun and interesting or a complete bore, depending on what's being asked of them. Long lines of wearisome poetry are quite a different matter than, say, some nice Cicero, or a remark of an upset in a battle. You might perhaps try altering what the student(s) are asked to translate to illustrate that the task can be interesting and fun.

I hope that helped!
Unfortunately, this is Latin II, so we don't have a whole lot of choice reading-wise; people are still mastering the basics.