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An Examination on the Translation Questions of English Tests in College Entrance Examinations
The College Entrance Exam (CEE) has been administered for many years in Taiwan and its results usually have a great impact on the interests of examinees. Although the translation section takes up only 8 percent of the total score in the English exam, it has played a critical role in determining test-taker performance and the college they may attend. The translation section in the English exam of the CEE attempts to test students knowledge of how to use English vocabulary words and grammatical rules they learned in high school in order to translate Chinese sentences into English. Translation in these exams is very different from professional translation which sees translating as a dynamic process and requires a set of sophisticated skills. A study on the translation section of the English exams may help clarify the role translation plays in high school English education, and help address questions like what kinds of English tenses, sentence patterns, grammatical rules, and translation techniques are most often tested in these exams, and how can translation techniques be applied in teaching students more effectively. However, there has so far been little research into this area. Therefore, the major purpose of this article is to analyze the translation questions in the English exams of the CEE over the past years and to classify these questions into several categories, including English tenses, voices, test scores, sentence topics, sentence patterns, and sentence types. Furthermore, translation techniques are identified to discuss how to improve student translation skills. Several major findings in this study are as follows: the tenses most frequently tested in the CEE are the simple present tense and the simple past tense; most test items are active voice; the translation items are of two major types: meaning-independent and meaning-consecutive sentences; the sentence structures most often tested are simple sentences and complex sentences. Most importantly, translation techniques such as word-for-word, inversion, and addition have been constantly used on these exams. Based on the results found in this study, it is hoped that English teachers in senior high schools will pay more attention to their translation instruction and facilitate student learning of English as well as translation skills.
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