Should Dictionaries be Used in Translation Tests and Examinations?

  •  Abdulmoneim Mahmoud    


Motivated by the conflicting views regarding the use of the dictionary in translation tests and examinations this study was intended to verify the dictionary-free vs dictionary-based translation hypotheses. The subjects were 135 Arabic-speaking male and female EFL third-year university students. Agroup consisting of 62 students translated a text from English to Arabic without a dictionary at the beginning of the semester and translated the same text with a dictionary at the end of the semester. Another group of 73 students translated a text from Arabic to English twice in the same way in the same semester. Both groups used electronic mobile dictionaries in the second translation. The lexical errors were detected and statistically analyzed. The t-tests revealed a highly significant difference in favor of dictionary-based translation. The errors committed in the dictionary-based translation were remarkably less than those committed in dictionary-free translation. Further research is needed to settle the dispute.

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