Journal of Universal Language
Sejong University Language Research Institue

Teaching Business English through Translation

Vanessa Leonardi1
1University of Ferrara

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


The present paper focuses on the role of translation in Business English teaching from a pedagogical perspective including both translation from L1 into L2 and vice versa. A basic premise of this article is that translation cannot be avoided in language acquisition and it should not be viewed as a negative interference but as a natural and useful tool in language learning. Translation is still regarded as some kind of mechanical linguistic transfer of meaning from one language to another and it is not included in those language skills normally covered by language courses. This paper argues that translation could prove to be a very useful tool to learn grammar, syntax, lexis and culture-related issues in both the source language (SL) and the target language (TL). Teaching a foreign language means teaching how that language is used in a variety of contexts. This is especially true of ESP which should not be thought of as a different kind of language but rather as a different approach to language learning. The present paper aims to provide the ESP teacher with an overview of translation as a perfect tool to teach Business English. Translation is a good pedagogical tool to use in Business English teaching because there are not always exact equivalents between English and other languages. While translating, students are encouraged to notice differences in structures and vocabulary and they have to develop methods and strategies to deal with them. Translation is communication across cultures and as such it plays a significant role in Business environments.

Keywords: translation; language teaching; business English; ESP; globalisation; English as a Lingua Franca (ELF)



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