Translating Literature in an Advanced Japanese Language Classroom: Izu no odoriko


  • Nobuko Chikamatsu DePaul University
  • Miho Matsugu Independent Researcher



This paper argues that translation — especially of works of literature — allows advanced language learners to pursue their intellectual interests, challenge their linguistic knowledge, and explore possibilities for further language learning. Translating literature not only puts their knowledge and repertories to test but also exposes them to the joy of using language for creative activity. Working with classmates through discussion and peer review, learners accustomed to independent work will learn to appreciate collaboration as well. Practice of translanguaging, i.e., a fluid use of two (or more) languages back and forth (García & Wei, 2014), in process of translation, maximizes the accessibility of learners’ semiotic resources in diverse contexts for their meaning-making process. This paper focuses on a case study to demonstrate the positive outcomes of language learning with literature translation and concludes with suggestions for future study. 

Author Biographies

Nobuko Chikamatsu, DePaul University

Associate professor: Modern Languages Department

Director: Japanese Studies Program

Miho Matsugu, Independent Researcher



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