Record Details

Complexities of translating mathematics tasks from English to learners’ home languages


Field Value
Title Complexities of translating mathematics tasks from English to learners’ home languages
Creator Mpalami, Nkosinathi
Subject — Multilingual classrooms; linear programming; home languages; mother tongue; mathematics tasks; translated tasks
Description Mathematics education remains problematic in South Africa’s schools. However, some mathematics educators are deliberately using learners’ home languages in tasks to assist learners to understand mathematics. Research-based evidence shows that learners’ home languages when used as a resource have a potential to enhance learners’ understanding of mathematics. This article addresses the issue of translating mathematics tasks from English to learners’ home languages, a field that is less common in mathematics education studies. The study shows that there are complexities associated with such translation which all stakeholders in education should bear in mind. The article does so by referring to a study where a Grade 11 mathematics educator in a multilingual class tried to use learners’ home languages in tasks with an aim to enhance learners’ understanding of linear programming concepts. The study was conducted in township school in Gauteng province. Ethical clearance was given by the Gauteng Department of Education. Data were collected through observations and were analysed qualitatively. The situated sociocultural perspectives guided the study. The findings show that during the translation process, the educator went as far as translating mathematics technical terms. Such translation distorted the meaning of the original task and therefore made it hard for learners to comprehend concepts as envisioned. The recommendation is that the translation should not be left to individual mathematics educators but rather there should be a broader approach of having mathematics tasks translated from English into other official languages and such tasks be distributed to all schools throughout the country. Professional translators must also be contracted to do such a job.
Publisher AOSIS Publishing
Date 2022-01-18
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Lesson observations
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/pythagoras.v43i1.560
Source Pythagoras; Vol 43, No 1 (2022); 6 pages 2223-7895 1012-2346
Language eng
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Rights Copyright (c) 2022 Nkosinathi Mpalami