Skip to main content

An approach to translation which keeps emphasis on target language.

I'm going to be writing some beginner and near beginner resources with translation in mind. You know I'm not a huge fan, but many schools will want to include more translation with the new curriculum in mind, so I have to keep the customers happy!

So here is a sample of what I'll be doing where translation features but with the focus still on comprehensible input. This one is an adaptation of an existing parallel reading task called Mon chien.

The original is in landscape format with French on the left and English gapped translation on the right. I have added true/false and sentence completion to keep the emphasis on target language input. This one is pretty easy.


Mon chien s’appelle Bouba. Il a cinq ans. C’est un labrador noir.  On l’a trouvé dans un refuge pour chiens.

Il est énorme et très mignon. Quand je rentre de l’école, il saute et veut jouer dans le jardin. Il adore courir, jouer à la balle et se baigner dans la rivière ou dans la mer.

Il mange beaucoup et en particulier il adore le chocolat et les gâteaux. Il adore monter en voiture avec la famille et faire des promenades à la campagne. Mon père le promène tous les jours.

Quand on a des invités à la maison il s’excite et aboie beaucoup. La nuit il couche dans la cuisine. Quand il va se coucher, il prend toujours un de mes chaussons pour dormir, il s'en sert comme d'un doudou.

C’est un chien vraiment adorable et très affectueux. Je l’adore.

English gapped version

My dog _______ Bouba. He is ____ years old. He’s a _____ Labrador. We found him in a dog ____________.

He is ____ and very _______. When I get ____ from school he jumps up and wants to _____ in the garden. He _____ running about, playing ____ and swimming in the _____ or the ___.

He ____a lot and in particular he loves ________ and _____. He loves going out in the ___ with the ______ and going for _____ in the __________. My father _____ him every ___.

When we ____  ______ in the house he gets _______ and barks _____. At _____ he sleeps in the ______. When he goes to ___ he takes one of my _______ and ____ it like a cuddly ___.

He’s a really _______  and very ___________ dog. I ____ him.


1.       Bouba a cinq ans.
2.       C’est un chien rose.
3.       Bouba est très agressif.
4.       Il est très petit pour un Labrador.
5.       Il n’aime pas jouer dans le jardin.
6.       Il aime jouer avec une balle.
7.       Il aime aller dans une rivière ou dans la mer.
8.       C’est un chien végétarien et il ne mange pas beaucoup.
9.       Il aime le chocolat mais pas les gâteaux.
10.     Il fait des promenades à bicyclette.
11.      Il monte dans la voiture avec la famille.
12.     Maman promène Bouba.
13.     Quand il y a des invités Bouba s’excite.
14.     Il reste toujours calme.
15.     Il dort dans la chambre des parents.
16.     Il aime dormir avec un chausson de papa.
17.     Bouba est sympa et donne beaucoup d’affection.

1.       Bouba est un _____.
2.       Bouba n’est pas blanc, il est ____.
3.       Il n’est pas _____, il est énorme.
4.       Bouba n’est pas méchant, il est ______.
5.       Il _____ jouer dans le jardin avec une _____.
6.       Il aime les ________ et la mer.
7.       Bouba mange _______.
8.       Il préfère le _______ et les ________.
9.       Il aime les ___________ en voiture.
10.     Papa _______ le chien.
11.      Quand des invités arrivent Bouba _______.
12.     Il ______ dans la cuisine.
13.     Il dort avec un ________.
14.     Bouba est un chien __________


  1. Hi Steve! This is interesting. Can you tell my what is the purpose of the English? Is it designed to be a comprehensible input? What is the rationale in some methodologies of using English translated text? Thanks!

  2. Just another way of practising/showing comprehension rather than exercises such as true/false, matching, multi-choice. The CI comes from the original text and I add the other exercises to reinforce the input. My producing this type of resource is partly because the latest national curriculum in England expects children to be able to do some translation. The powers that be seem to think translation is more rigorous than other forms of practice/assessment. You'll know from my blogs and website that I am not a huge fan of using English and usually try to avoid it.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

Three AQA A-level courses compared

I've put together my three reviews of worthy A-level courses which you might be considering for next September. They are all very useful courses, but with significant differences. The traditional Hodder and OUP book-based courses differ in that the former comes in one chunky two year book, whilst OUP's comes in two parts, the first for AS or the first year of an A-level course. The Attitudes16 course by Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri is based on an online platform from which you would download worksheets and share a logon with studenst who would do the interactive parts (Textivate and video work). The two text books are supported by interactive material (Kerboodle) or an e-text book.


An excellent resource which should be competing for your attention at the moment is the Attitudes16 course which writers Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri have been working on for some time. You can find it here at, along with his excellent resources for film and li…

Learning strategies (3)

This is the third in the mini-series of blogs about learning strategies. So far, we have looked at some (rather scant) research evidence for the effectiveness of strategies. Bear in mind that a lack of research evidence does not mean strategies do not work; if there is any consensus, it is that they are probably useful and probably best used when integrated into a normal teaching sequence. We then looked at a classification of different types of strategies.

In this blog Gianfanco and I look at how you might integrate strategies into your teaching. There is nothing revolutionary about this stuff! You may do a good deal of this type of thing already, but you may also be new to the concepts and applications of learning strategies.

Let's look at how you might use strategies, particularly with regard to the teaching of listening and reading. Remember: this is just about how you help students to use strategies to become better listeners and readers.

How to teach strategies 

The research …