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The ASEAN Journal of Education ASEAN Journal of Education

Translating Thai Cultural Information into Language Learning Activities: the Case of English for Local Museum Personnel


Alisa Vanijdee,


Abstract

The generalization of transferring Thai culture into English content and teaching Thai people to communicate in English to the “English” world involves cultural awareness and translation from the Thai language (vocabulary transfer, sentence structure, and discourse (structure). English for Local Museum Personnel, in the form of a CD, was designed to enable local people to communicate in fundamental English about their own local culture. The course designer used local cultural information to write activities to suit the level of the learners who are local people—teachers, monks, volunteers, students and administrative officers. While having knowledge of Thai culture, the English ability of leaners was of varying levels. From in-class training, the participants satisfied the 4.00 level (x=4). 1000 CDs were distributed to local museums and community libraries. Also, the significant level of pretest and post-test was at 0.01. Transferring this information into English involved translation to a certain extent—not only the translation of the language but also the culture attached to it. The information is in the form of words, phrases, sentences, and discourse- focusing on speaking skills. The language users have to understand the structure of English, while being confident about the local cultural content. At the word level, vocabulary concerning local tourism can be seen as two main types: content and structure. The structure vocabulary has mostly been translated and used by the translators between Thai and English for some time; its word bank is constant with the addition of only some new technological words, so the translation of the “structure” vocabulary was not too difficult. But the transfer of the Thai cultural content required extra effort. The use of an English-Thai, Thai-English dictionary was helpful but when the words are not yet included in the dictionary, translators must use an equivalent, transliteration, loan words or further explanation. This may cause interruption in communication. At the sentence level, the language users must be able to recognize the word order of both the Thai and English language. With the help of non-verbal language or face-to-face communication, miscommunication can be alleviated. In discourse communication, translators must be concerned with the structure,cohesion and coherence of the text as well as the consistency.

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Key words: Translation, Thai Culture Information, English Language Learning Activities,
     
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