Using Translation in Foreign Language Classrooms: Examining its Effectiveness in Teaching Vocabulary to EFL Students


  • Hossein Navidinia Department of English Language University of Birjand Iran
  • Saber Atash Nazarloo Department of English Language University of Birjand Iran
  • Zahra Esmaeili Department of English Language University of Birjand Iran



Translation in language teaching, vocabulary learning, L1, EFL learners


The use of mother tongue in foreign language classes has been a controversial issue in the history of language teaching. The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of using L1 in teaching vocabulary to EFL students. To do so, 72 participants (36 boys and 36 girls) were divided into 6 classes in three levels based on their language proficiency, namely beginner, elementary and pre-intermediate. The students in each level were randomly assigned to control and experimental groups. In order to measure the effect of using L1 on their vocabulary learning, the control and experimental groups were taught for 20 sessions through the use of different methods. In the experimental groups, after teaching the new words through images and pictures, students’ L1 was used to tell the students the Persian meaning(s) of the words, while in the control group, the Persian meanings were not told to the students and only the target language and visuals were used for teaching the new words. The students’ performance in the posttest at the end of the class was compared using T-test. The finding indicated that the students in the experimental groups had a significantly better performance than that of the students in the control groups which substantiated the positive effect of using L1 in EFL classrooms.


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How to Cite

Navidinia, H., Nazarloo, S. A., & Esmaeili, Z. (2018). Using Translation in Foreign Language Classrooms: Examining its Effectiveness in Teaching Vocabulary to EFL Students. AJELP: Asian Journal of English Language and Pedagogy, 6, 1–10.