Word reading and translation in bilinguals: the impact of formal and informal translation expertise
It is much debated whether translation is semantically mediated or based on word-word associations at the lexical level. In 2 experiments with Dutch (L1)-French (L2) bilinguals, the authors showed that there is a semantic number magnitude effect in both forward and backward translation of number words: It takes longer to translate number words representing large quantities (e.g., acht, huit [eight]) than small quantities (e.g., twee, deux [two]). In a 3rd experiment, the authors replicated these effects with number words that had been acquired only just before the translation task. Finally, it was shown that the findings were not due to the restricted semantic context of the stimuli. These findings strongly suggest that translation processes can be semantically mediated in both directions, even at low levels of L2 proficiency.