La experiencia traductora de estudiantes de español como lengua de herencia: un estudio empírico a través de tres niveles de enseñanza superior
This study focuses on the translation experience of Spanish heritage language learners (SHLLs). Based on data derived from a questionnaire on translation habits and attitudes and two translation tasks, this quantitative and qualitative study describes the translation habits, attitudes, and abilities of 90 undergraduate SHLLs with different proficiency levels in Spanish. The questionnaire results indicate that most SHLLs carry out translation and interpreting tasks frequently in different private and public contexts and that their attitudes towards this activity are very positive. The translation tasks reveal that SHLLs commit very few errors related to source text meaning in direct (Spanish-English) and inverse (English-Spanish) translation and that they rarely omit essential information, regardless of their proficiency level. The tasks also reveal that, when faced with translation difficulties, SHLLs resort to a variety of translation techniques. However, they also show that the precision of translation techniques is compromised by morphosyntactic inconsistencies when SHLLs are less proficient in the heritage language. This study shows that SHLLs with experience as language brokers develop translation abilities that allow them to mediate between English and Spanish successfully without having received formal training in translation and argues for the systematic integration of translation-based activities in Spanish heritage language teaching. Likewise, it emphasizes the importance to consider the background knowledge and specific needs of SHLLs in the context of translation and interpreting pedagogy.