n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Translating the Test of Academic Literacy Levels into Sesotho

Volume 51 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



This article reports on an initiative at the Vaal Triangle Campus (VTC) of North-West University (NWU) towards the active encouragement of functional multilingualism in tertiary education. More specifically, in an effort to support the potential use of Sesotho (Southern Sotho) and isiZulu in the teaching-learning environment at this campus, it was decided that an important first step should be an accurate and reliable determination of students’ levels of academic literacy (AL) in these two languages. Such a measurement would provide an indication of student readiness to make productive use of any extra learning support offered in these languages. 

Since there are no measuring instruments available to assess students’ academic literacy levels in Sesotho and isiZulu at tertiary level, it was decided that translating an existing test may be the most productive option in this case. The test selected for translation into Sesotho and isiZulu was the Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL), a test that has consistently shown high reliability measures in the assessment of students’ academic literacy levels in English. Because Sesotho is the home language used by the majority of students (other than English and Afrikaans) at the VTC, it was decided that Sesotho would be treated as priority in terms of the completion of the project. The article therefore documents the translation process for Sesotho, and discusses primarily positive findings regarding the creation of a conceptually and functionally adequate Sesotho version of the TALL through a process of translation.

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