Translation has recently been revived as an approach to language learning that builds on students’ linguistic repertoires, particularly in linguistically diverse classrooms. However, few studies have examined how students use translation as part of writing in an additional language. This article provides new insights based on the translation practices of 22 newly arrived students in Norway during English writing instruction. Using linguistic ethnographic methods, the study combines multiple data sources (screen recordings, classroom audio recordings, language portraits, student texts, interviews) that provide detailed insights into translation moves and participant perspectives. The findings highlight the linguistic and mediational translation strategies that structured students’ translation practices during English writing, but also reveal tensions in students’ orientations to translation. Despite these tensions, translation served as a key means of aligning students’ communicative resources to write in English as an additional language. A translingual orientation toward writing and translation facilitates the recognition of students’ translation practices as alignment of ecological affordances with an integrated repertoire of semiotic resources across languages, modalities, and media. We conclude that translation can develop students’ performative competence in ways that support their in‐school English writing but also prepare them to encounter text in new contexts.
This item's license is: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International