Translation refers to the use of both L1 and L2 in language teaching as part of the Grammar Translation Method. It can be used both in the context of exercises in a standard English-teaching class setting and as an ESP course aimed at professional translators or interpreters.
Together with other ‘traditional' tools such as dictation, reading aloud and drills, translation fell into disuse as teaching method with the advent of the communicative methodologies which tended to "forbid" use of L1 in classrooms.
Translation as a job
English teachers may, from time to time, be asked to translate text for clients. Good translations are a lot more difficult to do than you might imagine and, unless you are confident of your abilities, you should treat such requests with caution.
Furthermore, unless you are truly and fully bilingual, you should avoid translating into a tongue which is not your own.
For those who really have to translate something then you should check out google translate as it has an impressive range of free tools. It will not always accept a document in .doc format however. If this happens the solution is to copy the text to notepad and then save it as plain text (*.txt). This should be accepted without a problem. For some reason .txt documents created within word may fail which is why it is necessary to use notepad.
In the event that you are asked to work on a PDF document which you are unable to open our article PDF has some tools and suggestions.