I've tutored math SAT prep for some years now, and have developed a routine with certain texts and exercises that I have found to be fairly successful in improving scores overall. I recognize that many students face a challenge in translating word problems into algebraic expressions, and am usually able to make progress toward this problem with most of my students.
However I am currently tutoring a student for whom this issue presents a greater challenge than I've encountered. I say "greater challenge" because my metric is the disparity between his comprehension of and familiarity with the underlying algebra (which is fairly strong) and his ability to put word problems into algebraic terms (which is almost non-existent). I've looked online for instances of this disparity occurring at such a remarkable level, but have only found literature on the general difficulty faced by many children.
Does anyone have any experience with this sort of problem, and are there any techniques, exercises, methods of explanation, etc. that have exhibited notable success toward remedying such an issue?