Life Of Pixによる写真:

Independent Study K: An introduction to “Translation”

The topic of the “Independent Study” class I am teaching this semester is translation and multilingualism. What does the process of translation involve? How can we analyze and understand translation?

Today we live in an age of “globalization” and “multiculturalism”, in which we are surrounded by multiple languages, and many of us use multiple languages in our day-to-day lives. In this context, translation is a topic that deserves great attention. Students will eventually decide their own research topic for independent study. However, for the start of the Spring Semester, we are focusing on building a shared understanding of translation within the class. As an introductory task, students were asked to create a Japanese-language translation of a short poem, appropriately titled “The Translator”, by American poet Kevin Prufer. The poem includes a metaphor about translation, in which translations are compared to “foreigners” arriving at “our shore”. By asking students to translate this text, I wanted them to appreciate the sense of responsibility that accompanies the process of translation: as translators, we deliver another person’s voice to the community on “our shore”, a process that requires much care. You can listen to Kevin Prufer reading the poem here: