RUSS/INTL 265: TRANSLATION AS CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION
Fall 2011
Gitta Hammarberg

WRITING PROJECTS

All projects should be done on a computer double spaced (including notes) and comply with the MLA system of references. Be sure to put your name at the head of each file (one document per project, please, including notes). The due dates are meant as firm dates and non-negotiable (unless you face some out-of-the-ordinary disaster, in which case you're responsible for notifying me and negotiating an extension--minor sicknesses or papers in other classes are not good grounds for rescheduling)

 
Assignment & due dates: Description:
Writing project 1, due Fri 9/16 Choose one translation of the poem "A une Demoiselle malade" by Marot in Hofstadter (hard copy RESERVE in the library) from any chapter after the first. Write your own evaluation of the poem: What stylistic goals has the translator chosen to pursue? How successful is s/he? (about 1-2 typed pages using font size 12 and double spacing--this format for all writing projects).
Writing project 2 (draft), due Fri 9/23 Translate the challenging poem you selected. Follow the procedure and formats used by Marot from rough translations to a near-final reasonably polished product--the most polished version to materialize during the course of the semester as project 7 (below). Include on your pages a rough translation, a "crib" or "pony" similar to Marot's (pp. 1a and 4b) and your personal translation with footnotes on cultural difficulties. I am more interested in the process you go through than the final product, so make your challenges clear. Note all the difficulties you encounter, identify the differences between your translation and the original, and justify your solutions for someone who does NOT know the source language.
Writing project 3 (draft), due Wed 9/28 Translate the prose segment you selected. This might turn into the first draft of project 7 (below) and you will be amending it during the course of the semester and later decide whether to choose prose or poetry (3 below) for your focus in project 7. Discuss your main goals while translating, your target audience, and the difficulties you encountered--again in draft form. I am more interested in the process you go through than the final product, so make your steps clear. Mark all the difficulties you encounter in the form of footnotes where you identify the differences between languages, the challenges, and justify your solutions for someone who does NOT know the source language (the average length of annotations: 1-2 pp.).
Writing project 4, due Mon 10/10 Compare four passages in two different Bible translations. Select one of the five translations on the top page of "Five Bible Translations." Then find another translation of the Bible (other than the five we have) and compare the same four passages we looked at in class in your "new" translation and the one you selected from the five. How do the translations differ? Why? What's behind the differences? What different effects or audiences might be targeted? Are the translators more concerned with the original or with the new audience? In what ways might differences in translation cause differences in religious practice or belief? Which translation resonates most with you and why? (2-4 pages)
Writing project 5, due Mon 10/24
Choose a short segment (1-2 minutes) of a film in a foreign language you know that is subtitled in English. Make a tanscription of the spoken dialogue and of the subtitles for that segment. Write a brief (1-2 page) analysis of the subtitles in this film, according to the format laid out in the Hatim and Mason article (though not limited to the topic of "losing face") and use the NPR commentary, and your own findings from your "The Cuckoo" experience.
Writing project 6, due Mon 11/21 (Counts double for the writing grade average)

Research paper on a cultural or linguistic issue in translation (10-15 pp). Use at least 3 outside sources relating to translation theory, practice, cultural backround, etc. and cite them according to standard practice: the MLA Humanities format. Instructions (in abbreviated form, sufficient for our purposes) can be found in Lunsford, Angela and Robert Connors, Easy Writer. A Pocket Guide. New York, St. Martin's Press (you might have a copy from your first-year seminars). It also lists electronic guides and you may try: .http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/.. Possible topics list:
1. Translation analysis: research multiple translations of a particular work (Dante's Inferno; Homer's Illiad; Beowulf, Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, etc.) and do a comparative analysis
2. On translation criticism: look at published reviews of literature in translation and consider how the reviewers take into account the fact that the works are translations.
3.Subtitling movies: compare two subtitled movies for their approach to subtitling
4. Compare and analyse a film adaptation (a media-to-media translation) to its literary written original.
5.Compare and analyse writings of bilingual authors who translated their own works (e.g., Iosif Brodskii, Vladimir Nabokov)
6. Translation of proper names in work XX
7. Find out (via interviews with faculty) how translations are chosen, how much professors discuss the fact that their texts are translations, to what extent translations stand in for originals, etc.
8. Do a survey of translators' prefaces or introductions to works of literature from a certain language/time period--what sorts of issues do they raise? What biasses do they reveal?
9. Find multilingual instruction manuals for some gadget and compare the English version to that in "your" language. What are the implications of the differences.

 

Writing project 7, due Fri 12/2

Select one (prose OR poetry project: 2 and 3 above) and follow the steps outlined.

Keep working on your poem or prose draft translations. The final version should be a translation with annotations about your goals and specific difficulties as well as your rationale for your solutions. I'm particularly interested in seeing the process of your translation, and less able to judge the results (depending on your target language of course). Use the following format:
* Write a"Translator's Introduction" where you provide relevant information about the author (when he wrote, his style or literary allegiances, favored genres, etc.), the specific text (when written, geographical/temporal setting), as well as the kinds of problems translating this text has posed for you, your solutions to them, and your justifications (many of you did this already in separate footnotes).
* Provide footnotes to specific problems in the text as needed.
*Attach a xerox copy of the original (I'll return it to you together with the rest).


Project 8, due Wed 12/7 for class discussion, not to be handed in.
Translate (a fast, non-polished translation, perhaps just in your mind) Chapter 3 of Alice in Wonderland from your second language translation back into English. I will hand out copies of the original English text so that you can compare your re-translation with the original (as you go). As soon as you come across some interesting deviation from English, make a note of it (mark it on your copy, attach a post-it stickie, jot it down on a separate sheet--whatever works best for you). When you've made it through the chapter, decide which discrepancies are most interesting from a translational-cultural point of view (rather than just, say, grammar) and make notes for yourself so you can present your findings in class. We will jointly discuss and debate how different translators into different languages have handled Lewis Carroll's text and the underlying cultural differences.

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Last updated October 24, 2011