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Genealogies of Knowledge Presentation by Mona Baker at MLANG, Cardiff University, 22.02.17

This presentation was given by Mona Baker, Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Manchester. Mona is a key figure in the field of Translation and I have read and reviewed her core textbook on Translation Methods: In Other Words. Mona Baker at MLANG, Cardiff University This lecture presents ‘Genealogies of Knowledge‘ – ‘The Evolution and Contestation of Concepts Across Time and Space.’ ( @Genofknow) This is a project that started in April 2016 and has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for 4 years at a cost of £1 million. It is a corpora-based study of translations whereby a digital model is built up and records in database format data which comprises these translations which form a critical part of human knowledge. Mona would be giving demonstrations of the software in action, software that can be accessed via the official website of the project at http://genealogiesofknowledge.net Four people head up the Genealogies of Knowledge study. In charge of Translations and Classics we have Mona Baker, Luis Pérez Gónzalez and Peter Pormann. Taking care of Computer Science for the project is Saturnino Luz of the University of Edinburgh. Sitting on the advisory board of the project are experts in Politics, Classics, Medieval Studies, French, German, Translation Studies and History. Due to the volume of work that the project entails they could employ twice as many people. Translation is at the centre of the enquiry. Project looks at role in shaping intellectual history – emphasis on politics and science strong historical dimension Emphasis on historical lingua francas – Ancient Greek, Medieval Arabic, Latin and Modern English (primarily but not exclusively as Target Languages. Corpus-based – involves building several types of corpora, in the 4 lingua francas. There weren’t enough people involved in the study to cover the period of history when French was a lingua franca The project takes ‘Slices of Time’ There is a strong computational element – involves developing new, freeware software and interfaces Emphasis on visualization, especially of historical processes Builds on, refines and considerably extends pre-existing TEC (Translational English Corpus) software and methodology. After giving an introduction, Mona went on to demonstrate the software in action, even if it is still very much a work in progress. The Basic Tool of the software is KWIC, a keyword interface. With the Visualization element critical, the software delivers a Concordance Tree Browser that demonstrates dominant…

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Review: Postcolonial Translation: Theory and Practice

Postcolonial Translation: Theory and Practice by Susan Bassnett My rating: 3 of 5 stars I’ve read a few articles on the subject of postcolonial translation and have found the area to be interesting. I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the subject. This book is a collection of nine extended essays. My first criticism is that there is too much of an emphasis on postcolonial translation in India. Whereas, due to the nature of the Indian multilingual community and its relationship with the British Empire, I can see how it can be an important focus in postcolonial translation, I felt that this book devotes too much to this one region and doesn’t fully explore more exotic regions of the world. There is very little reference to Africa and not much on South America, certainly not the Spanish-speaking part of South America. Thus, the book takes into consideration English as a primary language and the effect of British imperialism. A more varied range of essays with reference to other colonial powers would, I feel, add some spice to the book’s material. The essay on border writing in Quebec, was, I feel, the best essay in the collection. I did also, however, surprisingly, take a lot out of the Hélène Cixous / Clarice Lispector essay. Although, at first glance, the study of a famous French feminist’s obsession with a Brasilian (feminist) writer, may seem a bit trivial, I found that this essay best introduced me to new ideas and ways of viewing postcolonial translation. It is in essence a power struggle of differentials between colonised people and coloniser. When you add in the mix of a feminist outlook into translation, then some truly profound revelations come into play and I felt that the author of this particular essay (Rosemary Arrojo), developed some very interesting and original ideas, which could be applied to the whole field of postcolonial translation. Overall, this book was perhaps a bit too advanced for my tastes and it was rather difficult to maintain elevated excitement throughout the course of reading it. View all my reviews

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Review: The Politics of Translation in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

The Politics of Translation in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski My rating: 4 of 5 stars I discovered this book in the Cardiff University library and thought it would provide a valuable insight into translation in history. I am interested in general history of the Renaissance and Middle Ages and found that this book helped to transfer pre-existing knowledge to the field of Translation. The book is a selection of academic papers from primarily North American institutes, There seemed to be a lot of emphasis on the French language as a vernacular and also, more obviously, Latin. I suppose that this reflects the importance of French as a cultural language at the time. It precedes English as the global lingua franca by some distance. The general introduction chapters were very useful in terms of setting into context the role of translation during the epoque and the political implications that a translator would consider. The stand out chapter for me introduces the subject of Etienne Dolet, a translation martyr who was sentenced to death and executed as a result of his work. The Dolet tale was an intriguing one and demonstrates clearly how a target-language’s cultural attitudes have to be taken into consideration when working as a translator. I feel that Dolet is a person upon whom I would like to follow up research throughout the course of my Translation degree. I am a keen fan of Montaigne and it had previously eluded me that a lot of his great work was inspired by his activities as a translator. There are two chapters covering his translation of Raimond Sebond and the detailed critique that has ensued regarding the fidelity of his translation and the speculation of the true political motives behind his methodology. I think that very often, in translation, some of the reasoning and suppositions of translation critics fail to address the actual linguistical differences between foreign tongues. There are massive style changes at work that are bound to change the register of the original author and the translator would often introduce new ideas and themes only at a subliminal level, although that could very reasonably be done within the culture and political / historic climate of the current prevailing target-culture. This book covers a wide variety of other topics, some of which are more relevant and interesting than others. I enjoyed The Alfredan Boethius chapter….

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Review: Translation and Identity in the Americas

Translation and Identity in the Americas by Gentzler Edwin My rating: 5 of 5 stars This was the first book I have borrowed and read from Cardiff University library’s Translation section. As a Translation student focussing on the Spanish language, I felt that this book would offer plenty of interest to me, considering that the Americas has the largest hispanic population in the world. The book is subdivided into five main chapters, each directed towards a certain geographic region in the Americas. The monolingualism of the USA, with its vast multicultural population, displays problems in the cultural struggles created by the way it forces minorities to adapt to English, the arrogance of this coming to light very much in the post September 11th world where military action has often been plagued with troubles of mistranslation and at official levels, an overwhelming dependence upon the force majeure of the official tongue. Quebec offers a unique zone in the Americas and its struggles with linguistic identity and its isolation are clearly demonstrated by Edwin. I found the history of Quebec to be enlightening and was new knowledge to me. The way that its patois language, joual, struggles to define itself in a society dominated by colonial English and French, formed a major role in the Quebecois independence movement and has manifested itself in local theatre and the adaptation of translation as a device for the feminist movement. This feminist translation in Quebec has transcended to borders and come to the forefront of translation studies worldwide. The chapter on Brazilian Cannibalism was, for me, the most interesting of the whole book. It truly indicates a unique way of looking at the post-colonial world. How cannibalism itself can be viewed from within Brazil as a positive force yet to the external viewer it is seen as a negative connotation of savagery, demonstrates the Derridaean deconstruction at play in translation to a relatively understandable level for the novice initiate into translation studies. The cannibalist school of thought shows how translation redefines boundaries and how there is a struggle between cultures in the process. The works of Latin American fiction authors and their relationships to Translation was particularly relevant to me, as a student of Spanish. I discovered some new authors here and have bookmarked their work. I also, as a result of this chapter, plan to reread Garcia Marquez’ 100 Years of Solitude, to view…

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Review: Lost In Translation: Misadventures In English Abroad

Lost In Translation: Misadventures In English Abroad by Charlie Croker My rating: 4 of 5 stars I thought I’d try this book out to see some of the problems translators face. The book is a humorous collection of real-life examples of when translators (translating into English) have made embarrassing mistakes… Translation agency’s advertisement in the Moscow Times: Bet us your letter of business translation do. Every people in our staffing know English like the hand of their back. Up to the minuet wise-street phrases, don’t you know, old boy. On a Japanese food package: This cute mild curry uses 100% Japanese apple and cheerful hamster. Finland: If you cannot reach a fire exit, close the door and expose yourself at the window. It’s hard to turn the page in this book without giggling your head off yet at the same time, for the trainee translator, reading the mistakes and attempting to understand how exactly they happened, can be quite a good challenge. View all my reviews

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Review: Tudors

Tudors by Peter Ackroyd My rating: 4 of 5 stars The second volume of Ackroyd’s history of England, this work covers one of the most astonishing and exciting periods of English history. Two of the most revered and famous monarchs existed in the Tudor period, that of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The whole reformation and what it entailed, really separated our Isles from continental history and led to our definition as a modern race. Henry’s time was defined by his cataclysmic relationships with two wives fouling foul of the executioner and he became also a pioneer of the use of divorce. It is interesting to see how the Tudors interacted with other European powers, always on the dividing line between the struggles of France and Spain. I found the Elizabethan period to be the most interesting. The Virgin Queen was truly a great monarch and it is interesting to see how this mysterious woman steered our country onto a great imperial path. It was the time of the early explorers and the start of Empire and the infamous defeat of the Spanish Armada is a highlight as is the conflict with Mary, Queen of Scots, who was ultimately dispatched at Fotheringay castle, a place I once visited as a child and a whole story that was most inspiring. I look forward to see how England progresses beyond the Tudors. It, for sure, can be said that they were a dynasty set apart from others and that their influence can still be felt today. It was a fascinating period of English history and I eagerly anticipate to see how history develops from here, as Peter Ackroyd’s six volume history continues to progress. View all my reviews

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