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Spain’s Catalan Crisis / Catalonia’s Spanish Crisis – Lecture by Dr Andrew Dowling at Cardiff University, 18.10.17

Che Guevara

In light of recent developments in Catalonia that have grabbed international attentions, this lecture was convened by Cardiff University’s Catalan specialist, Dr Andrew Dowling, in order to enlighten us on the subject. It was recognized that the audience was comprised of people with a mixture of knowledge on Catalonia and its crisis. The lecture was aimed to appeal to the different strands therein, with enough basic knowledge on the background of the situation to allow for understanding of the deeper layers of the composition of this global political event.   Andrew started off by revealing that the turning point and key date in the development of this crisis is the Global Economic crisis of 2008. This had a profound impact on European societies. It affected the internal dynamics of Spain and its semi-federal system. As the independence movement grew, class conflicts declined. The Catalan secession became a major crisis to the Spanish government. Catalonia was the epicenter. There is a profound psychological need to protect one’s own. Identity and the National identity comes to the forefront of people’s thinking. What was the Spanish state and the situation in Catalonia like before 2008? Catalonia in essence was the role model for a successful devolution. It had spent 120 years of consolidating its autonomy. In Spain, in other regions where nationalist separatist thinking had been prevalent, there was calm The Basque country was in a post-violent scenario. However, in the approach to 2008, Catalan society became less content. Challenger political parties began to emerge. In the late 1990s salaries for the middle classes started to stagnate. Throughout Spain there was a new generation of voters and the principal political parties – both Nationalist and Social Democrats, struggled to get the backing of new voters. The Partido Popular (PP), the Spanish Conservatives, reigned in Spain between 1996-2004 and had a policy of increased centralization, thus reducing the power of the regions’ autonomy. The periphery was controlled by the centre and this led to a Catalan existential crisis. There has been political Catalanism since the 1880s. Within the Catalan political class there was a renewal of Catalan politics. Between 2003 and 2006 there was a reform of the Regional government system. There was two sides of the divide: asymmetrical regionalism against increased centralisation. The PP and its allies mobilised against any moves from the regions that might lead to the breakup of Spain. It…

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Taking Stock of Subtitling – Jorge Díaz-Cintas (UCL) – Guest Lecture Cardiff University MLANG 18.11.14

Jorge Díaz-Cintas

Sponsored by Tesserae, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, this event at Cardiff University brought in world expert in subtitling, Jorge Díaz-Cintas, from UCL, for a guest lecture on ‘Taking Stock In Subtitling’. Subtitling is a growing area of research and also a growing employment area for Translation graduates. The lecture was well-supported by undergraduate and post-graduate students, many department teachers, the professional translator community and also members of the public. Jorge led out by defining subtitling as a form of REWRITING as opposed to the REVOICING of dubbing, interpreting, voiceover and narration. Subtitling has a very significant role in accessibility, with subtitles being made for disabled people, be they hard of hearing / deaf or partially-sighted / blind (Audio description & Audio subtitling) The rapid development in technology in recent years has seen a huge growth in the need for subtitling. Its diversity and range has multiplied with the advent of new technologies and has moved from television to the internet. The volunteer community of subtitlers translate and adapt uploaded videos on youtube and other internet video platforms, sometimes, as in the case of new TV series, beating the professional subtitling community in the race for reaching an audience. These new subtitlers can redefine norms in the world of translation, for example, usurping traditional translation methods for Mandarin or Arabic and using trendy vernacular tongues. Jorge demonstrated some of the professional subtitling computer tools such as Wincaps, and talked of the complexity of organising multiple subtitling in a range of foreign languages. If ‘spotting’ (where subtitles come in and fade out in a video frame) is made uniform across all subtitling languages, what sort of problems can arise? A German translator needs far more space in their translation than other European languages as their words are longer and also the sentences are structured with the verb part-separating to feature at the end of a sentence. A subtitler has to take into account of average reading speeds and faces the challenge of condensing material due to space restraints. Jorge showed how the software aids in these factors. For those interested in subtitling and getting involved in this profession, a number of websites were mentioned: http://esist.org/ http://avteurope.eu/ http://subtitlers.org.uk/ http://clipfair.net http://videolectures.net http://ted.com http://www.eu-bridge.eu/ http://www.sumat-project.eu/ Some of these sites are at the cutting edge of subtitling technology, incorporating the latest developments in the field of machine translation. Jorge left us to ponder…

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Positioning Translators – Theo Hermans (UCL) – Guest Lecture Cardiff University MLANG 29.10.14

theo hermans

  Theo Hermans is from University College London (UCL) and works in translation studies and in modern and Renaissance Dutch literature. His guest lecture at Cardiff University was to develop his ideas in his recent ‘Positioning Translators’ paper. Theo edits the series Translation Theories Explored published by Routledge. This was my first extra-curricular lecture at Cardiff University. We prepared for the lecture with a seminar in the afternoon run by my personal tutor, Dorota Goluch. I’d read Theo’s paper and it had been a little profound for me to take it all in yet after Dorota’s seminar I was feeling a little more confident in understanding the idea of ‘Positioning Translators’ and was ready fro the main event. Theo Hermans entered a jam-packed MLANG lecture theatre and under the light of recording video cameras, got his talk underway. Many of the ideas and examples were taken straight from the paper, but Theo had an excellent way of simplifying the ideas and making them more accessible in the lecture than they were in the plain text of the paper. He started with the example of Antjie Krog, a SoutH African translator who was deeply emotionally affected by his interpreting work for the South African Truth And Reconciliation commission as it sought to uncover the wrongs of apartheid. He talked of First Person Displacement – the way in which a translator or interpreter can get caught up in their work. Antjie Krog found that by referring to the unjust crimes as he interpreting them by using the first-person, he could not separate his won identity from the dark sins perpetuated by the more evil elements of the apartheid instigators. The lecture went on to develop how translators themselves are affected in their work and the various techniques they use to impose themselves on the reader. I think one of the biggest ideas that embedded in my mind from Theo’s talk was the nature of Irony in Translation. In a translated work there is not just a single voice talking. The author has his voice but the translator, in his work, has his own voice represented in the work. There is therefore two voices present, struggling against each other – the element of irony where the nature of what is being said has a duality. Different translators cope with this irony in different ways. Is the perfect translation where the translator is invisible? The…

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