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Student Rep Meeting with Head of MLANG, Cardiff University, 10.12.14

MLANG, Cardiff University

On 10th December I attended a meeting with Head of MLANG School, Professor Claire Gorrara. She was giving a presentation about developments in the school and there followed a Q&A session. As student rep for first year Translation I felt that I would take this opportunity to briefly report on this meeting to the students. Claire began by stating the strategic vision for MLANG. It is: ‘Laying the foundations for learning and teaching, research and impact and international engagement within our new school’. MLANG is a new department that consolidates the teaching of foreign languages at Cardiff University. The old EUROP makes way for MLANG. Politics moves departments and the school incorporates Japanese that was previously taught at the Business School. The foreign languages taught to 4000 adult learners at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning (LEARN) are drawn into MLANG and the new school allows for an expansion in languages, introducing Portuguese to the main degree program this year with a full degree in Mandarin Chinese (in partnership with Beijing Normal University) to follow in 2016. It was an interesting footnote for us, as translation students, that the translation department is the big success story for MLANG. Enrollment of Translation courses is massively increasing year on year and the future of this section looks very bright. The trend of students to want Translation courses means that this is a growth area and the demand will be met with supply. One of the key challenges to MLANG has been the new Languages for All (LFA) program. This has been introduced as a university-wide scheme, allowing ALL students access to free teaching of foreign languages to compliment their degree studies. The enthusiasm of students for LFA in its inaugural year has been overwhelming with over 2000 attempting to enroll for the only 900 places that were available. There are plans to increase capacity of LFA in future years. The business school will be made available for teaching after 5pm, expanding classroom space and more tutors will be brought in. At the start of the year, 54% of MLANG classes were to occur in the MLANG building. Due to this area being an amalgamated piecing together of old Victorian family houses, it has been acknowledged that it isn’t the best of spaces. Due to disability access issues, many of the classrooms towards the rear of the building have been unfit for teaching use…

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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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