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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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Review: Through the Language Glass

Through The Language Glass

Through the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher My rating: 5 of 5 stars This book was a fantastic read. It was quite different to how I initially imagined it to be. As you follow the story is constructively builds a cohesive, rational scientific argument as to exactly how and why different language users perceive the world differently. It is thoroughly thought-provoking and addresses issues that I had never previously pondered about but which are clearly important. There is a clear difference between language speakers across the world, but how does this manifest at a biological level? From colour perception to spatial awareness to use of gender, our language constrains us, in effect imprisons us to perceive the world in predetermined ways. I think that by reading this book I am more aware of the difference in languages and by being aware of that difference it assists one to break their own shackles of a restricted mind. At the very least I have a sturdy amount of scientific examples of linguistic studies with which to embellish my work on the Translation degree I am studying. A good read. View all my reviews

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Review: Translation and Globalization

translation and globalization

Translation and Globalization by Michael Cronin My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book, by Irish author Michael Cronin, explores translation studies from a globalization perspective with specific attention paid to the situation in Ireland. Globalization is a trend which is ever-increasing in our world and it is an undeniable fact. How do translators fit into this movement of culture? They are involved whether they support globalization or not and very often they must remain unbiased in their views. As contact increases between different cultures and language groups across the planet the translator is finding himself ever more involved. Technology issues and localisation are covered and this is particularly relevant to Ireland which has set itself up as a hub for the international technological revolution. The book analyses the different cultural conflicts which arise in translation as a result of globalization. What are the relationships between powerful global languages and more minor ones? I found the final chapter on minor languages, looking in detail at Irish Gaelic, most interesting. When one is a native speaker of English it is difficult to overlook the factors affecting translators of minor languages whose working lives and structure and thinking are markedly different to the bulk of translators. The book is very well written and gives a comprehensive outlook on Translation Studies, never veering too far from the underlying topic of globalization. I found it easy to follow and rich in its definitions and examples. I will be using the specific content on Translation History for my next essay. View all my reviews

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Review: Translation and Globalization – by Michael Cronin

Translation and Globalization by Michael Cronin My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book, by Irish author Michael Cronin, explores translation studies from a globalization perspective with specific attention paid to the situation in Ireland. Globalization is a trend which is ever-increasing in our world and it is an undeniable fact. How do translators fit into this movement of culture? They are involved whether they support globalization or not and very often they must remain unbiased in their views. As contact increases between different cultures and language groups across the planet the translator is finding himself ever more involved. Technology issues and localisation are covered and this is particularly relevant to Ireland which has set itself up as a hub for the international technological revolution. The book analyses the different cultural conflicts which arise in translation as a result of globalization. What are the relationships between powerful global languages and more minor ones? I found the final chapter on minor languages, looking in detail at Irish Gaelic, most interesting. When one is a native speaker of English it is difficult to overlook the factors affecting translators of minor languages whose working lives and structure and thinking are markedly different to the bulk of translators. The book is very well written and gives a comprehensive outlook on Translation Studies, never veering too far from the underlying topic of globalization. I found it easy to follow and rich in its definitions and examples. I will be using the specific content on Translation History for my next essay. View all my reviews

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Review: Translation-mediated Communication in a Digital World

Translation-mediated Communication in a Digital World by Minako O’Hagan My rating: 3 of 5 stars This book was published in 2002 and obviously a lot has changed in twelve years in the filed of technology. Bearing in mind that it is outdated, there are, however, some very good valid points which are raised about translation-mediated communication in the computer age. Translators need a new set of skills in order to function in the modern age. There is a movement towards machine translation and the way in which it integrates into traditional styles of translation is a new subject for translation studies. The whole internet and the increasing need for webpage translation means that translators need to be aware of web languages and also about the varied nature of websites. The whole language of websites is different. People do not read websites like they do books or traditional forms of media and this the language to be translated is different. I found the whole approach of the book to the translator’s role in globalisation to bring some good far-reaching ideas into my mind about the future of translation. I left this book wondering more about the subject and the possibilities of technology. To be critical of the book, there was an overuse of acronyms. TMC was easy enough to adapt to but I found that the steady introduction of new acronyms in the text just became overbearing and confusing so that I couldn’t remember what was being referred to. There was a fair bit of repetition of ideas and sometimes the language became too over-technical and unnecessarily complicated and was very difficult to follow. I think the authors are obviously talented people in this field and have critical knowledge. I would like to see the book brought up to date for today’s situation. The ideas identified in this work were very prophetic and this indicates the high level of competence in the study. View all my reviews

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Review: Mouse or Rat?: Translation as Negotiation

Mouse or Rat?

Mouse or Rat?: Translation as Negotiation by Umberto Eco My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book is a collection of essays on the topic of translation. It is constantly exploring the role of the translator as a negotiator is the way he interprets texts for his target audience. Eco points towards an underlying perfect language that writer uses which transcends the individual tongues a work may be written in. What duty does the translator have in presenting an author’s true thoughts? The examples are plentiful and obviously abound from a man with a great deal of real-life experience as a translator. I found the in depth discussion of poetry translation a little over my head and very complicated but it gives you something to aim at as you learn the art and process of becoming a translator. The essays build on the work of other translation scholars and argues for and against their ideas and methods. I found that the text reads very well and is an ideal compliment to the more formal study one gets from course texts. I am sure that after a few rereads Umberto Eco’s message will reveal itself more fully to me. View all my reviews

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