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Floating issues List

29 Sept: Issues
6 Oct: A Semi-opaque process
13 Oct: Letter vs. Spirit
20 Oct: Comparing Translations
27 Oct: Process and Hermeneutics
3 Nov: Radical Translation
10 Nov: Linguistic Differences I
17 Nov: Linguistic Differences II
24 Nov: Traveling Will
1 Dec: Literary Considerations I
8 Dec: Literary Consdiderations II

13 Dec: Final Project Presentations

Assignments and Readings for Week 2, October 6
A Semi-Opaque Process

Before class:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "Translations," in Schulte and Biguenet, Theories of Translation, pp. 60-63 Note the irony that this is a translation of an essay on translation.

George Steiner, After Babel, chapter 1, "Understanding as Translation."

Walter Benjamin, "The Task of the Translator," in Schulte and Biguenet, Theories of Translation, pp. 71-82. Note the irony that this is a translation of an essay on translation.

Prepare an annotated translation of one or two stanzas of poetry or one or two paragraphs of prose from another language to English. Pick something relatively difficult. There are two ways to organize your translation and commentary:

1. Write the original, then write a "first-try" translation. Then discuss the problems you find with your own first try. Then give us another try, with explanations for what you changed, why you changed it, and where you are still less than satisfied.

2. Write the original, followed by your finished translation, with a footnote at every place where you had to make a choice, telling us what alternatives you considered and why you ended up with what you did.

Post your translation and commentary to the class go-post as a new conversation by 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 5.

Post your discussion of your assigned partner's translation to the class go-post in the same conversation as the translation was posted, by 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 6. This assignment will be graded, with more emphasis on your own translation and commentary than on your discussion of someone else's, but I refuse to be pinned down to some artificial and arbitrary percentage of points for each.

In Class:
1) We will continue compiling our floating issues List, adding issues in the philosophy and practice of translation that have been raised in the readings from Goethe, Steiner and Benjamin. We will spend a maximum of one hour of class time working on the list.

2) Each discussant will go over his or her commentary on another student's translation and comments in detail, pointing out issues that either appear on our list from Goethe, Steiner and Benjamin or don't appear there.