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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 10, December 1
Literary Considerations I

Before Class:

This week, we begin looking at the purely literary aspect of translations.

Read: John Felstiner's Translating Neruda>, his account of his own translation of Neruda's Alturas de Macchu Picchu.

Translations into English, done at different periods, of a poem by Wang Wei of the Tang Dynasty and some poems from the Shi Jing, or Classic of Poetry from the early Zhou Dynasty. On the latter page, there are actually different versions of some of the same poems, numbered differently in the link Complete Text and English Translation and in the separate numbered links. So #296 is #20 in the complete translation; #239 is #72 in the complete translation, and #369 is the last two stanzas of #189 in the complete translation. This will give you plenty of basis for comparison.

When you finish reading, choose something on an original language that you know, that was translated into English quite a long time ago, and whose translation appears immediately and obviously archaic. Then prepare your own translation into a kind of English that you can justify on grounds of current usage, academic or otherwise. Append an explanation of how your translation is different from the original one, and why. Use a different conversation for each set of translations. This assignment will be graded.

Post the original, the old translation, and your translation before 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1. Each of you should prepare and bring to class a critique of your assigned partner's translation.

In Class:
Divided into three parts:

1) We will discuss issues brought up in your posted critiques/retranslations.

2) We will discuss Felstiner's process of translation, as well as doing a detailed critique of selected passages.

3) In addition, you will be asked to name the work you have chosen for your final project and give a brief reason why you think it will be an interesting thing to work on translating.

4) We need to talk about the scheduling for the final session.

5) If there is popular sentiment, we can spend some time on the Shakespeare that we didn't have time for yesterday.