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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Comparative translation theory
Translation that reveals the basis of communication

Asako Sumimoto
2nd year student at the School of Culture, Media and Society

Professor Hachiya Mizutani gives detailed comments on students' translations

Of course, I recommend this class to people who like English and dream of working as translators. However, I also think that it is a waste not to take this class in comparative translation theory simply because you lack skill in English. This is because translation issues overcome language to exist on a larger and more familiar scale.

The contents of this class are extremely simple. The instructor assigns a translation problem which is translated and submitted by students. Then, in the next class, the instructor extracts notable translations and gives comments. The instructor doesn't simply introduce "good examples." Instead, a wide range of student translations are introduced in order to show interesting expressions and translations which are well-organized overall. Such introductions give a glimpse of the instructor's depth.

Accuracy is obviously an important point of translation. Yet another important point is the extent to which the translator can perceive the intent of the original writer. For example, it is not a mistake to translated the Japanese word shikashi as "but." However, if the word "but" is used when returning to a previous topic which was deviated from, then a better translation would use the Japanese phrase sore wa tomokaku.

It is essential to thoroughly understand the entire writing in order to find the most appropriate translation. It is necessary to be conscious even of information which can only be grasped through reading deeply. One example is the translation of a novel. Even if it is not explicitly written in the novel, the translator must use information such as the birthplace of the main character and the personality of the main character during childhood. If the translator doesn't exercise his or her imagination to the fullest based on such information, mistakes will arise in the subtle nuances contained within each word.

The process of translation is similar to trying to understand a person. That person may be a small child, a person with different values or another type of person who is difficult to understand. It is essential not to miss the information which is conveyed by that person and it is even necessary to reflect in expression the difficulties which cannot be skillfully expressed during communication. By studying comparative translation theory, I learned the challenge and appeal of understanding another human being. On a different note, the class in translation cultural theory held during the first semester will focus on translation principles. I also recommend that students take this class on translation cultural theory during the first semester. The class will give you an advanced look into cautions which must be taken during translation.

Through translation, study the difficult of understanding matters