HUM 210 Online Course Pack - Fall 2006 - Prof. Cora Agatucci
On Cross-Cultural Translation
A. What translators do:
7. At issue in judging the worth of a translation is not just its literal "accuracy," therefore, but also the "appropriateness" of the translators choices and changes in preserving "complex tension" outlined above (item #6).
B. How readers read (learn, teach) cross-cultural texts in "translation":
|Agatucci, Cora, ed.
"Translation as a Method for Cross
By Anuradha Dingwaney and Carol Maier. (In Understanding Others: Cultural and
Cross-Cultural Studies and the Teaching of Literature. Ed. Joseph Trimmer and
Tilly Warnock. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1992.
On "Literal" vs. "Artistic" Translation
"Some translators of literary works into English tended to sacrifice
form for literal meaning, while others subordinated literal meaning
to the artistry of the original work. With the increasing
number of translations of world literature available by a range of
translators, it has become possible to select versions that are
clear and accessible as well as literally and aesthetically faithful
to the original . . . .
"There are those who question whether poetry can ever be adequately translated from one language and culture into another; our concern, however, is not with what might be lost in a translation but with what is gained. The best translations do not merely duplicate a work but re-create it in a new idiom. . . . [A list of translations of various major works of world literature from their original languages into English, follow, praised and justified because they] are in a way outstanding English poems in their own right. [More such translations are listed as] examples of translations done by major [English language] poets whose renderings are now an important body of their own body of work. . . . [Additional translations of Indian, Japanese, and German works are praised and justified because they] "communicate the complexity" of philosophy, genres, and/or stylistic language of the original literary works." ("A Note on Translation" xxi.)
|"A Note on Translation."
The Bedford Anthology of World Literature: The Ancient
World, Beginnings-100 B.C.E. Eds. Paul Davis and others. Boston: Bedford-
St. Martin's, 2004. Xxi.
To Subtitle or Not To Subtitle?
the DVD special features commentary, Whale Rider director Niki Caro
mentioned an aesthetic reason for her decision not to
subtitle in English some Maori-language chants and songs
included in the film: Caro suggested that English-language
(literal) translations would not be able to capture and do
justice to the beauty and rhythms of Maori language poetry.
One Whale Rider viewer later approved of Caro's decision not to subtitle certain Maori chants included in the film, but for a different reason: "I appreciate how they don't always translate the Maori dialect, especially in chants and songs. I think in doing so they have kept it sacred, and though it is important to learn of other customs and ways I believe something would be lessened if every bit was translated" (emphasis added). This viewer voiced an opinion shared by many others: that sacred Maori chants and "tapu" knowledge should not be translated for global audiences nor revealed to any but entitled Maori initiates.
Whale Rider. Dir. Niki Caro. Perf.
Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton,
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Last updated: 18 September 2006