Monthly Archives: November 2016

Warwick Language Workshops

by Georgia

foto
Image: Jacopo Auriti

Our collaborative translation workshops at Warwick have come to a close. They gave us the opportunity to explore the use of translation for language learners in an informal teaching context, with a particular interest in how student confidence and cultural knowledge impacts upon foreign language learning.

We offered the following two workshop streams:

  • Beginners/Improvers ITALIAN for native/fluent speakers of ENGLISH
  • Intermediate/Advanced ENGLISH for native/fluent speakers of ITALIAN

We created a ‘translation conversation’ in the first language of the students, in which we addressed the key points of the text that we analysed. We weren’t looking to teach translation techniques, but investigate how far the collaborative translation model can succeed in promoting an inclusive ‘linguistic sensitivity’ amongst language students. We tackled questions of accents, stereotypes, and the extent to which cultural insights can impact upon language learning.

We have published the following articles discussing their format and outcomes:

As coordinator of the English language-learning element, I owe a big ‘grazie’ to all the transcollaborators: Alessia, Argentina, Arianna, Caterina, Chiara, Daniele, Davide, Debora, Erica, Federica T., Federica S., Lisa, Martina, Monica, Sabrina, Sara, e Simona, grazie mille! I have really enjoyed working with you to explore the value of translation in the language learning process. I hope it has been as stimulating – and productively challenging – for you as it has for me.

Particular thanks to Emily for her invaluable contribution as a facilitator and inspiring ideas for engaging material. A proposito di material…I’ll leave you with some of the examples of our creative approach to idioms. This is very definitely a work-in-progress (but as you know, we’re all about the process rather than the product!), and it was really interesting contemplating together the cultural implications of these idioms and proverbs from different perspectives: thinking about what is ‘lost in translation’, as well as what is perhaps gained. After all, sciuscia e sciurbì nu se peu!

Some #transcollaborate idioms and proverbs: do you have any alternative suggestions?

nella botte piccolo sta il vino buono / they don’t make diamonds as big as bricks; good things come in small packages

gallina vecchia (fa buon brodo) / cougar (female); silver fox (male)

chi dorme non piglia pesci / the early bird catches the worm

tanto va la gatta al lardo che ci lascia lo zampino / curiosity killed the cat

sciuscia e sciurbì nu se peu; non si può soffiare e succhiare / have your cake and eat it; juggle too many balls at once

una volta ogni morte di papa / once in a blue moon

can che abbia non morde / his/her bark is worse than his/her bite

non dire gatto se non ce l’hai nel sacco / don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched

non fasciarti la testa prima di cadere / we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it; don’t cross your bridges before you come to them

gatto ci cova / I smell a rat!

Learning Basic German through collaboration

by Jessica Trevitt

I recently undertook a German>English collaborative translation with Dr Madeleine Bieg, and a prominent part of the experience was the opportunity it afforded me to learn some basic German. We translated 155 items proposed for a survey in the field of educational psychology, and with each item we took it in turns to read the German aloud. When Madeleine read I listened carefully to her pronunciation, and when I read I would emulate her and she would correct me where necessary. She would then explain roughly in English what the item meant, while I typed out a suggested revision of her translation on a shared screen. We would then negotiate a final version by clarifying for each other the nuances of the source and target items to ensure we were both satisfied. Over time, this process helped me learn some basic elements of German grammar, such as the capitalisation of nouns, and I began to recognise repeated vocabulary and sentence structures. Toward the end of the four months I found I was able to start suggesting rough English translations myself.

Translating a Survey for Educational Psychology

by Jessica Trevitt

Dr Madeleine Bieg and I have completed a translation from German into English for Madeleine’s research in the field of educational psychology. Working via Skype between Germany and Australia, we met for one hour every week for four months; this was enough time to move through 155 items proposed for a survey of secondary school students. The survey is intended to investigate the students’ emotional attitudes toward their choice of subjects at school, and while it will be conducted using the original German items, our English translations will be used as the research team’s official translation for the purposes of dissemination in Anglophone contexts. We are in the final stages of finalising the target text, and will share more news once it’s ready for circulation!