Translating the migrant’s experience of rural Australia
Over the past month, Jessica Trevitt has been working with Yoon-Hwa, a recent Australian migrant from South Korea. Since moving here with her partner Kyu, Yoon-Hwa has spent 6 months learning upper-intermediate English in Melbourne, and has spent the last three months working in a meat factory in rural South Australia to obtain her second visa.
She and Kyu have found the move from Melbourne to a small country town eye-opening, and Yoon-Hwa has written a series of five short stories in her native Korean to document the experience. In the first story, Yoon-Hwa relates her first impressions of the town, including her encounter with a white kangaroo, her exploration of the local supermarkets, and her meeting with a fellow Korean migrant in their new apartment. In the subsequent stories she describes her experiences at the factory and how they have learned to adjust to an intensive work life in an isolated town.
For one hour a week over the last five weeks, Jessica and Yoon-Hwa have collaborated via Skype to translate the first story into English. For Yoon-Hwa, this experience of collaborative translation has been a significant source of support in her learning of English and her development of conversational technique, as it has given her regular speaking practice during a time when she is unable to attend classes in Melbourne. For Jessica, the process has given significant insight into how target language revisions reflect the authorial style and voice of the source language author; together, they have worked to capture Yoon-Hwa’s frankness and her eye for narrative detail, producing an English text with a distinctly literary tone.
Over the course of the next few months, while Yoon-Hwa finishes her contract at the factory, they will continue to translate each of her stories. Ultimately they hope to have them published as a rare testament to migrant experience in the rural Australian environment.
The paper emphasised the value of collaborative translation as a method for supporting language learning, and they presented initial findings from the project’s German>English case study.
Due to a last-minute change in programming, the participants were lucky enough to deliver the paper twice. Each time they received encouraging feedback, and their session chair Kate Borthwick (University of Southampton) shared her enthusiasm on Twitter.
The conference gave TransCollaborate the opportunity to tap into a valuable network of language teachers in the UK, some of whom the team look forward to seeing again at their upcoming event in Prato, Italy.
Early in 2016, Prof. Angela Tiziana Tarantini (Monash University) and Chris Griffiths completed an analysis of a 1924 Italian translation of Coriolanus and Julius Caesar. Their analysis addressed how the depiction of Rome in the translation of Shakespeare was used in support of fascist ideology in the early 1920s. The translation features a critical introduction by scholar Giuseppe de Lorenzo, which outlines a intriguing argument in which the Senecan ideal that Shakespeare found in the heroes of the Plutarch and Livy is held to be synonymous with the emerging fascist ideals of the period.
Their English translation of de Lorenzo’s essay is currently under consideration and will be published in the near future.
Special thanks to Julia (Xiaohong) Min (Monash University), who has shared and commented on her experience of translating poems by Su Dong-po & Li Quinzhao. Her responses will be valuable in developing our research further, and we look forward to her participation the future.
This collaborative project was undertaken with a multi-lingual, multi-disciplinary team in the 1980s. The work still fires Julia’s imagination, and she is keen to continue this type of translation project in the future.
I am currently undertaking translations of German scholarship on the reception of Shakespeare. My current translation piece concerns the “controversial” translations of Hans Rothe in the twentieth century. This piece will be completed and submitted for publication by early 2017.
Dr Birgit Oehle and I have been investigating Dorothea Tieck’s nineteenth-century translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Tieck was the daughter of Ludwig Tieck, who, with August Schlegel, was among the most prominent of German translators of Shakespeare. Hers were the first full German translation of all 154 sonnets; the previous translator of the sonnets, Karl Lachmann, had omitted sonnets 134, 135 and 151 on the grounds that they were untranslatable (in relation to the two former) and obscene (in reference to the latter).
We may conduct our analysis of these pieces using Jessica Trevitt’s “triangulated” methodology, which attempts to deconstruct the “source-target” binary of mainstream translation studies by identifying other cultural forces that impact on translations processes. We may propose, for example, that the key cultural relationship of these translations was not between the source-English and target-German, but rather Germany’s reaction against French classicis, which prompted an embrace of the Germanic naturalism of Shakespeare.
In late July 2016, Dr Birgit Oehle and I spent some productive days doing research at the Munich Shakespeare Library at LMU in Munich. We uncovered materials relating to the history of German translations of Shakespeare, and came up with a number of interesting pieces of German Shakespeare scholarship that have not been translated. Some of these will be translated in collaboration by myself and Birgit, and with students enrolled in German studies at Warwick. All of these pieces represent different levels of difficulty in translation (scholarly and archaic language is a significant obstacle, even for fluent speakers), and we are considering the possibility of a collected volume of these translations for Anglophone Shakespeare scholars.
Thanks and acknowledgements are due to Bettina Boecker and the staff at the Munich Shakespeare Library for their kind assistance in our endeavours.