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.