How does a book or a map change when it is translated to another language, for people in a different culture? Is it essentially the same as the original, or something new altogether?
These questions and more will be explored by the leaders of the University of Warwick’s new MA in Translation and Cultures at an online event in partnership with the City University of Hong Kong — as part of SPARK Festival 2021, organised by the British Council in Hong Kong.
Dr Qian Liu and Dr Olga Castro, from Warwick’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures, present ‘Lost in Translation’, in which they will illustrate how translation is not simply the act of swapping the words of one language for those of another but is rather a space for creativity and transformation.
With online audiences in the UK, Hong Kong, mainland China and around the world, they will investigate the role of culture in translation: the ways in which a translated work is changed, received, and understood in the minds of those who have not only another language, but diverse beliefs, opinions, and ways of seeing the world.
For example, Dr Liu will tell the tale of a nineteenth century British novel Joan Haste, written by Henry Rider Haggard, which was moderately popular in its native land and language, but wildly popular in China after being translated for readers there – with some crucial plot points altered by translators to suit cultural sensibilities in the country.
Then there is the Chinese map, an apparently unchanging document with objective physical meanings, which itself became something entirely new when translated into Spanish in the Philippines.
Dr Qian Liu, Assistant Professor in Translation and Chinese Studies at the University of Warwick, said:
“To me, the most interesting and intriguing aspects of translation are the ways in which it unveils different assumptions, attitudes, feelings, and perceptions of the world in people of different cultures. Translation, as a cultural practice, not only uncovers these issues, but also helps people overcome prejudices and ignorance, and to open a window for them to see different people, cultures, and ways of life.”
Dr Olga Castro, Associate Professor in Translation and Hispanic Studies, and Deputy Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, added:
“All this means translation has a crucial political and social role in enabling (or disabling) mutual understanding among cultural and linguistic communities. These are all key questions for the translation profession that are discussed in depth with our vibrant community of MA and PhD students in our School.”
The themes of ‘Lost in Translation’ at SPARK 2021 are at the heart of the MA in Translation and Cultures at Warwick, which offers a rigorous academic grounding in the theoretical and practical study of translation. The programme equips students with theoretical awareness and practical skills to enhance their effectiveness as translators and intercultural mediators, as well as with the critical skills for the language industry and translation profession.
EVENT: ‘Lost in Translation’, 20 October 2021 — click here for more info.