Huh, Translation is Important After All!

The American Translators Association, also known as the ATA, had its “53rd Annual Conference” on October of 2012 in San Diego California.  This conference was focused on the work of translators and the many specialties on which their skills are needed.  Although the association has the name of “American,” it also accepts participants from all over the world who can participate, contribute and become part of this famous association.  The ATA is focused on the quality of translation services provided to many organizations, businesses and the public, especially now in the era of a “global business environment” (ATA website).  The ATA mission “is to benefit translators and interpreters by promoting recognition of their societal and commercial value [… by] establishing standards of competence and ethics, and educating both its members and the public” (ATA website).

According to the conference website, the ATA Conference is a very important event with great focused on professional development, with its main interest being the specific needs of translators and interpreters.  In last year’s conference almost 200 educational sessions were given in more than 12 different languages with focus on a great variety of specializations. (Conference Site).

Although the conference focused on many different trends and specializations like, interpreting, literary translation, medical terminology, financial translation, legal terminology and interpreting, language technology, science and technology, translation & interpreting professions, among the trends that can be identified to be of great relevance to the public are the following:

-Legal Translating and Interpreting, which nowadays has become a great issue for our legal system.  The judicial system wants to keep up with the promise of equal justice for all, and it becomes very important to the court to provide language equality in order to also provide equal justice to the many people who use the system.  Some of the most important papers presented in this category are:  “The Client-Attorney Privilege and the Interpreter’s Duty to Maintain Confidentiality” by Tony A. Rosado, “Essential Anatomy and Physiology for Judiciary Interpreters” by Jennifer de la Cruz, “Immigration Jargon: Interpreting in a World Apart” by Francesca Samuel, and “Political Differences Between the U.S. and Europe from a Translator’s Perspective” by Neil A. Gouw.

-Medical Translating and Interpreting, which goes neck and neck with the Legal Translation and Interpreting in the sense that they both want to provide the best of communication between the parties.  In the medical field translating and interpreting are very, I mean very important.  Great communication can mean the difference between the right and the left kidney or the difference between life and death.  On this category the most important papers are: “So You Are Not a Doctor: Taking the Plunge into Medical Translation without an MD” by Erin M. Lyons, “Becoming a Certification Subject Matter Expert” by Elizabeth Nguyen, and “Understanding the Science Behind the Clinical Trials You Translate” by Denise Anne Figlewicz.

-The third trend, which is go great importance to everyone, is that of science and technology translation and interpreting.  In our globalized culture, we need to focus on everything that affects us, even if it is happening on the other side of the world.  Among the most important papers of this category we have: “An Introduction to Aviation and Air Travel” by Nicholas Hartmann, “DNA Translation: It’s All in the Genes” by Leo van Zanten, and “Basic Concepts of Pharmacology in Drug Development” by Bob Lyon.

This conference seems to be of great importance to the educational, economical, technological and scientific worlds, therefore it affect basically all of us.  Translation is a specialty that is dedicated to many fields and does not find any boundaries.  The ATA conference results should be read and studied by many of us in order to find out, what is going on in the world, as I said, it focuses on many specialties and that makes it a unique scholarship from which we call all benefit from.

Works Cited

“ATA Website” ATA – American Translators Association – Translators Interpreters Translation Interpreting. Ed. Jeff Sanfacon. N.p., 2013. Web. 03 May 2013. <;.

“Conference Website.” American Translators Association (ATA) 53rd Annual Conference. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 May 2013. <;.


What Does Education Have to Do With Capitalism?

The English major, as a chosen specialty by an individual, is most of the time a deal breaker in many situations.  Like in the case when that person is asked, “What is your major?” or “What did you say your bachelor degree is on?”  Many people are actually scare to answer these questions.  It takes great courage to say, with the head up, “I am an English major,” or “I have a Bachelor’s of Art in English.”  Even if you give those answers, people will continue to question you and will pretend that your education has been a waste of time and money.  Education is very important for any given human being, but here in America, in the country of opportunities, we worry more about what people are useful for, instead of how intellectual they are.

While reading an article by Mark Slouka, I realized that what we do is mostly worry about how people are going to use their career and education to make money than anything else.  In his case, Slouka says that one day, when he was telling his soon to be mother-in-law, that he had a Ph.D, her response was the following question, “What’re you going to do, open a philosophy store?” Ha, ha, ha, I don’t know how I would answer that, but what I know is that this is the kind of thinking that we usually hear about, this is actually, “The essential drama of American Education today” (Slouka).  We don’t see education as something beneficial in any other sense, but the economical.  Our thinking has shifted from what education actually is, to what education should be.   It is always about, “the victory of whatever can be quantified over everything that can’t” (Slouka).  It becomes something in the lines of, if it is something, like the English major, please tell me that you will make money with it, or at least help the economic world we live in, or don’t bother telling me about it.

It is incredible how we, as human beings, have gone from the abstract, to the monetary.  Nowadays, “It’s about the quiet retooling of American education into an adjunct of business, an instrument of production” (Slouka).  Will we ever be able to change this trend and thinking?  Will we ever wake up and change our current situation?  Maybe someday we will be able to change this, but it will happen as Slouka says, “Only by attempting to understand what used to be called, in a less embarrassed age, the ‘human condition.’”  Once we understand that, we will know that “In a visible world, the invisible, does not compute” (Slouka).  And therefore we will be able to realize that if education is not visible, to the naked eye, we the English majors can make visible in many other ways, and not only in the economic sense.

We have to remember that, “What is taught, in any given time, in any culture, is an expression of what that culture considers important” (Slouka).  If we let our whole culture think that education is not important, that instead money means more than education, then we are basically letting Capitalism make education bend to its needs in order to find success.  When I was a young boy, my father said to me, “Son, I will never in my life be able to give money, but one thing I can try, and will try, to give you is education.”  This words came from a very poor person, who he himself never had a chance to education in Honduras, yet he wanted his son, me, and my siblings to be educated.  He fulfilled his promise up to the point I could make that decision my own.  And here I am writing, in a second language, and thinking about a different culture.  Money was not my father’s interest, not it is mine, but education has played a huge role in my life and will continue to do so in the life of an English major, even if that means to confront Capitalist thinking and oppression.  If we let capitalism control our thinking and our education, we are basically in the situation that Slouka proposes, “We’re well on the way of producing a nation of employees, not citizens.”  The choice is yours.

Works Cited

Slouka, Mark. “Dehumanized.” Harpers Magazine. N.p., Sept. 2009. Web. 03 May 2013. <;.

Translation: A Blessing and a Curse

Although translation is one of the most fascinating and interesting parts of literature, not many people know the reality behind the translation wall.  First it is important to mention that within the translation world, there is a great deal of attention to how the translation is done, and how the translator makes presence of himself throughout the work. Second, most of the time when a translation is done, the person who gets all the credit and authorship of the work is the original author and the translator is forgotten as a side note to the whole new text created.

In order to further analyze translation, two examples of great literary importance have been made part of this discussion.  First, Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is presented to explore and explain how a Middle English work is transformed, changed and tailored to the modern reader in Modern English.  Secondly, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz’s short story, “The House of Desires,” is introduced to explain how a text written in another language, Spanish, has been translated into Modern English to show the development of other cultures and their importance to the literary world.

This discussion explains how society as we know it and its literary world would not be the same if it was not through the help and dedication of translators who have made it their career to transcend time and space in order to bring forth the fruits of our predecessors.  Furthermore this discussion teaches us that literature and translation are two interconnected specialties that grow, improve and develop together for the benefit of the great literary world.

“Do you speak English?” Representations of the American Woman Abroad

   Within modernist literature, readers have been fascinated by travel writing literature and the culture created by the modernist expatriate movement. This interest is amplified and is invariably more controversial when the protagonist of these works is female. Modernist literature has since been dissected for its commentary on both the culture it portrays and the lives of the authors who have created these societal representations. The underlying theme of the expatriate has been personal to both the authors who have chosen to leave America and the characters that they portray leaving America. These representations highlight assumptions about traveling women and work to solidify stereotypes within both the male and female characters. 

When examining Henry James’s Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts, the actions and attitudes of the American and European women convey clear sentiments about the transgression of gender roles and class boundaries. The ongoing conversations pertaining to Miller offer a variety of critiques of her character. Some critics believe Daisy is an antifeminist coquette who deserved her unfortunate ending. Others claim Daisy to be a feminist heroine for her ability to independently navigate the social circles of European culture. In addition to these views, Henry James’s biography plays an important role in his characterization of the Millers. In order to highlight the experiences described in Miller’s narrative, I parallel her voice with my own experiences traveling abroad. 

From Mallory to Morgan: How Arthurian Legend had shaped with Time

-Katie Owens      

The stories of our past have a way of staying with us throughout time. This can come in the form of retellings of the story in its original form or in the form of adaptations. One story that has persisted in our collective memory throughout time is that of King Arthur, Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table. From the time Sir Thomas Mallory collected them in Le Morte d’Arthur in the 1400’s, there have been countless retellings in the form of books, poems, television series, and movies. One particular retelling of the Arthurian stories in the BBC drama Merlin which aired from 2008 – 2012. This particular adaptation sees Merlin and Arthur as young men in the time leading up to Arthur being crowned king.

By comparing the television show to Mallory’s texts, I will examine the ways in which the two represent themes of chivalry and class structure. In order to do this, I will first examine the nature of adaptations in general and a brief history of Arthurian adaptations. Then, I examine the ways that both Le Morte d’Arthur and Merlin present these themes by looking in depth at specific characters and tales from each. In addition to exploring the themes of chivalry and class structure, I look at the ways that the time period in which each version was created informed the manner of presentation.




The Birds and the Bees are More Than a Sex Talk with Your Mother:

Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!, William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, and Ecocriticism.

Ecocriticism is a somewhat new field in the world of literary criticism. Critics are now examining works from earlier periods in order to find naturalistic elements. Ecocriticism is defined as “the interplay of the human and the nonhuman in literary texts,” by Cheryll Glotfelty. Texts such as O Pioneers! (1913) and As I Lay Dying (1930), by Willa Cather and William Faulkner respectively, are widely known to a variety of audiences. They have been torn apart at the seams and pieced back together like a puzzle. O Pioneers! is a text in which land and nature play a central role; however, in comparison with As I Lay Dying, the land is viewed in a more geographical sense.

An even closer look at the two texts reveals that there are links with human characters and their relationship with the land they not only live on, but farm and travel. The Bergson family in O Pioneers! not only builds but sustains their lives on the wild plains of Nebraska. The Bundren’s in As I Lay Dying, on the other hand, view land and nature more as a means to reach their destination. Although critics have explored Ecocriticism within the two texts, it is plain to see that there are underlying causes behind the reasons why one promotes a strong relationship with the land, where the other does not.

It is plain to see that the outcomes of both stories are vastly different. The Bergson’s, despite the tragedy at the end regarding Emil and Marie, live prosperously after many years of struggle. The Bundren’s from As I Lay Dying experience hard times from the death of Addie Bundren to the difficult journey to perform her burial and to obtain modern-day technologies. It is clear that the characters’ individual relationships with the natural elements of their stories are directly correlated with the outcome of their tales. The fates of the characters in conjunction with their relationship with land are tied directly to Willa Cather’s and William Faulkner’s own ideas about modernity.


Rise of Rebellion: The Chocolate War and The Hunger Games Fight for Justice

By: Molly Boylan

In young adult novels, rebellion can come in the form of chocolate and berries. But are teens rebellious for more than just rebellion’s sake? Yes. More specifically, Robert Cormier and Suzanne Collins each use the hero/heroine of the young adult novel to advance the relationship between reader and reality. In this essay, build on the work of Tom Henthorne, Michael Cart and others who consider various aspects of young adult literature as a whole and each novel respectively. However unlike these scholars, I analyze how The Chocolate War (1974) and The Hunger Games (2008) leave readers with a disturbing awareness of the downfalls of societies in similar plot lines that promote social justice.

In order to look deeper at social justice issues in young adult novels, I use The Chocolate War as the foundational text and consider its influence on teen readers. Thirty-four years later, Suzanne Collins incorporated social action as a theme in The Hunger Games. Each author creates a connection to the readers by evoking empathy, acknowledging the disturbing elements of society, indicate tragic injustices, and demonstrate the social action each protagonist undertakes.

A comparison of these two texts leads to a better understanding how young adult novels motivate teens to consider social action in their own reality.

Works Cited

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. Print.

Cormier, Robert.The Chocolate War. New York: Dell Laurel-Leaf, 1974. Print.

Cart, Michael. Young Adult Literature from Romance to Realism. Chicago: American Library Association, 2010. Print.

Henthorne, Tom. Approaching the Hunger Games Trilogy: a literary and cultural analysis. North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2012. Print

My Name is Lizzie Bennet…and I’ve Invaded the Internet

By: Noelle Kozak

“It is a truth universally acknowledged” that Pride and Prejudice, the brainchild of nineteenth century novelist Jane Austen, has more than stood the test of time. It tells the story of the Bennet family and their five daughters, as they navigate through a world defined by marriage and social status. The main plot of the novel revolves around the relationship between main protagonists Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy as they overcome their ‘pride’ and ‘prejudices’ to ultimately understand each other and find love and happiness. It is a work that has been adapted many times to fit a modern audience. In this paper I examine how Pride and Prejudice translates into its latest adaptation, web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

In this fresh re-telling, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bennet is characterized to fit a modern audience, in a story focused less on marriage and more on life goals. Here, she is a grad student who lives with her parents and two sisters as she makes a video about her life with her best friend Charlotte. Along with Lizzie, all the original characters from the novel are re-imagined for this adaptation which initially focuses solely on Lizzie’s point of view. However, in this version, Lizzie’s opinions are only part of the story as minor characters like her sister, Lydia Bennet, come center stage.

Austen’s original depiction of Lydia Bennet had been a character that most fans of the novel explicitly disliked for both her naiveté and choices that nearly ruined the lives of those around her. Within the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, this is not the case, as the series gives Lydia her own web series as well as an evolved characterization which not only fits a modern audience, but allows for another form of perspective.

This idea of a web series that develops through new media is a most interesting and original take on Pride and Prejudice. This study argues that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries does a excellent job of keeping the spirit of Jane Austen alive while expanding and building on her novel in creative and compelling ways.

Tagged , , , ,

“Shoulder to Shoulder and Heart to Heart:” On the Road with Whitman, Steinbeck, and Springsteen

Kelsey Healey

The tradition of the road narrative has long been a part of American culture.  Walt Whitman, John Steinbeck, and Bruce Springsteen are three iconic writers who have worked in this tradition to discuss the American experience. Interestingly, while the image of the road is often associated with a lone traveler or bold individualism, Whitman, Steinbeck, and Springsteen have also used the road as the center of their stories about community and convergence.
The road narratives of Whitman, Steinbeck, and Springsteen develop a sense of community that is both social and spiritual, and is rooted in a kind of protest that identifies unity as a vital part of the solution to social ills.

In “Song of the Open Road,” Whitman characterizes the road as an equalizer, used by everyone.  He talks about the different people who travel the same road, and invites the reader to travel with him; he creates a sense of community. This is fitting, as Whitman is often described as having aimed to create a “national literature” that would unite the new country in a shared sense of identity.

Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath makes a bold statement about community as well. Much of the book follows the Joads as they merge with other families out of necessity. The narrator describes the communities that emerge among the displaced people on the road. Most famously, in Tom Joad’s speech near the end of the novel, Tom asserts that “a man is no good by himself,” and embraces the idea that there is “one big soul everybody’s a part of.”

In addition, I will look at three of Springsteen’s songs, representative works from the early, middle, and recent years of his career: “Born to Run” (1975), “Land of Hope and Dreams” (1999) and “We Are Alive,” (2012).  These songs continue the tradition begun by Whitman and Steinbeck, both lyrically and formally. In addition to speaking about the same themes, Springsteen draws on various ethnic musical influences to comprise an even more inclusive message of unity.

Today, the call for solidarity and empathy seems as appropriate as ever. Together, these writers draw attention to the experience of the individual, but also the individual as part of something bigger than him/herself.  They each create a picture of the American experience that emphasizes the essential connection between “I am” and “we are.”

There is a reason why the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body; just ask Bill Clinton: The Power of Rhetoric in Message and Medium

By: Kasey Lynn

Aristotle claims, “the law is reason free from passion.” However, passion is not as far removed from the law as Aristotle might have believed. In the instance of rhetoric, passion is closely tied to the concept, and rhetoric is of course a large factor of the law. When and if passion meets the law, one could say that a great deal can be done. Rhetoric can also greatly influence the appearance of reality. Everything is not always as it seems. The written rhetoric vs. the oral rhetoric is a concept that needs exploration, especially in our media-crazed society. By looking at Bill Clinton, President Obama, and Governor Romney one can learn the power and truth about rhetoric. Will what meets the eye match what’s written in black and white?

Rhetoric is defined as “the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques” (Oxford Dictionaries). This standard definition fits both classical rhetoric and the rhetoric of today. Classical rhetoric still forms the base of rhetoric however, today’s society has caused rhetoric to morph into something quite different from what the original philosophers thought it should be. There is a need to understand rhetoric and its uses because rhetoric is not always used simply to communicate, it can be used to manipulate but without double checking one cannot know which fiction is and which is fact. People must care about what they do, what they hear, what they read, and what they are told.

There has been a much disputed debate about whether or not rhetoric is used by people who have “something to hide” or whether it’s used for “statesmanship” (Nichols). However, now in today’s society there is another dimension to rhetoric that needs to be explored now more than ever; written rhetoric and oral rhetoric, so that one can understand the difference in appearance and reality. The realm of rhetoric is large and very powerful to those who can tap into it. The discussion of rhetoric and how it can affect reality is not new, classical rhetoric discussed the same concept, and it is time for those discussions to surface once again in our society. By looking at Bill Clinton’s 2012 DNC Speech and the first presidential debate between President Obama and Governor Romney one can see how classical and present day rhetoric play roles in the society of today. The problem is that voters pay more attention to the oral rhetoric and appearance instead of hearing the message and content of the speech. By exploring this, one can begin to see that there is a need to have the message, the written rhetoric, the oral rhetoric, and the appearance in order to be an effective orator and a master of rhetoric. Politicians must do their best to incorporate all of the above in order to achieve their goals and present the truth to the public, and the viewers must pay attention to the message of speeches and debates and not be distracted by the performance that is in front of them.

In a society where appearance is of the utmost importance it is easy for politicians and any speech makers to blind the audience to what they are truly saying.  The idea of appearance vs. reality has been around for years but it is possible that now as a society we are enabling our appearances to differ from our realities. There is the freedom to make one’s own decision, the decision to question what he/she is told or shown, the decision to believe what he/she wants. But maybe people have become lazy with this freedom; no longer holding accountability for his/her own rationale as well as for others. People need to choose to find the truth in all the obstruction of appearance and believe in that truth instead of believing anything they are shown or told. When images lie, words can tell the truth.


Work Cited:

Nicols, Mary P. “Aristotle’s Defense of Rhetoric.” The Journal of Politics, 49.3 (1987): 657-677. web.

Oxford Dictionaries. 2013. web. 22 February 2013.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,