Monthly Archives: May 2013

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. <http://www.atanet.org/&gt;.

“Conference Website.” American Translators Association (ATA) 53rd Annual Conference. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 May 2013. <http://www.atanet.org/conf/2012/index.php&gt;.

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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. <http://harpers.org/archive/2009/09/dehumanized/&gt;.

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.