After listening to the Translation Panel and watching Arrival, I am intrigued by the vagueness of translations and the fact that translations of the same text can be interpreted so differently. When translating a text, the translator takes liberty in deciding what word to use to best convey the tone and content of the original passage. Through this freedom, Dr. Denham introduced the dilemma that translators face between choosing the most literal translation or selecting a loosely related word that best explains the translator’s interpretation of the author’s purpose. To this point, Dr. Ewington commented that fidelity to the original author is important so as not to betray his/her intentions, but that the translator is also able to breathe new life into the piece. When discussing the origins of translation and of language, Dr. Jankovic directed our attention to babies who acquire their language by associating observed behavior with a verbal cue. This reminded me of the movie, Arrival, when Dr. Banks first observed the heptapods and let them watch her so that they could communicate accurately with each other. The movie also discussed the intricacies of translation when the heptapods said “weapon” but meant “tool”. If everyone’s translation and language interpretation skills are based on their backgrounds and experiences, then does society even have a truthful and common language, or are we all constantly translating and interpreting when conversing?
In Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, he describes the process of revolution and paradigm shifts. Usually, a scientist begins with a conceptual schema, or a way of observing the world. The scientist then creates a paradigm based on those observations which, if widely accepted, sparks a paradigm shift. When this occurs, the generally accepted world view changes and a revolution occurs. While this process is focused on scientific knowledge, it can be applied to all social sciences. For instance, some may consider racial relations in America after The Civil Rights Movement to be a paradigm shift. Unit 1 introduces several points that would prove and disprove Kuhn’s theory. For example, Kuhn would recognize Marx as a revolutionary because he observed the world around him (conceptual schema), formed the paradigm of communism, and the countries that adopted this paradigm conducted a paradigm shift. However, some of our Unit 1 readings would argue against Kuhn’s definition of revolution. Bryan Stevenson would say that the United States remains static in its treatment towards African-Americans despite the supposed paradigm shift of The Civil Rights Movement.