Unit 2 Post 2-River Meng

Option 2: Thursday’s lecture on translation by Professors Denham, Ewington, and Jankovic was overwhelming for me. Before the lecture, I’ve never thought of translation as that important when reading texts from other languages. I realize that different versions of translation can give readers different tastes or impressions on the same text. A question I have on translation is that should literature translators focus more on the accuracy of word-on-word translation or reflecting the overall tone?

Option 3: Translation is a great tool. It gives the readers an opportunity to read text they otherwise would not understand. But sometimes the translation version of the text cannot reflect the original culture in the text very well. Take the French word “lyceé” for example. It translates to “high school” in English. So English-speaking readers might associate “lyceé” with their impression of high school in their own culture, i.e. crowded cafeteria in American public high schools. However, in French lyceés, students have to choose their “paths”—science, economics, literature— and they will take a standardized test at the end of lyceé based on their paths to determine which university they will study in. A simple translation of “lyceé” as “high school” cannot reflect all of the French culture behind the term. 

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