Seeing Eye to Eye — Image by © Illustration Works/Corbis

Welcome to the WordPress from Spanish 310,Translating Spanish-English and English-Spanish, at Duke University. In this site Joan Munné and Melissa Simmermeyer share ancillary materials associated with the course.


Students’ main takeaways at the end of the course:

“I think the largest lesson I’ve learned is that translation is nowhere near perfect. There will always be some way to criticize a translation and/or nitpick the different choices someone makes, or how the translation differs from the original. But all translation (or at least good translation) is done with a purpose, and none of the decisions are casual or careless. I used to think that translation was such a straightforward thing, but I’ve realized that trying to express a thought in a language with different vocabulary and syntax and grammar is far from a simple task.” (Jason)

“I think I come away from the course with a sense of how much richer the world is for having translation. Without it, so much would be lost from culture to culture. In as global a world as our own, it is essential to have translation facilitate understanding between different regions.” (Ben)

 “[…] translation is a process and deserves the upmost appreciation. I no doubt have gotten an incredible perspective on an industry and lifestyle that I never had really considered before that impacts lives all around the world everyday.” (Andrew)

“[…] I think one thing that will always follow me is faithfulness to the text. I always believed that translation had to be almost word-for-word, but I understand now that a translator not only translates into another language, but also another culture. A cultural reference in Spain may not have the same function or impact in the United States, so a new cultural reference has to be devised in order to be applicable to the target audience. This idea is also seen in poetry. Some things simply cannot be translated, so translators have to do their best to quite literally write their own piece with their own writing style while still trying to maintain the meaning the poet intended.” (Abby)

“I think the most valuable thing I learned from this course is what it means to translate a work. Translation is not straightforward. There are gray areas everywhere and it is up to the translator or interpreter to make creative decisions in order to transfer meaning the best they can because there is no such thing as a perfect translation.” (Charlie)

“[…] learning Spanish is so much more meaningful to me now than it ever was. In previous classes, I had mostly learned Spanish for Spanish, with a focus on vocabulary and grammar, among other technical principles. But, this class opened my eyes to the advantage of bilingualism in the real-world, and makes me proud to say that I’m a Spanish major.” (Bailey)


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