Friday, November 20, 2009

Reading to Translate

Part of what we have been doing in this long first term of my MA course, is considering what it means to read as a translator. It is both incredibly obvious and bizarrely surprising that the act of reading can be completely transformed by the purpose for which one reads. Of course, this is no new news. We all learned it in the first week of first year at university (if we hadn't already), when we discovered that reading for an essay necessarily did NOT involve becoming absorbed in the book from cover to cover, as one might read a novel.

But the fascinating thing about reading to translate is that in the process of the reading you discover things about your own "readings," not just of the text's layers of meaning, but of the world, people and things. And becoming aware of the way you read the world can change the way you look at things even when you're not "literally" trying to translate them from one language to another.

Even for those of us who are not translators, it could be fascinating to attempt, for a day, to place ourselves in the shoes of translators, and read people, situations, things, ourselves, as if we are trying to translate them…be it into another language, another landscape, another culture, another person's worldview.


It's been a long time since I've been properly posting on this blog. For a variety of reasons, not because I haven't had time or anything to write about!

One thing that I have, most recently, been meaning to blog about has been the new discussions between the Vatican and the Church of England/Anglican Communion. I was thinking about what to write on that topic, but then I saw Rowan's speech from this week in Rome. And I realised that this speech manages to sum up what I, and I think it would be fair to say, many of the ecumenists I have met in the past year, have been wanting to say about ecumenical dialogue, but haven't quite dared to.

Have a read for yourselves!

More posts on the way soon…