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Teaching the Art of Japanese Literary Translation

Monday 28 March 2022, 8pm BST

This session will be led by Dr Matt Mewhinney, Florida State University

Synopsis: In this presentation I introduce one approach to teaching Japanese literary translation. This semester at Florida State University I am teaching a course titled “Translating Japanese,” which introduces students to the theoretical issues that arise in literary translation. The course comprises three parts: a survey of conceptual writings on translation (from Walter Benjamin to Tawada Yōko), a critical examination of literary works in translation and the original, and a collaborative workshop where students translate a literary work on their own. My talk primarily concerns the second part of the course where I have students compare several translations of one literary work, evaluate the different choices made by each translator, and speculate what effect these choices have on their own aesthetic experience of reading the literary work in translation and in the original. Based on the data I gather from class discussion and students’ written responses, I will present my findings to the EATPA network and offer some preliminary thoughts on how translation shapes the affective experience of reading.