GERMAN 472 - Un/Translatability in Theory and Practice
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: German (GERMAN)
Department: LSA Germanic Languages & Literatures
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Two courses taught in German beyond GERMAN 232.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

What makes a work of literature un/translatable? Who determines what gets translated and how? And how do we attend to the cultural and historical specificity of a text in translation? This course aims to address such questions from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Following an introductory unit on theories of translation, we will translate from the work of authors such as Franz Kafka, Else Lasker-Schüler, Paul Celan, Ingeborg Bachmann, Yoko Tawada, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Feridun Zaimoglu. Through our own translations of these authors’ work, we will explore the difficulties, but also potential benefits of literary translation: How should one translate neologisms, multilingual wordplay, ethnic slurs, gendered terms, and historically specific language? Can acts of creative mistranslation and linguistic invention challenge the very premise of untranslatability? And what kinds of new readings and cross-cultural interpretations are opened up via translation? While students are expected to read and engage with course materials in German, we will regularly refer to English translations in our course discussions. These translations will serve as a touchstone for our discussion of the ideas put forth in the texts themselves.

Course Requirements:

Required Readings and Participation in Class Discussion: 20%. Short Analytical Writing Assignments: 20%? (Students are responsible for submitting a variety of short analytical writing assignments throughout the semester, which range from submitting critical questions for discussion to our course website to short reflections on a given topic.) Short Translation Assignments: 20% (Students will translate short selections from the literature discussed in class. The goal of this exercise is to foster class discussion on the linguistic and cultural specificities of a given text via the problems posed by translation.) Final Translation Project: 30% (The project consists of a 5-page translation, accompanied by a 5-page critical introduction, in which students situate their own translation practice within the theories of translation addressed in class.) Presentation of Translation Project: 10%

Intended Audience:

German majors and minors, and we are hoping down the road, students interested in the Translation minor.

Class Format:

Twice weekly / 1.5 hours

GERMAN 472 - Un/Translatability in Theory and Practice
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
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