The Translator as a Fictional Character
In this course we will read literary texts in which one or more characters act as translators, and we will analyze the means these characters use for translating words across time, places, and cultures. Among the fictional translators we will meet, there are some who choose to lose or add something in the passage between languages, and some who simply refuse to translate. Others use more creative strategies, such as generating multiple meanings and instances of collaboration, or producing a fake translation. In most cases, their work represents challenging ideas about how we read and understand texts. We will use our class to explore some of these challenges.
The course satisfies the second half of UC Berkeley’s Reading and Composition requirement. It is a reading- and writing-intensive course in which students will use their comparative interpretations of the texts as the basis for their writing and research exercises. They will have the opportunity to develop their critical-thinking and composition skills as they gain practice in the different stages of the academic writing process. Starting with in-class writing exercises, drafts, and revisions, they will gradually work towards the completion of a final research paper.