Questions of (Mis)Translation: From Arrival to Brexit

17 October 2016 | Jonathan Drake

Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming sci-fi movie Arrival has already created a significant buzz amongst critics after first-look screenings on this year’s film festival circuit. There is still almost a month to go before its official release and it has already managed to attain an impressive score of 80/100 on the review aggregator Metacritic. The general consensus seems to be that this is a thoughtful science fiction offering that doesn’t rely too heavily on action; like the best of the genre, it isn’t afraid to tackle some big ideas. These ideas include the cultural, social and political significance of translation and Translation Studies: provoking thoughts on matters ranging from plot-holes in Roland Emmerich’s film Independence Day to cultural imperialism to translation’s role in the political discourse surrounding Brexit.

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Latin: A lost language for a privileged class?

June 13, 2016 | Matthew Tibble

I learnt my first piece of Latin without knowing it was Latin. I was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Hermione cast the spell ‘oculus reparo’, a slightly tenuous bit of Latin that should probably have been speculum reparo (I repair the looking glass). At the time, however, all I heard was fantastic wizardry.

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Trying to Research the History of China and Japan While Knowing Absolutely no Chinese or Japanese. (And never going to China or Japan.)

November 1, 2015 | Adam Cohen.

I’ve now written two dissertations during two different degrees with a grand total of 25,000 words on Japanese and Chinese history and yet whenever I tried to tell anyone what I was working on I would, without fail, have the following conversation: ‘Oh so how well do you speak Japanese/Chinese?’ I don’t, and I sure as hell can’t read it. ‘When are you going out to China/Japan?’ I’m not, at least not before the deadline. These were fair enough questions to ask and no doubt someone who did speak the language would have written a much better thesis than the one that I churned out. I know a lot of people though who started to narrow down a global research area, came up against these language/travel barriers, and immediately veered away from non-English history entirely, and I think this leaves a wealth of potential scholarship unexplored.

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