World Literature

During the reign of Ramses V, a scribe documented a variety of literary texts on a papyrus roll. These preserved lyrics are some of the oldest in the world. Damrosch selects the piece for its simplicity to further analyze the complex problems that derive from the task of translation. He mentions the obstacles of which a translator must tackle, such as “decipherment of grammar, of vocabulary and of cultural framing.” (Pg. 412). One then must solve questions of context and decipher whether the speaker is a male or female. Although a poem is typically thought to be concise in its explanation and language, the translator must battle the intricate nature and elements that the composition possesses. Does one then wreck the purity of the source text by trying to illuminate these themes in the target text? Is there truly a way to establish equal delicacy in the language of the translation?

In addition, through evaluation Chan’s argument, can one claim that improper translation of Asian texts can be attributed to Western ethnocentric views? What effect does this action have on the hierarchy of languages?

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Kendall Hughes

My name is Kendall Hughes and I am a senior at Bucknell University. I am a Psychology and Sociology major. I have taken French courses since my freshman year of high school. I also lived abroad in Germany for two years. I am interested in translation studies because I would like to further understand culture differences and how language can contribute to a barrier of understanding among people.

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