Author Archives: Jessica Darga

La liberté et slavery and l’esclavage et freedom

On November 28th at 4PM I hand the distinct pleasure of attending the seminar called Translating Freedom; Translating Slavery held within the Hatcher Library Gallery and presented by Martha S. Jones, Jean Hébrard, Françoise Massardier-Kenney and moderated by our own Professor Merrill.

The discussion was exceptionally interesting, though much of it centered on the translation of texts referring to slavery rather than tackling the issue of translating the concept of slavery itself. For example, a point which was emphasized during the discussion was that the works of the abolitionist movements frequently shared and modified by each other (especially between England and France)… Continue reading

New Language Captions for Health Videos: Translation Update

by Kathleen Ludewig Omollo · March 22nd, 2013

Approximately eight weeks ago, we put out an appeal to our global community: help us translate two of our video collections into other languages. Our vision: make some of our educational content more accessible to non-English speakers. We decided to target 31 videos from our collection: 12 clinical microbiology videos co-authored by instructors in Ghana and Michigan and 19 disaster management videos co-authored by seven schools of public health in East Africa. We chose these two collections because they were both collaboratively authored by educators in multiple countries and they both had already attracted an audience in countries where English is not the native language.

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From the Breaks to the Books: A Lecture with 9th Wonder

My name is Korbin Felder, I am a junior majoring in History and Afro-American/African Studies, and I am with the student organization Hip Hop Congress. We use Hip Hop as a tool for social, economic or political change. The Hip Hop Congress uses the culture of Hip Hop to inspire young people to get involved in social action, civic service, and cultural creativity. Hip Hop Congress is the product of a merger of artists and students, music and community. It is significant because it provides one of few paths for highly creative and often disenfranchised youth where they can channel their energy into a strong and organized force aimed at improving their community. We translate Hip Hop into a tool for youth to create change in their communities. For the many detractors of Hip Hop we translate the heavily stereotyped and misunderstood art form into an important art form and culture with societal importance. Our biggest event annually is the Midwest Summit, where we bring together people from around the region to campus for concerts, workshops and discussions. We use the kickoff concert to get people excited about the weekend and to introduce them to many artists that are also activists. The following day we have workshops and discussions where we bring many pre-college aged youth from around Southeast Michigan to campus to participate in the workshops and discussions. The purpose of the discussions and workshops is to translate the language and culture of Hip Hop into a vehicle for change. Here is a recap video of last year’s summit:

On Thursday, September 13th in the Rackham Amphitheatre at 7pm, we will host a lecture with arguably the most influential Hip Hop artist that has transitioned from Hip Hop into academics, 9th Wonder. He is world famously known as a Grammy award winning producer and DJ; he has worked with the likes of Jay-Z, Mary J. Blidge, Destiny’s Child, J. Cole, Drake and many more. The casual fan may know him from his music, but he also is a lecturer, social activist, CEO of his own Independent record label, Jamla Records, and a soon to be Ivy League Professor. He begin his quest into academia in 2007 teaching a Hip Hop history at North Carolina Central University’s school of music, in 2010 he began teaching a course entitled “Sampling Soul” at Duke University, and more recently received acceptance to become a fellow at Harvard in the Hip Hop archive. He serves as a professor and advocate of Hip Hop and its history. In this lecture he will discuss Hip Hop as American art form, the influence of previous Black American music on Hip Hop and Hip Hop’s place in academia.

The purpose of this event is to translate Hip Hop into academia. We intend to better understand how a topic that is so frequently misunderstood and stereotyped, such as Hip Hop actually does have a great history; societal importance and is relevant to the world of higher education. 9th Wonder, a pioneer in Hip Hop that crossed over into academia, will help to translate the art form of Hip Hop into academic terms to better understand the value of Hip Hop as an art form and culture. This event is all about the implementation of an art form into academia and uncovering the value of an art form that is often misunderstood and stereotyped. This event can transform lives, educate and help people better understand as an art form and the Hip Hop culture. 9th Wonder will lecture on the legacy of American music and how Hip Hop is the next in line of great American musical genres. Hip Hop grew out of those previous genres of music: the blues, jazz, funk, soul and gospel. We will delve into the importance and place of Hip Hop in academia, by placing it among the same ranks as other forms of great American music like jazz, blues, gospel or funk. In academia, the value of studying these art forms is understood, due to the social conditions they grew out of and to the messages which the music convey, whether they are songs of protest or celebration. In his lecture 9th Wonder will explain the social conditions and history which helped create Hip Hop, to have people understand that Hip Hop was an art form created by a population with little or no classical music training to express the issues relevant to their lives. This information is an important part of Hip Hop that not many people understand, and it is this same information which makes Hip Hop a genre that is important to study in higher education. Art forms such as jazz or the blues can be studied in a variety of academic units, from anthropology to history to sociology. Hip Hop fits in place with those previous musical genres and is next in line of great American musical genres. Like those previous genres it will be very important to incorporate it into academia due to the history, its influences from those previous genres, and the messages it conveys. Currently, Hip Hop is often a hotly contested topic and to many it is misunderstood and stereotyped due to the reputation it gained in mainstream America. Hip Hop Congress as an organization embraces the Hip Hop that remains true to the origins of the art form, and Hip Hop that is used in a positive manner to be used as a tool for social, economic or political change and doesn’t fall victim to the stereotypes of what Hip Hop is. This can transform lives by having people think deeper into what deserves to be studied and encourage people to look past just the traditional topics in academia, but to also understand that the arts have equal importance in academia and society.
We believe that this event, with the help of the Translation theme semester and the co-sponsoring academic units can be used to open the door for Hip Hop into Michigan academics. This will be an educational, inspiring and enlightening event which will connect artists, fans, and academics alike.

Theme Semester Newsletter #1

Welcome to the Fall 2012 Translation Theme Semester, sponsored by the College of Literature, Science, & the Arts, and coordinated by the Department of Comparative Literature! This theme semester encompasses a wide range of courses, lectures, and events designed to encourage students and faculty from across the university to explore translation, broadly understood as an interaction between languages, media, cultures, and disciplines. Click here for more information about how to get involved with the theme semester. 

To start us off, the Special Collections and Papyrology Libraries are presenting an exhibit entitled “Translating Homer: From Papyri to Alexander Pope,” open now through October 7 in the Audubon Room, Hatcher Graduate Library. See this press release for more information. If you have a chance, take a look at the exhibit before an upcoming panel discussion on September 24th.

Throughout the semester, students are encouraged to attend the series of events we are calling “North Quad Translation Mondays.” We will kick off the series, and the semester, on September 10th at 5pm with an open house in 2435 North Quad. Join us for an Open House & Open Mic, with free pizza and an opportunity to talk with the coordinators of the theme semester, to meet other students interested in translation, to learn about translation activities sponsored by student organizations, and to share ideas for getting involved

On Thursday, September 13th, Hip Hop Congress will present “From the Breaks to the Books: A Lecture with 9th Wonder.”  Grammy award-winning producer and DJ turned academic 9th Wonder will discuss hip hop as a form of “translating” between musical genres, and the “translation” of hip hop into academia. We invite students who attend this or any other theme semester sponsored event to post your reactions on our blog.

Another exciting element of this theme semester is a fun, interactive, ipad-based game called “That Translation Game Show!” The game is being developed for use by students inside and outside the classroom. If you are an instructor of a course that involves translation as a theme, look here for more information about how to involve That Translation Game Show! in your course.

We’re looking forward to an action-packed semester and hope you are as well. Please contact Patrick Tonks with any questions about the theme semester or any of the events listed here.

If you would like to continue receiving this weekly newsletter throughout the semester, enter your email address where you see “Sign up for our newsletter” in the right-hand column of this page.

Upcoming events: September 4-14

Festifall – look for information about the theme semester and related courses on the tables of your favorite translation-related student organizations.
Thursday, September 6th, 11am-4pm, Central Campus Diag

“Should We Laugh at Human Rights Abuses?: Translation Quandaries Through Colonial Examples” – a lecture sponsored by the Global Scholars Program with Professor Christi Merrill, UofM Department of Comparative Literature. See this poster for more information.
Friday, September 7th, 4pm, Rackham Amphitheatre (4th floor)

North Quad Translation Mondays: Student Open House – students and student groups are invited to celebrate the launch of the theme semester with free pizza.
Monday, September 10th, 5-8pm, 2435 North Quad

From the Breaks to the Books: A Lecture with 9th Wonder
Thursday, September 13th, 7-9pm, Rackham Amphitheatre (4th floor)

“Lost without Translation: Telling the Stories of a Silenced People” – a colloquium with Professor Anushiya Ramaswamy (Southern Illinois University), translator of the Sri Langkan Diasporic Writer, Shoba Sakthi.
Friday, September 14th, 4-5:30pm, International Institute, Room 1636 (School of Social Work Building, 1080 S. University Ave.)

Translating Silent Film – Featuring a live performance by visiting Japanese Benshi artist Ichiro Kataoka, who will “translate” the silent film I Was Born, But… (Dir. Yasujiro Ozu, 1932). With introductory remarks by Professor Markus Nornes (Chair of the Department of Screen Arts and Cultures) about the tradition of Japanese Benshi performance as an approach to translating silent film. Also to be shown: The Cook (Buster Keaton and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1918). See this poster for information about the Center for Japanese Studies Film Series going on throughout the fall semester.
Friday, September 14th, 7-9pm, Michigan Theater

Welcome to our Theme Semester!

During the fall of 2012 we encourage students and faculty at the University of Michigan to explore translation, broadly understood as an interaction between languages, media, cultures, and disciplines.

Where do we encounter translation in our daily lives? What is translation? Who translates? Why translate? What lessons do we learn from translating? How can we make translation more visible?

We approach these questions about translation from numerous perspectives: critical and creative, interdisciplinary and international.  In this wider sense, translation is at the heart of our community, our university, and the world at large.

We invite you to browse the resources on this website, to check out the schedule of events on campus, and to share your responses to translation activities on our blog and via twitter. Also, see How to Get Involved for more info.