Kyra Hauck ’14 (BA, French) completed her capstone project through an internship with Freedom House Detroit. Having already established a relationship with the non-profit organization earlier in her academic career, Kyra decided to translate a series of legal documents and testimonies from French into English in order to assist asylum seekers during their court proceedings. Although Kyra could not make her work public due to its highly-sensitive nature, she drew on her emotionally charged experiences to choreograph and to perform a multi-media piece, titled “Testimony,” at the end of the semester.
Evan Hoye ’15 (BA, German, International Studies) analyzed the intricacies of visual and linguistic translation for his capstone project on the German-language version of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. In his research, Evan confronted the multifold ideological and creative aspects that factor into translating highly popular and recognizable works into new cultural settings. Evan reported that he foresees translation being an essential part of his career goals.
Zee Oluwaremi ’15 (BA, International Studies) received a crash course in translating journalism for his capstone project on politics and culture in global sports. He undertook the project as part of the LSA Theme Semester on “Sports.” Working from Spanish, Zee translated articles across the globe to examine the intersections between economics, social policy, and athletics. In the introduction to his translation portfolio, Zee explores the challenge of balancing both storytelling and fact-based reportage. Zee will continue to hone his skills as a freelance translator.
John Foster ’15 (BA, Comparative Literature, French) took to the “Translation at Michigan” blog for his capstone project. Over a series of seven posts, John explored topics of both cultural (nation-based translation grants and promotion) and linguistic (homophonic translation) concern. Writing in blog form encouraged Jack to rethink translation outside of the more formal frame he pursued in his honors thesis on Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Task of the Translator.” Jack also served as co-editor for the latest issue of the department’s undergraduate journal, Canon Translation Review.
Robin Carey ’15 (BA, German, Political Science) completed his capstone project with a semester-long editorial internship. He was selected by the Department of Comparative Literature to work for Absinthe: A Journal of World Literature in Translation. Robin worked with senior editors to prepare a special issue dedicated to the theme “Precarious Europe,” while also attending to the less glamorous aspect of publishing, including marketing and sales. Robin will put his skills to good use after graduation as a freelance translator.
Abigail Schultz ’15 (BA, English) completed her capstone project with a semester-long editorial internship. She was selected by the Department of Comparative Literature to work for Absinthe: A Journal of World Literature in Translation. Emily Goedde, guest editor of the 22nd issue titled “Pen and Brush,” invited Abigail not only to edit, but also to draw up the publication’s potential table of contents. Abigail now attends Michigan State University’s Hospitality Business Management program, and will put to good work the critical skills she learned while undertaking the Minor in Translation in future projects.
Ana Guay ’15 (BA, Classical Studies) drew on her background in literary criticism and translation to complete her rigorous capstone project, titled “A Voice Not to Be Broken: Translating the poetic catalogue in and after Homer.” Ana was awarded the prestigious Gates scholarship to study Classics at Cambridge University in 2015. She intends to pursue Translation Studies as a complementary field in her graduate work.
Oriol Burgos-Tsoffar ’15 (BA, Comparative Literature, Romance Languages and Literatures) quickly fell in love with the work of Juan José Millás, who is known in Spain as “the master of short distance.” For his capstone project, Oriol set out to translate the short story collection The Objects that Call Us for publication. He will continue to pursue his creative work in San Francisco.
Rachel Daniels ’15 (BA, English) chose to assemble a portfolio of speculative fiction from French for her capstone project. Throughout the duration of the Minor, Rachel selected, researched, and translated texts (with accompanying online commentary) originally published on Oniris, an interactive online forum for genre writers in French. For the moment, Rachel will continue to translate casually, although she hopes to take it up more formally if she joins the publishing industry.
Megan Buckner ‘16 (BA, Asian Languages and Cultures) drew on her expertise in Japanese manga (a genre similar to graphic novels) to complete a translation of Tokyo Ghoul for her capstone project. While pursuing the Minor, Megan came to better articulate her complex methodology and completed the book-length project, which will figure as an important part of her repertoire as she pursues translation professionally after graduation.
Sam Spraker ‘16 (BA, Asian Languages and Cultures) explored the intersection of late nineteenth-century art production in Paris and Japan for her capstone project. In addition to an analysis of the artworks produced during this period–a moment dominated by Impressionism–she attended to the cultural translation occasioned by the circulation of art between the two nations. Sam will pursue translation as both a linguistic and medial project as she continues her studies.
Todd Maslyk ‘16 (BA, BSE, Germanic Languages and Literatures, Chemical Engineering) performed a complete translation of Heinrich Von Kleist’s novella “Die Marquise von O.” for his capstone project. Todd found himself immersed in late eighteenth-century reference guides and language textbooks in order to animate his translation with an English idiom contemporary to Kleist. His project helped him not only to get a better feel for earlier German texts, but also to gain a certain fluency in the theoretical concerns of the field.
Omar Syed Mahmood ‘16 (BA, BS, Comparative Literature, Evolutionary Anthropology) undertook a translation of the Quranic chapter of Joseph into English. Omar’s translation moves past the clunky Latinate phrasing that so characterizes past versions of the Quran, highlighting instead a language that is fluent but that also “maintains a certain grandeur appropriate for holy books.” Omar plans to complete translations of the Quran into both English and Spanish.
Hector “Flores” Komatsu ‘16 (BA, Theater) worked directly with Peter Brook to bring to the stage the Spanish version of Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne’s acclaimed drama The Valley of Astonishment. As the designer and translator of the play’s surtitles, Flores had the chance to revisit and to revise his translation as he traveled with this production throughout Mexico and Spain. Flores’ project brings out the many nuances of translation as performance, a creative task that will no doubt occupy his time if the play is again put on in Hispanophone countries.
Rachel Braum ‘16 (BA, Spanish, International Studies) tackled the first ten chapters of Lola Beccaria’s novel Zero for her capstone project. Participating in the minor allowed her to explore Beccaria’s Galician-inflected Castilian prose while also getting a better sense of what working as a freelance translator might be like–deadlines and rewrites included. Rachel hopes to continue her linguistic work as either a translator or interpreter.
Tasneem Abu-Zahra ‘16 (BS, Evolutionary Anthropology) worked with the Language Resource Center on campus to complete her capstone project. Some of the important translations she took on include a seventeen-page Public Involvement Handbook from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) into Arabic and sections of an Arabic high-school textbook into English for refugees through the Syrian American Rescue Network (SARN) of Michigan. Tasneem also had the opportunity to shadow a medical interpreter at the University of Michigan Hospital to get a better sense of the profession. She hopes to continue this crucial work in the future.
Olivia Alge ’17 (BS, Informatics) found a way to integrate her studies in computer science with her passion for language. Her capstone project was a paid internship through Lakeside Software Company, where she translated software strings from English to Spanish. As she developed skills in technical translation and technical writing in Spanish, she was able to apply what she had learned in her translation classes to her methods of translating. Throughout her undergraduate studies Olivia also enjoyed participating in the annual U-M Translate-a-thon, and she plans to continue working on literary and technical translations while pursuing her Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics at Michigan.
Jacqueline Alvarez ’16 (BA, Spanish) translated And Still I Rise, a collection of poems by Maya Angelou, from English into Spanish. This project helped her to look beyond monolingualism, and to value what may be lost or gained in translation.
Sara Cusack ’17 (BA, Asian Studies-Chinese and Cognitive Science-Language and Cognition; Minor in Community Action and Social Change) dedicated her capstone project to volunteering as a law clerk at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC). She worked with Spanish and also with Chinese in translating client declarations and correspondence, and interpreting for client meetings. As she practiced literary, legal, and technical translation, her internship also provided a platform to engage with translation as civil service and social justice, and to reflect on the ethics of translation. Sara will continue this work as Engelhard Social Justice Fellow, supported by the U-M Center for Engaged Academic Learning.
Thomas Degroat ’17 (BS, Neuroscience) approached his capstone project as a translation between media. He adapted an excerpt from George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, into a script designed as pilot episode for a television mini-series. Using concepts from translation theory to describe adaption from literary to film, he found new and exciting ways to think about his experience of translating. He expects that translation will become even more important as he continues, especially in the science field.
Haley Schafer ’17 (BA, French and International Studies) translated selected interviews from the movie HUMAN: Le Film, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. By transcribing audio into text, and translating from French into English, she was able to refine her listening language skills and to recreate compelling testimonies from around the world. Haley continues to work on translation projects through the Virtual Student Foreign Service, and is interested in becoming a professional translator.