Comments from Vivi D
How I wish I would never have to write these words here for it ruthlessly reminds me of the ending of the Monday night’s discussion group in Connie mom’s tiny cozy living room, sometimes providing tasty cakes and lovely candies. When is the next time I’ll be able to enjoy the wonderful stories mom reads with explosions of emotion.
A Long time ago, before the school system kindly selected me as one of mom’s students in the writing class, her name is a logo of excellence to me with those diligent students in her speech class as models in English learning. This experience later gave rise to the shock and appreciation I felt the moment I was qualified as the member of the translation club.
During the translation of our first story, Milo and the magic stone, I gradually realized that this is not a club merely with tasks, but a comprehensive course aiming to cultivate us in an all-around way:
Firstly, language for language’s sake. The translation of children’s book offered me the opportunity to closely and seriously appreciate the unspeakable power and charm of both English and Chinese language. The use of ordinary words never makes the stories less meaningful and wonderful, that defines our translation work never easy or simple. Luckily, we are all responsible and passionate enough to discuss it word by word, even arguing about it for a long time.
Secondly, we were translating and we were learning to translate. The process of careful translation exposes lots of problems that we had never encountered or used to overlook. Week after week, we learned to draw particular attention to the subtle differences between words and upgrade from the literal translation to bound it with distinct cultural characteristics. We explored the theories of translation while translating.
Thirdly, team work makes things perfect. Regardless of the reasonable unimportant arguments the first few times, we soon grasped the truth of negotiation and benefit from it tremendously. And through analysis and discussion, we highlighted on everyone’s merits and struck a deal to find the best translation version together. I will cherish the limited time we partners spent together and I will cherish anytime I spend with my friends later in my life.
Studying in the translation club leaves me the impression that although we cannot eliminate the cultural gap lying between the West and the East, but we can at least try our best to narrow it to the minimum. What we have done in the translation club is definitely an effective way to facilitate communication culturally by people from both sides. What’s more, I sincerely hope to see that more and more Chinese children’s book can be translated and widely read in western countries.
At last, what I want to say is, “Mom, I will always expect your warm hug anytime I meet you. May you be happy and healthy forever! Your student,
Appreciation and Thoughts of Bryan:
I’m leaving for my hometown tomorrow to be a middle school teacher for three months. I’m expecting it but I’m also a little bit anxious about it. Anyway, I know I will come back to school three months later. But Translation Club is something I know will never come back, because it is over for us now.
I can still remember the situation when I came to this campus for the first time. I was then such a smart aleck that I didn’t even care when somebody told me that there was a Professor Connie with her famous Public speaking Class and that I should make good preparation to be qualified. I passed the chances, again and again. Then when I got lost facing the pressure from family and society, I realized how much Connie Mom could have changed me. But it was too late to regret and I felt my college life was nothing but a failure. And when walking around on the campus, I happened to see you several times before you knew me, I really wanted to say hello to you but I knew even though you would say hello to me and maybe give me a big smile, it wouldn’t be the reason that I was something special but only because I said hello to you. So I didn’t do it, thinking that I would never get a chance to let you know me.
I was lucky though that I could be selected into your Writing class. Your teaching methods were so much different from Chinese teachers and made me for the first time eager to write. I told my friends that this was the first time that I felt like I was a real college student. I tried to show my best side in those classes, but even with this I didn’t expect that I could become a member of the Translation Club.
I was so excited the moment you told me I was on the list. After you told us how we work I felt that this could be something I really wanted to do and something worth doing. Then we began our first piece of work. Till now we have translated five books in total. Every time I think about it, I feel proud of myself and us. When I look back at every joke we told, every fight we had, every compromise we made, and every smile we had after finishing a piece of work, I smile, knowing that these are the best experiences I have ever had on this campus; priceless treasures for the rest of my life. Because how to translate using the heart, how to insist and explain my ideas clearly to others when I’m sure I’m right, and how to cooperate and accept others’ ideas when they are really doing a better job than me, all of these are something I can never learn from textbooks. I’m glad I had it with such a wonderful teacher and so many excellent fellows.
But now it’s over. The moment we finished the last word of the translation of “Stellaluna” I realized that it was over. No more interesting children’s books waiting for us, no more sparks of thoughts and fights waiting for us. Then I walked to your apartment and asked you why you picked me to be in the Translation Club, and you said because God told you to. Then I suddenly had no fear for the future and the coming teaching life, because I knew God would bless me and you would pray for me.
Thank you, Mom. That’s what I want to say and such a sentence might be a little pale. But I want you to know that the way you treated me and the chance you gave me to be a member of the Translation Club means a lot to me. Thank you! I know I’m gonna miss it, everything about the Translation Club, coz I miss it already.
I love you,Mom. Yours, Bryan, Sep.5.2011
Comments from Chelsea
Translation is difficult. Apparently, it is not just to put English words into Chinese. It is an art, a process of analyzing, creating, reproducing and even more. And the translation in our club is more difficult, because the materials Mom gave us are about either animals or children. That means we have to learn the style of the language animals and children use, have to guess their psychological activities and even have to think in their ways. In a word, we have to put our feet in their shoes, though we are not animals and also not children any longer.
Every week, when we gather, we show our ideas. Sometimes we can choose the best one, but more often, we need to combine the good points of our views. During showing and discussing, I learn that for one sentence, even just one word, we have different translations. Not considering the certain context, all of them are ok. At this time, in this context, we use this one. Maybe next time, in another context, another choice is made. Therefore, often, what we discuss this time is helpful for our future discussion.
Mastering theories of translation is far from producing a good translation, no matter how well we have learned those theories. Dabbling in other subjects is a must in translating. Thus, every time we come across some scientific terms, we surf the internet, refer to some books. Gradually, more or less, we grasp some knowledge we do not touch in class. This is a great treasure we get because of this club.
Translation in a group is different form individual translation. Listening respectfully, cooperating and negotiating and even compromising are needed in the group. We have to respect each other, accept distinct thoughts. What we should do is to decide the best one, not to deny others blindly. Every one is responsible for this club, so everyone has to show his/her ideas and give advice. That’s the key to running our club well. Certainly, it is impossible for all of us to accept the final decision every time. Compromising sometimes is necessary, or the work cannot continue.
Thoughts by Maggie –
Last year in the writing class, when I saw my name on the blackboard, I was really flattered and felt great pressure. You know in this campus those who can get a chance to work for Connie are always considered to be outstanding. At first I had no confidence in myself to work with those famous and excellent students such as Joyce and Eleanor. Afraid of rumors about me like “she is not the top student, why does Connie choose her?” I kept this job secret for the first month, so that no one except my workmates in the club knew where I went every Monday morning. My roommates even thought that I had made a new boyfriend secretly and were eager to see “him”, which made me very embarrassed.
However, after two weeks of teamwork, I found my worry was unnecessary. The translation club isn’t the competition place where everyone wants to be promoted, but a group to absorb good ideas. No matter how well you have done before in other games, you should try your best to translate those stories, express your views boldly, and negotiate with others. Only in this way can you be excellent in this club. I think this is its biggest difference from other clubs and the greatest harvest I have got from the translation club.
How time flies! In the translation club we make new friends and learn from each other. Yesterday we spent almost the whole daytime to discuss the book Stellaluna, but two days later we have to say goodbye and start the career as teacher. I really miss those nights we spent together in mom’s house and listened to her reading in the light of little candles. Thank you mom.
To the translation volunteers from Eleanor:
I believe you all volunteered to join this club because of your love for translation, but you never know—this is just a ＳＴＡＲＴ!!
A year ago, I was in mom’s writing class. Being invited by mom into this club, I felt much honored. At first, I wasn’t clear how things worked in this club, what we would get through translation, and beyond translation. But what I want to emphasize here is that it isn’t just translation!
We get in touch with the best children’s stories and best minds. We feel honored even to read them, let alone translate them. So,we do it with care and respect. We revise our own translation many times. We have heated debates on every tiny section. Sometimes we stopped for a long long time, just for a punctuation. Sometime it sounds like a quarrel, we speak loudly, arguing with red faces, we don’t want to give up our own translation, which we think fits better than others’. But don’t be afraid, this is not a quarrel, it is a strike of sparks—the sparks of minds, words and hearts. We do it because we all love translation. We all love these stories and we all feel the responsibility !!!
But sometimes, we laugh when we see eye to eye with complete consent on our translation, when we come to some plots that are greatly interesting or moving. When we finish a piece of translation and review it, when we listen to Mom telling the story to us before our translation, for that moment, we are all children who sit by our Mom enjoying the tender tone, the marvelous story and enjoying our own imagination as it flies.
I’m sure you will feel the same, or even learn more if you take part in this great team work, not for publication of the translations, but for your passion, your growth, and a special friendship.
I feel so lucky to be one part of the translation club. Also, I feel extremely delighted to have this chance to do translation with my team members.
Honestly, at the very beginning, I don’t think we can translate together and continue to do the translation with all our heart, moreover, I didn’t expect the atmosphere in the team would be so good though disagreement and argument were inevitable. In the discussion I learnt to grasp the point of every argument and sort out the possible solution. I learnt respect, negotiation and appreciation of the wonderful and excellent translated version. Some of the members said that they had never taken one task as serious as this one. I know it plays an important role in every one’s heart. I love this team and I really enjoyed it.
I believe it will be the memorable memory in my college life!
Mom, thank you for everything! Sincerely, Joyce
Thoughts from Toni-
Is everything going on well? I’ve been longing to see you since the beginning of last summer holiday when I began to prepare for the Postgraduate Entrance Examination. As the new semester is approaching, I am getting more and more excited. Maybe I was so excited that I accidentally turned my ankle while skipping rope (I’m just kidding). My right foot can’t move now, and this leads to the uncomfortable fact that my whole body is restricted to limited room and space—-the door through which I get to the outside world seems to be closed from me. Illness means that you have to suffer, or to face it without fear. And Mom, I suppose, you’ve taught me to choose the latter. I’ve never craved so much for going out to have a walk, but the only thing I can do is to struggle hard to calm myself down and focus on dealing with the homework that lies ahead. But Mom, you know, sometimes you can’t set your body free, but you can set your heart free; you can’t dominate your life expectancy, but you can always hold the expectancy of life.
During the past three years, I’ve attended many of your classes or the groups led by you. No matter whether it’s the Public Speaking Class, Writing class, Movie Team, or Translation club, I love every one of them. As for the Translation Club, I enjoyed the course very much. Our Club Members established good friendship and learnt a lot about translation and cooperation. I suggest that the Club choose a leader, who might not present his/her own translation work, but acts as a coordinator to smooth our “arguments”, because I feel Chinese students have difficulty in making a compromise with others, and thus wasting a lot of time. I hope this club will continue, as well as other classes and clubs.
Dear Mom, I’d like to express my appreciation for every thing you’ve done for us, although appreciation by words seems trivial when compared to the life lessons you’ve given us and the love you’ve bestowed on us. Thank you, Mom~
Love you, forever!