What exactly is cultural translation, anyway? From the cobblestones of Paris to the souks of Istanbul, current MCT students have been theorizing, experimenting, and (occasionally) blustering their way through the answer to this question for the past eight months. Do we need native informants? Is there really no way to say the same exact thing in different languages? Is anyone ever going to take us seriously? With projects ranging from literary translation to musical ethnography, the MCT ‘11 students think they have answers – or at least some good hypotheses — and invite you to come listen, question, and enjoy watching processes of cultural translation at work.

Full program after the jump

Part I: Panels

10:00-11:00     Objects, Icons, and Idioms Refigured

Bonnie Gill, ‘Artificial Language in Algeria’

Shanna Bosley, ‘Victims of Discourse’

Stephanie Carrera, ‘Maria Felix: How a Cultural Icon Happens’

11:15-12:00     Musical Ethnography: The terroir of Sound

Alex James, ‘Meaningful Noise: Decoding Music and System of a Down

Marie Garcia, ‘Music in Endangered Languages’

12:15-13:00     Interruptions and Turning Points: Translating History

Dan Carniaux, ‘Occupation through Political Cartoons: France and China’

Christine Carter, ‘Alexandre Dumas’s La Femme au colliers de velours: Translating Violence and the Supernatural in 1793 France’

Part II: Lunch

13:00-14:30: In mid-March MCTers headed off to Istanbul to explore the possibility of cultural translation in person. Individual projects allowed students to pursue their interests (whether or not they were directly related to their thesis project) and test out their research methods, while interacting with the city and its informants. We invite you to tour our projects and join us for an informal Turkish-inspired lunch.

Part III: Experiment

14:30-15:30: Translation isn’t just about books. In Spring 2011, the Cultural Translation Workshop asked students to think creatively and to explore every possible aspect of translation. The experimental nature of the course resulted in some great successes and even a failure or two, but in this presentation we hope to convey a little bit of the processes that got our brains and hands working around the concept of translation itself.

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