This Monday we met Laura Gonzales, esteemed author of Sites of Translation: What Multilinguals Can Teach Us about Digital Writing & Rhetoric, who shared her thoughts about the book, her dissertation experience, research interest among many other things. Following our Google hangout with her, we continued our discussion on the book ideas, rhetoric of translation, shared relevant experiences, and also our projects towards the end of the class.
During our chat with Dr. Gonzales, she shared that her most favorite part about the book is it being a space where she could extend her reflections on the bonds that she created with the community she worked with—something she humbly mentions in her book too. She valued the human connection that was established with the community as much as she loved creating the academic lore on the rhetoric of translation. She also added this bond gave rise to different dimensions of looking at translation process—অনুবাদের মুহূর্তগুলো (onubader muhurtogula—translation moments)—a recurring theme in this week’s class discussion both preceding, during and following our hangout with Dr. Gonzales. We appreciated how Dr. Gonzales talked about multimodality, and how it is not only a digital realm but a bodily realm, too. We discussed how the book “fits in” nicely with the other readings we have already done so far for the class—a kairotic moment for our reading, perhaps. Classmates also appreciated the straightforward and easy writing style of the book.
Dr. Gonzales offered her thoughts about theory dynamics in language: theories constantly change based on our readings, constant research, also on our own experiences. She also talked about the intersectionalities between translation studies, translingualism and many such theories. She also shared her views about different conversations and contentions about language theories, and how to talk about people and language practices who have broad range of linguistic experiences.
She also responded to different queries we had about the book. Classmates expressed their thrill and joy to read Dr. Gonzales’s book and also mentioned how the translation moments (অনুবাদের মুহূর্তগুলো)—one of the talking points of the book resonated with their personal experiences.
When we came back to class after the break, we continued talking about the translation moments. The hermeneutics of “translation’’ kept coming back in class conversation this week. Our class discussion centered on the fact that translation itself a rhetorical act. We also discussed how the author use translation as a metaphor. We pointed out how multi-modality and multilingual connections is something that Laura brings to the table and that there isn’t much talk on this topic. We also thought that we should do more studies on other languages than English to find out more how the language process work in those languages if we want to decenter English.
Classmates also talked about “memory trigger”, another translation moment Dr. Gonzales elucidated in her book. Some also shared how reading parts of the book triggered their memories of high school English experiences where teachers sometimes were not quite supportive of students’ academic interest and growth, and overcoming such challenges as the book also talks about similar high school experience for some multilingual translators.
Towards the end of the class, we took some time to discuss our final projects in pairs. Later we shared our peer’s projects. We also talked a bit about next week’s reading before the class came to an end. Overall, the class ended on a positive note and like always had all the perks of an invested graduate level class—an open-ended discussion of book ideas about translation process, sharing of classmates’ candid thoughts and relevant personal experiences, and last but not the least occasional laughs. ধন্যবাদ সবাইকে (dhonnobad sobaike—Thanks, everyone!).