Comments by Writing Class Students in the Translation Club created by Connie Mom Gibson of Jiangxi Normal Universityís Foreign Language College
Letter to Connie Mom About Translation Class - by Lisa
Thank you! Thank you for choosing me as a member of your translation club. Thank you for instructing us to translate lovely children’s stories. Thank you for sharing your experience of life and teaching us. Thank you for making us feel that translating is like an enjoyable journey.
In the beginning, I was a little hesitant because I was afraid that I couldn’t work out a good version of translation. Nevertheless, your words lingered in my ears, “Wherever you are, be there.” So I made up my determination to do my best to cooperate with others to give you a good translation.
Every time when staying in your room, I felt as if I went back to my home; comfortable, warm and sweet. The moment that you read the stories to us reminded me of the memory that my mother told me stories when I was a child. Then you explained to us where we can’t understand. And you wouldn’t stop explaining until there were no longer any doubtful looks on our faces. After understanding the story, we divided ourselves into several groups to translate the story. Then we got together to read our own versions, discuss the differences and finally work out the best one we all agreed on. As for me, discussion is the essence of our group work, which is happy but miserable. All of us had different ideas but the answers should be only one. But it’s also amid the process of discussion, our thoughts hit, our souls touched, our cooperation deepened. I think it’s also happy but miserable for you. You saw us discussing, sometimes nearly quarreling, you couldn’t say anything to help us. But you are also happy that, you know, you provided a good opportunity for your students to learn more, to acquire more and gain more.
Although we just translated two children’s stories, we know deeply the differences of the culture in Chinese and America. The American children’s stories are a little different for Chinese children, so it’s also the difficult point for us to translate. So I think next time we should choose stories, which are suitable for Chinese children.
After almost one year’s activities, we have become a real group. We know each other’s characters, features and translation styles. Now it’s much easier for us to work out a version. But what a pity next semester we will be seniors students and will be busy, doing something else. So I hope that there will be more students who take part in our club to translate more good works.
Mom, I love the hug every time when we parted. Let me hug you once more time and forever… Yours, Lisa
Experience in the Special Writing Club by He Fang (Daphne)
Never had I joined any kind of club before Connie Mom asked me if I’d like to join the special writing club, which she was going to set up for us, for I had considered this kind of behavior as perversion for people who were unwilling to study hard. From my point of view it was meaningless to be in groups such as the Student Union, AR, or the Youth Association. I was of the opinion that associations or clubs such as these in China were not places where anyone could really learn anything, especially under the leadership of others. I believed that all we could do was to learn to pretend and not be ourselves. Therefore, for a really long time, I showed no interest in doing the kinds of things I believed were “ridiculous.”
That was until last semester, one Tuesday, Connie Mom asked 10 of us to join her club. Perhaps it was the fresh sense that attracted me so much that I immediately made up my mind to join it. Why not? I came to know 9 other classmates well during all the days I was in the club; I could stay with Mom once a week and enjoy her wonderful speech, though actually she was not giving a speech; I can appreciate all kinds of books Mom offered to us; I could talk about anything funny with other girls; I could learn a lot about American culture when we were translating Dune Bugg; I liked the way the American author expresses his ironic attitude toward society; so why not?
I liked the times best when we were discussing in Chinese without uttering any English words. Mom was always sitting there in her chair and listening to us as carefully as she could, as if she understood us, and now and then, providing help whenever we needed it. I really appreciated it.
While doing our translating job, I came to the conclusion that it is not an easy task to translate even children’s books, especially if there are too many cultural differences between American and Chinese. I firmly believed that being humorous was not too hard before, however, when our Chinese translations came out, we read it again and again and again, but never found it to be that funny as the author had written it. How come? Maybe we hadn’t read through the story yet, maybe it was because it was dull in Chinese but still very funny in English, maybe we hadn’t done a good translation job.
Anyway, I did learn a lot in the club and I’ll never consider joining certain clubs as something meaningless again. Many thanks to Connie Mom, who constantly delivered information to our group members, and acted as a facilitator of learning. I mean, to set the stage for us and started the wheels turning inside our heads. She turned us on to our own abilities. Thank you Mom!! Daphne
Thoughts by Emma Ė
ďNothing is ever wasted.Ē That has been engraved on my mind since the first time Connie Mom told us. Itís definitely true that whatever you are doing, as long as you set up your mind to do it well, you are sure to learn something from it. And the very same thing, in the long term, is rather precious and beneficial for your life. Itís also true in our story translation club. In the beginning it was quite doubtful whether we would work things out. Because concerning English compositions we can be called good writers, because thatís why we were chosen to do the job, but good writers are not necessarily good translators. The former depends on thinking ability and a good manipulation of English while the latter on comprehension ability and a good manipulation of both English and Chinese. Anyway, we tried, we worked it out and we learned.
When getting a piece of work in English, we had to figure out where we are not clear or confused in the first place. At this step, Connie Mom helped us a lot. She was always there with us, explaining to us and facilitating our translation work. Next, we ourselves would decide how to divide it into five parts and five groups, with each group translating one part of the story. The following weeks when we would gather, we would discuss and debate, totally in Chinese, to figure out the best edition of translation of each sentence. In the process, Mom also helped us out a lot, because more problems always stand out when we really set about to translate it. That was how we did it with the first story. The whole process, I admit, is quite time-consuming. Nevertheless, none of us could find better ways, which ensured both efficiency and accuracy at the same time.
Till now, by working together, we have accomplished several stories. Although they could not be published for some reasons, and thatís a pity, yet I myself am rather satisfied with that. We have conquered the once seemingly insurmountable task and all of us have achieved something more than the glory of publishing what we have translated. First, translating is about our test of understanding. You should try to understand the author of the story first, and then your partners that you work with. Secondly, this translation club aroused my interest of translating and of course it improved my translating ability. Thirdly, it was about group work. We learned to cooperate with each other, and that means a lot for our later life. Mom, thank you!† Emma
Proud of Our Translation/Writing Club and Our Work by Katherine
Iím very proud to be a member of the Writing Club! Itís the same today that it always was, and it will never change. There I can meet Mom, our life teacher, who always stimulates our passion, our love for life, because there I can talk with each member, my kind of companions, who attribute their knowledge, competence for our translation project.
Harboring some aspirations in common, we work together heart and soul. We spend our precious time on discussing and studying some stories. Actually itís hard for us to make the story be still attractive after itís translated into Chinese as a result of the different cultural background. However, we bear this unavoidable problem in mind and try our best to be as perfect as we can every translation. Everything that can be achieved through great efforts should be very valuable. The process of discovering problems and solving them is full of challenges and mysteriousness. No matter how sophisticated, we can always find a bright way through our friendly cooperation. As a proverb says: ďMany hands make light work.Ē Everyone has her own opinions towards the same thing. So there are various ideas in all. And therefore our translating turns on an active scene of filtrating, eliminating and ascertaining, we often feel more excited for our harvest.
In order to persuade my partners to support my ideas, I would read and correct my translating many times in advance. However, sometimes they may insist on their own opinions and feel it better than others. At this time, both of us would debate for respective opinions. And during these quarrels, we can make great progress in our spirit as well as our thinking. When involving some cultural background that we all donít understand, Mom will explain to us until we are clear about it. I can still remember that picture when Mom took out some material objects in order to give us a vivid description. Sometimes we are also fascinated by Momís humor.
What a pity! We must part for a long time. Everyone has her own aim to go after. Our translating project has to be interrupted, and done by the followers of our Writing Club. No matter how everything will go on, I hope for the best! - Katherine
Roxieís Comments about the Translation Class
We nine students, were grouped by Connie Mom as a writing club as a because of our good performance in her writing class. Being handpicked by such a respectable foreign teacher, we feel joy as well as expectation for us in our work of translating. We translate childrenís books, which have profound morals into Chinese. Short as they are, they are not that easy to be translated. Each is time-consuming and effort consuming. From the moment we get the material to the time we send our final text to Connie Mom, we go quite a long way. We are shown the general plot of the story and the pictures related on the Internet by Connie Mom in her house so that we get a general idea of the story. Then we read the material enough times, before it is explained to us regarding the difficult or confusing points by Connie Mom, because of the cultural differences, so that we can totally understand it before setting about translating it. From then on, we go to Connie Momís house once a week, each time with her own translation in hand, discussing paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, sometimes even word by word, trying to make each word and the whole story perfect. Itís not an easy task. Sometimes different girls believe their wording to be better then the others, which leads to heated arguments and other times no one can come up with the very right corresponding Chinese word or phrase though everyone understands what it means, while most times we discuss, put forward the best translation and agree. Week after week the whole story is finished and the final text come out. Each of us gets a copy and read it again for any fault or shortcoming to improve. When it is finally accomplished, imagine how delighted we are! Itís the work of us nine as a whole, the work of a long and arduous journey, the work of achievement by cooperation. We are immersed in the sense of fulfillment. During the work, Connie Mom facilitates our translation a lot with all means possible and with all efforts. Unable to understand Chinese, she manages to sit with us from the very beginning g to the very end only to be of help when we need her. Among the group, there are eloquent speakers and also reticent ones, but we just make it as a group. We exert ourselves, we show ourselves and we learn from each other. We develop an unusual friendship and quite luckily we grasp the meaning of cooperation. We know we are excellent and we do translation to excellence, and at the same time we are progressing. - Roxie
Words by Linda
After several months in the translation group, I gained a lot. All the group members worked together and I enjoyed this group work. We mainly translated childrenís stories. I started to find them interesting and became willing to translate them into Chinese so that Chinese children may also read them.
During our translation work Connie Mom offered us great help though she knows little about Chinese. Itís she who organized the translation group and directed it. Whenever we had any questions about the original story she would explain it to us patiently with her charming smile. Without Connie Mom we would not have set up the group and experienced the joy of doing translation work.
Thank you Connie Mom! Yours, Linda