Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

Trouble (with interpreters) in Transylvania

by • December 29th, 2007

from Trouble in Transylvania
by Barbara Wilson
1993, pp. 52-55

“Senor Martinez fell into my Spanish as passionately as into a beloved’s arms. Not that he’d previously been parsimonious (according to Jack) with his ungrammatical English, but his Spanish was a force of nature that now gushed out of his mouth like water from a blocked pipe.

‘And you’re the one who will be my translator?’ he said to me in Spanish. ‘Then please tell Senora Eva that her eyes are as blue as the Mediterranean.’
‘Senior Martinez says he’s dying to try some paprika chicken,’ I said. ‘But I suggested the stuffed carp.’
Eva handed him her menu. ‘Please.’
‘I speak of love, not food.’ He pushed it away and fixed her with a tender look.
‘I can’t persuade him,’ I said. ‘It’s gotta be the chicken.’
The Gypsy musicians had appeared . . . ‘Tell Senor Martinez this is a real Gypsy tune, not for tourists.’
‘I translated and Senor Martinez sighed eloquently, his hand at his heart. ‘The Spanish and the Hungarians are very much alike. We have the wildness and also the sadness, what we call duende. We have both ben conquored peoples, we have the souls of Gypsies and the heads for business.

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“the rift of difference”

by • December 25th, 2007

…the difference, according to Heidegger, is pain.

“Diviners,” writes Dennis Tedlock, “Stay close to ‘the rift of difference,’ as Heidegger calls it, even a small difference. They leave us between two points, or at both of them, and sometimes three.” (1983:254)

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researching the edges

by • October 1st, 2007

I have always felt that the action most worth watching is not at the center of things but where edges meet.

Anne Fadiman. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.
1997. (Preface, p. viii.)
The Review linked above does criticize Fadiman for overromanticizing some aspects of Hmong culture, history, and customs; what reviewer Mai Na M. Lee calls “the bigger issues.” In particular, she criticizes Fadiman’s conclusion that Hmong are “differently ethical.” The phrasing itself is curious, requiring some serious parsing. The way I read the phrase, Fadiman is asserting that ethics are as foundational and valued among the Hmong as within any people. The use of “differently” (instead of the starker label of “different”) – refers to the ethics being performed or based “in a different manner.” It seems to me this opens up comparision on the basis of more, rather then less, similarity. Dr. Lee did not read the phrase this way, interpreting its meaning as more distancing (differencing?) than joining.
Dr. Lee has the benefit of context; I have not yet read that far. There is a Bakhtinian movement discernable here: the counterplay of centripetal and centrifugal forces in the utterances of

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updated references (EP)

by • July 20th, 2007

What I had found before: European Parliament Procedural Rule 138.
Now, TITLE I : MEMBERS, PARLIAMENT BODIES AND POLITICAL GROUPS; CHAPTER 3 : BODIES AND DUTIES
Rule 22 : Duties of the Bureau
“8. The Bureau shall be the authority responsible for authorising meetings of committees away from the usual places of work, hearings and study and fact-finding journeys by rapporteurs.
Where such meetings are authorised, the language arrangements shall be determined on the basis of the official languages used and requested by the members and substitutes of the committee concerned.”
TITLE VI : SESSIONS
CHAPTER 3 : GENERAL RULES FOR THE CONDUCT OF SITTINGS
Rule 138 : Languages
1. All documents of Parliament shall be drawn up in the official languages.
2. All Members shall have the right to speak in Parliament in the official language of their choice. Speeches delivered in one of the official languages shall be simultaneously interpreted into the other official languages and into any other language the Bureau may consider necessary.
3. Interpretation shall be provided in committee and delegation meetings from and into the official languages used and requested by the members and substitutes of that committee or delegation.
4.

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my point, precisely!

by • July 19th, 2007

Not the main one I want to make, but a corollary: what is a lingua franca?
“The term lingua franca comes from an Italian phrase for “Frankish language”. The term harkens back to the traditional role of French as the “language of diplomacy”. The underlying idea was that no matter what languages two diplomats might speak at home, they could always communicate if both had a command of French. Indeed, at one time it was not unusual for aristocrats and royalty in the courts of eastern Europe to speak French in lieu of the native tongues of their subjects. The term is something of an anachronism. At one time Latin and Greek played this role among scholars. These days, English has assumed the role of the lingua franca in many parts of the world, and is the language of choice for discourse among scientists and aviators.”
Brian Foote and Don Roberts, Paper presented at Fifth Conference on Patterns Languages of Programs (PLoP ’98)
Brian Foote foote@cs.uiuc.edu
Last Modified: 23 April 2004
What’s up with the Lorenz Attractor?! 🙂

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identity and “selves”

by • January 16th, 2007

According to Diane M. Hoffman (working for the American Institutes for Research, Iranians conceive of an “inner self” and an “outer self” which “does not presuppose any necessary conformity between inside and outside; the two can, and in fact often do, coexist in mutually contradictory fashion, without leading to what many Westerners might experience as an uncomfortable dissonance” (1989, p. 36, Ethos).
The article, “Self and Culture Revisited: Culture Acquisition among Iranians in the United States,” piqued my imagination regarding the “culture acquisition” of delegates, staff, and interpreters at the European Parliament (EP). Hoffman describes “a dual learning process, involving, on the one hand, knowledge acquisition – a learning about culture – and, on the other, a ‘deeper’ sort of learning that involves the internalization of another cultural set of values and meanings. This second form of learning involves the inner self and affects the individual’s sense of cultural being; it is identity-impacting” (38-39).

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Anthony Pym vs interpreting

by • September 18th, 2005

well, he‘s not totally against it, but he’s definitely for curtailing it. His hard-hitting critique says much (blurring the terms translation and intepretation), including a call
“to go beyond the logic inscribed in the discourse of translation. If one is to believe in translation, in the people who support and live from translations, translation is always necessary and that’s the end of the story. But if one begins by looking at interlingual space, the only real question is how we ever came to believe in translation so much. How did we ever get to this ideal “usage de toutes les langues” and the associated theories?
Several reasons:
First, there is a wide gap between the official discourse and what actually happens on the ground. Despite claims to respect multilingualism through translation, the European Commission deploys what is called a “real needs policy”, which basically incorporates use of a lingua franca or the use of passive competences wherever possible, as happened in the French-English conference cited above. This tends to mean that the more specialized the meetings, the less there are interpreters present. The official discourse on translation is thus largely produced for external consumption, to keep the masses and academics happy.
Second, because

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MA thesis on EuroParl’s language regime

by • September 18th, 2005

from a google search on language regime European parliament:
a thesis on the EU language regime (addresses both translation and interpretation) Quotes follow from this thesis:
“The Interpreting Directorate of the European Parliament employs approximately 240 permanent staff interpreters and relies on a reserve of more than 1000 auxiliary conference interpreters, of whom between 200 and 500 must be recruited each day to cover its needs. In 2002, the total volume of activity represented 56000 interpreter days for the European Parliament organs alone. Staff interpreters accounted for

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check out

by • August 18th, 2005

A free MA program for refugees to become interpreters at Cardiff University! (Still have to hunt for the specifics.)
Nikolas Rose (1999), Powers of Freedom.

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axles, hubs, spokes, and rims

by • July 10th, 2005

Looking for a metaphor…..Eileen uses the notion of a wheel to teach about culture, and we’ve been discussing the relationship between culture and discourse – how we can distinguish between them, and also separating out dynamics too, even though we know all three are braided together.

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