Culturally Competent Advising Requires a Holistic Approach

Source: Inside Higher Education via Academica

“To be better advisers, we need to consider the cultural baggage a student brings to a conversation when discussing their major,” writes June Y Chu for Inside Higher Ed. Chu illuminates the ways that culturally competent advising must grow to better serve a diverse student body. This approach uses a holistic approach that goes beyond telling a student to pursue the subject they love, and takes into account issues such as family conflicts and responsibilities. Chu further adds that “the question for advisers is how our own cultural values influence our advising and potentially devalue the cultural history a student brings into our office.”

Fanshawe College Opens English Language Centre

Source: Fanshawe College via Academica

Fanshawe College has officially opened its new English Language Institute, a centre that will gather together the college’s various English as a Second Language initiatives and become home to the college’s new flagship program, English for Academic Purposes. The college reports that this full-time, intensive program will help international and domestic students prepare for further academic study, and will also be recognized by Western University and  its affiliated colleges. “Through the English Language Institute, Fanshawe will continue to offer enhanced English language training and support that empowers International students, newcomers to Canada, and non-English fluent students to succeed in post-secondary studies,” said Gary Lima, Senior Vice-President, Academic Services at Fanshawe.

UAlberta Students Hold Turban-Tying Event in Reaction to Posters

Source: Edmonton Journal via Academica

In response to the recently discovered and removed racist posters on campus, the Sikh Students’ Association and the World Sikh Organization of Canada held a turban-tying event called “Turban, eh?” in the University of Alberta Students’ Union building. The event invited any interested persons to have a turban tied on their heads, and provided the opportunity for participants to ask the volunteers questions. Faculty, staff, and students from UAlberta were joined by politicians and community members for the event. UAlberta President David Turpin commented that he was filled with pride at the event, stating that “it really is an opportunity to stand up and say what it means to be Canadian.”

International Medical Residents Struggle with Culture Shock

Source: National Post via Academica

Graduates of foreign medical schools often face a significant clash of cultures when they pursue two-year family medicine residencies in Canada, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary. The report notes that while Canada relies heavily on international medical graduates, many of these graduates may struggle with unfamiliar cultural experiences, such as being taught by female instructors, working with the mentally ill, and having difficulty with the nuances of English. “In some countries, males look after males and females look after females,” said Olga Szafran, associate research director in the University of Alberta’s family-medicine department and the study’s lead author, “but we can’t be selective in the kind of patients that our physicians end up treating.”

Students and Parents Differ in Their Views on PSE, Jobs

Source: Ipsos via Academica

A recent poll has revealed the differences between parents and students in their perception of why students attend PSE. Students were significantly more likely than their parents to report that one of their motivations in attending PSE was to satisfy their parents. In terms of career, parents were more likely than students to believe that finding a meaningful and fulfilling job would make their children happy. While attending PSE “to maximize the chances of having a career that [they] will be happy with” was the most influential factor for both groups, parents were significantly more likely to cite this reason than students.

Translating Culture vs. Cultural Translation

Source: Hindi Center

Contact: Ravi Kumar, President – Indian Translators Association, 613-707-1349; info@hindicenter.com

Harish Trivedi, Professor at University of Delhi, highly appreciates the fact that over last two or three decades, translation and translation studies have become a more visible, more prolific and more respectable activity than ever before.

Trivedi further links this discipline with post-colonial studies that emerged as an area of studies just a few years before translation studies and both of them have become interactive to each through a series of books in this direction, eg. Siting Translation: History, Poststructuralism and the Colonial Context (1992) by Tejaswini Niranjana, The Poetics of Imperialism: Translation and Colonization from The Tempest to Tarzan (1997) by Eric Cheyfitz, Translation and Empire: Postcolonial Theories Explained (1997) by Douglas Robinson, and Postcolonial Translation: Theory and Practice (1999), a collection of essays edited by Susan Bassnett and Harish Trivedi etc.

Before new development took place, translation remained confined to two different subjects or discipline: linguistics and comparative literature, and remained restricted to substitution of a text in one language for a text in another. But shortly after, it began to be noticed that literary texts were constituted not primarily of language but in fact of culture, language being in effect a vehicle of culture. 

Trivedi recognizes that interaction of language with culture helped translation studies expand its horizons and revitalize the discipline. This helped liberate it from the completely mechanical tool of analysis available in linguistics. The words which proved intractable are often described as being culture specific. For example, words like kurta, dhoti, roti, loochi, dharma, karma, or maya etc.  began to be treated as specific cultural elements very different from their corresponding western near equivalence shirt, trouser, bread, religion, deeds both past and present, or illusion respectively. Slowly not only some words were taken as culture specific but indeed the whole language became specific to the particular culture it belonged to.

Trivedi refers to Susan Bassnett and Andre Lefevere who added cultural dimension to translation studies through their title, ‘the cultural turn in translation studies’ in their book – Translation History and Culture (1990). Trivedi further explains, it was Susan Bassnett who declared death of comparative literature in wake of gaining popularity of post–colonial literature.

Trivedi is concerned with the fact that in parallel there has been growth of Culture Studies – from Eurocentric beginning to International stature- which is like translation studies is interdisciplinary in nature, but of them have failed to interact properly. Susan Bassnett did propose a four point agenda: the way in which different culture construct their images of writers and texts, a tracking of the ways in which text become cultural capital across culture boundaries, and an exploration of the politics of translation, especially of what Lawerence Venuti has called, “ethnocentric violence of translation”, and pooling of the resources.

Trivedi is disappointed with the fact that the cultural turn in translation and culture studies have not come to terms together, maybe because of the fact that translation deals at least between two languages whereas culture studies deals only in one language mainly English. Hence it remains an unfulfilled desire.

Trivedi further moves on to yet another discipline called, “Cultural Translation”. This may not be confused with old fashioned sense of translation that involves domestication of text from source to target language. This sort of cultural translation is yet to find its entry in the encyclopedia and anthologies of translation studies, and that this sort of Cultural translation is a dangerous trend that promotes monolingualism, monoculturalism and wants to convert multicultural and diversified world to a monolithic world.

Trivedi sites some examples of this postcolonial and postmodernist discourse and refers to Homi Bhabha who promotes this trend. Trivedi is critical of Bhabha who in his book, “The Location of Culture (1994)” discusses Salman Rushdie’s novel “Satanic Verses” as an example of cultural translation, inspite of the fact that this mentioned book was written originally in English and read in that language only (not in any other translation). Trivedi called it representation of postcolonial diaspora, and what Bhaba is talking is “Transnational as Translational”. Trivedi rejects this concept and suggests for use of another word in place of translation. It is not translation, it is a process of human migrancy.

Trivedi further sites examples of Hanif Kureishi, a writer born in England with one British and one Indian/Pakistani parents. He has nothing to do with immigrant population as he is by birth British, but he writes on new British immigrant’s communities because he is being paid for it. Thus Trivedi rejects Bhabha’s claim that cultural translation is the need of immigrant population, and asserts that such works are hegemonic western demand and necessity.

Trivedi further sites examples of Jhumpa Lahiri, who was born of Bengali parents in London, grew in America to become an American citizen at age of 18. She has written fiction not about Indians in America, but also some stories about Indians still living in India. She has been criticized for having reflected erroneous and defective understanding of India. She admits that her knowledge of India is limited- the same way- all translations are defective, thus her representation of India is her translation of India. She further elaborates that almost all her characters are translators, insofar as they must make sense to the foreign to survive.

Trivedi is very much worried about use of the word translation with cultural translation as it dilutes the discipline of translation studies. Therefore, he calls for use of other words like migrancy, exile or diaspora with culture to describe such phenomenon, but not the “Translation”.

Trivedi is worried over Susan Bassnett’s statement on Edwin Gentzler’s book, “Contemporary Translation Theories” where she says, “… the book is not only a critical survey but effectively also a translation, it transforms a whole range of complex theoretical material into accessible language”. Trivedi puts his concern by saying, “it is the same language English, in which such theoretical complexity and such accessibility both exist”.

Thus we notice that Trivedi ‘s concern on dilution of the word ‘translation’ with monolingual cultural interpretation of migrant population is quite genuine, and that a careful approach is needed to tackle such dilution process that aims to bury multilingualism, multiculturalism and diversity of culture in name of cultural translation.