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Translating Laughter

ENGL 151.301
instructor(s):
R 10:15am-1:15pm

While this course will deal with the history and theory of translation at large, the practical aspect of the course or the workshop component of it will focus on translating humor from various texts and mediums. We will begin by examining the history and theory of translation by focusing on examples of translating humor from Arabic such as Michael Cooperson’s recent translation of Maqamat in Imposters and by delving into English versions of the Arabian Nights  by Lane, Burton, and Haddawy. We will also read some of the theory on translation and parody by Borges, Venuti, Benjamin, Bakhtin, and others as we also examine translations of specific passages in the Arabic text and how they manifest themselves in literary translations and visual translations. This will give us a chance to broaden our definition of translation and to look at movies and their subtitles, cartoons, graphic novels, and comics. Students will be required to choose from similar texts and mediums for their translation projects and presentations during the semester, and to submit a final paper reflecting on their texts and translation practices. Knowledge of another language is necessary but students are welcome to discuss the possibility of creating a version from previous translations—granted they are available. Finally we will set workshops to present, share, and examine the effects of our translations together.