Select Translation Studies Alumni


Chelsea K. Barnard, M.A. in the Humanities, 2018

Digital Latina: Creative Windows from Blackout Poetry Workshops

My creative portfolio addresses an innovative approach to the interpretation and practice of writing poetry. The poetry I would like to demonstrate falls under the name of Blackout Poetry. It is also referred to as a type of “erasure” poetry. My goal was to facilitate Blackout Poetry workshops and create a digital space in order to foster conversations about social change for Latina women. 

The digital space serves as an expansion of the blackout poetry workshops through open-access online. It also seeks to encourage and assist others, i.e., networking with other undergraduate and graduate students and teachers to create similar types of activities with underrepresented groups by providing templates and guidelines to show how I structure workshops and to show how digital explorations further enhance the aesthetic experience of poetry as a revitalization for the experience of poetry.

Chelsea now works as a director of platform development, which means she’s a translator between software engineers, business owners, and everyday technology users. She enjoys solving riddles about how to build new processes and systems that financial advisors use as they collaborate with clients to enhance their professional presence.

Amy Simpson, PhD in the Humanities, 2017

Remaking Poems: Combining Translation and Digital Media to Interest High School Students in Poetry Analysis

It is an important study, I think, because of its potential to link students to their literary heritage by giving them an active role in creating it anew.  Digital is the international language – spanning time and space, individualizing artistic expression, and blending individuals into an artistic community that understands and speaks the same language.  When students have an opportunity to translate a poem into a multi-media event, they connect intimately with the original in surprising ways. And that connection initiates a relationship, not just with a poem, but with poetry.

As part of an institution committed to research that will effect positive change in society, The Center for Translation Studies at UTD serves at the vanguard of a digital renaissance in the humanities.  My work represents only a few steps through the door that the center has opened.  Other doctoral students will go far beyond these first efforts, expending resources of time, energy, and funding to invent new ways of synthesizing translation and technology to restore the humanities to the mainstream of contemporary life.  I am indebted to the forward-thinking mission of the center – particularly in its venture into the interdisciplinary realm where technology and art merge to re-image and revitalize studies in the humanities.

Jonathan Becker, MA in the Humanities, 2017

Language is Everything: Translating an Essay by Marcel Beyer

The first part of my master’s portfolio consists of a translation of the second essay in Putins Briefkasten, a collection by the German author Marcel Beyer published in 2012. In the essay, framed as a travel report of various trips around Eastern Europe, the author engages with the question of how history leaves its marks on our everyday use of language. Looking at the sound and—through typography—visual impression of the languages he encounters, he crafts a careful investigation of the sense experience inherent in engaging with language.

The scholarly essay, which constitutes the second part, places Beyer’s writing in the context of contemporary German and international literature, investigates the characteristics of Beyer’s writing in terms of his style and the particular historical and cultural considerations evident in his work. The essay also offers a detailed reconstruction of the translation process, with particular attention paid to those challenges faced by the translator that pertain to individual words, syntax and the sound nature of the language, as well as those passages that point towards an inherent untranslatability in the text.

Jonathan Becker is originally from Berlin, Germany. Starting in the Fall of 2015, he was a student at the University of Texas at Dallas, from where he graduated with an MA in Humanities in 2017. During his time at UTD, he also worked as a research assistant at the Center for Translation Studies. He is a published translator, having translated essays, lectures and short stories from the German and currently lives in Berlin.

Michele Rosen, PhD in the Humanities, 2015

Translation in the Digital Age: Reconstructing Montaigne's ‘Du Repentir’

I conducted a series of experiments using web-based digital technology to interact with my new translation of Michel de Montaigne's sixteenth-century essay. This allowed me to study the effect of the digital age on literary translation, language and literary studies, and the humanities, and to demonstrate that literary translations can be enhanced in a digital environment beyond what is possible using print technology.

In my dissertation, I describe and evaluate methods for interacting with a text and its translation using web applications. I rendered my translation of Montaigne’s essay “digital” by presenting it in a prototype web interface in which the essay could be explored non-linearly. Fragments of the original text and the translation could be juxtaposed, and words and phrases in the essay were linked to curated sources from the web to associate the text with its cultural context. I used these experiments to explain why interacting with a text in this deep, connective way can be more enjoyable and engaging than traditional methods of reading.

Michele Rosen is an ATA-certified French to English translator. Her recent book translations include Telepresence in Training (ISTE, forthcoming) and The Kenval Incident by Philippe Mercurio (nogartha, forthcoming). She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband, two dogs, and a cat named Hobbes.

Shelby D. Vincent, PhD in the Humanities, 2015

Translating Translators, History, and Memories in Carmen Boullosa’s ‘Cielos de la Tierra’

My dissertation includes an extensive scholarly essay in which I introduce author Carmen Boullosa and contextualize her work within Latin American and international literature, discuss the prominent features of the novel, and reconstruct the process of translating the original Spanish language text into English. The scholarly essay is followed by the complete translation of the novel.  In this novel, Boullosa explores the ramifications of communities that attempt to abolish language and literature, obliterate memories, and erase history. The novel in my translation—Heavens on Earth—was published October 2017 by Deep Vellum Publishing.

I am currently a Research Associate in the Center for Translation Studies, managing editor of Translation Review, and a lecturer in the School of Arts & Humanities at UTD. I teach undergraduate Translation Workshops and Beginning Spanish. In my spare time, I’m translating another of Boullosa’s novels.

Harry Haskell, MA in the Arts & Humanities, 1977

The Art of Analogy: A Creative Process Through Translation

When I decided I wanted to be a translator I expected to be a bridge that spans the shores of two languages.  That singular concept seemed worthy enough.  My classes and experience as a practitioner however, provided me with a much deeper understanding. I discovered that translation is not only about two languages but is conceptually present in all the arts.  All creative acts can be construed as acts of translation. It is a way of revealing the world.

In the visual arts for example, Picasso and Van Gogh “translated” contemporary renderings of older works in order to extend the original language of the painting and incorporate changes in contemporary perceptions.

In music and drama, the performer interprets the notes and dialogue and gives it a voice. The silence of the score and the manuscript is another language awaiting translation. The difference between the artist and the translator was captured by Octavio Paz when he wrote “The translator is the one who knows which line is coming next.”

Translation in the arts is transformation, participation, and re-creation.  In science it is symbiosis—the living together of two dissimilar organisms in an intimate association advantageous to both. I feel privileged to be a part of that unique relationship.