Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Today we went to the European Union and sat in on a presentation regarding language diversity and multilingualism in the European Union. There are currently 23 official languages of the European Union and 800 translators. Getting a law passed is a long and involved process within the EU. It can be summarized with three general steps: communication within an organization, communication between organizations, communication from an organization to the people it supports. It was also discussed how one might acquire a position within the European Union. The EU is always searching for people who have a wide array of knowledge to supplement their language. For example, a translator is more marketable if he/she also has a degree in medicine because you then have a specific set of vocabulary at your disposal and you don’t have to look up every scientific word.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Today we talked about jokes and comedic sayings and the difficulties that come with translating them. Freud was very interested in analyzing jokes and how they relate to the unconscious. He concluded that the pleasure one receives from hearing a joke is “due to the suspension of the expenditure of energy upon maintaining repression” But the definition of what is funny differs between social groups and genders. What is hilarious to a man might be offensive to a woman and what is funny to a Caucasian person may be offensive to an African American. This creates difficulties when translating a joke because it is being converted into a different culture and mindset. “The very structure of the joke embodies the distancing of existing attitudes and their replacement by a new language of science.” The function of Jewish jokes was to provide an escape from anti-Semitism by laughing at it. Does this go to say that a Jewish joke will never be fully understood by someone who is not Jewish? Maybe so. Most of understanding a joke lies in the experiences and perception one has of the culture from which the joke stems.
Coffee houses in Vienna differ greatly from those in America. They have a much more leisurely atmosphere about them. In America, if you sit at a table for more than an hour a waiter usually asks if you want anything else or in some way indicates that you should leave. Often they give you the bill just moments after getting your food and say “whenever you’re ready” but really they mean sooner rather than later. In Vienna the concept of a coffee house is completely different. No one is going to ask you to leave after a while. In fact, people often spend the entire day in a single coffee house. It is a place where one can go to read the newspaper or read a book. In the past, there were even showers available because travelers would often come and want a place to freshen up and relax.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Today after class a few of us went to the Donau Insel because it was going to be the last hot day for a while and we wanted to enjoy the weather. It was interesting to see how uninhibited the people here are when it comes to baring their bodies, especially the old people. They’re just so comfortable with showing skin.
After the Donau, we went to the Freud Museum for a group excursion. The Freud Museum is where Freud actually lived for about fifty years before moving to London in his final years. It was a very large apartment for the time, and even still is now. There were 19 rooms! But besides him and his wife there were six children, so I’m sure they appreciated the space. He held his practice within his home so I got to see where the famous couch would have been (the couch is kept at the museum in London).
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Sigmund Freud was a very complex individual and reading his works is difficult enough but translating them presents a whole new slew of complications. He used a lot of scientific words (some of which were coined by him) but spoke about them in a very artistic fashion. The words he chose also have specific meanings that might not be reached when only looking in a dictionary. It is important to look at the context of the text – who was writing, what was that’s individual’s lexicon – what was the period flavor and literary style. There are many things to take under consideration. When Freud talked about “die Seele” he more likely meant “the psyche” rather than “the soul” which is typically associated with the word “Seele.” Similarly, Freud used the word “die Kranke” to refer to the patient, not someone who was ill.
It has been said that there is no such thing as an untranslatable text. Everything should be able to be expressed in each language in some form or another. But I think it’s safe to say that a translation will not always match the same format as that of the source text. For example we can examine the German word “Vergangenheitsbewältigung.” There is no one word in the English language that sums up the sense of “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” but in general it means “(the process of) coming to terms with the past.” So sometimes the translator must take a few liberties with the text to obtain the overall sense of the word/phrase/text, since sometimes a word for word translation is just not possible.
At the opera house someone wearing a costume said, “make tour today?” That proves that while some Europeans (especially shop owners or workers) know enough English to get their point across but that they are by no means fluent. Native English speakers must be the ones doing the translating into English otherwise you end up with sentences like “make tour today?”
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday morning Tina, Karla, Professor Lowe, and I went to church at St. Augustine’s Cathedral. The church was absolutely gorgeous, as was the music! There was a phenomenal organist and orchestra, which by the way, all the musicians came from the Vienna Philharmonic! How fabulous is that?! I think we should adopt that policy for all of the churches in America.
After church we went to grab a quick bite to eat and I got my sacher torte. Of course.
Then we went by the opera house where visitors were being admitted for free as long as you had a ticket. We went up to one doorman and he said that all the tickets had already been distributed and that we were out of luck. But we weren’t going to give up just yet. We went around to another entrance and the lady guarding the door said she had four tickets that we could use! Score! The opera house is heavenly inside. We got to sit in on the Vienna Philharmonic’s rehearsal of the Nibelungen Ring opera. Those singers were remarkable. They just filled up the space completely with sound.
Then we went to see some dancers from the Vienna ballet rehearse Anna Karenina, which premiers June 8, 2009. They were such a treat to watch and I could even tell that the female was wearing Bloch Serenade pointe shoes. How strange is it that I can recognize the kind of pointe shoes she was wearing when they practically all look the same.
Then we went up onto the stage and got to pretend like the spotlight was on us. It felt so good to be in the center of the stage and look out to an auditorium with five balconies. Oh man I miss being on stage and having that rush of adrenaline that only performing in that environment can bring.
After the opera house Tina, Karla, and I went to the Belvedere Museum. We spent hours in there just gawking at the magnificent artwork.
Overall, this was probably the best day I’ve had so far on this trip. I got to do everything artsy that I like, and I didn’t have to pay for any of it except for the sacher torte! But that, of course, was well worth it. I hope I have many more days like this to come.
According to Leonard Orban, the European Commissioner responsible for multilingualism, “many Europeans already speak a great number of different languages. But still, language skills are unevenly spread across countries and social groups in Europe”.  Vienna is a very multicultural city and most everyone here speaks several languages. But this is not the case throughout all of Austria or all of Europe. People residing in larger cities speak several languages because of several reasons. They are near Universities and with higher education comes multilingualism. Large cities attract tourists and foreigners, which by default introduces new languages.
Orban also made the point that multilingualism has increased with the recent economic downturn. Shop owners cannot afford to turn anyone always simply because of a language barrier. It is very common for business people to know enough of several languages to make a sale. Because money is tight these days, shop owners are making a great effort to accommodate their customers.
It is also true that the work field for translators has increased since the economic crash. It is becoming more and more important to converse with each other on a more global level. With tensions running high all over the world, it is important that all messages are accurately and appropriately conveyed. When non-native speakers translate, they often make mistakes, whether it be in grammar or colloquialisms or what have you. It is important that the translator not only be a native speaker, but also exceptional in that particular language, to ensure that everything is translated to the highest degree.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Today we went on a walking tour of the medieval part of Vienna with Professor Bruce Murray (from the U of I). He knew so much about every little thing – every plaque, café, statue, you name it and he knew what it was. There were a lot of cool buildings and the sheer age of everything here is mind-boggling. Every thing has such a deep history. We walked by a church that was built in the 11th century!
Everything we saw had such historical significance. We stopped in front of the building wear the last Holy Roman Emperor gave up the throne to Napolean!
Late that night we went out dancing to a gay club called the Viper Room and it was sooo much fun! I think I had such a good time because I felt completely 100% safe. European men are rather forward and it made me feel a bit uncomfortable at another club. But at the Viper Room all the guys were only focused on other guys, which meant for a good time for me. Tamara Mascara was our D.J. and she/he (I don’t really know what pronoun to use for drag) was an exciting character. There were people taking pictures for promotional purposes and our group was so fabulous that we made it on to the website!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
We then went to Mariahilfe Straße and looked at the awesome architecture and statues. There was this elephant statue outside of the museum of natural history, so of course we had to take pictures.
After a little while longer of walking, this man that had feminine products all around his waist came up to us and told us that he was getting married and that tonight was his bachelor party and he had to sell all the items around his waist to girls on the street. So we helped him out and got a fabulous picture and laugh out of it.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday morning (May 19) I had my first class. It was really boring and long. It was just so hard to concentrate for 3 hours straight on the same material without any sort of break. Here’s a pic of the building that connects to where we have class.
Unfortunately our class is not in that gorgeous building but we walk through it to the next one.
On the way to class we passed a Jewish cemetery and it was surrounded by this wall that was covered in glass and barbed wire, which were done to help prevent destruction of the graves by Neo Nazis.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I just had my first class and we're taking a an internet break so that we can check our email and such since there were many students in our group who were unable to receive internet in the dorms.
So far things are going really well. No major problems or complaints. I have most everything I need for now.