August 31, 2012
3:00-4:15 p.m., NGF Room, De La Costa Hall
Parallel Session 1-D

Moderator: Prof. Anne Christine Ensomo, Department of English

Ateneo de Manila University

“Translation beyond Truth”

This paper deals with problems in relation to theories of truth with the contention that the Aristotelian notion of truth as singular concept suggests that the task of translation has to be content with searching for corresponding, approximate or related meaning(s) of words and texts. In the sense of Walter Benjamin, this unbreachable distance of truths implies that any translated text lacks its original wholeness. Contrary to this belief, it is proposed to bear in mind that all truth systems contain paradoxes that arguably point to a truth that gives birth to all truths. Rooting translation in paradox not only challenges the notion of untranslatability, but allows for a constructive dialogue of meaning that in preserving the integrity of individual truths opens up a world of creative possibilities. The turn to paradox, however, does not mean the absence of truth in translation, but embeds truth in its complementary appearances. The unity and wholeness of translations, thus, might be found in their paradoxical diversity.

Markus E. Locker is Associate Professor for Theology at the School of Humanities and lecturer for the New Testament at Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University. He holds a doctorate in Theology and a doctorate in Philosophy and has edited and published several books, Led by the Spirit (LST 2002), The New World of Jesus’ Parables (Cambridge Scholars Press 2009), Systems Theory and Theology (Pickwick 2011), and The Power of Paradox (Rodopi 2013) and authored articles in national and international journals, most recently in the Journal of Biblical and Pneumatologcial Research (2012).

Ateneo de Manila University

“I translate cultures”: reflections on doing ethnography between languages”

In the dominant framework of anthropology in 1970s, cultures were seen as texts to be decoded by ethnographers who were presumed to have a privileged and special access to “reality” by means of “thick description” (Geertz 1973). The methodology and method of ethnography, however, faced the double crisis of representation and legitimation in the emergence of the postmodern paradigm. While a few decades of searching for the good practice of ethnography seem to have rescued the reliability and validity of its data and the construction of the ethnographic text, the issue of translation, that is, the collection of data from the field into a form of the written text of the scientific publication, and the transportation of a vernacular to a presumed global language, remains today without much argument. Still, the individual researchers work at the present tense at the arena of cross-cultural encounter that involves the interlanguage processes as personal experiences. This paper explores the practice of translating cultures, and attempts to situate “my” accounts of being lost in translation in the business of ethnography.

Born in Tokyo, Hiroko Nagai obtained a degree in cultural anthropology from Rikkyo University, Japan. Aside from teaching Japanese language to students of Ateneo de Manila University, she conducts fieldwork mainly in the areas where Kinaray-a is spoken. Her research interests include rural development, agriculture and and off-farm activities, environment and disaster.


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