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Second Semester

grawrt

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Schedule:

Monday: Thesis Writing 1:55-4:30

Tuesday: Consecutive Interpreting E-C 8-9:35

Wednesday: International Politics and Economy 8-9:35 | Tourism Translation 9:50-11:25 | Public Speaking 1:20-2:55

Thursday: Consecutive Interpreting C-E 9:35-11:25

Friday: Sight Translation 9:35-11:25

 

Okay so my first week is nearly over. We had registration on Sunday (Which I missed because we were told on Saturday that we had to register by Sunday, and I was leaving for Beijing at the time…) anyway, it didn’t matter. No classes Monday because our thesis writing course begins in week 2 and foreign students don’t take the politics class so I registered on Monday (just a stamp in the 学生证), and Tuesday we were given our grades.

 

My grades (before they disappeared from the system):

Consecutive Translation Chinese-English: 80

Consecutive Translation English-Chinese: 83

Theory & Skills of Interpretation: 85

Written Translation English-Chinese: 80

Written Translation Chinese-English: 84

Sight Translation: ?

Spanish: 70

Comparative Linguistics & Translatology: 93

An Introduction to Translatology: 93.40

Translation Theory: 97

 

The grades are obviously higher than they should be. I don’t believe this is an accurate reflection at all.  My Theory & Skill of interpretation test was based entirely on the final which was open book essentially with the exception of the essay/short writing portion. The teacher basically told us that the 3 foreign students graded higher than he had expected and he was shocked that so many students couldn’t answer the questions correctly when it was literally in the review sheet. Also their essay portion was way off and didn’t have a thoughtful analysis unlike us 3 foreign students. But the teacher said he couldn’t give us 3 foreign students too high of a grade so he lowered it or else it would “look bad”. So based on this, I‘m guessing this is what the teachers thought process was when grading us, not going too high and not going too low. Just average. With the exception of the 93’s which my friend believes is a real grade. Those were based entirely on the papers we wrote. I don’t think my paper was that good, but I think the 93 was based on the fact that our entire class evidently copied their papers while we 3 foreign students wrote our own. That’s the only thing I can think of.

 

The Translation Theory course also had a paper for a final grade, which the teacher gave us a longer deadline to complete (basically the winter break). A lot of our classmates have been encountering issues with this, because many of them didn’t include a study which we were supposed to do. No surprises there. They all wrote there’s 2 weeks before the term began and many didn’t listen to the professor who required a case study of some sort to be done. They all thought they could just get the passing 60 grade without it. Didn’t quite work out that way.

Anyway. Still waiting for the last 3 grades.

 

Soo class. This term we have a lot less classes than the term before, one of them taught by our department head has been cancelled because she's too busy this term to teach.

 

Tuesday:

Consecutive interpreting E-C, we had this professor last term. She was really great. Nothing new to add, her requirements are pretty much the same.

 

Wednesday:

International Politics & Economy: New class and professor. I don’t really like that the professor came up with a “genius” idea, which basically involves us having night time classes at a different time and day every week with different professors. He started the class with a discussion on “what‘s wrong with America”. Lol. I thought it would be a lot funnier but it was quite boring. His 3 qualms with America were 1) GUAM 2) TAIWAN (apparently America gave Taiwan to Japan….) Not sure where in history he read this but im no expert. 3) Presidential term limits (I’m guessing he states this because now that Xi wants to be a forever president he needs to praise the ingenious of it)

Despite being a class on international politics and economy he mostly spoke about China. Showing how territories should have belonged to China based on before the continents split up, etc. etc.

Travel Tourism was taught by another old professor, the same guy we had for Theory & Skill of interpretation. Actually I really like this class compared to his last years class which seemed quite useless. Our assignments include C-E and E-C translation passages on a place or point of interest. Plus we need to have a partner, I got into a group that rotates partners each week so that should be good.

Public Speaking: This class turned out a lot more interesting than I expected. The professor is quite young, used to live in NYC and is extremely prepared for class. He handed out a speech from Michelle Obama, and then we watched a segment of the speech, He called on students to translate short segments then analyzed words of importance, and wrote them downand kind of discussed with us what kind of words would be more appropriate. For instance, in the speech Mrs. Obama says “parliaments around the world” and he asked the class “parliaments how would we translate that” we had some literal translations for the British parliament, then he elaborated that not all countries used this system and etcetc. There was also a point where she mentioned her husband. Many people translated as 先生, but he asked ‘who is her husband? He’s the president right? We should use 总统先生’. The method of the class was really useful. I don’t really have a feel for formalities when it comes to Chinese, so I was writing down formal terms and other things.  

 

Thursday:

Consecutive interpreting C-E, now being taught by my old professor who taught Sight Translation. I actually feel like this class suits her more. She played us a clip by Jack Ma and basically told us that she wants to focus on interpreting less formal occasions so we can get a feel for things like Q & A sessions and these kind of spontaneous speeches. This professor isn’t bad but I’m afraid what the future holds because last term she had a lot of mood swings and went from very nasty to very nice. My friend thinks I let my guard down by feeling that she‘s not so bad for this class. But I believe in the best of people. haha

 

Friday:

Sight Translation

This class is now being taught by a different professor. He’s an old guy who’s pretty horrible with technology and took a while to work out the system and then gave up halfway and just had us talk loudly. I think he’s a good professor, he has a lot of credentials and our old sight translation professor walked in to introduce him to us and was like ITS SUCH AN HONOR. I thought the class was fun and fairly enjoyable, he would go off topic quite a bit or switch around so it was hard to keep track at times, then there was the fact that he kept calling on me every other second. So like the first time he was rambling about how our schools been winning competitions and prestige and whatever and then he goes to me “WHERE WAS I? QUICK TRANSLATE” and I’m like ……. “what?” and he was like “GREAT ANSWER” and I’m like okay he’s mocking me now…. And he was like “go on” and I repeated what he said and he’s like “YES YES. HER ANSWER WAS RIGHT” and at that point I’m not really sure if he’s trolling me or being legit…

So I tried to stay focused to avoid getting caught off guard again, but then my friend ended up asking me a question and I think he keeps a close eye on me for whatever reason because anytime I was even remotely distracted he’d call on me, so my friend interrupted like “IM SO SORRY PROFESSOR, I was just asking her a question so she was distracted” and he was like “NO! KEEP DISTRACTING HER! Gotta bring her down to our level” and I’m thinking to myself my god this guy thinks that I have the upper hand in the class because I’m a native English speaker??? UHH WHAT I’m like my CHINESE SUCKS we’re like maybe on equal terms at this point.

So yeah… the class was basically just going back and forth with me getting called on literally the entire class. So I need to be prepared for this for his class I guess.

 

Umm that’s about it. I should really have studied this winter break I feel like I’m slacking… but I think I really needed the break so it’s okay. Considering I have so much more free time I’d like to find a tutor this term or a language partner or I don’t know. Anything. Even taking a Chinese course or so to practice is something I really need to do.



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happy_hyaena

Posted

I'm really curious to know how good your Chinese is, and what is the level required for this type of programme? (If you answered it already maybe you could just link to that post.)

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Fantastic grades, congratulations! You're too modest, I'm sure the high marks are very well deserved.

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16 hours ago, happy_hyaena said:

I'm really curious to know how good your Chinese is, and what is the level required for this type of programme? (If you answered it already maybe you could just link to that post.)

 

I would say 'functional' and that's about it. And that's not just me being modest. By functional I mean, I have no problems understanding anything in class and communicating with professors and completing tasks in translation and interpretation. But I'm lacking in certain registers, for instance, formal register... vocabulary isn't big enough, and lack knowledge in culturally specific things. And I obviously have an accent lol. 

 

I think this level is okay for the program, but if you were higher than functional it would probably be better, but having around my level you can still learn a good amount. Like I mentioned before the class is taught usually in a mix of Chinese and English, unless you have a teacher who would rather just speak Chinese, which I have had.. and tasks are between E-C and C-E,  so I think as long as one of your languages is better you'll have an okay time. There are a handful of my classmates that seem to struggle more than me, and I think its important to note because there is always an assumption that the foreign student will encounter more problems than their chinese classmate, but its simply not true. I think these students have a lower English level than my Chinese, and some of them come from parts in China that have an accent, so those students struggle with Chinese as well. One of my classmates who I ate with last week was looking at the menu, and I remembered she wanted Eggplant last time but got her order mixed up and ended up with tomato egg so I was looking for an eggplant dish for her to order when she mused out loud "番茄是不是茄子?" And i was like No.... its Tomato. And it suddenly dawned on me that last time when she got tomato egg it wasn't because a mix up in the kitchen but because she herself had ordered the wrong thing.  Then I partnered with this other girl who I've kind of worked with before but never in consecutive translation, so we were comparing our notes and I found her listening skills were quite low because she only got the very short beginning of the audio on The year of the Dog, where as I had nearly all the important points. 

 

Then again I think my school is definitely not the greatest. So that might be why this kind of level would be okay for an average school. But probably not appropriate for an outstanding school with an outstanding program. 

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Flickserve

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Interestingly, going back to your first impressions, your wrote that some of the students were insanely gifted. However, it seems that this perception is now changing. Any comments on that?

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2 hours ago, Flickserve said:

Interestingly, going back to your first impressions, your wrote that some of the students were insanely gifted. However, it seems that this perception is now changing. Any comments on that?

 

Yepp! I still feel that way. There are a small handful in our class that are really truly gifted. Our class size is rather large, roughly 40 students, I would say about 5-6 are insanely gifted. The rest are like average and then a small handful that are a bit below that. The gifted students are really good at what they do. Actually for the sight translation class last week, the professor asked me to read the speech as one of the 'insanely gifted' students interpreted (sight translation is a bit like simultaneous) and I heard her interpretation as I was reading, and she really nailed it. I don't think I could do that at all. 

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Wippen (inactive)

Posted

Thank you for this post. It is very interesting to hear about your progress. I appreciate the detailed descriptions you give and also the concrete examples.

 

I cannot use the quote functin on your post so I will just copy and paste.

 

Your quote

"in the speech Mrs. Obama says “parliaments around the world” and he asked the class “parliaments how would we translate that” we had some literal translations for the British parliament, then he elaborated that not all countries used this system and etcetc. There was also a point where she mentioned her husband. Many people translated as 先生, but he asked ‘who is her husband? He’s the president right? We should use 总统先生’. "

 

This teacher sounds very good. I like his examples. In my job I often deal with translators and there is one "error" that keeps appearing. The German text will typicall say "ausland" or "heimat" which means "abroad" and "home country" but when a text is translated the target group is obviously no longer German people (in most cases), yet they translate it directly.  Hence when people outside Germany read "home" or "abroad" they understand something different to the German audience.

Your professor's remark here takes such a scenario into account. Seems you are getting quality teaching.

 

In one of your other posts, you mention there are some "insanely talented" individuals. From reading your posts, I think you are also up there. Above all, the fact that your account is so detailed shows a lot of motivation and interest in the subject. This can come out of pure interest but often it comes from talent which then develops into an interest.

What makes these people you refer to stand out so much? Is it that they are quick when interpreting, their accent, their broad range of vocubulary, their ability to find the exact right term in an instant? (edit: read your previous answer afterwards)

 

I think you mentioned in another post about the memorisation skills of Chinese (ignore this if the post was not from you). I was curious why this was considered a special skill that needed a long time to learn. I was under the impression we all had "so much" storage space the brain for short-term memory items. Learning how to maximise this space surely cannot take years to learn? You obviously have been able to observe this first hand.

 

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Wippen (inactive)

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7 hours ago, grawrt said:

And I obviously have an accent lol. 

Is a foreign accent in Chinese possible if you do not make any tone mistakes? Or do you mean intonation an prosody?

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7 hours ago, Tøsen said:

Is a foreign accent in Chinese possible if you do not make any tone mistakes?

Yes. Completely possible and happens all the time. Although there are the so called 4 (5) tones, each tone can take a different level in relation to the tones around it. Tones will often be shortened or cut in half (like what teachers tell you about the half third tone, but can actually happen for all tones, it's less distinct, but easily noticeable to a native speaker). For example, this evening I was corrected when I said …一個人有… all my tones were 'correct', but my 人 included a full 'n' sound at the end, where it should have been softer and glided into the 'you', also the tone was too 'full' (this was probably due to wrong emphasis from the meaning of my full sentence, which I can't remember anymore…)

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Wippen (inactive)

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@tomsima your explanation is really useful. Thanks for that contribution and the concrete example. You seem to have both astute awareness and also people who help you improve by pointing out details like that (your example when someone corrected you - that is a "luxury" having someone prepared to go into that.

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14 hours ago, Tøsen said:

I think you mentioned in another post about the memorisation skills of Chinese (ignore this if the post was not from you). I was curious why this was considered a special skill that needed a long time to learn. I was under the impression we all had "so much" storage space the brain for short-term memory items. Learning how to maximise this space surely cannot take years to learn? You obviously have been able to observe this first hand.

 

Hm. Good point. I guess what I want to say is that memorization while yes is a skill that can be learned, in a class with Chinese students who have been using this skill since however long on a daily basis, their ability to memorize in a short period of time is much quicker than the average person. Im not going to use myself as an example because I have exceptionally bad memory, but my friend has a fairly good capacity for memory, but in one of our first classes, our teacher taught us the symbols for short-hand from a long sheet and during the 5 minute break he told us to review it for a short test, everyone took the 'test' at the same time but only two students were called to the board. My friend with a fairly good memory got 2/5, the two Chinese students memorized all 5/5, looking around the classroom, my classmates had 4/5 or 5/5. By the next class (one week later) every student was 100% capable of writing in the shot hand symbols taught. It took my friend another 2 weeks. I never mastered it, but it took me more than half the semester to get used to writing in short hand (and I find now after a winter of no practice i've seem to lose that skill completely hahaha). 

 

I know its just a small example but over the course of the term I've seen a lot of skill with memory that's surpassed anyone I've ever met. But then the con is that they're not very adaptable and don't seem to understand what they're memorizing much of the time. For our sight translation class last term we had to give presentations on news briefs and almost everyone would memorize them, but when my teacher asked them to summarize it was really difficult and they kept going back to their loop of memorization before she lost it. 

 

 

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Flickserve

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On 05/03/2018 at 10:28 AM, grawrt said:

know its just a small example but over the course of the term I've seen a lot of skill with memory that's surpassed anyone I've ever met. But then the con is that they're not very adaptable and don't seem to understand what they're memorizing much of the time.

 

I guess what you develop in one skill is to the detriment on other skills simply from lack of practice.

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Wippen (inactive)

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On Monday, March 05, 2018 at 3:28 AM, grawrt said:

their ability to memorize in a short period of time is much quicker than the average perso

This is really useful to know.  They then have got some tricks up their sleeve but as any good chinese business person they will probably not share thesecret.

joke aside, I do think you will  always need some Analysis of to create the  neuron connections necessary.

I think the western schooling system probably require students to know some 85-90% of the subject whereas in China it is probably more like 95%, this means they do require more rote learning skills, but can rote learning  also be a talent.?

On Monday, March 05, 2018 at 3:28 AM, grawrt said:

I've seen a lot of skill with memory that's surpassed anyone

Impressed with the content of this observation.

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