Being Aware of Difference: Using Translation Theory to help inform teaching in an ESL setting

Andrea Criggs

A tliesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts in Education Department of Theory and Policy Stud ies Ontario Institute for Stiidies in Education of the University of Toronto

O Copyright by Andrea Griggs ( 1999)

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Abstract

Andrea Griggs Being Aware of Difference: Using translation theory to help inform teaching in an ESL setting. Master of Arts in Education, 1999

Department of Theory and Policy Studies
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

In this thesis 1 argue that mainstream English as a second language (ESL) pedagogy, which is
presented as a neutral and scientific field, is not only unhelpful in many situations in the classroom, but can also be detrimental to teachers and students. We risk infantalizing and/or

losing Our students because we have not been able to support them in their learning. In addition.
we risk deskilling our jobs as teachers. Using ideas from the fields of translation theory and moral philosophy, 1 argue that teaching is not a neutral activity and language is a contested place where meaning is constructed. Since teachers share their role as "translater" with their students, their choices must be respected. Finally, teachers need to consider their social location. Teaching ESL is not, 1 argue, simply correctly applying scientific methodology, but is a creative process involving the whole person.

and has been able to empathize with my stniggles to formulate my ideas. Anne. Mindy. 1 would like to thank my grandparents. despite his occasionally exhortations to "just sit down and get the damn thing done. for his comments. My colleagues and supervisors at the Intensive ESL program have been understanding and supportive (especially when 1 had the 'Yhesis blues"). helped me shape the focus of the paper and reassured me that everyone goes through the "muddling about" phase and (more importantly) that they also corne out of it! 1 appreciate his support and helpful comments. They include: Lisa. There have been many people who have helped me with this process that 1 would like to thank." has also supportive and loving . David Corson. past and present. 1 have leamed much from my students. for their support and financial assistance. My mom. as always. Dwight Boyd. has been interested in what 1 have been working on. Sue. I appreciate my parents' ongoing support through this process. but figuring out what it was that 1 wanted to write was extremely difficult. John and Marie Levitt. 1 would like to thank my fiends who helped by listening and offering encouragement as 1 tried to find a path through the material 1 had read. has read some of my (very) rough drafts. My dad.Acknowledgements Writing this thesis was dificult. support and amazingly quick "tum-around" time. 1 would like to thank my second reader. . My supervisor.

asking intelligent and probing questions. Gwen. 1 would like to thank my partner Afshin for his emotional support. he was always willing to listen and care. Aithough he was sometimes bewildered by how 1 was feeling. my "second supervisor. conversation. and others who offered long distance support. Trish. My brother Jason has given me emotional support and has always been "open" when 1 needed to talk. and love. support and wine. Finally. Katja. .Paula." has helped tremendously by meeting with me regularly. She has helped me to go beyond my initial take on things. Arleen Schenke has shared her ideas. reading my drafts. giving me deadlines. belief in me. and offering her warmth and support.

Translatioii. and Relationship v 39 46 48 49 54 .Table of Contents Abstract Acknowledgements Table of Contents ii iii v Chapter One ESL Centre Mainstream ESL Pedagogy Langiiape Laliguagr Learning Role of Teacher Role of Methodology The Student Critical Pedayoyy Chapter Two 37 Traditional Translation Theory Traditional Translation Theory and ESL Different Translation Theory Languaye Original.

Role of Translator Chapter Three Translation and Teaching Shared Role of Translator Process Language Language and tdentity Language. and Students Teachers Concl tision List of References . Identity.

.

a reliance on only inainstream ESL pedagogy can be harmful to teachers and students. what they Say isn't as important as simply sayinp something. if not impossible time learning the language. this theor). can noi Iielp. is sigh and say that those students should change their attitude or they are going to have a hard. Al1 a teacher can do. Despite the fact that ESL textbooks and activity books constantly supgest controvenial topics for students to write or speak about. The mainstream methodology is presented as neutral and scienti fic. there is no serious talk about dealing I have worked ai: private language institutes in Canada. mechanistic way of thinking about the teaching of English. many situations in the classroom where drawing on this methodology is not helpful. Students are encouragrd to express themselves. the prime role of the teacher in the classroom is providing sufficient cornprehensible input for students to learn from. 1 have worked at many different kinds of schools.As an ESL teacher who has been working in the field for more than eight yean.' Most of the places 1 have worked have generally subscibed to a mainstream view of English as a second language (ESL) pedagogy which is a positivistic. a government sponsored ESL class for immigrants in Ontario. If teachers are confronted with students who dislike English and find it a threat to their own cultural identity. and a school run by the continuing studies department o f a large Canadian university. The content is unimportant: if messages are sent and received. Language tends to be seen as a neutral tool. an international Iiiçh school in New Mexico. learning will happen. In the communicative methodology of today. According to this methodology. it seems. Indeed. Japan and Colombia. However. ' . there are many. which students need to acquire as quickly and efficiently as possible. leaminp any language is a beneficial or at least neutral process.

middle-class. but neutral. gender. When we do not consider these questions. We risk deskilling ourselves and reducing the role of a teacher to mindlessly applying the methods supplied to us from the applied linguists.with real conflict or controversy when it arises. and the teacher should be friendly. We risk infantalizing our students because we ofien do not recognize the knowledge they bring with them (Schenke. ethnicity. 1991). 1 believe we risk a number of things. These questions represent everyday situations which occur in the classroom. educated English speaking woman talk to immigrant students about finding a job. how might my experience aiid their perceptions of me influence what 1 do? What does it mean when a student who had a Chinese-Canadian as a teacher cornplained because she did not have a "real" Canadian teacher? And Iiow do 1. address that issue? How does mainstrearn rnethodology help us when students refuse to speak or do an activity which we know will be beneficial io their English? Can we assume we are able to know what is best for al1 of our students al1 of the t h e ? These kind of questions. We risk losing students because we have not been able to support them in their learninp. are extremely important for us as ESL teachers. 1 would argue.e.. as a white English-Canadian. age.) might influence herhis teaching. ESL classes are meant to be happy places. white. herhis race. . There is no space in mainstream ESL pedagogy to consider how the teacher's social location (i. There is no space to ask questions Iike the following: If 1. We risk doing some form of moral harm to our students if we do not recognize the role of our social location. a Young. etc. sexual orientation.

Beficr is. This kind of teacliing focuses more on knowledge of "the culture of power" (Deipit. In addition to drawinp on translation theory. This thesis is not a genealogy of translation. This model empowers the student and assigns them real responsibility . .Ili this thesis 1 would like to start developing a different pedagogy to addrcss some of these concerns. Finally. it is an examination of how various typcs of translation theory can contribute to a different model for ESL teaching. 1988) and leads to students making more informed choices for themselves. Using translation theory to examine second language teaching is an unusual step to take. it is not an exhaustive overview of the translation literature. I use V ~ ~ O U S theories and writings on (primarily literary) translation to help create a different model for teacliing ESL. However. including my own experiences in the classroorn. conflict. = It's important to note that the literature on translation is enonous and that translation has been seen many different ways over the centuries. panicularly English. 1 will also draw on work done by moral philosophers who try and ans& questions about how we understand each other in the context of differences and inequalities. 1 believe that it will help students leam the language better. helpfitl in thinking about secoiid laiiguage teaching and Irarning. It leads teachen to become more self-reflective because it expands the concept of teaching a second language from a merely technical ski11 to a more holistic approach where issues like the social location of the teacher. a loaded word. Rather. In this thesis.' itself a multi-disciplinary field. 1 have found the tnany similarities between the two fields ver). this model allows the asking of more and di ffercrnt questions than mainstream ESL pedagogy perniits. difference and inequalities have to be considered. and on the field of the teaching and learning of second languages. of course.

The idea that an ESL teacher needn't be concerned with issues of morality and understanding the other is. ESL teacliers are seen as technicians who need only be concerned with the smooth acquisition of standard English. A different approach is necessary. 1 believe. language has bern viewed as a tool. One of the main ideas supponing tlie neutrality of second la~iguage teaching and acquisition is a belief in the neutrality of language.5 In the first chapter. Despite tlie scientific rlirtoric of the discipline. inevitably situations arise in tlie classroom where the mainstream pedagogy is of no help. In the second chapter. with examples mainly from my own experience. there is a belief that there is a method of teacliing a language whicli is scientifically verifiable and sonieliow apolitical. how these beliefs are inadequate in working with students in daily life. Essentially. I start by brietly sumrnarizing the presumptions of traditional translation theorists in order to show both the similarity with mainstream ESL pedagogy and . discourages any questions which challenge tlie "neutral" status of the discipline. 1 explore the beliefs of mainstream ESL pedagogy and demonstrate. Mainstream ESL pedagogy. Learniny a language is seen only as a beneficial process. with no negative effects. In addition to being inadequate. Given the neutrality of language and the origin of second language pedagogy in the field of applied linguistids. these beliefs h a m both teachers and students because they tend to contribute ta s situation where the teacher's roie is deskilled and the student is infantalized. In mainstream ESL pedagogy. they need not be overly concemed witli understanding others or thinking about differences and inequalities. unconnected to identity or power. rooted in the field of applied linguistics. a consequence of taking up a positivistic approach to teachiiig. If teachers work within this method.

6 from where newer ideûs of translation have developed. Essentially. The translation theory that 1 explore in the bulk of the second chapter tends to reject many of the assumptions of traditional theory and is in accord with Iris Young's statement that thrre "is niuch that 1 do not understand about the other . and 4) translators are able to be objective and do not allow their particular social location or ideological beliefs to affect the text. I argue that the traditional theories tend to rely on a belief of universality and seek similarities between different lanyuages and cultures. Thcy also tend to belirve tliat there is a core meaning or "self' in the trxt or student which can be transferred to another languagr relatively unscathed. The danger in assuming univenality and seeking similarities is that differences which appear might be ignored and the more powerful language speakers might end up conveying their world view as the world view. Generally. There are many similarities between mainstreûm ESL pedagogy and traditional translation theory in that they both see language as a neutral labeling system for universal experiences and the translatorlteacher as an objective technician. Mainstream translation theories developed in this century focus prirnarily on the product and make the following assumptions: 1) the original or foreign text is seen as a unified whole with a message that can be understood (by someone with the comct education). there is a belief that language is determinate and translation is the transfer of that fixed meaning from one code to another. 2) language is seen as neutral and as composed of style and content which can be separated unproblematically. 3) a good translation is the sanie as the original. Newer ideas of translation theory wliich chat lenge the ptesuinptions of traditional translation are more helpful in crrating a model for ESL teaching.

unitary meaning of the original. but as a transfomiation of the text. and power" (Pierce in Pennycook. but as "site[s] of struggle over meaniny. 1 explore the link between translation and teaching a second language and argue that there are many similarities. One of the most important points that ESL (or second language) teachers need to recognize is that tliey sliare the role of translator with their students. it leads to a recognition that teaching a second language is a non-neutral and moral activity and that we must respect the choices our students make. Translation is seen not as simply a method of substitution. The nrwrr views of translation are not as easily described because they are formed more as questions and focus more on the procrss rather than prescnptive mrtliods for people to follow to arrive at a product. A British translator translating lndian texts during the time of colonialization will have a different interest than a post-colonial traiislating the sanie tests. 1989. and the idea that a translation is an isomorphic copy of the text. Rather than hiding or ignoring the position of the translator. 1997. access. Tliey srrk to recognize the role that power inequities play in the transfbrniation of the text. The emphasis translation theory places on process and uncovering difference and inequality . tliey seek to expose the position because they assert that knowledge is interested and political. These theories cal1 into question notions of identity. In the third chapter.person's experience and perspective" (Young. This mükes them more difficult to classify and talk about. 1 explore how tliesr ideas from translation tlieory can help inform both how people see teaching and how teachers relate to the cultural and linguistic differences between themselves and their students.594). The translation theory 1 explore sees languages not as neutral. both of the idea of the whole. If tliis is accepted. yet in tliat also lies tlieir strenptli.53).

As opposed to the traditional view. teaching is seen not so much as a science. Recogniziny that language is involved with identity and is a site of coiitlict means that wliat we do in tlir clüssroon~ a real rffeci oii our students. In addition to theoretical suggestions. . tliiiiys are gained. but as a creativr process involving the whole person. Finally. Institutional support is necessary for sonie of the other changes to come about.encourages teachers to be more open about their choices in the classroom and what effect they might have on students. these tlieories recognize that as well as things being "lost" (because of untranslatability ). 1 also consider the dilemma of the teacher workiny within an institution which does not support any of these ideas. has the role of the teacher in this new mode1 is greatly expanded. I suggest possible avenues to further explore these questions. Since translating a text implies a transformation of identity. Teachers share the role of translater with tlieir students. The view of language as not neutral and as meaning and language being inextricably linked. as well as a belief that ESL teachers need to expose difference and inequality. In the conclusion of my thesis. Finally. a niatter of correctly applyinp tlie correct principles. and they have to consider the impacdeffect of their social location on tlieir students and in tlie classroom. implies tliat not only do teachers necd to help students leam the standard language. but they also need to help them critique it. helping a person lean a new language involves negotiating a new identity.

Chapter One .

sexism. in this cliapter. where the assumptions and guidelines presented by this model of teaching are contradicted by or of very limited help to teachen in the classroom. The only pidance this pedagogy seenis to offer is one of avoidance. educated." As long as a . There is no talk about approaches to take when working in a multicultural classroom where incidents of racism. 1 will describe many situations. or homophobia occur. and the ESL student. is to explore the beliefs of mainstream second language trachinp pedagogy and to show tliat they are of limited use to the teacher. sonle of which directlu addresses tlir Iield of ESL. middie-class. 1 will argue tlial traditional ESL pedagogy. a positivistic model. able-bodied. Through these examples. makes about language. methodology. a picture of an alternative model for ESL teacliing will begin to enirrge. 1 will then delineate some of the assumptions mainstream ESL pedagogy. mainly from my own teaching experieiice. Young. tliis ESL pedagogy has limited use to teachers when they are confronted witli problems in the clnssroom. is structured so that certain questions can not be asked. 1 will briefly explain why I have not resortrd to the field of critical prdagogy. based in the positivistic arena of applied lingiiistics. Classes should be fun and "lite. There is no space. In the last part of this chapter.My goal. heterosexual woman affect my students? Does ESL teaching tend to infantalize students? How am 1 disempowering rny students? In addition. lnterspersed with the outline of the assumptions. for example to ask: is learning a second language always a beneficial process? How does it affect my students wlio feel tiiat the predominancr of Enylish has erodrd or threatens to erode their culture? How does my position as a white. the role of teacliers. I will start off with a description of an imaginary ESL school to set the scene. There is no guidance on how to handle serious topics.

" Before going into a more systematic exploration of rnainstream second language pedagogy." a composite school made up of many of the private schools 1 have workrd at. The studeiits are mainly international students who have corne to Canada for a short time (2 maiiths to a year) to learn English (to iinprove their job prospects. In an effort to achieve this. learninp is happening. often studenü need a certain degree of English proficiency to be accepted at universities in their own countries. The students' evaluûtions are based I n addition to geining acceptance at universities in Englisb speaking countries. Pennycook (1994) describes the communication which takes place in the communicative language class as "froth and empty babble. 1 think this sketch will help illustrate the details that follow. The school has a communicative approach and has been moving towards becoming accredited. an emphasis has been placrd on designing standard curricula and evaluntions. often. a general course and a course for international students preparing to attend university. to get into sclioo13)and.Il message is being exchanged. ' . The ESL Centre This (cost-recovery) scliool has a variety of different courses: preparation to pass various ESL exarns. The content seems unimportant. Somr are iiiiniigrants who are too advanced for the free ESL training offered by the federal government. to prepare for travel. 1 would like to paint a picture of the "ESL Centre. They range in age from 19-60 with the majority in their twenties. to experience living abroad.

etc. vocabulary. This test is administered by Educational Testing Service. and grammatical abilities. Along with standard studeiit evaluations.'The cumcula being developed are very heavily skill and strategy based. Although the teachers are puided by the curricula.") Teacliers are encouraped to avoid controversial topics. listening. The form is divided into several areas gramrnar. but mentions nothiiig about the content or the ideas expressed in the text. the same Company that administers the Test o f ' English as a Foreign Langage (TOEFL). They have a very similar format and focus on listening. etc.12 heavily on the difference between their score on the entrance and exit Test of English for Intemational Communication (TOEIC). (The school has even acquired a book of suggested activities which are "teacher-proof. In various parts o f Asia. The general lack of concern about content is illustrated by a draft copy of a standard writing evaluation form written by sevcral teachers. and interacting with . once they're in their classrooms. after carefully closing his door. they have quite a bit of freedom. Textbooks are pre-assigned and teachers are supposed to use them.' - The classes are divided into di ffereni skills: reading. ' One teacher at tliis school. there are standard teacher evaluations which seem to be the main means of appraising teachers. reading. Sometimes the focus on receiviny pood evalua~ions seems to divert attention from more serious issues like planning a good class. writing.). uses tlie firsi day of class to teach his students Iiow to ask for a reîünd! . grarnmar. and there is not n~uch concem about content. Teachers are evaluated on whether or not they are friendly (along with beiny well-prepared. trying to decide what is pedagogically appropriate. organized. talking. organization and coherency. both universities and compiinies sometimes demand a certain TOEIC score. to avoid yiving their owii opinion. to keep the class fun and to be friendly.

Wiien meetings do take place. Unlike many ESL schools wliere low pay.13 students. the teachers are quite dedicated to their jobs. ln addition to drawing from academic material written about ESL. Despite the wony over evaluations. First 1 will discuss how mainstream ESL pedagogy sees both language itself and the learning of language. There are two main assu~nptions: assumption that there is a "standard" language which is politically neutral. Every eight weeks. new students arrive. The teachers are enthusiastic and share materials and ideas with their colleagues. but tnostly beneficial and . Teacliers soiiietimes use TV shows in class not necessarily because they believe they have any pedagogical value. but because it is perceived that they will lead to good evaluations. and a iiew session begins. The sharing of ideas is sometimes difticult because there are only two or three tinm during the working year where al1 of the teachers are available to meet. they are usually to inform teachers of decisions already made and rare1y a place to discuss pedapogical issues. the atmosphere at ESL Centre is fairly good. Mainstream ESL Pedagogy The description above will Iielp to anchor the following analysis of some of the assumptions underlying mainstream ESL pedagogy. 1 will also be drawing from my professional knowledge from my training and my experience teaching ESL for the past eight years. and the the assumption that learning another language is nrver harrnful. high turnover and distrust of teachers by the administration create an unpleasant atniosphere wliere teachers are simply marking time to eitlier finding a better ESL job or finding a job in their real field.

sometimes neutral. 1 will challenge both of these assumptions with examples that contradict them. Nrxt, 1 will examine the role of the teacher and of methodology. Teachers are generally seen as skilled and neutral technicians who use a scientific methodology to teach students English. 1 will dernonstrate how this view of teachers is inadequate. Finally. 1 will explore how the ESL student is constructed by this mode1 as soineone uninterested in any serious or substantive topics.

ESL pedagogy is based fairly strongly in applied linguistics, wliicli has devrloprd From
positivistic and empiricist roots. Scholars developing the field of applied linguistics at the turn of the century, claimed it as a science. partly to establish it as a valid and separate discipline from linguistics (Pennycook. 1994. 135-145). One of the basic ideas of this discipline is that there is a standard languape to study. describe and classify which is neutral. The idea that there is such a thing as "a" langiiage tliai could be described is relatively new. Jill Bourne argues that it started occurring in and around the sixteenth century with the work of John Locke. She describes hou. Locke's beliefs about individuals having the right to decide based on their experience necessitated that language be "the representation of the world in an agreed code" (Bourne, 1988.
90). Alastair Pennycook argues that the relationship between the move to standardize education

and language in the 19th century was crucial to the fixing of language. He also points out that the standardization of language was intluenced greatly by the societal changes that were

happening at the tinie.' During this time, despite a claim fiom linguists to be moving from a prescriptive viewpoint to a descriptive viewpoint. "there was a clear shift r0ward.s...prescription and proscription. Tliat is. a clear discrimination between vanous forms of language und the banishment of certain forms." (Crowley in Pennycook, 1994, 1 14). Saussure's introduction of his linguistic theory which sees a language as a "fixed code shared by a homogeneous speech

community as the guarantor of shared meanings" (Pennycook, 1994. 12 1 ) continued to enforce
the idea of the existence of standard languages.
111

the 196Os, at the same time as the linguistic

variation of English was becoming more and more evident, Noam Chomsky developed his philosophy of languagc and the concept of an innate universal grainmar. Chomsky's ideas were used to re-establish language as a fornial system by arguing that his concept of an innate universal grammar placed language in the mind of individuals, not in social interactions between individuals (Pennycook, 1994. 122). Although tliere are competing ideas of what language is. essentially words are seeii as "coiivrntioiial and arbitrciry. creatcd by Iiuinan institutions and ... not influenc[inpl ideas" (Bouriie. 1 988.89).

Second language pedagogy continues to rely on the unquestionrd existence of a standard
language (both grammatically and rhetorically) in classes and in teacher training courses.
Lanyuaye is usually prrsented as if it were neutral and natural and had notliing to do with socio-

econoniic power relationships. Grammatical iexts tend to organize the language into rules whicli are unassailable. Occasionally. there is a nod of the head to differences. In the teacher training

" Thus in 1850, the use of "they" as a sinsular pronoun was replaced by 'he' (Pennycook, 1994, 1 12).

course 1 took several years ago. we spent 45 niinutes discussing how we would react to "incorrect" sentences such as. "If 1 was you. 1 wouldn't do it." The discussion focused on whether or not that form could now be considered correct because probably more than 50% of' native English speakers7 now used it rather tlian as a spring board for discussing the huge variety

of Englishes that exist, whether we can even talk about the existence of "English," or the socioeconomic reasons why certain forms are deemed correct. Within second language pedagogy. attempts to challenge the idea of a fixed neutral standard language werr incorporated into the pedagogy. The concept of commirnicrrfive cornpetence, for example. was originaliy a radical critique that challenged the idea of language as a fixed static system and pushed for the examination of language tliat people actually use and have available. However, it was incorporated. made apolitical and now tends to mean "the transmission of fixed n o m s of 'appropriacy "' (Bournr. 1988. 92).

Thrre are many esaniples of hout tliis attitude towards language plays out in an actual classroom. Study books for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) teach students that they should use he when they do not know the gender of the person speaking or acting. There is no acknowledpment of the debate around this issue: this is simply presented as correct Englisli. In addition to graminatical rules. students are also tauglit the correct socio-linguistic way ro comrnunicate. For example. students miglit be taught not to say "shut the door," but to

H o w ihat percentagc was arrived m, I don't know. Of coune. the whole issue d w h o counts as a native speaker is also contentious.

'

' Vocabulary is often taught without any reference to altemate meanings of words or to contested meanings of words. in a limited way the listening and reading abilities of students. thrre are also other reasons. 'O At the University of Toronto. thesr tests takr more time and inore money to administer. . TOEFL. Corson points out that this view of languûge as a fixed medium of expression is reinforced by dictionaries which "routinely proniote an illusion of agreement on lexical usage" (Corson."' The language on the TOEIC and TOEFL tests is standard. students used to take the COPE test which was designed to test students' abilities to do the sort of tliings they would be required to do at a university. there is overlap between the two groups.17 Say "would you niind sliutting the door" witliout an acknowledgment tliat vriled commands are used much more often by whites and the middle-class (Delpit. Al1 of these tests nieasure. Howrurr. Many second of language schools are corporations as much as schoois and tend to focus on rnrasurable results. students often need a certain score on a TOElC or TOEFL test in order to Obviously." III addition. neutral form of English and panly because of the need to offer an agreed curriculu~i~ definrd subject niatter.288-291). and the Certificate of Proficiency of English (COPE) test. They resort to usine standardize tests like the TOEIC. the reasons for teaching this way are panly because of the acceptance that there is a standard. As 1 mentioned above. this text was cut because of the cost of administering it. Recently. Although there are tests availableVwhich undenake to examine the students' ability in al1 aspects of English in a more tliorouyh niannrr. therefore teachers sometimes "trach to the test. 1988.or Michigan Proficiency test. 1 76). " Ttiese include the Cambridge exams. 1997.

292). she had obviously worked hard on her presentation. "pretending that gatekeeping points don? exist is to ensure that many students will not pass through them" (Delpit. As Delpit points out. most ESL teacliers tend to be well-educated and extreniely tluent in standard English. See also Ford & Peppersmith (in press) for a similar exploration. It is ofien harder for those in a privileged position to recognize tliat privilepe.' ' In addition to my own recognition that grammatically standard language is not neutral. l2 All students' names are pseudonyms. Finally." a student from Korea. 1988. while not excellent. Had slie not apologized. was solid.gain admission to university or get a good job. hearing the apology beforehand made me view her presentation more critically. slie stood up and apologized IO the class sayinp that she hadn't been able to prepare her presentation the niglit before. Ji Hae. . Afier lier presentation wlien 1 was giving her feedback. TheyWe have participated in the privileges of speaking this language. She theii continurd witli her presentation whicli. 1 continued. Standard tests like the TOEIC and M E F L are often used as gatekeepers. students sometinies cliallenge the assumption of the neiitrality of standard rhetorical language. To stan her presentation. so her presentation would be poor. 1 would have become more engaged in her '' Applebaum & Boyd (in press) describe examples in tlieir own lives where their privileged positions have blinded them (temporarily) from seeing the impact o f their decisions. 1 said that her apology was not appropriate for two reasons: first. was doing a presentation she had been assigned the previous week. 1 will describe an example from my experience whicli gave me an opponunity to think about my own assumptions about language. and second.

19 presentation. In this particular class. Language is seen as simply a tool used to explain the world. there is a belief that the acquisition of languages is an entirely beneficial process with no negative effects. After soine hesitation. then acquiring a new language should be a neutral experience. The disconifon that Ji Hae felt using this language among primarily Korean speakers was such that she chose not to use it.89). the acquisition of the English language is seen as particularly important and beneficial. If Ji Hae had not apolopized. if language is sren as a code and meaning is seen as transparent (Boume. The main idea in this exarnple is that the standard discourse noms and rhetorical patterns used when giving a presentation are not neutral. After all. 1988. more tlian half of the students were Koreans. slie would have corne across as very arrogant to her fellow Koreans. ESL teaching has been seen . and the speaker has complete control of that tool. the focus is rnainly on fnistration rather than questioning the basic belief in the beneficial process of leaming another language. she explained that apologizing before a presentation was the polite tliing to do aniong Koreans. Although there is now some acknowledgment about the affective filters a person might experience when learning another language. Because of tlie idea that there is a standard language and that it is neutral. We continued the discussion with the whole class on the impressions apologies make on a Nonh American audience versus a Korean audience and discussed how arrogant North American Enplish speakers sometimes appear to Koreans. Additionally.

he hoped to protect himself and his culture against the encroachments of the other two countries. told me 11e was studyinp both English and Japanesr. The school where 1 work. On other occasions.mainly in a positive light. or found Englisli interesting. While it miylit have some bendicial effects for theiii. he replied that he was studying them for self-defence. Another example cornes from an article by Giltrow and Collioun (1992) abouttheir experience with a group of Mayan Guatemalans immigrants to Canada who ultimateiy stopped . 1994). I asked hini if he Iiked the languages and why he had chosen to study tliem. 1 will refer to three examples which challenge this assumption that leaming another language is always a beneficial experience. The first two exampies are from encounten with various students who have had feelings of great ambivalence around the learning of English. Joon Sung. He felt that tlie United States and Japan were tlie two countries who liad posed and continued to pose a threat to Iiis country's culture. l W 8 . like many otliers. 3 ) . both contributiiig to the 'global village' and al!owiny people and countnes develop (Pennycook. As the effect of corporatization increases. some of my Quebecois students have sometimes talked about the frustration they've felt about the dominance of the English language and North American culture and the reluctance with which they study English. oftrn as a fomi of developn~ent work and as a service indusiry. By studying the languages. it is sonietimes undenaken with a mixture of feelings. Ratlier than giving the common answer of studying them to get a good job or because he liked to travel. Englisli is increasingly seen as "a commodity that is offered unproblematically to apparently eager and grateful consumen" (Schenke. is moving toward a corporate mode1 where Our students are metarnorphasizing into clients. a Korean man I befriended in Seoul.

depending on the circumstances.52). For the '' See Tollerson ( 1 988) for an argument that ESL classes sponsored by the government for refugees are. designed to create a group of people only able to compete for unskilled and poorly paid jobs.. Second language pedagogy tends to treat al1 langages as intercliangeable. Giltrow and Colhoun point out that English enables Mayans access "to low-paying. " In the end of the paper. This loss of identity is anything but beneficial. is not always welcome. She argues that recent Chinese immigrant high school students have many reasons to resist learning or using English in a Toronto hi& school. Mayans who choose to leam Spanish sometimes consign themselves to the group of outsiders. 1992.53-54). This change in identity. and some had established a selfstudy group to read an iiiiportûnt test of the Mayan in Quiché. 1992. . in fact. a language they were learning (Giltrow and Colhoun.21 attending their ESL classes..Mastery of English does not necessarily entai1 mastery of their own lives" (Giltrow and Colhoun.lJ Tliey also suggest that attitudes might be different depending on the language a student is learninp. can also lead to a change of identity. As well as questioning the beneticial or neutral process of learning another language.63).' See also Goldstein (1 997). obviously. In Guatemala. '. most of Giltrow and Colhoun's inforrnants had stopped attending their ESL class. 1992. These examples suggest that learning anoiher language is not always a simply beneficial experience.. they explain. Ho wever. these examples suggest that the language being learned a can n~ake difference. of non-Indians. these examples also suggest that learning another language. temporary employment in the Canadian community . The Mayans do "not see the acquisition of additional languages in itself as a beneficial or evcn neutral experience" (Giltrow and Colhoun.

but 1 force myself toward "kindly" and "pleasant.. Eva Hot'fman describes some of the (less traumatic) changes which happen to her when she immigrates to Canada as a younp teenager and learns English: Englisli kindliness has a whole system of rnorality behind it..Mayans in Canada. the challenge to their identity was so strong tliat they decided to stop studying English despite the seemingly obvious advantages to learning the language... learning a language is fraught with ambiguities. might be seen as an educator who has to teach content as well as critical thinking skills. of The lTiew languap as neutral and language learning as neutral or brnrficial has an enormous impact on how mainstream ESLlSecond language pedagogy sees the role of the teaclier and the role of nirthodoloyy. second language teûchers. for example.I'm begiming to feel the tug of prohibition. These examples cliallrnge the idra that leaniinp a lanpiiage is esseniiaily a beneficial or neutral process. 108). in English. ambiguities which are rarely considered in the classroom. particuiarly those who work outside of the public scliool system. In general.Yes. He says." The cultural unconsciousness is beginning to exercise its subliminal influence (Hoffman. In her book Los/ in Trcinslurion. against uncharitable words. T. in Polish these people might tend toward "silly" and "duIl". are seen as soniewliat secondary compared to "reyulai' teachers. 1989.. For many people. "unlike Our .. Mason illustrates this feeling that ESL teachers are not "real" teachers. a system that makes "kindliness" an entirely positive virtue. In a discussion on an electronic listserver. A hi& school teacher.

Intercstingly. had only one picture of û person o f colour (wlio was a nieclianic). In addition. 38 1) There is a strony empliasis on the teacher adopting a neutral position and siiiiply focusing on lier/liis students' language needs and developing material to satisfy those needs. tends to be seen more as a trained. tlir Berlitz book. 1996). '' l have to acknowledge that this view o f teaching is under attack in many public schools across Ontario aiid North America. s/he is trained to siniply follow the methodology of the particular school and does not have much freedoni in creating hedhis own styIe. development worker or supplier of a product.23 colleagues in other disciplines. periodically. and so on. which is used in many countries. other times. sexism. perhaps the most controlled environment 1 have taught in was at Berlitz. The ESL teacher. 'O Although there are quite a few schools where this is the case. The roles of high school teacliers are also being severely restricted. After a three day training session in the Berlitz method. Although s/he sometimes has relative fieedom in the classroom. on the other hand. the public school teacher might be expected to deal with larger issues in societyI5 such as racism. Lt's a hard li fe!" (personal communication. (Pennycook.I6 Pennycook describes this idea: The construction of the teacher within the discourse of English as an International Language is of a technician.facts and formulae and such likewe have to teach the unteachable. . 1992. However. Our lessons would be monitored to ensure W e were using the Berlitz method properly. TESL list. Engl ish. we were presented with the Berlitz book and were told that there were micropliones in each of the classrooms and that. basically a set of drills we did with the students. 1 think the gap thût 1 am describing still exists. of someone enpaged in using the latest and most scientific mrthods to convey the much sought-after neutral medium of communication. objective technician who should help her/his students reach their goals as quickly as possible. who have real subjects to teach. Sept.

trying to focus on salient features of the language. Progosh. leamer-centred classrooin loosely based on the ideas of Stephen Krashen. "Let's just cal1 it 'George. will not Iielp the learner to brcome a proficient speaker of Enylish. for example. studying grammatical rules. 1997. there is a sense. " This led to the ridicutous situation of renaming the present perfect tense. A teacher's role within this approach is to design cornfortable situations where coniprehensible messages can be exchanged. there is a perception that the teacher uses the "latest and most scientific methods" to teach English. a message they understand (Griggs. Krashen believes in a division of acquisition and learning and that an.' Now. the purpose of the activity. in other words. van Slyck & Wagner. Tliere is an assumption tliat there is a teleological progression of methods which is bascd on scieiitific l 7 1 feel I need to emphasize here that although I will be criticizing these assumptions. li ke Gramniar-Translation or Audio-lingual approaches. some of the ideas and training that second language teachers receive help immensely in teaching. sometimes explicit. how to help students with strategies. Encouraging teachers to focus on.2). etc. Adopting a different frame does not entail getting rid of everything in the old frame.As Pennycook says above. knowledgr yained tlirough lcurning." At the moment. that now we have a much more enlightened approach. is extremely useful when teaching. the latest scientific method to teach ESL is the communicative. for example. ' . Krashen's hypothesis in a nutshell is ihat people will acyuire a language if they receive comprehensible input. When teachers and teacher trainers ta1k about O lder methods. Some schools have sucli a strict rule against teaching grammar that teachen are not allowed to use metalanguage (such as noun or prcsci~f perficr) l 8 to explain anytliing. why do we use George in this sentence"? Unforrunately. it also led to a teacher being tlred because she answered a student's question.

studies of language acquisition.

This belief in the supreme importance of metliodology has been supported in different ways. Fint. the belief that language itself is a standard. neutral thing lends support to the idea that there is a best way for students to acquire it and for teachers to teach it. Second, as 1 have mentioned, the niethodology itself has tended to corne from outside the field from the academic discipline of applied linguistics. The frustration with this state can be seen in many cornments teachen make both in staffroonis and on the Internet. Ronald Green says: Froin niy talks at conferences and at univrrsities in Europe. I can verif\.the deep well of discontent of *EFL* [Englisli as a Foreign Languiige] (as opposrd to ESL) teachers'" witli an approach tliat is thrust upon theni from above. What they say is that the extreme form of comniunicativity which the "experts" continually exhort them to adopt. [sic] bas not been found a very efficient way of gettinp students to learn (personal communication. TESL List, Aug. 1996).?') Applied linguistics is in turn based on the positivist field of linguistics. Professors working in the field of'applied linguistics have. partly in an attempt to establish the field as legitimate and separate from linguistics. focused on creatiny supposedly scientific rnethods of learning and teaching anotlier language. However. Pennycook ( 1996) argues convincingly that when the concept of "Method" is examined closely. there is little coherency in the idea. He believes that

'" Many teachrrs feel that teacliing English as a foreign language, Le., in a country where English is not spoken, requires a di fferent ripprorich tlian teacliing Englisli as ri second language. See Sampson ( 1983) and Burnab~ Sun ( 1989) for more discussion on tliis issue. &
=" Ronald Sheen says, "This field has been dominated by applied linguists such as Krashen, Widdowson, Candlin and Long who appear more concemed with theorizing about SLA [Second Language Acquisition] and advocatins doctrinaire teachin~ principles WITHOUT concerning thernselves with the necessity o f dcmonstrating by mrans o f long term pilot studies the greater efficacy o f their proposed methods" (personal communication. 'TESL list, August 1996).
'

26

so-called scientific methods "serve the advancement of academic careers and limit the practice of teachers" (Pennycook. 1996.609). Third, in the last few years, there has been an atternpt to professionalize ESL teaching amongst practitioners. Organizations like Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) have started a process of accreditation for Intensive English Programs (IEPs) and have written various documents outlining the minimal conditions

of treatment of ESL teacliers. This has been done in an attempt to win more respect and money2'
for the job. During this time, the academic requirernents to obtain a good ESL job in North America (and other parts of the world) have been expanding from a short certificate course to a Master's in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). Education. or Linguistics. In addition. ESL teachers themselves have felt it necessary to focus on methodology to distinguish themselves from the 500 million other English-as-a-first-language speakers. After all, if ESL teacliers do not have any "real" tliings to teach. as Mason asserts, and if teacliing grarnmar is seen as not useful. the only thing left is a thorough knowledge and grasp of the scientific metliods to teach the lanpuage.

There are quite a few implications that follow. given the assumption that the teacher is a neutral technician that simply follows the inost advanced scientific methods to teach a neutral mrans of communication. An important one is tliat the teacher does not have to acknowledge or think about hedhis social position. The fact that slhe is, for example. white. middle class.

The going rate in Toronto at a private languiige school is as low as $12 per teaching hour. Colleges and Universities tend to pay between $30-50.

'' ESL teachers are generally paid less tlian public school teachers (sometimes quite a bit less).

.

heterosexual. etc.. is seeii as completely unrelated to her/his teaching. In addition. these assumptions imply that the actual content of the class is not at al1 important. If al1 that matters is that messages are being exchangeci. what the messages are about is seen as unimportant. This leads to such "typical" ESL activities as "describe the qualities of a perfect spouse" or "euthanasia is a positive thing, discuss." When students are asked, again and again. to talk about the typical food of their country. or their favourite movie. tliey get frusirated and begin to feel infantalized. One student said. "1 was sick and tired of telling 'my future spouse' things" (Student in Schenke. 1996.3). Byung Kuk. another student, annoyed with the silly topics he had to discuss in class commented tliat he supposed ESL students had to talk about those topics because they wcre like children (persona1 communication, August 1 998). Final1y. if teaching

ESL is sern as a poli tically neutral activiO*. then any teûcher who niakrs herhis üpproach explicit
or who acknowledges her/his position as a political one tends to be defined apaiiist the rest of teacliers wlio are teacliing in a "neutral" way. This is both difficult for the "political" teacher and for other teachers who might wisli to explore different ideas but fear ostracization or losing their job for doing so.

There are many situations in the classrooni and in the staff-room where relying on the tenants of niainstream ESL pedagogy is unheipful or even negative. 1 wiil talk about two examples here. First. at a staff meeting at the school where 1 work, we had a (bief) discussion about controversial issues and racism. The two incidents sparking the discussion were cornplaints of racism from students. The tïrst involved two (Jewish) students froni lsrael who reacted to particular way a textbook assignment comparing the middle passage from the slave trade to the

in a corporate climate. The other cornplaints were a few comments on the evaluation form which suggested that the teachers were giving the European students preferential treatment (as compared to the Asian students). The program director briefly outlined the two situations and then said. the students were here to have fiin. al1 of us are already trying to treat our students fairly. to be careful about introducing controversial issues and about treating everyone equally.4) 1.28 Holocaust was handled by the (Christian) teacher. . There was a short discussion following this announcement where teachers talked about the ways they attempted to deal with controversial issues. Af~er some all. Controversy. Some teachers said they avoided controvenial issues. others said they were very careful never to reveal their persona1 opinions in class: others talked about developing a teacher persona to be used in the classroom. it can be seen to nin the risk of upsetting client interests or of teachers imposing their persona1 opinions (Schenke. What did "being careful" mean? Should we avoid al1 controversial issues? Should we keep ourselves out of the classroom? (Whatever that means?) 1s having fun the main motivation of our students? Presumably. Indeed. and several colleagues. Why is it that some people felt we were behaviiig in racist ways? How could they be sreing thinys differently from us? Was this a place where we should consider how Our social location midit effect the way our students see us and how we see them? This is a situation where it is evident that the mainstrearn pedagogy is not neutral nor helpful. teacliers said. controversy is held to be a resource for learning and a forum for dialogue and student voice. Tlir nictrting endrd with anotlier admonishment to be careful. essentially. 1998. Schenke notes: while in an educational model (albeit a Non11 American educational model). it seems to stop discussion rather than encourage it. left the meeting feel dissatisfied.

Within a pedagogy where conflict is meant to be avoided. at a university level. I am teaching a new course designed for ESL students wlio are or wlio wish to be ESL teacliers in their own countries.547). homophobia. in fact. At the moment. said tliat she felt it was ver): important to teacli her students standard Eiiglisli.?' 1 also talked about how 1 felt tliat various authors (such as Gloria Anzaldua and soine of the French feminists) had challenged the standard. We were discussing feedback on organization when Jonathan.. While non-English speaking students studied five-paragraph ' essqVs. my class was discussing what kiiid of feedback teachers should give ta students on their writing. is highly proscribed" (Atkinson and Ramanthan. there is no guidance on how to deal with it if it occurs. therefore. The other example 1 would like to discuss also challenges the assumptions that the prevailing ESL methodology is neutral. as a result. a Mexican student. 1 mentioned that. sexism. do occur in second laquage ciassrooms. See Atkinson & Ramanthan (1995). the five paragraph essay was not standard. We then got into a discussion about what constituted standard written English. He felt an attack on his organization was an attack on his way of tliinkiny and l i s culture. 1995. it is "considered anatherna to the full and natural development of ideas and. Recently. etc.in the course designed for native English speakers. . They studied the writing course offered to English and nonEnglish speaking students at a University. Sandra. said that he had an experience where he felt insulted wlien a teacher told him he had to re-write his essay because it was written in a Chinese style. a Taiwanese student. The course focuses on developing the students' language skills throuph teacher training materials. racism.29 conflict. Jonathan said that he expected Iie would use English priniarily to communicate with other Asian speakers. Some students mentioned the five paragraphs essay that they had al1 learned to write as standard.

or address serious topics but in a very cursory way. This attitude was also deinonstrated by the reaction at iiiy workplace to an issue of the student newspaper for wliich 1 am CO-editor. there were many dedicated students who wrote and rewrote their pieces.That particular session. substantive topics. we were told that the articles in the paper weren't interesting or appropriate for our students. .he thought retaining the Chinese rhetorical style would perhaps suit his purposes better. they are seen as unable or unwilling to demonstrate any sustained interest in a particular topic. The paper See Corson 8: Van Lier ( 1997) and Corsùn & Wodak ( 1997) for a review of the critical work done on non-standard language use and the social marginaiization of the speakers of non-standard language. My CO-editor 1 were told that the students couldn't have written the articles because they and were too well-written. and a group of students wrote letters to the editor expressing k i r thoughts on a murder committed by a child. and standard English might not be so standard? The Studenr I would iike to conclude tliis section by esaniining how the ESL student is seen by the prevailing approach. This cm be seen by looking ai ESL textbooks or teacher resource books wliich are ritlier full of trivial topics. or if they are seen as interested. It is clear from the description of this discussion that the seemingly neutnl suggestion of teaching standard English organization is not so neutral. One wrote a report on the first sexual harassrnent case in Korea: another. a critical look at multi-culturalism in Canada. too sophisticated and on topics that were too serious. In addition. ESL students are often seen as uninterested in any serious.

31 wasn't sufficiently "fun" or "interactive. you will hear how Koreans. Foreign teachers would gather at a bar after work and talk about how the Japanese were like this and like that. fmstrated at her students' difficulties in writing a Test of Witten English (TWE) exam. editing and polishing their work. Recently." and "I get mistrated with fheir attitude" were flying around. there was a discussion about how our students reacted to older female teachers who were single or closeted (to their students) lesbians. In another situation. in the staff-room. Her teacher was reluctant to distribute the story to the rest of the class (her original plan) because she felt she needed to protect her students from the idea of lesbianisrn. Phrases like "rhey can't understand. t h e is a temptation to "explain" the Japanese. '' . the Koreans or the Latin Americans.'" exclaimed "our students can't think!" This tendency to lump The TWE is part o f the TOEFL test. The assumption that ESL students "just wanna have fun" is embiematic of the general assumptioii that we can know and understand Our students thoroughly aiid that thry are more like frivolous children than adults. The test is 30 minutes and students nwst br able to write a well-organixed and supported 5 paragraph essay. don't think critically. Sonietimes ail of our students will get lumped together. for example. or Latin Americans are lazy. the students were the ones who had chosen the topics and had been willing to spend the time re-writing. which is used estensively by Universities in North America. This was very evident when 1 was teaching in Japan. Tliat is. Little depth o f thought is required. Often times in an ESL staff-room. Another example which illustrates the paternalistic attitude some teachers take involves a student who had written a niystery story with some reference to lesbianism." "they feel sorry for me." However. a teacher.

In other words. he wanted students to encourage each otlittr to be open to various i d e s for improving their English. Another example of a teacher controlled exercise. there is a tendency to try and create stricter controls rather than to suggest a different way of going about thinys. 1987. His goal was both to increase the time his students spent speaking English and to improve their attitude about their ability and . 1998). His ideas seemed to work well with his students. Murphey's goal was to use near peer models to help students adjust their zone of proximal development (Murphey. it is teachercontrolled. In otlier words. rather than to clarify meaning. but teachers are not allowed to give them. Giltrow and Colhoun (1992) describe how the initially critical rrseûrcli carried out by Pica. is to design an "activity whicli rquires that they exchange information" (Pica. in reality. there is a tendency to try and funlier restrict the situation. which purports to be about students positively influencing each other. or even into ethnic groups is unhelphil and untrue. students want grammar explanations. however. The rnainstrearn ESL approacli is said to be a learner-centred one. ends up reinforcing power inequities.32 students into one group. in some schools. was developed by Tim Murphey (Murphey. the way he implernented his ideas seemed paternalistic. students not doing what the teacher has organized. As 1 mentioiied. or students talking about something else. 1998). When there are problems. Our students corne from as many different ideological positions as we do. but.. a srconci languap acquisition researcher. Students are often the object of teaching. Le. 16). Pica suggests tliat the remedy for teucher y iicsrions which are mostly used to test students.

3). a . it leads to students dropping out of classes. He asked his students to cal1 each other and talk on the phone for 10 minutes once a week. Murphey selected the positive comments. He repeated the phone exercise several times. Murphey completely controlled which comments were published. Elizabeth. and distributed the paper. published them in a newsletter. Most (90%) of the comments about the phone exercise were negative. in the case of the Mayans in Vancou\fer. Did students genuinely change their attitude or did they simply realize the kind of comments he wanted to hear? If al1 the negative or critical comments are ignored. the method tliat Murphey used seems probleinatic. However. always following up witli only the positive comments that students made.t.oïk. the fact that they were speaking niore English and the fact that the students had influenced each other. tliis is a positive change. Sometimes. Tliere are many cases where both teachers and students resist this picture of students as uninterested in serious topics. Altliouyh students did write the comments he published. His students keep uaion logs in which they reported their feelings about the activities they did in class and for h~mit. 1996. However.33 the desirability to speak English. does the student get the message that what they say is not important? Writing an action log seerns to be only another way for the teaclier to control his students. If students are speaking more Enylish. as knowable and as objects to be controlled. Murphey was excited about the change in students' attitudes. telling his students that these were only some of the cornments made (Murphey. If 1 liad been a student in his class. He round that more and more students were reporting that they enjoyed the exercise. 1 think 1 would have felt manipulated.

critical thought. Teachers need the suppon of the administration. Despite the success of this course. she managed to persuade them to accept her.a task not norniallq assuilied to be witliin the ability of a low-interniediate student. And if we don't use that expression." The class combined content. "It's better. panacea. It's not useful. 3). she felt. She wanted to engage in English at the intellectual level she was capable of. Language is the idea of thinking" (Student in Schenkr. told me about her decision to drop out of ESL classes and seek help in a literacy program at Parkdale Project Read3 because she was fmstrated by the silly games she played in the classroom which. These were the words that were interesting to her. Arleen Schenke. lW6. the approach implies taking students seriously" (Schenkr. She showed me her vocabulary list which contained some of the following words: ubiquitous. 1996..4).in short. we didn't have chance to use it freely and seriously. language skills and the students' knowledge. voluptuous." (Student in Schenke. ?' The program is actually intended for only English speaking clients. However.6). . there was no administrative suppon to establish this as a regular class. Students in the class made the following comments about the class: "I higlily recommrnd this type of course because it's the real way to learn language. didn't help her. 1996.. Schenke cornments that "the cross-culturd studies focus atteinpts to offer a context wliere students are cliallenged to build on the intelligence and complexity of tlirir rxisting knowledges. we will forget everything naturally.34 Chinese woman 1 tutor wlio was in a low intermediate class of English. a teacher at the school I work at. staned a class organized and run like an undergraduate university class called "Perspectives on Multiculturalism: A Canadian Context. Even though we learned about some ski11 to say something in other class. void.

The neutrality and stability of the concept of methodology are questioned and the role of controversy within teaching is being reconsidered.Critical Pedagogy As 1 have been describing and criticizing the mainstream ESL pedagogical approach. Rachel Martin's comment on (Freirean) critical pedagogy resonates with me: the only role it [Freirean teaching] lefi me (as a teacher) was that of facilitator.. but in which I've felt many of us have had no more than a token " Mainly Friere (1970) and Giroux. It is important to consider why 1 am tuminp to iranslation theory to develop these ideas rather than continuing to work with critical pedagogy. Teachers are seen as educators in the broad sense and might have to deal with issues such as discrimination. l . In this new model. language is seen as political.. This despite the rhetoric of CO-learning which many to radical teachers appeal. They consider how their social location might affect their choices and their students.whose consciousness was already raised. ambiguous process.. an alternative model has been emerging. and leaming a new language involves changes in identity and is sometimes a dif'fïcult. The view of the student as only interested in having a good time is also questioned. etc." 1 feel there is an implicit belief that teachers have the power to "liberate" their students. Critical pedagogy does have much to offer. While critical pedagogy is very helpful in that it exposes the myth of a natural and neutral pedagogy and acknowledges issues of racism. in the critical pedagogy that 1 have read. This alternative model has developed through objections to the mainstrearn model from both experiences 1 have had and fiom ideas and experiences described by scholars working within the framework of critical pedagogy and ESL. sexism.

Would 1 have been able to hear their point of view? Would they have expressed it to me? Would I have dismissed them as not serious? 2a .belief (Martin in Schenke. See Schenke ( 1991 ). 1 was very angry with the tone of the article. however. When I first read the article quoted earlier by Giltrow and Colhoun (1992) about the Mayan studying English in Vancouver. My first reaction was defensive. 1 13). This route might be politically advantageous because it might be more compelling to ESL teachen. 1 was able to get bcyond the tone of the article and iisten to what the authon were saying. 1 believe it is important to consider this type of issue as well. As 1 retumed to the article several times over the next few yean. " Having made the previous point. more successfùl rnove to make. Critical pedagogy. the main reason why 1 have tumed to translation theory is 1 believe using it to develop a mode1 of teaching is simply a different route to arrive at some of the same considerations and some new insights. 1 will not be making the argument that my rnodel might be more effective directly because it requires a different sort of proof. 199 1. Morgan (1 997). at the same tirne. " Despite my reservations about some of the field of critical pedagogy. I do have to acknowledge that there are many scholars working in the field of critical pedagogy or greatly influenced by critical pedagogy who have worked towards an alternative model. 1996). Scollon ( l997)and Peirce ( 1995) among others. tends to alienate teachers (myself included) because it is perceived as rejecting traditional ESL pedagogy outright rather than incorporating some of the useful techniques or ideas? Seeing teaching a second language as a kind of translation and then considering the implications for teaching might be a less threatening. Pennycook ( 1989. one beyond the scope of this paper. fiom what 1 have seen. ridiculed the efforts of their English teacher. The authors did not seem to acknowledge the reasons why the teacher was acting the way she or he was. Boume (1 988). It seemed to me like the authors applauded the Mayan efforts to resist learning English and. and 1 couldn't hear another point of view. 1994. 1 was able to ask myself how 1 would react if 1 had been their teacher.

Chapter Two .

For an excellent overview o f the field. using work done in trmslation theory and moral philosophy. 1979) and others involved in Polystream theory and translation studies. I. 1993). Alter all. In creating this picture. on first thinking. Richards (Gentzler. I argued that tliis view was inadequate. and then re-coded in aiiotlier lanpuage. if the translation is meant to be a "' It is important to note tliat what 1 an1 collapsing into the term "traditional translation theory" is a variety o f diffèrent schools o f tliought about translation. However. Traditional translation theory is persuasive. a translation is nieant to be a substitution for the original.A. First. 1993) and others who have focused on the "American translation workshop". Gentzler. I have drawn on literature from Eugene Nida (Nida. What 1 will do in this chapter is justify this approach. 1 have not yet justified the new approach." Most people would probably agree. It seems to niake sense to evaluate translations by comparing the translation to the original.In the first chapter. Moreover. Through my examples and objections to mainstrearn ESL pedagogy. 1993 and Venuti. understood. a picture of the approach 1 favour has bepun to emerge. as well as Gideon Toury (Gentzler. with the preniise that translation is a mimetic procrss wherr the message is read. and it makes a powerful appeal to "cornmon sense. 1969. 1 will present a sketch of traditioiial translation theory" from which and apinst which the translation throry 1 will be using to makr my argument lias developed. 1 have focused sliglitiy more on Nida because o f his enorrnous and coiitinuing influence on the field. Using examples rnainly frorn my teaching experience. ' . pervasive. 1 explored how mainstrearn ESL pedagogy sees language. see Gentrler ( 1993). Traditional tlieory bears a remarkable resernblance in philosophical approach to mainstream ESL pedagogy. 1995) and others who have focused on the science o f translation. the role of the teacher and the student. ltamar Even-Zohar (Even-Zohar.

I will use the work 1 do with these theorists to help me to clarify some of the ideas introduced in the first cliapter. pita. 1969. that this theory tends to ignore or diminish difference. brot. drawinp on particular moral philosophers such as Young and Boyd. is hannful. to carry across. an influential translation theorist who worked on the science of translation. Ignoriiig difference. "words may be likened to suitcases used for carrying various articles of clothing" (Nida. . In this view. In the third chapter.s (past participlr of the verb to carry). This view of translation is based on seeing language as neutral code or tool. commits us to seeing iiieaning as somethiny like an object which is transportable. 1 will then explore how different translation theories are more helpful because they make more of an attempt to deal with difference and inequality. 1 will also show why the consideration of translation theory is fniitful for ESL trachers. translators should try and keep themselves out of the picture as niuch as possible. the meaning or content and the f o n are completely separable. the definition of translation. This view of language commits us to the belief that there is an unchanging object in the world to wliich many labels are attached: bread. Tradi tional Translation Theory If we examine the Latin roots of the word ~runslution wliich are Irons (across) and krtii.ph. supports this view. 1 will argue.492).substitution. He says. 1 will argue. Eugene Nida.

etc.. 1990. 1989. Benjamin points out that this implies that "ambiguity may exist. The reason why poetry might be harmful for people is because the figurative language will obfuscate the literal or ''real" meaning.. with different sounds" (White... that there is some kind of tacit agreement on meanings in English that is shared by speakers the wortd over" (Pennycook. therefore. the mode of intention is very different.. The figura1 language of poetry is seen as dependent on the literal utterance. This suggests. which different languages happen to label differently. The assumption that language is neutral and that the form and content are easily separable affects the way the foreign (or original) text. 13). Andrew Benjamin (1989) has said that this view of language dates back to the Platonic separation of f o m and content. 12 1 ) . 1992. Plato sees literal meaning as coming first and then being "dressed up" into poetry. polysemy is possible.243-254). These views of language3' explored above assume both that it is neutral and that "we al1 live in a common nonlinguistic world . Pennycook argues that in second language teaching language is seen as "a fixed code shared by a homogeneous speech community as the guarantor of shared meanings.They strive to exclude each other" (Benjamin... 1994. Benjamin argues that Plato's waming about the dangers of poetry in the Republic is based on a belief of an underlying singularity. the translated text and the JO Benjamin (1992) uses the example o f "brot and pita" when he argues that although they both refer to a similar object.. He says the words "are not interchangeable.. This singularity is presumed to underlie al1 languages.75)." Words are simply labels for a content that remains unchanged throughout time and across cultures. however each must always be viewed as a secondary effect prior to which is the singularity of the literal" (Benjamin.

false. 13). monosemic and knowable (if the reader is properly educated) (Gentzler.. and we niust clioose again. others draw on the idea of the '' Translators usually do not have the copyright to their translations (Venuti. a copy true to his personality or intention. the author's original choice of word and idiom seem to endure (Rabassa in Venuti. 8-9). There is a belief that tlie meaning of the foreign text is eternal. This view of the relationship between the original and the translation is based on the view of language as neutral and a belief in some son of backdrop of universality. static. derivative. Through some instinct wrouglit of genius. In addition. lt is a derivative piece of work not even owned by tlie traiislator. there is a correct reading and a correct translation possible. 1992. The translation is juxtaposed to the original and is seen as no more than "a copy of a copy.3). There are no ambiguities. Some iranslators subscribe to belief in a kind of univenal language." Although there are particularities and beauty of form which might get lost in translation. 1993. these are not important to translating the core meaning. The choice made by an earlier translater. then.. an image eiidowed with resernblance" (Venuti. Gregory Rabassa illustrates the belief in the eternal nature of the original as well as the belief in the genius of the creator with the following observation: The fact is that tliere is a kind of continental drift that slowly works on language as words wander away from their original spot in the lexicon and suffer the accretion of subtle new nuances. an image witliout resemblance" (Venuti. 1995. 3).. traditional translation sees the original as "a form of self-expression appropriate to the author. 1992. simulacral.relationship between the two are seen. . no longer obtains. 1992.3).

Nida suggests the aim should be to produce "in the ultimate receptors a response similar to that of the original receptors" (Nida in Venuti. in part. 1995.42 "universal" human experience. except that the person who is verifying the translation might be so familiar with the original that they might read into the translation what isn't there (Nida. God is the source o f meaning and.2223 and Gentzler.2 1). sexual preference. the cornparkon is unproblematic. it has to be the "sarne" as the original.495). 1969. the original is treated as somehow unchanging and beyond interpretation. As rnentioned above. Nida's belief in the universality of the message stems. ethnicity.j3 The underlying idea is that there is a core text or meaning which transcends al1 particular features: it is untouched by the nationality. For Nida. The evaluation of the translated text proceeds on two levels. meaning can be trusted to be stable and unitary (See Venuti. First." if the meaning has been camed over. as well as the time and place it was written. Any cultural andor linguistic differences are seen as secondary to the core meaning which underlies al1 text. 1995. Since there are obviously many differences between the two texts. gender. The difficulty in making the comparison has nothing to do with trying to understand why the translator made one choice rather than another and everything to do with deciding if the translation is "proper. the translated text is evaluated in comparison with the original. and language of the author. 1995. 1993.4440). from his work as a missionary and bibte translator. This is clear in Nida's assertion that the translater's job is to "draw aside the curtains of linguistic and cultural differences so that people may see clearly the relevance of the original message" (Nida in Venuti. race.2 l). According to Nida. hence. a reference that everyone c m refer to and agree upon. '' .

The text has to sound like an English text. the text has to fit into the literary noms of the target or receiving culture. He argues that a translated book is seen as successful "wlien it gives the appearance that it is not translated. in addition to being the same as the original. abnegating their voice to that of the original author and. Given that language is neutral and that a translation should be an accurate "copy" of the original. Translators often cal1 on a long tradition of being sympathetic to the author. 38). what should the job of the translator be? The translator has to move beyond the actual words of the text to grasp the Platonic idea of the piece which lurks somewhere beliind or over the text. in some scliools of traditional translation theory. 1992. a language and literature that he did not know well. tliere are schools of translation that seem to think this was. Indeed. He asks the translator. tliat it is the original" (Venuti.' And he [the translator] pulls a photo of me from his wallet" (Kundera in Gentzler. 1992. 1992 4). in effect. "'Then how did you translate it?' 'With my heart. were not good translations because they didn't "feel" like English poems (Gentzler. Although this seems exaggerated. This view is clear in the assertion by Frederic Will that the translations of some poems by Gyula Illyes written in Hungarian. .The main point is that there seems to be one "correct" translation. To be judged a correct translation. Milan Kundera tells of meeting one of his translators who didn't kiiow any Czech. Lawrence Venuti agrees that the text has to sound like an English text to be successful. it was not considered essential for a translator to have a thorough knowledge of the language to be translated.32).

1992.becoming the author.58) Minimizing any effect that their personality or social location might have on the text is very important because translators are merely the medium through which the voice of the author must shine. 1969. You grow Familiar. your Stiles. your Words. Intimate. etc. but He. so too. and Fond. class.483-493) .) of the translator is seen as irrelevant because it does not affect the text. In the 17th century. or corc meanings. transferring them and then re-coding h e m into the target or receptor language (See diagram below). Your thoughts. race. in Chamberlain. According to Nida. This process is meant to reduce the chance of a mistake in the transfer of meaning.. the Earl of Roscommon writes of this sentiment: Chuse an author as you chuse a friend . your Souls agree No longer his Interpreter. (Earl of Roscommon. Similar to the idea of the original text as a coherent whole which transcends al1 particular features. The translator can reduce his influence through the scientific process of analyzing the source language into its kcrnel structures. Source Language Text Receptor Language Text Core (Theoretical Level Core of Transfer) (N ida.. the social location (gender. the translator is a technician who must make every attempt to reduce the impact of his "personality" on the translated text..

1 ). Venuti points The out that the translation of a 300 page novel would pay between $3. 1 draw attention to this because although al1 of the theorists 1 will make reference to are from the 20th century. They have no time to do any "sustained methodological reflection" (Venuti. This view of the translator is eloquently summarized by John Dryden in the 16th century3' He wrote: . Translators. is ofien seen as a second-rate writer doing an uncreative task or a kind of technician who must always remernber that she is working for someone else. Venuti points out that copyright laws in British and the United States are careful to define translation as a "second-order product" whose copyright is vested in the (original) author. 1 1). 1992. in 1540. are paid poorly3' and do not have copyrights to their translations. they have to focus almost exclusively on preparing manuscripts.Finally. For example." .. transparent" prose or criticize the "translationese".000 to $6. in order to build up a reputation. particularly literary translators.2).. fluent. This is illustrated in different ways: copyright law. slavery' . # In the United States. " It is important to point out that although this vision of the work of a translator has dominated translation theory. 1 do not want to imply that it is only now that people have "seen the light. a translation can be defined as a "work for hire" which means that the owner and therefore. they have some power to negotiate their rates.'' rate in 1990 was from forty to ninety American dollars per thousand English words. pay and acknowledgment of the translator. "author" of the translation is the person who hired the translator.[and] the role of the translator is an active one" (Bassnea.. on the other hand. 1996. (Venuti.000. 14). (Venuti. there have been challenges to this image at the same time. The translator. 1995. Etienne Dolet published a treatise on translation wliere he insisted that "the translator must 'not enter into . 1992. however. If translators buiid up a reputation. the translator is clearly unimportant in cornparison to the original author. The translator is not usually rnentioned in a review of a book other than in one or two sentences which tend to either praise the "clear. The translator is contrasted to the original author who is seen as creative and expressive.

enriching the mother tongue. The translator either "becornes one" with the author to act as the author's voice or utilizes a scientific methodology. and labor in another man's plantation. knowledgeable.But slaves we are. being tied to the thoughts. Likewise. In ESL pedagogy.. Traditional Translation and ESL As is obvious from the description of traditional translation theory and the description in the previous chapter about mainstream second language pedagogy. he must rnake what music he can in the expression.. is master of his thoughts and words: he c m tum and vary them as he pleases. First. and other holy books. is that of a skilled. encouraging cross-cultural communication. etc. learning another language is always seen as a beneficial. The role of the teacher and translator. it cannot always be so sweet as that of the original (Dryden in Lefevere.. neutral process. for this reason. but the wine is the owner's . who invents. given the belief in the neutrality of language and the belief that both are positive things. and.. or at the very least. 1992. we dress the vineyard.. consequently. have usually been seen as outweighing the negative. till he renders thern hamonious. they both stress the neutrality of language and see it as a tool. there is a belief that the core message can be transferred relatively untouched.24).He. the teacher must seek to . but uncreative technician who must strive to reduce the impact of her personality and social location on the texthtudent. but the wretched translator has no such privilege: for. Although traditional translation theory recognizes that something is lost from the original. So the beneficial aspects of translation such as: transiating the bible. there are many similarities between the two. Translating a foreign text or learning a language should not afféct the core identity of the text or student because there is a belief that language and meaning are separated.

Boyd points out that any potentially threatening questions of difference. . traditional dress.. more questions of lifestyle than real difference. must fit into the receiving culture. This is clearly evident when Nida talks about revealinp the original message of the text by simply opening "the curtains of linguistic and cultural differences" (Nida in Veiiuti. focusiiig only on superficial aspects of cultural difference like food. The problem with these approaches is that a reliance on universal experience or beliefs tends to lead to a situation where the dominant group" in society presents its view as the universal one and is reluctant to probe any funher. 1995. provided by the dominant moral view (Boyd. tliey really are essentially the same. art. The text must read like an English book. while the student will be judged on how closely slhe approximates the (mythical) native English speaker.2 1). in fact. The product of teaching and translating. tlie student or text. The 'searching' [for universals] need not go on because the universals are already within the walls. . is the way each of them approaches differencr and inequality. the dominant group is usually white.. music and dance. 1996. difference and diversity are rrduced to what Du-iglit Boyd calls the "niuiicb. There is a belief that the process can be neutral. in this case. 1996. stoinp. middle-class English-speaking women.are banned by the Pollyanna-ish belief that it can only be misguided to focus on what might pull people apart when. " In the case o f ESL.47 be neutral.626).. 612) approach. Both approaches tend to subscribe to a belief in univenality and a belief that the differences that do exist are relatively trivial. The underlying similarity between the two approaches. and dress iip" (Boyd. follow the latest scientific method developed by applied linguistics and simply allow the student to fmd his/her voice. In the ESL classroon~. the standard English culture. and where 1 believe the problem lies.

in detail. 1 am interested in taking various ideas articulated by certain translation theorists who resist the approach of traditional translation theory in order to create a new model for second language teachers. 1996. the positions of key theorists. difference. One important thing to acknowledge at the beginning is that the ideas 1 have taken from translation theorists are frorn a wide range of multidisciplinary approaches. inequality in a way that does accept the existence of reasonable pluralism and that does recognize difference and inequality. and see the job as creative.6 14). As I said in the introduction. literary criticism. and performance art (not strictly a discipline). assuming that we are al1 more or less the same. nor to explain. even though these doctrines can and do provide fundamentally incompatible guidance" (Boyd. " .48 Accepting that there is such a thing as "reasonable pl~ralism"~' that there are differences in and belief that are incommensurable is more likely to lead to a situation where people continue to attempt to understand others rather than stopping. This different view on teaching will Boyd defines this as "the recognition that any number of comprehensive doctrines about how humans ought to lead their lives may be held by equally reasonable people. philosophy. Rather. Different Translation Theory In this section 1 argue that traditional translation relies on this view of fundamental similarity and suggest that other translation theorists offer us a way to think about language. 1 hope this model will create a situation for teachers where they are encouraged to be more self-reflective. consider the impact their social location has. law. My goal in this thesis is not to provide a comprehensive overview of translation theory. Scholars in this field draw from disciplines as varied as linguistics.

dynamic web of meaning and justification that constitutes different cultures" (Boyd. Attached to the bread are al1 sorts of labels: pain. etc. brot. can we make the same argument for a concept likefiedom? Can we say that there is a conceptfreedom which al1 of the labels in différent laquages refer to? Clearly the conceptfrecdom is quite meaningless without being integrated into the "complex. and enable students to leam the language in a more thorough fashion. 1995.jB ln each 3Torson ( 1 995) demonstrates Wittgenstein's idea with the sentence: "Sheep are camivorous. imagine a loaf of bread sitting on the counter.625). the view of language given by traditional translation theonsts is that of a common world with different labels attached to al1 the objects. pannir and pita do not corne in loaves. pita. however. the sentence could makr sense. This view of lanyuaye forces us to resort to a kind of Platoiiic concept of bread. punnir. we've already imposed some son of linguistic reality on it because naan. The first issue to tackle is that of language because the view of language a particular theorist holds substantially shapes their view of translation. To talk about a concept like freedom without considering the ''grne" being ployed is not helpful. However. To go back to the same example. in a science fiction or cartoon language gaine." In most languase games.24). It miglit be argued that there is some concept of bread that exists cut off from any particular shape. However. the rules of use of a particular word will Vary according to the situation or the language garne. . As 1 argued in the fint section.49 empower students. pan. assign them real responsibility. this sentence is senseless because the "ruks governing the use of the sign SHEEP and the sign CARNWOROUS are incompatible with placing the two words together" (Corson. it is obvious that if a lucrfof bread is pictured. As Wittgenstein (1963) asserts. naan. 1996.

Derrida ( 1985). tnnsmitting culture: it is evoked when considering claims o f universality. . Benjamin (1 989)"' and White (1990) have argued tliat al1 words have many different primary meanings and a potrntially different meaning every time tliey are used. Meaning is tied up with the words and with the culture. s 35). " See Becker ( 1 995) for a fascinating look at translating the word sihnce into Malay. The danger in assuming fundamental similarity is that the differences that do exist will be ignored and paved over. Originally. Translation i s "both a plurality o f activities and has a plurality o f signitications" (Benjamin. The consequence of seeing language as a transparent.50 language and culture (and even within cultures). "" Andrew Benjamin considers the meanings the word tru~tskurion It provides a way to think about has. White describes the discussion of the two wordspulis and stute in the preface of a translation of Aristotle's Polilics by Sir Emest Barker. The translation theorists who challenge the neutral view of language see it as being polysemic. 1989. He extends this example and argues thai al1 words are "of necessity. neutral medium is having to assume "that linguistic and cultural differences do not exist at a fundamental level" (Venuti. Meaning does not exist independently of language in some noiilinguistic realm. Many o f these ideas and more are iniertwined when using this word. Johnson (1 997). over-dererniined and a sucli [are] always the site of a range of semantic possibilities" (Benjamin. 35). 63-73). constitutive of identity and retleciing power relationships in the world. Among others. Barker States tliat . 1989.'' These theorists reject the idea that ihere is a "core" meaning to a particular word whicli then can be transferred to another language. Tlieir view of language allows for recognition of some of the fundamental differences between languages and cultures. the word and concept jkeclom means something different. 1995.

This implies that the core meaning of the words are the same.25O). 1989. I felt sorry for people who spolie other languriges. we have a picture o ï a word as "a site of diffrrential meanings in wliich potential and actual meanings are present" (Benjamin. in the feel of its prose. The word does not have one core or univocal meaninp and additional denotative meanings. remedy. This erasing of difference is a problem because it leads us to assume that al1 other cultures are like us. they are different al1 the way through" (White. it has many meanings. more or less?' Other theorkts " When I tirst realized the existeilce of diftitrent languages as a child. The necessity for translations to fit into "standard English" has led Spivak to comment that "the literature by a woman in Palestine begins to resemble. as lie continues describing the origin and significance of the two words. drug. 1990.35).51 the ovenones and associations of the two words pulis and s m e are different. 145). Johnson (1 992) quotes Derrida's exarnple of the Greek word phrrrmcikon which can be translated as eitlier poison. However. Rather than an original semantic unity. I assumed tliat the speaker used Enslisli (the only "real" language) in tlirtir head and was forced to translate. When translating ph~irntcikon. 1992. If the words are not reduciblr to core or single meanings but are places of multiple meaning.translators have to choose which meaning to translate and end up "deciding what in Plato remains undecidablr" (Johnson 198% 145). White States: "it is not their sccondary meanings that are different but their pnmary meanings. or recipe (Johnson. it beconies obvious that the two words are completely different words. 1985. tlieii translating a text will necessarily change its Traditional translation theory advocates that books translated into English should "feel" like English books. . 180). sometliing by a man in Taiwan" (Spivak. I thouglit they must have bcen exhriusted fioin the continuous effort.

Fint he considers the translation (Venuti.. 5).but conceal . represent . 6). it was conditioned by other considerations such as the contemporary Engiish-language values. Venuti's argument is that if the text reads very clearly and fluently in standard English. In his books and articles. standard English because he bel ieves such strategies tend to erase the difierences in cultures and allow the reader of the translation "the narcissistic experience of recognizing liis or her own culture in a cultural other..the cultural dominance of Anglo-American individualism. 1992. In addition to creating a more coherent text. Graves in~poses moralizing tone . He argues tliat tlie fluent strategies evoke the illusion of autliorial presence.al1 these determinations and effects under the veil of transparency (Venuti. Venuti points out that although tlie fluent style of translation was panly a decision of Graves.. His translation. etc. the reader will be encouraged to over ideniify with it. 1992. 1995. Venuti compares tu.. Lawrence Venuti strongly criticizes tlie consistent use of fluent.foreign cultures with ideological discourse specific to Englishlanguage cultures.. standard English in translation. smoothes out the text and creates a coherent account from a less tlian coherent foreign text.. a British translator by workinp in the 50s. the decline of the study of the classics. enacting an iinperialism that extends the dominion of transparency with other ideological discourses over a different culture" (Venuti. the perception that readers are not interested in reading a footnotes.0 translations to illustrate his point.20-34) of Surtonius's The Titdsc C1ucsut=s Robert Graves. maintain . according to Venuti. the prowth of a mass market.suggest a more careful approach. he argues strenuously against the invisibility of the translator and the tradition of translating foreign texts into fluid.

Graves chooses words which stigmatize the relationship as perverse. The important point that Venuti makes is tliat standard language (whether grammatically. 1995. Graves creates a text which is slanted against Caesar (Venuti. The Latin text itself is a collection of information about the rulers of Rome presented without a moralizing bias. Translation is not a neutral activity." However. are free of'bias. 34). one of possible dangers of this decision. 1995. When translating an account of a same-sex sexual relationsh ip Caesar. Pound "foreignizes" the translation by focusing on the sounds of the language and by using arcliaisms to focus attention on the language. as Carol Maier See Philip Lewis ( 1 995) and Tejaswini Niranjana ( l992). 34-38) of "The Seafarer" by Pound.33). Venuti says: "foreignizing translations tliat are not transparent. Venuti contrasts this example with a translation (Venuti.and homophobic attitudes on the text which in Latin only makes "general and non-committal references to Caesar's sexuality" (Venuti. that eschew fluency for a more heterogeneous mis of discourses are rqually partial in their interpretation of tlie foreign text. 32). Venuti argues for a form of non-fluent translation to draw the reader's attention to the fact that the text has been mediated. Vrnuti does not mean to suggest that non-fluent translations. like those of Pound. Indeed. 1995. but that tlie bias tends to be niore visible. Venuti does believe that Pound imposes a certain view of individualism on the text. Many other translation theorists cal1 for "foreignizing" translation. it will change the identity of the text. . 1995. the translation is less fluent and more difficult to understand. rhetorically or stylistically) is not neutral. but they rend to Haunt tlieir partiality instead of concealing itq-(Venuti. As a result.

Rather than focusing on the product and how closely it matches the original and how well it fits into the receiving culture. Maier warns us against the uncritical acceptance or embracing of Venuti's ideas. these translators reject tlie idea put forth by traditional translation tlirory that the translation is a matching or equivalent product. The greatest sense of loss. is whether or not anyone will take the time to read a translation which is non-fluent or "strangee"(Maier. tlie choices tlie translator makes and whai can be learned through translation. What is attempted in translation. according to Maier. The purpose of focusing on the process is twofold: it is to allow the translator time to explore the unchosen alternati~es. . is not that of the "meaning" of .63 1). these theorists focus on the process of translatiny.54 considers.'~and it is to allow the translator space to explore differences '' 1 will return to Maier's dilemma in the last section of the chapter which focuses on the role of the translator. She is concened with holding both cultures simultaneously in tlie poeni and avoiding both extremes: overfamiliarity and complete foreignness. contrary to conimon assumptions. is to achieve a balance between writing a poem which reflects the author's language and culture and which also risks being rejected by the reader because of the awkwardness or strangeness of the language. and writing a good English poem where often the poet's voice is subsumed to that of the translator." Given the recognition tliat language is noi'iieutral and that translation clianges the identity of the iext. ' Maier describes how students studying translation for the tirst time tend to feel a sense of 105s when " iranslating. 1989.

15one of which is Bruno Bettelheim's critique of the translations of Freud's tests. " Later on in the chapter when exploring the role o f the translator." but the loss of "the opportunity to explore available ro possibilities and to discover neiv ones" (Maier. It is decisive to the end "product" of translation and to the consumption of that product. For who can make it between and across? And bearing what? From whom (and not just from where) do they corne? To whom do they arrive'? (Layoun. the inconsistencies in the register of certain words and terms alert the rrader to the mediatioii of the translator. Mary Layoun agrees and argues the space-between is crucial to translation. Along with very cornnion and even colloquial terms. focused on liis own esperience and attenipted to devrlop a humanistic/spiritualist approach.and inrqualities of languaps and cultures. whrrras in German he wrote witli colloquial terms. ln one section. (995. 1995. I will examine another symptornatic reading which suggest that the translater's social location miglit also influence the translation. Altliough Bettellieirn's critique involved a close comparison between the German and English. highly theoretical scientiiic discoursr in Englisli.270) One of tlie things we can learn by explorinp the choices the translator made is "the canons of accuracy by which [the text] is produced" (Venuti.37). Venuti explores several examples of what he calls symptomatic readings. For example. or the inabilit~ find "equivnleiices.'l~ the and In same text both the academic and common words were used. 1995. the original. Venuti argues that a close reading of the translation alone suffices to explore the gaps and inconsisteiicies. . 2 I ). "'id' vs. '"' The word 'Parapraxis' was created in order ro describe the German 'Fehlletsrlcng' (Venuti 1995. lt gives them space to explore wliat is erased and what is added when translating. suc11 asjiwget~ing go uur oj'rny h c d is an academic word like prtr*~rpruxis. Bettelheim argues that Freud was translated into an abstract.26).

. 'libidinal' vs. he rejects Bettelheim's assumption that there is a true. accurate translation possibie. The important issue is not that the translation is inaccurate. the view of the original or foreign text and the translated text also changes from the traditional view. The important thing is not to judge the translation as right or wrong. 'sexual"' (Venuti. scientific theory best understood in the framework of medicine in order. She says.' or 'energy'. conscious and unconscious. Rather tlian a hierarchical positionhg of the foreipn text as '' See also Jacob's note wlien comparing her translation o f Benjamin's article to tliat o f Harry Zohn.56 'unconscious'. 'cathexis' vs. that the translator made to Iiighlight an alternative reading of Freud. to "facilitate the institutionalization of psychoanalysis in the medical profession and in acadeniic psychology" (Venuti. panly. 1995. 'charge. correct or incorrect. but that it lias been done within certain assurnptions about translation and about psychology and science. and meaning as more amorplious. 755). but to investigate what sorts of criteria the translator was eniploying. -'the criticism that appears here and there in my test should be recognired more as a play between possible versions than as a daim to establish a more 'correct' translation" (Jacobs. 39). 1995." Venuti summarizes: "a syniptomatic reading ..27). Bettelheim argues that the translation made Freud's text appear to be an abstract..is historicizing: it assumes a concept of determinate subjectivity that exposes bot11 the ethnocentric violeiice of traiislating and the interested nature of its own Iiistoricist approach" (Veniiti. 1975. With a focus on the process of translation and the recognition of language as political. Although Venuti praises Bettelheim's discovery and exposure of the inconsistencies of diction in the translations of Freud's text.26). The inconsistent diction could be seen as a series of interpretive choices. 1995..

In his essay. marks a continuhg life for tlie original and emerges from the afterlife of the rig gin al. '" Sieburth succinctly espresses the idea: "ln sliort. The original. on the other hand. it makes a daim to be translated in order to continue its life or afterlife.57 the good. When the original begins to attain fame. the idea of the life of a piece of art is associated with its survival throughout history . He believes that if the original is translatable. Benjamin makes it clear that by l i f i . the introduction of time also upsets the notion that the original. 1992. Venuti explains: a translation cûnonizrs the foreign text. Benjamin explains that "in its afierlife . then. 1992) Benjamin introduces a temporal element to the discussion of translation. he does not mean anything organic or connected to the soul. it is subject ta any number of ramifications. because it is "created by genius. but owes its existence to it (Benjamin.which could not be callrd that if it were not a transforniation and a renewal of somethinp living ." (Benjamin. 1992. One of the theorists who has challenged this idea is Walter Benjamin (1 992). is indebted to the translation because the translation ensures its survival." somehow remains static. 74). Tlie translation. the hierarchy has been upset. 7). the impure.34 1 ) .i validate literary fame as create it (Venuti. In addition to upsetting the traditional relationship between the foreign and translated text. the simulacrum (in Plato's sense). And the sanlr holds true of translatioris" (Sieburtii. 73). the pure and 'the translation as the bad. validating its fame by enûbling its survival. Rather."' The implication of this. Benjamin insists that the original is in no wayfixed as it moves through the various avatars of its aftrrlife.the original undergoes a change" (Benjamin. and eternal.^' The translation does not serve the original. as Derrida points out. 1992. Yet the afterlife made possible by translation siniultaneously cancels the original ity of the foreign test by revealing its dependence on a derivative form: translation dors not so rnuc1. "The Task of tlie Translator. 1989. is "' Afterlife (Fortleben) as opposed to the life (Leben) of the original. it is translated.

His goal is ta upset the rigid concept of translation as strictly between texts in different languages by an acknowledged author and translator. Also. in his essay "o'er-brimm'd" (Rand... illustrates this senii-coniical reiiiark by Borges by examining John Keats' poem "To Autumn" for references to other texts. The cherished values of originality '"In "Pierre Menard. or . Rand argues that in the poein Keats is "translating" Autumn. 153). 1985. he makes the point tliat the poem could be said to be a translation because there are many references to other texts.. in a number of his writii~gs.that translation "is writing: that is it is not translation only in the sense of transcription. Borges has is suggests that "the only real difference between original and translation . . T h r o u ~ lthe story. the concept Aurltrnn is translating various aspects of the poem.~~ challenged the idea of an original. and probably embarrassingly banal" (Borges in Lrvine. He says that "to speak of some decisive 'original' here. copy. Autlior of Don Quixote". There are other theorists who upset the hierarchy by questioning the status of the original and by suggesting that the translation affects the original. 3 1 )... perhaps forgotten. 1989. Suzanne Jill Levine (1 989) quotes Jorge Luis Borges who... but re-create) 0017 QIIISOIC' in Cervantes' Spanish. that the translater's referent is a visihk text against which the translation can be judged: the original escapes this scrutiny (and mistrust) because its referent is unspoken. Borses makes us think about i the slippery existence o f the original. Richard Rand. Borges (1962) writes an (invented) biblioyraphical honiage to Pierre Menard.is absolutely out of the question. a niodern French citizen whose goal is to rewrite (not translate. Throuph analysis of the text and a searcli for the orieiii of the ideas or images in the poem. but at the same tirne. plagiarite. 1985). IL is a productive writing called fonh by the original text" (Derrida.

32) than most translators do. 1984. a new stage. has drawn on the (seln translations done by James Joyce of Finncgan S Wuke to make a similar point about the unfinished or unstable state of the original. dochter of Sense and Art with Spark's pirryphtickathinis fuiikling her fran" and the translation "Annona grnata arusticrata Nivea.9). Jacqueline Risset. Rather. Joyce translated several passages of Finncgctn S Wukc froin an English stretched to the point of incomprehensibility by the inclusion of other languages into only Italian. Latin and Greek and completely dropped in the translation. 1984. They recognize tliat it is never possible to "cover" a text completely. i l ventaglio costellato di filigettanti" (Joyce in Risset." Joyce does not see his translation as a rewriting which exists as a poor copy next to the sanctified original. The work that the above theorists do to destabilize the hierarchical arrangement between original and translation is very important. Richard Sieburth (1 989) explores this '' III this passage.95).3). Altliough polyglot authors like Joyce have more autliority to subven the original.: "Annona gebroren aroostodrat Nivia. for example.6). the allusions to German. 1989. they still create a mode1 of translation which is more like transcreation.literally . 1985.'work in progress') a kind of extension. definitive) but a latrr elabontion representiiig (in relation to the first test as seen as really . laureolata in Senso e A m . Risset concludes. the original itself is now viewed as a "work in progress" (Risset. panicularly wlieir it is their own original (Levine. The translation theorists that 1 have chosen always work with a respect for the difference in the foreign text. The original text itself becomes recognized as one in which difference already exists. What emerges above al1 from the detailed analysis of the Italian version is that this translation is no pursuit of hypothetical equivalents of the original text (as given. that there is always sornethinp "left ovei' in the text which is unknowable. a more daring variation on the text in process (Risset.and identity are truly undecidable" (Rand. . amongst others. l984.

" Wliile he was translating.the originals were once again reasserting their place u l o ~ s i d e [his] translations to such an extent that the light emitted by Holderlin's Gernian on tlie left page was now blinding [his] panllel English version on tlie right" (Siebunli. 25).ackno~. III addition to tlie notion of '*difference" between texts and cultures. again and again. he arrived at the point when he felt his translation covered the Gern~an originals. He realized that what he had writien did not and could not cover the original and thai the original could always tell itself in a different way..idea ratlier poetically wlien he talks about how Holderlin's poems passed through his English translation to continue their "life. 1995.. to both the originals and translations (his translations were published in an m f u c v edition) and found. place and culture will have witli a text. Niranjana and Sieburth as done within Noël Valis' definition of respect as '*theability to approach a work knowing you can't explain it away or -know' it entirel!? .ledpiiig the work does not belong to you. and a recognition that the translations created will always be interpretations. 240). 1989. Maier insists on considering inequality. to his surprize. After the initial euphoria of finishing his translations.. Maier (1995) drscribes the work done by Venuti. Slie argues that it is important to realize that the translator is often within .. he returned. tliat the uwk is in sonie iliat fundamental way alien to you tlie critic" (Noël Valis in Maier. subject to revision. that the originals were '-gradually erasing or obscuring the versions [he] had created in their stead.. This notion tliat the translator does not have complete knowledge of the text is a recognition of the difference and unstability in the original text. a recognition of the difficulties a translator fiom another time.

is ontologically impossible. Young argues that the idea of symrnetry obscures difference. Iris Young's notion of understanding others tlirough asymmetrical reciprocity (Young. If this situation is recognized and made visible.25). 1992. were used as source materials by government offkials tvlio then created an image of Hindus as lazy. that difference and inequality are not the sarne thing and that simply resisting difference is not enough to guarantee that inequalities will be erased. he wrote to a friend in 1857 that "[i]t is an amusement for me to take what Liberties I like with these Persians who (as I think) are not Poets enough to frighten one from such excursions.29). 1997) is heipful in exploring these differences. Althouph she does not explicitly state her arguments for the importance of talking about inequality. 1995. there will be more chance that a translation that holds the two cultures in a balance (rather tlian a withholding of translation or a translation which erases either culture) might emerge. cowardly. done in inequitable situations where the lesser 'power' loses There out.61 "ndically asymmetrical rrlatioiis of powerq'(Maier. with rekrence to Prasad. 1995. 1995. and who really do want a Iittle Art to shape them" (Fitzgerald in Lefevere. 1 believe she is working wi th a similar argument that lris Young constructs." She argues. When Edward Fitzgerald. She belie\?esthat translation has to be made visible as "an activity that occun within an rxplicit context or compact of difference and inequality" (Maier.29). Shohat and Mohanty (Maier. insincere. . Radliakrishnan. '= are many examples of translations. The idea that translators can never completely know the foreign text and must realize tliey often work within b-ndicallyasymmetrical relations of power" is diametrically opposed to the advice from traditional translation to become one with the author. diny. Young rejects the idea tliat we can see things from anotlier person's point of view. done in the mid to late 1800s by the British.4). for example. and untrustworthy and eiiiinently in need of guidance froni a "civilized" culture. was translating the Aitbaiyur. See also Tejaswini Niranjana (1992) where she argues that translations of works in Hindi.

too often those representations cany projections and fantasies through which the privileged reinforce a coniplementary image of themselves" (Young. First. that al! social positions are multiply constructed in relation to many other positions. Young believes thqt it is ontologically impossible to stand in another's shoes because "our positions are partly constituted by the perspectives each of us has on the others" (Young. both parties recopnize two points. . "the infinity of the dialectical process of selves in relation to others both makes it impossible to suspend our own positioning and leaves an excess of experience when I try to put myself in the other person's place" (Young 1997. by her relationsliip with her inother) to assunie her mother's perspective (constituted. In asymmetrical reciprocity. we bring different histories. Rather than embracing a symmetrical ideal of understanding another. througli the mediation of her motlier. 1997. 1997. their relationship is based on the asymmetry of the positioning between the two of them. so on to Our encounters. Finally. Young concludes. Young tells us that '. we nsk closing off the discussion and fruitful exchange that acknowledgment of difference can bring.47). by her relationship with her daughter). Second. in part. It is liard to imagine that the daughter could suspend her perspective (constituted. in part. .47).62 and lias politically undesirable consequences. trying to completely understand another is a politically suspect move because "when members of privileged groups imaginatively try to represent to thernselves the perspective of members of oppressed groups. Young advocates the idea of asymmetrical reciprocity. in pan.there is always a remainder. She uses the example of a mother and dauphter to demonstrate that although they seem to share a lot of similarities. If we only seek symmetry. that each party has its own Iiistory and that that history can always be retold. It tends to obscure ditference because. even with people who are very similar to us.48). The daughter's position is created. experiences.

Tlir recognition of the political nature of lanpuage. disconcerting experience it otten is" (Maier. the rejection of a mimetic isomorphic relatioiiship between the two texts. as Maier says. lias to be seen as the "humbling. In addition to the low p l . the role of the translator in this mode1 is much more comples and complicated than that in the traditional model. 1995. but the process of reaching understanding is revealing. and the recognition of the existence of difference in the original significantly change the role of the translator in this model. differences. knowiny slhe will not be able to "cover" it completely. (Venuti. 2-5).~' s/lie nreds to try and maintain a balance between the two and " Although many translation tlieorists Iiave made this call. Given tlie coinplesity of the relationsliip between tlie foreign and translated text. the translator was expected to be able to read the (one true) message of the original.53). In the traditional model. discussing choices. 1997. canoiis of acc~racy. it is important to acknowledge the practical constraints. The translator is uncrrativr compared to the autlior of the original. S/he has to consider how hedhis social location will affect herlliis approach to the text. The translator has to approach the t e a with respect.much that 1 do not understand about the other person's experience and perspective"(Young.29). translation tends to be dismissed by academia. Translation. slhe needs to report about the process. The people or translators who wish to approach others or foreign texts have to do so knowing that full understanding is not possible. . and meticulously translate the book so that it seems like an English test. 1995.

Subjectivity is achieved if identity is problernatized. 185). of intimate matten in the language of the original" (Spivak. there is a bettrr chance that there will be understanding witliin asymmetrical power relations because people might be willing to "listeii" longer. Unlike some of the traditional translation tlieorists. Inquiry.. by choice or preference. suggests: "to decide whether you are prepared enough to start translatinp.A mipiit help if you have praduatrd into speaking. the translator. . is related to subjectivity and identity. She also acknowledps that most often translation takes place not only in difference. these theorists stress the necessity of a thorough knowledge of the language.cultures. in addressing the inequalities in translation.. Gayatri Spivak. The goal of rendering the . specifically between the "third" and "tjrst" world. 61) and. humbling and creative. she also suggests seeing translation in terms of inquiry. but inequality. 1992. for Maier. Maier agrees with Spivak's requirement of iiitiniacy with tlie language to be translated. The job that the translator does is difficult. What she nieans by problematizing identity is recognizing that our identity as tnnslators and readers is constructed by al1 of the particular groups we belong to. If translation is made visible as an activity tliat takes place witliin a situation of linguistic and cultural difference and (often) inequality. This recommendation is a reaction to a colonial type of translation that erased difference and presented foreign texts as if they already contained Western values. she would add. She questions the traditional goal of self-effacement by the translator in order to give authorial illusion to the translated text because she believes that Dœtniisparency the translator] results in a concealment of the cultural and social conditions of [of the translation" (Venuti. Our identity shapes how we read the text. Althougli Maier agrees witli Spivak's requiremrnts of the translator. 1995.

a Chicana writer. She conipares the two translations witli one done by herself. the vucunus were chosen because they were seen as already Christian and modern. her enthusiastic rmbracr. she argues." but as a way of acknowledging them and considering the various changes that have been made to the text. Maier realized tliat her atteinpt was also a violation because she had to make changes to the poem. ignore the presence of both translator and author. Despite her desire to create a situation where the poet is given a voice. Sbe notes that "the transiator's gesture of generosity. Usine words like conqtrcsr or miwder to describe translation seerns excessive. is achieving a balance '' See also the work done by Niranjana ( 1992) who examines two translations o f ri vucunu (poem) written in Knnada.65 work done by the tnnslator visible is iiot done with a view to criticizing them for not getting it "right. as readers. we risk not acknowledging changes to the text and denying "the poet a distinctiveness that resists absorption by another culture" (Maier." If we. Maier rejects the idea of "fusing" or "becoming one" with the author because she recognizes that that gesture leads to a rejection of differeiice and rinphasis on sanienrss. and the translation of some of her poetry as an example of what the transiator's job is. and thus "worthy of the West's attention" (Niranjana.630).630). 1989. During her struggles to understand Castille's poetry. Maier recognizes that translation also silences voices. ' . She sliows that the tkst two translations were done in such a way so as to r a d the wcunu as already embodying Christian values. or even murder-that gesture's inherently rapacious nature" (Maier. an act that Castillo welcoined. 1992. 1 would like to consider Maier's relationship to Ana Castillo. the conquest. what is risked in translation. however. she argues. according to Maier. This point is usehl to remind us that the urge to siinply make works accessible is not always value free. In fact. 1989. 180). Slie sees wliat slie and Castillo did as entering a coalition. tends to inask-despite the coniinual representation [oq translation as a strupgle.

640). When reading over a published translation tliat she has done of Castillo's poems.. she uses a lower case i to indicate collective voice. she feels conveys a "strong experience of identity with a nonspecified subject" (Mairr. pondering which version best represents the Spanish and which version would be best received in English. (Maier. The Spanish poem. She worries about using a lower case i because she feels it is trivial and may lead to the translation being ignored. Maier worries that she has obliterated part of Castillo's culture by using the uppercase I in her translation. . can she convey this in English? Slie writes five different versions of' the poem using a corn bination of al1 upper case 1s.632-35) Maier explores these options." She is surprized by the decision she had made because she knows that whenever Castillo writes in English.between the two cultures without obliterating either. "is the . She asks herself. 1989. and lower case is.. "1 want to eat" becomes "Quiero (want) corner (to eat). In Spanish.. 1 989. Hou... El Suefio The Dream The Dream i was radiant weariiig my Zapotecan dress a red red huipil The Dream Radiant. pronouns are usually left out of most speech and writing. wearing iny Zapotecan dress a red red huipil Lucia 1 was radiant mi traje zapoteco wearinp my Zapotecan dress un huipil a red red rojO rojO huipil .. two and the. Here are excerpts of versions one.

She wonders if her rrluctance to use and the lower case i is because it might be read as trivial.as eitlier writer or translator (Maier. Maier considers how her particular social location might influence her translation or reading of the text. she is doing the same as Burgos was in trying to keep Menchu from soundiny.63 1). makes many changes to the text.643). In otlier words. 1989. the woman who interviews Menchu and fashions the interview into a seamless narrative. a colleapue.fi. Maier then considers the "translation" (or transcription) of Mc ffr<ntoRigobertu MenchU y usi me nacib Iri conciencici (4 Rigoberra Menchi) as an example of tliis struggle over the standardization of the language of a translation. In addition to struggling with the decision of whether or not to use standard English. risks lateness long enough to listen. the verb from the poem. She decides that the coilabora~ion she sees translation as demanding chat a willingness to coiisider the 1i. she decides that it is unsatisfactory because it eliminates the action. it involves the recognition of a "lower case" poetics as a serious strategy that conscioiisly employs "triviality" even though it is a form that the translator Iierself would iiot otlierwise use. to build further on the coalition it represents?' (Maier.lklb.w of the small "i" as a practice which is not trivial and i n .67 translation complrte if no one stops. 1989. retum to examine I Ripbcrtcr MenchU with their . Maier sugpests that takiny risks over not appearing "correct" might be necessary if she is committed to holding two worlds in one translation and to accepting that a poet's words are capable of changing her translation (Maier.636). Although initially happy wiih version five.643). 1989. She "also makes it clear that Menchu's Spanish has been corrected so as to keep it from seeming Tolklorico"' (Maier. Maier wondered if by using the uppercase 1. 1989. Mairr and Anuradlia Dingwaney. Burgos-Debray.ico*ico avoid alienating English readers.

with their classes. the translator. an upper class Venezuelan woman. political-about the speaker and her culture are implicated in the rendering of the life history" (Dingwaney & Maier. the role Burgos-Debray played and draw on literature on ethnographers to argue that "the ethnographer's acknowledged and unacknowledged assumptions-social. meets witli Menchu in Burgos-Debray's Paris apartment and tape records and transcribes her intetviews with Menchu. In so doing. Rigoberta Menchd because it is a doubly mediated text: first by Burgos-Debray. which makes it seems that it is not Menchu who is speaking in the bulk of the book: and the author's name in the Spanish version is actually Burgos-Debray. BurgosDebray writes the introduction. the eihnographer. Dingwaney and Maier ask thrmsehes the following questions: 1s Burgos-Debray assuming the identity of Menchu? 1s it possible for her to assume Menchu's identity? 1s she actually violatinp Menchu's identhy by erasing her as the author? On the other hand. Dingwaney and Maier write about the uneasiness they feel by the quick (over) identification Burgos-Debray makes with Menchu. not Menchil. she decides to eliminate the interview structure and write the manuscript as a seamless narrative. In addition. perhaps the production of a seerningly unmediated . at the end of which she dedicates a poem to Menchu! Burgos-Debray seems to erase Menchu as the author of the book. she seems to eliminate Menchil from the position of author.68 class in an attenlpt to encourage their students to see that both readers and translaton corne to a text from a particular location. Elizabeth Burgos-Debray. and then by Anne Wright. She refers to MenchU in the third person in the chapter headings: the epigraplis at the bepinniiig of each chapter are attributed to Menchu. cultural. They choose I.305). 1995. Dingwaney and Maier start by considering. When Burgos-Debray is re-readiny the transcript.

tliey notice certain clianges that Wright has niade which miglit support the idea of staying with Menchu's words. Menchii's father actually prohibited her from studying Spanish. Wright States that she wants to be an invisible mediator and let Menchu's words shine through.69 narrative was a collaboration wi th Menchu" to enable Menchu to reach her political goals of effecting change for her people. describe represent the colonized/subaltern subject" (Dingwaney & Maier.10) supports the idea that this rnight be pan of Menchüs strategy. 3 10). 308).to stay with Rigoberta's original phrasing" (Dingwaney & Maier. slie says that she "has tried . "use" Burgos-Debray as pan of a larger strategy. In particular. Wright has Menchu using yuu as if slie is talking to another person. 1995. (Dingwaney & Maier. 3 10). dangerous because one risks iosing their identity. and first react negatively to her mrdiation. 1995. re-rsamine the test. perhaps for the sarne reason she decided to learn S p a n i ~ h ? ~ ~ fact that Menchu warns Burgos-Debray and us that she is "still keeping secret The ahat [she] think[s] no-one sliould know" (Menchu in Dingwaney & Maier. "' As 1 mentioned in chapter one.309. learning Spanish for some Guatemalan Native people is seen as " . as tliey did to Burgos-Debray because tliey feel that both create a test that mi& lead "to a reader's unexainineci compassion" (Dingwaney & Maier. Did Menchu. Ann Wright. 1995. wlien the..309) . they ended up ignoring Menchu's role in this siory and risk "reproducing the classic colonizing gesture identified by Edward Said. In fact. This is odd given that there is no evidence that she had access to the original transcript. 1995. 1995. as Dingwaney and Maier ask themselves. wliereby representatives o f a hegemonic (colonizins) culture invest themselves with the authority to speak about. This does not occur in the Spanish version. Perhaps this is an attempt to (re)write Burgos-Debray back into the picture as a Dingwaney and Maier noie that by focusinp on Burgos-Debray.. However. Diiipwaney and Maier go on to think about the role of the translator. She chose ta study it so that she could speak for her people.

1990. 1 995. In addition. re-examining. acknowledgments or dedication. and recognizing the mediation involved. Wright seems to be making an effort to niove Menchu back in:o tlie center of the book. for panicular purposes" (Dingwaney & Mairr. They write a text knowing both thai they .a construction of social. and Wright did not translate Burgos-Debray's introduction.70 niediator. While a full exploration of this important problem would require another tliesis. It seems that we are back again with the idea of a core meaning of a text which determines the correctness of the translation. He says tliat the original text can not be forgotten becaiise "it is upon the prior test tliat our right to speak at al1 deprnds. The probleni with this statement. 246). This does not imply that anytliing goes: the text exists and restrains the readerltranslator. translation is seen as "a reading. is that it is unclear what the restraint of the original text is. Through this process of examining. so also readers can look ai their own location and see how tliat influences tlie interpretations they inake. of course. One has no autliority to disregard it and substituie for it texts of one's own composition" (White. 3 1 3). Menchu is acknowledged as the author in the English version. 1 believe it is possible to propose a way of tliinkinp about it for now. and questioning the text. The tlieorists 1 have been drawing on in tliis chapter al1 share a respect for the text. Just as the traiislator is recoynized as a person iocated in a particular culture. Benjamin and otliers seem to imply. cultural 'rea1ities'-by an individual wlio inserts herself and her work (and is embedded) in that culture in particular ways. They listen to the text and write another text almost in response to the original text from a particular location and with particular ideological ways of seeing the world. political. White articulates what Maier.

.71 are neitlier freely making up our tlieir own compositions without any regard for the text nor tliat tliere is a definite "essence"in the text to capture. Many interpretations arc possible.

Chapter Three .

Farsi? Being able to ask these questions and start thinking about tlie answers is crucial to helping students learii. Some of those questions that are difficult to ask are: how does my social location affect rny teaching? How does the emphasis on fun and light classes affect my students? What difference does it make tliat my students are leaming English. language is not seen as a transparent tool. Words are seen as having many primary meanings and as being sornewhat overdetern~ined. With traditional translation theory as a backdrop.73 In this chapter. for example. In tliis model of second language acquisition pedagogy. In the first chapter. Second. 1 argued that traditional ESL pedagogy. 1 then explored four main ideas of the translation theory I will now use to build an alternative mode1 for ESL teaching. The first was the focus on process of translation as opposed to tlie product. 1 will be drawing on the work done in the first and second cliapters to create the beginnings of an alternative model or way of thinking about teaching for ESL (and other second language) teacliers. but as a non-neutral nrayof seeing the world. instead of. language is seen as a neutral tool: teacliers are seen as technicians who only have to master tlie most scientific and supposedly neutral methods to teach English: and students are often seen as two dimensional. based in the positivistic arena of applied linpuistics is structured so that certain questions can not be asked. Third. The mimetic. Rather than . In tlie second cliriprer. Focusing on the process can lead to new ideas about differences between cultures and the nature of language. uninterested in any substantive or serious topics. isomorphic idea of translation is rejected. the nature of the relationship between the onginal and the translation is altered. ! iirst introduced traditional translation theory whicli is similar in philosophical approach to inainstream ESL pedagogy in many ways.

the translator recognizes tliat liis/lier social location will effect the reading and traiislating of the test.74 judying the translation oii liow similar it is to the original. The translator approaclies tlie original with a certain respect that recognizes that there is always a remainder. Given this. tliis is not done with the assuniption that the translator will be able to produce a perfect translation. Ayain. social location is rrcognized as sometliing tliat needs to be coiisidered when translating. In this mode1 of translation. The first reason is practical.. 1 will start to explore the implications of translation theory for ESL teaching and for tlie creation of a better model. any text. but another text which continues the life of the original. The translation is not seen as simply a copy. is seen as never completely knowable. There is always a remainder. dealing with emergencies. The translator will never be able to "cover" the whole text. The sacrosanct status of the original is questioned. the translation is explored to examine the choices translators made and to recognize the niediated nature of the text. it is easy to yet so caught up in the daily prind of preparing for classes. but particularly one from a different culture than that of the translator. the translation can expand some of the ideas in the original. and it is recognized that many readings are possible. Translation and Teaching In this Iast chapter. In addition. While working. 1 will outline five reasons why translation theory might help infom ESL teaching. Sometinies. the fourth idea explored concerns the role of the translator. etc. that teachers feel they do not have time for wliat can . but that the translator can attempt to acknowledge the iiiequalities tliat exist. Hencr. As an introduction to the body of this chapter.

75
seem like more abstract concerns. Along witli being caught up with pragmatic day-to-day issues, most ESL teachers work in a model which does not encourage reflection. Most of the places I've worked have been cost-recovery, corporate model programs where the focus is on keeping "clients" happy and keeping things fun and light. Seeing teaching as translation could give teachers a bit more space to contemplate and criticize. It gives teachers a chance to draw back from the daily work, retlect. and think about connections, and how these ideas would affect their teacliing.

The second reasoii is the parallels between ESL teachers and translators: I will mention several siniilarities Iiere. Tliey both are in a paradosical place of liaving a lot of power and not having much power at all. In the classroorn or when translating a text. they have a lot of power. However, in the real world, they are both often seen as technicians and not "anists"; they generally have a fairly low status. seen in bot11 the low payv they receive and their second class siatus versus original authors or "real" teachers, teachers of literature. Also. they both deal with expressing ideas in a new laiipuaye: tlir ESL teecher's job is to Iielp students develop tlie language to express their thoughts; the translater lias to find words for the original author to express his/her ideas. Finally, both ESL teachers and translators deal with and have to understand "the other." Translators take a text from another culture and are responsible for creatiny a translation. ESL teacliers work with a student from another culture to help them

''Technical translators rend to receive higher pay. Literary translation, by itself, would be almost impossible to make a living at. As I mentioned in the first chapter, ESL teachers in Canada who work with a board o f education or with a University or Collegc tend to be paid more; however, most ESL teachers are paid far less than public school teachers.

achieve their goals in this culture.

Third. using traiislation tlieory to explore second language teaching is appropriate because students leaming a second language are going through a process of translation. As I will argue, learning a language is more than just the process of being able to substitute one word for another:
it also involves creating a new identity. Languap students are learning to express their ideas and

thoughts in English. to create an identity in English. or to translate their identity into English. Hofhaii deals witli the issue of translatiiip her identity from Polisli into English when her farnily immigrates to Canada. She writes about the frustration of being forced to use English. a language which initially has no living connections for her. In Polish, she's intelligent, witty. alive. In English. she's dull. a bit odd and pedantic. She expresses her anger at her friends because "they caii't see through the guise. can't recognize the iight-footed dancer 1 really am. They only see this elepliaiitiiie crentiire who too often sounds as if she's making pronounceinents" (Hofhan. 1989. 1 19).

Fourth, when 1 hear a student speaking in English. 1 ofien understand that they are translating from their own language. When 1 hear a Korean student Say, "Please play your Bute continuously." 1 understand they're translating from Korean. When an Arab student writes a poetic description wlien we're practicing a TWE essay 1 understand (or think 1 do) that he's translating the rhetorical pattern from Arabic. 1 hear their English and 1 try and help them translate it into a style of English 1 believe would help them make themselves understood. My students and 1 share, in effect, the role of the translater. 1 hear them translate and guess at what

77
they iiiean. They rely on me. to some degree. for information of the effect of the particular word or sentence or intonation in English.

Finally. theories on translation and on teaching depend. to a large degree. on how language is
seeii. If words are seen as having a core meaning which is fixed, and if language is seen

primarily as representatioiial. then translation, as well as teaching, is an essentially neutral task of decoding the meaning of one language and re-coding it into another. This view of language is both pervasive and persuasive in translation and teaching. Alternatively. if we beiieve that "the meaning of a word is its use within a language game. where meanings can change with almost every use to which a word is put" (Corson. 1997. 176). and we believe language is not representatioiial but (soinewhrit) indeterminrite and imbued with power, thm translation and learning a language are not neutral. Translatiny a test and learning a languap becorne transformaiional activities. Activities where inequalities and difference play a role.

Shared Role of Translator

Before considering in more detail the fociis on the process. the view of language, the way of seeing the student and the role of the teacher, 1 would like to develop one idea which 1 think will efkct everything else. As 1 mentioned briefly above, the role and responsibilities of the

translater are shared by both the student and the teacher. There are two reasons for this. The
first is the fact that most ESL teachers in North America have studcnts who speak many languages and are from many different countries. It is impossible for them to knoa about al1 of

There are also (possible) diftèrences in age. the transiator's space is also class organized (Spivak. O we must rely on our students to do thrir share of the translating role. one niiglit ask about the role of the Korean teacher teachiny Englisli to Koreûn students. differences in language and culture are not the only differences teachers and students experience. race. gender. as a teacher. Certainly. Do they still share the role of translator with their students? They have intimûte knowledge of both English and Korean. Given the immense econoniic and cultural power that English and English speaking countries have. 186). Maier describes the translator as having a foot in each culture/language she is translating to and from. Spivak recoynizes that when shr ackiiowledpes tliat for a translator. detailed knowledge of their own cultures and languages. The implication of these differences is a recognition that 1. etc. Given this argument. Ellsworth (1 989) has written about the danger of assuming that students will be cornfortable talking about such issues in the (non-neutral) classroom. can never have complete . student and teacher are also separated by the inequalities of the role of teacher and student. sexual orientation. In addition to speaking the language. and they usually have quite a bit of knowledge about English and cultures where English is spoken. In addition to al1 of the differences which we experience. or the Canadian teacher who has lived in Korea for years and speaks the language fluently. ethnicity. obviously.78 the different cultures of tlieir students in detail. they have an advantage over the non-bilingual teacher: Iiowever. speaking the language is not enough. ESL students have. non8nglish speakers Iiave had to acquaint themselves with the dominant power. ESL teachers in North America can not have our feet in both Our culture and language and the cultures and languages of al1 our students. Iiowrver. 1992.

they just want to have fun. Even with students who are similar to us. tlierefore. diminished way. this does not irnply that we can not make generalizations about groups of students. For example. as Young (1 997) argues. Assuming we can know our students so well is dangerous because it is more likely we will not be able to recognize when difference doss occur. and do. Of course.) leads to seeing them in a very uni-dimensional.29). This recognition of the inability to "fuse" with another does not mean there is a fail~re. we can never see things frorn Our students eyes. Making sweepiny assumptions about Our students (such as. The generalizations we make help us teach. they must share the translating role with us. One of the niain implications is the realization that we can not assume we know what stiidents are like or what rhey waiit. and Exploring some of the implications of seeing Our students as CO-translators as ultimately opaque is important because 1 believe this recognition will help make us better teachers and also help ocir students leam. that will show it as the humbling. disconcerting experience translation can bcW(Maier. they wouldn't be interested in that subject. We can.79 knowledge of my student. we n~ust recognize that we can never completely understand a student and that.~' means that teachers need to it be prepared to share their role with the students and realize the limitations of their own knowledge. Because of the asymmetrical relations of power between two people and the fact that our positions are made up through interaction with others. .. etc. always a remainder. There is. 1 know tliat many Arabic students have a hard time with Iiandwriting because they have '' Maier says that "one must work to redefine expectations for translation by coming up with approaches 1995. become familiar witli groups of students from various cultures.

" or "our students don't understand why women would want to remain single. Wliat it does imply is that Our clioices have implications. to some extent. It does not iniply that we can not make certain choices about what to study or what approach to take. . Also. what kind of answers we will receive. they just want to have fun. Obviously. they are not neutral. given the huge difference between spoken and written Arabic and differences in rlietoric. We liave to rerneniber that the questions we ask will determine. Japanese students (and most other Asian students) will have problems distinpuishing and pronouncing the letters I and r properly. We risk conîlating our students' Eiiglish ability with their wliole self. students sometimes do not feel con~fortable expressing tlieir complaints. However. Wliat we can do is try and remain open to comrnents students do make. We have based them on our ideas of our students. these types of generalizations are extremely useful to us as teachers. We assume too inucli kiiowledge. Recognizing our inability to know exactly wlio our students are does not imply paralysis on our part. We need to recognize that they will not necessarily agree and that we might or might not hear about their reactions to Our assumptions and choice of material.to train themselves to write "backwards" in English." we go too far. they will need a lot of Iielp leaming about the "standard" English way of organizing a paragraph. when we start extending the statements to more substantive and moral pronouncements like "Asian studems can't think critically" or "that's too serious for our students. In addition.

Angela Carter. 1993. and yet this is rarely the place from which ESL pedagogy begins" (Schenke. As Maier. if a translation is overly strange or "foreign-sounding. the teacher's job is to ensure the student "' 1 think Schenke makes this point in a slightly different way when she stresses that teachers have to recognize that "students corne to classrooms already knowing. 1 was able to understand her decision because she felt cornfortable enough to tell me why she had said what she said.81 Another in~plication seeing the student as co-translater is. who advocated foreignizing translations in order to draw attention to the difference in them. 1995. In the case of Ji-Hae. and other translators point out.) (Venuti. 1989. This is not always the case. 643). 1993. This idea of respecting students' drcisions does not irnply that whatever the students decide to do in the classroom is fine. we recognize the role of students as co-iranslators. Venuti ( 1995) writes about how Paul Blackburn translated Julio Cortazar's work through a combination o f maintaining some difference (by using many Spanish words in the text) and writing a fluent translation.267). the woman who apologized before her presentation. also sees the value of using fluent translations sometimes. If. as teachers. The acceptance o f Latin American fiction in English opened up a larger space for experimentation (for authors such as.'~ respect cornes through in Maier's argument that taking a This risk by using non-standard English (such as using i ) may be justified if she is willing "to accept the poet a [sic] a women [sic] whose word is capable of orienting its own (and my) translation" (Maier.166). Donald Bartheleme. etc. .. He says that "Blackburn's translations smuggled Conazar's fiction into Anglo-American culture under the fluent discourse that continues to dominate English-language translation" (Venuti. a deep respect for students of and for the decisions they rnal~e.54). '* Even theorists like Venuti. 1 believe. it means we might not understand or agree with the decisions they make with the language." people might not listen? If a student makes a decision to use a strange plirase or a rheiorical device not used in English.

292). However. 1988. the teacher has to respect that decision. This focus is helpful. Students need to have access to "standard languap. so anything that gives us time to sit back and think about the process is valuable. . that writinp a sentence like "I wish I could be a teacher like you" will conie across as childlike in English." but thry also need critical knowledge of that "standard" lanyuage. and they still choose to use it. for tlie simple reason that most teachers tend to get caught up in the product rather than the process.296). for example. Another student might need to know.. the theorists 1 examined move beyond a simple call to consider proccss for the sake of process. tliey must also be helped to leam about the arbitrariness of those codes and about the power relationships they represent (Delpit. They call for the translater to write about the actual experience of translating because it will make translation visible. "pretending that gatekeeping points don't exist is to ensure that many students will not pass through hem" (Delpit. If a student is aware of tlie impact a word or way of speaking will likel y have. There are limits to this respect which 1 will discuss later. Delpit explains 1 suggest that students must be raughf the codes needed to participate fully in the mainstream of American life. Process 1 will now consider tlie rmpliasis that translation theory places on the process of translation.and that even while students are assisted in leaming the culture of power. as 1 mentioned above. expose inequalities and O ' As Delpit points out. 1988.knows the Iikely interpretation of lier decision.." Ji-Hae needs to know that native English speakers might be quicker to dismiss her if she starts her presentation with an apology.

teacl~erstend to be silent about their choices and decisions in the classroom. As Sclienke points out. This is similar to the view in translation theory which recognizes that every translation is a kind of transformation. but to engage with them.s). this mode1 encourages teachers to verbalize their choices and rationales to their students. 1995). Teaching a second language could also be a place CO expose inequali ties and di fferences. As well as recopniziiig the non-neutral or political nature of teaching. Anotlier important way is to be more open in the classroom. Like most translators. the evidence of mediation. Levine (1 992). providing a direction involves a moral and political standpoint as to what knowledges are io be valued in tems of learning and teaching. How should ESL teaclirrs expose or explore these inequalities and differences? Researching and writing articles in scholarly journals about Iiow teaching can reinforce or challenge inequality is one important way. stress the need not to shy away from sexist texts. Just as the act of translating . the gaps. for example. challenge them and write about the experience of translating them. 1996. neutral decisions made by professionals wlio know how people learn a language. Maier ( 1989. demonstrate the creative role of the translator. and Chamberlain (1 992). If we reject the idea of neutrality. teachers and students have io realize that there is no form of teaching that is apolitical.83 differences between cultures/languages. It is not as thougli there is a 'political' and 'non-political' (or neutral) way of doing cumculum or teaching (Schenke. Venuti urges the symptomatic reading of translations to find the inconsistencies. like al1 curriculuni decisions. probably lagely because the decisions are perceived to be apolitical. and be a valuable space in which to explore cultural difierences and spaces betwern languages.

84 should become visible. It might mean admitting that we do not know the absolutely best way of iearning a language. Sharing reasons and rationales witli students is sometimes frightening because it involves more thinking. they might have something to teach other people working in applied linguistics. If ESL teachers are seen as (CO) translators who work with tlieir students. will always be able to identify a particiilar decision. See . in the space in-between cultures and languages. planning and leaving oneself vulnerable. but also by our personal experiences as teachers and leamers. Being able to explain our choices Iielps us as teachers think through what we are doing in a thorough maiiner. Being explicit will also not guarantee that the students will agree with the teacher or that tliey won7 rver feel manipulated. "' Pennycook ( 1989). and spaces between cultures and languages. at least to some degree. He deconstructs the notion that "methods" reaily exist. inequalities. as teachers. working from a space "in-between" might have interesting things to learn about differences. to the degree that tlie teacher tries to share the reasons for lier choicrs. Jt also gives Our students more knowledge about us and our ideas about education and second languûge Irmrning. the possibility of a non-coercive space is created. Being open does not guarantee that we. and by our instinct. so too should the act of teaching. however. One other idea that ESL might borrow from translation theory is tlie notion that translators. It might mean accepting and acknowledging that we are not working with a particular set of principles from a scientific methodP2but that we are influenced not only by Our professional training and readinp. This is particularly salient if the teacher remembers she is sharing her role as translator with the student. certain decisions we make are not conscious.

and connected to identity. 1989. critical pedapgy. Both Venuti and Spivak. Words are over-detrrmined and are "always the site of a range of semantic possibilities" (A. meanings and are not neutral. for exarnple. then we must talk about these ditlierences in our ESL class. a-ued tliat the overriding style of current English language translation to translate the piece into tluent. It is important for us. in the translation theory explored in the last chapter. Mainstream ESL. involving inequalities. Maier addresses this point when slie talks about the danger of writing a poem that no one will read. as teachers. as 1 argued in my first chapter. standard English hides differences from the reader. However. Benjamin. not only to help our students achieve some control over standard language. language is not seen as transparent and neutral. these is theorists stress that "standard" lang~iage not nrutral. In addition to rejecting the notion of language as a kind of label. cultural studies. If we recognjze that standard language is not neutral and we believe tliat pan of the job of an ESL teacher is to try and uncover differences and inequalities.second language acquisition. sees language as neutral and sees language learning as beneficial. However. They have many primas. etc. but as political. Words are not easily excliangeable and do not have a core unitary meaning surrounded by add-on connotational meanings. the concem for markinp difference and inequality is also balanced by a concem for acceptability. but also to give students information on the powers . 35).

In fact. By noi addressing the controversy around this issue. etc. a presentation. wlien students corne across overtly or covertly racist words or phrases like gook. Equally important. or even if it is seen as a problem. again both to combat the racism in the language (and culture) and to explore the power that language has. cg.. for example. bluck mccgicB lu bc gypped. standard rhetorical patterns and conventions surrounding language in. nred io be addressed in a critical way. Similarly. i t States that students must use non-sexist language. . the discussion could be extended to hou: the students' languages deal with this problem. it is crucial to point out where these words corne from and and what racist slurs they carry. and supporting a sexist viewpoint in our language. If they are presented in a non-critical way. For a concrete example of giving students information about language think of the example. ihcy or simply using she can make quite an impact on the reader. The discussion could be funher extended to talk about efforts to make other parts of the language less sexist. this particular piece of "standard" English has become non-standard and almost a r c l ~ a i c . cited in the first chapter.Studrnts should know that this issue has been talked about for quite some time ~~ and that choosing anions he. In addition to talking about how English deals with this issue. replacing words like chc<irmanwith chuirperson or choir. dhc. of the TOEFL book which teaches students to use hr when they do not know the gender of the person speaking or acting.that shape the language and help them develop their own critical abilities. hr or she. we are both presenting language as if it never changes. "'In the OISE/UT handbook on guidelines for theses and orals.

Tliere could be some exploration on how slie could espress her (Korean) sense of self while not alienating her audience. Her knowledge of ways that standard language is produced give her more autonomy to make decisions about how to present herself. for example. It is important to have soiiir acknowledgment of how people view presentations and apologies di fferently. Being told that she had done the wrong thing and that she should never apologize before a presentation is not good enough. She also could have drcided to drop the apology completely or to use it without explanation. introduced herself in both English and Koreaii and apologized in Korean. it is important to critique that notion of standard. Wlien i worked with Elizabeth. way of doing things. it could leave more room for students to compare it to their ways of doing a presentation. apologiziiig and considering the view of self which prevails in each culture could lead to a better understanding for both student and teacher. It couid lead to some exploration of some of the differences between languages and cultures and how students will negotiate these differences. white English culture.87 there is a danger that they will be presented as if tliat particular way is rhc way to do things. Think again of Ji-Hae's apology before her presentation. I attempted to strike a balance between working on a standard style of writing while . that's the standard way to do presentations in Englisli. etc. If the teacher acknowledges that this particular way of doing a presentation is the way it is done in middle class. for example. not just the EngiisWntiddle cluss/ white. However. the wonian who dropped out of lier low intermediate ESL class. Yes. The exploration of cultural nornis around present ing. slie rnight have introduced herself and her presentation with an apology and an explanation of the apology. Aiternatively. She could have.

88 acknowledginp its limitations. there seemed to be many interesting ideas. Reading her prose was more like reading poetry. we worked on a basic five paragraph essay. Elizabeth was Iiad a voici: and was able io espress her own ideas. she learned about a basic English pattern of organization.63 1 ). but also c m alter the identity of the original. at least at tliis level. Maier reminds us of the importance of considering a balance when shr tells us that "to refuse to entertain the complexities of translation. As we worked on this organizational pattern. We talked about the differences between good writing in English and in Chinese. Language and Identity Anotlier idea that 1 esplored in the previoiis cliapter is the idea thût language is connected witli identity and that the act of translating does not only produce a text with a different identity. The main idea explored in the second chapter concerning identity is that a translation transforms a text. 1989. not as an end. but it was very difficult to make much sense of it. her written English was at quite a low level. either by subsurning the poet in the translater's voice (arrogance or excess agression) or by giving her too strong a voice of her own (rscess compassion) is to render her [the original author] speechless and iiivisiblr in the nrw langiiage" (Maier. Recall the example about Freud where . Although Elizabeth had an extensive (and esoteric) vocabulary. When she was preparing to take an English test to be admitted to Sheridan college. 1 stressed that this was one of the basic patterns which was used as a jumping off point. She felt free to criticize and expressed hrr surprize that English writinp. was so unsubile. She learned how to write a basic pattern. Rather than hearing she was a poor writer.

where the original text itsel f becomes a work . the '" Niranjana (1992) and Maier ( 1 989 & 1995) do warn us that we need to be careful when translating that we don't obliterate tlie differences in the original text. Wlien people learn new languages. discussed and interpreiedY The best example of this is probabl y Joyce's translation of Finncgcrn Y Wuke. our nationality. In ternis of the identity of a test.' in progress and the translation takes the identity of the original and develops and changes it. one could talk about the identity of the author that cornes through that text. when Graves translated Suetonius's The Twclve Caesurs. Before I go on to talking about tlie identity ohtudents. 1 need to clarify the analogy I am making between the ideiitity of a text and tlie identity of a penon. as the original text losing a vital component. In terms of the identity of a person. this has been seen only negatively. Similarly." etc. like the medicalized Freud. spiritualist Freud in German. whereas Bettleheim reads a more humanistic. The notion that the translation can develop the original is liberating for the translater and means that the original text is still vital because it is being read. the text that emerges is quite different from the original. language is connected with identity.Bettleheim argues that in English. Tlirre are three points of similarity tliat 1 want to focus on here for the sake of my argument. Freud's ideas seem medicalized and scientificized. First. When texts are translated. Second. they are transforrned. The intention of the piece has completely changed. The two are not always the same kind of thing. tliey leam new ways of being aiid thinking. or one could talk about the over al1 meaning of the text. our "personality. . one could also talk about different kinds of identities: we identify ourselves by Our profession. In traditional translation theory.

friends.. She describes some of the process of learning Mg mother says I'm becoming '*English". Another clear example of tliis cornes from Hofiman.identity of both the text and persoii already contains difference in the original. This hum me. they can both be "read" in different ways... As they learn English. Third. it seenis clear that our studrnts are in a process of constructing (with our help) their identity in English. 1 ieam this from a teacher uho.. but also rheir family. Language. can alter their original identity. because l'ni standing too close. and often their professional training. 1 989. or fourth) language can be very fmstrating. In the new language.1 learn my new reserve froni people who take a step back when we talk. There is not only one translation possible. Not only do you "'This is particularly tlie case for immigrants and retùgees who give up not only tiieir language ability. tliis implies that learning a language can be connected to creating an identity and that an "English" identity can reflect the students' original identity.. competent adult6' and revert back to childhood. you make mistakes. . etc. The Guatemalan Mayans rejected the change in identity tliat learning English seemed to entail.. or at least provide difièrent ways of thinking about it. express your ideas in a simplified way. You feel as if you have to give up your identity as a successful. Ideiitity and Students In ESL teaching. Their "subject positions" are not fixed and unitary. 146) Learning a second (or third. because 1 know she means Im ' becoming colder. tells me to "sit on my hands and then try talkiny.. after contemplating the gesticulations with which 1 help niyself describe the digestive system of a frog. (Hoffman. Learning English for Hoffman was a process of developing a different identity.l'm learning to be less demonstrative.

after all. You're expected to start obeying customs which are not your own. The professors were uncomfortable being called "Doctor so-and-so. then what we're asking students to do in the classroom has a real impact. uncritical. Students will construct their identities in different ways. She mentioned one exercise where students were supposed to talk about the qualitieç they wanted in a husband or wife. just as translators' foreignize their translations in order to alert the listener to the fact that they are not (in this case) a Canadian.91 have to revert back to childliood. he and tlie professors reached an agreement. an Iranian student in a class at OISE. felt frustrated in class by the exercises she was asked to do. Ali. Recall tlie example of Byung Kuk who. you also have to revert back to a childhood of another culture. we risk not recognizing the importance of what they are doing. If learning a languaye is connected to translating identity. he was like a child in English. As a wornan who was espioriny the possibilities of being bisexual or a lesbian at the time. This feeling of frustration can be exacerbated by infantalizing activities and the low expectations ESL students often have to cope witli. 1 made a similar decision. she felt niztrginalized in class. a Mexican student. They might choose (sometimes unconsciously) to foreignize their English." but agreed that he could cal1 them Professor so-and-so. Carolina. was very uncomfortable addressing the professors by their first names. although frustra~ed the silly topics he by had to discuss. resigned himself to accepting them because. infantalizing tasks. I could not bring myself to use the teml . By asking ihem to do simple. In the end. When 1 was learning Japanese.

She explained that in Japanese. a female Korean student who started using the word w m y n in her writing. There are additional words that people use when thankiny which Vary according to fomality: arigc7io. They are thanking someone and apologizing for the tirne the other person spent on tliem. It didn't fit my (albrit rudinieniary ) idrnti ty in Japanese. For exaniple. she commented on the respect the Japanese show to the aged that she felt was severely lacking in Canada. Althouyh slie said she would never teel comfortable doing that in Japanese.suimasrn (meaning T m sonylthank YOU") when 1 wanted to expressing thanks. Slie wote an anicle for the school paper about the experience of visiting a seniors home in Toronto.szrirnr~. At the sarne tirne. Sung Hee. Altematively. a female Japanese student. the Japanese use the word suimcrsrn in two very different circumstances: when they are excusing theinselves or apologizing. One of the stranpst things for her was using the resident's first name. it is very common for people to use both suimusen and arigato at the same time. a r i w o gozuimasu. From my observation. 1 choose not to use . 1 used more neutral (to me) crrigulo or d g u t o gozuimusti al1 the tirne. and when they are saying thank you. took some of what she leamed in . However. it led her to think about both the more intimate talk slie felt she was able to have with the resident and lier own feelings about older people. students may find that adopting "Enplish" ways of speaking gives them a vantage point from whicti to view tlieir own cultures. used lier experience learning Englisli to reflect critically on both Japanese and Canadian culture. a younger person would always use a honourific terin when speaking to a person that much older than she. Keiko.ssen because 1 felt unconifortable apologizing instead of thanking. The students were paired up with a resident and spent an afternoon talking.

In addition. My own experience leaming about the much more flexible and context dependent 1 that exists in Japaneseo'%elped me to reflect on the absurdity of the English concept of self which is never changine. this rnodel acknowledges that leaming a new language could involve a shift in identity. that it is never possible to completely "cover" or know the text. pronouns are simply dropped. There are two other ideas about students I would like to explore.. as well as the difficulty the translator from another culture. They Vary in degree of formality and politeness. In ternis of teaching English as a Second Language. time. you can use your role in the f%ii~ily (Daughter am/is here) or in the workplace (Teacher want/s you to be quiet). the teacher must recognize that she can never know her students completely. there is always a remainder.93 English to look at Korean language and identity. that they c m tell their '"'The pronoun "I" can be espressed in three diftèrent ways for women and five for men. Ofien times. substantive topics. and individual. One of the most important ideas explored in the last chapter was a realization. She told me about how her awareness of sexist language in English gave her a place to reconsider some of the sexist implications of Korean vocabulary. on the pan of the translator. there is a recognition that the text will always yield other interpretations. in n~ainly. and interested. The first is one 1 have explored in the tirst part of the essay: our students will remain somewhat opaque to us. As Maier points oui. See Kondo (1990) for further exploration of this idea. Given the recognition of difference and instability in the original text. insiead of using a pronoun. that there will always be a remainder. always unique. having fun. and place has in understanding. unwilling to demonstrate my sustained interest. Unlike mainstreani ESL pedagogy which seeins to see ESL students as uninterested in any serious. ' .

1991. or see the world from another's point of view. They point out that Menchu's fiçht is to encourage us to identify with her agenda. There is a community garden where neighbors plant corn or beans or whatever side by side. but not imagine that we are her. we risk closing off differen~e. And how it is done. il). The danger is in searching for these similarities. the problem is compounded. And what it supports.3 16). Schenke expresses the idea of rejectinp fusion while still listening and supponing: 1 cannot.history a different way. Venuti (1992 & 1995) and others recognize the dangers of assuming you can fuse with another penon. Maier (1 989). Recall the work done by Niranjana (1992) who argued that the English translators of a vucunu read the poem as already incorporating Christian ideas of God when. and that we need to leave room in Our readinp of people to allow them to change it. As 1 argued with the help of Young (1997).~' we end up appropriating the pain of others Or or imposing Our values on the foreign or other person or text. What 1 can leam is that your struggle is beinp made. "1 live down the street from what 1 consider to be the prettiest park .. Almost like Rigobena Menchu's community"(Dingwaney Br Maier. yet different from my own... to stand in your place." Both Young (1997) and Boyd (1 996) emphasize that the great danger in seeking similarity or universal values is that the person with the dominant viewpoint will end up imposing their values on a situation thinking that they are imposing universal values. When you add the additional differences and inequalities of cultural differences and (sometimes) radically different language abilities. the translater rnust look for similarities. 1 can leam from the pedagogy of your talking back as you c m l e m from mine (Schenke. And how wliat it supports. in fact. it did not. and clioose not. 1995. perhaps not even beside you. ' l n . no-one c m ever know another completely. lt includes a big rose garden with 300 types o f roses. "? Dingwaneg and Maier (1995) give an example from a letter from one o f their students living in a middle class suburb who seemed to nor recognize difference. In attempting to fuse with another person or become like the author. cornplicitous. is similar.

with "No. and it dawned on me that the problem was one of language." I told him 1 felt hurt. Assuming al1 students "'just wanna have fun" and are not interested in any topics of substance is dangerous. we must recognize that al1 assumptions we niake about our students have to be provisionary. our friendship became mucli more corn fortable. I became frustrated with a friend of mine (who spoke little English at the time) because almost every time 1 invited him to do something. he responded. wrt do go into the classroorn with certain assuinptions: it is not possible to enter a class (or translate a text) in a neutral way. Assuming Our studeiits need English to free tliemsrlves is also dangerous. an excuse.If we accept that we only ever have partial knowledge of our students. Obviously. 1 tauglit Iiim a k w stock phrases which he incorporated. In addition. From that time on. lf they do say something. I esplained that in English. 1989. pi~eii power the teaclier lias in the classroom and as a speaker of [lie English. Assuming al1 Asian students can not understand what it is like to want to remain a single woman is dangemus. Assuming everyone in our class likes English and North American culture is dangerous. simply. '" l am reminded of a personal example. "acting as if our classroom were a safe place in which democratic dialogue was possible and happening did not make it so" (Ellsworth. she has to realize tliat her students might not feel cornfortable revealinp too n~uch her. Assuming Our ESL students do not have the ability think critically is dangerous. if invited to do something. the invitee should always give appreciation for the invitation. to As Ellsworth says about her own experience. 3 15). However. As ESL teachers we need to be even more vigilant because Our students do not always have the language they need to express tlieir ideas. and show some interest in doing something at a more convenient tirne. they may corne across as rudew or blunt because the' do not know how to express their ideas in the typical middle-class way of asking. He said that he had been very busy. . what 1 am aquing here is that we need to be as open as possible.

. Being aware of differences includes more than simply being aware of the differences between whole cultures and languages. Le. Both Levine and Maier talk about the problem of translating misogynistic texts. Just as translators are aware of differences and inequities. race. 1992. grnder. They must become independent. teachers need to engage with and question students if tliey are acting in a discriminatory fashion. should also be aware of otlier inequities.71). to make available texts that raise difficult questions and open perspectives. 1989. They argued that texts shouldn't be rejected because of offensive characteristics. but neither should the feminist/anti-racist translator be silenced. etc. They include: "as women. as Latinas. as mestizas or Latin Arnerican.. Maier ralks about how she manages both to give voice to various antagonistic work and to engage with them and question them: The translater's quest is not to silence but to give voice. The translator is aware of the differences and inequalities between different cultures and languages and wants to highlight them. The translator. sexual orientation.The second idea that I want to explore rnay seem contradictory because 1 will argue that although the student must be respected as a CO-translator. Maier writes about the multiple subjectivities and oppressions Latinas have to deal with. and then again as memben of the individual ethnic groups witliin that terni" (Maier. so too ESL teachers are aware of differences and inequalities. It is essential that as translators women get under the skin of both antagonistic and sympathetic works.but also speak with the111 and place them in a larger context by discussing them and the process of translation (Maier in Chamberlain. 626). "resisting" interpreters who do not only let antagonistic works speak. We know that some people will judge our students solely by the . then. 1t is also an awareness of differences witliin cultures. The theorists I explored in the last chapter emphasized the need to make translation visible and to talk about translation by exploring the process in order to highlight the differences and inequalities between cultures..

particularly those who are refugees and immigrants. we talk with them about the perception that other people might have of tliein.'' Given this acknowledgment and rejection of this form of discrimination. . we comrnunicate with other people about the unfaimess of being judged by language ability.way they speak.. she must also be prepared to address comrnents made by her students. ESL students should not be silenced. We realize that our students. Just as students need to know histories of words and racist/sexist meanings of common words. "it is I who will have to learn to live with a double vision . 7 1 ).." Schrnke iiisists the Mexican student wlio. Howrver. 133). we try and give them tools both to improve their English ability and strategies to communicate. '' There is little support for this in Language schools at the moment. We deal with this in a number of ways: we ourselves struggle to remember that their English does not equal their person. 123) ' O As Hoffman says when she reaIizes that to her classrnates. necessitates a pedagogical response willing to engage precisely in the site of conflict and contradiction rather than glossing it over (Schenke. in the same moment of speaking.. have to learn to function in a different world. the teacher's quest is not to silence but to hrlp students develop tlieir voicr. 1989.1 have been dislocated from my own center of the world. Also ESL teachers' training does not address these issues. so too do oppressive statements need to be addressrd. 1991. teachers too can be "independent and 'resisting' interpreters" (Maier in Chamberlain. drvcloping a voice does not niean teachers simply supply grammatical correction. proudly addresses his ancestry of lndian resistance to Spanish colonization and his resentment of black people's 'laziness'. Poland will never be the center of the universe. If the teaclirr is open and attempting to become awûre of tliose differences herself. as ESL teachers. we. 1992. and that world has been shifted away from my centre" (Hoffman. also need to be aware of other kinds of discrimination.

Teachers Given the ideas developed in the last section. it is obvious that tlie role of the teacher is far more than merely a neutral language technician. Their decisions are not neutral. The original message is not something independent of the form or lanyuage and culture it is written in. sexual orientation. Teachers do have a responsibility. they're in-between cultures. 1 would like to argue that teacliers need to considrr tlie effect of tlieir social location on their students and their pedagogical decisions. to intervene when oppressive statements are made. though. we are differentially enabled/constraining or disenabledkonstrained in relation to . This means that the student has equal responsibility and that the teachers need to recognize that responsibility. gender. And by this. This idea can be linked with the idea that there is no core self devoid of race. Another idea 1 have argued for is that teachers need to be open about their pedagogical decisions. Finally. ethnicity. etc. The words and text contain many readings. It also means tliat students will make choices that we won't necessarily understand or agree with. An important point that translation theorists try to make is that there is no essential core or platonic idea of a text hovering somewhere above or behind the text. One of the first things 1 have argued is that the teacher and the student share the translator's role. Together. but are based on our assumptions about learning a language and about our students. As Boyd argues. class. The language and the content are together. "both Our experience of the social world and our interactions within it are already 'alignedg for us insofar as we are unavoidably members of groups (in Young's sense).

in some cases. tliey hoped that the students would be able to read the text and recognize themsrl\~es a subjects also made up of various conflicting and di ffering group as nieniberships whicli intluences their reading. in this case by both an ethnographer and a translator. Dingwaney and Maier (1 995) use the awareness that 1. Nor do 1 want to imply that people who belong to the category womun or working ciuss have some son of privileged access to the truth and people who don't belong in this category can not speak. 1997. Nrither Dingwaney and Maier nor the other theorists are suggesting tliat it is simple to trace the influences of social location. When the cateyory of "wonian" is shared by genetically and in sonie cases biologically male people who identify as transgendered women. If our interactions are already aligned because of our membership in groups. 1 do not want to propose the adoption of some kind of rigid identity politics'! for ESL teachers. For one thing. Being a woman. very large. nor that belonging to a particular group will necessitate certain re-actions. for example. Similarly. Maier and Dingwaney acknowledp that when thinking about Burgos-Debray's involvement: they continually doubled back on their assuniptions and thouylit about different ways to interpret her involvement. to get the students to realize that those mediating bad read and interpreted the text as people influenced by their belonging to particular groups and categories. we must consider how Our membership might affect our decisions and how our students see us. Through thinking about and questioning the decisions both BurgosDebray and Wright made. . Rigobenu McnchU had been mediated. it is a large and uncertain category.20). does not cause me to write in a certain way.99 each other" (Boyd. the concept o f a 'group' is fuuy and.

any attempt to understand my social relation lllll~f include these markers of difference because they are so systemically determinant of both our identities and our life prospects as persons" (Boyd. the usual categories include: gender. "these group categories dp shape my social experience.. . as an ESL teacher. "the status of a languoge in the world is what one must consider when teasing out '"ee Boyd ( 1 997) for a deeper exploration of social location.However.. the International language. being a woman is part of who 1am. 1997. in this case 1 believe it is important. ethnicity.74 just of the lariguage my students want to l e m . '" Another distinction that could be explored is the distinction between native speaker of English and non-native speaker of English and the assumption that a native speaker is preferable. need to recognize the not power that I have as a native speaker. Both mainstream second language pedagogy and traditional translation theory opente as if the particular language being discussed is not important. As Boyd says. 1. As Spivak says. However. race. Indeed. the theorists I have been exploring stress that the languages and the inequalities of the languages are important. 16). an important addition for the second language teacher is to consider the language being taught. the language people of'ten feel they need or are forced to leam. and even more so. that of others. sexual orientation. the whole notion tliat people can speak with authority of what or wlio a "native speaker" actually is seems problematic. When talking about social location. but of English. In addition to thinking about al1 of these areas. . class. Although this is not normally one of the categories u ~ e when~ d ~ tnlking about social location. Being a white middle class able bodied heterosexual English speaking woman will influence how I teach and will influence how my students see me. ableness..

Although ESL teachers tend to act as if students have chosen to l e m English. The Guatemalan Mayans lefi their ESL class choosing instead to focus their energy on leming Quiche rather than English. jobs. As is clear from the examples cited in the first chapter. 1 have worked with immigrants taking free ESL classes sponsored by the Federal povemment. the students liad two classes a week on job skills. Afrer doing sorne research and drawing on my experience and friends' experience looking for work. ln the past. because of immigration. The class was moderately successful.). 189). As someone in a mainly privileged position. but 1 became frustrated with the attitude of some of rny siudents. 1 have to recognize that 1 benefit from my position. the language being learned can make quite a difference to the leamer. that 1 might be reluctant to give those privileges up and that my position might be less visible to myself. they have to study English (for univenity. . making cold calls. 1 tried to focus on building contacts. 1 might end up treating my students like they are in tlie same position 1 am. free version of choice that we assume. 1 decided to design tlie course to focus mainly on accessing the hidden job market rathrr than focusing only on resumes and newspaper ads. Many students feel they have little choice. etc. Along witli a skills based curriculum. A few of my students had complained that they had experienced racism when looking for work. If 1 am iiot aware of my location. An exampie miglit Iielp illustrate my point. etc. Many of my students had come from countries where they had been assigned jobs and hadn't had the experience of searching for them. we need to recognize that the notion of "choice" operating here is not quite the open. I was in charge of that pan of the course. 1992.101 the politics of translation" (Spivak. that they were told they needed Canadian experience. developing persistence.

1 still would have included many of the classes and workshops on certain skills that 1 had originally planned. 1 began to realize. 1 could have brought in one or two puest speakers who were theniselves immigrants and who could have talked about the difficulties in working in Canada as immigrants. 1 should have included more discussions led by studeiits on the obstacles immigrants face. young woman influenced my assumptions and the way I responded to the class or how my social location would influence Iiow my students perceived and received my actions. middle-class. educated. we talked about two goals: a shon term goal and a long . Nothing in rny training or reading in traditional ESL theory addressed tliis kind of issue. My reaction at the time was a mixture of acceptance. 1 might have tried to incorporate a more critical approach to al1 of the workshops. or how this makes it difficult for immigrants who are ofien in a catch-27. native-English speaking. frustration and anger. near the end of my time tliere. Simply assuming my students would be like me was not helpful. In a number of the workshops. what would 1 have done differently in the classroom? 1 think 1 miglit have done a number of things. etc. therefore no job. If 1 had considered how my social location miyht be interpreted by my students. therefore no Canadian experience. always leaving time for some discussion about who tends to benefit because of this situation.no Canadian experiencr. as well as tlie choices they made. that 1 had not sufficiently considered hou? my social location as white. but 1 wanted to move on and focus on wliat they could do. 1 thought that 1 had acknowledged the difficulty that they would face. Some of them felt they had bren misled by consulate in their countries and wouldn't have immigrated if they had known how difficult it was to find good work in Canada.1 02 that tlieir credentials werr wonhless.

Since eveii the idea of seriously thinking about ethnocentrism and cultural differences (in a real. Given that the issue raised merited only 15 minutes of discussion in a staff meeting. sexism.term goal. 1997. not in the superficial. "failinp to locate inyself in the sense of group embeddedness warps the nature of my performative moral engagement with others tliat is necessary for educational discourse" (Boyd. 24). simply bringing the idea up in a 15 minute discussion would be useless. "consider how your social location might have caused our Asian students to cornplain" would also not have been helpful. The solution to this probleni seemed only to woid controversial issues. tell us what kind of food you eat way) is so foreign to many people. Teachers would have felt like they were being accused of racism and would have reacted negatively. we realize how ridiculous the idea of leaving ourselves outside actually is. including ESL teachers. but that it does harm. Dealing with issues of racism. conflict and . there was not really any other solution possible. Obviously a simple direction like. Boyd argues not only that it is impossible. We talked about getting a survival job. Another example tliat I mentioned in the first chapter concerned accusations of racism towcirds Asian students and preferential treatment to the European students. He says. When we accept that we can't leave our group identities behind because they have already formed Our identities. to "be careful" and perliaps to leave ourselves outside of the classroom. 1988. and we talked about ways of choosing a survival job which might eventually lead to their choice of a long term job.292). deep way. homophobia. Delpit reminds us that not teaching students skills they need to succeed is unfair to students (Delpit. Only focusing on the negative is not helpful. Students need access to the kind of job search skills that most (middle-class) Canadians have if the)! are to compete.

What it does imply is that teachers need to be aware of their location and consider how it might affect their class. humbling job. Starting to deal with these issues would mean a cornmitment of tinie where teacliers could talk about their experiences in the classroorn. In addition to the importance of thinking about one's social position. whether they be certificate or diplorna. demanding.1O4 controversy is extremely difficult. The translation tlieorists rejected the hierare!-ka1 positioning of autlior as supreme. it is also clear from the above examples that teachen need time to consider how conflict and controversy "fitb'into the prognm and how they can be handled constructively in the classroom. and receive encouragement. When I'm trying to explain tlie difference between tlie simple past and the present perfect. 1 will not be thinking about my social location. hear from others about issues of discrimination. The final point that translation theory makes is that the job of the translator is a creative. and translator as humble slave/servant. They recognize that tnnslating . pre-service or not. 1 think it is clear by these exarnples that accepting that it is important to consider social location when teaching does not lead to a strict adlierence to a particular code of behaviour. If I'm teaching a course on how to teach ESL. There are certain activities that require more thinking about social location on the teacher's part. Seriously addressing these issues would also imply that TESL courses. 1 must consider my social location because it affects how 1 teach and iny position niay not be shared. for example. need to incorporate these ideas in their curricula. Ail of thesr: issues do occur in a second languap classroom.

and creativity. difficult decisions. As shown above.1O5 involves knowledge. awareness of inequalities and difference. And it does involve creativity. awareness of social location. m s be aware of the nature of their ut work. It does invoive cultural sensitivity. cultural sensitivity. ESL teachers need to learn from translation theory and embrace their role as teachers. . difficult decisions. It is a political activity. just like translaton. a political stance. they are not simply technicians imparting value free information. They are educators wlio.

Conclusion .

Teachen share their role as 'btranslator*' with their students. The role of teacher expands from that of technician to that of educator in a wider sense. As Maier says when talking about translation. Language itself is not neutral but is a contested place where meaning is constructed. etc. However. 1 did corne up with some concrete ideas of what to do in the classroom. 1 esplored how translation theory would "translate" into ESL teaching. This is the kind of theory that promotes tliinkiiig and discussioii. 1 think it is clear from my suggestions in the tliird chapter that this particular way of thinking about ESL teaching enables the asking of many questions. questions than for answers. follow the textbooks and. the overall pedagoyy does not provide a kind of ABC lesson plan which al1 teachers can follow and arrive at the answer. Second language teachers should not simply help their students learn the standard language.In this thesis 1 have used idras from the fields of translation theov and moral philsophy to argue for a way of seeing ESL teaching that recognizes that it is not a neutral activity. It allows space for questions about social location. This \ \ of looking at ESL teaching provides more opponunity for a. "for if translation is detïned not as a product but as the practice for which 1 have been arguiny. a bettrr English class. presto. must respect the choices their students make. the power of English. It is not a deskiliing kind of theory where teachers need only learn a few ideas. Teachers also need to recognize that they can not leave their social location outside of the classroom. but should also explore the power of lanpuage. and hence. 1 looked at some specilic rsamples from my classroom to help me figure out the kinds of changes that might corne about from the guidance of this pedagogy. 1 believe this is a strength. how Our teaching methods affect Our students. ln the third chapter. its 'endt is the .

1995. etc.3 1).. etc. or very controversial topics sucli as abortion. does it matter if classes are primarily skill based or should they be content based? One criticism of mainstream ESL is the total lack of concern about content.. would be more appropriate. wliich receive only very cursory treatment.) comments from students. This tends to reswlt in either an endless Stream of "common interest" and almost mindless topics suc11 as movies. capital punisliment. The next step for teachen to take is to discuss how. families. comparing cultural traditions. especially for students at the intemediate and higlier levels.prompting of rather than the resolution of an inquiry" (Maier. other aspects of Our teaching will be tnnsformed. Given this framework. but have not explored are iinding a role for controversy witliin a classroom setting and dealiiiy effrctively with offensive (racist. homopliobic. for example. How do l structure or contain the controversy to encourage growth in ideas and in English? How do 1 best help students to develop their own thoughts and ideas? How do 1 avoid imposinp my point of view? How do 1 respond to the man who makes a homophobic comment in class? How do 1 interact with that student in a more productive way than simply telling him that his comment is offensive and he should not use that language in the classroom? How do 1 avoid simply glossing it over? . given this framework. sexist. etc. Perhaps a subject-based course (which draws on particular skills when relevant). 1 have given some examples. but we need to develop them and consider more. Two of the biygest questions that 1 have brought up in this thesis.

" S In this section. it becomes obvious how important it is to have the suppon of colleagues as well as institutional support. It is very difficult to make these kinds of changes individually because. in journals. for exarnple. In addition to theoretical discussions. but even actively discourap. etc. When trying to change the basic ideas that suppon one's teaching. the institutional structures teachers work within do not suppon. At the risk of sounding too idealistic. h r calls for translators to change they way they work and the way their work is perceived. sometimes. these kinds of changes.1O9 When considering issues like the above. 1 think ESL teachers need to do the same kind of thing. The Trrinskt~or lnvisihili[y. At the end of Iiis book. essays and presentations on the issues around translation. ro write sophisticated prefaces. workshops where teachers can role-play dealing with offensive statements would be helpful. He also calls for a change in the way the general public thinks of and reads translation. . to fight for a translating contract tliat gives them copyright of the translation. We need to make these suggestions in Our workplaces. When working in a place where teachers are never given time to talk about pedagogical issues. it is difficult to institute any changes. Venuti (1995) writes a "cal1 to action. He encourages them to resist the transparent style of translating. it is often very useful to talk with colleagues and find out what they have been doing in their classroorns and how they are thinking about a particular issue. and at conferences. We need to think about our teaching and what we can do to improve it. Having the suppon of colleagues and the administration is also useful when considering the kinds of textbooks and materials being purchased.

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