Five students of Belmont’s first Japanese language translation class have made their debut as translators. Troy Grooms, Christopher Richey, Erin Turberville, Luke Robertson and Kyle Jeffrey worked closely with Dr. Naoko Ozaki, whom they call Sensee, to translate Japanese poems into English. Each of them translated two poems by Ray Kamijo. The collection of their works titled Journey of Life is now available on amazon.com.
“I am extremely proud of my students for exerting efforts into the challenging translation works,” Sensee said. “Japanese is a highly contextual language, and this made translation work challenging for them, but all of them dissected each line and also looked at it holistically at the same time. They had to make each poem sound natural and relatable to the American audience.”
The students went through several steps before sending their translation works to the author. They first worked on direct translation in which they translated each line word for word. They shared their direct translation with Sensee to confirm that their understanding of the Japanese language was accurate. Afterwards, they worked on meaning translation to be able to convey the meaning of the poem which may not be apparent for English-speaking audience in direct translation alone.
The students then had peer review to share their translation works with each other to give and receive feedback to each other. After repeating these steps, the students and Sensee spoke with the author via Skype to discuss their translation works. Through discussions with the author, they were able to modify and improve their works. This translation process went far beyond the use of dictionaries and thesauruses, and they have proudly reached a point to publish the collection of their 11 translated works.
“It has always been amazing to me and almost euphoric that the spoken word in any language can easily be understood once it is shared,” said Dr. Myron Oglesby-Pitts of Education Department who has been sending moral support to all the students as they came to Ozaki-sensee’s office for appointments. “The value of the work done by the students in the Japanese Translation class imbues and pierces a level of conscientiousness for others to learn, share and enjoy. Each poem goes far beyond word count to an extraordinary level of understanding coded feelings and interpretation all enveloped in one word. Arigato, to all of the students for sharing your work with all of us.” (image – Journey_of_Life.jpg)