OPEN STACKS | #44 Translations: Haun Saussy & Yoon Sun Yang

March 25th, 2018

This week on the show, we're taking a multifocal look at translation processes. Come along as we consider its tectonic, idiosyncratic, and uncharted terrains in conversations with Haun Saussy, Yoon Sun Yang, and the Co-op’s own Jeff Deutsch and Adam Sonderberg. With Rosanna Warren, Saussy discusses translation theory and translations of Baudelaire into Chinese; Yang talks about the formation of the concept of the individual in early colonial Korean literature; and Jeff and Adam take a lap around another vista difficult to put in words: the Co-op’s Front Table.

This week's JSTOR Daily selections:

Most linguistic researchers have abandoned the more radical view of linguistic relativity, but it still fascinates the general public. It’s not hard to understand why. The idea that language is magical enough to alter our realities and open us to new experiences is pretty fascinating, even if it may not be entirely true. As Whorf shows, in a weaker form of the theory, people still do have habitual ways of thinking and behaving, found in the words they use, that do influence their cultural experiences. Leonid Perlovsky’s work describes how brain imaging experiments show that “learning a word ‘rewires’ cognitive circuits in the brain, learning a color name moves perception from right to left hemisphere.” So although words can be translated and understood adequately in long form, capturing a concept within a single word may indeed be cognitively meaningful.