| Von Glasersfeld's answers - September 2008  |

 
 
 


QUESTION 1:  
 
  • Dear Prof. Glasersfeld
     Is experience a structure hugging fabric?
     
    regards,
    Raghavendra Udupa

    ANSWER 1:
  • Dear Raghavendra Udupa
    I have no clear idea of what you mean by "structure hugging fabric". Experience, from my point of view, is an uncoordinated manifold of possibilities and it is the experiencer's attention and perception that generate structures.
    If you articulate a more explicit question and tell me where you are I'll be happy to answer.
    Best wishes,
    Ernst von Glasersfeld

    QUESTION 2:

    Dear Professor Glasersfeld:
     
    My name is Marilise Rezende Bertin. I'm a Brazilian English and Portuguese teacher and am now ending my MA in the area of English literature and translation. I write 'easier' theatre texts of Shakespeare's plays in English to English students, and treachers of English. I have them with my supervisor and they've been launched already.

    My MA dealt with the word adaptation, a concept not very well accepted in the are of international translation studies. But the concept adaptation is well used here in Brasil to mean a simplified text, and Shakespeare's originals are difficult.

    Very well, I'm thinking of developing a PhD on translation pedagogy or adaptation pedagogy within translation area and came across your text on Radical constructivism and adaptation, which made my way of thinking change completely.

    As a writer who worries about teaching readers I became very much interested in your work. Could there be a way to bridge your ideas of radical constructivism with a pedagogy on translation or adaptation - which, in my case is an easier text in English - and analyse reading via it? What I mean is how could I make sure anyone who read my easy texts would understand them all, considering Shakespeare's text is old and I wanted to bring something of it to a new public?
     
    Hope you can answer and suggest anything it could help my work develop.
     
    Many thanks so far.
     
    Marilise Rezende Bertin.


    ANSWER 2:

    Dear Marilise Rezende Bertin,
    I gather from your explanations that by "adaptation" you intend a simplification of a foreign text so that Brazilian readers will be able to understand it in terms of their own cultural background rather than that of the author. If this is a correct interpretation of what you intend, such a generic use of "adaptation" makes me nervous.Translating is a tricky business. In my view, a translator must in  the first place try to find words that, with regard to meaning, are as close as possible to those used by the foreign author. As there are almost always differences, it is a relative business, and the translator has to judge when the discrepancy is too large. In those cases he/she may have to rewrite the phrase or even the situation in order to present one that has a similar connotational and emotional effect. Experiences referred to by one language are often at least partially (and sometimes wholly) outside the experiential range of another language group - in which case the translator has to re-invent.
    Concerning your last paragraph, I have to say that I am against simplifying Shakespeare's or any other author's text for the benefit of readers who are ignorant of the historical, social, and literary background of the author.

    Best wishes,
    Ernst von Glasersfeld
     

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