Spontaneous Translation Workshop with Dr. Kitsie Emerson

28 February 2017 | mahasiswa UGM

Translating sounds challenging to many people. It often requires a lot of time to think about the equivalent word in the target language. Even more challenging is interpreting, where we have less time to think. Now what about spontaneous translation for wayang performances?

English Department UGM conducted a Workshop on Spontaneous Translation on November 5, 2016, in Ruang Sidang 1 Gedung Poerbatjaraka, Faculty of Cultural Sciences, UGM. The speaker for the workshop was Dr. Kitsie Emerson, a spontaneous translation expert. The workshop was organized by head of the English Department, Dr. Adi Sutrisno, M.A, and one of the lecturers of English Department, Dr. Eddy Pursubaryanto, M. Hum, who is also a professional puppeteer. Fifteen students of English Department attended the workshop.

the ntended for the students of English Department UGM. The Dr. Emerson is an American who has been a spontaneous translator for wayang performances for years. She types the translation (from Javanese to English) on her laptop as the performance goes, and the audiences are able to see the translation on a big LCD screen.

The workshop was divided into two sections. In the first section, Dr. Emerson emphasized how crucial the role of a translator is. She went on by explaining the difficulties faced by a translator, especially a spontaneous translator for wayang performances.

Spontaneous translation for wayang is very challenging because of the fact that there is no time to do any research. We do not even know what the puppeteer is going to say, hence spontaneous. It also requires typing skills. Dr. Emerson then told the participants what they could do to minimize the difficulties of translating.

In the second section of the workshop, participants practiced translating spontaneously from a video recording of a wayang performance. The translations were in English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Minang, Bahasa Melayu, and Bahasa Madura. When they were done, some representatives presented their translations.

The following day, some of the participants practiced their spontaneous translation skills for wayang kancil performance at Balai Desa Minomartani. One of them, whose name is kept anonymous, said it was an adrenaline rush.

“Typing at that speed got me running out of breath,” she added.

Spontaneous translation is an interesting field that the English Department plans to develop in the future.  

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