How Steve Had Fun with the Translation Professor in Front of the Class

My professor in the Translation Principles class asked for a volunteer. I raised my hand before thinking and I sat across from him at a table in the front of the class.

He wanted to demonstrate testing a translation with a native speaker of the language. He gave me a rough translation in English of a portion of Matthew chapter 9 and asked me various questions about it, to see how well it had been translated. We went for at least half a hour. I found it more tiring than I expected and I found myself wishing I could stop.

At one point in later that story, Jesus calls himself “son of man,” or something like that. The professor asked, “Who is he talking about?”

“He seems to be talking about himself, but I’m not sure.” It really wasn’t clear in the text.

“It doesn’t sound natural to you?”

“No.”

“You never talk about yourself that way?”

I thought about it. “I don’t think so. Except maybe in humor with the family.”

“Give me an example.”

“Steve’s getting tired and wants to go now.”

The class laughed.

I’m not sure if the professor was trying to keep a straight face or not. “You’re right. That does sound weird. And I’ll ignore the implicature.”

It was my turn to laugh.

At the end of our session, when I returned to be my seat, he said, “Steve was being problematic. Steve was a bad boy…”

He reviewed our session for the things we learned. Then he asked, “Shall we ask [him] to return.”

The class was all in favor. “He keeps us entertained,” a classmate said.

Photo courtesy of GIAL.edu.

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