For our second lecture, students were assigned to watch a short film called “Wedding Sixteen”. Based on their own understanding and interpretation of the film, they were asked to translate selected pieces of dialogue that are crucial to the film’s story to the best of their ability.
Being able to identify the main character is vital for understanding the story. After breaking up into four groups, the students engaged in discussion to talk about how they would explain the story in a single simple phrase, as well as identify the main character. As each group presented their findings, it was interesting to see that a portion of the class thought the runaway high school girl Yuri was the main character, while others thought it was the bride-to-be Maki. As it turns out, the main character was indeed Yuri after all.
Afterwards, the students moved on to their actual dialogue translations. One topic that came up during class was the usage of the word “normal” (or “futsuu” in Japanese) which both Yuri and Maki frequently say throughout the film. Yuri, who dislikes her mediocre or “normal” lifestyle, often phrases it in a way that makes it sound like something negative. On the other hand, Maki often uses the word in a sense of wanting to be like a “normal 16-year-old girl”, making it sound like something positive. In this situation, one cannot simply translate this word just one way, so many found it to be a bit of a struggle. In the end, the more these students think about how to convey the story, the more creative their translations will become!
Having learned the fun and importance of word choice, GUSP students will continue to work on translating the films dialogue in order to achieve greater understanding of the story.