Language and Literature
In this paper, I look at the role that translation plays in my teaching of linguistics and anthropology in higher education. Although throughout my career I have taught within programs labeled as “English”, my research and translation work in Bahasa Indonesia play a major role in the choice of examples, texts, learning goals, and activities I present to students. At the level of course design, translation between key examples enables a demonstration of languages as both complete and distinct systems of reference, helping students to grasp Sapir’s (1924) notion of ‘form feelings’ in a quick and direct way. I document how trying to make Bahasa Indonesia translatable in English contexts both makes the particular structures and form feelings of English clearer and opens up possibilities for doing and feeling in different ways. I also document how this process has spread out from my classroom practices and into service and scholarship, the other domains of my academic work. I argue that translation and the focus on the formal and functional similarities and differences that translation work involves, enables teachers and scholars of language and culture to articulate, demonstrate, and enact the ideological and practical goals we say we embrace.