Professor Yuki Matsuda
Connecting the learners’ interests with their future careers
in pop-culture translation
Japan Foundation’s 2018 survey report, Japanese-Language Education Abroad, reports that “interest in anime, manga, J-Pop, fashion, etc.” is the top learning objective and reason for studying Japanese among JFL (Japanese as a Foreign Language) learners. Similarly, learners who want to pursue a career in pop-culture translation in the future are on the rise as well. Indeed, in this century, media production and distribution became digitalized and globalized, and there is a strong demand for skilled professionals who can quickly translate Japanese pop-culture into various languages. These professionals must “rewrite” and localize a source language’s semiotic expressions into the target language. In other words, they need to possess literacy toward multimodal meaning-making processes and the ability to critically analyze the language-specific semiotic strategies of both the source and the target languages. In Japanese, such expressions include onomatopoeia, set phrases, visual images, the writing system, and the so-called Yakuwarigo.
This presentation will demonstrate a case study in which the intermediate JFL learners experienced a gist of such pop-culture translation and became aware of various translation strategies that professionals use. Based on the results, we will consider how educators can design a curriculum that connects the learners’ interests and future careers.
About Dr. Matsuda
Yuki Matsuda is a professor of Japanese at the University of Memphis and coordinates the Japanese program. Her research and teaching interests include Japanese linguistics, semiotics, and the applications to language pedagogy, focused on the multimodal social semiotic analysis of the Japanese language used in the text of Japanese popular culture, literature, and social/ commercial media. Her recent publications include Poetics of Popular Culture: The Hidden Multimodality in Japanese Characters (Tokyo, Kazama Shobo 2019). She has served as a board member of the College Board’s inaugural AP Japanese Curriculum and Exam Development Committee.
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