John Balcom

Professor

John Balcom, PhD.  Dr. Balcom is a translator of Chinese literature.  Recent publications include Frontier Taiwan: An Anthology of Modern Chinese Poetry (contributor), Wintry Night by Li Qiao (co-translator), The City Trilogy by Chang His-kuo, Taiwan’s Indigenous Writers: An Anthology of Stories, Essays, and Poems, which has received the 2006 Northern California Book Award.  He recently completed translations of Driftwood, a book-length poem by Lo Fu, as well as an anthology of Buddhist literature (pre-Han to the present).  He is the recipient of a 2005 Literature Translation Fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Professor Balcom also writes frequently on the subject of translation; his “Translating Modern Chinese Literature” appeared as a chapter in the recently published The Translator as Writer, edited by Susan Bassnett and Peter Bush.

 

As President of the American Literary Translators Association and a member of the Literary Translation Committee of the International Federation of Translators, Professor Balcom sees translation as central to his life, both as a practitioner and as a teacher of the art.

Expertise

Translation of Chinese and English

Education

PhD, Chinese and Comparative Literature, Washington University, St. Louis; MA, Chinese, San Francisco State University; BA, Chinese, Monterey Institute of International Studies; BA, History, California State University, Fullerton

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

TIAG 8630 - Literary Translation      

Fall 2014 - MIIS

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TICH 8511 - Intro Written Trans to English      

Introduces students to the basic theory and practice of translation, both written and sight. Students will learn to apply text analysis, text typology, and contrastive analysis of their working languages to identify, analyze, and resolve translation problems while independently developing an efficient and rational approach to the process of translation. The appropriate application of electronic translation tools will also be introduced. Fundamental translation theory will be emphasized at the beginning of the course and will be conveyed in the form of assigned readings, lectures, class discussions, and independent research. In addition, course assignments will include practice and graded exercises in sight and written translation, utilizing authentic texts drawn from an extensive variety of text categories that include, but are not limited to, current events, general political economy, general legal documents, and scientific and technical topics for general audiences. As the term progresses, student time and effort will increasingly be spent on the preparation and evaluation of written translation assignments. Students will be expected to take at least one midterm exam and one final exam, to be assigned at the discretion of the instructor(s) of record.

Fall 2011 - MIIS, Fall 2012 - MIIS, Fall 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS

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TICH 8521 - Intrm Written Trans to English      

Builds on the theoretical and practical foundation laid in Introduction to Translation and introduces the translation of specialized subject matter. Depending upon the language program in which they are enrolled, students will be expected to acquire and demonstrate basic proficiency in the sight and written translation of either commercial and economic texts, legal texts, or scientific and technical texts. The amount of emphasis accorded to a particular topic will depend on the specific professional requirements of each language program. Course assignments will include readings, research, presentations, practice and graded exercises in sight translation, and practice and graded written translation assignments, including exercises in speed translation. Students will also be expected to take at least one midterm and one final exam. The frequency, nature, and structure of course assignments and examinations are largely at the discretion of the instructor(s) of record.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Translation or equivalent background.

Spring 2012 - MIIS, Spring 2013 - MIIS, Spring 2014 - MIIS

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TICH 8631 - Adv Translation I into English      

This is the first of two complementary courses designed to bring translation knowledge and skills up to the level that would be required of someone working in a professional translation environment. Students will be expected to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the first-year translation courses to produce translations that meet high standards for content, form, and presentation. A great deal of attention is given to subject matter knowledge and research, precision in text analysis and writing, and the appropriate application of translation technology. Some programs emphasize scientific and technical topics in this course, but others give considerable attention to commercial, economic, legal, and political texts, many of which have a technical component. The frequency, nature, and structure of course assignments and examinations are at the discretion of the instructor(s) of record. Students will, however, be expected to take at least one midterm exam and one final exam.

Prerequisite: 2nd-year student in good standing or equivalent background.

Fall 2011 - MIIS, Fall 2012 - MIIS, Fall 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS

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TICH 8641 - Advanced Trans II to English      

This course is the counterpart to Advanced Translation I. Students are expected to translate texts of considerable difficulty and complexity and to cope with the types of operational challenges that are likely to be encountered in professional translation settings, such as working in teams or coping with multiple technologies. Emphasis is on particular text categories and subject-matter knowledge that are pertinent to current market demand for the specific language combination and direction in which the course is being taught. The frequency, nature, and structure of course assignments are at the discretion of the instructor(s) of record, but will include projects that simulate, as closely as possible, the professional translation environment, as well as at least one midterm and one final exam.

Prerequisite: Advanced Translation I or similar background.

Spring 2012 - MIIS, Spring 2013 - MIIS, Spring 2014 - MIIS

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