[lg policy] Swarthmore College graduation will offer Mandarin, Spanish translations

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 31 21:10:16 UTC 2013


Swarthmore graduation will offer Mandarin, Spanish translations
 [image: Chengying Wang , 20, left, and Ling Zhong, 22, senior, right, will
be translating the graduation ceremony during commencement at Swarthmore
College. A graduating Swarthmore College student will be simultaneously
translating Sunday´s commencement into Mandarin. The school in the past has
translated the ceremony into Spanish. Will interview the student and do a
short feature on her. Explain how this works and why they do it and why
Mandarin was added this year. 05/29/2013 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff
Photographer )]
 Inquirer Staff Photographer
 Chengying Wang , 20, left, and Ling Zhong, 22, senior, right, will be
translating the graduation ceremony during commencement at Swarthmore
College. A graduating Swarthmore College student will be simultaneously
translating Sunday's commencement into Mandarin. The school in the past has
translated the ceremony into Spanish. Will interview the student and do a
short feature on her. Explain how this works and why they do it and why
Mandarin was added this year. 05/29/2013 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff
Photographer )
  [image: Chengying Wang , 20, left, and Ling Zhong, 22, senior, right,
will be translating the graduation ceremony during commencement at
Swarthmore College. A graduating Swarthmore College student will be
simultaneously translating Sunday´s commencement into Mandarin. The school
in the past has translated the ceremony into Spanish. Will interview the
student and do a short feature on her. Explain how this works and why they
do it and why Mandarin was added this year. 05/29/2013 ( MICHAEL BRYANT /
Staff Photographer )] *Gallery: *Swarthmore graduation will offer Mandarin,
Spanish translations<http://www.philly.com/philly/gallery/20130531_Swarthmore_graduation_will_offer_Mandarin__Spanish_translations.html?viewGallery=y>
      Travel Deals


        Susan Snyder, *Inquirer Staff Writer* Posted: Friday, May 31, 2013,
5:52 AM

Ling Zhong's parents have come from China to watch her graduate from
Swarthmore College on Sunday, and she surely wants them to understand the
ceremony.

So Zhong, 22, a Beijing native, and a younger classmate, also from China,
will set up in a classroom on the third floor of the college's performing
arts center, where they will translate the speeches into Mandarin. Zhong's
parents and anyone else who cares to hear the Mandarin version can don
headsets and listen at both the spacious amphitheater where the event will
be held and an auditorium in the performing arts center where it will be
projected onto a large screen.

People in China or anywhere else for that matter also will be able to tune
in and watch a live stream of the commencement in Mandarin or Spanish on
Swarthmore's website.

It's the first time that the commencement ceremony for the prestigious
liberal arts college in Delaware County will be available in multiple
languages via the website and in the auditorium. The college began offering
a Spanish translation in the amphitheater in 2011 and in Mandarin in 2012.
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"It was in response to student interest," said Alisa Giardinelli, a
Swarthmore spokeswoman. Swarthmore has 21 students from China among its
1,545-student enrollment, in addition to Chinese American students.

Zhong, a double major in honors economics and math, said she was glad to
provide the translation.

"For me, it's just like translating to my own parents, and I just don't
mind having other parents listening to me," she said.

Chengying Wang, a rising junior from Nanjing, also will translate, taking
turns with Zhong.

"My parents will come two years later and they will want to have a
translation as well," said Wang, 20, a double major in math and computer
science who is staying on campus this summer for research. "If I have the
ability to help this year, why not?"

Both women said they were a bit nervous about getting the translation
right, particularly with certain figures of speech or phrases for which a
literal translation may not work.

"Sometimes people from other countries don't have the background if there's
inside jokes," Wang explained.

Wang and Zhong said they have enjoyed Swarthmore, especially its lack of
emphasis on competition among students.

"People are willing to help each other and share the information they get,"
Wang said.

Zhong agreed. She noted happily that students' level of honors will not
appear on the commencement program. That change, Giardinelli said, was made
this year to de-emphasize comparisons that may not be fair to draw between
majors.

Zhong will go on to Yale University for her doctorate in economics, with
plans to become a researcher.

But first, there's commencement. She will leave her post in the translation
room to collect her degree. She'll have plenty of time to get into place.

With the last name of Zhong, she said of the expected 375 graduates, "I'm
third to last."


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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