By Danielle Ranucci, SPO Social Media Assistant
On March 16, SPO alumni Brandon Flora Dunlevy, Jimin Kang, and Cecilia Hsu joined the SPA 215: A Spanish Writing Workshop seminar for a conversation about their experience writing senior theses featuring translation.
“Thinking about the types of theses that SPO majors write, we have had several students writing remarkable theses that feature translation. So I thought about inviting alumni panelists to share their experiences with the students in my seminar,” said SPA 215 professor Mariana Bono.
Jimin Kang ’21 is a Sachs Scholar who is doing a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature and Critical Translation at Oxford’s Worcester College. Kang is a translator and a journalist whose work was recently published in the New York Times.
Cecilia Hsu ’20 is on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Galicia, Spain. Hsu is a medievalist with a passion for language education, and will pursue graduate studies in the fall.
Brandon Flora Dunlevy ’21 is currently working as a CASES Representative at the Manhattan Criminal Court, where he interviews Hispanic clients behind bars and advocates to judges for alternatives to incarceration. Like Hsu, Dunlevy will begin a Doctorate in Spanish & Portuguese this fall, and hopes to become a professor and legal history researcher.
Kang, Hsu, and Dunlevy spoke about the goals they had for their senior translation theses and how they selected the materials they would translate. They also discussed the linguistic and cultural challenges they faced when translating.
The students had the opportunity to learn about the panelists’ problem-solving strategies by examining excerpts from source-texts provided by each panelist. Finally, the alumni offered their personal responses to the question of what makes translation a joyful endeavor.
“The thing I want students to take away is that even history was made in a flawed manner because it was made to exclude native, Black, and Asian voices. There are voices of marginalized people that are hidden in the very primary source we’re looking at, but we have to translate it in a way where we can find the hidden voices,” said Dunlevy.
The students in the seminar were inspired by the panelists’ visit.
“When considering the potency of language, I never appreciated just how important translation can be in manipulating the original author's voice. I now feel like I understand translation as an academic field of its own, one which requires great skill and detail to excel within,” said Theodore Bhatia ’25.