Here some successful attempts to find – in stead of loosing – something worthwhile in one of the many processes of translation.
Many undesirable things (ranging from the grand scale of religious wars to personal themes like a feeling of loneliness or creative block) are caused in part by communication gaps – the inability to translate.
Most common gaps (such as those between cultures, between value systems, between you and the rest of the world, between something you think and something you say) can be bridged by language. Spoken language, written language, body language, neurological language – each with endless variations.
To bridge a gap in communication you need skills. For example, while trying to express something in one spoken language that was originally expressed in another you have to make many decisions. A particular news announcement might work better in German, a particular joke (or sense of humor) better in English (and vice versa).
Translation is a synchronized process of focusing and blurring. Whatever you choose, it will make some aspects of the original idea more clear, better understandable. At the same time however, other parts will be lost or overshadowed. The content might jump, change its face, its gender, its political sharpness. Many (beginning) designers, busy tuning messages to forms, feel like rodeo riders with messages wildly bucking from meaning to meaning.
For graphic designers, shifting between languages (both visual and written/textual) is a daily routine. To address the growing scale of society, more and more multilingual publications are needed, creating well known puzzles for the designer (such as dealing with different lengths of text for each language, specific local typographical rules, the linking of many texts versions to a single illustration).
Even without any aspect of internationalization within a certain project, designers deal with translation: any process of visualization (from content to form) can be described as such. Typical actions like the choice of a certain type or a certain order are acts of translation – with inherent consequences.
You will be encouraged to find (instead of losing) something worthwhile in the process of translation. This can be a new meaning but also a new visual solution. You will consciously practise a wide range of procedures. A fixed set of messages will be expressed in different styles and forms, translated to different media. They will be used separately or combined.
You will start to work with existing material (such as a paper you wrote before, a family photo album or a mapping of your neighborhood). In the process of translation its original nature can be newly framed, altered or purposely lost. In the end a durable piece of print/screen design will be brought into existence.
Some side themes:
Shifting visual/written language to discover new meaning,
The hidden potential of subtitles,
Local vs. international typography,
Universal sign languages,
Reading as a form of translation,
Visual translation as tool for bridging cultures.