Lecture Review | Professor Pascale Elbaz Explores
On July 26, 2023, Professor Pascale Elbaz from the Paris Institute of Intercultural Management and Communication (ISIT) delivered an academic lecture titled "Cross-Cultural Communication and Translation" to the students of the Sino-French Joint Intercultural Communication Summer School at the School of Media and Communication in Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
In Professor Elbaz’s lecture, she explored whether different cognitive and neural processes are involved in reading Chinese. She compared the writing systems and reading abilities of Chinese and French children to examine the potential cross-cultural invariance. Additionally, she addressed issues related to Chinese character input and language mixing in computer languages, as part of the main content of the lecture.
As an expert in the field of cross-cultural communication and translation, Professor Elbaz skillfully combined translation teaching methods with historical and artistic retrospectives to delve into the cultural differences behind written text and images. She emphasized the importance of "Intership" - a research perspective that involves mutual interactions and influences between cultures.
Professor Elbaz introduced her lecture by contrasting the " Appreciation of Wenyuan Painting by HAN Huang" (Han Xiang Wenyuan Tu) with email communication. She highlighted that communication between "me" and the others is changing due to the transformations in time, space, and technological environment. Whether investigating early Chinese characters or considering current psychological and neurological experiences, it is evident that reading Chinese is almost identical to reading other languages. However, some machine-translated Chinese texts reveal issues of semantic complexity, even to the point of being "unreadable." The existence of Unihan Unified Ideographs and UTF conversion codes also emphasizes the need for an objective and accurate intermediate bridge in cultural exchanges.
Professor Pascale Elbaz presented vivid examples and practical translation scenarios to elucidate the translation issues in cross-cultural communication. She emphasized that cultural differences and language barriers often pose challenges for translation, but they also create opportunities for innovation in the translation process.
Professor Elbaz also shared the difficulties she and her project team encountered while translating Chinese texts. She cited an example of how ordinary translation software incorrectly translated and interpreted the phrase "道可道非常道", highlighting the translation barriers that arise due to cultural differences and the complexities of semantics between different languages.
In the conclusion of the lecture, Professor Pascale Elbaz quoted the philosopher Zhang Dai Nian's idea of the unity of opposites: all opposing things can be united into one, and each entity inevitably contains its opposite. She emphasized that all cultures are interdependent, inclusive, and transformative, with completeness and unity. The cross-cultural perspective helps bridge inherent cultural biases and the gap in information dissemination. She urged us "To embrace different views" to foster true harmony and mutual understanding.
Pascale Elbaz is currently a teacher-researcher at the Paris Institute of Intercultural Management and Communication (ISIT), where she is also a member of the research laboratory and scientific committee. She has taught at various French universities, including Paris-Sorbonne University and Paris Diderot University, and possesses extensive teachingexperience in the field of cross-cultural communication. Pascale Elbaz is responsible for organizing interdisciplinary research workshops on cross-cultural practices and mechanisms. She is fluent in French, English, and Chinese.
The professor's lecture not only covered language and cultural issues but also delved into various fields such as art and translation. It was insightful and thought-provoking, providing valuable inspiration and reference for professionals and scholars in the fields of cross-cultural communication and translation. She emphasized the complexity and challenges of cross- cultural communication while demonstrating how innovation and collaboration can facilitate effective cross-cultural exchanges and translation. Her speech offered a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of cross-cultural communication and translation, providing valuable insights for promoting understanding and cooperation between different cultures.
——Wang Lang, City University of Macau
Finally, Professor Pascale Elbaz quoted Zhang Dai Nian, pointing out that all opposing entities can be united into a whole, and each entity contains its opposite. The existence of two opposing entities attracts and repels each other, facing each other directly in the process of seeking one another, and thus bringing about change. The vitality of culture lies in its inheritance and openness. The development of modern media has facilitated frequent and in- depth exchanges and collisions between different cultures. In the era of globalization, different cultures should not confine themselves but coexist on the world stage, actively embracing other diverse cultures. Through cross-cultural exchanges and interactions, they can face and present themselves and their history. Through the collision of different cultures, they enrich each other and manifest new changes.
——Zhou Jiaying, Communication University of China
Both from the professor's lecture and spontaneous theoretical reflections, cross-cultural communication and translation, from an ontological perspective, are closely related to the heterogeneity of culture and the construction of a community. We aim to put theory into practice, which is the great task of scholars in the field of cross-cultural communication and translation, and it is also the inevitable path for the development of human civilization and the construction of a community with a shared future.
——Chen Feihong, East China Normal University