Dr Shani Tobias

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Biography

I started learning Japanese at school in New Zealand, and spent Year 12 in Japan, which was a life-changing experience. I then went on to study Japanese and Law at university, during which time I spent a second year in Japan and grew to love the language and culture even more. After graduating, I again travelled to Japan where I worked as a translator  on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme for 3 years.  This experience motivated me to explore the process of translation and cross-cultural communication in greater depth, and this brought me to Melbourne in 2005 to pursue postgraduate study.

My PhD research investigated Japanese-English literary translation strategies focussing on how metaphorical expressions are translated. During my candidacy I began teaching Japanese and translation/interpreting at Monash. I find my own experiences useful to draw upon when teaching, and I enjoy seeing students develop their skills and become enthusiastic about Japanese and translation.
After completing my PhD in 2009 I first took up a position with Translation and Interpreting Studies at Monash, where, as well as teaching translation, my primary role was to design curriculum and implement a program of professional development short courses for translation and interpreting practitioners in collaboration with the Victorian Multicultural Commission. I was also the Project Manager for courses in basic interpreter skills training that we offered in regional Victoria. Coordinating these programs was a very rewarding experience, as I was able to work with people from a wide variety of cultural, linguistic and professional backgrounds.

Since 2011 I have been employed full time with Japanese Studies, and I am currently also the Honours Coordinator for Asian Languages and Studies.

Qualifications

B.A. (Hons) (Victoria University of Wellington)
LLB (Victoria University of Wellington)
Ph.D. (Monash University)
NAATI-accredited Professional Translator (Japanese – English)

Research

Japanese-English translation strategies, literary translation, translation of metaphor, cultural issues in translation, translation and interpreting pedagogy, curriculum design, legal translation and interpreting, Japanese literature, transnational and bilingual writers

Publications

Unpublished dissertations

  • Tobias, S. (2010). Traversing Textual Terrains: strategies for translating metaphor in Japanese-English literary translation. PhD Thesis, Monash University, VIC.

Refereed journal articles

  • Tobias, S. (2006). Culture-specific items in Japanese-English literary translation: comparing two translations of Kawabata’s ‘Izu no Odoriko’. Monash University Linguistics Papers, 5.1, 27-35.
  • Tobias, S. (2009). Untangling and Re-spinning the Web: Translations of metaphor in Tanizaki’s “Shisei”.  Translation & Interpreting, 1.1, 44-53. http://trans-int.org/index.php/transint/index

Conference papers

  • Tobias, S. (2007). Untangling and Re-spinning the Web:  Translations of metaphor in Tanizaki’s “Shisei”. Japanese Studies Association of Australia 15th Biennial Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, 1-4 July 2007
  • Tobias, S. (2007). Bridging the Cultural and Linguistic Divide: Translating metaphor from Japanese to English. Australian Association of Literary Translators (AALITRA) Symposium, Monash University, Melbourne, 27th October 2007.
  • Tobias, S. (2009) Culture and CreativityThe challenges of translating metaphor in Japanese-English literary translation. 3rd Conference of the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies, Monash University, Melbourne, 8-10 July 2009.
  • Tobias, S. and Bramhill, L. (2010) Training Healthcare Interpreters. Diversity in Health Conference, Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health. Melbourne Convention Centre, 7-9 June 2010.
  • Tobias, S. (2010) The Profession meets the Academy: Curriculum design for an integrated CPD program. Critical Link 6: Interpreting in a Changing Landscape, Aston University, Birmingham, UK, 26-30 July 2010.
  • Tobias, S. (2010) Writing and Translation from the ‘Poetic Ravine’ – the Case of Yoko Tawada. Literary Translation and Community Conference, NZ Centre for Literary Translation, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, 11-13 December 2010.

Teaching

Subjects taught

  • In 2011 I am the Unit Coordinator for Japanese 3 (ATS1143/2143/APG4143/5143) and Japanese 4 (ATS1144/2144/APG4144/5144) and I also teach Japanese-English translation within the Masters of Interpreting and Translation Studies.
  • Prior to 2011, I was teaching mainly postgraduate units in the Translation and Interpreting Studies Program and was the coordinator of the Monash University Professional Development Short Courses (Translation & Interpreting).

Supervision

Masters Translation Projects (Japanese to English)

Topics:

  • The whaling debate in Japan (2010)
  • Japanese archaeology (2010)
  • Japanese car manufacturers in Australia (2010)
  • The Japanese aerospace industry (2010-11)