Lost in Translation: A critical review

In reading the head note by Gunther Kress’ “Literacy in the New Age” Kress highlights two questions. The first one brought up was, what is our future of literacy? The second one is will these changes affect our society socially and culturally?
Both of these questions were answered efficiently but were they effectively? I must say that even though I only read a small excerpt in Kress’ book and I immediately realized that I was out of his literary league. Kress wasn’t just a regular author; he was a literary “Guru”, something that I am far from. Within literally two minutes of reading his book I struggled with his misspelling of “organisation”. Surely a man with this type of knowledge could not have misspelled in a book about literature. Seconds later I ran to my laptop and Goggled organisation and organization and came to find out that it wasn’t misspelled but a spelling debate between the U.S. and the U.K. So in other words both spellings are correct, but in my opinion if you want your book to be credible to all your readers then why not make the spelling changes for your American readers? You would translate your book into Spanish if you wanted capture the attention of your Latin American reader’s right? So then it would only make sense to me to make the changes for your American readers. Anyway, after the 5 minute stump after only having read for about two minutes I continued on, still finding more spelling differences such as centre and center, still somewhat irritated I kept on reading.
I must say that I felt emotionally detached and void of any real opinion on this book. I was confused by the words he chose to use as I didn’t know their definitions and had to stop and look each one up, once I read one definition I began to realize that I had already forgotten what he was talking about in the first place and had to read over the paragraph again. Hmm, not something I like to do, but I did hoping that this book would start to make some sense to me. I felt like I was reading something by a bipolar person who was in their manic stage. He seemed in my opinion to jump around and found that it lacked structure. But that is just my opinion; I am not a professor of English so I really have no say in what is written correctly or not.
At the end of the reading I decided to go back to one of our reading assignments on Rhetorical Analysis. In doing so I thought this could help me write my blog effectively. Who is Kress? What was Kress’ purpose of this book and who is his audience? Also did he write his topic effectively and what about the context? Sorry to say that I cannot effectively analyze something that I do not wholly understand. I am afraid to say that Kress lost me in translation.


4 thoughts on “Lost in Translation: A critical review

  1. I’m in agreement with you kimsotweet13. I also was stumped on him spelling organization with an “s”. It reminded me of the time I was reading a fiction novel and I came across a part when the characters were at a movie theater, but theater was spelled theatre. It really bothers me that they spell it that way. I didn’t understand the difference in spellings until I was told by my 8th grade teacher that it was the U.K’s way of spelling. I agree with you though that they should change the spelling for American readers.
    I agree that the diction Kress used in his book were too grammatically correct that it seemed “show-offish” to me and it made me lose interest in the topic. I also had to re-read a sentence several times because my eyes would glaze over and I would forget what I was reading. The section in our Practical Argument book about “Rhetorical Analysis” helped me get through the Kress reading. Hopefully, the next time we read something from Kress it will be easier to understand.

  2. I completely agree with you on this. When I Google something usually the first site I look at is Wikipedia. I know that it isn’t 100% reliable but I still go to it maybe because they portray the website with a reliable and professional “vibe.” The internet is very handy to find information but like you said we (in most circumstances) do not check the information we receive from the internet with a credible source. I think that the internet has let us become lazy in that way were we will just believe whatever is posted without checking out the facts in a credible way. It is easier to come by a non-credible source than it is to find a credible source. Seeing as anyone can post anything on the internet we should defiantly start checking were we getting our information from and where the site gets it from.

  3. I definitely agree that Kress has an elevated vocabulary and is very proud of that; although considering rhetorical analysis as you mentioned towards the end of your post it can be understood why. He didn’t necessarily write this essay for the late teen/early twenty demographic that isn’t devoted to studying social-literary relations (after all if we weren’t forced to read this excerpt I know I definitely wouldn’t have). He wrote it for the advanced literary students who have an established foreknowledge of the subject and thoroughly enjoy it like Scott had mentioned he had. If I understand what you are saying I think I am in complete agreement in saying that Kress’s writing seems lofty and drowned in unnecessary verbiage to us in this particular setting. If he wrote this work in an appropriate format for our class room setting in Collin his colleagues probably wouldn’t give him the time of day and his points might not be taken into consideration due to a lack of presentation. Taking away the style aspect, I felt that his argument was very well presented even though he did hop around a bit and seemed to trip over himself getting to his next point.

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