Even if the United States remains mostly monolingual, it seems imperative—politically, economically, and ethically—that American college students begin to develop some understanding of the processes of translation. A focus on linguistic and cultural translation can serve as a fruitful approach for teaching early world literature, since students need some invitation to enter into a conversation with the reading and crave some sense of present relevance. Encountering a text in multiple English translations directs our attention away from an arrested sense of its existence in the past and toward a more dynamic sense of its present in cultural circulation.

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