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Richard G. Condon Prize, 2010 The Part of Me that Wants to Grab: Embodied Experience and Living Translation in U.S. Chinese Medical Education



Abstract In this article, I examine the relationship between embodiment, learning, and translation in the field of U.S. Chinese medical education. Based on data collected over two years of video-recorded classroom interaction and audio-recorded interviews in a Southern California school of Chinese medicine, I present several examples of how specific Chinese terms are interpreted and learned vis-à-vis embodied experience. Analysis of these segments demonstrates that translation does not end with the terms chosen to represent Chinese concepts in texts and other materials, but continues in an ongoing series of encounters in which participants' bodies are intercorporeally engaged with language as they gradually come to understand terms describing aspects of the self, the pulse, and herbal actions. This ongoing process is referred to as “living translation,” a notion that bridges linguistic studies of interaction and translation with psychocultural theories of embodiment and individual experience to advance understanding of the day-to-day contingencies of language socialization, translation, and embodiment in the emergent field of U.S. Chinese medicine.