30 November 2012

Insights into editing

On 16 November 2012 Yuka Igarashi posted a fascinating piece to The Granta blog entitled House Style: Editing Brazil. The comments also give insights into what goes on in the editor's head while editing.

The processes that go on in the heads of translators working on technical journalism are similar if, perhaps, little less obsessive than at Granta.

On this theme, see also Kevin Hendzel's excellent post entitled Confirmation Bias: Why Collaboration is the Path to Translators’ Best Work.

26 November 2012

Neologisms in high finance

Gillian Tett's article entitled Beware the next financial blindspot, published in the Financial Times on November 22, gives a remarkable insight into the challenges and, on this occasion, the immense importance, of coining terms combining meaning and impact.

Ms Tett relates how Paul Tucker, now deputy governor of the Bank of England, tried to sound timely alarm bells about  systemic financial risks posed by what he initially called “Russian doll finance” or “vehicular finance”. It was not, however, until Paul McCulley, a senior Pimco official, coined the term “shadow banking” in 2007 that the concept, thanks partly to its new high-impact name, began to catch on.

Ms Tett does an excellent job explaining the details and the importance first of the concept, second of the term -- shadow banking -- combining meaning and impact.

Translators, who often have to come up with names for things "on the fly" usually earn no more for a well-coined high-impact term than they do for any other handful of words. And, as a rule, there's nothing much wrong with that. Sometimes, however, as Gillian's superb article demonstrates, a very great deal can hang on the success or failure of a handful of words.

Constructions that bring to mind the unspoken

Under the heading Thank you can be the hardest words, FT columnist Andrew Hill writes:
“ ... dispatched his chief financial officer, ..., with a brief thank-you – before pointing out how their working styles were not well matched. (Perhaps the clue was in his use of the phrase 'I want to thank Liz' – a construction that always suggests to me the unspoken addition ' . . . but I just can’t bring myself to do so'.)”

The expression  “a construction that always suggests to me the unspoken addition... ” is an excellent example of the sort of subtlety of language that should be available to 'into mother-tongue' translators but only very rarely to 'into L2' translators.

04 November 2012

Found in translation

For information about Found in Translation by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche start here.

Writing in the American Translators Association Chronicle, Corinne McKay, sums the book up nicely:
"In superbly written, rigorously researched, and perfectly-sized segments, the authors have encapsulated the passion that all of us have for our work and its place in the world. [...] Found in Translation starts from a beautifully simple premise -- translation is everywhere -- and weaves a rich story of the ways in which languages truly do shape the world."

Highly recommended.

Translation and disruption #5

If the translation industry is indeed on the brink of disruptive innovation some of the things that may happen could include: change will ...