28 April 2014

Why Germans don't play Scrabble

101 Things winning acclaim

Blogger Marian Dougan has posted a review of 101 things a translator needs to know on Words to good effect.
Corinne McKay has posted a review of 101 things a translator needs to know here.
Order your copy today from Lulu.com.

Literary translator Vasco Graça Moura has died

Vasco Graça Moura (short Wikipedia article in English here) (Público obituary in Portuguese here) (Poetry International Rotterdam article in English here) died on 27 April at the age of 72. He was considered as one of the great names in European literary translation. His translations of Dante's Divina Commedia (1995) and of Shakespeare's sonnets (2002) into European Portuguese are widely acclaimed.

Working from the original Spanish, French, Italian, English or German, he also translated such authors as Pierre Ronsard, Rainer Maria Rilke, Gottfried Benn, Walter Benjamin, Federico García Lorca, Jaime Sabines, H. M. Enzensberger and Seamus Heaney along with Corneille, Molière and Racine.

On Buffett's rhetoric

Allow me to quote some short passages from How to do folksy like Warren Buffett, by Sam Leith, author of You Talkin’ to Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama, published in the FT on 28 April:
What is it that makes people hang on Mr Buffett’s every word? ... You don’t have to be invested in his world, so to speak, to be captivated by his speaking and writing styles.
We often associate “rhetoric” with high-flown or ornate language, but plain or folksy speaking is generally more effective. ... Speaking pompously or in jargon ... betrays the anxiety that if your thoughts are easily understood they will be exposed as banal.
Two things in particular make the plain style sing for him. He tells stories and he uses metaphors.

His use of storytelling and metaphor means that even when Mr Buffett is talking about something as complex, impersonal and abstract as finance, they allow him to make it sound simple, human and concrete.

24 April 2014

The long-tail market, part 2

Books translated by Steve Dyson 
and where to find them as of late April 2014

  • Il était une fois UTA
    1991 par Henri Mézière avec photos, illustrations et mise en page par Jean-Marie Chourgnoz. Texte traduit par Steve Dyson et Roger Depledge.
    Available from amazon.fr, priceminister.com, ebay.co.uk, leslibraires.fr and others.
  • Frégate La Fayette
    1996, avec de nombreuses illustrations par Michel Bez et préface de Pierre Schoendoerffer. Texte par le capitaine de vaisseau Thierry d'Arbonneau traduit par Steve Dyson.
    Available from amazon.fr, livre-rare-book.com and others.
  • Câbliers
  • 1991, Éditions Chourgnoz. Livre illustré et bilingue. Texte par René Salvador et Patrick Godiniaux traduit en anglais par Steve Dyson. Photos et mise en page par Jean-Marie Chourgnoz.
    Available from amazon.fr, ebay and others.

The long-tail market, part 1

The term 'long-tail marketing' was popularised in a 2004 article in Wired magazine.
This Wikipedia article gives a good but not quite up-to-date overview.
The phenomenon began in conventional book publishing but quickly expanded to second-hand books and all manner of niche and obscure products.
Translations on niche and obscure topics have benefitted enormously as have specialised glossaries, terminologies and the like.

Clearly, translators need to understand these trends and their impact on their work, how they market their services and other opportunities.

The publication this week of 101 things a translator needs to know, comments by co-authors of this publication and thoughts triggered by some of Sarah Dillon's latest posts brought me to the sudden realisation that some of my own glossaries and books I translated some years ago are still available thanks to the long-tail market for second-hand books.

23 April 2014

Translation choices (can) transform our language and our experience of the world

The Words Without Borders blog has published a post by Sean Cotter entitled The Un-X-able Y-ness of Z-ing (Q): A List with Notes. The main list is drawn from internet and library catalogue searches of article, chapter, blog and book titles for variations on the translation while others were compiled using the Ngram reader to search Google's corpus of scanned books published in English.

Some quotes:
  • Milan Kundera opposed using "the unbearable lightness of being" to title the English translation of his Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí, even though it is relatively close to the Czech original.
  • (Michael) Heim's translation, like a spot of dye, dropped into the flow of culture and altered the hue of English as it diffused downstream.
  • A meme before memes, the breadth of this title's reach lets us see something we know is true but can rarely prove: translation choices transform our language and our experience of the world.
  • We have to turn to Biblical comparisons to find serious contenders.

101 things. Now available!

Now available!
101 things a translator needs to know... pithy advice from some of the best in the business.

Order your copy today directly from Lulu.com.

Taste of our truffles.

Language aptitude tests

The Nautilus blog published a piece on 17 April by contributor Michael Erard under the headline Secret Military Test, Coming Soon to Your Spanish Class.

Despite the silly headline the article (subheaded A powerful, precise language aptitude test is entering civilian life) raises a number of interesting issues.

13 April 2014

On 'Eurish'

On 13 April, FT language columnist Michael Skapinker published a pice on 'Eurish', aka European English, entitled Eurish has developed a grammar of its own.

Translator Stephen Reynolds responded promptly with a letter published under the heading
Keep Eurish out of serious written communication. He concludes:
So here is a message for all those European business people who are smart enough to improve their English by reading the FT: keep talking in Eurish by all means, but if you have anything important to write, do so in your own language and find a serious professional translator to produce the English version.

11 April 2014

'Picker', an ideal summer job for t&t students

On 10 April 2014 in an article entitled Shedding light on dark stores, FT columnist Emma Jacobs cast the spotlight on some negative aspects of dotcom centres and similar industrial factilities also known as 'dark stores' and the work performed by 'pickers'.

On a more positive note, the article reminded me of the time I spent as a picker on a short-term summer contract when a student. It also reminded me how often I recommended this type of job as a useful part-time or summer job for translation and terminology students for the simple reason that few jobs give young people better exposure to and physical contact with an incredible variety of products, parts and components along with a practical understanding of the importance of consistent terminology, catalogueing and similar tasks.

05 April 2014

Acheteurs / communicants, vers une meilleure compréhension ?

Ne pas manquer l'article de Gérard Bourgois intitulé Acheteurs / Communicants, vers une meilleure compréhension ?
Accord de bonnes pratiques sur les relations donneurs d’ordres / fournisseurs, visant à aboutir à une « relation mutuellement exigeante pour une création de valeur partagée ».
Accord de bonnes pratiques basé sur cinq principes :
  1. L’identification de compétences distinctives chez le prestataire, pour ne pas se limiter au seul critère financier.
  2. La visibilité réciproque des politiques d’achat du donneur d’ordres et de sous-traitance de la part du fournisseur.
  3. La transparence sur les processus de consultation et de sélection et leur respect par le prestataire.
  4. La capacité d’innovation du prestataire qui sait favoriser la co-conception avec son client.
  5. Une diversification d’activité du prestataire pour éviter sa dépendance économique vis-à-vis d’un seul donneur d’ordres.

01 April 2014

101 Things a Translator Needs to Know -- Coming soon!

Coming soon!
101 things a translator needs to know... pithy advice from some of the best minds in the business.

101 things a translator needs to know -- scheduled for publication in April 2014 -- is a collection of tips from some of the most dynamic translators working in the industry today.

For samples, see here.
For information on the people behind 101 things a translator needs to know, see here.

A mandate to transcreate

I transcreate a regular technical journalism publication from French into English. The declared aim of this publication is to promote specif...