Posted: Feb 21, 2022 6:41 am
by don't get me started
1. Cognitive Discourse Analysis: An introduction - Thora Tenbrink
2. Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender And Identity- And Why This Harms Everybody – Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay
3. A History of the World in 12 Maps – Jerry Brotton
4. Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language – Patricia T. O’Connor & Stewart Kellerman
5. Peer Interaction and Second Language Learning - Jenefer Philip, Rebecca Adams & Noriko Iwashita
6. Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin

Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World - Nataly Kelly & Jost Zetzche

270 pp.

This was a really pleasant and amusing read. The authors relate an abundance of anecdotes and insights from the world of professional translators and interpreters. The vital importance of this work is often overlooked. Not only international summits, The United Nations, and high-level diplomatic and academic environments rely on these often invisible workers, there are also more mundane fields of daily life that depend on the ability of skilled humans to change content from one language to another. Washing machine instruction booklets, airline manifest documents, invoices for containers full of socks and underwear - even porn site search terms (!) all need to be translated.

Among the many enjoyable anecdotes was the section where the translator of the Harry Potter books into Hindi decided to go with Sanskrit-base vocabulary for the Latin-sounding spells of the original. There was also a nice section on the ways translators deal with humor, including a Finnish translator of the Simpsons who received a nice letter from a Finnish fan of the series. Despite his fluency in English, he found that when he traveled to the US and watched the show without Finnish subtitles he just couldn't get a lot of the humour and he realized what a good job the translator had done in producing funny subtitles.

There was section on machine translation at the end and it is clear that despite heroic efforts by programmers and technicians, we are still a long way from having really accurate machine translation. ( I use Google Translate and DeepL a fair amount...just for getting the gist of longer work-related documents that would take me a while to wade through before I could decide whether it is something I need to do something about. The ability to finger write Kanji on the screen of my smart phone was a major upgrade in my quality of life here!)

Nice read, whether you live and work across language boundaries or not.