Around the web – April 2015

April once again saw a multinational (Taco Bell) find out the hard way about the need for professional translation when it launched its Japanese website.  Why do I get a feeling of déjà vu? I hope that won’t be your case with my monthly round-up of articles about language, translation, interpreting and freelancing for the past month.

On Taco Bell's badly translated Japanese website 'Crunchwrap Supreme' became 'Supreme Court Beef'.

On Taco Bell’s badly translated Japanese website ‘Beef Crunchwrap Supreme’ became ‘Supreme Court Beef’.

Did you know Tristan da Cunha is the most world's most remote location of native English speakers?

Did you know Tristan da Cunha is the most world’s most remote location of native English speakers?

Humour & Fun:

  • I’m sure Scheherezade Surià had a lot of fun finding all these great pictures humorously illustrating ‘life as a translator’.
"When you go out you seem to find mistakes and mistranslations everywhere and you can’t avoid pointing them out to the people near you… like in the cinema while enjoying a dubbed or subtitled film".

“When you go out you seem to find mistakes and mistranslations everywhere and you can’t avoid pointing them out to the people near you… like in the cinema while enjoying a dubbed or subtitled film”.

Last but not least, I’ll leave you with this quote from Gunter Grass, who passed away on 13th April.

Gunter Grass quote

Related articles:

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Convention sur les extraits plurilingues/Convention improving multilingual extracts

Dans le cadre d’une simplification des démarches la France a signé, en février 2015 à Berne, une convention améliorant les extraits plurilingues d’état-civil.

La France, partie à la commission internationale de l’état-civil avec 15 autres Etats, a signé le 12 février la convention internationale relative à la délivrance d’extraits et de certificats plurilingues et codés d’actes de l’état-civil.

Cette convention vise à tirer les conséquences de tendances de fond de nos sociétés, dont la mobilité accrue des personnes. Elle bénéficiera en particulier aux personnes qui doivent produire un acte d’état-civil d’un pays étranger où s’est déroulé un événement les concernant (naissance, mariage, etc.).

Elle permettra un traitement simplifié par les administrations étrangères ou les officiers publics qui en sont destinataires. Elle facilitera en outre la preuve d’événements personnels et familiaux, comme la reconnaissance d’un enfant ou le mariage. Alors que ces démarches peuvent occasionner des frais (traduction, légalisation ou apostille), le codage et la dispense de légalisation éviteront aux intéressés des coûts supplémentaires.

Cette convention donne enfin aux extraits établis à l’étranger la même force probante, au regard du droit interne de chaque État, que les extraits qu’ils établissent eux-mêmes. En cas de doute grave, les autorités destinataires d’un extrait pourront solliciter une vérification auprès des États émetteurs.

Exemple d'apostille indienne/Sample Indian apostille

Exemple d’apostille indienne/Sample Indian apostille

As part of a process of procedure simplification France signed, in February 2015 in Berne, a convention on improving multilingual extracts from civil status records.

France, which is a party to the International Commission on Civil Status together with 15 other states, signed the International Convention on the issuing of multilingual and coded extracts and certificates from civil status records on February 12.

This convention aims to address the consequences of our societies’ underlying trends, including the increased mobility of individuals. It will notably benefit individuals required to provide a civil status record from a foreign country where a civil status event relating to them has taken place (birth, marriage, etc.).

It will simplify procedures for foreign jurisdictions and for recipient public officials. It will also make it easier to provide evidence of a personal or family event, such as the recognition of a child or a marriage. While these procedures may incur charges (translation, legalization or apostille certification), the coding of entries and the exemption from legalization will help those concerned avoid additional costs.

This convention will finally give extracts issued abroad the same evidentiary value, pursuant to the domestic law of each state, as the extracts that they issue themselves. If there are any serious doubts, the authorities receiving the extract will be able to request verification from the issuing states.

Snippets from ‘Reading The World’

Here are a few translation-related snippets from the book ‘Reading the World – Confessions of A Literary Explorer’ by Ann Morgan. The book was the logical next step for Ann after her 2012 blog in which she read her way around all the globe’s 196 independent countries plus one extra territory chosen by blog visitors, sampling one book from every nation.

9781846557873-2

Rather than a blow-by-blow description of each country’s book – material that is already in the blog – she covers the background to her quest (“I glanced up at my book shelves, the proud record of more than twenty years of reading, and found a host of British and North American greats staring down at me … I had barely touched a work by a foreign language author in years … The awful truth dawned. I was a literary xenophobe“) followed by themes: censorship, culture shock, representations of the west, etc, and a penultimate chapter on ‘Crossing the language barrier’, (although references to translation aren’t limited to that section):

page 77: “… according to English PEN, in British schools and universities there is no chance of gaining sufficient grapes of a foreign language to become a translator…”

page 77: “in the words of Josep Bargallo … ‘translation is the lifeblood which sustains and nurtures literatures’ …”

page 79: quoting Katherine Rucker “… books that are invisible to translators stay invisible to everyone else, too.”

page 248: “We are vulnerable when we read translations. We leave ourselves open to deception and betrayal.”

page 255: “… for all their linguistic skills, translators often struggle to articulate what they do and how others should go about it.”

Two-thirds of the books Ann read were translated, so translation played an important role in her project. She is probably one of the few people to have had a book translated especially for her after a group of linguists pitched in to translate a book from São Tomé and Principe. Closer to home it was shocking to learn that not a single Malagasy novel had been translated into English, despite the fact that Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island, has a population of 23 million.

Ann's bookshelf in December 2012

Ann’s bookshelf in December 2012

Other difficulties Ann encountered included sourcing a book from South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, and realising partway through the year that the choice of 196 nations was itself somewhat arbitrary; maybe “the number of countries depends what world you come from”? (page 30).

The book is published in the US as 'The World Between Two Covers'

The book will be published in May 2015 in the US as ‘The World Between Two Covers’

For my reaction when I first discovered Ann’s blog, see the post: Books about Reunion and worldwide literature.

Reviews of Reading the World – Confessions of A Literary Explorer: