Around the web – June 2020

Not surprisingly given the current news context, many of June 2020’s articles and stories about language and translation focused on inequalities.

Criticism of tone is generally a distraction strategy

  • “Girl boss”, “mompreneur” “she shed” … Are (previously neutral) words that have been made feminine patronising or empowering?

The origins of the term “she shed” are a bit murky, but it seems to have first appeared around 2015

When a speaker uses “dog-whistle” language they’re often passing a message which they intend listeners to hear, without saying things explicitly

In the US, ‘buzzard’ is another name for the turkey vulture, while in British English it’s used for birds of the genus Buteo.

Further reading:


Translators: specialists or experts?

In his book Wordpower, Edward De Bono says:

The difference between an expert and a specialist is that a specialist is looking forward in a certain well-defined direction, and an expert is looking backwards in the same direction. A specialist goes on narrowing their field in order to increase their concentration of knowledge in an area. An expert is satisfied that they know all there is to know and is trying to widen their field on the assumption that their expertise will widen with it.

Although “expert” and “specialist” tend to be used interchangeably, based on De Bono’s definition I would say that as translators we are specialists, specialists who produce expert translations. (Bearing in mind that anyone can call themselves a specialist, however they may produce inexpert translations).

When we translate in a certain field (be it technology, law, medicine, or marketing) it’s generally because we have specialist knowledge of that field, through study and/or previous employment. We can often prove this specialisation through tangible, objective criteria such as qualifications. It can be difficult to say the same for an expert; we may be experts as well as specialists, but ‘expert’ is generally a title bestowed upon us by others, who recognise our expertise for what it truly is.

What are your thoughts on the subject?