Around the web – August 2020

The Scots-language version of Wikipedia hit the headlines this month when it was discovered that a US teenager was single-handedly responsible for “translating” (read “mangling”) thousands of pages. According to a quote in this article “the entries appeared to have been written out in English with individual words being looked up using online Scots translators. Words with no Scots replacements were then left in their English form”. Replacing one word by another is unfortunately all too often people’s view of what translation is. Thankfully, some of the other news stories and blog articles during August about translation and language shine a more positive light on our profession.

Right choice? The pros and cons of doing an MA in Translation Studies

  • To coincide with the publication of Elena Ferrante’s latest novel in English, the New York Times published an in-depth article about her translator, Ann Goldstein
  • “Women who write in Arabic face a double problem: They’re translated less often than men, and when they are, their books are often wrongly characterised”
  • Literary translator Charlie Coombe has set up a literary translation database covering publications, journals, review blogs, awards, contests, events, residencies, grants, funding, organisations and unions; see here for more details
  • Slate examined the complex politics behind bad translations on, the country’s flagship tourism website

The snafu surrounding Mexico’s tourism website shows how quickly a valuable digital asset can disintegrate in the wrong hands

  • Donald Trump’s linguistic quirks reveal the salesmanship-type language that has made his career, says The Economist

Donald Trump’s language offers insight into how he won the presidency

So, which Finnish words make the people of Finland (“the happiest people in the world”) happiest?

The last word: I was delighted to be featured translator this month on Maeva Cifuentes’ blog. You can read the article here.

Further reading: