Despite International Translation Day being celebrated by the International Federation of Translators since 1953, this year marked a milestone as it is the first since the 71st United Nations General Assembly declared September 30th to be the official UN International Translation Day, celebrated across the entire UN network, and unanimously adopted a resolution recognising the role of professional translation in connecting nations, and fostering peace, understanding and development. Without further ado, here is your round-up of popular news stories about language and translation for the month of September.
- The European Commission has published an updated English Style Guide for its authors and translators, which is available for download.
- Do you talk about a ‘glossary’ when you actually mean a ‘list of terminology’? Find out here.
- K International has updated their list of favourite books about translation – covering both fiction and non-fiction.
- Often a bugbear for French to English translators, why do the French use the umbrella term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ so much?
Not just American or British, the Anglo-Saxon is a mirror to Frenchness: the country’s alter-ego and most feared enemy
- Blog posts comparing US and UK English are always popular, and Lynne Murphy published two this month: one about ‘sorted‘, and another about sightedness (as in far-, short-, long-, and near-).
- This podcast episode by 20k.org looked at how accents evolved, and why American and British accents are so different.
Your accent tells others where you’re from, who you identify with, and maybe even where you’re going.
You dirty lobster!
- Here’s a list of 19 literary translations from Arabic being published this autumn.
- In the UK, the pro-Brexit newspaper The Sun decided to publish an editorial in German on its website, justifying its position. Problem – it seems to have used Bing Translate, with predictably disastrous results.
- Did you know that the word ‘tall‘ originally has nothing to do with height?
Tall originally had nothing to do with lattes either
As I was away in Australia (attending the FIT congress) for part of July and August, I’m doing a combined round-up of interesting stories about language and translation that you may have missed over the past two months, especially if you’ve also been away travelling.
- Talking of Australia, what is the real story behind some of those Australian slang terms like ‘grommies’ ‘tea bags’ and ‘esky-lidders’?
‘Budgie smugglers’ have become synonymous with speedo-style swimwear (Credit: Stuart Westmorland/Getty Images)
You Say Melon, I Say Lemon: translator Deborah Smith as a brilliant sous chef who attempted to recreate the original chef’s recipe abroad with ingredients not found in her country.
John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence (via Wikimedia Commons)
The plaque shows the lyrics of Galway Bay and three translations into Irish, Latin, and French
Photo of a page of « Jambonlaissé » (Davina Sammarcelli)
June 9th saw the announcement of the results of Bab.la’s 2017 Language Lovers competition, and I was delighted to come 2nd * in the Twitter category! (Full results here). What else has been happening in the world of language and translation during the month of June?
What country is this, and where does its name come from?
A cuckoo, from whence the etymology of cuckold
Bugles were originally made from the horns of oxen
Recep Tayyip Erdogan takes a new step in his campaign against foreign influences
On a final note you might like to check out my latest podcast for English language learners, which is on a rather unusual subject (there are video and audio versions).
* Another milestone this month was the fact my Facebook page reached 1000 followers!
The major translation-related news this month has of course been that during its 71st session on 24 May 2017 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 288 recognising “The role of professional translation in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development“. Without further ado, here’s your May round-up of popular articles about translation and language.
- Is the translation sector “undergoing a wrenching change that will make life hard for the timid”? asks Lane Greene in The Economist article Why translators have the blues.
- In the Financial Times, prizewinning translator Deborah Smith writes about the pleasures and pitfalls of literary translation.
A copy of La Tour’s ‘Saint Jerome Reading’ (c1636), depicting the priest known for translating the Bible into Latin. © Getty
“Gift” means “poison” in German. This may lead to confusion.
- Squint and cross-eyed: as a former childhood squinter I found this article about the differences between UK & US English usage of these terms interesting.
- Also on the subject of US English, Susie Dent explored the history of how Americanisms have entered British English on this BBC Radio 4 programme, and a Mental Floss video looks at how British and American spelling parted ways.
- How Noah Webster, author of An American Dictionary of the English Language, invented the word ‘immigration’.
On a final note, don’t forget to vote for your favourite language-related blogs, Facebook pages, Youtube channels and Twitter accounts in Bab.la’s annual Top 100 Language Lovers competition. I’ve been nominated in the Twitter category for the 5th year running. You only have until June 6th to vote (which you can do by clicking the red logo at the top right of the page)!
The 3 Phases of the Top 100 Language Lovers 2017 Competition: Nominations, Voting, Results
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Easter fell during the month of April this year and I found out that the Hungarian word for the holiday is húsvét, which literally means ‘meat-taking’ (with reference to the end of Lent). Anyway here’s your April round-up of popular articles about language, interpreting, and translation.
Translation platforms cannot replace humans
Three little letters, 645 meanings.
The term double-headed has sometimes been part of the lexicon of duplicity, much like double-hearted.
- There’s still a week before the second round of the French presidential election, which will be followed by the country’s legislative elections on June 11th and 18th. If you’re not fluent in French, here’s a handy guide to some terms used in the elections.
How do you say ‘fake news’ in French?
Did you know that the Finnish word for March, maaliskuu, is believed to come from the word maallinen in the sense of “earthly”, because snow begins to melt and first spots of bare earth can be seen? Anyway here’s your March round-up of popular articles about translation and language.
In 2006 Alitalia listed $39.00 for a business class fare from Toronto to Cyprus instead of the usual $3,900. Estimated cost to the carrier: $7.7m.
Now you can say ‘mansplaining’ in 35 languages
Does the available vocabulary for sex leave something to be desired?
Would you use these solicitors?
Humour en français :
- Quand quelqu’un ne connaît pas un métier cela donne lieu à des demandes totalement insolites (ici des demandes faites à des agences web).
Here, in ascending order, are the 10 most popular* tweets about translation and language that I shared during 2016 on my @Smart_Translate Twitter account:
Example of an unpronounceable word; ‘unpronounceable’ is the opposite of its meaning
Is ‘languid’ a word that describes itself? [Lady Lilith, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti]
Some of the 250 translations into different language of “Le Petit Prince”
Do you have a favourite article published in 2016 you’d like to share? Don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments below.
* ‘most popular’ = most clicked on, according to Hootsuite.
November 2nd-5th saw ATA‘s 57th Annual Conference held in San Francisco, and colleagues Paula Arturo and Claire Cox have both blogged about it. The list of future ATA conference sites and dates is here. Anyway here’s your November round-up of popular articles about language and translation.
Simon explains how to get clients to come to you
“It looks, especially if you speak British English, as if Clinton was making a claim about the sanity level of Jeremy Corbyn”
The Norwegian Mr Bump.
- Finally a quiz: Do you know these 25 Scottish words and phrases?
October 9th was world Hangeul Day. Do you know anything about Korea’s alphabet, which – because it was deliberately invented – is sometimes called the most scientific writing system in the world? Anyway, here’s your October round-up of popular articles about language and translation.
Donald Trump has been criticised for his lewd remarks about women
Der ‘Oldtimer’ is a German word for a classic or vintage car (Credit: Alamy)
Stradbroke Island in Queensland, Australia, faces a campaign to refer to it only by its Indigenous Australian name, Minjerribah. Photograph: naphakm/Getty Images
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was made famous in the 1964 film Mary Poppins
- Can you guess the language in this short quiz, using your knowledge of alphabets, language associations, and some educated guessing?
Here’s your round-up of popular articles about translation and language for the month of September.
- Errors can change a life when it comes to legal translation.
- People have been told to use a new name for the country previously referred to as the Czech Republic: ‘Czechia’ in English, Tchequie in French and Tschechien in German. All are translations of Cesko in Czech.
Bridges span the River Vltava in Prague, the capital city of Czechia (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Being ill: office job vs freelancing
Fixed gear bikes are very popular with hipsters
Poster for International Translation Day 2016