This week I had the pleasure of participating in a ‘Responsible Women’ Forum held at a local secondary school to talk to 13-year old girls about careers, ambitions … and the responsibilities that go with them! I’m also responsible for your May round-up of popular stories about translations and language.
English has changed since Chaucer’s day (Getty Images)
- GDPR came into effect on May 25th. This article by Pieter Beens looks at (nearly) all translators might to need know and do about it. (See also this video by the Belgian Chamber of Translators and Interpreters).
- Science has just settled the debate about whether it’s better to have one or two spaces after a full stop.
One space between each sentence, they said.
The weasel voice in journalism
Israeli singer Netta Barzilai performing with the trophy after winning the Eurovision Song Contest on May 12, 2018. (Credit FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP)
Here is your April round-up of popular stories about language and translation.
The Economist: boldly going where grammarians have feared to tread
A user’s guide to the new lexicon of the young from the FT.
Is this game board for ludo, chinese checkers, parcheesi, or sorry?
- Another month, another AI interpreting/translating failure story: this time at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan. Find out more at Language Log.
- This Fijian Tourist Board translation – or rather proofreading – failure (a word that means ‘holy place’ was said to mean ‘toilet’) is, for once, being blamed on a graphic design error, and not the translator!
The offending Fijian ad that confused worship and WC
Here is your March round-up of popular stories about translation and language.
- In this (controversial?) article, Translate meanings not words, Tim Gutteridge led an ‘accident investigation report’ on a ‘translation train crash’ he spotted in The Guardian.
- Also in The Guardian, Daniel Hahn explained why we need the Translators Association first translation prize, which is an award he set up using his winnings from the International Dublin literary award.
Svetlana Alexievich, whose book Second-Hand Time has won the TA first translation prize for translator Bela Shayevich and editor Jacques Testard. (Photograph: Gordon Welters for the Guardian)
In many #Metoo stories, crucial signals, verbal and non-verbal cues are sent but not received. Why is that?
Some of the women writers and translators from around the world who are pressing for progress through their activism and literature.
Papillon/Quincaillerie/Flâneur are three of the ‘best’ French words, according to learners
This month I had the pleasure – and honour – of spending a morning at the Careers Fair of a local high school talking to final year pupils about my profession. Whether or not you’re also a professional translator I hope you’ll find something of interest in February’s round-up of popular stories about language and translation.
- With February commonly being associated with love, not surprisingly the most popular article I shared listed a dozen pet names in other languages that don’t work quite so well when translated into English.
Sparrows, elephants, microbes, and potatoes … some pet names don’t work quite so well in English
- February 21st was International Mother Language Day, and UNESCO reiterated its commitment to linguistic diversity as a reminder that linguistic diversity and multilingualism are essential for sustainable development.
- This Economist article looked at the the painful origins of many creole languages, which have often – but not always – evolved from slavery.
“Those unfamiliar with creoles, thinking them mere patois, argot or vernacular, are missing a glorious display of the ingenuity of those speakers who turned old languages into something brilliantly new”
Elle France asked if “souping” was a new trend, but critics disagreed, and others queried the use of “ing” on French words
L’académicien Pierre Nora et la secrétaire perpétuelle de l’Académie française Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, en janvier 2016. © Jacques Demarthon / AFP
On a semi-professional note I appreciate being named last week as one of Reunion Island’s top digital influencers. Anyway here is your first round-up of the new year with January’s most popular news stories about language and translation.
Cigarette pie refers to the shape, but it doesn’t translate well.
The French are told not to say ‘smartphone’ in an ongoing battle against English
How words come to be used tells you a lot about different cultures
Pseudo-anglicisms are not your average English loanwords
A few announcements:
- Ouverture des inscriptions et lancement du site dédié à la 12eme edition du SAM (Séminaire d’anglais médical)
- Call for application: Paul Celan fellowships for translators 2018/2019 (deadline: 18 March 2018)
Here, in ascending order, are the ten most popular* tweets about translation and language that I shared during 2017 on my @Smart_Translate Twitter account:
* ‘most popular’ = most clicked on, according to Hootsuite.
Do you have a favourite article published in 2017 you’d like to share? Don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments below.
Every year end brings its attempts at summing up the past 12 months in a single word or two. In terms of frequency, a quick check of my Twitter account tells me – unsurprisingly – that language and translation were my most used words in 2017! Here is your round-up of popular news stories for December on those very subjects.
The Guadalajara International Book Fair. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).
- Staying with literary translation, here is an interview with Allison M. Charette, whose translation of Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo became the first Malagasy novel to ever be published in English.
- How is an Iraqi translation project helping to rebuild science in the Arab world?
Aristotle teaching astronomy. © Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul
- Charles Dickens wrote about the plight of impoverished & destitute members of UK society. So how come ‘Dickensian‘ is a synonym for rosy-cheeked, full-stomached, fattened-goose, hearty merry “God bless us every one” Christmas?
- Check out this holiday season list from Words Without Borders of some Reading in Translation.
A Holiday Gift Guide for Reading in Translation
What in the Word?! Mining the roots of ‘cobalt’
Happy New Year 2018!
Here is your round-up of popular news stories about language and translation for November.
Kazakh Facebook users have adopted the carrot example to express their views on the alphabet change
From The Red Lion to the Bucket of Blood, how did your local get its name?
Now that really takes the biscuit.
Why do the French exclaim “Oh la vache!”?
Here is your round-up of popular news stories about translation and language for the month of October.
Photo from the Facebook post that mistranslated ‘good morning’ to ‘hurt them’
- Why is Argentinean Spanish seemingly so different to a lot of other dialects of Spanish? Find out here.
Buenos Aires market (Credit: Michael S. Lewis/Getty Images)
EU flags outside the European Commission building on October 24, 2014 (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
HSBC’s “Assume nothing” slogan was translated to “Do nothing” in several countries before a costly rebranding.
- What are the (inflated) origins of the word ‘blimp‘?
A blimp is a non-rigid airship that takes its distinctive shape from – and is, of course, held aloft by – the gas inside its envelope.
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