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.
Do you know how the month of May got its name? It may (pun intended) seem a simple word, but the origin is actually fairly complex and interesting. We could say the same about several articles listed here in the May 2020 round-up of this month’s most popular stories about language, translation and interpreting.
was Maia a Greek or Roman goddess?
Colleague Judy Jenner blogged about interpreting depositions via Zoom. Is it possible, and how does it work?
In times past, when frustrating circumstances demanded new ways of expressing what it means to be alive, it was often female writers who sculpted the fresh coinages that kept language rippling with poignancy and power.
Just like last month, I’ve divided this round-up of April’s stories about language and translation into two sections: links that are either related or unrelated to COVID. Take your pick, or read both parts!
During lockdown you may find yourself at a loose end (if you’re in the UK) or at loose ends (if you’re in the US). Lynne Murphy took a closer look. She also examined how the expression “on the up-and-up” means different things in the two countries.
Are you at a loose end or at loose ends?
The Literature Translation Institute of Korea is to start an education programme to teach professional translators how to translate Korean movies and webtoons into English, Spanish & Vietnamese.
Although we were all aware of COVID-19 when I posted my last round-up on 29th February, I think few of us could have imagined the situation we’re living through right now. Today, instead of listing articles by order of popularity as I normally do, and in case you’re fed up of hearing about the coronavirus, I’ve divided this blog post into two sections: links that are either related or unrelated to COVID. It’s interesting to note in this (longer-than-normal) post that the majority of March’s most popular articles were actually the latter.
A recent request from a colleague on Facebook looking for interesting podcasts to listen to got me compiling the following list. I’ve listed podcasts that are about language, translation and/or interpreting, but none about language learning (there are plenty out there if that’s what you’re looking for). Depending on how much time you have available you might want to listen to all of a podcast’s episodes or just cherrypick here and there. The list is in alphabetical order and, with one exception, only includes podcasts in English.
I have a soft spot for The Allusionist – subjects are very varied and I like Helen Zaltzmans’ take on things
It is hard to tackle a problem you are afraid to name.
Urban Dictionary has long been looked down on by more traditional dictionaries, but now some linguists are using it for research. Certain U.S. states are referencing it to determine the acceptability of vanity plate names, and its definitions have also been brought up and debated in court cases.
There was a time when the figurative meaning of ‘fishing’ was only used in terms like ‘fishing for compliments’. Now we have ‘catfishing’, ‘blackfishing’, and ‘sadfishing’: do you know what they all mean?
We’re fast approaching the end of the year, and MacMillan Dictionaries have already compiled a “Trending Words of 2019” quiz. Test your knowledge here. (In mid-October The Guardian also published an article with the Top 10 words of 2019 and both Oxford Dictionaries and Collins Dictionaries have named their words of the year.
October 10th marked a minor milestone for me, as I celebrated the 10th birthday of my Twitter account. Partly based on results from my Twitter feed, here’s your monthly round-up of October’s most popular stories about language, translation and interpreting.
In a world of people striving for more public professional recognition, there’s a reason why interpreters and translators remain invisible. We allow the show to go on, carrying out projects that significantly affect people’s lives, while often remaining anonymous.
On a final note, October 16th was World Food Day and colleague Alina Cincan curated a post in which several foodie translators (yours truly included) shared some favourite dishes along with their etymology and a food-related idiom.