OFF TOPIC: Sanskrit Pronunciation

Happy 2015!

Following on from my 2014 New Year’s resolution, my knowledge of Sanskrit is slowly building up.

Last Spring, I started a new advanced yoga class with a fantastic teacher who also introduces us to the Yoga Sutras of Pantañjali. As the Yoga Sutras were originally written in Sanskrit, Continue reading

It Doesn’t Break Three Legs to a Duck

If you hire an amateur “translator” who speaks French like a Spanish cow, your audience could feel like a hen that has found a knife, leaving you in the cabbages while the crook runs away in the English fashion.

Puzzled?

Idioms make languages colourful and interesting. When using them, we don’t think about what they say literally but non-native speakers hearing them for the first time will Continue reading

Translation or Localisation?

An agency once sent a translation with some complaints from the client to me by accident. The problematic translation was a Belgian French version of a text that I had translated for them into French French. The agency had commissioned two translators to work on the same text into two different variants of French. While adapting the text to each country is sensible, translating the text twice into very similar variants of the same language is not the most cost-effective way to do it. Continue reading

The MOOC Experience

In September, I completed a MOOC in Social Psychology with the Wesleyan University (USA) via Coursera and I’m pleased to report that I passed with distinction (91%). So what was the course like?

Well, I expected a MOOC to be a fairly light course, but it proved fairly demanding: each week comprised several videos to Continue reading

Keeping Up With Languages

After much thinking, deliberating, hesitating and mmm-ing, I have decided to stop offering translation from Spanish.

People who do not speak a second language struggle to understand that the knowledge of a language is not for life. Languages are living things. If you don’t look after them, they will wither away and die from your memory. Even your mother tongue can Continue reading

Technology in Translation

I have been quite busy lately, with little time to write a blog post for this week. However, here is an excellent article on technology in translation that you may like to read: Why So Many Translators Hate Translation Technology.

For clarification as to what CAT tools are, please see my post on the topic: The Translator’s Little Helpers.

Reading Dante

About ten years ago, I decided to read Dorothy L. Sayers’s English translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy. I duly started with Hell and, although it made interesting reading in terms of general knowledge, I must confess I was not enthralled by the story per se. Still, I diligently carried on with Purgatory, at the end of which I decided to take a break.

Being short of reading material recently, I resumed the trilogy and picked Paradise off the shelf. Being a translator now means that I Continue reading

OFF TOPIC: The Mad Linguist’s New Year’s Resolution

I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions. Far from being due to a lack of assiduity, this is because I cannot wait for the first day of the year to get started with a great idea. This year, however, I am making an exception – well, with an early cheat in December maybe…

Being a bit of a language fanatic and an unabashed yoga addict, I have decided to Continue reading

The Dark Side of Translation

Translators usually work anonymously, in the shadows. We receive a text in one language, we send back the same story in another language, and no one out there ever knows who did it, like a dark secret kept between us and the client, our partner in crime. In history, the dark art of translation has sometimes proved as dangerous as alchemy and witchcraft.

In the 14th century, William Tyndale translated the Bible from Latin into English so that even “the boy who ploughs the field” could Continue reading

Volunteering: Good for You, Good for Business

Working from home can be a little lonely at times. For this reason, some translators choose to do a bit of volunteering work. It’s a chance to meet fellow human beings and, while you’re busy helping out, it may help your business too.

Volunteering offers the obvious benefits of being a change from the office, keeping your social skills alive, supporting a cause that you believe in and care about, meeting people from all sorts of backgrounds who don’t care about translation (so you have to Continue reading

Translating Mandela

It probably comes as no surprise to most Europeans that Nelson Mandela wanted his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, to be translated into several African languages. It seems the obvious way to make the book accessible to all as well as acknowledging minority languages and the diversity of communities sharing the country of South Africa. But reading an article by Antjie Krog, translator of Long Walk to Freedom into Afrikaans, Continue reading