With Dell making great use of machine translation and claiming a 40% cut in translation costs since 2011, Robert Lane Green, journalist for The Economist, reports on the rise of the machine translators and what the future may have in store for us. Will human translation become a mere post-editing process?

The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim and translated by Jonathan Wright won a Writers in Translation award in 2013 and the International Foreign Fiction Prize in 2014. English PEN’s Grace Hetherington talks to the translator about the difficulty of translating Blasim’s own form of Arabic, and about literary influences, and censorship, in the Arab world.

China Digital Times reports on a spat between Dong Fangyu of the China Daily who claims that a lack of competent translators is preventing Chinese literary works from reaching a wider international audience, and writer and translator Bruce Humes who questions Dong Fangyu’s claim. The literary translation market currently favours translations into, rather than translation from, Chinese.

All of you will be happy to learn that people who speak two or more languages are more likely to have healthier brain functions in old age than monolinguals. The Egypt Independent reports on the results of a recent study on bilingualism and the onset of dementia.

Elias Muhanna of The New Yorker wonders why Disney chose to dub its most recent blockbuster, Frozen, into Modern Standard Arabic rather than Egyptian Arabic or other vernaculars. MSA is as remote from Arabic vernaculars as 17th Century English is from modern-day English.

Stefan