Translating Aotearoa


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It is translation, more than speech itself, which provides incontrovertible evidence of the human capacity to think and to communicate thought. We should do more of it.

David Bellos, Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything

C-3PO, Taste the Translation, and other news

Will Skype Translator – or Star Wars’ C-3PO – replace translators? Barb Darrow of Fortune seems to think so. What do you think?

Ever wondered how to compete with free translation services or C-3PO? A translation company decided to challenge Google Translate with your tastebuds. ElaN’s Taste the Translation shows you the value of human expertise. David Griner of Adweek reports. Continue reading “C-3PO, Taste the Translation, and other news”

Compulsory language learning at university, translation robots in Japan, and other news

In her article published on The Conversation, Stephanie Rudwick, an African Studies researcher from the University of Leipzig, questions the merits of a policy implemented at the University of KwaZuku-Natal in South Africa making it compulsory for tertiary students to learn Zulu. An interesting read on the tension between ideology, political interests and educational practice. Continue reading “Compulsory language learning at university, translation robots in Japan, and other news”

Brazilian slang, dying languages, punctuation mysteries, and other news

Translating is no easy task, especially when dealing with Brazilian gang slang, jokes, and poetic rabbits. Donna Bowater of the BBC was at the annual International Literary Festival in Paraty, Brazil and spoke about the role and challenges of literary translation with Paulo Coelho (whose international success wouldn’t have been possible without the English translation of The Alchemist), Zoe Perry (who translated Coelho’s latest novel Adultery into English), and Alison Entrekin (who translated Paulo Lins’s City of God into English). Continue reading “Brazilian slang, dying languages, punctuation mysteries, and other news”

Mayan edition of Mexican paper, SL interpreters at music concerts, and other news

Indigenous language maintainance and support are issues that have particular resonance in New Zealand, especially at this time of the year – Te Wiki o Te Reo (Māori Language Week) was celebrated throughout the country last week. GlobalVoices reports on the launch of a Mayan language edition of one of Mexico’s main newspapers. Imagine if the NZ Herald or the DomPost were published in Māori! Continue reading “Mayan edition of Mexican paper, SL interpreters at music concerts, and other news”

Translating Seinfeld, a Māori Romeo and Juliet, and other news

Have you ever watched the quintessential American show, Seinfeld? One of the most popular shows in the United States never became a big hit overseas. Jennifer Armstrong of the talks to the German translator of the show, Sabine Sebastian, about the challenges she faced when translating a show whose humour was so embedded in words and New York City, and some of the reasons why it failed to cross borders. Continue reading “Translating Seinfeld, a Māori Romeo and Juliet, and other news”

June 2015 news

Is translation an art or a math problem? This is the question that Gideon Lewis-Kraus of the New York Times Magazine asks after attending the First Machine Translation Marathon of the Americas held in May at the University of Illinois. Looking at the history and development of the long-sought ‘Universal Translator’, he gives us insight into the ever-increasing rift between computational linguists and ‘human’ translators, and questions the rationale of taking the ‘human’ out of the equation. Continue reading “June 2015 news”

May 2015 news

This is a brief review of translation and language news from around the world, along with the links to the relevant content. Let us know if you come across interesting online content!

With the centenary of Kafka’s Metamorphosis fast approaching, the Guardian‘s WB Gooderham goes through several of its English translations, and discusses their merits and translation strategies to identify the most successful one. Feel free to contact him if you know of any version that hasn’t been included in his list.

The Scotsman reports on yet another translation blunder affecting Gaelic signage in Scotland, with the City Centre becoming a ‘big town unit’.

Translator and blogger Michele Hutchison talks to several editors about editing literary translations to investigate the complicated relationships between translators, editors, and editor-translators.

In a blog post for Marketing Tips for Translators, web-entrepreneur Neil Armstrong shares a few useful tips on online portfolios for translators to showcase their skills, and how to attract more traffic – and potential clients. Do you have your own online portfolio? If not, this may be something worth looking into.

Quill & Quire talks to Luc Bossé, editor at Pow Pow, a French-language comics publisher based in Montreal. The publishing company recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance the translation of its books into English.

April 2015 News

This is a brief review of translation and language news from around the world, along with the links to the relevant content. Let us know if you come across interesting online content!

Harvard Magazine’s Spencer Lenfield meets poet and translator David Ferry, who won the US National Book Award for Poetry in 2012 for his collection of original and translated poems Bewilderment. He’s now completing his translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, and explains what approach he takes to translating poetry.

Russian news channel RT reports on the fate of an Afghan interpreter who was refused asylum in the United Kingdom. The 26-year-old was shot in the leg during an assassination attempt.

Tess Whitty who owns and maintains Marketing Tips for Translators, recently interviewed translator, former translation company owner, and physicist Kevin Hendzel. Listen to the podcast to find out how to become a wold-class translator.

When thinking about translation in the movie industry, most of us think of subtitling and dubbing. T.J. from Pixar Post talks to localisation artist Laura Meyer and gives us a fascinating insight into the localisation process of animated movies.

Lance Ulanoff from Mashable reports that Skype Translator Preview now supports Mandarin in addition to Italian, Spanish and English. The beta, invite-only, multi-lingual video conferencing tool includes an on-screen translation service which supports 50 different languages.

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