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Santiago Gamboa on the death of Gabriel García Márquez

Source: English PEN
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Santiago Gamboa writes a special PEN Atlas dispatch this week to commemorate Gabriel García Márquez, the way that he changed literature, and the deep love for his books all around the world, from everyday readers to presidents

Translated from the Spanish by Howard Curtis

It is no hyperbole, brought on by the sadness we feel, to state that García Márquez was one of the last giants of the twentieth century, the kind of writer who doesn’t seem to exist any more, his works combining at least two elements that are hard to reconcile in today’s world: a boundless popularity among readers and at the same time enormous acclaim from the literary and academic establishment. Today, it would be almost impossible to imagine a phenomenon like One Hundred Years of Solitude, with sixty million copies sold in less than fifty years (more than a million a year), and at the same time read and respected in the highest circles, the object of thousands of doctoral theses, and reaching a universal audience: in India alone it has been translated into 24 languages. Today, celebrity can go one of two ways: either writers are popular, but scorned by critics and academics, or else they are cult figures, loved by the critical establishment, but condemned to minimal sales. The phenomenon of García Márquez is that he combined the sales figures of a Fifty Shades of Grey with the reputation and cult status of a David Foster Wallace or a Roberto Bolaño.

Through his novels and stories, Gabriel García Márquez gave literary form to a world, the world of the Caribbean, and did so with such universality, force and talent that for decades his books became the stereotypical image of the whole of Latin America in the rest of the world. There can be no doubt that One Hundred Years of Solitude is the most important literary work in Spanish since Don Quixote. In it, both the world and the language are born again, revealing themselves with such force that Hispanic culture came back into the limelight. Spanish had not had such prominence in the world since Cervantes, and its literature had not been at the forefront of Western culture. More.

See: English PEN

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Cloudwords adds features

Source: MultiLingual
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Cloudwords, Inc., an online translation management platform, has added new features to its marketing globalization platform. Additional capabilities include Change Order API, Project Workflow API and Machine Translation, which is designed to enable customers to globalize marketing campaigns and content using the localization method and model that is best suited for their content and budget needs. More.

See: MultiLingual

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Peace in our time: Booth manners revisited

Source: AIIC
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Peaceful coexistence is the purpose of much human endeavour; indeed many of us ply our trade for organizations that invest effort and resources in keeping this fractious world on an even keel, and there are international treaties that enjoin countries not to rub their neighbours up the wrong way by having the music on too loud.

We have all heard the saying think global act local; it is time to take this message to heart. AIIC has published extensively on how an interpreter is to behave with clients, consultant interpreters and sarcastic waiters. The association must now turn its mind to peace within the booth.

Within living memory an AIIC working group produced guidelines on booth manners. They included wise counsel such as do not light a bonfire in the booth however cold, keep all pets at home (boa constrictors and tarantulas were a particular beef) and do your bagpipe practice somewhere where nobody will notice – say the chief interpreter’s office. More.


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Don’t forget to localize these 5 elements

Source: Multilizer Translation Blog
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

It can be hard to notice all important things when working on a localization project. All the content can contain meanings which don’t work well in the target market. We are often unable to see the most fundamental, hidden cultural assumptions ourselves because we are so used to them. A localization project is most successful when all the details point to the same direction and tell a cohesive story. Here are five elements that deserve some attention in every localization project.

  1. Links
  2. Currencies
  3. Communication style
  4. Images
  5. Colors

Read the full post in Multilizer Translation Blog here:

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This is why your brain wants to swear

Source: The Guardian
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

A recent study shows that children are adept at absorbing swearwords. That’s the power of linguistic taboos for you

Most of the time, words behave themselves. They’re just a useful arrangement of sounds in our mouths, or letters on a page. They have no intrinsic power to offend. If I told you that skloop was a vile swearword in some foreign language, with the power to empty rooms and force ministerial resignations, you might laugh. How could an arbitrary combination of sounds have such force? But then think of the worst swearwords in your own language and you quickly understand that something else is at play here. Our reaction to them is instant and emotional.

Which is why parents will not necessarily rejoice at the findings of a study by Timothy Jay, who looked at the range of “bad” words used by children as young as one. Between the ages of one and two, in fact, Jay’s experiments showed that boys drew on a vocabulary of six such words; girls eight. This expanded rapidly, with five to six-year-old boys using 34 words, and girls of the same age 21. More.

See: The Guardian

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Sahar Delijani and her translators

Source: Authors & Translators
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

“Hearing extracts from my books in other languages is always like listening to something familiar yet foreign. Translation is a difficult but creative work.”

Sahar Delijani was born in Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran in 1983, the same year both her parents were arrested due to their political activism against the Islamic regime. In 1996, when she was 12 years old, her parents decided to move to Northern California to join her mother’s family.

Delijani was nominated for the 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize and was for a time a regular contributor to Iran-Emrooz (Iran of Today) Political and Cultural Journal. Her debut novel, Children of the Jacaranda Tree, will be published in more than 70 countries and translated into 27 languages.

Read the full interview in Authors & Translators here:

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Have fun. Test your skills. Win prizes. The annual translation contest is on now.

Source: Translator T.O.
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

As of this writing, there are already 114 entries and 65 language pairs in the annual translation contest for 2014.

The theme for this contest is Celebrations. Five different source texts are available, and more may be added if suitable texts are proposed or found. Submissions last until July 31st, but don’t wait until the last moment to submit your entry!

An added feature of annual contests are the prizes. All winners receive a winner’s ribbon and certificate for their profiles, of course, but in addition, the following prizes will be awarded in a drawing held from among the winners:

  1. An expenses-paid trip to the conference of your choice (1 winner)
  2. A Dell laptop (1 winner)
  3. An iPad (3 winners)
  4. A 1TB external hard drive, to back up all of your data (5 winners)
  5. A coffee mug, to put on your desk or other flat surface (10 winners)

On top of that, a prize drawing will be held from among all voters in this contest, and the member selected will win an iPad mini. In total, there will be 21 prize drawing winners. More.

See: Translator T.O.

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RIP for OED as world’s finest dictionary goes out of print

Source: The Telegraph
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Compilers of the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary fear the mammoth masterpiece can only appear online as printed volumes will not be commerically viable

It is the world’s most definitive work on the most global language, but the Oxford English Dictionary may be disappearing from bookshelves forever.

Publishers fear the next edition will never appear in print form because its vast size means only an online version will be feasible, and affordable, for scholars.

It’s all academic for now anyway, they say, because the third edition of the famous dictionary, estimated to fill 40 volumes, is running at least 20 years behind schedule.

Michael Proffitt, the OED’s first new chief editor for 20 years, said the mammoth masterpiece is facing delays because “information overload” from the internet is slowing his compilers.

His team of 70 philologists, including lexicographers, etymologists and pronunciation experts, has been working on the latest version, known as OED3, for the past 20 years. More.

See: The Telegraph

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‘Everything he wrote was gold’: An interview with Gabriel García Márquez’s translator

Source: The Washington Post
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

As a translator, it may not get better — or more daunting — than bringing the work of Gabriel García Márquez to new audiences. Beginning with the 1985 novel “Love in the Time of Cholera,” Edith Grossman has rendered in English the Nobel laureate’s work. In an e-mail exchange with Outlook editor Carlos Lozada following the writer’s death on Thursday, Grossman reflects on the art of translation, García Márquez’s pet peeves and which of his novels was her favorite.

When did you learn Spanish?

I first studied Spanish in high school, in Philadelphia. My family were not Spanish speakers.

How did you become a translator?

A friend who edited a magazine asked me to translate a piece by the Argentine Macedonio Fernández. When I said that I was a critic, not a translator, he said, “You can call yourself whatever you want; just translate the piece.” I did, and the rest is history. More.

See: The Washington Post

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Native British Columbian languages among the most diverse – and most endangered – on the planet

Source: Lori Thicke | How Does Language Impact YOUR World?
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Every 14 days another language dies. Most are languages we have never heard of, in faraway lands. But some are closer than we may think.

National Geographic and the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages have identified six places on earth that possess the highest diversity of native languages with the greatest threat of extinction. British Columbia is code red among these endangered language hotspots, threat level severe.

I work with global languages every day, yet until now I had no idea that my own province was the ancestral home to 32 distinct native languages which have flourished here for millennia. But it’s like I’ve discovered the greatest bookstore in the world on the day before it goes out of business: all of B.C.’s surviving aboriginal languages, from Carrier to Beaver to Coast Salish to Squamish, are facing mass extinction.

The map below from the Ethnologue shows the distribution of languages in B.C. At this writing, except for Pentlatch, Sooke, Songish, Semiahmoo, Comox, Nicola and Tsetsaut, all have at least one mother tongue speaker left alive. More.

See: Lori Thicke | How Does Language Impact YOUR World?

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Translators Without Borders among the 2013 Da Vinci Award recipients

Source: Humanity Road
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Humanity Road announced today the selection of the 2013 Choice Awards for disaster response.  We’re thrilled to announce recipients for our 2013 Da Vinci award.   Significant and noteworthy service or product contribution, this medal is awarded to a Patron or contributor who has added significant value in support of Humanity Road programs. Through donations in kind or contributions they have helped mold shape and support the organization.  Award recipients of the Da Vinci Medal are chosen by the Humanity Road Board of Directors.  This year’s recipients are Translators without Borders for their support during Typhoon Haiyan and Progeny Systems for their small business innovation partnership dedicated to process improvement. Both organizations provided critical support for Humanity Road disaster response operations for the Philippines.

Translators without Borders: As Typhoon Haiyan approached the coastline of the Philippines, Humanity Road reached out in partnership with Translators without Borders for assistance.  Their response to our request was fast and within hours we had our first translation assistance.  Lois Goldman and Noemi Katuin were assigned to our team and their support continued for weeks. They helped monitor social media in language and translated text and video messages emerging in social media.  The support provided by Translators without Borders helped save lives and also provided message relay support to reunite families who were rescued.   To learn more about the work of Translators without Borders, visit More.

See: Humanity Road

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s translator speaks up for translations

Source: The Huffington Post
Story flagged by: Clarisa Moraña

Published on March 15, 2010 in the Huffington Post.

NEW YORK — If you’re a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or have purchased the latest edition of “Don Quixote,” you might know the name Edith Grossman.

You would have seen her listed on the cover of “Don Quixote,” right under author Miguel de Cervantes, or recognized her from “Love in the Time of Cholera” and other Garcia Marquez books. You’d be happy to know that she is well compensated, highly regarded and in steady demand.

It’s a good life for any writer, but it’s especially charmed for the art form Grossman has mastered: translation.

An ancient and invaluable profession, the passport for a given culture’s journey abroad, translation has been practiced by literary greats such as Alexander Pope, Ezra Pound and Saul Bellow. Some of the most famous phrases in English, from “Of arms and the man I sing” to “Abandon hope all ye who enter here,” are translations.

But the typical translator’s status can be likened to a ghost writer’s – an appendage obscure and underpaid. Like ghost writers, they often receive flat fees and no royalties. Reviewers often overlook them or faintly praise them – and this drives Grossman crazy – for “ably” translating the original text.

“`Ably translated,’ compared to what?” asks Grossman, whose “Why Translation Matters,” a brief, forceful defense of her profession, is being released by Yale University Press. “The reviewer clearly doesn’t read Spanish. How would they know if it is ably translated? They quote long passages to indicate the style of the writer and never credit the translator.” More.

See: The Huffington Post

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Bad habits that hold freelancers back

Source: Thoughts On Translation
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Let’s just dive in to this one: bad habits that may be putting the brakes on your freelance ambitions. Feel free to add your own in the comments! And for the record, I’m not getting all superior here…I culled many of these bad habits from my own experiences!

  • Waiting for the big block of time that is never coming. That book you’ve been planning to write; that marketing campaign you’ve been meaning to launch; that blog that you’ve been on the verge of creating…but not until you can take a week and focus only on that task. News flash: unless you’re independently wealthy and have no responsibilities to anyone except yourself, the big block of time is never coming. I tell you this because I waited (literally) two years to write the second edition of How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator, because I was going to take a month off and just blaze away at it. After two years of waiting for that elusive month, I decided that even if I only wrote one sentence, I had to work on the second edition every single day. And guess what; in another six months, it was done. So, whatever your long-term goals are, chip away at them in small, regular increments.
  • Publicly ranting about clients or colleagues. When I see people doing this, mostly in the form of Facebook or Twitter posts, I have one question for them: Why? I agree, everyone needs to vent now and again. But that’s what your e-mail and phone connections to your most trusted colleagues are for. Public ranting has so many downsides, it’s hard to know where to begin. First, nothing on social media is private, and someone may forward the rant to the client or colleague at whom it’s directed, even if you don’t actually name them in the post. Second, social media is there forever. You can delete the ranting post, but lots of people have already seen it. Third, it’s off-putting to other people who might refer work to you. I would never take the risk of referring a client to someone who is a habitual ranter. Also, I think that most clients run away from translators who have a reputation as being high-drama or difficult to work with. The emotional release of publicly flaming someone just isn’t worth the risk. Fourth: that whole thing about people in glass houses. I definitely get irritated when clients or colleagues inconvenience me because of their own bad planning, or send the wrong file, or don’t understand a question or instruction that seems simple to me. But I try to keep the perspective that undoubtedly, I do those same things sometimes, possibly without even realizing it. Fifth, it’s a waste of your time and energy. With the time you spend being aggravated at a client who bugs you, you could proactively go look for a new client who pays more and is less annoying. So, keep the complaints offline, and only to a few colleagues who you really, really trust. More.

See: Thoughts On Translation

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You are fired!

Source: Translation Times
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Don’t worry about the title of this blog post: this is not about the linguist getting fired, but about the linguist firing a client. In general, we are not big fans of the term firing clients, but it does make for a catchy title. Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s talk about a problem that every small business owner, regardless of the business sector, faces sooner or later: clients who are simply, well, not worth it. If this has never happened to you, consider yourself lucky.

It’s a well-known reality of the marketplace that some clients will be more difficult and will take up more of your time than others. We’d say that 99% of our clients are absolutely lovely, but some require more work and more hand-holding than others. Some have completely preventable emergencies that they expect us to solve. That’s not to say that they aren’t nice people or that we don’t like them, but as the owners of a small business, our only resource is our time, so we have to make choices about how we use that resource to benefit our bottom line. We run a business, and we need to always behave like one. For better or for worse, that includes making some difficult decisions about whom we want to work with. Since we work for ourselves, we are under no obligation to continue any working relationship that simply isn’t fruitful, and sometimes you have to walk away. More.

See: Translation Times

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Meet Göran Malmqvist, Nobel Prize member and champion of Chinese literature

Source: South China Morning Post
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Göran Malmqvist is a member of one of the most influential literary bodies in the world, and a champion of Chinese literature, writes Janice Leung

When Gao Xingjian won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2000, Göran Malmqvist came under fire for not recusing himself in the awards process. Critics accused Malmqvist, a senior member of the selection panel, of a conflict of interest because he was a friend of the dissident Chinese writer and had translated many of his works.

A similar controversy emerged 12 years later when Mo Yan became the second Chinese author to win the prize.

“Actually, I met Mo Yan here for the first time in 1990, by this pond,” Malmqvist says, seated by a pool of koi at Chinese University where he gave a series of public lectures last month. “I’d only met him three times before he got the prize,” the Swede says, but “people said we were old buddies”. More.

See: South China Morning Post

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34 years later, a finished Pashto-Chinese dictionary

Source: Beijing Cream
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

[...] At the time, dictionaries between Chinese and the world’s languages were very few, and many languages had no competent speakers in China.

After polling several schools, Che Hongcai was found to be the only professor especially skilled at the Pashto language of Afghanistan.

Ultimately, only 70 percent of the dictionaries ordered ever saw publication during the 1980s. Most simply fell through the cracks and were forgotten as roles changed and professors passed away.

That Che persevered – unsupervised – for 34 years stunned Zhang Wenying, editor-in-chief of the Commercial Publishing House. It took Zhang two years of research to unearth the forgotten dictionary program and arrange for the publication of Che’s work. More.

See: Beijing Cream

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Translation on tap in NYC April 15 – 25, 2014

Source: Translationista
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

There’ll be a lot happening translation-wise in the greater New York area over the next 10 days. Check it out:

[...] Friday, April 25, 2014
Translating the Untranslatable: Contemporary Poetry Translation in the U.S. – a roundtable and reading featuring Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, Charles Bernstein, Cole Swensen, Pierre Joris, Tracy Grinnell, and Avital Ronell. NYU French Department, 19 University Place, 6th floor, 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Friday April 25, 2014
Contemporary French Poetry in the U.S.: Translating, Publishing, Adapting. With French and American poets Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, Charles Bernstein, Cole Swensen, Pierre Joris and Tracy Grinnell, presented by Vincent Broqua. McNally Jackson, 52 Prince Street, 8:00 p.m. More.

See: Translationista

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Lost in translation: New book explores mistranslation in Korean literature

Source: The Korea Times
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The average Korean adult does not read so much as one book of literature per year, but that does not keep him or her from debating furiously about why the country has never won a Nobel Prize in literature. And, fairly or unfairly, it is always the translators who find themselves on the receiving end of much of the finger-pointing.

In his new book, “The Culture of Mistranslation,’’ Hankuk University of Foreign Studies English Professor Kim Wook-dong explores the quality of foreign language translations of Korean fiction and poems from the early 20th century to the present.

Kim devotes a larger part of his book to analyzing mistakes than reviewing good translations, and provides his own insight on how authors and publishers can ensure that their works are conveyed more accurately in different languages.

The first chapter of the book is devoted to revisiting the debate between different writers’ associations over translations. More.

See: The Korea Times

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Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate writer, dies aged 87

By: RominaZ

Colombian author became standard-bearer for Latin American letters after success of One Hundred Years of Solitude

The Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who unleashed the worldwide boom in Spanish literature with his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, has died at the age of 87. He had been admitted tohospital in Mexico City on 3 April with pneumonia.

Matching commercial success with critical acclaim, García Márquez became a standard-bearer for Latin American letters, establishing a route for negotiations between guerillas and the Colombian government, building a friendship with Fidel Castro, and maintaining a feud with fellow literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa that lasted more than 30 years.

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said via Twitter: “A thousand years of solitude and sadness at the death of the greatest Colombian of all time. More.

See: The Guardian

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150 free e-books for translators and interpreters

Source: TermCoord
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Living in the Digital Age means there is no excuse for not staying updated professionally during Easter holidays. The blog Infotra of The Falculty of Translation and Documentation at the University of Salamanca, one of the oldest universities in the Western world, features a collection of 150 e-book resources for translators and interpreters on everything from multilingual business practises in the EU to false friends in Spanish-English.

Of course there is also our own EP TermCoord page with a large selection of e-books divided into four categories: Terminology, Translation, Linguistics and Glossaries.

The best thing is it’s all free to access, so what are you waiting for: Grab your iPad, download the free pdf’s, find a nice sunny spot in the park – and there you go: lots of free training, fresh air and perhaps a little Easter tan at the same time!

See: TermCoord

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