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The subtle art of translating foreign fiction

Source: The Guardian
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] Translation matters. It always has, of course – and should you be interested in the many ways it can affect the reader’s response to a book, I recommend both Tim Parks’s essay collection Where I’m Reading From, in which he asks interesting questions about the global market for fiction, and Julian Barnes’s brilliant and questing 2010 essay, Translating Madame Bovary. But perhaps right now translation is more important than ever – for suddenly, foreign literature seems finally to be finding its place in Britain, an island where it has previously struggled to attract substantial numbers of readers. How did this happen? It’s hard to say, but perhaps it began, thinking back, with the Scandinavian crime sagas — by Stieg LarssonHenning MankellJo Nesbø et al – that we all began gobbling up in increasingly vast quantities around the turn of the century.

[...] “There are some books whose success is very local,” says Adam Freudenheim, the publisher of Pushkin Press, and the man who introduced me to the Russian writer Teffi (and to Gundar-Goshen). “But the best fiction almost always travels well, in my view.” For him, as for other presses that specialise in translated work (Harvill Secker, Portobello, And Other Stories, MacLehose Press and others), the focus is simply on publishing a great book; the fact that it is translated is “not the decisive thing”. And this, in turn, is how he accounts for the increasing popularity of foreign fiction – a shift that he, like Ann Goldstein, believes is real enough to turn out to be permanent. There are, quite simply, a lot of great translated books out there now, their covers appetising, their introductions informative, their translations (mostly) works of art in their own right. More.

See: The Guardian

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Translating bilingualism into careers

Source: Albuquerque Journal
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] Being bilingual, as Portal is, is a gift, a talent, a resource that New Mexico is rich in, she says.

So Portal created Valley Community Interpreters, or Intérpretes Communitarios del Valle, a grass-roots effort in Albuquerque to train bilingual students to become interpreters in a number of fields.

“It’s a very fast-growing industry, and yet there was really no one here training interpreters,” Portal said. “Our goal is to build and train a bilingual workforce in New Mexico that can work in the industry to help others communicate with society in general.”

The interpreter profession is expected to grow by 46 percent in the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s not surprising, considering that more than 300 languages are spoken in the country and more than 25.2 million people are “limited English-speaking,” 75 percent of whom say their native language is Spanish, according to U.S. Census figures. More.

See: Albuquerque Journal

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New tiered sign language interpreter system takes effect

Source: Detroit Metro Times
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

As Michigan civil rights law calls for, if someone is in need of an interpreter one needs to be provided to them, but up until now that interpreter did not need to have a specific level of vocabulary knowledge catered to different situations.

With the new requirements there are three tiers of interpreters: general knowledge and education settings, moderately specialized knowledge such as government meetings and medical settings, and highly specialized knowledge such as psychiatric evaluations and legal procedure.

This comes as a positive change in context of the complicated history both Michigan and the nation have with recognizing the civil rights of people who are deaf or hard or hearing. More.

See: Detroit Metro Times

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Longlist for Read Russia Translation Prize announced

Source: Russia Beyond The Headlines
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

A total of 28 translators from 18 countries have been provisionally nominated, with the final shortlist to be announced mid-August.

The organizers of the Read Russia Prize, the biennial award aimed at popularizing Russian literature and encouraging foreign translators and publishers of Russian literature, have announced the longlist for the 2014-2016 season on July 25.

The prize is given to a translator or a group of translators for the best translation of a prose or poetic work from Russian into a foreign language and published within the last two years.

The main prize is 5,000 euros ($5,700) for the translator (or group of translators) and 3,000 euros ($3,400) for publishers to cover costs. More.

See: Russia Beyond The Headlines

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Deaf community to file complaint to get interpreter jobs back

Source: WTNH
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

The deaf community is converging at the capitol to file a complaint in an effort to get interpreters their jobs back.

Many in the deaf community say they’re losing a vital resource for them. As a cost-saving measure, the state laid off about 40 interpreters.

We spoke with one of those interpreters last week, she says not only is she concerned about making ends meet for her family, she’s also worried about her clients.

The group ‘We the Deaf People’ told us this has thrown the deaf population in the state into turmoil. Deaf people relied on these interpreters in schools, emergency rooms, and doctors’ offices. More.


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Bilingual preschool in Greensburg speaks to demand for earlier foreign language instruction

Source: TribLIVE
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] Nancy Rhodes, a senior consultant for world language education at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, D.C., said recent studies have pointed to a number of ways early absorption of a foreign tongue can boost children’s development.

“Research has shown students who study languages score higher in creativity and problem-solving.” Those are attributes that can apply across academic subjects.

Rhodes added: “Learning a second language actually enhances their native language skills.”

Before striking out on her own, Petit Paris operator Anna Maria Skop introduced French language to Harper and fellow students while working at another local preschool.

“After two to three months, the kids were speaking French between them,” Skop said. More.

See: TribLIVE

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Deaf people encounter troubles with medical care

Source: The Sacramento Bee
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

When you’re hospitalized or in pain, understanding a doctor’s diagnosis or a nurse’s instructions is hard enough. But when you’re deaf, it can feel like being shut out.

Ellen Thielman, a retired computer programmer, found that out twice this year. Deaf since infancy, the Sacramento resident has navigated the hearing world for years – graduating from college, raising two children and working more than 20 years for several California state government departments.

But when Thielman, 67, landed in the emergency room last January with what she thought might be symptoms of a stroke, she was frustrated by the lack of adequate sign-language interpreters and her inability to effectively talk with medical staff.

“I was furious, upset and a bit traumatized. I felt really alone,” said Thielman, who lives independently but needs a service dog to hear even her own doorbell.

Thielman wasn’t misdiagnosed, mistreated or given improper medications. Still, in two emergency room visits and subsequent hospital stays this year at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, she said she frequently felt isolated and unsure why she was getting certain injections or exactly what her medical status was. Both times, she said, it took three to four hours for a trained interpreter to arrive in the emergency room. Later, in the hospital, she was unable to schedule an interpreter to meet with her doctors. More.

See: The Sacramento Bee

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Researchers recreate how words were spoken 8,000 years ago

Source: Daily Mail Online
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

It is one of the key factors that has helped to define different national identities and introduced divides between populations around the world.

But many of the wonderful and varied languages spoken globally can trace their history back to just a few sources.

Now researchers have recreated what they claim is the mother tongue of one of the largest group of languages spoken around the world – the Indo-European languages.

They have developed a way to simulate these extinct sounds from this Proto-Indo-European language that was spoken around 6,000 to 3,500BC.

This ‘mother tongue’ has evolved over time to spawn more than 440 modern languages in the world today from sing-song speech of Scandinavians to the harsh sounds of the Slavic dialects. More.

See: Daily Mail Online

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New sign language interpreter rules in effect in Michigan

Source: The Detroit News
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

A Michigan Supreme Court justice and state civil rights officials called attention Wednesday to new rules establishing specific certification levels for sign language interpreters to work in courtrooms, hospitals and other settings.

The regulations, which took effect July 7, outline skill levels and training needed for interpreters who must be provided by judges, attorneys, physicians, mental health providers and others.

“These extremely important medical situations or legal situations must have key, effective communication. Deaf, deaf blind and hard of hearing people … have a right to that,” Annie Urasky, director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights’ Division on Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing, said through an interpreter after a news conference at the Hall of Justice. More.

See: The Detroit News

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Health system breaks the patient language barrier

Source: H&HN
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

One of the major challenges facing Washington state-based Providence is the increase of limited English proficient and deaf patients seeking medical treatment throughout its health system, creating a need for expanded access to immediate language services.

[...] Providence once relied on telephone and on-site interpreters to communicate with LEP and deaf patients. But according to Cyndy Daniel, assistant emergency department manager for Providence Milwaukie Hospital near Portland, Ore., telephone interpretation was not well-suited for the fast pace of emergency care.

“Telephonic interpreters would be hit-or-miss,” Daniel said. “Some patients wouldn’t speak loud enough, and we would run into a variety of issues that anyone can have with phone communication.”

For scenarios in which a telephone interpreter was not an option, such as end-of-life discussions, group settings and deaf patients, the health system also worked with third-party agencies to provide on-site or face-to-face interpreters. But on-site interpretation had its own problems.

[...] “We look to invest in passionate, amazing management teams who are building disruptive technologies, like video remote interpreting, to help solve important problems that our health care system and patients care about,” said Martin.

Providence clinicians now have immediate access to video interpreters in more than 200 languages, including American Sign Language, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A provider is able to select the patient’s requested language, designate if a female or male interpreter is preferred, and connect within seconds to a live, medically trained interpreter who appears on the screen. More.

See: H&HN

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The translator’s job is to be invisible

Source: The Kingston Whig-Standard
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Translating literary works from French to English requires much more than exchanging one word for another, more than trading sentences between languages. It takes an understanding of the author’s message to capture the vision, the essence, of the writing.

It also takes a yearning to communicate fully, something Patricia Carson Claxton felt as an Anglophone living in Montreal in the 1950s. Moving beyond basic bilingualism, the Kingston-born co-founder of the Literary Translators Association of Canada became one of the industry’s top translators. More.

See: The Kingston Whig-Standard

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The magic of ‘untranslatable’ words

Source: Scientific American
Story flagged by: Eva Stoppa

[...] Such words have long fascinated linguists, who refer to them as loanwords – i.e., words that English has ‘borrowed,’ usually because it lacks its own native term for the phenomena that the word signifies (although there can also be other reasons, like the prestige associated with deploying foreign terminology). Then, with the passage of time, and the legitimacy conferred by widespread usage, such words eventually become assimilated into English (often with a degree of adaptation). However, perhaps even more intriguing is the related phenomenon of so-called ‘untranslatable’ words: essentially, words which also lack an equivalent in English, but haven’t yet been borrowed. Admittedly, untranslatability is a contentious term. On the one hand, it could be argued that no word is actually truly translatable. Words are embedded within complex webs of meanings and traditions. As such, even if languages seem to have roughly equivalent words – amour as the French counterpart to love, for instance – translators have long argued that something precious is always lost in the act of translation. Conversely though, some people submit that nothing is ever genuinely untranslatable. Even if a word lacks an exact equivalent in English, its meaning can usually be conveyed in a few words, or at least a couple of sentences. However, it’s the fact that a word doesn’t appear to have an ‘exact match’ in English that makes it so potentially intriguing (and, in common parlance, renders it ‘untranslatable’). Such words pique our interest, and for good reason. Above all, they appear to indicate the existence of phenomena that have been overlooked or undervalued by English-speaking cultures. More.

See: Scientific American

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The ready reading list for test adaptation

Source: Responsive Translation
Story flagged by:

What do you do when you want a test to serve a whole new audience in a different language?

Adapting tests and instruments for different linguistic and/or cultural groups for the purposes of educational and psychological testing is a complex undertaking. Fortunately, recent research and best practice means lots of good reference documentation for planning. Here is a short list of our favorites. More.

See: Responsive Translation

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Is there anything that shouldn’t be translated?

Source: Translators Family
Story flagged by: TranslateFamily

Is there anything that shouldn’t be translated? All right, we’ll admit it: it does sound like an odd question. Especially coming from a translation agency. After all, we do live in the age of information. With search engines and encyclopaedias and on-demand media just a mouse-click away, universal access to content is something that most people take for granted now. These days, everyone wants access to everything, all of the time.

So yes, in that context, the idea of consciously choosing not to translate something may seem a little counter-intuitive. And in fact, assuming unlimited time and budgets, we’d absolutely recommend that every business translate all of its materials into as many languages as possible. But if we drill down a little deeper into the details of each of those documents, we might find words or phrases – or sometimes even longer sections – that require a slightly different approach to just translating them word-for-word. If you receive a translated document and it retains some source-language words or phrases, or the content doesn’t quite look identical to the original version, this might be the reason why. More.

See: Translators Family

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‘AIIC Conversations’

Source: A Word in Your Ear
Story flagged by:
AIIC presents CONVERSATIONS – a series of talks among conference interpreters about their profession and craft. Created by Lourdes de Rioja and Luigi Luccarelli with AIIC coordination and support by Gisèle Abazon, CONVERSATIONS will be rolled out in September 2016 with four videos exploring the lives of diverse groups:

Interpreters working on staff at international organizations …
Consultant interpreters serving a broad clientele …
Young interpreters addressing how they entered the field …
Trainers commenting on trends in professional development.


See: A Word in Your Ear

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Literary translator pay often violates minimum rates, German survey reveals

Source: Slator
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

In May 2016, the German Association of Literary Translators VdÜ published the results of its first compensation survey after a 15-year hiatus. The survey (available in German) provides an interesting look into the world of literary translation and is based on a fairly large sample of 664 contracts for book translations from a foreign language into German.

English Dominates

Perhaps unsurprisingly, more than half (390) of the contracts were for translation from English into German, with French (116), Italian (34), Dutch (28), Spanish (20), Swedish (16) as well as Russian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, and others trailing. The survey also asked participants to rate the level of translation difficulty: 21% rated them easy, 57% medium, and 22% difficult. More.

See: Slator

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Interpreters avoiding Superior Court due to unpaid or delayed payments

Source: Saipan News
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Most interpreters are avoiding doing translation services to the Superior Court due to unpaid or delayed payments by the CNMI government.

In contrast, interpreters like to offer services at the U.S. District Court for the NMI because the payment rate is reasonable and they also immediately get paid after submitting their billings.

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho yesterday brought up the problem on lack of interpreters after the prosecution and the defense counsel informed the court that they had exhausted their list of over 15 Chinese translators trying to obtain an interpreter and without any success.

Camacho said interpreters had expressed their frustrations accepting translating work for the Superior Court due to unpaid or delayed payments.

Camacho was supposed to preside over a bench trial in the criminal case against Gui Fang Lai yesterday at 8am, but due to lack of an interpreter the judge continued the trial yesterday at 1:30pm to allow the parties more time to locate a Chinese translator. More.

See: Saipan News

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Deaf man rushed to hospital discovers no sign language interpreter available

Source: CBC News
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

The case of a deaf man who was unable to get a qualified sign language interpreter when he was rushed to the Saint John Regional Hospital with a suspected heart attack has highlighted the shortage of resources for the deaf and hard of hearing in New Brunswick, according to an advocate.

A 14-year-old girl ended up serving as interpreter for Mark Toner, 61, after his wife, in desperation, turned to social media for help.

“I really panicked because I couldn’t get there in a timely manner and he was taken by ambulance,” said Susan Toner.

The hospital does not have its own interpreter, said executive director Brenda Kinney. None of hospitals within the Horizon Health Network do, she said. More.

See: CBC News

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Language keeper: The last fluent speaker of Stó:lō’s Indigenous dialect in race against time

Source: APTN National News
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

The Stó:lō people are named in their language after the Fraser River, which is the community’s lifeblood and flows through their picturesque territory southeast of Vancouver, B.C.

Just a few generations ago, dozens of people spoke the nation’s language of Upriver Halkomelem.

But in the last decade, almost all fluent speakers have died.

There is just one elder left who early in life had to fight to keep her language, and is now trying to pass it on before it’s too late. More.

See: APTN National News

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Reading while translating (and not before!)

Source: Intralingo
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] “Always read the entire book before beginning your translation.” This was one of the first things I was told by professors in my master’s program in literary translation. At the time, it made perfect sense to me. After all, if you want to enjoy translating, you should translate something you like, and how do you know if you’ll like a book unless you read the whole thing?

But this past year, a colleague in my PhD program questioned this so-called rule. (I should say that she has a lot of experience in technical translation but was new to literary translation upon entering the program, so she hadn’t been indoctrinated with semesters of literary translation advice.) Her argument went something like this: If you read the entire book before you start translating, your knowledge of what happens in the book could “leak” into your translation. On the other hand, if you read the book while translating it, this readerly sense of suspense, including false assumptions and uncertain interpretations, comes through in your translation, and thus makes your translation more “true” to the reading experience. More.

See: Intralingo

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