The Egyptian singer Nesma Mahgoub, in the song’s chorus, sings, “Discharge thy secret! I shall not bear the torment!” and “I dread not all that shall be said! Discharge the storm clouds! The snow instigateth not lugubriosity within me…” From one song to the next, there isn’t a declensional ending dropped or an antique expression avoided, whether it is sung by a dancing snowman or a choir of forest trolls. The Arabic of “Frozen” is frozen in time, as “localized” to contemporary Middle Eastern youth culture as Latin quatrains in French rap.
So Disney used to translate its movies into Egyptian Arabic but recently switched to Modern Standard Arabic, which is somewhat more formal
by graphic designer and cartoonist 阿塗 (Ah To) contains 81 Cantonese proverbs and idioms in one image. It was originally published on the Hong Kong website Passion Times
, and was inspired by a 1559 oil painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder called Netherlandish Proverbs
. [more inside]
Ta-Nehisi Coates has spent the last few months in Paris specifically studying French. His latest dispatch, "Or Perhaps You Are Too Stupid to Learn French
," looks at how hard it is to apply the rules of new language in real time, while fighting with one's perceptions and limitations (Other dispatches are here
Washington Post writer Jay Matthews asks if learning a foreign language is worth it
and recounts his own struggles studying Chinese
. Another WaPo writer, Elizabeth Chang, recalls her experience in learning Arabic
"The internationalized art world relies on a unique language. Its purest articulation is found in the digital press release. This language has everything to do with English, but it is emphatically not English. It is largely an export of the Anglophone world and can thank the global dominance of English for its current reach. But what really matters for this language—what ultimately makes it a language—is the pointed distance from English that it has always cultivated. " - Triple Canopy magazine on why do artists' statments and press releases sound so utterly odd and confusing.
Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language
, and 470 million to over a billion people speak it as a second language (to varying degrees). Even so, there are some words that do not exist in English, even with new word entries periodically being added to the Oxford Dictionary
. 25 words that do not exist in English
. [more inside]
" (Ukelele cords
) is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson. The phrase is borrowed directly from English but since Hawaiian has a different phonological system - Hawaiian does not have the /r/ or /s/ of English and doesn't have the phonotactic constraints to allow consonants at the end of syllables or consonant clusters - "Merry Christmas" becomes "Mele Kalikimaka". Enjoy the canonical version with Bing Crosby And The Andrew Sisters
) or by KT Tunstall
or Bette Milder
or Jimmy Buffet
or Gianni And Sarah
or The Puppini Sisters
or Reel Big Fish
or Country Western style
or pared down instrumental
or Celtic Rock style
or performed on the Metro by Pokey LaFarge
or ..whatever the hell this is.
Shakespeare: Globe to Globe
was a series of 37 Shakespeare plays performed in 37 different languages
presented at the reconstructed Shakespeare Globe theatre in London this summer. [more inside]
After years of work, New Zealand scholar Sally-Ann Lambert just released volume 2 of her 9-volume linguistics series. “Hlingit Word Encyclopedia: The Origin of Copper”
is a 630-page encyclopedia of the SE Alaskan native language Tlingit. She traveled to Sitka for a mid-January book release and found one little problem: none of the Tlingit native speakers or scholars there recognized the language in it. [more inside]
Google has released a new version of Translate
, for Android. It now features Conversation Mode
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba!
It's been nearly two decades since that glorious savanna sunrise, and once again The Lion King
is at the top of the box office
. It's a good chance to revisit what made the original the capstone of the Disney Renaissance
, starting with the music. Not the gaudy show tunes or the Elton John ballads, but the soaring, elegiac score by Hans Zimmer which, despite winning an Oscar, never saw a full release outside of an unofficial bootleg
Luckily, it's unabridged and high-quality, allowing one to lay Zimmer's haunting
tracks alongside the original video
), revealing the subtle leitmotifs and careful matching of music and action.
In addition, South African collaborator Lebo M
wove traditional Zulu chorals into the score, providing veiled commentary
on scenes like this
; his work was later expanded
into a full album
, the Broadway stage show
, and projects closer to his heart
. Speaking of expanded works, there were inevitable sequels -- all of which you can experience with The Lion King: Full Circle
), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups.
Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
Over the past 13 years, Berlin resident Klaus Beyer
has translated the Beatles' entire oeuvre into German
, recording the translated songs in his home studio and releasing them on CDs
with titles like Gummi Seele
, Kloster strasse
and Das Gelbe Underwasserboot
, even recreating the cover artwork of the originals. [more inside]
, Stanislaw Lem's 1961 masterpiece, has finally been translated directly into English
. The current print version
, in circulation for over 4 decades, was the result of a double-translation
. Firstly from Polish to French, in 1966, by Jean-Michel Jasiensko. This version was then taken up by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox who hacked together an English version in 1970. Lem, himself a fluent English speaker
, was always scathing
of the double translation. Something he believed added to the universal misunderstanding of his greatest work. After the relsease of two film
versions of the story, and decades of speculation, a new direct English translation has been released
. Translated by American Professor Bill Johnston
'The Definitive Solaris
' is only available as an audiobook for the time being. Copyright issues, hampered by several, widely available
, editions of the poor English translation may mean it is some time yet before a definitive print edition makes it onto our bookshelves
In the recent MIT symposium "Brains, Minds and Machines
," Chomsky criticized the use of purely statistical methods to understand linguistic behavior. Google's Director of Research, Peter Norvig responds
) [more inside]
"English As She Is Spoke
is a broken Portuguese-to-English phrasebook written by two translators, José da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino. Sort of. You see, in reality, translator Pedro Carolino wanted to create a phrasebook on his own. Not knowing English, he took José da Fonseca’s French-to-English phrasebook and then used a Portuguese-to-French phrasebook to translate that. It’s sort of like what you and your friends do on Google Translate, but with a poor, mislead Portuguese man doing it by hand in candlelight." [more inside]
It is late on Christmas Eve in Hong Kong; scarcely an hour to go before the 25th.
I'm unsure how accurate some of these are, but no matter, it's the spirit that counts: Merry Christmas
, and to all a good night.
Word Lens REPLACES text viewable in your iPhone camera with its translation, in real time, with formatting intact.
Be sure to watch the demo video. Pretty much straight up magic. The app itself is free, but Spanish->English or English->Spanish dictionaries are $5 each, via in-app purchase. It's been a while since my jaw has dropped like this from any piece of software.
Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films
distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing
Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International
, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully
re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree
(while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention
The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic
gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog
, debuted in more than forty tongues
Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes
and one-line comparisons
, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights:
"One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali,"
and "A Whole New World"
) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata,"
(The Lion King
) - "Under the Sea"
and "Poor Unfortunate Souls"
(The Little Mermaid
) - "Belle"
and "Be Our Guest"
(Beauty and the Beast
) - "Just Around the Riverbend"
) - "One Song"
) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo"
) - Medley
) - "When She Loved Me"
(Toy Story 2
) - Intro
An Omnivorous Google Is Coming.
"Imagine what it would be like if there was a tool built into the search engine which translated my search query into every language and then searched the entire world’s websites," she says. "And then invoked the translation software a second and third time – to not only then present the results in your native language, but then translated those sites in full when you clicked through.” Marissa Mayer
, Google's vice president for search products and user experience, shares her unparalleled insights into the future of internet search engines. [more inside]
lets you view foreign-language web pages with definitions in your language as mouseovers (registration-only). [more inside]
A Wicked Deception (youtube).
A fun look at (multi) round-trip machine translation. Sadly, it is a simple fattening of Verbindungsyoutube. Of course, humans, as Jules Verne might tell you, can have problems with translations too
. [more inside]
is the first language for which we have written evidence and its literature the earliest known. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
, a project of the University of Oxford, comprises a selection of nearly 400 translated literary compositions recorded on sources which come from ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and date to the late third and early second millennia BCE. Not enough for you? Why not impress your friends (and confuse your enemies) by translating some english words into Sumerian
s a resource and gathering place for subtitling films from one language into many languages using our unique subtitling tools. These tools expand the power and reach of films by making it possible for people to view and enjoy films in their native languages. It is very easy to use and has many languages.
The Tao Te Ching
in dozens of languages and translations, with a lovely side-by-side comparison
Lost in translation.
British Comedian Stewart Lee explores comedy in Germany and finds it stymied by the peculiarities of language and sentence construction. Mark Liberman at Language Log disagrees
. And an extended essay by Josh Schonwald explores in greater depth how the German comedy scene is transitioning
(PDF) from the more traditional kabernett to a burgeoning stand-up comedy scene, which is characterized by one observer as being in "the Bob Hope phase of comedy."
What's the Korean for thanatophany or the Icelandic for snoek?
J M Coetzee writes about the problems and delights of translation. [via languagehat]
Lauris is the spirit of the office, irrespective weather those are the numerous jokes for any occasion he has in his luggage or a basket of autumn apples, which he has picked in the morning to remind the colleges about the beauty of the autumn.
Zane has chosen to live in a beautiful world of internal and external beauty, where fragrances and aromas are of importance, however the uppermost value are harmonious relations with the closest people.
We are all fans of mangled English translations
, but there is a certain added beauty in this site for a Latvian law firm, which boasts "professional, fast and qualitative translations" while "introducing a spirit of poetics in the daily routine of the office"
Early Modern Texts. Versions of some classics of early modern philosophy, prepared with a view to making them easier to read while leaving the main arguments, doctrines, and lines of thought intact.
Recently added: John Locke's Second Treatise of Government
. Via Crooked Timber.
The English have landed!
In the spirit of international confederation, Nerve.com offers this all too brief list of common curses, epithets, and scandalous phrases, along with their French counterpart, and more interestingly, a transliteration of the French so one can better understand the Idiom.
Poetry International Web
opens today. "Hundreds of poems by acclaimed modern poets from all around the world, both in the original language and in English translation."
A handheld device that translates simple spoken phrases.
"American troops in Afghanistan are using a revolutionary device that instantly translates soldiers' voices into native languages. . . .
The soldier speaks into the machine, which recognizes the words and translates them into another language." Simple phrases only — and a long way from a Star Trek
universal translator — but kindling for the science-fiction-addled imagination nonetheless.
An interesting look at translation:
Australian writer Peter Goldsworthy "on being Spanished, Deutsched, Japanesed, Greeked and Malayed", and what he thinks is gained or lost in the process. (Also: translating poetry
can conjugate verbs for you sixty-four languages, ranging from French and Spanish to Dutch and a variety of creoles. The best part is that it'll do it for free (though you can buy the software and conjugate in 100 languages.) It's sites like these that remind me why I love the Internet.
A Little Light Relief - and Brush Up Your English While You're At It.
In the spirit of poking fun at one's own flesh and blood - and respecting all those who aren't - I offer the most appalling tribute to Shakespeare's and Emerson's language since time itself began.
I give you, ladies and gentlemen, the great Portuguese scholar Pedro Carolino, whose "English As She Is Spoke" Mark Twain considered to be the funniest book ever written.
Start with "Familiar Dialogues 1" and, if you've still been able to keep a straight face, try "Idiotisms and Proverbs" for the full effect...
(Thanks to Ganz's Humor Page)
Having just moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the heart of Polish New York City, I've been digging for Polish links. English-Polish computing dictionary
. Useful Polish phrases
, with audio. Simple Polish lessons
and email list. Polish spelling dictionary
. Warsaw Voice
English-language newspaper. Warsaw Business Journal
, in English. Warsaw Insider
, a city guide. Portal for Wroclaw
, capital of Lower Silesia. Kracow Academic Radio
. Radio KRAJ
from Brisbane. Polish Reader's Digest
. Finally, The Official Site of His Serene Highness Dennis Fürst Blücher von Wahlstatt
Did anyone else notice Babelfish now translates Chinese, Korean, and Japanese?
This may be old news but we come across a lot of Asian Web site defacements at Attrition
. I think this is a huge step to be able to translate a non-Roman character language- and it works.
Lost in Translation
TRANSLATION: This extension of the pagination the great energy of the translation
of the confusion of Alta Vista.
ORIGINAL TEXT: This page demonstrates the great translating power of altavista's babel.
Here is the last phrasebook
Americans will ever need when they go overseas. Packed with useful little snippets like:
I wish to complain.
Je veux porter plainte.
Don't "imperialist pig" me, my good man.
Fichez-moi la paix avec votre "cochon impérialiste", mon petit bonhomme.
¡Váyase usted al cuerno con su "cerdo imperialista", hombre!
How do I get Letterman?
Sur quelle chaîne je peux voir Letterman ?
¿En qué canal puedo ver Letterman?