193 posts tagged with translation.
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Beyond untranslatable words

In 1995, an Atlantic story on the first Chinese translation of Ulysses closed with the offhand remark that "no one in China is offering to translate Finnegans Wake." Today on the (day after the) 131st anniversary of his birth, James Joyce's famously difficult work is a bestseller in China.
posted by Lorin on Feb 3, 2013 - 30 comments

Métafiltre, DemanderMéta and ParlerMéta

For non-anglophones, the English names of worldwide brands, music bands and other cultural items are both ubiquitous and slightly mysterious. Here what the English (plus some German, Spanish and Japanese) names of 52 brands/logotypes and 30 musicians/records look like when very loosely and somewhat lazily translated in French. Some extras can be found in the comments (note: annoying pop-up at the start).
posted by elgilito on Jan 22, 2013 - 72 comments

You Can't Say That In English

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]
posted by anya32 on Jan 10, 2013 - 134 comments

"and even when there's nowhere left, no refuge for their pain, they turn to the illusion of travelling" - Kajal Ahmad, translated by Mimi Khalvati

The Poetry Translation Centre pairs living poets from Asia, Africa and Latin America with English-language translators and then puts the resulting translations online. You can browse the poetry by country, language, translator or poet. Besides the hundreds of individual poems, all presented in the original and both literal and poetic translations, many have been recorded in dual readings by translator and poet, and put online as videos or mp3s (look for the microphone or camera icon). There are also podcasts to download, articles to read, and chapbooks to purchase. It is absurd to single out a few poems as favorites, but nonetheless, here are a few that struck me hard, Birds by Kajal Ahmad, translated by Mimi Khalvati, Cataclysm and Songs by Conceição Lima, translated in a workshop, and Survivors by Choe Young-mi, translated by Kyoo Lee and Sarah Maguire (who is the founder and director of the Poetry Translation Centre). If these poems do not hit you, no need to worry as there are literally hundreds more to read. [via The Guardian]
posted by Kattullus on Jan 2, 2013 - 5 comments

Cities and the Soul

With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 30, 2012 - 26 comments

Christmas Can Be Green And Bright

"Mele Kalikimaka" (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 (lounge remix) 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.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 23, 2012 - 16 comments

Highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers.

Writers No One Reads
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 17, 2012 - 34 comments

A.S. Kline's Poetry in Translation

TransLAtions! Get your free lit-e-rary transLAtions here! Ya want Ovid? Ya got Ovid! Ya got all your classic French poets, your Germans, your Italians, your Russians! Ya got a verse rendering of Zorilla's Don Juan Tenorio with parallel Spanish text! Ya got a rare translation of Vazha-Pshavela's Georgian epic Host and Guest! Everything downloadable in every major format! All edited by A.S. Kline!
posted by Iridic on Dec 6, 2012 - 8 comments

Everything has an end, only the sausage has two. And what would a monkey know of the taste of ginger anyway?

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.
Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swad?
...and other foodie figures of speech. A few more to nibble on. Or jump to 27:25 of this week's World in Words to hear butchered renditions of the podcast crew's favorites (iTunes link)
posted by iamkimiam on Dec 2, 2012 - 17 comments

Steal My Book!

Steal My Book! Why I'm abetting a rogue translation of my novel. This is the story of how author Peter Mountford discovered that his novel A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism was being translated for an unauthorized e-book version, and why he decided to help the struggling Russian-language translator. Audio interview with Mountford on CBC Radio's Q.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl on Nov 19, 2012 - 4 comments

The loss of translators...

Readers of literature from "small" languages treasure their translators, who are rarely recognized and poorly compensated for their months and sometimes years of lonely labor.

Two of the best translators from Czech died in the last month or so. Michael Heim translated not only from Czech but also Russian, Croatian, Serbian, German, French and Dutch. Less well-known and less polyglotish, Peter Kussi translated Milan Kundera as well as Jiri Grusa, Karel Capek, Josef Skvorecky, Bohumil Hrabal and others whose works might otherwise be lost to English readers. [more inside]
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy on Nov 12, 2012 - 21 comments

If-

Michael Caine plays If- straight. Robert Morley hams If- up. Dennis Hopper misses a line or two, Harvey Keitel misses a whole stanza, and Grampa Simpson misses the point entirely. Joni Mitchell sings sublime. KeyKrusher raps ridiculous. Federer and Nadal go head to head, with commentary. International cricket pundits celebrate the Indian Premier League, Des Lynam toasts World Cup 98, and a failing football manager addresses a press conference. A teenager learns from an angel, and seven year old Humza learns If- for himself. [more inside]
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth on Nov 1, 2012 - 18 comments

Shakespeare: Globe to Globe

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]
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 30, 2012 - 20 comments

“politics is full of deceit, treachery, and betrayal.”

Sunt tibi necessaria consilio pro electione? Q. Ciceronem, frater M., habet quaedam verba pro vobis in Commentariolum Petitionis [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 27, 2012 - 14 comments

The mines were frozen so they did not explode, while we walked for several kilometres along the [mine] fields.

The history of the Russian-Chechen conflict spans two centuries. Images of Chechen enemies were mentioned even in a lullaby by Lermontov that put children to sleep in the 19th century. War correspondents Robert Parsons, Sofie Shehab, Petra Prohazkova and Andrey Babitsky tell about the war they saw with their own eyes in Nino Kirtadze’s film “The Chechen Lullaby”. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Oct 6, 2012 - 7 comments

Banjo Underground

I Was Climbin The Stairs At Machu Picchu / Found My Cellphone And Tried To Reach You. Chester, Nova Scotia's Old Man Luedecke does what he does best: strums a banjo and tells some wandering stories, live at Toronto's Great Hall. Also in his backyard. On his davenport. In the bathtub. Sometimes he does covers. Sometimes he makes them more interesting by translating them into a language he doesn't speak.
posted by mannequito on Sep 16, 2012 - 7 comments

"The banners of the King of Hell come forth"

Mary Jo Bang has a new translation of Dante's Inferno in contemporary English. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 11, 2012 - 28 comments

Rock and roll / Rock et roll

While Quebec’s status as the only primarily French-speaking province in Canada has resulted in a distinct cultural industry—particularly with regard to film and music—the province still enjoys many cultural products from English Canada. While movies and TV shows are often subtitled or dubbed into French, it is rare that the same is true of music. A notable exception is the music of Toronto-based Big Sugar. [more inside]
posted by asnider on Aug 30, 2012 - 19 comments

BEOWULF: A new translation [free download]

BEOWULF: A new translation Many modern Beowulf translations, while excellent in their own ways, suffer from what Kathleen Biddick might call “melancholy” for an oral and aural way of poetic making… The sense of loss or nostalgia for the old form seems a necessary and ever-present shadow over modern Beowulfs. What happens, however, when a contemporary poet, quite simply, doesn’t bother with any such nostalgia? Michael Davidson: "Tom Meyer’s Beowulf reenacts the dark grandeur of a poem that is as much a story of vengeance as it is of courage and loyalty. Meyer brings the poem’s alliterative, inflected line in concert with post-Poundian lineation to give the reader a vivid sense of our oldest poem’s modernity." Free download from independent publisher Punctum Books. [more inside]
posted by the mad poster! on Aug 25, 2012 - 47 comments

Legends of Localization: The Legend of Zelda

Legends of Localization: The Legend of Zelda is a comparison of the Japanese and American versions of The Legend of Zelda. It highlights differences in music and SFX, why the intro story is in English in both versions and why Pols Voice supposedly hated loud noises, what some of those cryptic hints originally said and how Testitart became Manhandla. [more inside]
posted by shirobara on Aug 11, 2012 - 10 comments

Michal Ajvaz

“The beast sets me riddles every evening, and when I fail to guess them, it kicks and bites me. It is like a small leopard and in other circumstances I should say it looked quite charming. So far I haven't solved a single one of these riddles…”—Michal Ajvaz. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on Aug 10, 2012 - 19 comments

From Solaris to the Zone

Through a spasm of serendipity whose mechanism I cannot begin to fathom, two inarguable masterpieces of Eastern European science fiction - Solaris by Stanislaw Lem and Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - have recently been accorded fresh translations. In this posting I would like to briefly consider the virtues of these new versions [...] [more inside]
posted by smcg on Jul 11, 2012 - 51 comments

Today, Maman died.

Rethinking "Mother died today": Translating a work requires a surprising amount of thought to avoid leading readers into contextual pitfalls, and The Stranger is no exception. "Within the novel’s first sentence, two subtle and seemingly minor translation decisions have the power to change the way we read everything that follows."
posted by estlin on May 16, 2012 - 47 comments

Are those swans? | László Krasznahorkai: novelist

‘You will never go wrong anticipating doom in my books, any more than you’ll go wrong in anticipating doom in ordinary life’—László Krasznahorkai. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on May 16, 2012 - 7 comments

Marcel Proust's "A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu"

"The Threat to Proust" by Roger Shattuck: When Proust’s novel fell into the public domain in 1987, three Paris publishing houses were ready with new editions that had been in preparation for several years. They all carry the same basic 3,000-page text with few variations. The differences lie in packaging and presentation. Laffont-Bouquins chose to publish three fat volumes prefaced by elaborate historical and biographical materials. Garnier-Flammarion produced ten pocket-sized volumes competently edited by Jean Milly. The new Pléiade edition, published by the original copyright holder, Gallimard, made the boldest, most ambitious, and most expensive bid to claim the market. In a combination of editorial, literary, and commercial decisions, Gallimard proposed to influence the way we read Proust and, to some degree, the way we approach all great literary works. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Apr 19, 2012 - 32 comments

You say Tlingit, I say Hlingit

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]
posted by msalt on Feb 8, 2012 - 97 comments

Christ, man. Get your act together!

Takeshi's Challenge, Takeshi Kitano's prank on the NES generation, has finally been translated. [more inside]
posted by griphus on Dec 27, 2011 - 15 comments

Domo arigato, Mr Roboto

Google has released a new version of Translate, for Android. It now features Conversation Mode.
posted by gilrain on Oct 13, 2011 - 48 comments

Here comes a Lion... oh yes, it's a Lion...

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, pulse-pounding, joyful tracks alongside the original video (part 2, 3, 4), 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 (download guide), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups. Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 1, 2011 - 22 comments

He's in my behind!

You've read The Backstroke of the West; now WATCH The Backstroke of the West! (MLYT, some NSFW language. The first minute or so of video is missing, but the rest of the movie is there in its full glory.)
posted by cthuljew on Sep 18, 2011 - 6 comments

Wenn ich siebzig bin

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]
posted by acb on Sep 1, 2011 - 24 comments

New 'Solaris' translation locked in Limbo

Solaris, 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.
posted by 0bvious on Jun 19, 2011 - 64 comments

Fa de fus time, God taak to me de way I taak.

De Nyew Testament. Gullah [also, previously] is a creole language spoken by about a quarter-million people in the Eastern United States. For decades, Bible translators worked to translate the Bible into the Gullah language. The full, HTML New Testament is available online, but a print copy can be ordered online.
So den, oona mus go ta all de people all oba de wol an laan um fa be me ciple dem. Oona mus bactize um een de name ob de Fada God, an de name ob de Son, an de name ob de Holy Sperit. 20Oona mus laan um fa do all wa A done chaage oona fa do. An fa sho, A gwine be dey wid oona all de time til de time end.
--De Good Nyews Bout Jedus Christ Wa Matthew Write, 28:19-20
This post was inspired by recently reading that Clarence Thomas grew up speaking Gullah, and thinking about the implications of growing up with very little written tradition in your own language.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike on Jun 13, 2011 - 88 comments

Simulated Language

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. (via) [more inside]
posted by nangar on May 28, 2011 - 95 comments

The Translations and Rareties of Elfinspell

Elfinspell is a garishly painted trunk stuffed with rare old books. You can browse the collection by timeline or by Muse.
posted by Iridic on May 16, 2011 - 6 comments

In the country of blinds, the one eyed men are kings.

"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]
posted by item on Apr 18, 2011 - 52 comments

Why Donald Duck is the Jerry Lewis of Germany

Dr. Fuchs’s Donald was no ordinary comic creation. He was a bird of arts and letters, and many Germans credit him with having initiated them into the language of the literary classics. The German comics are peppered with fancy quotations. In one story Donald’s nephews steal famous lines from Friedrich Schiller’s play “William Tell”; Donald garbles a classic Schiller poem, “The Bell,” in another. Other lines are straight out of Goethe, Hölderlin and even Wagner (whose words are put in the mouth of a singing cat). The great books later sounded like old friends when readers encountered them at school. As the German Donald points out, “Reading is educational! We learn so much from the works of our poets and thinkers.” [more inside]
posted by cgc373 on Apr 6, 2011 - 16 comments

Tahrir Documents: The Revolution Will Be Translated

Tahrir Documents is an ongoing effort to archive, translate, and make available printed matter from the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and its aftermath. We are not affiliated with the papers’ authors nor with any political organization, Egyptian or otherwise. [more inside]
posted by jng on Mar 28, 2011 - 6 comments

"Welcome It's Elf's World"

"A Adept Arranging For Mother Volcano Bakemeat" [SLYT] Horribly-translated Pokemon bootleg makes "All Your Base" intelligible. Walkthrough: Part 1 of 18
posted by Fizz on Mar 22, 2011 - 4 comments

"I suppose it looks strange to you to see Superman speaking Arabic"

"Until about 1964 most comic books in the Middle East were in either English or French.... Then a forward-looking editor began to wonder why comic books could not be translated into Arabic." Illustrated Publications, a Beirut-based company, did just that, starting with Superman. As a reporter for "Al-Kawkab Al Yawmi" he swooped into the Middle east from distant Krypton on February 4, 1964. The mild-mannered report, Clark Kent, became Nabil Fawzi, whose name roughly translated to "Noble Victory". The text of the comics was translated, but the rest of the comic looked an awful lot like the Superman of the United States, except the covers lacked context, Superman's S logo was reversed, and some of the colors were skewed in odd ways. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 31, 2011 - 5 comments

It's a duck - blur!

The intro to Duck Tales in Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portugese, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish. (MLYT) [more inside]
posted by inedible on Dec 31, 2010 - 50 comments

Merry Christmas to All!

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 to all, and to all a good night.
posted by bwg on Dec 24, 2010 - 5 comments

Word Lens

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.
posted by 3rdparty on Dec 16, 2010 - 95 comments

The perils of relying on Google's translator, or "Risk explains google".

Google still has a lot of work to do on its translator.
posted by Defenestrator on Dec 5, 2010 - 157 comments

On The Bro'd

On The Bro'd Every sentence of Jack Kerouac's On The Road, retold for bros.
posted by bhamrick on Nov 16, 2010 - 60 comments

The Wonderful World of Babel

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 to Icelandic to Zulu 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" (Aladdin) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata," and "Luau!" (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" (Pocahontas) - "One Song" and "Heigh-Ho" (Snow White) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (Cinderella) - Medley (Pinocchio) - "When She Loved Me" (Toy Story 2) - Intro (Monsters, Inc.)
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 12, 2010 - 31 comments

Leopardi's "Infinity"

"L'infinito": Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. Infinity...
posted by Iridic on Nov 12, 2010 - 8 comments

Tragedy Transposed, The Sounds of HIV

There is no question that HIV is an ugly virus in terms of human health. Each year, it infects some 2.7 million additional people and leads to some two million deaths from AIDS. But a new album manages to locate some sonic beauty deep in its genome. Sounds of HIV (Azica Records) by composer Alexandra Pajak explores the patterns of the virus's nucleotides as well as the amino acids transcribed by HIV, playing through these biologic signatures in 17 tracks. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Nov 12, 2010 - 20 comments

Translation in Practice

Translation in Practice, an extensive guide to the methods and business of literary translation, is available free of charge [PDF] from Dalkey Archive. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Nov 4, 2010 - 5 comments

The beauty of Molecular, Cell, and Microbiology

There has been a new discipline developing in molecular biology for some time now, Bioanimation! Projects have ranged in size from WEHI's colossal compilation to Harvard Biovision's magnum opus "Inner Life of the Cell" to commercially produced masterpieces to smaller projects by university PIs and enthusiasts. much [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 25, 2010 - 29 comments

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