193 posts tagged with translation.
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bouffées d’affadissement

Lydia Davis is blogging on translation during the lead-up to her forthcoming Madame Bovary. You can also read Davis discussing style, Beckett, Proust, and translation with The Believer here.
posted by shakespeherian on Sep 20, 2010 - 14 comments

Plato's Protagoras, a translation

An attempt at a collaborative translation of Plato’s Protagoras. Every day for a few months, Dhananjay Jagannathan will post roughly a page of the dialogue, side by side in Greek, in his own translation, and in Jowett’s classic 1871 translation. He's invited readers to comment and offer suggestions to improve the translation. Jagannathan's goal is to communicate Plato in English the way readers of his would have interpreted his Greek.
posted by unliteral on Jun 30, 2010 - 11 comments

Thanks, Carla!

There is a before and an after André Markowicz. In the early 1990s the translator, born to a Russian mother and French father, began translating the complete works of Dostoyevsky for Babel / Actes Sud. By the time he finished the mammoth undertaking in 2002 he had proved something: what people had been reading by Dostoyevsky wasn’t Dostoyevsky. - an interview with André Marcowicz, writer and translator. [more inside]
posted by Monday, stony Monday on Jun 28, 2010 - 12 comments

"A book is not born, but rather becomes, a translation"

As translation contretemps go, the one surrounding French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908-86) and her foundational work of modern feminism, Le Deuxième Sexe, first published in two volumes in French in 1949, remains one of the most tempestuous and fascinating. For decades, Beauvoir scholars in the English-speaking world bemoaned, attacked, and sought to replace the widely used 1953 translation by H.M. Parshley (1884-1953), a zoologist at Smith College who knew little philosophy or existentialism, had never translated a book from French, and relied mainly on his undergraduate grasp of the language. A few years back, they succeeded in getting the rights holders [...] to commission a new translation. [... But] Norwegian Beauvoir scholar Toril Moi, a professor at Duke and one of the foremost critics of Parshley's translation, savaged the new version in the London Review of Books. [...] How everyone involved got from vituperative discontent to hopeful triumph and back to discontent makes an instructive tale in itself and offers some lessons for what matters and doesn't in the evolution of a classic.
posted by No-sword on Jun 27, 2010 - 38 comments

Metafilter: Now with yellow subtitles!

On subtitles.
posted by shakespeherian on Jun 18, 2010 - 65 comments

'I wanted to preserve the farmyard connotations.'

On translating Roberto Bolaño's sex scenes.
posted by shakespeherian on May 27, 2010 - 23 comments

(The secret ingredient is coriander.)

The translated rarities at Virgil.org include the first biography of Virgil, medieval Aenid fan-fiction, and the poet's recipe for cheese dip. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on May 13, 2010 - 8 comments

danger + opportunity ≠ crisis

How a misunderstanding about Chinese characters has led many astray. The explication of the Chinese word for crisis as made up of two components signifying danger and opportunity is due partly to wishful thinking, but mainly to a fundamental misunderstanding about how terms are formed in Mandarin and other Sinitic languages... Among the most egregious of the radical errors in this statement is the use of the exotic term “Ideogram” to refer to Chinese characters. Linguists and writing theorists avoid “ideogram” as a descriptive referent for hanzi (Mandarin) / kanji (Japanese) / hanja (Korean) because only an exceedingly small proportion of them actually convey ideas directly through their shapes... [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on May 6, 2010 - 83 comments

Drop it, in a manner suggesting high temperature

The Pop Culture Translator
posted by Schlimmbesserung on Mar 18, 2010 - 15 comments

Unendlicher Spass

The Mistake on Page 1,032: On Translating Infinite Jest into German. "'The limits of my language are the limits of my world,' Ulrich Blumenbach quotes Wittgenstein as saying in a Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article to describe the challenges and inducements of the six years he spent translating David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (Unendlicher Spass) into German — something he did without input from the author, who refused to speak to him." [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Mar 4, 2010 - 35 comments

He has a wife, you know

Life imitates Python: The Life of Brian's unfortunately-named Roman has a real-life counterpart, and he's been denied ambassadorship to Saudi Arabia due to the fact that his name means "biggest dick" in Arabic.
posted by Jon_Evil on Feb 4, 2010 - 91 comments

The Scout

Scouting occupies a strange niche in book publishing, itself a rather inscrutable business from the outside, and after a time most scouts resign themselves to working—very hard—at an occupation not even their closest family members will ever fully understand. [more inside]
posted by smoke on Jan 24, 2010 - 16 comments

The Next Big Breakout

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]
posted by netbros on Dec 14, 2009 - 65 comments

Enheduanna, the first poet we know by name

Enheduanna was a priestess and poet in the city of Ur in the 23rd century BC and supposedly the daughter of Sargon the Great of Akkad. She is the first author known by name. Here are a number of her poems in English translation, The Exaltation of Inana, Inana and Ebih, A Hymn to Inana, The Temple Hymns and A Balbale to Nanna. Here are two alternate translations of The Exaltation of Inana, one by James D. Pritchard and an English rendering of Dr. Annette Zgoll's German translation. If you want to learn more, go to The En-hedu-Ana Research Pages.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 5, 2009 - 27 comments

If rhythm be the food of love, play on

The ASL Shakespeare Project brings us Twelfth Night, fully translated into American Sign Language (ASL) [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Nov 5, 2009 - 17 comments

Flight 93: "A Lot of Fun!" --Richard Roeper

[FlickrPoolFilter] Crappy Bootleg DVD Covers: Here, you will find Tom Cruise's hit movie, Pepe Likes Tacos. In this universe, Star Wars features Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dustin Hoffman stars in Lost in Translation; witches, pirates, and hobbits inhabit the same world. Titles are improved upon. Reviews are refreshingly frank (if they make any sense at all). Your DVD may also contain subtitles in French, Chinese, Spamsoc, or Martian. (Don't say there was no warning.) Remember, kids: Piracy Creates Jobs!
posted by not_on_display on Nov 5, 2009 - 58 comments

MétaFiltre!

The Canadian Government’s Translation Bureau recently made its French/English/Spanish technical terminology database, Termium, free to access after over a decade as a subscription-based service. While off-the-cuff translations are often available from free services like BabelFish, Termium focuses on technical terminology such as scientific, medical and legal terms. [more inside]
posted by Shepherd on Oct 22, 2009 - 35 comments

Brindin Press, poetry translations

Brindin Press has lots of poetry translations into English online, concentrating on French, German, Italian and Spanish, though more than 40 other languages are represented as well. A boatload of translators is represented, from those toiling in obscurity to big literary names (e.g. there are translations of Catullus poems by Ben Jonson, Jonathan Swift, Louis Zukofsky, Aubrey Beardsley and Thomas Hardy). There is also a section of quirky poems. Finally, here's a rendition of Goethe's Der Erlkönig that substitutes the elfish king with a dalek.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 27, 2009 - 4 comments

Translationparty to achieve a balance between English and Japanese.

Me, why these people are weak and cats RIMASHITA scanner.
posted by 31d1 on Aug 6, 2009 - 278 comments

Google Translate Toolkit

Google Translate Toolkit is a new webapp from Google to help translate webpages. Video demonstration (1:30s). It has built-in support for Wikipedia and Jay Walsh thinks it "may change the way Wikipedia grows in other languages".1
posted by stbalbach on Jun 9, 2009 - 29 comments

Tell me a secret.

Published speculation first appeared in 1911, although others point to 1945 for its first modern phrasing. It originally looked like a flashlight on Star Trek. In Star Wars, it walked, talked, and was fluent "in over six million forms of communication." Many narratives have just abandoned the idea entirely.
Previous iterations have been quite limited in scope, but now it appears that the first learning, dynamic universal translator has finally arrived. And its futuristic aesthetic has been relegated to fiction in favor of a much more familiar object. [more inside]
posted by hpliferaft on May 23, 2009 - 30 comments

"Chinese poetry, as we know it today, is something invented by Ezra Pound." - T. S. Eliot

[Ezra Pound] worked on and for poetry as others might work on a major scientific discovery or a drawn-out military mission. Thus, as Sieburth reminds us in his introduction to The Pisan Cantos, when, on May 3, 1945, Pound was arrested at his home in the hills above Rapallo, he immediately put a small Chinese dictionary and a copy of the Confucian classics in his pocket. Working as he then was on his Confucian translations, he knew that, wherever the military police were taking him, he would need these books.
From Pound Ascendant by Marjorie Perloff. Ezra Pound's ability as a translator of Chinese poetry has long been disparaged by sinologists, such as George A. Kennedy in Fenollosa, Pound and the Chinese Character. Other academics have sought to defend him. Two examples are Zhaoming Qian's Ezra Pound's encounter with Wang Wei: toward the "ideogrammic method" of the Cantos and Stephen Tapscott's In Praise of Bad Translations: Ezra Pound and the Cultural Work of Translation (pdf). Eric Hayot draws the contours of this long-running debate and explores its significance in Critical Dreams: Orientalism, Modernism, and the Meaning of Pound's China. Pound's Cathay in full and a public domain audiobook version (iTunes link).
posted by Kattullus on Apr 30, 2009 - 16 comments

I'm a walnut, or a female AV star

Nihongodict is an AJAXy online Japanese-English dictionary. The list of matches auto-updates as you type. You can enter (or paste in) romaji, Kanji or kana, and use character maps for hiragana and katakana. Results can be bookmarked. [more inside]
posted by kurumi on Mar 26, 2009 - 36 comments

Höpöhöpö Böks!

Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl is an Icelandic poet. He translates Icelandic poetry into English (I particularly like his versions of Sigfús Daðason), and he has an interesting interview on Icelandic poetry ("Curiously enough, back in the days the nationalists would sometimes write in danish. And writing in a foreign language was more or less seen as the only alternative to literature being a mere hobby until Halldór Laxness came along"). But really this is an elaborate excuse to post a link to Höpöhöpö Böks: Köld öld Böks mjög örg, Ölböl örlög Böks! (Warning: My wife thought the linked video sounded like vomiting.) Via wood s lot. This one goes out to my man Kattullus; hope you can stick around! [more inside]
posted by languagehat on Feb 17, 2009 - 12 comments

The Gawain Project

The Gawain Project is an ongoing translation of the late 14th century anonymous poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (originally written in Middle English) into Modern English, for the amusement of Arthurians and anyone who likes a good story. [via mefi projects]
posted by Effigy2000 on Feb 13, 2009 - 18 comments

Yes, they really are bird-people

Have you ever wondered how Samus got all her powers? I mean, really, how does a simple back-planet girl learn to use this mysterious Chozo technology?
posted by cthuljew on Jan 18, 2009 - 21 comments

Twenty-nine Tao te Chings.

Twenty-nine Tao te Chings, a line at a time. For Sunday evening, a spare, meditative post. The Tao-te-Ching in 29 translations, line by line and side by side. I'll leave you to investigate the writings on your own; here alone are just the words to consider. Suggested: Mitchell. [more inside]
posted by Tufa on Jan 11, 2009 - 99 comments

Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

Norman Thomas di Giovanni, translator for the 20th century Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges's has recently posted on his web-site, his translation of Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, one of his most well known and greatest short stories.
posted by Fizz on Dec 9, 2008 - 14 comments

International literature websites

Fiction in Translation: How to Find the Year's Best. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Dec 6, 2008 - 6 comments

Paradise Lost in Translation

A new 'prose translation' of Milton's classic poem has been written by Prof Dennis Danielson in an effort to help make it available to a wider audience, if they find the original language too difficult. Apparently he wasn't the first to think of it, but considers his a translation rather than a retelling, and it is printed as a dual edition / parallel text. [more inside]
posted by mdn on Dec 1, 2008 - 42 comments

John Lee Hooker and the fine art of translation

You know, I want you to pick up on this. You know, these lyrics are something else. Just dig this. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 21, 2008 - 20 comments

Thus did the sons of the Heike vanish forever from the face of the earth.

The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari) is a medieval Japanese account of the rise and fall of the Taira clan and has inspired many other works of art. Click on the chapters and scroll down to see Heike illustrations (or start here), see more art or figures inspired by the Heike. Would you rather read? [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Nov 16, 2008 - 10 comments

Mother 3 Fan Translation

Mother 3 fan translation completed. Earthbound (known as Mother 2 in Japan) is one of the most highly regarded RPGs for the Super Nintendo. The game suffered disappointing sales in America, but has since gained the status of a cult classic. A sequel, Mother 3, was released for the Game Boy Advance, but it has never been officially translated into English. After a long development, a fan translation patch has just been released. Trailer. [more inside]
posted by painquale on Oct 17, 2008 - 44 comments

Translated for Courage

“I have seen many Anne Franks in Cambodia....Under Pol Pot, many children were separated from their families. They faced starvation and were sent to the front to fight and die,” she explains. “Like Anna, they never knew peace and the warmth of a home.” Translated by Sayana Ser with help from the Dutch embassy in Cambodia (Kampuchea, Khmer), The Diary of Anne Frank has now become one of the most popular and discussed books in this war-torn country.
posted by parmanparman on Oct 7, 2008 - 7 comments

Gilbert Alter-Gilbert

An interview with translator (and critic and literary historian) Gilbert Alter-Gilbert.
posted by Wolfdog on Aug 28, 2008 - 10 comments

Translation with a time limit

Adventures in European subtitling. "With films like these I often feel like I am some sort of firefighter trying to salvage as much as I can from an immense burning mansion. You take out the expensive furniture and artwork and all the people and you leave behind the wallpaper, the rugs, the goldfish tank and the occasional poodle. Sorry, folks, no time." via
posted by Knappster on Aug 5, 2008 - 77 comments

Interpreting Due Process

An Interpreter Speaking Up for Migrants: Erik Camayd-Freixas is a professor and a legal translator who assisted in the fast-track trial and sentencing of the over 400 illegal immigrant workers in Postville, Iowa, who were arrested on criminal charges involving identity theft rather than the usual deportation proceedings. Unusually for a court interpreter, who maintain a strict code of impartiality and neutrality, Camayd-Freixas spoke out, writing "that the immigrant defendants whose words he translated, most of them villagers from Guatemala, did not fully understand the criminal charges they were facing or the rights most of them had waived." [more inside]
posted by Forktine on Jul 11, 2008 - 46 comments

In the bowels of the beast

Doug Skinner translates Paul Vibert's House of Flesh and Bone, a short story about living inside large animals. Part 2. Part 3. via
posted by klangklangston on Jul 10, 2008 - 1 comment

Wordchamp: hover over a foreign-language word and get its definition

Wordchamp lets you view foreign-language web pages with definitions in your language as mouseovers (registration-only). [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jul 5, 2008 - 10 comments

Turkish Literary Delights

A Mid-summer Night's Story - one of hundreds of novels, poems, and tales in English translation at Suat Karantay's Contemporary Turkish Literature pages. Also: Turkish Poetry in Translation (the side-by-side translations of Dağlarca are particularly well-done), and selected stories of childhood & youth from Turkish authors in the mid 20th century.
posted by Wolfdog on Jun 25, 2008 - 4 comments

Jacques Brel et compagnie

YouTube user lightning49 has 160 of videos of French singers which she has subtitled with her translations. Her biggest collection is of Jacques Brel videos but there are also songs performed by George Brassens, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf as well as a smattering of other stuff. To start you off with a few songs here are three of my favorite songs by Brel, Je suis un soir d'éte, Le moribond and La valse à mille temp along with Charles Aznavour's La boheme, Edith Piaf's Milord and Georges Brassens' Les passantes.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 13, 2008 - 13 comments

And a little bit of mystery goes out of your life ...

Bob: "______________” Charlotte (Johansson): “Okay.” Lost in Translation's mysterious whisper finale revealed by audio processing. (via kottke)
posted by WCityMike on Dec 13, 2007 - 154 comments

The coolest dictionary known to hombre

Lingro. Enter a website in the box to make all words on the page clickable. Available for English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Polish.
posted by Lezzles on Nov 20, 2007 - 15 comments

Music crossing languages.

Claude François was one of France's most successful popstars, a complete song-and-dance act who remained at the top of the charts for almost ten years before his career was tragically cut short when he tried to change a lightbulb while in the bath (youtube ahead). [more inside]
posted by jacalata on Nov 11, 2007 - 19 comments

Bilingual Homophonic Translations

Bilingual homophonic translations
posted by fermezporte on Nov 11, 2007 - 33 comments

Translation can be hard.

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]
posted by skynxnex on Sep 27, 2007 - 13 comments

The Sumerian Language

Sumerian 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?
posted by Effigy2000 on Sep 20, 2007 - 39 comments

Traduttore-traditore: translating poetry

Translating poetry is really really hard.
posted by nthdegx on Jul 21, 2007 - 31 comments

Sean Bonney's Translations of Baudelaire

Sean Bonney's translations of Baudelaire are unconventional. Instead of following the form of the French originals they are semi-concrete typewriter poetry. In a review of the book, everyone's cup of tea, onedit magazine says that they are "certainly the best translations of Baudelaire in English ever written." Which might explain why they published 35 of them in their latest issue. You can listen to Bonney read his translations here [mp3]
posted by Kattullus on Jul 18, 2007 - 61 comments

dotSUB is a collaborative subtitling tool with lots of languages

dotSUB 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.
posted by k8t on May 11, 2007 - 5 comments

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