“Translator’s Note” by Amanda DeMarco

Translator’s Note

A TRANSLATOR must naturally take certain liberties with other people’s words in order to wrest the most truth into the text. In this essay on translation, composed strictly of quotations, I have taken the liberty of replacing select words and phrases with “translation,” “translator,” and the various verb forms of “translate.”

Read the essay by Amanda DeMarco at the Los Angeles Review of Books

Amanda DeMarco is the founder of Readux Books. She is currently translating Franz Hessel’s Walking in Berlin (Scribe Publications, 2016), as well as Gaston de Pawlowski’s New Inventions and the Latest Innovations (Wakefield Press).

From mic drops to manspreading: an Oxford Dictionaries update

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Let’s pick that mic up again and check out some of the words that have been added toOxfordDictionaries.com in the world of informal language. The mic drop in question can be a literal ‘instance of deliberately dropping or tossing aside one’s microphone at the end of a performance or speech one considers to have been particularly impressive’, but it’s more likely to be figurative – or an exclamation to emphasize a particularly impressive point: Nuff said. Mic drop.

Read on…

Visualization of the grammar behind literature’s most famous last lines

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In their latest print A Diagrammatical Dissertation on Closing Lines of Notable Novels, data visualization company Pop Chart Lab breaks down literature’s most famous last lines and diagrams them. Now you can see exactly what it took to create some of the most memorable closing scenes to grace the book world.

Via Mashable.

When to use “me”, “myself” and “I”

When to use %22me%22, %22myself%22 and %22I%22

Me, myself, and I. You may be tempted to use these words interchangeably, because they all refer to the same thing. But in fact, each one has a specific role in a sentence: ‘I’ is a subject pronoun, ‘me’ is an object pronoun, and ‘myself’ is a reflexive or intensive pronoun. Emma Bryce explains what each role reveals about where each word belongs.


Lesson by Emma Bryce, animation by Karrot Animation.

Wordnik – Let’s Add a Million Missing Words to the Dictionary

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In this fun, short talk from TEDYouth, lexicographer Erin McKean encourages — nay, cheerleads — her audience to create new words when the existing ones won’t quite do. She lists out 6 ways to make new words in English, from compounding to “verbing,” in order to make language better at expressing what we mean, and to create more ways for us to understand one another.

Erin McKean has also started a Kickstarter for Wordnik: “The reason so few words are added to traditional dictionaries is because writing definitions takes a long time. A very talented editor may write seven entries in a day, or she may need weeks to describe just one word. Dictionary definitions are very difficult to write.

Wordnik takes a different approach. Instead of writing traditional definitions, we search for casual definitions that have already been created. You see these casual definitions all the time in good writing!”

More at Wordnik.com.

140 words that spellcheck might miss

140 words that spellcheck might miss

( #spellcheck #punctuation )

In part one of the Pragmatists’ Guide to Grammar and Punctuation, Creative Boom takes a look at the 140 most commonly confused words in the English language.

Mistakes you’ve probably made – or are making right now. Have a look here.

A Few Thoughts on Comics Translation

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Marc-Oliver Frisch, who has translated works of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman or The Walking Dead, writes on his blog: “Due to its formal constraints, comics translation probably has more in common with subtitling or dubbing than with regular prose translation. With limited space available, the length of the text is crucial, of course, and German words and sentences tend to be longer than their English equivalents, often substantially so. Consequently, there’s often no room to use what might seem like the best translation if space were of no concern.

Then again, the fact that the formal restrictions eliminate certain solutions forces you to be creative in a way that prose translation doesn’t. It encourages you to take liberties with the text that you otherwise might not, and to look for solutions in places that might seem unlikely at first. It’s a challenge that can be frustrating, but it’s also a huge part of the appeal of comics translation.”

Read on…

Image above from Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 3 #1-2, (C) by Marvel Comics

Talking about comics, here’s a page from Spider-Man vs. Wolverine (Marvel Comics, 1987). Spider-Man climbs over the Berlin Wall and the writer had some jolly good fun with his dictionary.

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Hiberno‐English – How well do you know English words from Irish?

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Do you think you’ve got the luck o’ the Irish? Make your friends green with envy with your knowledge of Gaelic etymologies and do this quiz at oxforddictionaries.com.

From Wikipedia: : “Hiberno‐English or Irish English is natively written and spoken within the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland. It comprises a number of sub-varieties, such as Mid-Ulster English, Dublin English, and Cork English.

English was brought to Ireland as a result of the Norman invasion of the late 12th century. Initially, it was mainly spoken in an area known as the Pale around Dublin, with mostly Irish spoken throughout the rest of the country. By the Tudor period, Irish culture and language had regained most of the territory lost to the colonists: even in the Pale, “all the common folk… for the most part are of Irish birth, Irish habit, and of Irish language”.However, the English conquest and colonisation of Ireland in the 16th century marked a revival in the use of English. By the mid-19th century, English was the majority language spoken in the country.[a] It has retained this status to the present day, with even those whose first language is Irish being fluent in English as well.”

Related links:
The Irish dictionary
The Irish English Resource Centre
Everyday English and Slang in Ireland

How To Do An Irish Accent

This VideoJug film will help teach you the basics of the Irish accent. Gareth Jameson, an actor and voice coach, will guide you through some Irish accent techniques. Following his easy Irish accent guide will help you learn the sounds and make you speak like an Irish person.

Irish vs American English

From “American English n’ culture with Philochko”. Part 2 is here.

Confessions of an Idiom

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Something funny to start the working week — Everyone has Skeletons in their Closet but what happens if one day the Elephant in the Room decides to make the Skeleton in the Closet bring the truth to light? The Skeleton isn’t one to confess to his crimes so easily. Mayhem ensues in this power struggle with a world full of idioms.

Confessions of an Idiom

This film was done by Amanda Koh and Mollie Helms at Ringling College of Art + Design. If you have any questions, feel free to visit their website at amkoh.com

Confessions of an Idiom

Stay tuned for more information on Facebook.

#AussieSayings you never knew you needed to understand plus some Monty Python

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Those #AussieSayings got some attention in the Twitter world the other day and Mashable was so kind to collect some of the best and mostly hard to translate phrases from the land of the Bruces.

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More here.

We have to add that the intellectual überminds of Monty Python had a look at #AussieSayings way before Twitter was born of course. Here we go, Ladies and Bruces.


This is the original sketch about the Australian University of Woolloomooloo, not the live version from the Hollywood Bowl show which also includes The Philosopher’s Song. The song does not feature in the original television version, which instead ends with the first Bruces saying “Sidney Nolan! What’s that?” pointing to the ear of fourth Bruce returning to that episode’s running joke, “how to recognise different parts of the body”.

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