UN Officially Declares September 30 as Translation Day

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The UN Department for General Assembly & Conference Management (UNDGACM) was the first to announce the news on its official Twitter page: “Just happened: #UNGA declared 30 Sept. International Translation Day, recognizing the contribution of language professionals to the #UN.”

“Is this the time for the General Assembly of the United Nations to discuss translation with tens and thousands of people continue to die from war, hunger, and sickness?” Andrei Dapkiunas, Permanent Representative of Belarus to the United Nations, asked in his opening presentation. “How appropriate an agenda item is language and translations when the world is seeking a sustainable global paradigm for security, balanced development, and respect for human rights, which is difficult? (…) This resolution is about the underappreciated role of language in the life of our human society,” he said. “We feel that this deserves further discussion, perhaps legal protection of those translators working in conflict zones and in situations of higher risks.”

Eleven countries – Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay, Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam – were behind the push and are the signatories of Draft Resolution A/71/L.68.

Wikipedia: “International Translation Day is celebrated every year on 30 September on the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator who is considered the patron saint of translators. The celebrations have been promoted by FIT (the International Federation of Translators) ever since it was set up in 1953. In 1991 FIT launched the idea of an officially recognised International Translation Day to show solidarity of the worldwide translation community in an effort to promote the translation profession in different countries (not necessarily only in Christian ones). This is an opportunity to display pride in a profession that is becoming increasingly essential in the era of progressing globalisation.”

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

Grammarly – Free grammar and spelling checker

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Grammarly is an online grammar and spelling checker that improves communication by helping users find and correct writing mistakes. It’s easy to use:
Copy and paste any English text into Grammarly’s online text editor, or install Grammarly’s free browser extension for ChromeChrome, Safari, and Firefox.
Grammarly’s algorithms flag potential issues in the text and suggest context-specific corrections for grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. Grammarly explains the reasoning behind each correction so you can make an informed decision about whether, and how, to correct an issue.

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For users who want to supercharge their writing performance and leave no errors unchecked, Grammarly Premium is a paid upgrade that checks for over 250 types of grammatical errors, provides vocabulary enhancement suggestions, detects plagiarism, and provides citation suggestions. Grammarly Premium also includes Grammarly for Microsoft® OfficeGrammarly for Microsoft® Office.

Grammarly is an Inc. 500 company with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Kyiv.

Mashable (May 09, 2017) — “San Francisco startup Grammarly just raised $110 million to take its AI-driven grammar-checking tool to the next level. The funding, led by General Catalyst and Spark Capital, marks the first venture capital round in the company’s eight-year life.

The Sideways dictionary

The Sideways dictionary is like a dictionary, but using analogies instead of definitions. Use it as a tool for finding and sharing helpful analogies to explain technology. Because if everyone understands technology better, we can make technology work better for everyone.

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Video: How to write an analogy: Simplifying complicated technology concepts with Sideways Dictionary

Sideways Dictionary is a collection of witty analogies that help explain complex technology terms. Different analogies can be perfect to different people, so you can add your own—the quirkier and more personal, the better—and vote for the ones you find most helpful.

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Sideways Dictionary is a project by The Washington Post and Jigsaw

How Bootleg Translations of VHS Tapes Started an Anime Fan War in the 90s

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The little-known story of how a fight over Fushigi Yûgi subtitles built Ottawa’s anime community.

A fascinating story from the bronze age of subtitles over at Vice: “In the nineties, before broadband modems became widely available—and before anime streaming services like Funimation and Crunchyroll—staying up-to-date on anime was an arduous process. North American fans who wanted more than televised runs of Sailor Moon had to buy expensive subtitled VHS tapes from fan groups, who translated anime tapes themselves and then redistributed them after importing them, untranslated, from contacts in Japan.

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Buying anime this way meant sending money to people without distribution licenses, who were technically engaging in international copyright violation, and trusting them to send your tape in the mail. The Wild West mentality of the fansub industry led to members of the Ottawa-based Anime Appreciation Society (AAS) taking matters into their own hands after one of their favourite fansub groups, Tomodachi, refused to release its version of the final 20 episodes of the much-loved show Fushigi Yûgi—all because of its war with another fansub.”

Read on over at Vice Motherboard.

Photo above: AAS members and cosplayers. Image by Katy Watts

How to Use the Hyphen, En Dash, and Em Dash

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The differences between the hyphen (-), the en dash (–), and the em dash (—) can be confusing. Comma Queen Mary Norris from The New Yorker clarifies the difference in a video from her wonderful Youtube channel.

Mary Norris began working at The New Yorker in 1978 and was a query proofreader at the magazine for twenty-four years. She has written for The Talk of the Town and for newyorker.com, on topics ranging from her cousin Dennis Kucinich to mud wrestling in Rockaway. She is best known for her pieces on pencils and punctuation. Her book, “Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen” (Norton), is now available in paperback.

Related article — The Chicago Manual of Style: Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes

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Keyboard shortcuts for hyphens and dashes

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TRANSLATION OF DRACULA’S LOST ICELANDIC SISTER TEXT PROVED TO BE MUCH MORE

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Lithub solved the mystery of the 1901 icelandic edition of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. A fascinating story about a literary discovery hidden in plain sight: “Certainly the most surprising and intriguing Dracula-related discovery of this still-young century is the unearthing of the novel’s Icelandic sister. Its title, Makt Myrkranna (Powers of Darkness), has been known to Dracula experts since 1986, when literary researcher Richard Dalby reported on the 1901 Icelandic edition and on its preface, apparently written specifically for it by Stoker himself.
Ever since Dalby published an English translation of this foreword, it has been the subject of literary speculation, as it mentions the Ripper Murders—although Jack the Ripper was never described in the 1897 English edition of Dracula.”

That’s where it gets interesting. Read on over here.

Translators without Borders

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Originally founded in 1993 in France as Traducteurs sans Frontières by Lori Thicke and Ros Smith-Thomas to link the world’s translators to vetted NGOs that focus on health, nutrition and education, Translators without Borders (TWB) is a U.S. non-profit organization that aims to close the language gaps that hinder critical humanitarian efforts worldwide.
The effectiveness of any aid program depends on delivering information in the language of the affected population. By maintaining a global network of professional translators, TWB helps non-profit organizations overcome communication barriers, increasing access to critical information and services while fostering a climate of understanding, respect and dignity in times of great need.

Since 2011, TWB has increased its translation capabilities from just a few languages to more than 190 language pairs. TWB currently works with over 3,800 translators and has translated over 40 million words as part of humanitarian crisis response, and health and education services.

Translators without Borders is a non-profit organization supported entirely through volunteers, grant funders and generous donors and sponsors. We invite you to learn more about their work and join their efforts.

“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…