Potpourri of Texts: Language, Translation, and Interpretation

I have had the pleasure of reading a number of interesting texts related to language, translation, and interpretation this week. If you have some down time, I suggest you read them. You’ll find some texts informative and others humorous.

Any interpreters in the house? Tony Rosado, an American English<>Spanish interpreter, recently wrote an informative and concrete text about the Fourth of July. Depending on what side of the fence you’re on, you might perceive the Fourth of July differently. Is this American holiday referred to as the American Revolution, or the War of Independence? While this holiday is long gone, this text outlines some of the challenges interpreters may face when interpreting a particular historical or cultural concept presented by lecturers, conference guests, authors. And even though Rosado focuses on an American holiday, the arguments he presents may easily be applied to historical or cultural holidays on this side of the border and beyond. For example, if a Canadian interpreter is asked to convey concepts related to Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Québec’s national holiday, in another language, how will the interpreter succeed? What about Cinco de Mayo (Mexico), Commemoration Day (Belarus), Armistice Day (Belgium), or Qingming Festival (China)? Read Rosado’s article here: Is it the American Revolution or the War of Independence?

Because I opened this post with a text written by an English<>Spanish interpreter, I thought I’d present a text about Spanish regionalisms and idioms. Is it realistic, or even possible, to present a Spanish text or translation without making reference to specific cultural and grammatical concepts in all Spanish-speaking countries (especially Latin America)? Is peninsular Spanish the variant to use to ensure neutral Spanish? Is peninsular Spanish just as abundant in regionalisms as Latin American Spanish? Most importantly, how should Spanish translators deal with informal or vulgar language when working from other languages? Is neutral Spanish possible? Find answers to these questions and more in Spanish Regionalisms and Idioms in Literary Translation.

Lastly, here’s a rather humorous text about teaching Americans the differences between French informal and formal address. I think you’ll love the flowchart that follows Vincent Destouches’ text! « Tu » et « vous » expliqués aux Américains (text taken from L’actualité, a leading French-language news and current affairs magazine distributed mainly in Quebec, but also in other Canadian provinces and territories).

BTW, a French version of “Language Services: More than Translation!” will be coming soon. Stay tuned!

Have a great weekend, and have fun reading the articles!



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