“As I see it, no translation “produces sameness”; instead it creates texts for different purposes, different situations, different audiences. Translation is not a carryover of a text A into a text B, but an interpretation of, in and for different situations, which means that translators never translate texts (in words) alone. […] The translator as a human being, with her/his background, culture, language, and gender, is an important factor in the process of translation. […] As readers we are directed toward new texts, new situations - thus we, as readers, always play a renewing role in the interpretation of texts.”
— Riitta Oittinen (2000). Translating for children. New York, London: Garland Publishing, Inc. (via translatingforchildrenandya)
How Many Languages is it Possible to Know?
Michael Erard, in his fascinating book Babel No More, travels around the world in search of hyperpolyglots, people who study and learn large numbers of languages. Is there a limit on knowing?
The Treachery of Translators
“You can’t get it right, so the only thing you can do is make it better.”
9 Little Translation Mistakes That Caused Big Problems.
Knowing how to speak two languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate.
“Language is courage: the ability to conceive a thought, to speak it, and by doing so to make it true.”
— Salman Rushdie (via creativecloud)
Language Is a Virus: How Loanwords Move the World’s Tongues
There are an estimated 6,700 to 6,900 languages in the world today, and they drift through the air like a meteorological echo — Hello! Hallo! Allô! — a roll of thunder or a set of bird calls off in the corner of the ear and the eye. And accompanying every tongue are loanwords, or, rather, lehnwerts, the tin-eared telephone line tossed from house to house, the improvised bridge of a tree knocked across a river’s expanse, or, more prosaically, words one “borrows” from one language into another. Loanwords explain how and why English speakers can say things like Frankfurter, pretzel, hinterland, dreck, or kaput without their conversational co-conspirator batting an eye.
“I really love language. I love it for what it does for us, how it allows us to explain the pain and the glory, the nuances and the delicacies of our existence. And then it allows us to laugh, allows us to show wit. Real wit is shown in language. We need language.”
— Maya Angelou (via theparisreview)