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Monday, September 26, 2011

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything by David Bellos: review

A witty look at the dark art of translation

There was a time when all good schoolboys knew Latin, and even debutantes spoke French. Today, we who claim English as our mother tongue feel less pressed to learn a foreign language. Why bother, when the rest of the world is so keen to master ours?

And yet the idea of translation continues to excite strong passions. If I mention that I dabble in this dark art, I am accused of taking liberties and betraying the author’s intentions. I am instructed either to serve the text invisibly or to accept that some things just can’t be translated, and give up.
In this witty, erudite exploration of translation and its history, David Bellos sets out to render such inquisitions obsolete. It was translation that allowed the Romans to learn from the Greeks. When French seeped into English after the Norman conquest, our language was not eroded but enriched.
For complete article, click here

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