September 2010 Archives

Vienna City of Dreams on the Danube

News from TrànslationWörks, Bath

I am particularly happy to announce on International Translators' Day that a book I translated earlier in the year has now been published. Entitled Vienna - City of Dreams on the Danube - it is beautifully produced with lots of colour photographs of Austria's capital city. I am particularly fond of this town having lived there for a year as a student and so I was delighted to be invited to translate this book.  It is of course also available in German.

It is an ideal introduction to the city for those who do not know Vienna as well as being a lovely souvenir for those who have enjoyed visiting.


The book is published by, and can be ordered from, Vitalis Verlag

Another book, for which I did the proofreading, is also available on their website: The Best Imperial Recipes. I haven't tried to make any of the recipes myself yet, but they sound delicious!


Celebrating International Translators' Day

Once again, it is International Translators' Day today.

I wish all my fellow translators a happy day as they reflect perhaps on what they have achieved since last year. Many will no doubt be attending the Proz virtual conference as indeed I shall be.

I hope you all have a fruitful time - and I look forward to virtually bumping into you there!

Training to be a translator/interpreter - advance planning

In these days of economic depression, the news bulletins are full of doom and gloom about the paucity of jobs available for school-leavers and new graduates. It seems to be more vital than ever to start thinking about your future career as early as you possibly can.

In my view, it is never a waste of time to explore lots of options. Obviously, eventually you will have to narrow down the search but by casting your net wide at the outset you will expose yourself to lots of opportunities that may not have otherwise occurred to you. If as a native speaker of English you also speak a foreign language or two, there are lots of opportunities. One seminar at this year's Language Show (to be held at Earl's Court, London from 15-17 October) is entitled: Shortage of linguists - the EU and the UN need you.

Judging from the rest of the programme of seminars which has just been released, there are plenty of options available to job-seekers who can offer languages as one of their main skills.  Presentations will be held on recruitment to the European Parliament, working at the European Court of Justice, GCHQ, the European Commission and working as a conference interpreter. There is also a seminar about voluntary roles using your languages at the Olympics to be held in London in 2012.

There are also seminars for teachers of languages, learners of English as a Foreign or Second Language and learners of foreign languages. All this information under one roof over the course of a weekend!


Translations - a play by Brian Friel

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of BBC Radio 4 and here is an opportunity to listen to a version of Brian Friel's play, Translations, which was written in 1980, and adapted for radio.

The setting of the play is British Ordnance Survey of Ireland in 1833, a process of mapping, renaming and Anglicising Ireland. This background is used by Friel to portray the clash between languages, and the use of education as a method of resolving the cultural and unequal relationship between colonised and coloniser.

From a linguist's point of view, it does not make for comfortable listening as little respect is afforded to Gaelic with mono-lingual English officers riding roughshod over the country's traditions and history. There is a discussion at one point about translating a place name enshrined in the mists of time. The proposed English translation of it would be completely bland and lose all the local flavour. Does this matter?

The character of Owen, who is the interpreter between the two cultures, is put in a very difficult position towards the end of the play when having to deliver some very unpleasant news with which he does not agree, to his countrymen, and this situation highlights how difficult it can be for professional interpreters to remain neutral and emotionally detached in highly-charged situations.

The play is available on iPlayer until Saturday 11 September. Click here