Found In Translation brings together one hundred glittering diamonds of world literature, celebrating not only the original texts themselves but also the art of translation.
Found In Translation PDF
Translation. It’s everywhere you look but seldom seen. This book will help you find it. Found in Translation shines a spotlight into the nooks and crannies of everyday life to reveal that translation is right there, hidden just beneath the surface. Worth an estimated $33 billion, translation is the biggest industry that you never knew existed.
Why should you care? Because translation affects every aspect of your life —and we’re not just talking about the obvious things, like world politics and global business. Translation affects you personally, too. The books you read. The movies you watch. The food you eat. Your favorite sports team. The opinions you hold dear. The religion you practice. Even your looks and, yes, your love life. Right this very minute, translation is saving lives, perhaps even yours.
Translation affects everything from holy books to hurricane warnings, poetry to Pap smears. It’s needed by both the masses and the millionaires. Translation converts the words of dictators and diplomats, princes and pop stars, bus drivers and baseball players. Translation fuels the global economy, prevents wars, and stops the outbreak of disease. From tummy tucks to terrorist threats, it’s everywhere.
This book will help you see how the products you use, the freedoms you enjoy, and the pleasures in which you partake are made possible by translation. You’ll also get a close-up look at a unique species of human beings who dedicate their lives to searching for the best ways to say things in other languages. As you’ll see throughout this book, there are actually two separate groups of these folks—the ones who deal with written words (translators) and those who deal with the spoken kind (interpreters). You’re affected by both.
Why are we qualified to help you find translation? First let us appeal to your brain, then to your heart. We have plenty of street cred when it comes to the fields of translation and interpreting. One of us (Jost) is a certified translator for German. The other (Nataly) is a certified court interpreter for Spanish. One of us (Jost) wrote a doctoral dissertation on translation in history. The other (Nataly) was a Fulbright scholar in sociolinguistics. We have forty years of combined translation experience between us, and we are regularly tapped to speak on the topic around the world. That’s the boring part, but it gives you a rough synopsis of our credentials.
Now here’s the fun part. To help you learn about translation and how it affects you, we hunted for the most beautiful, compelling, and entertaining stories we could find. In laid-back Mountain View, California, we interviewed the modern-day Wizard of Oz for the translation world—the brain behind Google Translate. In the Vegas heat, we visited the luxurious Bellagio, and found ourselves drawn not to the casinos or fountains, but to a Turkish staff member with an account of a magnificent translation blunder. On a brisk day at the United Nations in New York, we met a man whose Arabic misinterpretation caused the entire General Assembly to roar with applause. And in a quiet suburb of Chicago, on the eve of winter, we sat down for Kaffee and Stollen in the home of a ninety-one-year-old gentleman who interpreted for Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.
That’s just the beginning. We talked with designers of bilingual greeting cards at Hallmark, masterminds behind multicultural marketing at Nestlé, and the person who makes sure that millions of non-English-speaking customers for United Airlines can book their flights on the web. We interviewed interpreters who work for clients as diverse as a professional basketball player, an Oscar-winning actress, and the president of the United States (several of them, actually). We even tracked down Dr. Seuss’s translator on a hunch that converting the lines “green eggs and ham” and “Sam I am” into another language would surely be enlightening.
Our quest to find translation was not confined within the borders of the United States. Far from it. We interviewed an Inuit in the Arctic, a Mori in New Zealand, and an Arabic translator in Sudan. We saw how translation fueled by mobile technology rescued victims of the earthquake in Haiti, and how it gives power to people involved in revolutions in the Middle East. We chronicled translation on a flight to Iceland, among poets in central London, and on the floor of the European Parliament. We spoke with people who translate The Simpsons in Finland, Harlequin romance novels in the Netherlands, and soccer stats in Brazil. We uncovered beautiful anecdotes and timeless truths about religious translation—in Israel and Lebanon alike. Our quest for awe-inspiring translation anecdotes even led us to outer space (think NASA, not alien life forms).
We ventured far beyond just the languages that you might have studied in high school. We located stories about the translation of Shuar, Romani, and Inuktitut. We learned how translation helped bring one language back from the dead (Wampanoag) and helps another keep on ticking (Irish Gaelic). Our sleuthing for the best stories took us backstage at Cirque du Soleil, behind the scenes at Facebook and Twitter, and onto the gold medal platform at the Olympic Games. We dove many centuries into the past to take a look at how translation has shaped history, and we also got a glimpse into the future.
So now, join us as we recount the very best tales of translation, collected
after scouring our sources and traveling far and wide. The stories in this book
are, of course, only the beginning. After all, this fascinating yet often unseen
universe of translation is all around you. This journey will reveal how
translation shapes your world. And it will transform your own perspective in