Translation Journal

The new edition of Gabe Bokor’s excellent Translation Journal is available. It has two good obituaries of Tom Snow, Flefoid and previous awarder of the premature TJ Snow memorial prizes, who used to add a long sig to his name:

bq. Well, it was originally

bq. Thomas J. “Any serious offer considered” Snow,
non-Failure, ATA Not Absolutely Incompetent Qualification, German-to English,
Sponsor, the internationally acclaimed and highly coveted Anticipatory Thomas J. Snow Memorial Prize for Significant Contribution to the Mistery,
Founder and Executive Director for Life, The Big Hug Club (Inernational, soon to be a major Walt Disney Enterprise),
CEO, Cheap-O Translations,
“when cost is the only considuration”,
formerly Quick and Dirty Translations,
formerly For Information Only Translations,
successors to Accurate and Reader Friendly Translations,
a subsidiary of Extreme Translations, Inc.

bq. I am really broke. I had too small a customer base and they were dying and retiring at an alarming rate, so I decided to represent myself in a more serious light.

There’s also an article by Betty Howell on her life in translation, in part on something I’ve heard her talk on:

bq. I developed my own technique, which consisted of not reading the text first but immediately doing a draft translation, leaving the dictionaries and the library research until there was a text in English ready to work with. Once there was something down on paper I could work with, it was time to make sure that my translation made sense and really expressed the message of the original. I found reading out loud to be an especially helpful way to make sure that the result was idiomatic English. These techniques I would later call my “patented approach” to translation. It has always aroused vigorous opposition from academics and strong support from students.

I don’t usually think of myself as an academic, but I obviously am here!

Apart from that, I have looked at ‘The Bottom Line’, the agony aunt column by Fire Ant and Worker Bee. I find this fascinating. I have it on the highest authority that the letters are genuine, but why do they all sound the same and have the same kind of nicknames (e.g. ‘Roped in Expert’, reply begins ‘Dear Roped’)? Still, I have seen missives like that of ‘Sherri, of the Grossly Talkative Clan’ elsewhere.

Worker Bee is rather on the serious side and Fire Ant rather on the trivial side, so they should meet in the middle. From this issue’s selection, we derive that we translators should be professional, should be sensitive to language, especially our target language, but should know our source language very well, and that we should have an SOP.

2 thoughts on “Translation Journal

  1. Re the nicknames, I half-recall Ant and Bee mentioning in a past column that they, not the writers, make them up.

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