BOOK BOOKS Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything author David Bellos – chiangshistory.org

Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of EverythingDavid Bellos the translator of Georges Perec s Life A User s Manual has a oint to Road House - The Novel prove and he makes it several times over Translation is a substitute for the original because most of us will never what the original is like For those of us that can read something in the original ahrase I ll never use again after reading this we can only explain what s untranslatable about it in one language And that has to be translated in order to explain why it s not translatable I sort of liked how much effort and historical knowledge he Gnosis put into arguing that any assumptions about translation are largely wrong and should be no obstacle to reading This is why his chapters often end with a single line that amounts to I told you so but he reaches thatoint with such a critical mass of evidence that it s not annoying The book liberated me next time I read in translation I hopefully won t get stuck in that odd dissatisfied limbo where I wonder what I m missing out onThe book is as wide ranging as you might expect from someone with Bellos experience going over the history of the European Union the translatability of Left to Die-a First Hand Account of Life in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina poetry theroblematic notion of a native speaker early Dolphin Diaries Bind-Up practices in translation the concept of foreign soundedness Dragomania Google Translate the Soviet Union s fakeoets and the hierarchy between languages in translation as reflected by the dominance of English as both a The Wingman Chronicles pivot language and a target languageHe makes a convincing case for how commonresumptions about translators have been tied with their shifting vital role in historical exchange with the many gendered truisms about translation reflecting the distrust and suspicion of their activities On the way there are so many great analyses from explaining how the English translation of Freud scientises Freud s uite Flood Legends peculiar non scientific German to revealing how in most cases a book must be translated into one vehicular language to reach another Good knowledge Many now common words of English ego id superego empathy and displacement for example were all first invented in James Strachey s translation of Freud to replace the eually technical but less recondite neologisms of the original Ich Es berich Einf hlung and Verschiebung Japanese literary translators have much the same status as authors do in Britain and America Many author translators are household names and there s even a celebrity gossip book about them Honyakuka Retsuden 101 The Lives of the Translators 101 Another fascinating argument he makes is for the third language of translation where translators keen torove that they know the language formalise it than in the original But then such formalisations and Anglicisations if in English make it back into the first language he gives the example of Swedish language detective novels which have taken on the constructions of English sentences common in English language translations of Swedish novelsAnyway here are a few uotes that stuck in my head and The Best Of Saint Louis perhaps convey Bellos free roaming open ended vision We may all be born with theotential to acuire a language and a need to do so with what some linguists have called a language acuisition device hard wired in our brains But in The Brother-Offended Checklist practice we are not born into anyarticular language at all all babies are languageless at the start of life Yet we use the term native speaker as if the contrary were true as if the form of language acuired by natural but fairly strenuous effort from our infant environment were a birthright an inheritance and the definitive unalterable location of our

"linguistic identity the "
identity The of literary translation is that translated works are incommensurable with their source just as literary works are incommensurable with each other just as individual readings of novels and oems and lays can only be measured in discussion with other readers the Detour (Something in Common, practice of translation rests on tworesuppositions The first is can only be measured in discussion with other readers the マジック・ツリーハウス〈1〉恐竜の谷の大冒険 practice of translation rests on tworesuppositions The first is we are all different we speak different tongues and see The World In Ways That world in ways that deeply influenced by the Bear Creek Road particular features of the tongue that we speak The second is that we are all the same that we can share the same broad and narrow kinds of feelings information understandings and so forth There are a lot of things I liked about David Bellos s Is That a Fish in Your Ear Translation and the Meaning of Everything He succeeded in reminding me of what I have always found so fascinating in the art of translation and been amazed by while studying applied linguistics and anthropological linguistics learning various languages living in seven countries around the world and miscommunicating with others Namely this realisation that translation is what we all do all the time through various means language gestures facial expressions and what betrays some of our identities This book is as much about cultures identitieshilosophy values and societies as it is about among other issues simultaneous interpreting translation of Good Authority Good Authority poetry other literary texts and jokes translation in business and law the importance of contextualisation and the traps of eg thinking that native speakers know their own language better than those for whom it is not a mother tongue I liked the global approach with however most space devoted to English and French with which Bellos tackled the subjects Translation is and has always been the core of our cultures and our existence and therefore I believe Is That a Fish in Your Ear is a book for everyone who is at least slightly interested in the history of humanity and human communication 45 How do I know when a book is really interesting If a book is really interesting I will be compelled to read it aloud to whoever has the fortune or misfortune depending on youroint of view of being around at the time Usually it s my oor dear husband who is the witness to these readings Let s just say with this book he got a lot of it read to him Guys I m a word nerd What does that mean I love the written word I love the spoken word I love languages among other things I think the way that we communicate with each other is fascinating David Bellos has an extensive background in translation He takes us through what transla. A New York Times Notable Book for 2011One of The Economist’s 2011 Books of the Year People speak different languages and always have The Ancient Greeks took no notice of anything unless it was said in Greek; the Romans made everyone speak Latin; and in India eople learned their neighbors’ languages as did many ordinary Europeans in times ast Christopher Columbus knew Italian Portuguese and Castilian Spanish as well as the classical languages But today we all use translation to cope with the diversity of languages Without translation there

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Tion is and what translation isn t Translations are really substitutes for reading something in another accessible to you language than it was originally written in There are so many books that I would never have access to if it weren t for some really good translations where would I be without my love MurakamiI learned so much from this book There s not one way to translate and a lot of times it seems to be an iterative Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers, process to get to a true understanding of the original text Who knew so much had to go into it I think this book is good for anyone who has ever read a translation of a book and wondered about if the book was really getting to the original author s true meaning How do we know that Murakami or Tolstoy sound the same way that they do in Japanese and Russian as they do in English It s truly awesome to think aboutBottom line This book is for my fellow word nerds This review sums up myroblem with this book For what it is it s a well written informative and interesting book abo Beyond multilingualism and language unification the third Alfie Outdoors path that leads away from translation is to stop fussing about what other cultures have to say and to stick to one s own cCK Ogden the famously eccentric co author of The Meaning of Meaning believed that much of the world s troubles could be ascribed to the illusion that a thing exists just because we have a word for it He called thishenomenon Word Magic Candidates for the label include levitation real existing socialism and safe investment These aren t outright fictions but illusions licensed and created by the lexicon In Ogden s view Word Magic is what makes us lazy It stops us from uestioning the assumptions that are hidden in words and leads us to allow words to manipulate our minds cEtymologies obscure essential truths about the way we use language and among them truths about translation cHow many genres are there Uncountably many How do you know what genre a given written sentence is in Well you don t and that s the The Agile Team Handbook, 2nd Edition point No sentence contains all the information you need to translate it One of the key levels of information that is always missing from a sentence taken simply as a grammatically well formed string of lexically acceptable words is knowledge of its genre You can get that only from the context of utterance Of course you know what that is in the case of a spoken sentence you have to be there in the context to hear it spoken You usually know uite a lot in the case of written texts too Translators do not usually agree to work on a text without being told first of all whether it is a railway timetable or aoem a speech at the UN or a fragment of a novel and few Her Mothers Daughter people read such things in their original languages either without being told by the cover sheet dust jacket or othereritextual material what kind of thing they are reading To do their jobs translators have to know what job they are doing cIt s an indisputable fact about languages that the sets of words that each Howard Stern Comes Again possesses divide up the features of the world in slightly and sometimes radically different ways Color terms never match up completely and it s always aroblem for a French speaker to know what an English speakermeans by brown shoes since the footwear in uestion may be marron bordeaux even rouge fonc The names of fishes and birds often come in nonmatching sets of labyrinthine complexity similarly fixed formulae for signing off letters come in graded levels of Spellbound politeness and servility that have noossible application outside of the culture in which they existThese well known examples of the imperfect matching or anisomorphism of languages do not really support the conclusion that translation is impossible If the translator can see the sky that s being called blue either the real one or a representation of it in a ainting for example then it sperfectly obvious which Russian color term is appropriate similarly if the cheese being bought at Russian color term is appropriate #SIMILARLY IF THE CHEESE BEING BOUGHT AT SHOP IS # if the cheese being bought at shop is cottage cheese the choice of the Russian term is not an issue If on the other hand what s being translated is a sentence in a novel then it really doesn t matter which kind of Russian blue is used to ualify a dress that exists only in the reader s mental image of it If the specific shade of blue becomes relevant to some art or level of the story later on the translator can always go back and adjust the term to fit the later development The lack of exactly matching terms is not as big a Writing Myths problem for translation as manyeople think it is cOne well known reason so many eople believe words to be the names of things is because that s what they ve been told by the Hebrew BibleAnd out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them and whatsoever Adam called every living creature that was the name thereof Genesis 219This short verse has had long lasting effects on the way language has been imagined in Western cultures It says that language was to begin with and in rinciple still is a list of words and that words are the names of things Paying Daddys Debt particularly the names of living things Also it says very succinctly that language is not among the things that God created but an arbitrary invention of humankind sanctioned by divine assentNomenclaturism the notion that words are essentially names has thus had a long history surreptitiously it stillervades much of the discourse about the nature of translation between languages which have words that name different things or that name the same things in different ways The Stripes of Gehenna problem however doesn t really lie in translation but in nomenclaturism itself for itrovides a very unsatisfactory account of how a language works A simple term such as head for example can t be counted as the name of any Cheerleader For Hire particular thing cTranslation is the enemy of the ineffable One causes the other to cease to exist cSapir showed that there is nothing simple about the languages of simple societies and nothing especially complex about the languages of economically advanced ones In his writings on language he showed like no one before him just how immensely varied the forms of language. Ould be no world news not much of a reading list in any subject at college no repair manuals for cars orlanes; we wouldn’t even be able to Time Slips put together flatack furniture  Is That a Fish in Your Ear ranges across the whole of human experience from foreign films to hilosophy to show why translation is at the heart of what we do and who we are Among many other things David Bellos asks What’s the difference between translating unprepared natural speech and translating Madame Bovary How do you translate a joke What’s the difference between. .
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