A blog about translation, language, literature, and other related topics. Updated every approximately every five days.
Friday, June 08, 2012
Pardon My Dictionary
An English teacher in France sent me the link to her blog, Pardon My Dictionary, which she describes as “a very modest collection of "how not to translate" examples provided by my pupils and students who have not yet grasped that the dictionary is a marvelous tool providing you use it correctly, and that online translation resources cannot make silk purses out of sows’ ears”.
As a former English as a foreign language teacher myself, I recognize this phenomenon. I can’t tell you the number of times I’d get in homework from students that would say things such as “You sheep food at a restaurant.” Sheep, you ask? Yes, because my students would translate “Man får mat på en restaurang” directly from Swedish, where “får” means both “sheep” and “get”. Again and again, I had to ask my students to use the dictionary, but use it wisely; in other words, don’t just pick the first definition or translation offered in it.
So check out Pardon My Dictionary; it will make you laugh or, possibly, cry.
Originally from Chicago, I lived in southern Sweden for nearly 5.5 years, and moved to southern Wales in September 2006. I completed a Ph.D. translation studies in June 2009 at Swansea University, with a dissertation on the translation of children's literature.
Now I live in Norwich, England, where I am a lecturer at the University of East Anglia, and I also work as a translator, writer, and editor.
Contact me at bravenewwords (AT) gmail (DOT) com.