Wednesday, December 30, 2009

100 Best Blogs for the Literati

In case you are having a cozy New Year’s Eve at home and want even more reading material than I listed in my last post, check out this list of the top 100 blogs for the “literati.” It includes yours truly, Brave New Words, and many other blogs that may interest you.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Round-Up of Articles

Here is some material for you to read during the holiday season, in between any festivities you are hosting or attending.

First, here is an article on the death of many Canadian languages.

Next, a piece on the basic question of what language is.

Third, an article on how the sounds babies make are influenced by the sounds they hear when in the womb.

Thanks to Jens Hillman for sending me this, about lexicography.

Thanks to Erika Dreifus, for mentioning this article on Yiddish on her blog.

Here, Swedish author Kerstin Ekman discusses translation.

And finally, this article, which is in Swedish, is about the team-translation effort, if it can be called that, in which Dan Brown’s latest book was divided into sections and translated by a number of different people. Doesn’t say much for the quality, probably, but does reveal some of the challenges involved in translating fiction. English-language publishers don't want foreign-language authors to have access to manuscripts, because naturally they want to sell as many copies in English as possible. So they hope that by having English-language books, such as by best-selling authors J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown, only available in English initially, readers around the world will buy the books, even if they would be more comfortable reading in their native tongue. This then puts pressure on foreign-language publishers to get translations out as quickly as possible and as soon as they finally get access to the source texts, and this leads to team-translations and other time-cutting maneuvers.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Useful References and Links

Now that I’ve changed the look of the blog, I no longer have the blog and reference list running down the side of the page. Instead, I will keep this post updated with useful links for you.

Translator Associations

  • Sveriges Facköversättarförening/ Swedish Association of Professional Translations

  • American Literary Translators Association

  • American Translators Association

  • Föreningen Auktoriserade Translatorer/ Federation of Authorized Translators

  • International Federation of Translators

  • Institute of Translation and Interpreting

  • The Translators and Interpreters Guild

    • Reference

    • Dictionary and Thesaurus

    • Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus

    • Swedish-English Dictionary

    • Svenska Akademiens Ordbok/Swedish Academy's Dictionary

    • Scandinavian Dictionary

    • Online Etymology Dictionary

    • Fact Index

    • Library Spot

    • Online Conversion

    • World Wide Words

    • Bartleby

      • Other Blogs

      • Practicing Writing

      • Ur språkens tunnlar

      • Översättarbloggen

      • Translation Times

      • Nordic Voices

      • Three Percent

      • Poems Found in Translation

      • Beyond Words

      • ALTalk Blog

      • Language Log

      • David Crystal's Blog

      • Language Hat

      • Omniglot

      • From Our Lips

      • Web Translations

      • Word du Jour

      • Life In Translation

      • Translating is an Art

      • Masked Translator

      • About Translation

      • if:book

      • Separated by a Common Language

      • Spanish Legal Translation

      • George Szirtes's blog

        • Other Translation-Related Links

        • Swansea University Translation Links

        • Inttranews Translation News

        • PEN's Guidelines for Reviewing Translations

        • Center for the Art of Translation
        • Monday, December 14, 2009

          Online Certificate in Applied Literary Translation

          I learned that Dalkey Archive Press, at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), will be offering an online certificate in Applied Literary Translation beginning in January 2010. Here is the information I received:


          Beginning in January of 2010, Dalkey Archive Press at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign will initiate a new and ambitious certificate program designed to help translators at any point in their early careers, and that will result in the publication of their first book-length translation. This program represents a unique opportunity for young translators to gain invaluable experience as well as produce a translation that will aid them in gaining future work with Dalkey Archive and other publishers.

          Program Goals

          1. Provide practical, invaluable translation and editorial experience to beginning translators who have not yet published a book-length translation.
          2. Result in one book-length translation per enrollee to be published by Dalkey Archive Press.
          3. Gain broad-based experience in various areas of translation and publishing.

          Who is this program intended for?

          The program is intended for translators who are at a point in their careers where they are ready to undertake professional translation work but do not know where to go next, and especially for those who need a flexible schedule because of geographical limitations and other commitments.

          Program Description

          During the course of the yearlong program, translators will:

          * Do sample translations of books that Dalkey should consider acquiring, and learn how to write readers’ reports, cover letters to editors, queries to publishers and agents, grant proposals, and other secondary documents necessary to professional translators.

          * Have the opportunity to complete one book-length literary translation to be published by Dalkey Archive Press, with an emphasis on literary fiction; books to be translated will be selected by Dalkey Archive Press in consultation with the translator.

          * Receive frequent and individualized feedback from Dalkey editors on translation work.

          * Gain experience in editing translations.

          * Will work directly with authors as well as other translators.

          Editors at Dalkey Archive Press will be assigned to train applicants via email on a one-to-one basis. Occasional meetings at Dalkey Archive Press’s offices or videoconferences may also be organized.

          The program is highly competitive and is intended for promising translators who are at an early point in their careers, but who have already achieved the skill level to undertake professional translation work. Ten students will be selected based on the strength of their application materials, and the relevance of their background to the kind of literature that Dalkey Archive publishes.

          Application process

          1) Translators interested in applying should send the following to as early as possible; though start-dates may be flexible, no more than ten students will be accepted:

          * Curriculum Vitae, including employment history

          * A letter of intent detailing:

          - Qualifications, with an eye toward demonstrating that the applicant has the necessary translation skills to benefit from this program
          - An in-depth knowledge of the historical roots of the literary aesthetic represented in Dalkey Archive book
          - A brief list of the applicants favorite authors and authors most interested in translating
          - Evidence of a substantial reading background in the applicants’ chosen language(s)

          * 3 sample translations of fiction from the applicant’s language(s) of specialization (translations of poetry or nonfiction may not be included in place of a fiction sample)

          2) Applicants should follow the guidelines below very carefully:

          * Samples should consist of the first pages of a published novel or short story only.

          * Samples should not be from books that have already been translated and published in English.

          * Each sample should be 5 to 10 pages long.

          * Do not include the original-language versions of your samples.

          * Complete applications, including all abovementioned materials, should be sent via email as a single .pdf file only (no other formats will be read) labeled with the applicant’s name (i.e., lastnamefirstname.pdf).

          * Within this file, application materials should be ordered as follows: CV, letter of intent, 3 samples, 3 letters of recommendation.

          * Letters of intent should not be sent in the body of the email, but should be part of the application file. No substantial information should be included in the body of the email.

          The admissions process will quite likely include an interview.

          Emphasis will be placed on readiness to benefit from this online program rather than on academic experience or degrees.

          Applicants who have in-depth knowledge of Dalkey Archive’s books and general aesthetic will be given preference.


          $5,000 at the time of acceptance. This fee will be partially or fully offset by grants awarded by funding agencies for enrollees who complete a publishable translation.

          Announcement of Results

          Admissions announcements will be made within two weeks of receipt of applications.

          Any questions or requests concerning the application process and program should be sent to Jeremy Davies at

          Wednesday, December 09, 2009

          FAQ # 3: Research Means Just That

          This FAQ is going to sound very obvious, but the number of emails I get on this makes it worth repeating.

          Research means just that, i.e. research. If you want to do an MA or a PhD in translation studies, you need to be an independent and active researcher. You have to take responsibility for your own work (this is true for any subject, of course, and not just translation studies or literature). I get many emails from readers asking me for research topics, book lists, literature reviews, and other information that, if they are truly serious about doing research, they should be doing themselves.

          So: if you want to be a researcher, take responsibility for your own work and do your research.

          Friday, December 04, 2009

          Language Courses Online

          I've posted a number of short lists of online resources for various languages, so I was pleased when I was sent this list of 100 open courses online. The list certainly tempts me and makes me want to learn lots of languages!