Thursday, June 27, 2013

Event Factory

I don’t quite know how to describe Renee Gladman’s novel Event Factory, but it is fascinating, especially for those of us interested in language. The protagonist travels to Ravicka, a city-state (that I somehow imagined looking a bit like San Marino) where the language is a combination of words and movements. For example, at one point she wants to apologize, but has trouble “recalling the “turns” I needed to perform my apology…I went through pareis several times, but always tripped up on the same move and had to start over again. You cannot skip ahead, or you’ll be saying something entirely different. I wanted to say, “When you are a visitor to a place, especially one such as Ravicka, it is difficult to remain stationary. The landmarks call out.” But I could not get my body to say “landmark” versus the “shipyard” it kept performing.” (p. 29) Her inability at times to communicate echoes the confusion many travelers feel when in a new place, where a different language is spoken and a different culture is the background. As the main character says, “If only travelling were about showing off your language skills, if only it did not also demand a certain commitment of body communication, of outright singing or dancing—I think I would be absolutely global by now. In Ravicka, I was barely urban.” (p. 42) I think many of us forget that language does involve a certain amount of facial expressions and movements and we tend to focus on the meaning of words, although obviously Ravicka is an extreme (and made-up) example. It is worth reading Gladman’s novel not only for her poetic turns of phrase but also for her philosophical ideas about communication.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Call for Papers

You might be interested in this call for papers or in simply attending the conference: Crime in Translation Park Building, University of Portsmouth Saturday 9 November 2013 Plenary speakers: Dr Karen Seago (City University, London) Dr Yvonne Fowler (Aston University) A selection of papers will be published in Jostrans, issue 22, July 2014 The translation of crime fiction is all around us, from the current wave of Scandinavian and European crime novels, film and television to recent screen adaptations of classic crime fiction such as Sherlock Holmes. But it’s not only in fiction that translation meets crime. The police and the courts rely heavily on public service interpreters and translators. Translation itself is criminalised in various ways, e.g. in relation to copyright infringement, legal proceedings against translators of ‘problematic’ texts and various forms of piracy. The 2013 Portsmouth Translation Conference aims to bring the different facets of translation and crime together in an interdisciplinary one-day conference, allowing exchange of ideas between translators, criminologists, interpreters, literary scholars and translation researchers. We invite proposals for 20-minute papers and 60-minute practical workshops on any area connecting crime and translation or interpreting. We welcome approaches from practitioners as well as researchers. Topics may include (but are not limited to): The challenges of translating crime fiction Subtitling and dubbing thrillers Crime, translation and the law ‘True crime’ in translation The role of translation and interpreting in criminal justice Translation by and for criminals Translation as a crime Translation and forensic linguistics The representation of translation and interpreting in crime fiction and film Enquiries and/or 300-word abstracts should be sent to by 15 June 2013

Friday, June 07, 2013

Yiddish and Hebrew

Last month, I was in Israel. So I thought it was appropriate to include some links here on Hebrew and Yiddish. Interestingly, I couldn’t find as many free options for these languages as I could for other tongues, but some of these links might be a start, and you can also check out some older posts on this blog for more on Yiddish and Hebrew.

Der Bay is a major online resource for Yiddish.

You can learn a little Yiddish here.

Shtetl has more info on Yiddish.

The Vilnius program is a well known one for learning Yiddish.

YIVO is, of course, the place to go for Yiddish.

Learn Hebrew using cartoons. It’s a very entertaining site!

Here is a free online course for learning Hebrew.

This site starts free, and then you can pay for more lessons.

And check out Ulpan for more Hebrew lessons online.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Telephone Game in Translation

Here’s a silly game to entertain you: the telephone game in translation. You enter some text in English (or another language), then you watch as it gets translated back and forth between languages. Then you see what the text ends up as – it’s just like playing telephone/operator/Chinese whispers/whatever else you might have called it, except with multiple languages.