Perfect English, now available in French
Bridging the culture gap
September 20, 2004
The Guardian published an edited version of an e-mail correspondence between an English author and the Russian translator of her book. It gives a great insight into the difficulties a translator is bound to encounter if he or she hasn't lived in the source language country. How otherwise would you know how to translate "snakebite", "Essex girl", "going out on the pull", "Hello Kitty socks", etc.? They clearly developed a lovely relationship that allowed them to bridge the culture gap, which is necessary to produce a good translation. As Dennis (the translator) mentions, Vladmir Nabokov was very keen on being in touch with the translators of his books, and this is a practice that should be encouraged between all authors and their translators.
Also, you learn that SMS in Russian is es-em-esky, a fine piece of knowledge which is bound to impress people when casually dropped in the middle of a conversation.
Excellent stuff !
This is a dream job - if only this type of working relationship was more common in other sectors.
Also a good illustration of why those awful translator programmes will never match the human brain.
Posted by Andreas on September 21, 2004 9:42 AM
"Hello Kitty" is a proper name, and needs both capitals. (She is, reasonably enough, a kitty.)
If you're collecting, it's "sms:a" in Swedish (the colon is silent, so it's "es-emes-a"). I only ever hear "[to] text" in English English, though.
Posted by des von bladet on September 22, 2004 1:08 PM
Practice makes perfect
September 17, 2004
September 22, 2004