Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Translating the Wonderful - 6 December

No single universe is as diverse and intriguing as the world of children's literature and yet so many visions pass us by because so little is translated into English.



Europe House

32 Smith Square
London SW1P 3EU

On Tuesday 6 December Europe House will host an event on translating children’s literature into English. It will take the format of workshop sessions, where students working from various languages into English will translate samples from classic children’s literature or literature closely related to the classics in style and theme, followed by a panel discussion and evening reception.

The idea is to carry out translations of extracts from selected texts and to discuss the various possible approaches to the translation of children’s literature and in particular the differences and similarities in translation strategies across languages. Each workshop will be coordinated by a leading translator of the respective language pair, with the findings of each workshop presented to the other participants in a concluding panel discussion.

The languages covered in the workshops will be Danish, Dutch, French and German.
-      The Danish workshop (Hans Christian Andersen) will be led by Dr. Kirsten Malmkjaer and is sponsored by the Danish Embassy in London.
-      The Dutch workshop (Annie MG Schmidt) will be led by David Colmer and is sponsored by the Dutch Embassy in London and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.
-      The French workshop (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) will be led by Ros Schwartz and Sarah Ardizonne, and is sponsored by the French Institute in London.
-      The German workshop (E.T.A. Hoffmann) will be led by Anthea Bell and is sponsored by the Goethe Institute in London.
-      Flanders House London will also take part in the event.
There are currently still places available for the workshops from Danish and Dutch.

The workshops will be preceded by an opening introduction by Dr. Gillian Lathey (the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature) and concluded by an open cross-panel discussion, which will aim to draw conclusions regarding strategies for translating children’s literature from across Europe into English. This will be followed by a reception offered by the European Commission Representation in the UK.

3.00pm         Registration
3.30pm         Introduction by Dr. Gillian Lathey
3.45pm         Workshops
4.45pm         Group discussion
5.30pm         Tea and coffee
6.00pm         Panel discussion and conclusions
7.00pm         Reception
Entrance to this event is free but places are limited. To reserve a place please e-mail Tom Barbanneau at: (specify for which part you register: workshop+panel&reception OR panel&reception).

European Commission Representation UK
Europe House
32 Smith Square
London SW1P 3EU
(nearest Tube station: Westminster, 5-minute walk)

Sponsors of the ‘Translating the Wonderful’ event:

European Commission Representation in the UK, London
National Centre for Research in Children's Literature, Roehampton University
Translation Group, Imperial College London

Goethe Institut, London
Institut Français, London
Embassy of Denmark, London
Flanders House, London
Dutch Foundation for Literature, London
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, London

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Charles Gittins, DGT

This week sees the visit of Charles Gittins at Imperial College London's Translation Group. Charles Gittins works as a translator into English and translation and quality manager at the Directorate General for Translation in Brussels.

You can follow Charles on Facebook,

Today he spoke for half the group of students about translation at DGT, the English section and how issues experienced there also go for other target language. He spoke very enthusiastically about his workplace, and about Brussels too.

Tomorrow, Thursday 17 November he will repeat this, 12-1pm at Huxley Lecture Theatre 144. This event is open to all.

Thursday 17th November at 12.00 – 13.00, in Huxley Lecture Theatre 144.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Bots aren't wordsmiths

 "A New York City translation tech venture, Smartling, today released a host of new features and services to help users translate their websites, mobile, and other digital content into many languages, quickly, affordably, and accurately.

Despite attempts to automate and manage translation by companies that predated Smartling--from Google Translate to AIT's Projetex--"content localization" has remained a challenge for businesses large to small for a number of reasons.

Translating, say, an English website into Chinese sounds pretty straightforward--just hire a Mandarin speaker with a good knowledge of English, right? But it's generally far more of a challenge, explained Jack Welde, CEO of Smartling, which is backed by U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock, First Round Capital, and IDG Ventures.

For example, business owners have to know if text on a site they want to translate is encoded in something called UTF-8. If not, the site can't render Chinese characters and will need a code rewrite. Also, companies need to ask "Where am I going to store all my multilingual content? Do I have a database for that?" Welde said.

Smartling has been automating the code-crunching process and helping companies find translators--whether robots, pros or volunteers--for about two years. Until recently, the company served large enterprise clients, providing them with dedicated sales staff, tech support, and other hand-holding perks. These were typically beyond the needs and budget of most small businesses and non-profits, however."


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Visiting speakers at MScTrans - autumn term

The following visiting speakers have been confirmed for the autumn term. This term all events take place in 303A/B in Sherfield building, 4-5pm. More information on our relevant webpage.

19 Octuber 2011
Dr Lucia Specia, University of Wolverhampton, UK
Estimating Machine Translation Post-Editing Effort

2 November 2011
more information soon

16 November 2011
Dr Noa Talaván, Universidad Nacional de Education a Distancia, Madrid, Spain
The Use of the Mixed Method Approach in Translation Research: Subtitling and Foreign Language Education

30 November 2011
Dr Anabel Borja, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
Multilingual Communication in Judicial Settings: A Case for Action Research

Evening classes at Imperial's Humanities

Every year the Humanities department at Imperial College organises evening classes that are open to everyone. You can find the flyer underneath. The 20 week evening courses (6-8pm) not only cover many languages at many levels (FRE, GER, SPA, ITA, RUS, ARA, JAP, CN-MAN…) but also include courses on Film Appreciation, Creative Writing, Opera and Music Technology...

Autumn term starts next week. You can enrol online.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Translation Technology Courses 2011/12

The Translation Group at Imperial College London is pleased to announce its schedule for one day translation technology courses for the academic year 2011/2012. These courses are open to both professionals and students interested.

Translation Group at Imperial College London
2011 - 2012
Open to students as well as professionals.

Autumn Term 2011

Introduction to Audiodescription: Joselia Neves
Saturday,11 November 2011
10:30 - 16:30
Respeaking: Pablo Romero-Fresco
Saturday, 26 November 2011
10:30 - 16:30
Legal and Business Translation: Anabel Borja Albi
Saturday, 3 December 2011
10:30 - 16:30
Introduction to Subtitling: Adriana Tortoriello
Saturday, 10 December 2011
10:30 - 16:30

Spring Term 2012

Deja Vu: Mark Shuttleworth
Saturday, 4 February 2012
10:30 - 16:30
Audiodescription in Museums: Joselia Neves
Saturday, 11 February 2012
10:30 - 16:30
Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing: Soledad Zarate
Saturday, 25 February 2012
10:30 - 16:30
Introduction to Dubbing: Frederic Chaume
Saturday, 10 March 2012
10:30 - 16:30
Introduction to Voice-over: Anna Matamala
Saturday, 17 March 2012
10:30 - 16:30

Summer Term 2012

Term Extraction and Terminology Management: Bettina Bajaj
Saturday, 5 May 2012
10:30 - 16:30
Trados: Rocio Banos Pinero
Saturday, 19 May 2012
10:30 - 16:30
Advanced Subtitling: Adriana Tortoriello
Saturday, 26 May 2012
10:30 - 16:30
Interpreting and Technology: Oscar Jimenez Serrano
Saturday, 2 June 2012
10:30 - 16:30

To apply for a place, email Tom Barbanneau

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Vlookup: save your localization day!

"You are two weeks into the project and a good deal of translation has already been done, when the client writes you with an updated source. “We just edited a couple of lines. Please copy your translations and continue on the new file”

Then you open the file and you find out that the order of each single line has been changed. “Copying your translations” now means losing a couple of hours finding and pasting each single line, eyes wide open to be sure not to make mistakes."

The answer: aligning and auto-translation made easy in Excel through Vlookup

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A pizza with everything? I knew that wouldn't work

Translating humour might be the most appealing to dissertation students, but is so difficult that it tends to make for more confusion than laughs.

"Translators and interpreters attempting to convey a joke from one language into another have a huge number of pitfalls to watch out for. Some types of humor simply don’t translate well into other languages, as one journalist recently discovered when he tried to share a joke with the Dalai Lama during an interview."

More on through Accredited's blog, not least because it involves a joke about the Dalai Lama, including the good man himself.

Monday, 11 July 2011


We don't aim to include a daily / weekly / monthly 'quote of the day' kind of thing, but this one popped slightly louder than other tweets:
"Web localization isn’t just about direct sales. It’s about lead generation. And it’s about learning what your customers — and future customers  – want.
Without a localized web site, you’re just guessing."
John Yunker, author of The Art of the Global Gateway and The Web Globalization Report Card (

'Spain is different', Google Translate too!

Through La we learn about issues in providing titles for films for Spain and how the stereotypes of problems from the past still shape current impressions.Whether you like or not, try and have a look at its Google Translate version underneath:

Spain is different' hasta en los títulos de las películas
La industria del cine titula los filmes del inglés al español con criterios comerciales, traducciones polémicas o 'spoilers', ante la dificultad de adaptarlos literalmente.
Como nos recordaba Sofía Coppola en Lost in Traslation, algo se pierde en la traducción de un idioma a otro. En el caso de muchos títulos españoles de películas extranjeras, poco o nada queda de la denominación original.
La dificultad de adaptar literalmente algunas expresiones foráneas, la posibilidad de atraer al público con un título con más gancho o la coincidencia en el nombre con el de otras películas son algunas razones que llevan a las distribuidoras cinematográficas a realizar unos cambios un tanto polémicos. Las traducciones sui generis no son algo nuevo. El título español de muchos clásicos es una versión muy libre del original.
Un ejemplo de ello lo tenemos en Cuando ruge la marabunta, la película de aventuras interpretadas por Charlon Heston y Eleanor Parker en 1954. El título en inglés era The Naked Jungle, algo así como La jungla desnuda, en referencia a las zonas de selva que han sido devastadas por las termitas coprotagonistas del filme.
Lo más curioso del caso fue la leyenda que persiguió a la película debido un título español que enmascaraba una denominación anglosajona susceptible de las más eróticas interpretaciones. La jungla desnuda original alimentó la imaginación de los más calenturientos, que especularon con que la censura franquista había sustituido las mujeres en cueros por hormigas carnívoras.
Curioso es también el caso de Con faldas y a lo loco (1959), que en EE UU y los países anglosajones se llamo Some Like it Hot, algo así como Algunos les gusta caliente. El título original, como en muchos del maestro Billy Wilder, tenía doble sentido: se refería tanto a las aventuras más o menos picantonas de dos músicos que se disfrazan de mujeres para introducirse en una orquesta de chicas, como al género musical, el hot, que tocaba la banda.

Ridículo, ridículo
No obstante, no hay que irse tan lejos para encontrar nombres castellanos un tanto absurdos. Martin Scorsese tuvo que soportar como After Hours (1985), una comedia casi kafkiana, que sigue las accidentadas peripecias de un tipo en la madrugada neoyorquina, se convertía en ¡Jo, qué noche!
Igualmente peculiar fue la denominación que recibió en nuestro país la película juvenil Ice Princess. La princesa del hielo (2005) del original se convirtió por obra y gracia de la distribuidora en Soñando, Soñando… triunfé patinando.
No menos grotesco resultó el nombre por el que conocimos en la piel de toro a The Frighteners (1996), la primera película de Peter Jackson en Hollywood. Ni cortos ni perezosos los responsables del largometraje en España decidieron que esos asustadores o amendrentadores a los que hacía referencia el título inglés se convirtieran en Agárrame esos fantasmas.
La palma de los despropósitos, sin embargo, se la lleva ¡Olvídate de mí! (2004), libérrimo título de un original que hacía referencia al Eterno resplandor de una mente inmaculada (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).
Quizá la saga cinematográfica que más polvareda ha levantado con su denominación hispana ha sido la que aquí conocemos como Jungla de Cristal, adaptación muy infiel del Die Hard original. El largometraje se podía haber traducido al castellano como Difícil de matar, un título que aquí recibió una película protagonizada por Steven Seagal.
Sin embargo, si los responsables hubieran optado por esta opción puede que también hubieran errado. Al parecer, el Die Hard original está tomado de la expresión inglesa Old habits die hard, que podríamos adaptar a nuestro idioma como Las viejas costumbres son difíciles de abandonar.
Quizá los problemas con los dobles sentidos llevaron a la distribuidora a optar por el más obvio Jungla de cristal, en referencia al rascacielos en el que tiene lugar la acción. Eso obligó a que el resto de las partes de la serie tuvieran necesariamente que llevar la palabra Jungla en su denominación española.

En algunos casos, los títulos castellanos se convierten en spoilers de los argumentos de los filmes. Por ejemplo, La semilla del diablo (1968) desvelaba que Mia Farrow llevaba en sus entrañas al mismísimo demonio, aunque la denominación original sólo hiciera referencia al bebé de Rosemary (Rosemary’s Baby).
Algo parecido le ocurrió a Billy Wilder con Avanti! (1972), un filme protagonizado por Jack Lemmon y Juliet Mills. El ¡Adelante! del original se convirtió en el muy explícito ¿Qué ocurrió entre mi padre y tu madre?, que descubría gran parte del meollo del largometraje.
No obstante, alguna de las licencias poéticas de los traductores resulta verdaderamente acertada. Ese es el caso de El crepúsculo de los dioses, obra maestra de Billy Wilder, protagonista involuntario de este artículo. El título original es Sunset Boulevard (1950), nombre de la calle de Hollywood donde vive la protagonista, una vieja estrella del celuloide en decadencia.
Sunset en inglés significa el atardecer por lo que la denominación española de una película que trata el ocaso de una diosa del séptimo arte resulta muy adecuada. Una excepción en un aspecto, el de los títulos españoles de películas extranjeras, donde los patinazos darían para una enciclopedia.

Spain is different 'even in the titles of the films (through GT...)
The movie industry titled films from English to Spanish commercial basis, translations controversial or 'spoilers', given the difficulty of adapting them literally.
As we remembered Sofia Coppola Lost in Translation, something lost in translation from one language to another. For many Spanish titles of foreign films, little or nothing remains of the original name.
The difficulty of adapting some expressions literally alien, the possibility of attracting the public with a degree more hook or coincidence in the name of other movies are some reasons that lead to the film distributors to make some changes somewhat controversial. Sui generis translations are not new. The Spanish title of many classics is a very free version of the original.
An example of this is in The Naked crowds, the film played by Charlton Heston adventure and Eleanor Parker in 1954. The English title was The Naked Jungle, something like The Naked Jungle, in reference to areas of forest have been ravaged by termites co-stars of the film.
The funny thing was the legend that haunted the film because a Spanish title that masked a Saxon name likely the most erotic performances. The original naked jungle fed the imagination of the most feverish, who speculated that censorship had replaced Franco naked women by carnivorous ants.
Curious is also the case of Some Like It Hot (1959), which in the U.S. and the Anglo-Saxon was called Some Like it Hot, something like Some Like It Hot. The original title, as in many of the master Billy Wilder had a double sense: it concerned both about the adventures of two musicians poussin disguising themselves as women to get into an orchestra of girls, as the musical genre, the hot, that the band playing.

Ridiculous, ridiculous
However, do not go so far to find a little absurd Spanish names. Martin Scorsese had to endure as After Hours (1985), almost Kafkaesque comedy, which follows the adventures of a rugged type New York in the early morning, became Jo, what a night!
Equally unusual was the name he received in our country the youth film Ice Princess. The Ice Princess (2005) became the original by the grace of the distributor in dreaming, dreaming ... triumphed skating.
No less bizarre was the name by which we met in the skin of bull The Frighteners (1996), the first film in Peter Jackson in Hollywood. Without thinking of the film makers in Spain decided that these frightening or amendrentadores referring to the English title to become Frighteners.
The palm of the nonsense, however, brings me Forget! (2004), freest original title of which referred to Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).
Perhaps the film franchise that has raised more dust with the name of Hispanics have been here know as Die Hard, very unfaithful adaptation of the original Die Hard. The film could have been translated into Castilian as Hard to Kill, a title that here was a movie starring Steven Seagal.
However, if those responsible had chosen this option may also have erred. Apparently, the original Die Hard is taken from the Old English term habits die hard, we could adapt to our language as Old habits are hard to break.
Perhaps the problems with double meanings led to the distributor to choose the most obvious Die Hard, referring to the skyscraper in which the action takes place. That forced the remaining parts of the series were necessarily take the word in its Spanish name Jungle.

In some cases, the titles become spoilers Castilian of the arguments of the films. For example, Rosemary's Baby (1968) Mia Farrow revealing that she bears the devil himself, although the original name only make reference to Rosemary's Baby (Rosemary's Baby).
Something similar happened to Billy Wilder Avanti! (1972), a film starring Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills. The Go! original became very explicit in what happened between my father and your mother?, who discovered much of the core of the film.
However, some of the poetic license of the translator is truly successful. That is the case with Twilight of the Gods masterpiece, Billy Wilder, involuntary protagonist of this article. The original title is Sunset Boulevard (1950), street name, lives in Hollywood where the protagonist, an old movie star in decline.
Sunset in English means the evening so the Spanish name of a movie about the decline of a goddess of cinema is very appropriate. An exception in one aspect, the Spanish titles of foreign films, where the skid would for an encyclopedia.

Friday, 8 July 2011

10 Tips for Writing International Technical Content

On the Content Wrangler, Michael Kriz, founder and president of Acclaro posted a blog on tips for writing technical content for global dissemination.

To effectively scale a global business, you and your writers should keep these 10 things in mind as you build out communication for a diverse number of audiences:

1. Use global English – For every native speaker of English, there are about three non-native speakers. That means that of the one billion people who are believed to speak some form of English, 750 million of them likely speak some form of hybrid English that may incorporate aspects of their native language or are highly influenced by factors like pop culture vocabulary or advertising. It’s important that your communication in English is understandable to all English speakers, which means short, simple sentences and no idiomatic expressions or cultural references. Or, if you are forced to include local jargon or culturally-specific phrases, we suggest vetting expressions and examples for global readiness and tagging them for local adaptations.

2. Keep it concise – In addition to using global English, brevity is important for straightforward translation. Shorter sentences, no double negatives, and fewer “mini-words” (a, at, the, and) ease understanding by your translators, which will result in faster and more accurate translations into target languages.

3. Use consistent terminology - While you might be tempted to mix up your vocabulary for variety, remember that good technical communication and comprehension depend on using the same word to describe the same concept over and over again. When delivering original, English content to foreign audiences or translating that content, this is even more important. More variety means more room for confusion and mistranslation.Using consistent terminology also facilitates machine translation (MT).

4. Check your symbols - Using an image to describe something may seem like a great trick, because it cuts down on your word count for translation. However, not all symbols carry the same meaning across borders. A red hexagonal stop sign in Japan, for example, does not mean stop!

5. Use XML - XML is the King of File Types when it comes to writing for international audiences. Formatting is embedded in code that typically gets externalized during the translation process. Because of this, the engineering end is lighter as it’s less likely to have the same problems as native MS Word, FrameMaker, InDesign or Quark files.

6. Get ready for text to grow - Text expansion is a fact of translation. Expect it and plan for extra space or automatic resizing where possible. It mainly becomes an issue when text is used within images and must fit into a certain fixed width or layout. Many European languages end up 20% longer than English, so consider that when creating original design, including artwork, graphics, and charts. On the other hand, your text may “shrink” on a page when translating into some Asian languages or converting U.S. letter size paper to A4 for many foreign markets.

7. Use image best practices - For example rather than embed graphics in a document, link them. The same goes for reusable components of text. This simplifies replacement when you localize those files, and makes future updates more seamless. Linking graphics also reduces file size, which makes it friendlier for translation tools.

8. Master your Content Management System (CMS) – Every writer — technical or not — should be aware of the essentials required to make your CMS truly global, easily updatable, while helping to ensure version control. With various features on your CMS [mentioned on the blog], you’ll be ready to streamline your multilingual content workflows with your translation provider through automated, rule-based handoffs.

9. Get your files in order, and provide instructions – If you’re working outside the structured constraints of a CMS, keep your source files organized to make the translation process easier for you and your supplier. This will prevent needless organizational efforts across all languages and avoid administrative errors on both sides. Include all relevant files for translation in working condition, no extraneous or unused files, and use an ordered folder structure. When handing off files to your translation provider, be sure to define the scope of the project, tools and versions as well as the desired deliverables. Specify any information needed to generate deliverables including output format (PDFs, HTML, image types, etc.) and settings.

10. Think mobile - After all, it’s the future! And, in some circles, it’s the primary way business is conducted today. Many writers have already started adapting their style to the way people consume content on the mobile web — in bite-sized chunks. When creating or preparing text for foreign markets, it’s smart to start thinking about how much of your audience will be reading your content on their smartphone. In many cases, it’s a larger percentage than you think. Begin thinking about how this can impact the way you should craft your message now; it will likely mean a smoother translation and localization effort later.

More on: The Content Wrangler

Pablo Muñoz Sánchez on software and video game localization

From today's's news:

Last week the 4th International Media for All Conference – Audiovisual Translation: Taking Stock was held in London so I [Translator T.O., ed.] interviewed member Pablo Muñoz Sánchez to talk about this event and to learn more about his experience as a translator specializing in software and video game localization.

In this interview Pablo explains the benefits of specializing and how he decided on his areas of specialization. He talks about current trends in the video game localization industry such as fansub and audio description. After describing the current scenario for translators working on software and video game localization, Pablo provides some advice for those aspiring translators willing to specialize in video game and software localization.

You can listen to the interview in English here and in Spanish here.


Saturday, 2 July 2011

The future of translation (technology)

If you don't know Ray Kurzweil (US) yet, this might be the time to introduce him to you. Kurzweil has extensive expertise in fields as varied as "optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments", making him a possible consultant of a virtual merger of SciCom and MScTrans ;-). He has published several books on "health, artificial intelligence (AI), transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism." (I'm afraid the quotes are taken from the dreaded W). You can find an interview with Ray Kurzweil on the future of localisation and translation technology here.

Monday, 27 June 2011

As Wi-Fi Havens And E-Book Centers, Public Libraries Aren't Going Away Soon

A new survey by the American Library Association shows that 99.3% of public libraries offer free access to the web even if you don't have a PC and 67% offer e-books. Summer just got a whole lot cooler. 
More on

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The science of scientific translation

Saturday, 25 June 2011

by Christian Arno

Translating scientific texts is one of the most difficult tasks in the field of translation. It presents a number of challenges that the translator, author and editor must overcome. We will examine some of those challenges here, as well as looking at some of the skills required for the successful translation of scientific texts.
The aim of any translation is to provide a clear, concise text whilst preserving the original meaning. In order to achieve this with scientific texts, the translator will first decide whether the original text is in a satisfactory state. The original text may need some judicious editing to reduce wordiness and to ensure that it is as clear and concise as possible. The translator will liaise with the author and/or editor of the original text to ensure they have a satisfactory version which can then be translated.

more on

Thursday, 13 January 2011

C2 translation technology series

In 2011, the C2 module of the MScTrans, translation technology, will include a couple of visiting seminars/workshops. Students will enjoy joined translation technology events. These will always take place on Wednesdays, 1-3pm.
These seminars/workshops are open to non-MSctrans or non-Translation Group participants. However, these people are asked to pay a £10 contribution. 
Please find dates and locations listed below:
  • Yves Champollion (and Wordfast), Wednesday 19 January, 1-3pm in Huxley 144
  • Thomas Vackier, Yamagate Europe (and QA Distiller), Wednesday 23 March, 1-3pm in Huxley 311
  • John Hutchins (and the state of MT), Wednesday 11 May, 1-3pm in Huxley 144

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Pornography, all in a day’s work for a lecturer in translation

Even though I do tend to vary my course material as much as possible, taking in new developments, assuming a different perspective on a subject and so on, a few things return every year. Since 0809 I have included a questionnaire in the two hour session on translation and ethics, which again took place today.

The questionnaire contains nine real-life situations – albeit slightly modified for the purpose of the questionnaire – taken from personal experience or from the experience of people I know. Ethical issue number six has been the same for the past three years, with a reason.

You are a translator with some interpreting experience. You also have a smooth voice. You are asked to translate the audio description of a foreign porn movie. Later on, the same company enquires whether or not you would want to do a voice over for another porn movie. Do you accept the project?
1. Yes
2. No
3. Depends (explain:...)

It might be worth knowing that students fill in the questionnaire anonymously. Two years ago there was hardly a person who dared to come out about possibly accepting that job. Last year that number was slightly up. This year, however, about one in four students would accept that job. Other than a few smirks and laughs, the topic was never discussed really, leaving the case to the imagination of the students whether this is more an ethics of service or an ethics of representation.

Later on today, the Translation Group was happy to welcome Dr. Gillian Lathey from Roehampton University. The topic of a guest seminar, Invisible Storytellers, the role of translators in the history of English-language children’s literature, had little in common with the case mentioned earlier. Or so it seemed.

During the talk it became clear that Charles Samber, translator and transformer of the fairy tales of Charles Perrault into popular children’s stories in the late 1720s, also was a translator of pornography, or whatever was considered as such (one student dubbed it ‘distasteful’ in the questionnaire) at the time.

This not only raised a few eyebrows but also a few comments, not least that the rather lax attitude in morality of the time was abandoned soon after that. In the 1740s texts were rewritten and existing translations were retranslated. All the more strange as this all happened during the reign of the same British sovereign, George II, who reigned from 1727 to 1760.

Along with the comment that the 1720s was the time of Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders too, Defoe’s link with children’s literature is obvious, the idea came to me that this perhaps was the same time as well when the medieval Dutch tale – originally French for that matter – of Van den Vos Reynaerde was sexed down.

The raunchier version of Van den Vos Reynaerde is said to have been one of the inspirations of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Dutch tale has been translated into English by Caxton as The Historie of Reynart the Foxe, and even Shakespeare’s Tybalt is said to have been mirrored on the character Tybeert from the story.

Concluding the seminar was my comment that I thought Puss in Boots had appeared first in Shrek. Real boots of Spanish leather! Tsjakka!

Workshops in translation technology

You are cordially invited to join on of the workshops in Translation Technology and Audiovisual Translation at Imperial College London's Translation Group

A summary list is given below, more information can be found via this link.

15 Jan 2011: Introduction SDL Trados, Christophe Declercq
5 Feb 2011: Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, Soledad Zárate
26 Feb 2011: Audio Description, Josélia Neves
19 March 2011: Dubbing, Frédéric Chaume
14 May 2011: Advanced Subtitling, Adriana Tortoriello
28 May 2011: Term Extraction and Terminology Management, Bettina Bajaj

SDL benefactor to the conference

Dear all

Slightly belated but still: all the best for the new year!

Regarding the Media For All conference the Translation Group is organising in June 2011, we are happy to announce that SDL has become our latest benefactor.

You can find more information about our patrons, benefactors and sponsors on our conference website