Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World

Posted by nliakos on April 9, 2015

by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche (Perigee 2012; ISBN 978-0-399-53797-4)

What a delightful read for a language nerd! (Actually, I think anyone would find this book interesting–but language nerds, definitely.) Written by two professional translators, it explains how much we rely on translators and interpreters, and how their services enable most human activities, including war and diplomacy, business, advertising, fashion, religion, travel, sports, literature, the justice system, policing, healthcare, the movie industry, technology, and more. Pretty much anything you can think of is included in these 235 pages. Also included are many fascinating accounts of successes, failures, and bloopers (for which Kelly and Zetzsche interviewed colleagues around the world). They discuss the difficulties of getting just the right word(s), the role played by culture in translation, and the amazing ability of translation/interpretation professionals to navigate the minefield of potential translation disasters (for very little money).

I first heard about this book on the podcast The World in Words, which I recommend to language nerds everywhere.

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