Great New Books in Translation

There tend to be a lot of summer reading lists, but what about winter reading? When the weather gets frigid, there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch with a good book. Here are seven great books in translation published in 2017 that I’m excited to recommend to you as the days get shorter.…

Visit to Duke University to Discuss French Translation

Last month, I had the opportunity to speak to a French translation class at Duke University about the translation profession. I’ve previously blogged about starting a translation career, French fashion translation, and avoiding literalism (here and here). For this presentation, based on student interest, I focused on the fields of advertising and marketing, drawing examples…

Thoughts on French Fashion Translation

Translating Laurence Benaïm’s masterful biography Yves Saint Laurent (forthcoming from Rizzoli) was a fascinating and intense experience. For one thing, upon delving into the world of French fashion translation, I discovered more kinds of fabric than I had ever known existed. One saving grace was that for many of these fabrics, the English translation is…

10 Pieces of Advice for Translators Starting Their Careers

In the two years that I’ve been running a mentoring program for the New York Circle of Translators, I’ve had the chance to come up with some basic advice for translators. Of course, before you start out, you need to be confident that you can translate accurately and know your source language and target language thoroughly. My advice for…

6 Things I Learned at the Albertine Prize Launch Party

It was wonderful to celebrate the launch of the Albertine Prize last night, a new readers’ prize for French fiction published in English translation in 2016, and to discover the shortlist of 10 books. The event was rescheduled from March 14 due to the blizzard, and although there were still mountains of snow in the streets,…

How Are Translators Like Illustrators?

The eight-episode Netflix documentary Abstract: The Art of Design launched on February 10, and the first episode profiles illustrator Christoph Niemann. The work of illustrators makes for better visuals than that of translators, no doubt, and, true to its subject, the show has captivating images and uses special effects and animated drawings to bring Niemann’s creative process…

New Publication: Ethics and Cultural Heritage

I recently discovered on Nicholas O’Donnell’s Art Law Report blog that a new collection of essays has just been published by L’Harmattan in Paris on “Perspectives on Ethics and Cultural Heritage” (Ethique et Patrimoine Culturel: Regards Croisés). These are the proceedings of a conference held on October 20 and 21, 2015, at L’Ecole du Louvre…

Thinking “Around” the Concept

I recently read a great blog post by Avi Kallenbach of Academic Language Experts on the greatest challenge facing translators. That challenge, as he sees it, is avoiding literalism. While the meaning of the source text should be expressed as accurately as possible, linguistic features such as vocabulary and sentence structure should sound absolutely natural in the…

Taking It Literally

Keds is a classic brand known worldwide. It’s been around for exactly one hundred years, having been founded in 1916, and its original shoe design was the first mass-marketed canvas-top sneaker (see photo above). But their slogans in French could use a little work. Keds shoe boxes have these English-language phrases with corresponding French translations: Take on the…

How Bad is Buzzfeed in Translation?

For the past four months, Buzzfeed has been using students from the language-learning site Duolingo to translate its content into French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The bottom line, naturally, is that it’s cheaper: Duolingo (which claims to teach languages better than universities — a college education is really superfluous now that we have the Internet!) translates…