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Monday, October 20, 2014
 

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Is That a Fish in Your Ear?

Nancy A. Locke

Both fans of science fiction and translation buffs may quickly twig to the “fish” reference in the title of David Bellos’ recent book on translation, which has made it to the lists of both The New York Times Notable Books for 2011 and The Economist’s 2011 Books of the Year. The uninitiated may have to read through to Chapter 24 to understand the title. But not to worry — any reader who enjoys language, linguistics, history, politics or philosophy written in accessible language, illustrated by real-world examples and anecdotes, and enlivened by flights of fancy, will find that getting to Chapter 24 and beyond, clear to the end of the book, a pure joy. Indeed, readers might well feel the same twinge of regret with those last pages that attends the final chapter of a wonderful novel or the last scene of a great film.

Bellos, who has translated work by French author Georges Perec, retranslated into English the French translations of Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, written biographies of Jacques Tati and Romain Gary, and is a professor at Princeton, could easily lose his readers in a blizzard of intellectual blah-blah-blah, but he doesn’t. He sets out to describe, not what translation is or how it’s done, but ...

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Above excerpt taken from the March 2012 issue of MultiLingual published by MultiLingual Computing, Inc., 319 North First Avenue, Suite 2, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864-1495 USA, 208-263-8178, Fax: 208-263-6310. Subscribe

March, 2012