Great news for both the UK economy and those of us who spend our days providing translation – or, more loftily, helping global communication. Britain’s trade gap with the rest of the world narrowed more than expected in July, driven by record exports to countries outside the European Union, reports the Telegraph (Good News Britain: UK trade deficit narrows in July)
The last month has seen more diamonds of economic news than there are in Cullinan mine. While British retail remains patchy, UK and other European companies selling “luxury” have done phenomenally well on the global stage. They have reaped dividends of promotion in emerging economies, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, targeting High Net Worth Individuals or those aspiring to perceived luxury.
Translation plays no small part in this global success: research has shown that the majority of consumers will only buy from websites with information presented in their language. This effect becomes more pronounced the higher the value of the product or service. (see Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters, Common Sense Advisory)
This year has seen literary translation hit new prominence on the news and feature pages. Earlier this week the BBC marked the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, noting how its turns of phrase have permeated everyday English:
The Sun says Aston Villa “refused to give up the ghost”. Wendy Richard calls her EastEnders character Pauline Fowler “the salt of the earth”. The England cricket coach tells reporters, “You can’t put words in my mouth.” Daily Mirror fashion pages call Tilda Swinton “a law unto herself”.
At first glance, do you think this picture shows a predominantly good or a bad day for investors on the Tokyo stock market? When working on your multilingual publications or websites it is worth considering the cultural significance of colours used in design and imagery. Continue reading “Colour coding cultural translation”
It sounds a mad question, but “Does foreign language have a place in translating literature?” Put differently, when translating literature, how many words should be left in the original language? Should “foreign” words in English-language texts convey a sense of a culture, or be used as a last resort for the “untranslatable”?
How do you spell Portuguese? In English, many people forget to put in that second ‘u’, but Portuguese speakers across the world, whether in Portugal, Brazil, Angola or Macau, are likely to spell it correctly: português.
One reason it’s easy to get correct is because Portuguese spelling, unlike English, is largely phonetic. But what happens in the cases when it’s not? And what happens when words have alternate pronunciations? Continue reading “How do you spell Portuguese?”