Posts Tagged ‘freelance’

celine-in-france“Hey, Jimsmuse!” you’re saying to yourself after reading the job title above, “Didn’t you already feature this cool job when you interviewed Douglas Dunn who works with English and American Sign Language?”   Interestingly, and lucky for me as your guide to the world of work, the answer is no.   Although many people use the words “interpreter” and “translator” interchangeably, to those who work in the field they are very different occupations.

An Interpeter is someone who provides live, spoken communication between people who speak different languages, and a Translator provides that communication through the written word.   Today’s Cool Jobster, French to English Translator Céline Graciet, has even written a blog post on this very subject, which makes clear not only the difference between the two jobs, but her preference for translation!

I love the English language and have always been a “word freak”, but didn’t become interested in the subject of translation until I read Douglas Hofstadter’s incredible book Le Ton Beau De Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language.   While the main text of the book deals philosophically with what constitutes a “good” translation between two languages (or if a “good” translation is even possible), he also explores some of the most challenging translations ever attempted and the thinking and creativity that went into them.

For example, Hofstadter spends quite some time considering the translation of “La Disparition” by Georges Perec, a novel written in French that does not contain a single use of the letter  “e”.   What is the “right” way, Hofstader wonders, to translate this novel into English?   Would a literal, word for word translation into English (which would surely contain many instances of the letter “e”) be the best way to convey the original (more…)


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