Bedtime reading in translation

Bedtime reading in translation
: This has turned into a gangly post about language and connections in weblogs. It started with the first link, below, but then I kept adding other things I found. The result is rather disjointed post about international connections. It’s an important topic — internatinalization is one of the great contributions of weblogs — and so I’m sorry I’m doing it a disservice with this disjointed post but I’m rushed this morning, so click away below and I’ll come back to the topic later…

: Just found a site packed with good reading: World Without Borders, the online magazine for international literature. I got to read one of my favorite German-language authors, Wladimir Kaminer, in a story called Paris Lost, translated into English.

The site’s raison d’etre:

English-speaking culture in general and American culture in particular has long benefited from cross-pollination with other worlds and languages. Thus it is an especially dangerous imbalance when, today, 50% of all the books in translation now published worldwide are translated *from English,* but only 6% are translated *into* English.

I just wish the creators — from Bard College — didn’t turn into apologetic Americans:

Globalization, we hope to say (not didactically, and not, we hope, naively, but in the richness of cultural information we present) need not be equivalent to Americanization.

Nevermind that. There’s still much to read here and it’s good that so much is being translated into English. [via Die Zeit]

: Also see David Kaspar’s new bilingual blog with English posts and German posts translated into English. [Thanks to Tanker Schreiber for the link.]

: Meanwhile, Martin R

  • Hey J.,
    just in case you also have some “pathetic high-school” French… have a look at my blog. Unfortunately, I don’t read German. But if someone stumbles on good italian blogs, well let me know…

  • Thank you for the linky love and the alphablogging on a subject near and dear! And WOB, too, a great link. I liked Ton‘s thoughts on the subject, though I have to say, on behalf of the profession that’s starving so many of us to death (except maybe for the chosen few who get to work on Harry Potter): Duh! That is, those “connectors” have been at it since Alexander the Great conquered half the world and everybody started learning Greek, and it’s an axiom among us that no one notices we were there until we screw up … (Sorry, a bit of professional snobbery.)

    Oddly, though, present-day translators are not much given to blogging. I’ve tried stirring up interest at an online translation community I belong to, but no one seems to have the energy to practice their profession when the meter’s not running and the bills are piling up … Me, I eat a lot of peanut butter. And in our profession, being a native speaker of English is an increasingly poor career move: the global flow of information is predominantly out of English. One of these days, I predict, that’s going to catch up with the Anglosphere in the cold, hard language of economics. The Chinese have a man in space and their own flavor of Linux now, for example …

    On a less negative note, I, for one, get a lot of praise from Brazilians for having the guts to blog in my limping and often hilarious Portuguese, as though it were such an awful thing to display one’s linguistic shortcomings in public. The French are reputedly the best at making you feel lousy about how crappy your mastery of their sacred language is, but it seems to be a cultural universal that any language spoken haltingly is good for a cheap, cruel laugh. Think Andy Kaufmann in “Taxi.” Having married someone with really hilarious English, I naturally wish I could change all that … On Blogalization, all are welcome to make as much of a hash of the language of Shakespeare (or Cam