Wednesday, 12 December 2012

12.12.12.: Numbers need translating 2

A little more than two years ago, on 10 October 2010, I posted a piece about numbers and the problems they can cause for translators. It seemed to me that the difficulty of numbers, and their importance for the translator, was underestimated. See, for instance, what Henri Louis van Kooten has to say on the subject of numbers and localisation here (scroll down to section 12) and what Steve Vitek has to say about calendars and counting systems here.

Since it's 12 December 2012 today, it seems a good moment to post some further thoughts on the topic.

Question: When is it OK to translate...

...118 as 999?

Answer: when it's an emergency number.

...41 as 8? 

Answer: when it's a shoe size. In this case, Jean Gabin's shoe size in a subtitled version of Quai des brumes. (The expression 'act your age, not your shoe size' might also be a casualty of translation...)

...1776 as 1789?  

Answer: when it's a year of political turmoil. This particular example is reportedly from a French subtitled version of The Band Wagon. The Declaration of Independence is transposed into the French Revolution.

...12.20 as 5.15?

Answer: when it's a time which is culturally determined as 'late'. In Georges Perec's La disparition, Anton Voyl is suffering from insomnia and is still awake at twenty past midnight. But is 'lateness' in across cultures always equivalent? And does the fact that the source text is a lipogram - a text with no 'e's in it - complicate matters?  

Here are three translations of the French: 
Son Jaz marquait minuit vingt. (p.17) [His Jaz [watch] said twenty past midnight]


According to his watch it's only 12.20. 
(A Void, trans. Adair, p.3)


Il suo Jaz indicava quasi l'una. [His Jaz said nearly one].
(La scomparsa, trans. Falchetta, p.13)


Miró el reloj: cinco y quince.      [He looked at his watch: a quarter past five] 
(El secuestro, trans.
Arbués, Burrel, Parayre, Salceda & Vega, p.25) The Spanish text could have used numbers closer to 12.20, like the Italian, but chose not to; the choice of 'cinco y quince' seems at least partly related to differing cultural perceptions of whether 12.20 at night constitutes 'late' or not! (More on this translation here, by the way.)

Adair clearly cheats slightly by using numbers when the corresponding words (twelve twenty) would not be allowed because of the 'e's. Adair is taken to task by another translator, Ian Monk, who argues that where Adair translates '10' similarly literally (into '10'), at another point in the novel, the translation makes no sense; but if you translate the 10 into 6 does the passage work, for the reasons given here.

It's not just that numbers need translating, but they need translating by the principle of relevance. Sometimes they need to be quantitatively identical but expressed in a different format (localisation) and sometimes they need recalibrating, as in recipes. 

How would you translate 'a stick of butter'; 'a cup of flour'? B.J. Epstein has reflected on this at length in a lovely post on recipe translation which I hope she will not mind my quoting at some length:
Cups or grams? Tablespoons or ounces? As is well known, there are different measurement systems around the world and it is not enough to, say, go to, type in the numbers from the source text and write down what the website has offered you. If you did that, 2 cups would be 4.7317 dl, and when have you ever seen a recipe that calls for 4.7317 dl flour? In cases where measurements have to be changed, there are two major possible strategies. The first is that the publisher simply retains the measurements and then offers a conversion table at the back of the book. This can be quite irritating for a reader, however, because then she or he has to keep flipping from the recipe to the table. If the cookbook is more of the coffee table type, however, which is to say one that people read and look at, but don't really plan to cook from, this solution is fine. But for a cookbook that is meant for real use, it is just not practical. In this situation, new measurements based on the target culture's system must be used. This can be done either via complete replacement or replacement and retention. Complete replacement means that either the translator or another expert tests all the recipes and shifts the measurements so that instead of 4.7317 dl flour, the recipe calls for 5 dl flour. The translator must be careful here to ensure that all the new measurements make sense in the context of the recipe and that all have been converted. A recipe may not work if even one measurement is off, especially for baked goods. Replacement and retention is a combination strategy that means both changing the recipe so it reads 5 dl flour and also keeping 2 cups flour in parenthesis. This can, however, confuse readers, so it is a rare book that will use this strategy. [...]
For further interesting examples of how numbers and mathematics can cause problems for translators, see Brian Mossop's recent article on this topic.

Lastly,  as a reminder of how numbers are culturally inflected, I'm going to leave you with a visual example of how culturally charged counting can be:

Happy soundcheck day.

(c) Carol O'Sullivan 2012

Poems about Translation 13: Gloss/Clós/Glas

For all translators up late this evening, the latest instalment in our 'poems about translation' series is Eiléan ní Chuilleanáin's wonderful 'Gloss/Clós/Glas', from the collection The Girl Who Married the Reindeer.  

The poem's opening lines echo an ancient Irish poem about the scholar/translator and his cat quoted in a previous instalment of the series:
Look at the scholar, he has still not gone to bed,
Raking the dictionaries, darting at locked presses,
Hunting for keys. He stacks the books to his oxter,
Walks across the room as stiff as a shelf.
His mission: to find two words
[...] as close as the note
On the uilleann pipe to the same note on the fiddle -
As close as the grain in the polished wood, as the finger
Bitten by the string, as the hairs of the bow
Bent by the repeated note [...] 
He must work until '[t]he rags of language are streaming like weathervanes,/ Like weeds in water'...

This magical poem in full can be found here.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Free event at the European Commission, London

From Angeliki Petrits at the European Commission's representation in the UK:

We will be holding a talk on the IT tools used by European Commission translators at 14.30 on Wednesday 28 November at the EC Representation in the UK (Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3 EU). Please find below more information on the presentation and details of how to register for the presentation.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation is one of the largest translation service in the world and produces over 2 million pages of translation per year. Markus Foti will present the tools and resources the European Commission provides for its translators to help them deal with this workload, from CAT tools to databases, and especially the Commission’s in-house machine translation project.

A translator for 13 years, Markus recently made the jump to the machine translation project, where he is supposed to bridge the gap between translators’ needs and IT technicians’ plans.

To attend this free presentation, please register in advance by e-mailing Agnieszka.PIELA at putting "IT and translation" in the subject field.

PhD funding at the University of Edinburgh

In 2013, the University of Edinburgh will have an AHRC award for a student doing a PhD in Translation Studies.

Awards are normally for three years but students who have already started their PhD may apply for awards for the remaining one or two years of their study. The closing date for applications is 15th February 2013.

These awards cover tuition fees for a maximum of three years' tuition fees at the Home/EU rate, as well as an annual maintenance stipend of about £13,300, payable in equal monthly instalments, for a maximum of three years.

Applicants must have applied and been accepted for study and must complete a separate application form.
AHRC awards are for home/UK students. European Union students may apply to this funding body for fees only.
Overseas students are not eligible to apply for these awards.

Further information on student eligibility is below.

Or on the Translation Studies Graduate Programme page:

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Last chance to register for this year's Translation Conference

Gentle readers,

Just to remind you that registration closes a week today (Wednesday 7 November) for the twelfth annual Portsmouth translation conference which takes place on Saturday 10 November 2012.

The conference this year is all about translator and interpreter training. The programme and online registration details can be found at

We hope to see lots of you there! :)

In-house posts available at Amazon Europe

Amazon in Luxembourg are advertising a number of in-house posts in translation and editing.

The contracts are fixed-term for one year, and the offered salary is €36,000 gross. Amazon are looking for native speakers of English (DE-EN), French, German, Italian and Spanish. Requirements and language combinations for each position vary slightly.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Postdoc in classical reception and translation, UK

Research Associate in Classics and Class in Britain, 1789-1917

King's College London -Classics

Job ref R6/AAC/990/12-JM
Closing date 15 October 2012

The Department of Classics at KCL is appointing a full-time AHRC-funded Post-doctoral Research Associate in Classics and Class 1789-1917 (project Principal Investigator: Professor Edith Hall). The post will be located at the Strand Campus of King's College. It is a fixed-term appointment for three years, starting 1st January 2013.

The Researcher will have experience at either BA or PhD level of both Classics and  Classical Reception.  Likely profiles will involve a BA/MA in Classics & English, Ancient & Modern History, or Classics, with a Humanities PhD addressing social history, UK/Irish archives, or 18th-19th-century Classical Reception. The Researcher will work closely with Edith Hall in metropolitan and regional archives and libraries investigating both published and unpublished materials relating to the working-class experience of ancient Greece and Rome, especially English-language translations. S/he will be expected to liaise closely with the archivists and librarians, and copy, collect and collate copies of relevant materials. S/he needs a commitment to disinterring lost voices in the social record, and to working collaboratively. S/he will also liaise with the members of the project's advisory board, and organise two workshops to present results to them in 2014 and 2015. S/he will co-edit the anthology of materials which will constitute one of the project's primary outputs, and supervise the recording of the project's podcasts and videoed presentations. S/he will develop a specialist research interest within the field of his/her own, leading to publication. The Researcher will also be responsible for initiating and maintaining the project's website and publicising its activities.

  • PhD in Classics or Classical Reception
  • Expertise in the history of translation
  • Strong IT and digital publication skills
  • Commitment to collaborative research practice
Equality of opportunity is College policy.

The appointment will be made, dependent on relevant qualifications, within the Grade 6 scale, currently £31,020 to £37,012, per annum plus £2,323 per annum London Allowance.

Post duration
Fixed term contract for 3 years.

For an informal discussion of the post please contact Professor Edith Hall on (+44) (0)779 0066418, or via email at edith.hall at

For more information see

Monday, 1 October 2012

British Centre for Literary Translation mentor scheme, 2013

The British Centre for Literary Translation has announced the list of languages and mentors for 2013, with an amazing lineup of participating translators. All mentorships are for translation into English.
For more information, see the BCLT website:

Considering making a career in literary translation? Already embarked on your course but feel you could do with more help and support? If so, you might be one of the talented emerging translators we’re looking for to participate in the 2013 BCLT Translator Mentoring Scheme  (1 January – 30 June 2013)

Launched in 2011, the scheme has already produced twelve mentorship ‘graduates’ in languages ranging from Catalan to Polish. Several of the 2011-12 mentees have had work published as a result of contacts made and skills honed during the mentoring process, and our Arabic mentee, Emily Danby, was commissioned to translate a novel, The Scent of Cinnamon by Samar Yazbek, during her mentorship.

How to apply

Mentorships will be awarded in fifteen languages
  • Arabic (mentor PAUL STARKEY)
  • Danish (mentor BARBARA HAVELAND)
  • Dutch (mentor DAVID COLMER)
  • Italian (mentor HOWARD CURTIS)
  • Greek (mentor DAVID CONNOLLY)
  • Japanese (mentor MICHAEL EMMERICH)
  • Norwegian (mentor DON BARTLETT)
  • Polish (mentor ANTONIA LLOYD-JONES)
  • Portuguese (mentor MARGARET JULL COSTA)
  • Russian (mentor ROBERT CHANDLER)
  • Swedish (mentor SARAH DEATH)
  • Tamil (mentor LAKSHMI HOLMSTROM)
  • Welsh (mentor TONY BIANCHI)
Mentees in these languages will be selected by open application.
To apply for a mentorship please submit the following:
  • A brief, up to date CV
  • A statement as to why you believe you would benefit from a mentorship and how you would use it
  • A short sample of your translation work (not more than 2000 words) with accompanying notes
We expect most applications to come from translators living and working in the UK, but will consider all applications on their merits.

All enquiries and applications should be made by email to Sarah Bower, Scheme Co-ordinator at S.Bower at

The deadline for applications is 31st October 2012

Successful applicants will be informed by 30th November 2012. Mentorships will commence immediately after the New Year holiday.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

translation research seminars in Edinburgh, Manchester and London

Those of our readers in the UK may be interested in some of the translation research seminar series taking place around the country. All are free of charge and open to everyone.

The seminar programme at the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies in Manchester is available here. Seminars begin on 4 October.

The joint Edinburgh/Heriot-Watt translation research seminar programme is as follows (no link to the website available):

Ian Mason, Professor Emeritus, Heriot-Watt University
Discourse and communities of practice in translating and interpreting
Wed., 26 Sept 2012, 4.30-6.00pm, Heriot-Watt University

Sandra Halverson, University of Bergen
Sharing and contesting concepts in Translation Studies
Wed., 10 Oct. 2012, 4.30-6.00pm, Heriot-Watt University

Loredana Polezzi, University of Warwick
Maps, texts and bodies: connecting translation and migration in today’s Europe
Wed., 31 Oct. 2012, 4.30-6.00pm, University of Edinburgh    

Piotr Blumczynski, Queen’s University Belfast
Translating religious and devotional texts: key words and ideological perspectives
Wed., 14 Nov. 2012, 4.30-6.00pm, University of Edinburgh

Clive Scott, University of East Anglia
The literary ambitions of literary translation
Wed., 16 Jan. 2013, 4.30-6.00pm, University of Edinburgh

Susan Hunston, University of Birmingham
Phraseology and evaluative language: issues in Corpus Linguistics
Wed., 30 Jan. 2013, 4.30-6.00pm, Heriot-Watt University

Pablo Romero Fresco, University of Roehampton
Joining the dots - accessible filmmaking
Wed., 13 Feb. 2013, 4.30-6.00pm, University of Edinburgh

Anne Martin, Universidad de Granada
Professional quality in court translation and interpreting in Spain
Wed., 27 Feb. 2013, 4.30-6.00pm, Heriot-Watt University

§  at University of Edinburgh: F21, 7 George Square (Psychology Building)
§  at Heriot Watt University: Lecture Theatre 3

The Centre for Research in Translation and Transcultural Studies at the University of Roehampton has also announced its seminar series for the autumn (no link to website available):

Wednesday 10th October, 6.30-8 pm, QB 146
Elleston Kajiwara-Airey ‎(Pole To Win)
"Project management and/in localisation"

Tuesday 16th October, 6-7 pm, QB 141
Daljit Kang (Roehampton University)
"Project management and entrepreneurship: things postgraduate students don't get taught but need to know"

Thursday 25th October, 6-7 pm, QB 141
Charlotte Bosseaux (University of Edinburgh)
"Uncanny encounters: conceptualising dubbing"

Tuesday 13 November, 6-7pm, QB 141
Marcella De Marco (London Metropolitan University)
Gender in Audiovisual Translation (exact title TBC)

Tuesday 27th November, 6-7 pm, QB 141
Roslyn Bottoni (Directorate General for Translation, European Commission)
"Working as an editor at the European Commission"

Thursday 6th December 6-7 pm room TBA
Carol O'Sullivan (University of Portsmouth)
Targeting audiences? Translation, language politics and DVD menu design

"Languages and Authority:: Early-career scholar programme

The Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University has announced the Fung Global Fellows Programme, a new scheme for early-career researchers. The theme for the first year is 'Languages and Authority':
In 2013–14, the program’s inaugural year, the fellows and the accompanying seminar series will focus on how languages interact with political, social, economic, and cultural authority.  Languages can be powerful tools for expressing and asserting authority.  Yet they also constitute forms of authority in and of themselves (such as in the standardization and uniformity that they impose). Languages as forms of authority are also contested, and language communities have often formed a basis for resisting authority. Possible topics for this cycle include the ways in which languages and language use interact with globalization, empire, decolonization, nation-state formation, nationalism, language policy, language ideology, social stratification, migration, commerce and trade, social and religious movements, and the sociology of knowledge production.
This seems as though it would be of great interest for translation scholars. The deadline for applications is 1 November 2012. More information here

Monday, 24 September 2012

part-time tutors sought for MA Translation Studies

We are seeking to enlarge our bank of part-time hourly paid tutors for the MA Translation Studies. We are particularly interested in hearing from colleagues who work Arabic to English, English to Arabic, English to German, English to Japanese and Russian to English. Teaching takes place both in Portsmouth and online.

The advertisement can be accessed here

Informal enquiries can be made to carol.osullivan at

Please note that this advertisement closes on Friday 28 September 2012.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

12th Portsmouth Translation Conference

Registration is now open for the twelfth annual Portsmouth Translation Conference. This year's topic is

'Those who can, teach': 
Translation, Interpreting and Training

The keynote speakers are
You can register online for the conference at You can also download the latest programme there.

Attendance is free for qualified UK secondary school teachers and undergraduate students, supported by the National Network for Translation, an initiative of Routes into Languages.

Please contact the conference organisers at translation at with any queries or enquiries.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Poems about translation 12: A pair of small ears

I was at a pleasing (and unexpected) spoken word/live music event the other evening at one of my favourite pubs, the King Street Tavern in Portsmouth. Among the entertainments was a very lovely reading by a Hampshire-based poet called Maggie Sawkins. Her poem 'A pair of small ears' begins
I have come to translate the silence.
I've bought paper and pencils
and a pair of small ears. 
Since by now you will be quivering with suspense to know how the paper, the pencils and the ears are going to get the job done, I am happy to say that the rest of the poem can be read here

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Literary translation events part 1: across the Channel

There are lots of interesting literary translation events coming up soon, some of them to mark St. Jerome's Day at the end of the month. Readers in Germany and Italy may find these two events of interest:

1) Viele Wege führen nach Rom ... und zum Literaturübersetzen. 
Berufskundeseminar für Einsteiger und Zukunftsplaner

Monday 17 September, 0931-1700 (sign-up deadline Monday 10 September) 
Literarisches Colloquium, Berlin 

Das Seminar richtet sich an alle, die mehr über die Wege zum Literaturübersetzen und die rechtlichen und wirtschaftlichen Seiten dieses Berufs erfahren wollen. Besprochen werden: Möglichkeiten des Einstiegs, Auftragsakquise, Vertragsgestaltung, Honorare, Urheberrecht, Künstlersozialkasse, VG Wort, Stipendien, Übersetzerverband und Gewerkschaft. 

Seminarleitung: Claudia Steinitz (seit 20 Jahren Übersetzerin aus dem Französischen) und Jochen Schwarzer (seit 15 Jahren Übersetzer aus dem Englischen). 

Für einen Imbiss und Getränke bitten wir vor Ort um einen Unkostenbeitrag von 10 Euro. Anmeldungen erforderlich – bitte mit kurzer Angabe, ob Sie über das Literaturübersetzen noch nachdenken oder schon auf dem Weg dazu sind. Bitte bis 10.9.2012 per Mail an: claudia.steinitz at

More information at

2) X Giornate della traduzione letteraria
28-30 September 2012
Palazzo Battiferri - Urbino
Organised by Stefano Arduini e Ilide Carmignani
Registration: €100 for the three days

This is a long-running seminar on literary translation, now in its tenth year, featuring some of the most prominent literary translators and publishers in Italy and abroad. It's always near the start of term and every year I am sad that I can't attend. 

The Giornate feature talks and round tables as well as workshops on literary translation from English, French, German, Russian and Spanish. Lots of invaluable information on how the literary translation industry works, how to pitch a book to a publisher and so on.

A number of literary prizes are associated with the Giornate. Participants are eligible to put in an entry for the Premio Harlequin Mondadori, a prize for translating romantic fiction. This year's theme is historical romance. The text for translation (English to Italian), and some hints and tips in Italian for translating this genre of fiction, can be downloaded from the Prize's webpage. The deadline for entries, which must include proof of registration for the Giornate, is the end of February 2013. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

The geographies of Translation Studies in Europe

A forthcoming conference asking some intriguing questions: 

Different Forms of Translation Scholarship in Europe
One-day Symposium at Lessius Antwerp, Wed 10 Oct 2012
Organisers: Luc van Doorslaer & Peter Flynn (CETRA & Lessius)
There are various traditions in translation scholarship and research which are less well known, often paradoxically, because they have not been translated into the dominant language(s) of scholarship: among such traditions are those in the German-speaking countries and Eastern-Europe (viz. important work by scholars like Jírí Levý, which dates back to the 1960’s and 1970’s, and has only recently been made available in English). On the other hand, new geographical and cultural encounters and/or borderlines are being constructed, explored and deconstructed – viz. the conference called ‘Translating from the South’. In this respect, conference participants often encounter different paradigms and traditions in Translation Studies or in translation scholarship under whatever name, depending on the session they are attending. Broadly speaking, these differences are stereotypically explained in terms of a seeming ‘divide’ between Germanic (and later Anglophone) and Romance scholarly traditions in Europe. This can give rise to such surprised questions as ‘Toury, c’est qui?’ or ‘Ladmiral, who the hell is he?’ Yet the seminal work of these and other scholars has helped form these different traditions and as the saying goes: “the past is a foreign country”. We can wonder then to what extent scholarly language use and methods stem from different more local, situated or historical approaches to and views on the object of study. To what extent did these various objects and concerns shape subsequent methodologies and theorizing in general? Did encounters take place or were lines of division drawn during these developments and if so which? This symposium will address these and other questions in an attempt to gain insight into how language and culture might determine translation scholarship and its various methodological traditions and concerns.
See symposium website

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Call for Proposals: Yale UP translation project

Seen on Twitter:

Dear colleagues,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce a new project I am coordinating through Yale University Press and to invite proposals for translations.

Our series “World Thought in Translation,” supported by a major grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, will make important works of political, legal, social and ethical thought available in English translation. Its focus will be on previously untranslated texts from outside European traditions, particularly the Middle East and the broader Islamic world, South Asia, China, East Asia, and Africa, but the series will also be open to important but under-studied works originally written in European languages, particularly from Russia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
The series will embrace both pre-modern and modern classics. Our primary criteria are the enduring influence of the texts for political and social debate and their unavailability to a wide English-speaking audience. We thus intend to fill the most urgent gaps faced by faculty seeking to teach courses on the political thought of non-Western societies. Given that the works in question will be unfamiliar to students, the translations will be accompanied by interpretive and analytic essays to give readers a basic introduction to the texts’ backgrounds, the circumstances in which they were written, and their subsequent influence within and outside their cultures.

These books are intended to be useful to faculty and students not only in political science departments but also in such fields as anthropology, history, religious studies, area studies and law. Some of the works are expected to reach a sizeable popular audience beyond the university.

We already have a number of projects in the pipeline, including translations of Shihab al-Din al-Qarafi’s (d. 1285) Al-Ihkam fi Tamyiz al-Fatawa ʿan al-Ahkam wa Tasarrufat al-Qadi wa-l-Imam (translator: Mohammed Fadel, Toronto) and Muhammad Rashid Rida’s Al-Khilafah aw al-Imamah al-‘Uzma (translator: Simon Wood). We are also considering proposals to translate Rashid al-Ghannushi’s al-Hurriyat al-’amma fi’l-dawla al-islamiyya, al-Raghib al-Isfahani’s K. al-dhari’a ila makarim al-shari’a and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s Mizan al-’amal.

I would like to invite members of this scholarly community to submit proposals for collaboration. We take a wide view of what would make a valuable contribution, and are interested in proposals from all languages of the Muslim world. We are open to all kinds of proposals from any time period, any country, any language and any intellectual persuasion from the broader Islamic world.

Please address all queries to me at andrew.march at

Best wishes,

Andrew F. March
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
Yale University

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Two post-docs with Scots Gaelic and Italian

For colleagues out there looking for post-doctoral research positions:

1) Research Assistant in Scots Gaelic Women’s Poetry 1400-1800

Aberystwyth University - Department of English and Creative Writing

(Fixed term for 3 years)
Grade 6: £25,251 - £30,122 per annum

This post is part of the Leverhulme project 'Women's Poetry 1400-1800 in English, Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, Scots and Welsh'. The start date is 1 February 2013. If you have the relevant specialist knowledge of Scots Gaelic (with a doctorate in Scots-Gaelic or equivalent), this post provides an excellent opportunity to develop your academic research career.

Informal enquiries welcome: contact Dr Sarah Prescott, on 01970 622791 (scp at

Ref: E.12.02
Closing date: Monday 10 September 2012

For information and application forms please go to

2) Research Associate, Dante in Modernism

The University of Manchester - School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

Closing date : 19/09/2012
Reference : HUM-01610
Salary : £29,249
Employment type : Fixed Term
Duration: 15 weeks
Hours per week : 0.7FTE

Applications are invited for a British Academy / Leverhulme Trust Research Associate post.

You will work with the Principal Investigator, Dr Daniela Caselli, on her project 'Dante in Modernism' (phase 1) and be responsible for sifting the primary and secondary sources for occurrences of Dante (both in digitalised and textual format), electronic downloading of periodical articles found; documenting them with full bibliographical reference; reproducing every occurrence in its original context; and ultimately integrate all the findings into a database in beta form.

This appointment will begin on 15 October 2012 and last 15 weeks.

Informal inquiries may be made to Dr Daniela Caselli, Principal Investigator, Division of English and American Studies. Email:  daniela.caselli at

More information at

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Free download: how to write clearly

Readers may be interested in the European Commission's publication 'How to Write Clearly'. This guide is available in all official languages of the European Community. It's part of their campaign for more straightforward, readable documentation (the same campaign which used to be called 'Fight the Fog'). 

It can be downloaded free in any of the official languages from the EU institutional bookshop.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Recently advertised internships

Two translation internships seen recently:

STAR in Dublin is offering internships for translation project management, beginning September for a period of 5-6 months. No details about remuneration.

Remote internship offered by Coalition for International Initiatives for a French or Spanish native speaker to translate their materials out of English. Minimum 10 hour a week commitment. Seems pro bono.

As always, disclaimer: all information provided in good faith, but I don't know these organisations personally and make no claims or guarantees.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

jobs, internships, PhD funding etc.

A few translation opportunities, seen recently around the web:

An advertisement in the Guardian for an experienced Project Manager in London. Posted today. No deadline given.

The company Synonyme in Madrid is advertising for a multitasking English native speaker with French, German or Spanish as interpreter, translator and project manager. Also looking for conference interpreters. Contact a.edwards at Found on the website of the Chartered Institute of Linguists; other positions also advertised.

The pharmaceutical company Roche is looking for an English Sprachexperte for their language service in Basel (German-English translation, translation revision, etc.). Found via the ITI website. Further details here.

Seen on the BDÜE website (job postings can be found under Aktuelles):
The company Comlogos is looking for a project manager based in Stuttgart. The company also seems from their website to offer internships. Other posts also regularly advertised.

In Europe, the EPSO competitions for Estonian, Irish, Latvian and Portuguese translators close on 14 August. The link is here. The deadline for translation traineeships in the European institutions beginning in March 2013 is 31 August. There are two rounds of these a year; more information here.

Two PhD studentships at the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies at Dublin City University for the academic year 2012-13. The scholarships cover fees and maintenance for the first year of study; may be extended subject to suitable progress, etc. 

There's a PhD studentship offered in Denmark in the field of intercultural business encounters which may interest translation researchers. Deadline is imminent: 15 August.

As always, the writer of this blog makes no guarantees about, and has no vested interest in, any of these opportunities. Good luck to any of our readers who apply.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Poems about translation 11: Guillaume Colletet contre la traduction

I figure there are two excellent reasons for another Poem About Translation: 

1) It's been nearly a year (!?!) since I posted the last one
2) I have just arrived in Paris for a brief break to catch up with friends, films, the French language, etc.

As it happens, serendipitously, we have never had a Poem About Translation in French. So here is Guillaume Colletet, an early Academician and poet (1598-1659).* He has strong feelings about translation: 

Discours contre la Traduction

C'est trop m'assujetir, je suis las d'imiter, 
La version déplaist à qui peut inventer,
Je suis plus amoureux d'un Vers que je comp[o]se, 

Que des Livres entiers que j'ay traduites en Prose. 
Suivre comme un esclave un Autheur pas à pas 
Chercher de la raison où l'on n'en trouve pas, 
Distiler son Esprit sur chaque periode,
Faire d'un vieux Latin du François à la mode, 

Eplucher chaque mot comme un Grammairien, 
Voir ce qui le rend mal, ou ce qui le rend bien; 
Faire d'un sens confus une raison subtile,
Joindre au discours qui sert un langage inutile, 

Parler asseurement de ce qu'on sçait le moins, 
Rendre de ses erreurs tous les Doctes tesmoins, 
Et vouloir bien souvent par un caprice extréme 
Entendre qui jamais ne s'entendit soy mesme; 
Certes, c'est un travail dont je suis si lassé,
Que j'en ay le corps foible, & l'esprit émoussé. 


(I hasten to say that this does not reflect how I feel today about translation, though having got up at oh-dark-thirty this morning to get the 9.21 Eurostar the corps is feeling pretty foible.)

Colletet's full rant, sorry, Discours is available via UMass here. This is also the source of the text above - I thought I might find a facsimile copy on Gallica but have had no luck. There is a wonderful translation into Italian by Valerio Magrelli here

I haven't come across a translation into English but if any reader would like to undertake one and pop it in a comment, that would be excellent! :)

[UPDATE 13 October 2013: There is an English translation by Anthony Molino of Valerio Magrelli's Italian translation of the poem in the collection The Contagion of Matter published in 2000.]

* (Pleasingly, one of his books is entitled Le trébuchement de l’yvrongne [The staggering of the drunk])

Monday, 30 July 2012

Arabic-English literary translation internship, London

Just saw this and it looks like a great opportunity:

Internship in Publishing Literary Translations (Arabic)

3-month fulltime internship offered by the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW, University of Edinburgh) and funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK).

Internship at Arabia Books, 70 Cadogan Place, London SW1X 9AH, Fulltime (Mon-Fri, 9am-5am), October – December 2012 (with slight flexibility on dates)

We are offering a versatile internship with a lot of opportunities to work independently. The Internship will primarily involve Editorial work with a contemporary literary text translated from the Arabic, though the successful applicant will have an overview of the entire publishing process. This is a great opportunity for those looking to begin a career in publishing, as you will gain an insight into the operations of a publishing house, as well as valuable contacts and hands-on experience.
Applicants must have a Masters degree or the equivalent or higher from a UK HEI, or be enrolled in a PhD programme at a UK HEI, and be able to secure a leave from studies for the period of the internship. Eligibility follows AHRC PG studentship guidelines.

The successful applicant will have excellent written and spoken English, good communication and organisational skills, be proficient in MS Office and have a passion for publishing and literature in translation, particularly Arabic literature. Experience in Arabic-to-English literary translation is desirable. 

The internship provides a monthly stipend based on AHRC guidelines. The internship holder will be expected to provide a short final report in writing before receiving the final instalment of the stipend.
Please send a letter of application and CV (including names of two references) to the above address, or as attachments to the first email address below, by 15 August 2012.  Finalists will be interviewed in London.

Contact: Harry Hall, info at / Professor Marilyn Booth (Director, CASAW), m.booth at

Monday, 23 July 2012

Job: post-editor for technical documentation, JP>EN

Forwarded from Stephen C.:

*Post-Editor for Technical Documentation (JA>EN)*

Milengo Ltd. is looking for (engineering) students or graduates who are interested in freelance work as post-editors (Japanese into English). Post-editing is the process of modifying a machine-generated
translation with refined translation memories to insure a certain level of quality. Requirements: good computer skills, excellent technical understanding, bilingual or native speaker in English or Japanese;
excellent command of grammar, attention to detail, clear writing style and positive attitude to Machine Translation. If you meet these criteria and are interested in working with us, please contact us at: translators at

Feel free to circulate.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Post-doctoral position, Centre for Italo-Scottish Studies, Edinburgh

An interesting-looking post-doctoral position on a project about Italian migration and diaspora. Further information (in Italian) at the Ministero degli Affari Esteri website

University of Edinburgh - School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Salary Scale: £30,122-£35,938 (pro rata)
Please quote vacancy reference: 3015956
Closing date: 23 July 2012

We seek to appoint a Research Fellow to The Italo-Scottish Research Centre (ISRC), within the Italian Subject Area.

You will be a key researcher on an exciting project funded by The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. You will be responsible for the delivery of a Web Archive, as well as for project coordination and facilitation. You will take an active part in the whole range of scholarly and public events activities generated by the ISRC, including the co-editing of a new series of Diaspora Discussion Papers. You will also be part of the Team responsible for the production of a new documentary and for the generation of performance material for the Archive and will work under the direction of the project's Principal Investigator.

The closing date for this post is Monday, 23rd July and we plan to hold interviews in Edinburgh on Wednesday 1 August.   The post is available from 1 September 2012.

This job is offered on a fixed term contract until 31 August 2013.

For further particulars and an application pack visit our website ( or telephone the recruitment line on 0131 650 2511.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Extended deadline for abstracts for IPCITI postgraduate conference, November 2012

Received from Dorothy Kenny at Dublin City University:

8-10 November 2012
Centre for Translation and Textual Studies
School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies
Dublin City University, Ireland
Dear colleagues and students, 

This is to inform you that the deadline for submission of abstracts to the 8th International Postgraduate Conference in Translating and Interpreting has been extended to 23rd July 2012.

IPCITI is designed to provide *new* researchers from all areas of translation and interpreting studies with the opportunity to share their research with peers in a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment. Day one of IPCITI is devoted to pre-conference workshops; days two and three are devoted to keynote lectures and parallel conference sessions.

The conference aims to showcase the great diversity of research in current translation and interpreting studies and invites abstracts from all relevant areas. Topics of specific interest to our organising committee include (but are by no means limited to):

Audiovisual translation
Community interpreting
Intercultural aspects of translation/interpreting
Literary translation
Models of translation
'Periphery' cultures and minority languages
Research methodologies in translation/interpreting
Sign language interpreting
Translation of children's literature
Translation/interpreting pedagogy
Translation technology
Translation/interpreting and ethics
Translation/interpreting and media, including social media
Translation/interpreting history
Translation/interpreting process studies
Videogames localisation

Abstract Submission Guidelines
English-language abstracts of 400-450 words should be submitted no later than 23rd July 2012. Information on abstract submission is available at:

Keynote Speakers
Dr Federico Federici, Durham University, UK
Prof Andy Way, President of the International & European Associations for Machine Translation (IAMT & EAMT), Director of Language Technology at ALS, UK
Prof Jenny Williams, Dublin City University, Ireland

Pre-Conference Workshops (8th November)
Mixed Methods Research  Stephen Doherty
2nd workshop to be confirmed

Important Dates
Abstract submission deadline: 23rd July 2012
Notification of acceptance: 13th August 2012
Early bird registration deadline: 8th September 2012
Registration deadline: 8th October 2012

Publication of Papers
Following the conference, some papers may be recommended for publication in the journal New Voices in Translation Studies (

Registration information will be available shortly on the conference website at 

Further information, including information on accommodation and transportation to the conference venue, is available at:

Enquiries concerning the conference should be directed to: ipciti2012 at

Information about Dublin can be found at

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Post-doctoral opportunities at Portsmouth

Post-doctoral fellowships: applications invited

The Centre for European and International Studies Research at the University of Portsmouth welcomes enquiries from prospective applicants for post-doctoral fellowships.

Schemes include, but are not limited to:

Outline bids for this scheme are due in October 2012 for awards beginning October 2013.

The deadline for awards beginning in October 2012 was February 2012.

For translation and linguistics, specific research areas of interest include literary translation, translation history, audiovisual translation, corpus linguistics, World Englishes, TESOL, internationalisation, English for academic purposes, professional communication, technical communication and controlled languages. 

Enquiries, accompanied by a CV and a research proposal, should be made to carol.osullivan at For details of other research areas soliciting applications, see

It is recommended that enquiries are made substantially in advance of the application deadline in order to allow for discussion of potential projects.