Friday, 27 February 2015

CANCELLED: Financial translation workshop with Javier Gil, Tuesday 10 March 2015

STOP PRESS **With great regret we announce that Javier's workshop described below has had to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. We hope to reschedule in future**

Following Tuesday's very enjoyable and enlightening seminar by Nick Rosenthal, we are looking forward to welcoming Javier Gil to Bristol to talk about the world of financial translation. The event is free and all are welcome. 

Venue: Arts Complex Lecture Theatre 2 (entrance via 3-5 Woodland Road for external visitors)
Time: 3-5pm, Tuesday 10 March 2015

Financial translation has proved to be one of the most resilient translation markets during the recent economic crisis. According to Deloitte, financial information worldwide has not stopped growing for the past 15 years and, since 2008, financial information has increased by 34%. This session will help students learn more about the fundamental aspects of financial translation such as its main features and the most common problems faced by financial translators. We will look at a brief classification of the main types of financial texts, using a number of real-life examples, and we will also discuss other professional aspects, such as job opportunities, rates, potential employers, etc. Finally, a step-by-step process to further specialise in financial translation will be explained, including a number of interesting websites and online resources for those interested in further exploring this field.

Javier Gil is a financial translator and a partner at eQuality Financial Translation Services, which is a financial translation boutique that provides translation services for the financial industry. He works for a number of international bodies, all of them within the economic and financial field. He has over 15 years of experience, including serving as an external translator for the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt and as the head of the Spanish Translation Service at KPMG Spain. His academic background includes a translation degree from the Universidad Europea de Madrid and a master’s degree in management and finance from Bath University (UK). Having worked as a university lecturer, he has also delivered over 30 financial translation seminars and workshops at universities and organisations in Spain and the UK, and he was awarded the American Translators Association award for the best financial translation presentation in 2012 in San Diego (California). 


This is an introductory workshop and no previous financial background is required. It will be delivered in English and is open to speakers of any language.

Session 1: Financial Translation Overview
- Introduction - What is financial translation?
- Features of financial language
- Generic problems in financial translation
- The top 10 fields in financial translation with key features and sample texts (part 1)

Session 2:  Specialising in Financial Translation & Job Opportunities 
- The top 10 fields in financial translation with key features and sample texts (part 2)
- Why specialize in financial translation?
- How to specialize in financial translation?
- Key players in the financial translation industry / potential employers in Europe
- Outlook for the industry (rates, professional bodies, etc.)
- Going freelance or in-house? Pros and cons within the financial industry
- Conclusions
- Questions & Answers

For more events on translating taking place in the School of Modern Languages this spring, click here.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Silent film in translation: Siliva Zulu (Gatti, 1928)

To my great excitement and anticipation, I have research leave coming up in 2016, and I'm planning a series of archive trips to view prints of re-titled and subtitled films of the 1920s and 1930s. This is for a research project on translation in the silent and early sound periods. The compilation of the corpus so far has been a fun and rewarding experience, with helpful and much-appreciated support from the BFI where I found the first few prints for my study. Translated versions by their very nature aren't the versions of films that tend to be preserved (spoiled as they are by the target-language titles); the aspiration of distributors seems always to provide the 'best', most definitive version, and variant versions don't have high status. I've come across lot of the films in my corpus in more or less degraded versions available online, or DVDs and VHS tapes of eclectic provenance.

One of the films is Siliva Zulù (in English, Siliva the Zulu). I came across this via a splendid screening at the Watershed in Bristol on 1 November 2014, with a live accompaniment by Juwon Ogungbe, who had composed a new score for the film.

The film is a fascinating interplay of fiction and documentary - a sort of docudrama - with an entirely African cast shot by an Italian director, Attilio Gatti, an anthropologist, Lido Cipriani, and an Italian crew in Eshowe, South Africa in 1927. Some useful information about the filmmakers and the problematic production context of the film can be found here.

I was particularly struck by the title cards. They are in English, and look of the period, though a colleague from Bristol Silents in the audience commented that they had more of a look of the 1930s than the 1920s. The title cards are distinguished by a series of line drawings, almost cartoons, which have a very contrapuntal relationship with the footage of the characters/actors. The live action footage has an apparent preoccupation with 'accurate' ethnographic representation, and frequently foregrounds the physical attractiveness of the characters. My memory of the cartoons, on the other hand, was that they have a comic and irreverent tone at odds with the rest of the film. If they were produced at the time of the film's original release then they constitute interesting evidence of the complexity of the attitudes of the filmmakers to their ethnographic subjects.

The images on the title cards have traces here and there of Italian language, suggesting that they were copied directly from the Italian print of the film while the titles themselves were redone in English. My understanding is that there are versions of this film extant with Italian and with Spanish title cards, which I look forward to running to earth during my archive trips.

I thought I would use this chance to try out Lantern, the search tool of the wonderful Media History Digital Library, in the hope of finding reviews of the film from the time of its release. It came up with two results, only one of which was a review, from La revue du cinéma of February 1928:

The review doesn't mention language anywhere, nor the title cards with their equivocal comic drawings, and doesn't give any indication of where A.D. saw the film, but it might be worth keeping an eye out for a version with French titles too...

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Talks by Nick Rosenthal, MITI, Bristol, Tuesday 24 February 2015

We are delighted to announced that Nick Rosenthal, MITI will be visiting us on Tuesday 24 February 2015. Nick will give two talks:
Session 1: Building a career as a translator (3-4pm)
Session 2: Translating the Tour de France (4-5pm)

24 February 2015
Arts Complex Lecture Theatre 2, 3-5pm (entrance via 3-5 Woodland Road for external visitors)

Nick Rosenthal, MITI, has worked as a technical translator from French and German since 1986. He studied languages at Salford University, and then worked as a management accountant for a large multinational company before founding SalfTrans (, a specialist translation and localisation company, in 1988. He is an experienced translator in his own right, and an experienced project manager used to managing teams of high-end translators. Nick has a broad vision of the translation industry, with a particular interest in training and professional development. Nick chaired the Board of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) from 2011 to 2013, and is one of the team of authors who wrote "101 Things a Translator Needs To Know" (  Nick is also an experienced racing cyclist, and one of his greatest pleasures each year is combining his passions for translation and for bike racing by translating press articles about the Tour de France.

Talks are free and open to all.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Translators on translating: Michael Hofmann warns for peanuts

I just read a really lovely piece by Michael Hofmann on being a poet and translator. The images he uses are glorious. Why should translators leave no trace of themselves in a text (there's a question for our translation studies reading group, which has been reading Theo Hermans on that very topic)?

If 'chocolates carry warnings that they may have been manufactured using equipment that has hosted peanuts; why not translations too?'

If 'a translator is a passenger, riding in relative safety (and deserved penury) in a 
vehicle that has already been built', Hofmann would still rather be 'a passenger of the bobsleigh kind — a converted sprinter, someone who at least puts his own bones and balance and reactions into his work'. Of course, this takes for granted that you are translating for someone with no access to the source text. The presence (or threat) of a parallel text can 'protract negotiations'.

Invoking what Gideon Toury called the 'law of growing standardisation' in translation, and what David Bellos refers to as a tendency 'toward the 
accepted and the established and the center, the unexceptional and the unexceptionable', Hofmann counters: 'I don’t mind much where my extremes come from — whether they are mine, or my authors’, but I want them to be there. Extra pixels. The high resolution of a fourth or fifth decimal place'.

And a salutory reminder to all translators and translators-in-training: the people who don’t look [words] up are usually the ones who don’t know them. Good translators look the words up anyway.

For more links to translators talking about their work, see here.

Post-doctoral research in translation at Bristol

The School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol welcomes enquiries about post-doctoral research in related disciplines, including Translation Studies, from potential applicants.

A variety of schemes are available in the United Kingdom, including schemes run by the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust and the European Commission (e.g. Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowships).

Specialisms within Translation Studies at the University of Bristol include literary translation across all the languages offered in the School of Modern Languages (see, for instance, here, here and here); subtitling, audiovisual translation, multilingualism in film (see e.g. here, here and here); theatre and performance; adaptation; translation in medieval French culture; translation history (see e.g. here, here, here); interpreting and mediation (especially with Chinese);

Initial enquiries for research in the School of Modern Languages may be made to Dr Carol O'Sullivan. For projects relating to theatre and performance, please contact Dr Katja Krebs in the School of Arts. Enquiries should be made well in advance of the deadline as the preparation of a competitive bid to any of these schemes is an intensive and time-consuming process. Internal university deadlines also apply. 

Please note that applicants wishing to apply to the British Academy post-doctoral fellowship scheme for research in the School of Modern Languages are required to send a draft application and CV to Professor Charles Burdett at c.f.burdett [at] *by 1 July 2015*.