Is that a Fish in your Ear?, By David Bellos
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 15 September 2012
This sparkling jewel of a book about all aspects of translation comes from a gifted practitioner of the art.
Lively, impish and enjoyable, Bellos ranges from language wars in the EU to the tough task of taking jokes across frontiers; from computer robot-speak to the "Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax" (ie, that myth about the Inuit words for snow).
From the Bible to medicine packets, TV news to Nordic noir, even the incorrigible monoglot depends on translation. Bellos not only shows how it works, but infectiously conveys all its pleasures in a tour de force.
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