Is that a Fish in your Ear?, By David Bellos
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
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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