Penguin, £8.99

Is that a Fish in your Ear?, By David Bellos

 

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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