Archive for Translation

Auto-translating sound effects

A friend recently posted (to Facebook) a video of an animal eating something, and added the following text as a commentary/description for the video: MONCH MONCH MONCH Facebook offered to translate that for me. I accepted the offer. Facebook’s translation read as follows: Monch monch monch monch monch monch It then offered to let me […]

On Pound’s “translations” from Chinese

I’ve been hearing Ezra Pound’s name for decades, but it recently occurred to me that I didn’t know anything about his life or his poetry. So I went looking online for more information about him, and quickly came across an entertainingly written 1958 takedown of Pound’s and Ernest Fenollosa’s approach to translating Chinese poetry: “Fenollosa, […]

Bad transliterations

I’ve tried a couple of times to start reading William Gibson’s novel Idoru, but I keep getting too distracted and annoyed by the title to focus on the book. Apparently the title is supposed to represent the Japanese version of the English word idol. But the Japanese word that Gibson intended to refer to, the […]

Fish and lovers

I just saw an email advertising a “three-day flash sale,” but I misread it as a “three-day fish sale.” Which led me, of course, to Ben Franklin’s saying about fish and guests; that turns out to derive from John Lyly’s 1578 book Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit, which includes the line “fish and guests in […]