Lost in Trumpslation…


As you may have read in the news, translators around the world are struggling translating and interpreting Donald Trump’s speeches.

The cause? Run on sentences, disjointed syntax, repetitions and well, let’s face it, limited vocabulary.

According to professional translator Bérengère Viennot, “For translators, Trump is an unprecendented and desolating struggle”.
And as the French say, Bérengère “n’y va pas par quatre chemins” (she does not beat around the bush – no pun intended) by adding bluntly: “When it comes to speaking of something other than his victory, he clings desperately to the words contained in the question put to him, without succeeding in completing his own thought.”

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Virelangues et Tongue-twisters !

 Chauffez les langues! A vos marques, prêts, partez!!!!
Warm up your tongues! Ready, Steady, Go!


Qu’est-ce qu’un virelangue ? Le mot “virelangue” est un néologisme calqué sur le mot anglais “tongue-twister“, c’est-à-dire une suite de mots souvent incongrue que l’on doit répéter le plus longtemps et rapidement possible! Un défi lexical et ludique que petits et grands peuvent apprécier!

Voici donc quelques exemples bilingues pour votre plus grand plaisir! Attention: ne vous emmêlez pas la langue!

Chauffez les langues! A vos marques, prêts, partez!!!!
Warm up your tongues! Ready, Steady, Go!


Je suis ce que je suis et si je suis ce que je suis, qu’est-ce que je suis?
( I am what I am/pursue and if I am what I am/pursue, what am I?)

La pêcheuse :
Pauvre petit pêcheur, prend patience pour pouvoir prendre plusieurs petits poissons.
( Poor little fisher, be patient if you want to fish many little fish.)

La Mission impossible :
Gros gras grand grain d’orge, tout gros-gras-grand-grain-d’orgerisé, quand te dé-gros-gras-grand-grain-d’orgeriseras-tu? Je me dé-gros-gras-grand-grain-d’orgeriserai quand tous les gros gras grands grains d’orge se seront dé-gros-gras-grand-grain-d’orgerisés.
(Big fat and long barley seed, you’re such a big, fat and long barley seed. When will you un-big-fat-and-long-barley-seed yourself? I shall un-big-fat-and-long-barley-seed myself when all big fat and long barley seeds have un-big-fat-and-long-barley-seeded.) Continue reading

Do you Busuu?


Have you ever heard of  “Busuu”?

Busuu is a social network for learning languages based on a “Freemium” model (offering both free and premium services). The website is named after a Cameroon language with only three living speakers in 2005!

This is how the Busuu describes their method: “Instead of studying alone at home with your uninspiring grammar book, you can learn directly from native speakers around the world. In addition to learning directly from other members, you can use [Busuu’s] highly interactive learning material completely free of charge. Additionally, by paying a minimal monthly fee, you can become a Premium Member  and have access to even more functionalities and learning material.”

The “free of charge” definitely got my vote! Continue reading

A guide to Buying a Translation / Traduction : Faire les bons choix


When you are foreign to the linguists’ industry, buying a translation can be daunting and frustrating.Fortunately, the ITI (The Institute of Translating and Interpreting) has issued an extremely useful guide aimed at those who find themselves in this tricky situation.
In this guide, the authors explain for example the difference between translating and interpreting, the costs, the importance of style, and how resisting doing it yourself can help avoiding becoming insulting!
This guide is a very good read if you consider having some work translated and are not sure how to get started and what to expect. Highly recommended!

Lorsque le monde des linguistes ne vous est pas familier, choisir un traducteur peut s’avérer intimidant et frustrant.
Heureusement, l’ITI (Institute of Translating and Interpreting) a publié un guide très utile qui s’adresse aux personnes qui se trouvent dans cette délicate situation.
Dans ce guide, les auteurs expliquent par exemple la différence entre traduction et interprétation, les coûts, l’importance du style et comment déléguer plutôt que de le faire soi-même permet d’éviter le risque de devenir insultant!
Ce guide est une très bonne lecture si vous considérez faire faire une traduction et ne savez pas par où commencer et à quoi vous attendre. Vivement conseillé!


The Green Man vs L’homme en vert




Last year, I was delighted when a writer, Nick Foulger, contacted me to get a quote for the translation of his first comic book aimed at 8-12 year-old readers.

I had always wanted to focus more on literary translation but I have found it extremely hard openingthe right doors and find an exciting project (more on that in a future paper). So this was my opportunity. Moreover, this project was right up my alley since I have always been passionate about children’s literature, having written a book for 6-10 years old, stories for under 6s, and having two young children myself.

So, yes, I was over the moon, especially when Nick accepted my quote and gave me the job.

As Miranda’s mum would say: “such fun!”

And I was even more enthusiastic when I got to read the comic book: “The Green Man” is the first in a series of comic book adventures for Professor Thomas Swift. It is unique in being made up entirely of photographs rather than being drawn. With the magic of digital editing and by creating a photo-realistic model world, Nick Foulger brought the popular children’s toy Playmobil® to life. The creative process was original and fascinating. I really admire Nick’s patience, commitment and skills in putting this project together (each picture can take up to a day’s photo editing and it took more than 320 days to create the book!). If this is not passion, I do not know what is! Continue reading