Andreu Febrer Translation Prize 2018

Le deuxième sexe

Des d’avui, donem el tret de sortida a la 22a edició del Premi Andreu Febrer que, com cada any, organitza el Departament de Traducció, Interpretació i Llengües Aplicades de la UVic-UCC. Enguany, el tema és la traducció de “Textos d’assaig sobre feminisme”.

Simone de Beauvoir in Beijing, 1955

Desde hoy, damos el pistoletazo de salida a la 22ª edición del Premio Andreu Febrer que, como cada año, organiza el Departamento de Traducción, Interpretación y Lenguas Aplicadas de la UVic-UCC. Este año, el tema es la traducción de “Textos de ensayo sobre feminismo”.

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Las lenguas y la traducción en la Universidade do Minho

De izquierda a derecha, Ana Cea (UMinho), Pedro Dono (UMinho), Lola Lerma (UMinho), Marcos Cánovas (UVic-UCC), Ana Dias (UMinho), Xaquín Núñez (UMinho)

En estas líneas publicamos la noticia de la reciente visita a Braga de Marcos Cánovas. 

El Instituto de Letras e Ciências Humanas  de la Universidade do Minho en Braga (Portugal) ofrece, en el campus de la ciudad portuguesa de Braga, estudios vinculados a las lenguas aplicadas y la traducción: entre otros, licenciaturas en lenguas aplicadas y en lenguas y literaturas Europeas, así como másteres en enseñanza de segundas lenguas y lenguas extranjeras (incluyendo portugués, inglés y español) y otro en traducción y comunicación multilingüe.

Una reciente estancia académica nos permitió entrar en contacto con esta institución y, específicamente, con las áreas de traducción y español. Las colaboraciones interuniversitarias en materia de investigación y docencia son ciertamente muy enriquecedoras, porque permiten aprovechar los esfuerzos y aportar experiencias de interés conjunto. Continue reading

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What’s your word of the year 2017?

It’s the end of the year and as usual various authorities will be announcing their “word of the year”. In fact, it’s already started. One of the large English dictionaries, Merriam-Webster, has just announced its choice. They have gone for feminism. Merriam-Webster loosely base their choice on words that attract many searches on their website. The rise of feminism in this sense is associated with political events in the USA, in particular, the Women’s March in Washington DC (January), a rejection of feminism by Kellyanne Conway, a Trump spokeswomen (February), and the Harvey Weinstein scandal (October).

In November, Collins chose fake news as their Word of the Year 2017. Macquarie and Oxford selections have yet to be announced.

Meanwhile in other languages, a variety of self-appointed groups organise votes, panels of experts and committees to choose their own word of the year. In France, La Charité-sur-Loire has promoted itself as a town of books, following the model of Hay-on-Wye (Y Gelli) in Wales, and each year organises a Festival de Mot and their word of the year is chosen. In May 2017 renouveau was chosen, reflecting the climate of optimism surrounding the presidential elections.

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Translating Harry Potter

Miniatures of Harry, Hermione and Ron

This year 2017 has seen the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the first book in the Harry Potter saga, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which came out in June 1997. The series went on to break all records and laid the foundations for a successful multimedia franchise, including eight extraordinarily popular feature films. All in all, J.K.Rowling’s story has become one of the defining international social phenomena for children born over the last thirty years.

Whatever the merits or otherwise of the books, the production of so much material translated into over 80 languages put translators in the eye of the storm. Translation decisions could not be made lightly, since they would need to be maintained over the rest of the series, but they invariably needed to be made fast, as publishers rushed out the latest volumes.

So it is that, in the ensuing period of relative calm, the wizardry of Harry Potter translators has become the subject of study, delight, confusion and criticism.

In this article we take a brief look at the translations into French, Spanish and Catalan of some of the people and places in the books and compare the strategies (or not) of these versions. Continue reading

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My life as an hermaphrodite

a / an hermaphrodite (Ngram)

I recently read a novel with this curious title.  You may be thinking, as I did, why “an hermaphrodite”? Why not “a hermaphrodite? These questions lead to a more general inquiry. When is an initial “h” pronounced in English? If you are curious, please read on.

Most often an initial “h” is pronounced but some words (with French etymology) have a silent “h”, as in the corresponding French word. Without an initial aspiration “h” sound, there are really very few such words in English:

  • hour; honour; honest; heir

Incidentally, there are a few words with a silent medial “h” too:

  • aghast; vehicle; Thai; exhausted; ghost; why; what; where; when

For most English words, however, the initial “h” sound is pronounced:

  • heart; house; heavy; hope; hat; hut; hotel; historic; etc.

So far, so good. But when it comes to putting “a” or “an” before these words, there is some disagreement. Modern usage favours “a” when the “h” is pronounced and “an” when it is silent:

  • a heavy heart; a hope; a house; a historic battle; a happy occasion
  • an honour; an heir; an honest answer

Some authorities, however, recommend “an” before sounded “h” when the first syllable is not tonic. Following this rule, we hear and read expressions such as these:

  • an historic day; an hermaphrodite; an heretical belief; an horrific accident; an hotel

To my mind, these pronunciations and spellings are rather ridiculous, and I am confident that most native speakers would agree with me about this.

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