21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
Just finished reading "Found in Translation" on a long flight home from Latin America. I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who works with foreign languages, has studied a foreign language, or is curious or even skeptical about the value of learning another language. As the authors show, translation is in everything, whether we recognize it or not. Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche have pulled back the curtain to show us how the often unseen language industry keeps 21st century government, commerce, culture, and religion humming along.
If you work as a translator or interpreter, reading the book will inspire you. Give it to your friends and family, and they will be entertained as they learn about what you do. If you know little about foreign languages or translation, reading this book will take you places you have never been and give you a glimpse of what it is like to be on the border where two languages--two cultures--meet and what it is like to shoulder the burden of helping both sides understand one another.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
As co-authors Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche point out, the word "translation" comes from the Latin word "translatus," which means "to carry over or...build relationships" and the possibilities for which relationships van be built and/or sustained can be almost unlimited. Winston Churchill once observed that the United States and England are separated by a common language. The barriers to effective communication can be linguistic, cultural, anthropological, and neurological. Moreover, there are multiple forms of verbal and non-verbal communication. So what can be "found in translation"? Again, the possibilities are almost unlimited.
Here are a few examples of those that Kelly and Zetzsche discuss in the first four chapters:
Chapter 1. "Saving Lives and Protecting Rights": The Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) is an electronic public health early warning system developed by Canada's Public Health Agency, and is part of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Outbreak and Alert Response Network (GOARN). This system monitors Internet media, such as news wires and websites, in seven languages in order to help detect and report potential disease outbreaks around the world. Initially, only two languages (English and French) were involved but later used nine languages that substantially increased the nature and extent of sharing important healthcare information, especially potential health crises.
Chapter 2. "Waging War and Keeping the Peace": The absolutely essential role of translators during the war crimes trials at Nuremberg at the Palace of Justice in in 1945-1946. Kelly and Zetzsche focus on Peter Less, a German/American, who translated the testimony of 24 of the captured German leaders, including Hermann Göring, Rudolph Hess, and Martin Bormann. The accuracy of the questions asked and responses to them as well as introductions, instructions, prosecution and defense arguments, and closing remarks could all be viewed as matters of literally life or death.
Chapter 3. Doing Business and Crossing Borders": The example in this chapter I personally found most interesting involves the translation needs of United Airlines. "Each month, we translate between one hundred forty-four thousand and three hundred fifty-five thousand words into eleven languages," explains Theophannie Theodore, senior manager of international reliability -- eCommerce at United. And that volume covers a range during a normal 24-hour period. Given the nature and extent of globalization, and given how tricky nomenclature in the airline industry has always been, it is necessary for United to create a multilingual glossary of airline specific terminology every time it adds a new language as when, for example, there is a merger or strategic alliance with another airline.
Chapter 4. "Sharing Stories and Spreading Religion": I found this to be one of the most entertaining chapters as Kelly and Zetzsche examine a number of complicated situations in which effective translation was also essential. They even return in tome to the Nestorians (or Church of the East) founded by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428-431, whose missionaries were often controversial as they struggled to share their faith. As you can well imagine, there were frequent and sometimes violent disagreements concerning translations of the Bible, for example, as well as concerning the meaning of passages that suggest articles of faith. More recently, Clairol launched a curling iron called the Mist Stick in 2006 and soon there was a serious problem: in Germany, the word "mist" means "manure." Kelly and Zetzsche suggest that those who are fans of Sierra Mist should not expect to find any when traveling in Germany.
These are among the dozens of specific passages that caught my eye:
o The Seventy-Million Dollar Word (Pages 3-6)
o High-Stakes Interpreting at Nuremberg (33-36)
o America's Language Problem (44-47)
o Extreme Interpreting at the United Nations (53-55)
o Interpreter in Chief (55-58) for Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton
o The Most Translated Airline in the World (76-78)
o Translation on the Orient Express (96-98)
o The Bold and the Beautiful (137-139)
o It's Raining Falafel (176-178)
o Take Me Out to the Ballgame (186-187)
o Ideas Worth Spreading Beyond English (207-210)
o Beam Me Up, Babelfish (223-225)
Accurate and sufficient translation can help people to "find" knowledge, understanding, and wisdom but as these and other examples suggest, there are formidable challenges and barriers that must be overcome. Quite literally, as the book's subtitle correctly suggests, language really can shape our lives and transform the world because, David Crystal observes in the Foreword, "multilingual humanity depends on translation for its successful functioning." I commend Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche on Found in Translation, a brilliant achievement. Bravo!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
As a veteran of the languages industry, I am beyond thrilled with the publication of this fantastic and timely work of non-fiction. Finally, a book that will reveal to the general public how and why translation and interpreting matter. This fine work of non-fiction proves its point in a eloquent, yet easy-to-read tone; one that makes you want to recommend this book to all your friends and family so they will, once and for all, understand that you are not translating manuals about cosmetics patents in your spare time while you transition into another profession. This *is* a fantastic profession and the T&I industry is a multi-billion dollar business with far-reaching global influence. It influences a large part of our world, and we don't even know it (yet). While Found in Translation is intended for non-linguists, every languages professional should own a copy of this book for inspiration and insight. I was truly surprised by how much I learned from this book, particularly about languages of lesser diffusion. The anecdotes and stories about the people who make our profession are truly fascinating. And who knew the International Space Station needs interpreters? Wow: interpreters' influence extends to space. How fantastic is that? This should be required reading for language professionals and for everyone who comes in contact with languages -- which is, essentially, everyone. Penguin/Perigree better start printing more books!
I was also lucky enough to receive an early copy as well as the manuscript, which is why I am able to review this book on the day it's officially published. I wrote a review for a British magazine, which can be read in its entirety on the Found in Translation website: [...]
This is writing about languages at its best. Even though the book has two authors, it flows very well. I am re-reading it this week, and I am quite inspired once again.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
This is a most pleasurable read. If you are somehow involved in the language industry, it will reaffirm your dedication and may even relight your passion for your work. If you are interested in the world around you, the book may well open your eyes to how often we are all touched by translation. Kelly and Zetzsche draw from their own experiences as well as extensive interviews with a large variety of people to provide delightful and sometimes poignant anecdotes about the use/misuse of language in our world. My main problem with it was that I could not put it down! I highly recommend it.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
I sat down with this book after dinner recently, and the next thing I knew, it was nearing midnight and I was halfway through it. Some of the industry anecdotes I'd heard before, but the authors' fast-paced and engaging writing style made them fresh and even witty. I found myself wishing that my friends and family would read it, and through it learn to appreciate language and translation a bit more.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2012
While this book has received a great deal of (warranted) praise from language professionals and lingaphiles, I believe what is important is that Ms Kelly and Mr Zetzsche bring the true power and importance of language transfer to the rest of us. The anecdotes in this book are in turns inspirational, funny, heartbreaking - and always informative. The book is a great one to read front to back or to flip through as you like and read in small bites.
I really enjoyed reading it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
I believe "Found in Translation" will also touch *you*. It is a gift from Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche to all of us - it is not just for interpreters, translators, or fans of languages, as some might think. It is a book that belongs in your book library, at the doctor's office, at the workplace, in attorneys' offices, in State and Federal offices, etc., etc. It should be available everywhere, just like languages are - all around us!
Although I wrote a review a little while ago on my blog, I don't feel it was enough, because I did not want to give away too many details. (Yup, I received an early copy). I kept looking here, to write an early review; I was unable to do so, until today. If you wish to read the review on my blog, you will find it at thejudiciaryinterpreter.com/interpreter/found-in-translation-book-review/ .
In the review on my blog I mentioned how Chapter 1 hit close to home (I was involved in a similar situation once). I never stopped to think this situation might repeat elsewhere, until I read the book. The same may happen to you; you will likely encounter a parallel to your life in the many stories told in the book. The book is story-telling at its best, short stories from around the globe that entertain, and also illustrate HOW language truly shapes just about everything around us.
Nataly and Jost write seamlessly, to the point, and totally focused on the message. That alone is amazing, for it is difficult to find a single voice in two humans. In fact, I cannot remember ever reading a co-authored book that did it so well! KUDOS to both!
I promised myself I would not give away too much; you deserve better than that. My advice: Buy the book (the cost of two beers, or a beer and a hot dog), read it, and let me know what you think.
A closing note: I pre-ordered my wife one of the new Kindle readers (the one with the built-in light). As soon her new Kindle arrives, she will download it; I know she will read it a second time.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2012
This is the finest book about translation that is meant for the general public. Found in Translation is written from the authors' own experiences, as well as on the basis of interviews with experienced translators and interpreters in a variety of languages and fields. The book includes a treasure of useful information about translation and interpretation, and everything is thoroughly documented. The footnotes and references are very useful and comprehensive. The book is easy to read, and while it is written for the lay person, it is also very informative for experienced professionals in translation and interpretation. The authors have provided a fascinating "insider's view" of the multifaceted world of translation. Found in Translation truly lives up to its subtitle: "How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2012
Found in Translation was an adventure into the many hidden depths of how modern society works these days. Translation and interpretation's impact was definitely made evident through the book. It made me see that translation is what's behind how the world is actually able to seamlessly function. The authors did a great job of holding the readers' hand and leading them into how translation and interpretation impacts everyone's lives without them recognizing it.
I was astonished to realize how much I've taken for granted. It's easy to be stuck in your own bubble and not be able to see things beyond what's in your immediate life. After reading Found in Translation, I have a newfound respect for these faceless individuals who have helped people unite across communication barriers, keep cultures alive, and assist in global integration. Aside from that, I have even found an appreciation for myself as a consequence of my findings. I've been informally interpreting on my parents' behalf for all my life and have not thought much of it. I, too, am a person that is inadvertently bringing ties between Vietnamese and American culture.
I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who has the slightest curiosity about the role language plays in the game of life today.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2012
There really is something for everyone in this remarkable book. As a development practitioner and educator, I would not hesitate to recommend this book to my colleagues and students, as it brings to life the roles of different stakeholders in international commerce, the media, and law and diplomacy, amongst many other fields, while highlighting the absolutely essential (but often overlooked) role of translators and interpreters in just about every aspect of globalized life as we know it. This is not just an "academic" book, however - the many anecdotes, stories, and interviews are in turns interesting, heart-rending, inspiring, and hilarious (or often all of those at once!), and the writing style is very fast-paced and enjoyable to read. This is an entertaining and thought-provoking book with what I believe is a very broad appeal.