When a Translation overtakes the Original

It’s already strange when a translation of a text is considered better than the original. Rarer still is that the very own author of the original text would prefer a translation of his work rather what he himself wrote. That’s how Gregory Rabassa must’ve felt like when Gabriel Garcia Marquez commented about histranslation of ‘One […]

The truth is rarely pure and never simple

You’ve probably heard of Oscar Wilde.He was known in his time as a witty and flamboyantplaywright and author and for his many epigraphs andessays touching on the soul of aestheticism.But what is less known about him is that he was atalented translator in more ways than one.As a child he learned French and German from […]

A centuries-old tradition, causer of headaches

Did you know?For almost one hundred years, between 1772 and 1858, British passports were printed exclusively in French.This is because of a peculiar perspective at the timewhich saw French as “the language of international diplomacy”, and many European politicians of the timewere forced to learn French because of this.To this day, British passports have sections […]

Is poetry translatable?

Over the course of written history, translators have knocked heads about a single topic: Poetry.  How does one translate poetry? Is it even possible?   Those who claim it isn’t, including ‘Lolita’ author and translator Vladimir Nabokov, pointed out that rhymed, metrical, versed poetry is untranslatable.   According to him, the task of translating the […]

What is our philosophy?

The philosophy of translation has remained consistent throughout the thousands of years since the ancient Greeks devised the concepts of ‘paraphrase’ and ‘metaphrase’. Scholars such as Horace and Cicero expressed caution against ‘word-for-word’ translation, and this sentiment has been repeated throughout the works of other seminal Western translators like John Dryden and Ignacy Krasicki. As […]

The integral necessity of human translation

A large and very significant reason as to why human translation will stay relevant and useful is the existence of “low-resource” languages. This is a term coined by programmers to describe languages have little or no data available to use fortraining conversational AI systems. Languages like English, Spanish, and Chinese havemillions upon millions of published […]

Translation as a means of power

While you’ve probably heard of the Rosetta stone (the trilingual inscription written in ancient Greek, Egyptian and Demotic), the lesser known inscription of Xerxes I, King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, made around 500 BC, often goes ignored. It’s written in Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian, all of these being offshoots of Cuneiform, the […]

The father of biblical translations

The German people owe a big deal of their language to a single man: the figure behind the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther. Because of his translation of the Bible (from Ancient Greek to German), the country’s language shifted. His translation was localized, so that, in his words, “the mother in the home and the plain […]

The apparent importance of translation to our ancestors

The fact that translation has been valued and practiced for millennia shows of its importance in our communication. One of the most significant moments in translation history (at least for the French) was when Charles VThe Wise (1338-1380) commissioned a translation of Aristotle’s ‘Politics’, ‘Ethics’, and ‘Economics’, which were of considerable value to the young […]


The Great Translation Movement continues to cause waves in the online political world, but it’s important to make certain things clear about the implications of such an event.On one hand, exposing the pro-war rallies ofpropagandists seems like a righteous cause, but doing so can lead people to generalize about the Chinese population.On the other, it […]