Glocalization: The best of both worlds

You might think the terms ‘localization’and ‘globalization’ are opposites, but in reality, they go hand in hand, as in the concept of glocalization. The concept comes from the Japanese term ‘dochakuka’ (土着化), which meant adapting farming techniques to one’s own local environment. Japanese businesses began using it as a buzzword in the 1980s to promote […]

The Tale of Genji

It happens sometimes that, over the course of hundreds of years, a language evolves in such a way that it becomes very difficult to understand ancient literature only with a contemporary knowledge of that language. Around the year 1000 A.D., in Heian-kyo (modern-day Kyoto, Japan), Murasaki Shikibu wrote one of the classics of Japanese literature: […]

The Bible and Translation

The history of translation would not be the same without the existence of the Bible. Many practices that are implemented nowadays for translations originated centuries ago as monks tried to translate the holy texts into every possible language. On the image, you can see a carving that represents a monk inspired by an angel while […]

How a Mistranslation Almost Led to WWIII

The effect of a mistranslation isn’t always as simple as an ad campaign gone wrong or a scientist being driven mad by Martians (look up Percival Lowell). In today’s case, the result could’ve been a nuclear war. The year is 1956, and the Cold War is at its zenith. At the Polish embassy in Moscow, […]

The Fallout of Misinterpretation

The deeper we go into history, the more we realize how poor translations have been the reason behind many conflicts. While the causes of WWII are deep and complex, the final scene likely stemmed from a single word. As a response to the Potsdam Declaration of 1945, where the Allies called for Japanese surrender, Prime […]

Interpreters of Prehistory

The practice of interpreting originated much earlier than the invention of writing, and even though interpreters are portrayed in the walls of the pharaohs’ tombs, there’s more than a million years of human history before the Egyptians that wasn’t recorded. Uncountable human cultures that never wrote down their stories and customs, that interacted with one […]

How accurate are machine translations?

According to a 2016 study on the accuracy of machine translations, the average modern, browser-based translation software was 3x more likely to make mistakes when translating between major languages(English, Spanish, Chinese, etc.) than human translators. These tools have certainly come a long way, but even the study makes it clear that international businesses should use […]

A Translation Problem in Immigration Court

According to an article in the ‘New Yorker’ magazine from 2019 written by Rachel Nolan, a Guatemalanwoman expressed to an immigration court that she had traveled to the United States due to a problem with her blouse”. As this was what the interpreter understood, he couldn’t explain further, and the woman was deported. The woman […]

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 […]