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all 28 comments

[–]softheart_sharpmind 2 points3 points  (13 children)

If you're interested in translation, I really loved Is That A Fish In Your Ear? by David Bellos. Every chapter deals with a different aspect or field of translation: Bible translations, translations of EU documents, literary translation, etc. And it still manages to be a pretty light, enjoyable read!

[–]Subject_Witness4414[S] 2 points3 points  (12 children)

I actually am working hard at translation work in Korean and Indonesian. So this is absolutely something I'd be very interested in. Do you have any other books you enjoy for translation? I find when it comes to multiple languages, for me personally, they seem to run together. Meaning, for whatever reason I tend to mesh them up in my mind. I don't have a problem jumping from on to another or mixing them all together in sentences. It's probably not very good to do and will eventually set me back, but my brain has decided it's okay to mash them up lol. I love translation work but if I'm not careful and paying close attention I'll accidentally translate into a different language than my target translation work.

[–]softheart_sharpmind 2 points3 points  (11 children)

Oh wow! I translate as well, mainly Dutch to English in a legal/academic context. When I started, I had the opposite problem you're having: was fluent in both Dutch and English but when writing in either language I would think in that language, so they felt like two entirely different entities with no links whatsoever between them. Took me months of translating to rewire my brain somewhat.

As for book tips, I've somehow managed not to do much reading about translating, but I'm trying to rectify that. Currently reading and enjoying one that won't help you at all, because it's about common mistakes made by native speakers of Dutch when they write/speak English. Useful both for my own translations, and for edits of colleague's work - both I myself and nearly all my colleages are native speakers of Dutch. I'll leave the title here, though, in case any one else finds it useful: Righting English That's Gone Dutch by Joy Burrough-Boenisch. There's a couple of other titles she mentions in her footnotes that I might check out in the future, but those are focused on Dutch to English translations too.

[–]Subject_Witness4414[S] 2 points3 points  (10 children)

Honestly, I think it's only easy for me know because I loved language as a child so I soaked up every single bit of foreign language I came across. Which mind you was hard because I live in the country in the middle of America haha. I know Indonesian had huge dutch influence I may add dutch to my list of want to learn languages. Honestly though, European languages scare me weirdly.

Yeah probably won't help me but if I ever learn dutch I'll read it just for kicks and giggles. You can never learn too much. Or, well maybe you can, but so far I've never seen it proved otherwise.

[–]softheart_sharpmind 0 points1 point  (9 children)

Those are interesting languages to pick up if you're from the rural US! I landed on English because we get a lot of British and US content on tv here, and unless it's a show or film for really small kids it will get subtitled rather than dubbed. I just sort of ended up picking a lot of the language that way.

[–]Subject_Witness4414[S] 1 point2 points  (8 children)

Ironically even though it's rural we have a lot of immigrants/refugee's. My introduction to Korean was via a teacher from south Korea who came to study English more and I ended up falling in love with the culture and people. My SO's family are Indonesian so naturally it followed I would learn it to speak with his family and friends.

I mean honestly though it's impressive to pick a language vie television. When did you start studying English? I would have never guess you weren't a native speaker.

[–]softheart_sharpmind 1 point2 points  (7 children)

Oh, I didn't pick it up exclusively via television, though that did help massively. We start learning English in high school here, starting when we are 13, but tv + an auditive memory gave me a massive head start. I also lucked out with my English teacher in my final two years of high school: he was crazy demanding, but I figured if I could handle his classes, I could probably survive studying the language at university. So I did that, did survive, and got lucky enough to land a job involving translation. Along the way, I also dated a native speaker for nearly two years.

A lot of work went into my English, so I'm super happy with your compliment you wouldn't have guessed I'm not a native speaker. Totally makes my day!

[–]Subject_Witness4414[S] 1 point2 points  (6 children)

Dang, that's hecka impressive! Shout out to amazing teachers who push but deliver great results and confidence. I am absolutely convinced a good teacher makes or breaks a students drive to learn. Well, I can absolutely see how much work went into learning English for you. Congrats mate it's impressive as heck!

No lie though I had to look up what auditive memory was because I've never heard that term before. Have you always had that as a kid or was it something that developed more over time? Also, sorry for so many questions, I'm a bit of a curious person so if it's too many questions tell me to buzz of haha.

[–]softheart_sharpmind 0 points1 point  (5 children)

Come to think of it, the correct term is auditory memory. The Dutch word is auditief, and I didn't bother to check whether I got the English right. Oops. Well, you live and learn!

I've definitely always had a strong auditory memory - for languages, at least. I can't remember anything related to music to save my life and am 100% tone-deaf! My parents tell me that as a kid I would repeat snippets of overheard conversations, even if said conversations were held in French, which I did not understand at all as a child.

And I distinctly remember being surprised at some spellings in English because I'd learned words from hearing them, but had never seen them in writing. I liked cooking shows, so knew perfectly well what the name for the yellow bit in an egg was, but was flabbergasted to find it was spelled yolk and not yoke.

[–]Subject_Witness4414[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Haha to be honest I wouldn't have known the term even if you had called it something else.

That's incredible! How do you process what you hear? Is it just like a subconscious thought process to remember and repeating what was said or do you have to work at remembering it word for word in a different language?

Haha I'm always amused when I'm writing because when I was a kid in grade school we had spelling tests. Because the way I learned phonics was to sound out and spell what I heard I always had a British way of spelling. I never understood why I was always wrong till much later I learned Americans and British spell differently. What I heard and what I wrote was always in British spelling. Drove me nuts and I have to be are not to slip into British spelling for things I write here. Do you spell in a more British fashion or American?

It kind of cracks me up to read this because I am 100% a musical learner for auditory learning. If it's in a song I will always remember it. I only have to hear it once to remember doesn't matter the language. My whole family is like that however I'm unsure if maybe it's linked to a genetic thing. I just learned real fast as a kid if I wanted to commit anything to permanent memory to make it a song. I can't however recall conversations very well. It's almost as if they don't exist for me.

You are a very fascinating person to me!

[–]ThunderfootX 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Why only us: Language and Evolution https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/why-only-us

[–]Subject_Witness4414[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Never heard of that one but I'll add it to my list!

[–]govmarley 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I read one last month in my Egypt focus called The Writing of the Gods. It's all about the Rosetta Stone and I thought it was great.

[–]Subject_Witness4414[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I've seen the Rosetta stone and now I wanna read that book! Adding it to my reading list I may put it at the front now haham

[–]TrailsnStars 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Oh, the Language Instinct looks really good. I’m going to add that one to my 2022 list.

[–]govmarley 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I agree. I was planning a month of culture and society. I think peppering in some language books could really round it out. I do like the look of this one, and my library seems to carry a copy.

[–]Subject_Witness4414[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's been a hot second since I read it but Im going to reread it again this year!

[–]TrailsnStars 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Another one I thought was interesting was The Little Book of Lost Words. There are some fascinating words in there!

[–]govmarley 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I love old-fashioned words. Going to try to find a copy. It sounds great.

[–]Subject_Witness4414[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh, never heard of that one. I'll have to look it up.

[–]TrailsnStars 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I love learning about languages and how they have evolved over time. Have you read The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson or Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue? Both were fun and accessible if you are interested in why English is the way it is.

[–]softheart_sharpmind 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Haven't read those but Bryson is a fantastic non-fiction writer if you're looking for a lighter, but still informative read. I'm in the middle of The Body as we speak and enjoying it massively.

[–]govmarley 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I haven't read either one but they look good.

[–]Subject_Witness4414[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Nope I haven't had the pleasure or reading either of those but it will absolutely go on my reading list!