Language in the news

A spate of web watching and our band of LIN irregulars have uncovered stories on EULITA, a Nuremberg interpreter speaking out, a campaign against the blight of office-speak, language workers demanding recognition, and literary translation.


The European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association (EULITA) “is committed to promoting the quality of justice, ensuring access to justice across languages and cultures and thus, ultimately, guaranteeing the fundamental principles of human rights as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.”

In a recent first anniversary press release, EULITA President Liese Katschinka (member of AIIC) cited the association’s participation in the EU Justice Forum, its contribution to the recent Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in legal proceeding, and ongoing work on model curricula for the training of legal interpreters and translators.

Nuremberg revisited

Madrid daily ABC reports that Siegfried Ramler, an interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials, says that Hermann Göring and other Nazi officials on trial never showed repentance. You can read more in El traductor de Nuremberg afirma que los nazis no se arrepintieron.

The above was picked up from an interview with him in Der Standard. You can also listen to Ramler, now 85, talking about his experience at the trials in this 45-minute video: Nuremberg Interpreter Recalls Historic Trials.

Multilingualism on the ropes?

“With every round of enlargement, the EU's internal correspondence has steered further towards English as its main working language,” reports EurActive in its coverage of a September conference held in Brussels. You can find background on EU multilingualism policy on the same site by going to Language Use in the EU.

In November AIIC was present when the European Commission/DG Translation launched its Language Industry Web Platform “for all language professionals.” You’re invited to share information and respond to online questionnaires.

Bob’s your uncle

Over at the Financial Times, Simon Kuper has taken note of the changes in Brussels and elsewhere. “In a Globish world, the native English-speaker triumphs,” he notes in Why proper English rules OK.

Business Speak

“Blue sky thinking, pushing the envelope - the problem with office-speak is that it cloaks the brutal modern workplace in such brainlessly upbeat language.” More in Are you going forward? Then stop now with Lucy Kellaway from the BBC.

Going forward with the BBC: “Management speak - don't you just hate it? Emphatically yes, judging by readers' responses to writer Lucy Kellaway’s campaign against office jargon. Here, we list 50 of the best worst examples.”

Meanwhile, at the UN…

“When delegates at the United Nations are faced with a runaway speaker - going far beyond the usual 15 minutes or so - how do their live interpreters deal with the situation?” How interpreters at the UN get the message across by Junaid Ahmed from the BBC.

Translators in Turkey demand rights

“Translators are fighting for recognition of their vocation as an independent industry as their sector associations struggle to address payment issues and implement industry standards.” OK, I don’t like the word industry but you should read more on this from the Daily News and Economic Review.

Literary Translation in Canada

A slew of links to articles on literary translation have recently rolled in.

“Canadian readers are doubly blessed, with talented authors in two languages. And translators are the bridge. Yet in recent interviews with several translators, it became clear there are no hard and fast rules in the translation game,” says Mark Medley in the National Post.

Among the Canadian translators he mentions is Lori Saint-Martin (member of AIIC), whom we featured in Interpreter Voices. Lori recently received an award from the University of Quebec “en reconnaissance de sa contribution exceptionnelle au milieu des arts et des lettres.” Read more in Lori Saint-Martin, lauréate du Prix d'excellence en recherche et creation.

More on Literary Translation

As this issue of Communicate! features an article on interpreting for a writer, it seems fitting the take a closer look at writers and literary translation.

Julian Barnes approaches the subject of translation like this: “Imagine that you are about to read a great French novel for the first time, and can only do so in your native English. The book itself is more than 150 years old. What would/ should/do you want? The impossible, of course. But what sort of impossible?”

The inspiration for the question is a new English translation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary by Lydia Davis. Barnes encircles his subject, attacking with an army of comparisons to older translations and the force of well-formed considerations on literature and language. Read Writer’s Writer and Writer’s Writer’s Writer from the London Review of Books.

Talking about the much-translated Bovary, did you know that a single phrase - bouffées d’affadissement – has been translated as:

  • gusts of revulsion
  • a kind of rancid staleness
  • stale gusts of dreariness
  • waves of nausea
  • fumes of nausea
  • flavorless, sickening gusts
  • stagnant dreariness
  • whiffs of sickliness
  • waves of nauseous disgust

This and more can be found by reading Lydia’s Davis’ own Why a New Madame Bovary? from the Paris Review.

Our thanks to Mary Fons i Fleming, Phil Smith, Salma Tejpar-Dang, Silke Gebhard, Sirpa Letonen and Danielle Grée for keeping in touch.

Recommended citation format:
Luigi LUCCARELLI. "Language in the news". December 10, 2010. Accessed June 3, 2020. <>.

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