13 April 2018

So what does "Make it sing" really mean? (Recovered)

It's a good question.
Attempts to explain what is meant usually get bogged down after just a few paragraphs.
So how about explaining the idea using examples?
Great idea, but really telling, convincing examples can be hard to find.

Good news!
Here's one that I find convincing:

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.
Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
Source: GoodReads by Gary Provost
To hear it read with aplomb, try this.

It looks and reads better with a layout that I can't readily equal using Blogger:

For information on Gary Provost (1944-1995), see here.

Next step?

Now all I need is similarly convincing examples from the worlds of technical journalism and translated technical journalism.
Any suggestions?

This tweet by Anglocom is pertinent:
36 minutes agoMoreA good reminder for English translators of Latin languages: “An abstract noun neither smiles nor sings nor tells bedtime stories.” (Lewis Lapham)

10 April 2018

So what does "Make it sing" really mean? ... accidentally deleted

I was about to add to my post entitled
So what does "Make it sing" really mean?
(previously at steve-dyson.blogspot.com/2018/03/so-what-does-make-it-sing-really-mean.html)
but accidentally deleted the entire post.

If anyone happens to have a copy, could they please send it to me.

I was going to add this excellent quote by Tim Parks in
Why translators deserve some credit
The translator who is on song – the one who has the deepest understanding of the original and the greatest resources in his own language – brings style and content together in something altogether new that is also astonishingly faithful to its model.
Love the expression "on song".
Beautiful and indeed precisely on song.

Recovered thanks to web.archive.org

02 April 2018

Exchange with FT regarding the word 'minaret'

After reading Château de Chambord: overnighting at the Loire’s grandest folly, I submitted a comment saying something along the lines (when I tried to recover my original comment it was no longer accessible):
Nice article. In my opinion, however, one term stood out like a saw thumb. I refer to your use of 'minaret'.
In the version currently online, we find:
I sit at the window of my room in the Relais de Chambord, a new hotel beside the castle, watching the last of the sun reflect off its pale sandstone, its turrets and domes, towering walls and endless windows.
and the caption:
The castle’s turrets and domes seen from the hotel garden
 These previously read:
I sit at the window of my room in the Relais de Chambord, a new hotel beside the castle, watching the last of the sun reflect off its pale sandstone, its minarets and domes, towering walls and endless windows.
and the caption:
The castle’s minarets and domes seen from the hotel garden
I promptly received the following reply
Tom Robbins, FT Travel Editor said:
Thanks SteveDy. I think it's technically defensible since, according to the Oxford Dictionary, it means "a slender tower". But of course minaret usually relates to mosques, so yes "turret" would be better. I've now updated this piece to that effect. Thanks again

followed a couple of days later by
RuaridhNicoll said:
I defer to my esteemed editor here Steve, but just to explain my thinking, I wrote minaret intentionally because the roofscape was designed to resemble Constantinople. I should have probably said that though! best Ruaridh


  1. I find the Oxford Dictionary's definition of 'minaret' rather inadequate.
  2. I like Ruaridh's use of 'roofscape'.
  3. I was fascinated to discover that Ruaridh is a  Scottish name that means 'red king'.
  4. I was even more fascinated to discover that the roofscape was designed to resemble Constantinople. What a wonderful titbit of trivia for a dinner party discussion on touring France.
  5. Further proof that a terminologist's curiosity often leads to interesting exchanges.

19 March 2018

Disruption in the air

No, the headline does not announce another blog post on disruption in the translation industy, just changing views on the word and its cognates.

I take my lead from the (Australian) Radio National program Disrupting the disruptors.
Listen to it here. Or read the transcript here.

Disruption and its cognates are very trendy indeed these days in technical journalism and, as a result, in translations of technical journalism into English.
But journalists and translators who use the word need to know its background and rapidly changing uses and abuses. Disrupting the disruptors will help.

14 February 2018

Émilie Du Châtelet remembered

From the Wikipedia entry on Émilie Du Châtelet:

Translation and commentary on Newton's Principia

In 1749, the year of Du Châtelet's death, she completed the work regarded as her outstanding achievement: her translation into French, with her commentary, of Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (often referred to as simply the Principia), including her derivation of the notion of conservation of energy from its principles of mechanics. Published ten years after her death, today Du Châtelet's translation of the Principia is still the standard translation of the work into French. Indeed, her translation and commentary of the Principia also contributed to the completion of the scientific revolution in France and to its acceptance in Europe.
Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet, communément appelée Émilie du Châtelet, née à Paris le  et morte à Lunéville (Lorraine) le , est une mathématicienne, femme de lettres et physicienne française. Elle est renommée pour la traduction en français des Principia Mathematica de Newton qui fait encore autorité aujourd'hui. Elle-même expérimentatrice, elle a contribué non seulement à populariser en France l'œuvre physique de Leibniz, mais a aussi démontré par l'expérience que l'énergie cinétique (appelée à l'époque « force vive »), était bien proportionnelle, comme il l'avait formulé, à la masse et au carré de la vitesseVoltaire, avec qui elle entretient une liaison de quinze ans, l'encouragea à poursuivre ses recherches scientifiques.
When a science translator's reputation remains intact for over two hundred years, not to mention the quality of her commentaries on no less an author than Sir Isaac Newton, I think we can say that the lady's achievements are an extraordinary inspiration.

For more, see Voltaire in Love by Nancy Mitford.
Although her name is not directly linked to that of the famous Place du Châtelet right in the centre of Paris, I know I'll think of Émilie Du Châtelet the next time I'm there, and even the next time I'm on a metro that passes through the Place du Châtelet station.

25 January 2018

A quote that says it all

William Barclay, theologian and translator:
"No one has ever made a translation without the haunting sense of how much better it might have been, and of the imperfections of this translation no one is more conscious than I am."
Jost Zetzsche in The Tool Box Journal - A computer journal for translation professionals Issue 18-1-283:
This stands in such remarkable contrast to the way machine translation is often talked about in the media, or how unabashedly some MT developers brag about the results of their programs. But just this last week I realized that one term sometimes used by the media is actually very helpful. ... (MT systems) "convert" from one language to another.

21 December 2017

Echange de tweets avec Naval Group

Mon précédent post donne un aperçu de mes relations avec DCNS, devenue Naval Experts.

Il y a deux jours, Claire Allanche, directrice de la communication de Naval Group, a tweeté :

Fin juin Naval Group changeait de nom : Claire Allanche, directrice de la communication de Naval Group propose quelques pistes pour réussir ce type de transformation

Les 10 commandements d'un « renaming »

Un renaming, comme disent les professionnels, induit un certain nombre d'étapes à suivre. Effectuer des tests, trouver un nom, le valider au plan juridique, changer la signalétique, etc.  1)...
(Malheureusement, pour des non-abonnés à Les Echos, l'article n'apparaît que de façon fugace. Heureusement, j'ai quand même eu le temps de lire les 5 premiers commandements avant de perdre l'article de vue.)
J'ai répondu successivement:
Si l'objectif est de se développer à l’international, peut-être fallait-il étudier l'impact des noms proposés sur les milieux cibles. Pas sûr que ces noms passent bien en anglais. Dommage.
Claire Allanche, directrice de la communication de Naval Group. Je me demande si vous avez bien lu le commandement 4. Faites tester le nom Naval Energies (en bon français "énergies pour marines militaires") dans les pays cibles. Ce n'est franchement pas génial.
Intéressant également de noter que les entreprises figurant dans le graphisme travaillent toutes dans des secteurs sans aucun rapport avec Naval Group et ses filiales. Sujet à approfondir, non?
Est-ce que j'aurais pu être plus constructif ?
Aujourd'hui retraité, mon objectif n'est pas de critiquer pour critiquer mais de provoquer une réflexion au sein d’une entreprise qui fait tant de choses si bien, mais qui pourrait faire bien mieux en matière de communication et de 'branding' auprès de ses clients et prospects non-francophones.

So what does "Make it sing" really mean? (Recovered)

It's a good question. Attempts to explain what is meant usually get bogged down after just a few paragraphs. So how about explaining th...