23 March 2015

Translating near-illegible Roman inscriptions

I happened upon the following reply to the question
How do scholars translate text they only have fragments of?

The full question reads:
For example, in one of Trajan's monuments there is the following inscription:
MARTI ULTOR[I]IM[P(erator)CAES]AR DIVI NERVA[E] F(ILIUS) N[E]RVA TRA]IANUS [AUG(USTUS) GERM(ANICUS)] DAC]I[CU]S PONT(IFEX) MAX(IMUS) TRIB(UNICIA) POTEST(ATE) XIII IMP(ERATOR) VI CO(N)S(UL) V P(ater) P(atriae) ?VICTO EXERC]ITU D[ACORUM] ?---- ET SARMATA]RUM----]E 31.[2]
It seems to me that much of it is guess work, as many of the words are barely there.
The reply is by Astrogator.
Fascinating!

20 March 2015

Promoting human translation: The power of two

Friend and colleague Chris Durban recently took part in a Ruckusmakers weekend led by Seth Godin.

Chris took up the ruckusmakers challenge by compiling an eight-post blog entitled simply #RuckusMakersChallenge. (The posts are probably best read from #1 to #8, which is to say from last to first.)

Some of the content develops and expands on ideas presented in 101 Things a Translator Needs to Know. This time around, however, the storylines draw on Seth Godin's workshop. The resulting narratives are cogent and powerfully argued. It's instructive, inspiring stuff.

In her introduction (in post #1), Chris writes:
I’ll be exploring how some of Seth's insights apply to hot issues in translation and to my own personal challenge: raising awareness in the general public of how expert human translators work and how that expertise can be harnessed to make life better. And allow translators to secure the income and recognition they need to shape their working environment — and get even better at what they do.

06 March 2015

Colour and perception

I'm happy to report that my post on Colour thesaurus is one of the most frequently consulted.

Various aspects of this topic continue to attract strong interest. One example is IFLS post dated 4 March by Lisa Winter entitled When did humans start to see the colour blue? (my respelling and caps).

Quotable quotes:
In fact, the first mention of blue wasn't found in any language until about 4,500 years ago. Was it possible that they weren’t able to perceive it as we do now?
If you’d like to learn more about the color experiment with the Himba tribe, the origin of the word blue, and extreme instances of color perception in humans and in animals, check out the Radiolab podcast episode Colors right here. (audio duration > 1 hour)
Many thanks to asmarttranslatorsreunion for the constructive feedback. The LanugageLog post concludes:
Whatever the explanation, I submit that the BBC documentary (and the subsequent coverage) has given us a sensationalist interpretation of an undocumented experiment, presented as reliable science, without giving us any basis to trust that this interpretation is even close to true.
See also The Evolution Of Language: Study Of Rare Indigenous Language Shows All Humans Think Of Colors In The Same Way.

Night Jasmin and L'arbre de nuit

Following the two posts below ( Night Jasmin and L'arbre de nuit ), my colleague and reviser Graham Cross wrote: Just out of interest...