the trouble with translation

the trouble with translation Originally uploaded by Box and Arrow. At the global IA session, they talked about […]

At the global IA session, they talked about one of the troubles with translation, which is that single-word concepts in one language exist in others only in paragraph form. I have a good example in my room– in French, the soup is a champignon veloute, in english it’s cream of mushroom. Veloute is a pureed soup that is especially fine, which doesn’t require cream necessarily. Cream soups often have chunks (in this case, likely of mushrooms) and smooth pureed nature is not needed. English has no word for the veloute, so you woudl have to describe the method to accurately translate it. On this menu, the two are not the same concepts, but simple “close enough” translations. Luckily this soup was both a cream soup and a veloute.


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  1. 1

    Interestingly, that same soup is translated differently (and probably correctly) on the Campbell’s soup label in Canada: “Crème de Champignons” 🙂


  2. 2
    Tony Sokolowski

    Just passing on something that may be of interest –

    My wife just bought me this quick read: In Other Words by Christopher J. Moore.

    It’s a sampling of words/concepts that are unique to diff. cultures (and their languages).

    Good stuff.

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