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Published on Aug 24, 2011
In this charming animated video David Bellos, author of Is That a Fish in Your Ear?, talks about translation, how we make ourselves understood, and the strange variance in language between countries, cultures and people, as well as explaining how anyone can cope without the words for Left and Right, using only a tarantula.
(animated by Matthew Young and produced by Alan Trotter)
Is That a Fish in Your Ear? ranges across the whole of human experience, from foreign films to philosophy, to show why translation is at the heart of what we do and who we are. What's the difference between translating unprepared natural speech, and translating Madame Bovary? How do you translate a joke? What's the difference between a native tongue and a learned one? Can you translate between any pair of languages, or only between some? What really goes on when world leaders speak at the UN? Can machines ever replace human translators, and if not, why? The biggest question is how do we ever really know that we've grasped what anybody else says - in our own language or in another? Surprising, witty and written with great joie de vivre, this book is all about us, and how we understand each other.