Today marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), whose masterpiece, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (1605), is recognized as the first modern novel in Spanish, and a kind of bridge between the medieval and the modern in the evolution of the language. In a recent interview with the journalist Virginia Bautista, the prominent Mexican author Ignacio Padilla, himself a specialist in Cervantes’s work, describes Don Quixote as “the catalyst for the birth of modern Spanish.”
It is common knowledge, at least in the translation industry, that only around 3 percent of all books published in the United States are translations. Indeed, this rather dismal statistic has been enshrined in the name of one of the most important online forums for international literature, the University of Rochester’s excellent website Three Percent. In fact, however, a closer look at the statistics reveal an even worse state of affairs, as the three percent figure is bolstered considerably by technical manuals and other non-fiction texts: for literary fiction and poetry, the figure is actually closer to 0.7%.
On the occasion of World Down Syndrome Day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on March 21, 2013, saying that: “in working life, stereotypes against persons with Down syndrome often mean they are denied vocational training opportunities and their right to work. In the political and public sphere, persons with Down syndrome and other persons with intellectual disabilities are often deprived of their right to vote and fully participate in the democratic process.”
Down syndrome can give rise to very complicated situations for individuals and families. This is one of these cases.
Pablo Muñoz Sánchez
Not too long ago I received an email from someone who told me a story which, unfortunately, I’ve heard from others before. The young man was a little discouraged, not because he couldn’t find work (this was also true), but because the professors in his master’s program had taught their courses while at the same time telling their students that it was terribly hard to find work as a translator, that it all operated through cronyism, and that even so, the rates were miserable.
“Arte en Forma de Mujer” Exhibition
Celebrating the artistic talent of Hispanic Canadian women on International Women’s Day
When: Saturday, March 5, 2016. 7 p.m.
Where: Casa Maíz,
1280 Finch Ave. West, Suite 204, Toronto
Casa Maíz is pleased to celebrate International Women’s Day with its now traditional “Arte en Forma de Mujer” (Art in the Shape of a Woman).
In his Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, US lawyer and lexicographer Bryan A. Garner suggests that legal writers today need to “strike a difficult balance in the quest to simplify legal English.” In drafting legal texts, he suggests, lawyers and jurists should “not cling perversely to archaic language, which becomes less comprehensible year by year, nor should they seek to jettison every word or phrase that bears the stamp of legal tradition” (xiii). Garner’s call to abandon unnecessary “legalese” and endeavour to make legal English as clear and precise as possible reflects a prevailing attitude in the world of law in recent decades that stresses the importance of “using legal language that is simple and direct” (ix). This general shift towards simplicity and directness in legal language is extremely important for legal translators if we want to produce translations that conform to the norms of contemporary legal English. Of course, problems arise when we are dealing with a source language where such “simplicity and directness” are not necessarily as highly valued as observance of traditional legal formulas.
LACAP Latin American Speakers Series
Speaker: Rocio Aranda-Alvarado
When: Thursday, February 18, 2016. 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
Where: SUR Gallery
100-39 Queens Quay East, Toronto
As we enter the tenth year of the Diálogos Online Forum, I’d like to begin by acknowledging the articles that received the most attention from readers in 2015. The four most popular articles posted over the past year were all articles on translation, while another three of the ten most popular were articles on Hispanic Canadian cultural initiatives. Two of the translations from our series featuring the winners of the nuestra palabra short story competition also appear, as well as a review of a short story collection by Mexican-Canadian author Martha Batiz. According to the website statistics, these were the ten most read articles of the year:
In January 2016, the Diálogos Online Forum will begin its 10th year of publications of literary works, ideas and information on Hispanic culture in Canada and abroad, and on Spanish-English translation, for the benefit of both Spanish- and English-speakers. In the meantime, we’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016!
Chilean-Canadian poet Jorge Etcheverry, one of the most important figures in Hispanic Canadian literature, turned 70 this year. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, fellow Chilean-Canadian writer Claudio Durán offered him the following tribute.