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New Bible Translator: Others 'Have Done a Wretched Job'

Robert Alter takes a more literary approach

(Newser) - A new Hebrew Bible translation stands out for accentuating the poetic style of the original language—and for having just one translator, the New York Times reports. Robert Alter, 83, began the project about 20 years ago partly out of frustration: "The modern translators, English and American, have done... More »

Macron Uses Unusual Word to Describe Aussie PM's Wife

French leader probably meant 'delicious' in the most complimentary way

(Newser) - If you've ever seen an excessively adorable baby and gushed that you want to eat it right up, maybe you'll empathize with Emmanuel Macron. Per the AP , the French president was finishing up a short visit Down Under on Wednesday and tried to thank his host, Australian Prime... More »

Pope: Deliver Us From Bad Translation of Lord's Prayer

Francis wants to reword 'lead us not into temptation' line

(Newser) - The concept of temptation, and avoiding it, is something all Roman Catholics are made to confront throughout their liturgical lives. But Pope Francis is now saying if you feel that irresistible pull toward that which you shouldn't do, don't blame God for it. Specifically, per Reuters , the pontiff... More »

Microsoft: Sorry for Really Bad Bing Translation

'Daesh' translated to 'Saudi Arabia,' which is definitely not correct

(Newser) - Whoops: Microsoft has apologized after its Bing translator mistakenly translated "Daesh," the Arabic name for ISIS, into "Saudi Arabia" in English. Social media users in Saudi Arabia angrily pointed out the error, the Guardian reports, and it quickly went viral. "As an employee of [Microsoft], I... More »

Grimms' Original Fairy Tales Were the Stuff of Nightmares

In new translation of Grimm tales, Snow White's own mom wants to kill her

(Newser) - Forget an evil stepmother: The woman jealous of 7-year-old Snow White's beauty was her biological mother, and she flat out wanted her kid dead. At least that's how the Brothers Grimm tell it in the first edition of their fairy tales; that December 1812 version has just been... More »

Man Finishes Life's Work: Translating Famed Porn Tale

David Tod Roy finishes incredible effort with publication of final volume

(Newser) - It's being described by the New York Times as having a "Ulysses'-like level of quotidian detail": an almost 3,000-page book that stretches over five volumes and features more than 4,000 endnotes. It also happens to be incredibly pornographic. David Tod Roy, an 80-year-old emeritus professor... More »

French Bishops: Lord's Prayer Is 'Blasphemous'

Will be updated with new translation

(Newser) - France's Catholics have been using a potentially blasphemous version of the Lord's Prayer for almost 50 years, the country's bishops have decided. For 17 years, linguistic and theological experts have been arguing over a translation, introduced in 1966, of the line "And lead us not into... More »

Translators: Psy Didn't Really Say 'Kill Those Yankees'

Bad translation fuels controversy

(Newser) - If you've had trouble enjoying " Gangnam Style " ever since hearing that Psy once urged people to kill Americans , well, we've got some good news. It looks like the lyrics to "Dear American"—which was a cover from a band called NEXT—may have been... More »

US Hangs Iraqi Translators Out to Dry

With visa process slowed, many now fear for their lives

(Newser) - When the US signed up translators in Iraq, it promised them an inside track for a special visa to the US. But now that the war is over, the visa approval process has slowed to a crawl, leaving translators stuck in Iraq—where many want them dead for helping the... More »

Evangelicals Slam New Gender-Neutral Bible

New translation cuts down on the 'he's'

(Newser) - God is still the Father in the latest version of the world's most popular Bible, but conservative Christians aren't happy with gender-neutral language elsewhere in the 2011 New International Version Bible. The new translation—which Biblical scholars say is a more accurate interpretation of the original Greek and Hebrew—uses... More »

Sorry Kids, No 'Booty' in New Bible

US bishops replace chuckle-inducing word with 'spoils'

(Newser) - No longer will young Catholics snicker in Sunday school every time the word "booty" comes up in a Bible verse: In the newest translation of the New American Bible, Catholic bishops have ordered the word "booty" replaced with the word "spoils." It's just one of many... More »

Après Le Deluge: French Battle Anglo Terms in Web Age

Experts struggle to create equivalents for terms like 'cloud computing'

(Newser) - Defenders of the French language are fighting a rear-guard action against a flood of Anglo-Saxon computing terms. In a process that lags far behind advances in technology, experts are tasked with finding French equivalents for new computing technology. The terms must then be passed by a panel of linguists and... More »

Top-Selling US Bible Due for Translation Update in 2011

Translators promise to revisit TNIV's gender-neutral revisions

(Newser) - The New International Version of the Bible will get an update in 2011 as scholars adapt translations to contemporary English usage, USA Today reports. The top-selling Bible translation in North America has not been updated for 25 years, with a proposed 1997 edition scuttled after provoking a contentious debate among... More »

US Still Lacks Translators in Vital Languages

Intelligence, military officials often unable to read texts, emails

(Newser) - Nearly eight years have passed since 9/11, but national security agencies remain disturbingly low on translators for crucial dialects, the Washington Times reports. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives email and text-message each other freely in languages the CIA largely ignored before 2001. "I can't explain it,... More »

Shanghai Seeks to Stamp Out 'Chinglish' Signs

(Newser) - Foreign tourists in Shanghai may soon have to go without the amusement of photographing signs in mangled English: City authorities, long embarrassed by the signs, are launching a campaign to root out "Chinglish" ahead of hosting the 2010 World Expo, the BBC reports. Student volunteers will check the city's... More »

Facebook, Google Roll Out Persian Updates

Internet companies rush new tools for Iranian protesters

(Newser) - Twitter has taken extraordinary measures to keep its site running during the Iranian election protests, and now other websites are speeding up developments. Today Facebook launched an early version of its site in Persian, relying on 400 volunteers to translate pages into the local language. "We felt it was... More »

2 Afghans Face Death Over Koran Translation

Clerics say book aims to replace holy text

(Newser) - A pocket-size translation of the Koran has landed six men in prison in Afghanistan and left two of them begging judges to spare their lives. They're accused of modifying the Koran, and their fate could be decided Sunday in court. The trial illustrates what critics call the undue influence of... More »

Obama Speeches Teach English, Hope to Japanese

Dem's speeches good for language-learners, more inspiring than local pols'

(Newser) - The Japanese version of features an unlikely bestseller: the collected speeches of Barack Obama, with Japanese translation and accompanying CD, Reuters reports. Obama’s inspiring but straightforward rhetoric is perfect for teaching English in a country that hankers to learn the language. He “uses words such as... More »

Top Foreign Fiction of 2008

Pair of Spanish-language works highlight NPR list

(Newser) - Of 340 new works of foreign fiction and poetry translated for US audiences this year, NPR has culled five of the best into a list:
  • Senselessness, by Horacio Castellanos Moya: A Latin American freelance writer is hired by the Catholic Church to edit sinister documents in this compact dark comedy.
... More »

Army May Pay $150K Bonus to Arabic Speakers

It considers hefty retention incentive to keep translators

(Newser) - The Army may pay $150,000 to US soldiers who speak Arabic if they agree to stay in the service, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The Army also is ramping up its program to recruit and train Arabic speakers, both in the US and abroad. If the retention bonus is... More »

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