Book reviewTranslating into success: Cutting-edge strategies for going multilingual in a global age Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2000. xxii + 239 pp. ISBN Hb.: 90 272 3186 9 (Eur.) Hfl. 100.00/ 1 55619 630 X (US.) $ 50.00/ Pb.: 90 272 3187 7 (Eur.) Hfl. 50.00/ 1 55619 631 8 (US) $ 24.95 (American Translators Association Scholarly Monograph Series, XI).
Reviewed by Anthony Pym
Table of contents
Globalizing capitalism requires the development of technocrat castes able to move marketing information from central to peripheral cultures. Since the central discourses and technologies are mainlyNorthAmerican (withWestern European extensions), capitalisms linguistic footsoldiers tend to be inculcated with North American values, occasionally portrayed as universal professional standards. English is the preferred language of this process (we are about to review an English-language book). Yet those technocrat castes then help sell products and ideologies to middling-class consumers in fragmented strata across a wide periphery (the book deals almost exclusively with movements from English). This sets up two sliding plates: on the one hand, we global manipulators of [ p. 375 ]information can operate in English; on the other, the end-consumers of this information are supposed to prefer non-English. That might be why, even in the age of an international tongue, there is a growing demand for translations, mainly from English to the larger languages of consumption. Translation then takes place to keep producers separate from readers, agents from end-points, centre from periphery, internationalization from translation, sometimes in the name of protecting cultures, always in the name of identifying and expanding markets. And if this chimerical separation is to work, any translations should not look like translations; global capitalism must speak the language of the consumer (“I didn’t know God could speak my language!” Nida’s ideal customer once exclaimed upon hearing a translated Bible. Nida’s God didn’t. But Microsoft might.)