Monday, October 31, 2016

Welcome, Follower 200!

The number of registered Followers of this blog has now reached and surpassed 200. Follower No. 200 is Constantina Triantafyllopoulou of the Metaphrasi School of Translation Studies in Athens, Greece. Welcome Constantina! The other Followers are portrayed in the panel of miniatures on the right and its extension.

Two hundred isn't a large number by Google standards, or even for blogs about translation, but it's respectable for a blog that's so specialised. It's probably a better indicator of interest than the number of page views (403,000) because pages are often viewed by people who hit on the blog by chance when they are really looking for something else; perhaps natural translation in one of its other meanings. The Followers like Constantina who have a professional or academic interest in translating are a minority; but I don't mind because I want to improve ordinary people's understanding of translating. Translators constantly complain that their role is undervalued, but they need to do more themselves to make it understood to the general public, even though the situation is slowly improving – thanks, not least, to the newspapers and the spread of machine translation.

No less impressive than the number of readers of this blog is their distribution. I get an indication of it from my other website at, which records provenance. In the past week it has had visitors from Germany, Denmark, Armenia, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Poland, the USA, Zambia, Japan, Turkey and Yemen. No print publication can match this.

So thank you Blogpost and Academia, and thank you my enlightened Followers. Rest assured that you are a tremendous encouragement to me.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Child Language Brokering Exhibition in London

Sarah Crafter and team will exhibit film and art work from their child language interpreting project.

Free event.

Source: Sarah Crafter, Institute of Education, University of London

Update: Photos from the meeting are now online at

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thank you, Gideon Toury

The sad news has just come of the death of Gideon Toury, one of the leading thinkers and most cited authors in contemporary translatology. Also one of the most influential publishers of other researchers in that field through his journal Target.

There will be an outpouring of tributes to him in the coming days and weeks, so this post will be limited to his connection with this blog's proclaimed mandate of "Natural Translation and Native Translation." Natural Translation was my coining and Native Translation was his. There are several of his publications listed in my Bibliography of Natural Translation Studies. I particularly recommend Excursus C: A Bilingual Becomes a Translator: A Tentative Development Model (see References below). The following is a quotation from it.
Nature vs, nurture in the training of translators
It was in 1973 that Brian Harris first argued for the importance of natural translation, 'the translating done in everyday circumstances by people who have had no special training for it…' Unaware of this proposal, I myself put forward, a few years later, a seemingly similar notion, that of native translator (Toury 1980b), within the applied framework of translation teaching.
The logic underlyng my proposal was simple enough. As I was to learn, it was also very much akin to the justification which Harris had given for his own notion. For one thing, translation was seen as having obvious precedence over any formal teaching (and learning) of it, both chronologically and logically, in phylogenesis as well as ontogenesis.
As the quotation shows, Gideon was generous in his acknowledgements. He also backed me in my little spat with Hans Krings in Target. In those days, the 70s and 80s, when non-professional translation was not yet recognised by the vast majority of academics and he was already famous, his devotion to descriptive translation studies was enormously encouraging to me.

Goodbye Gideon. Your family, your followers and your students will be eternally grateful to you.

Gideon Toury (1942-2016). Excursus C: A bilingual speaker becomes a translator: a tentative developmental model. In G. Toury, ed., Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond, Amsterdam, Benjamins, 1995, pp. 241-258. Available online [here] or go to

Brian Harris. An Annotated Chronological Bibliography of Natural Translation Studies with Native Translation and Language Brokering, 1913-2012. Available online [here] or go to

Brian Harris. Natural translation: a reply to Hans Krings. Target vol. 4, no.1, pp. 97- 103, 1992. Followed by a reply by Hans Krings, Bilinguismus und Übersetzen: eine Antwort an Brian Harris, Target vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 105-110.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

El Nou d'octubre 2016

Today’s the National Day of Valencians, commemorating the entry of King James I of Aragon into the city of Valencia on October 9, 1238 and its bloodless rendition by the Moorish ruler. A 14th-century stone cross in the village where I live marks the area where James's army camped.

It’s been celebrated on this blog in previous years, with some connections to language and translation. To find the posts, enter nou d’octubre in the Search box on the right.

Image and Sound
The Senyera, the Valencian flag.
And for a rousing rendition of the Valencian anthem, click here. The lyrics are in Valencian and Spanish.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

School Language Brokering

The arrival of the latest bulletin from Young Interpreters (see References [1]) is a reminder of the extent and vitality of language brokering (LB). It has news about culture brokering as well as language brokering.

It's in the nature of organising knowledge that as a field of study matures it sprouts subfields. This has happened abundantly in interpreting studies. Whereas 50 years ago it was rare to see more than the two terms interpreting and translating, today we recognise all the many subfields that were categorised in my paper All of Interpreting.[2] And now LB is a field where we can see it happening. In the beginning, some 20 years ago, for instance in the writings of Lucy Tse,[3] there was just LB. (I never liked the term, because brokering suggests negotiation and even a commercial activity, and LB is neither. Its competitor language mediation is not objectionable in this way. But LB, with 24,000 English Google mentions, is here to stay.)

Originally LB was conceived of as a behaviour of children in immigrant families in the USA, especially Hispanic families, who served as intermediaries with English speakers and with Anglophone communities. Then it was observed that there were also adolescents and even adults performing this function, so the children were distinguished by the term child language brokers (CLB), which is widely used today. So how about the older LB people? There should be a specific term for them too: adolescent and adult language brokers (ALB), but it hasn't emerged yet.

Then LB/CLB studies crossed the Atlantic and were brought to the UK by Nigel Hall of Manchester Metropolitan University, according to Rachele Antonini, the Italian pioneer of non-professional translation studies. (See the lively interview with her on YouTube and see also the recent post on this blog about child cultural brokers.)[4] On the eastern side of the pond, however, there has been more interest in LB in rhe school environment for communication between students and between students and staff or parents. The Young Interpreters movement is a prime example. There it has flourished enough to warrant another neologism: school language brokering (SLB).

Are there others? One which merits a term of its own is LB in the prison environment, a clear variant of ALB. Its prevalence has been shown in the studies by Aida Martínez Gómez and Linda Rossato [enter prison in the Search box on the right].

Meanwhile we still need unqualified LB as a cover term for CLB, ALB and all the other subtypes present and future. For there will surely be more. For instancw I'm waiting for studies of migrant language brokering or refugee language brokering.

[1] Astrid Dinneen (ed.) Young Interpreters Newsletter. Issue 25. Basingstoke: Hampshire EMTAS, September 2016. Click [here] or go to!topic/eal-bilingual/BOlTDfibw38.

[2] Brian Harris. All of Interpreting: a Taxonomic Survey. Click [here] or go to

[3] Lucy Tse (University of Southern California). Language brokering among Latino adolescents: prevalence, attitudes, and school performance. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 180-193, 1995. For an abstract of this influential article, click [here] or go to

[4] Rachele Antonini. Child Language Brokering. YouTube, 2015. click [here] or go to