King James Bible 400th anniversary

Posted: 12/06/2011 in Language
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2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. The anniversary is both a cause for celebration and for reflection: is it possible to have a final version of such a work? Probably not. Translations can never be final and conclusive.

This is demonstrated by the waves of new editions of all-time classics such as Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”, Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary”, Proust’s “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu”. As far as I can remember, translators have never been this busy before. The fact that Stieg Larsson is constantly in the bestseller list, is a sign of the building momentum for the ART of good translation.

The increasing popularity of foreign fiction like Steig Larsson’s Millennium-trilogy or Haruki Murakami’s new hit, 1Q84, means that translators are in high demand. Not only literary translators, but also marketing and technical translators.

Surprisingly enough in this economy, for the first time in many years most freelance translators are very happy with their work volume. According to various reports I read about the annual ATA conference, 2011 has been a great year for translators in general. And for the first time in many years, the outlook is even brighter in our profession!

Translators are a rare and shy breed that rarely make it into the spotlight. Unless, of course, they live in countries like Japan, where they are treated like rock stars and have their own book of celebrity gossip: 翻訳家列伝101 (Honyakuka Retsuden 101, or The life of Translators 101).

Happy KJB anniversary! May 2012 be even better for translators!

Francesco Pugliano

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