Book Reviews

Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence

Jeff Beatty | MultiLingual June 2023
R.F. Kuang’s Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence. An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution is a riveting exploration of the ways in which language can be used to incite oppression. In his review of the book, Jeff Beatty calls it a must-read for any language industry professional.

Take the Plunge
Camilla Amici | MultiLingual April 2023
While reading Carmen Cisneros’ Take the Plunge — How to Dive into Vendor Management and Enjoy It, I had more than a few flashbacks to the year 2016.
This was the year I returned to work after my first pregnancy and had to discuss my new role with my managers, because switching from a full-time to a part-time position made it difficult for me to follow the same project management activity as before.

Galateo Per Traduttori
Giada Gerotto | MultiLingual January 2023
Galateo Per Traduttori: Regole e segreti per un rapporto di successo con le agenzie di traduzione (Italian for A Translator’s Etiquette: Rules and Secrets for a Successful Rapport with Translation Agencies)
is the latest joint publication by Marco Cevoli and Sergio Alasia, managing director and owner, respectively of Qabiria, a language consulting company based in Barcelona, Spain.

The Alien Communication Handbook
Cameron Rasmusson | MultiLingual November 2022
How would humankind initiate meaningful communication with beings of entirely separate linguistic and biological development? Even that question assumes an encounter with biological beings — not machines or some otherwise distinct form of sentience. And the multitude of possibilities is fully imagined by Brian S. McConnell in his book, The Alien Communication Handbook.

The Language game
Stefan Huyghe | MultiLingual October 2022
The Language Game
(not to be confused with the book of the same name by Ewandro Magalhães), however, looks at the evolution of language through a new prism and concludes it to be fundamentally interactive and collaborative. The ingenious book by cognitive scientists Morten H. Christiansen and Nick Chater argues that meaning comes from language use itself. It sees language development as very similar to a game of charades.

The Babel Message
Marjolein Groot Nibbelink | MultiLingual July 2022
This book is about the safety warning (dubbed the “Message”) on a paper sheet (the “Manuscript”) inside Kinder Surprise Eggs — a chocolate treat for children. The writer’s unique sense of humor is immediately evident from the press release included in the parcel: “If you are one of the 75,000 people in Estonia who speak Võro, please find your press release overleaf.”

Globalization Estrategy Playbook
Adam Youngfield | MultiLingual May 2022
Formal coursework in globalization as a profession is rare. There are a few graduate localization programs in the US at institutions such as the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), and several undergraduate minor programs such as the one at Brigham Young University (BYU), but not many exist beyond those. 

An Introduction to Religious Language
Katie Botkin | MultiLingual May/June 2021
An Introduction to Religious Language is exactly what it purports to be: a text introducing readers to theolinguistics, or the study of religious language. Written more for students of linguistics than laypeople, it is dense, with some sentences packing a particular punch. “All humans participate in sacred-making,” writes Valerie Hobbs in summary.

Poems from the Edge of Extinction
Katie Botkin | MultiLingual March/April 2020
Riding the line between educational and lyrical, Poems from the Edge of Extinction features 50 poems from around the world in languages that even the seasoned linguists among us may never have heard of.

Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages
Katie Botkin | MultiLingual March/April 2019
A vivid snapshots of the world’s top 20 languages.The world contains around 6,000 living languages, but you only need 20 to reach roughly half of the world in their native language. Gaston Dorren writes about those 20 in his latest book, Babel.

Now You’re Talking
Katie Botkin | MultiLingual January/February 2019
In Now You’re Talking, professor of acoustic engineering Trevor Cox weaves an engaging yarn for his readers. This is “the story of how speaking and listening evolved, how we each develop these remarkable talents during our childhood, and how human communication is being changed by technology…”

Talk on the Wild Side
Katie Botkin | MultiLingual October 2018
“Language is a wild animal” is the metaphor upon which Talk on the Wild Side is based. Author Lane Greene asks his readers to consider a wide variety of examples proving this, starting with constructed, “logical” languages such as Loglan that nobody is quite capable of speaking. The book covers everything from the Great Vowel Shift to Vietnamese grammar to adult language acquisition — and this is just in one chapter….

Translation Matters
Katie Botkin | MultiLingual April 2018
Industry veteran and Multilingual editorial board member Jost Zetzsche has collected 81 previously-published articles and essays for his latest book, Translation Matters. Their original publication dates range from 2003 to 2017 and they appeared everywhere from Christianity Today to his own Tool Box Journal. There’s even a Twitter exchange with a journalist, put into print format like its own story….

The General Theory of the Translation Company
Sarah Pokorná | MultiLingual February/March 2018
I don’t think there’s any better way to sum up what this book is about than the title. Having worked my way through pretty much every job in the translation industry, I jumped on the opportunity to give it a read, to see if others see the industry like I do….

Think Outside the Country
Nancy A. Locke | MultiLingual April/May 2017
Overall, Think Outside the Country is a primer for those starting out on their globalization journey and a useful refresher course for those who think they know it all. Crafted by a seasoned copywriter and industry insider, the book is a fun read while providing some serious food for thought….

Passwords to Paradise
Katie Botkin | MultiLingual June 2016
Several years ago, I intently tried to find someone who could accurately localize a specific Ancient Greek phrase found in the New Testament. The phrase, in traditional English, is “wives, be subject to your husbands.” However, I was trying to find out if a more accurate modern English version would be something like “wives, do not fall back when things get tough, because your husbands need you then.”…

Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages
Katie Botkin | MultiLingual March 2016
Polyglot and language journalist Gaston Dorren has created an anecdotal crash course on European linguistics with his book Lingo. Covering the idiosyncrasies of 50-plus languages, from the spelling of Scots Gaelic to the counting conventions of Breton, Dorren weaves tales of conquest, social mores and isolating landscapes with remarkable ease….

The Definitive Guide to Measured Translation Quality
Nancy A. Locke | MultiLingual Jul/Aug 2015
In The Definitive Guide to Measured Translation Quality, Sonia Monahan and Jason Arnsparger at ForeignExchange Translations have drawn on their combined and extensive experience to shed some light on the topic. The result, at 92 pages: a slender but information-packed and highly readable little volume….

The Book of Standing Out: Travels through the Inner Life of Freelance Translation
Nancy A. Locke | MultiLingual March 2015
Thanks to social media platforms, self-publishing tools and, of course, traditional publishing, freelance translators have a wealth and wide range of resources to help them navigate the practical aspects of the brave, new world of translation. The Book of Standing Out: Travels through the Inner Life of Freelance Translation by Andrew Morris ably straddles professional reality both online and off.

Translation and Localisation in Video Games: Making Entertainment Software Global
Frank Dietz | MultiLingual March 2015
To me, the most interesting section of Translation and Localisation in Video Games was the chapter on training localization professionals. It offers not only an overview of existing programs at European universities, but also outlines the basic components that a module on game localization should include. The basic goal of Bernal-Merino, as he states at several points in his book, is to help bridge the gap that exists between academia on one side and the gaming and localization industries on the other….

Diversification in the Language Industry
Sébastien Adhikari | MultiLingual April/May 2014
When Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species in 1859, he forever changed the view that the natural world was an ordered system that had existed as-is for countless years and would remain immutable until the end of time. “Survival of the fittest” became a basic axiom, not only in biology, but also in other spheres of human endeavor. The business world in particular has embraced this principle, and its imperatives currently rule the vast majority of commercial ventures, from multinational corporations down to the small shops on Main Street…

Game Localization: Translating for the global digital entertainment industry
Frank Dietz| MultiLingual March 2014
Other sections on accessibility and localization, fan translation (“ROM hacking”) and crowdsourcing, as well as the use of machine translation in online games provide valuable insights. To me, however, the most interesting chapter was “Pedagogical issues in training game localizers.” The authors criticize the fact that despite the large demand for game localization and the existence of numerous translator training programs at universities worldwide, this subject has been largely ignored (though they do include an appendix on “Postgraduate courses in game localization in Spain”). . .

Macro/micro: Keeping tabs on your frenemies
Terena Bell | MultiLingual March 2014
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, has seven different definitions of the word frenemy. None of them are positive. Personally, I first heard of frenemies when the term popped up as a program title in season three of Sex and the City. In this episode, Miranda meets a guy at a wake and asks how he knew the deceased. He says, “Roommates in college. We were friends, but competitive. We were always fighting it out for everything. He even died first, just to beat me to the punch,” to which Miranda responds, “You were the classic frenemies.”. . .

Translating Technical Documentation Without Losing Quality
Sébastien Adhikari | MultiLingual December 2013
Technical translation is a wide-ranging field, and most professional translators have had to deal with a technical document at some point in their careers, be it a set of instructions to install a piece of equipment, a long manual for a new procedure or a “simple” PowerPoint presentation scrutinizing some obscure aspect of a company.

MOX: Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation
Katie Botkin | MultiLingual October/November 2012
Taking a cue from Mox’s agony with his translation memory (TM), Newell’s essay lambasts most commercial TM tools, saying that “giving a translator a translation memory tool is like giving an artist a robotic arm: this makes it much easier to record how the artist produced the work, but the work itself is stilted, artificial and slow.”

Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World
Elizabeth Colón | MultiLingual September 2012
For interpreters, translators, linguists and trainers, anyone contemplating becoming an interpreter or translator, and professionals in businesses intending to reach new markets, this book is a must read. There are stories from amazing people in different industries, providing their perspectives on interpreting and translation, sharing how their work has affected others or even themselves.

Objectif clients
Nancy A. Locke |  MultiLingual July/August 2012
As old-fashioned as it seems by turns, however, overall Gauthier’s book succeeds as an authentic, “tried and true” account that functions as much as a welcome, if at times avuncular, pep talk as a reference. Decades working as a professional translator in both the public and private sectors and, finally, as a freelancer, have given Gauthier a clear understanding of translators and translation.

Deborah Schaffer |  MultiLingual June 2012
A good example is presented by the very first chapter. It opens with the Sarah Palin “refudiate” incident; ties it to “the new lingo that’s sweeping around the world” — that is, Amglish; and goes on to consider other recent neologistic or grammatical controversies, including Greta Van Susteren’s coinage of the term squirmish to characterize the United States’ role in the uprising in Libya.

Babel No More
Nataly Kelly | MultiLingual April/May 2012
There is a taboo around claiming that you “speak” a language unless you have mastered it to the degree that a translator or interpreter would. The pervading notion of quality revolves around the idea that only native speakers should produce translations into their language.

Thomas Banks |  MultiLingual March 2012
In Capti (The Prisoners), Stephani Berard has written a novel that deserves more of an audience than it will conceivably find. There may be a few relevant reasons for this paucity of readership, but the obvious one is the author’s choice to write his tale of intrigue, farce and metaphysics in Latin — the first novel to be originally published in this language in over 250 years.

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?
Nancy A. Locke | MultiLingual March 2012
Both fans of science fiction and translation buffs may quickly twig to the “fish” reference in the title of David Bellos’ recent book on translation, which has made it to the lists of both The New York Times Notable Books for 2011 and The Economist’s 2011 Books of the Year.

The Interpreter’s Journal
Nancy A. Locke | MultiLingual January/February 2012
Stories from a Thai and Lao Interpreter describes the unique experience of one interpreter, from her relatively humble beginnings in Isaan (Thailand) and study abroad experience in Japan, to her trials, personal and professional, in her adopted homeland (the United States), marriage and divorce, business ventures and burn out, concluding with professional and personal success.

The Game Localization Handbook: Second Edition
Gianna Tarquini | MultiLingual September 2011
Accounting for 30%-50% of total revenue in a worldwide industry worth over $50 billion, according to The Economist, game localization confirms itself as a strategic factor in global success. Yet it tends to be underappreciated by the game development industry and in specialized literature.

tekom Studie
Barbara Inge Karsch |  MultiLingual July/August 2011
The German version of this terminology research report has been on the market for a year. Its structure allows terminologists, translators, content publishers, and managers as well — in short, anyone involved in communication — to learn more about the field.

Latino Link
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo | MultiLingual June 2011
Joe Kutchera, author of the 2010 book Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content, focuses on ways businesses can reach Spanish-speaking consumers, both domestic and international, via online marketing and social media.

The Savvy Client’s Guide to Translation Agencies
Ultan Ó Broin | MultiLingual April/May 2011
Well written and in a straight-to-the point, jargon-free style, it is a very useful orientation and reference for individuals and small or medium-sized client operations new to the often stressful task of choosing a translation agency for their content.

Virtual Words: Snapshot of current tech speak is a fun and easy read
Deborah Schaffer | MultiLingual March 2011
Many people love etymology, even if they might not be familiar with the term. Venues exploring the fascinating meanings and background of words — books, articles, newspaper columns, electronic newsletters and websites — have abounded at least since Samuel Johnson included occasional tidbits of word histories and social commentary in his Dictionary of the English Language from 1755.

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?
Nancy A. Locke |  MultiLingual March 2012
Both fans of science fiction and translation buffs may quickly twig to the “fish” reference in the title of David Bellos’ recent book on translation, which has made it to the lists of both The New York Times Notable Books for 2011 and The Economist’s 2011 Books of the Year.

Ultan Ó Broin | MultiLingual September 2010
Globish tells us about the spread of the English language throughout the world and how it was facilitated by historical and political events.

African Languages in a Digital Age
Ultan Ó Broin |  MultiLingual September 2010
African localization activity is limited painfully, though growing. Colonial languages such as English, Portuguese and French are the working languages of business or the state. Without localization into African languages, software and content cannot meet the needs of most people nor have a positive effect.