Translator Newsletter: Being Invisible, Untranslatable Words, and More!

Hello, GV'ers!

Welcome to this week's edition of the Translator Newsletter! Today we're talking about.

Compassionate Communication

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In a continuously globalizing society, we often find ourselves in workspaces where not everyone speaks English. For non-native English speakers, communicating and getting their ideas across can often pose an enormous challenge. UX designer & teacher Molly Clare Wilson wrote this fantastic post called “Taming the steamroller: how to communicate compassionately with non-native English speakers” to help people talk to one another without alienating each other when their levels of English don't quite match. Take a look and let us know — do you think these tips are helpful?

(And a big thank you to the always amazing Georgia Popplewell for passing this article along to me for the newsletter!)

Being Invisible

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When translating any text, the goal is always to make the final product look like it wasn't a translation. French-to-English translator Patricia Carson Claxton shared her experience in a post called “Translator's job is to be invisible,” where she talks about focusing on building a solid basis of language and making sure that her primary goal was to focus on “the author's ideas, imagery, and allusions.” Tell us — is “being invisible” something you think about when translating GV posts?

The Magic of “Untranslatable” Words

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We often talk about the United States as a melting pot, and likewise, the English language frequently has words that have been borrowed from other languages — words like “algebra” and “zero”, which all have roots in Arabic. But what about untranslatable words? Words that come from other languages that have not yet been assimilated into the English language. Tim Lomas dives into this fascinating topic in this post and addresses questions like: What is the purpose of words? Is there even such a thing as an untranslatable word? Read along and share your thoughts!

What SHOULDN'T be translated?

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Weird question, right? Surely everything should be translated! Well, according to Translators Family, there are a few key questions you can ask yourself if you're ever in doubt. Read their post here to find out what they are and what scenarios you may find yourself in when portions of your text can and should be left untranslated.

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As always, thank you all for your hard work and dedication to GV! If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, feel free to email me at

1 comment

  • Great readings, Marianna.
    I particularly liked the article about our necessary invisibility. That can’t be stressed enough.
    I always do my best to make my translations look as if they had been originally written in Spanish. I think I can make it most of the times.
    In GV we need people to read our posts. People tend to read things that are fluent and easy to read. When the original language or grammar can be read between the lines, it doesn’t sound natural, makes the text tiring and therefore boring, so people just stop reading.

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