I was just reading the online version of The Economist, and was, as always, on the lookout for any language related articles. Johnson, a blog named after the dictionary-maker Samuel Johnson, features pieces by Economist correspondents who write about the effects that the use (and sometimes abuse) of language have on politics, society and culture around the world. It has inspired some of my blog posts in the past.
The 10 June 2011 article is titled “The man who _____ed an entire country” and it refers to the cover of this month’s Economist (Europe edition) where the missing word is “screwed” (see image below).
“Screwed” in English has a double meaning and in discussions of the cover in various media outlets, in other languages, editors are grappling with what word to use to effectively translate the title. For our Language Rich Europe project we had similar debates on whether to translate the project title.
The author concludes “There must be other languages that have a double-duty word that can translate this, but I can’t think of one right now”. So far 102 commentators have tried to help out with their suggestions!
The full post is here: http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2011/06/translation&fsrc=nwl
Jonathan Brennan (Aptalops).