Thursday, September 20, 2007

Writing and photos of Robert P. Baird; translating Books, incl. Spanish to English; Site Updates; Memoirs of my first small plane flight

I recommend that you explore digitalemunction, a site for the original writing, thoughts and photographs of Robert P. Baird of Chicago. A piece on the econometrics of hate crime particularly struck me as insightful, but I have barely scratched the surface.

If you like books, words, language and culture, you will enjoy looking at the site Life in Translation, which deals with translating Spanish into English and refers to many related sites, including one that details mistranslation in movies (films).

Both of these sites are now on my blogroll.

Speaking of mistranslation, I've occasionally been responding in languages other than English, including Spanish, German, and French, both here and on other sites (including detectives beyond borders and crimespace). These efforts have pretty weak outside of Spanish and the occasional word, say, of Swedish or some form of the Norwegian language that I have picked up "along the avenue" (I never asked for an explanation of the different forms of Norwegian while I was there, though I did hear some discussion of Bokmål and Nynorsk/New Norsk one dark, cold winter night in about 1980 while warming by the fire after an exhausting day of cross country skiing). Thanks for your patience with my foreign language efforts.

I have been cleaning up my site to try to make up for my lack of knowledge when I started the blog. Expert status remains elusive, but here we go: some previously invisible links are now visible (like links to two of Gary Disher's books that I really enjoyed). In addition to these technical issues, some comments have been clarified or amplified. These include the mention of Tourette Syndrome, as part of my very brief remarks on the unusual nature of Jonathan Lethem's terrific novel Motherless Brooklyn. These edits, including the continual cleanup of typographical errors, are more obvious on the RSS feed than on the native blog itself. I guess many of you know why.

I think should disclose Cara Black is now a friend due to a very kind and generous email exchange. This will not slow down my commentary on her wonderful detective stories set in Paris, or on any other of Soho Press/Soho Crime's many first-rate volumes.

The list of Labels on the right hand side of the page may be annoyingly long, but it will help you find anything on the site. As a possible aid to the blogosphere, technorati tags are being inserted throughout, rather exhaustively. I'm not how smart the technorati search engine is. If you have any thought on these matters, I'd be happy to hear them.

I have finished Jonathan Lethem's book You Don't Love Me Yet, but I'm not yet sure what to say about it. I won't rush it. So here instead is something I wrote the other day in response to Annalee Blysse asking about people's experiences with small planes (the date is accurate +/- one year):

"I took my first flight in a small plane in 1975. The pilot was a friend from high school and we were college freshmen at the time. I never really thought about it for a second, until right after take-off. Then I became distinctly aware of the fact that I was in a tin can, and not a heavy duty one, bouncing all over the place. So, I had a quick decision to make: do I panic because my buddy is taking me to my death in a flimsy piece of junk that has just launched into the sky, or do I sit back and enjoy the ride? Luckily, I was able to accomplish the latter. Panic didn't seem like a helpful or practical solution to anything. Later, we flew into Mexico for a couple of trips and slept under the wings- just imagine customs & immigration checks on a couple of kids with a plane! Just imagine not being able to raise the tower (in Spanish or English) at Guaymas, and then having a 727 pull in right behind us and almost blow us away (literally). Ah, those were the days."

Annalee recommends (Flork: Meet new people Webwide) for book promotion. Comments are most appreciated, as always.

© James K. Bashkin, 2007

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  1. Thanks for the link to that Life in Translation site. I'll take a look at it and maybe make a post about it. I have posted from time to time about the practice and the art of translation, and this might fit right in.

    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  2. Peter, I'm glad you liked it. There are lots of links to explore and lots of primary material. Reading fiction from other countries does put us at the mercy of, or make us indebted to, the translators. My late father translated a physics textbook from German into English (he was a physicist), mainly to help out his friends who wrote the German version. That was quite an effort.

    Thanks for the feedback and best wishes, Jim

  3. Here's a post I made almost a year ago that links to an especially interesting article about translating crime fiction in which the translators talk about what they do:
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  4. Thanks Peter, that is a fascinating discussion of translation.

    Note to readers, double-clicking on the link in Peter's note does select the entire link even though some of it is cut off from view by my format.

    All the best, Jim