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Book Review" "Found in Translation" Reveals the Essential Nature of Language

Alysia Lester, for GPA — Language shares a profound and complex connection with translation. Throughout the book, Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World, authors Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche doing an incredible job illustrating this connection. Kelly and Zetzsche, both translators themselves, focus their attention upon the intellectual and practical difficulties of translating and interpreting, and the related realm of nuanced differences between written and spoken translation.

The authors aim to prove that interpreting and translating is not as effortless as it may seem to those without knowledge of multiple languages. With “six to seven thousand languages in the world” according to the book, traversing languages with skill is a very difficult, demanding task. What’s more, our world indeed relies upon interpreters and translators proficient in languages other than English and its Latin-based counterparts.

The book asserts that in today’s world, being a native speaker of more than one language is not enough of a basis for successful translation. This is where professional translators and interpreters flourish. Their training has provided them with the skill sets needed to accurately and sensitively interpret language. They are also well-tuned to interpreting languages grammatically and within context, which is often an issue with bilingual interpreters who lack formal training.

One of the main points of Found in Translation is the idea that good translation has the power to change the world for the better. It does and can better support the industries of healthcare, business, social media, and sports, along with many others. The world holds a diverse population, and it seems like common sense for people and businesses to branch out and use interpreters and translators within various industries as commerce and culture become more global. This is especially true in the United States. One strong example is how the social media network of Facebook is provided to users in 72 languages. By engaging such a wide audience, the Facebook brand has managed to become a household name in nearly all parts of the earth.

Kelly and Zetzsche’s detailed analysis of language and translation explains how the world is affected by this practice. The book is written in such a way that any and all users of language will be able to appreciate the concept that Found in Translation espouses: language definitively makes the world go round and we are all affected by its influence.

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