Posted By P & L Blog

You're in a country where everything feels different. The food isn't what you're used to; the people don't make sense. It's sensory overload and you're bewildered by all the things around you -- the language, the music, the faces, the smells.

Everyone is moving at lightning speed, and you're still staring at the food in the grocery store, confused about what to buy.

"I walked out of the ice cream aisle because I couldn't choose," said Erin Curtis, a Peace Corps volunteer.

But she wasn't talking about her time in Kazakhstan.

Curtis was referring to her trip to the local grocery in Lexington, South Carolina, last month.

Read more at CNN



Posted By P & L Blog

Cinephiles hate dubbing because it deprives them of the full range of an actor's performance.  Actors with distinctive voices - think James Stewart - may be dubbed by voice over artists who sound nothing like them.  Audiences at a dubbed movie will have a different experience than those who hear the original voices, although many people say anything is better than having to read subtitles.

Dubbing is taking off in the Middle East for a very simple reason: over 70 milllion people can't read so subtitles don't work.  You can learn more about the dubbing industry there at The Christian Science Monitor.

Would you rather watch a movie that is dubbed or subtitled?


Posted By P & L Blog


The Frist is offering free admission today in honor of International Museum Day. If you haven't seen the Chihuly exhibit yet, I urge you to go today.  I've seen it and to quote a Nashville blogger, the exhibit "is brief but gorgeous, like walking into a midnight garden of glowing Alice in Wonderland flowers."  I couldn't agree more. 

Posted By P & L Blog

Translations Of Camilo Jose Cela
Today is the birthday of three Spanish intellectuals: Salvador Dalí, Camilo José Cela, and Francisco Umbral. While everyone is familiar with Dalí's work, Cela and Umbral are not as well known in English-speaking circles.

Cela won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1989, and several of his books were made into films.  His novel, "The Family of Pascual Duarte" (La Familia de Pascual Duarte) is said to be the most widely read book in Spain after "Don Quixote".   The book was banned in Spain for several years, even though Cela had briefly worked for the government as a censor. His writings are widely available in English and other languages.

Umbral was one of the most prolific Spanish writers in the second part of the 20th century, writing 80 books along with a regular newspaper column. He was a critic of the left, an unpopular position to take in post-Franco intellectual circles.  Like Dalí, he enjoyed the high profile he achieved from his work and he was ubiquitous at social events in Madrid.  My guess is that he will remain unknown in the US; Amazon lists many of his works, but no English translations. For literature to persist in our memories, it has to be accessible first.


Image by frengo2 under Creative Commons license.


Posted By P & L Blog

In the English-speaking world...major publishing houses are inexplicably resistant to any kind of translated material at all.

The statistics are shocking in this age of so-called globalization: In the United States and Britain, only 2 to 3 percent of books published each year are translations, compared with almost 35 percent in Latin America and Western Europe.

But this is no mere national embarrassment: The dearth of translated literature in the English-speaking world represents a new kind of iron curtain we have constructed around ourselves. We are choosing to block off access to the writing of a large and significant portion of the world, including movements and societies whose potentially dreadful political impact on us is made even more menacing by our general lack of familiarity with them. Our stubborn and willful ignorance could have -- and arguably, already has had -- dangerous consequences.

Read more of Edith Grossman's article, "A Great New Wall: Why The Crisis in Translation Matters", in the May/June issue of Foreign Policy.



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