In Other Words

A weekly series of interviews about how translation has changed the English speaking world. <br />Editor: <a href="">Patrick Cox</a><br />Reporter/Producer: <a href="">Nina Porzucki</a>


Meet the folks behind the subtitles on your favorite movies and streaming TV shows


Remember the last time you saw a foreign language film? You sat down in the dark, popcorn in hand, and for the next two hours you read all those subtitles. But even if you’ve seen a lot of subtitled movies, you’ve probably never thought of who wrote those fleeting words on the screen?


Poet, translator, soldier, spy? Remembering the man who brought Proust to the English world

Translator extraordinaire Ayub Nuri on the right, along with reporter Aaron Schachter and their driver Abdulrazzaq Zanjeel at a street cafe in Baghdad in 2003.

Fixers are a foreign reporter’s best friend — and often their lifeline

The phrase ‘Wha gwan’ (whaa gwaan) means ‘what’s going on’ in Jamaican Patois. The spelling varies but the meaning does not change.

Pidgin, patois, slang, dialect, creole — English has more forms than you might expect

Google Translate turns "quid pro quo" into "What happens in Vegas!"

It’s possible to translate the untranslatable — if you have enough time

From the October 1927 Fifth Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons. Hendrik Lorentz, Leiden University, seated between Madame Curie and Einstein, chaired the conference.

How did English become the language of science?


It’s Nobel Prize season. While scientists throughout the world will be awarded this prestigious prize, there’s a good chance all of their research was written up in English. Michael Gordin, a professor of the history of science at Princeton, wrote a new book, “Scientific Babel” that explores the intersection of the history of language and science.

The interpreters' booth at the Nuremberg trials. From left to right: Capt. Macintosh, British Army, translates from French into English; Miss Margot Bortlin, translates from German into English; Lt. Ernest Peter Uiberall, Monitor.

How the Nuremberg Trials changed interpretation forever

Global Politics

We take simultaneous interpretation for granted today, watching world leaders at the UN and other organizations listen to speeches being translated in real time. But there was a time not too long ago when even the thought of someone instantly translating speech was impossible.

Bacon sign

You are what you eat — and how you translate the menu


Why does an entrée mean a different part of the meal in America and England? How did tea and chai become universal terms? Linguist Dan Jurafsky, author of the new book The Language of Food, talks about how the grammar of food affects us every time we sit down to a meal.

Illustration from a 1905 edition of "Grimms' Fairy Tales. The dwarfs warn Snow White not to accept anything from strangers. (Illustration: Franz Jüttner )

We love fairy tales — maybe we’d love them more if they were translated right


If you think you know the story of Snow White, or Hansel and Gretel or any of the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales, think again. You probably know the cleaned-up, Disney versions. Author Adam Gidwitz returns to the blood and gore of the original stories in his retelling of them, while adding his own contemporary comments to help ease the tension for kids.

The World

What do the words mutton, sheep and robot have in common? Translation!


Translation has an impact on our lives every day — and it has for centuries. Linguist and translator David Bellos explores the origins of translation.