People pose for a photo, mimicking the character in an advertisement as they visit Ebisu-bashi bridge, a popular tourist spot in Osaka, western Japan, Nov. 30, 2020.

This group in Japan is on a mission to correct English mistranslations


For the most part, the mistakes are unintentional. They’re largely the result of automated translation by products such as Google Translate.

Translator Natasha Wimmer, the book cover for “The Spirit of Science Fiction” and the author Roberto Bolaño.

Translating Roberto Bolaño into English


Gregory Rabassa on Translation

Arts, Culture & Media

Translating Judy Blume

Arts, Culture & Media

How Shakespeare Came Alive for Me — and Stays Alive Today

Arts, Culture & Media
A 1923 studio portrait of the In zikh ("Introspectivist") poetry group.

Jennifer Kronovet studied Yiddish so she could communicate with the dead


I first came across Jennifer Kronovet via her collection of poems, The Wug Test. Many of the poems are about language — how we use it, how we take it for granted, how we acquired it in the first place. (The original Wug Test was a famous language acquistion exercise developed by psycholinguist, Jean Berko Gleason.)  [[entity_id:"84678" entity_type:"node" […]

Bad Doberan, Germany is the home of Zappanale, an annual summer festival inspired by the life and work of Frank Zappa.

In the former East Germany, Frank Zappa lives on as a beacon of freedom


Who was Frank Zappa? Virtuoso guitarist? Modernist composer? Smutty lyricist? Anti-censorship activist? All of the above … and much more in the former East Germany. There, his banned records fetched small fortunes among rebellious young men who dreamed of freedom. This episode of The World in Words podcast spends 30 minutes in the company of one such man who now runs a Zappa-themed festival. We also hear from an American translator who explains Zappa’s obscure lyrics to German fans, line by line.

A protester holds up a sign at an anti-Trump demonstration in Washington DC.

The Putinization of Donald Trump

Global Politics

Many Russians perceive Donald Trump as an American version of Vladimir Putin. It’s partly based on Trump’s bombastic rhetoric, but also on how his speeches and tweets are translated into Russian.

Larry Hagman at JR in Dallas, watched around the world.

Talking Texas in Iran


What is it about Texas that sparks the global imagination? Persian and Turkish both have an expression that means, “This is not Texas.” The Norwegian adjective, ‘Texas’ means out of control.

Many Kenyans, like this man, do not speak English-- but they may speak several African languages.

To make a real difference in some of Africa’s poorest countries, we should train more translators


“Africans are incredible linguists,” says Lori Thicke, founder of Translators Without Borders, which enlists Africans to translate everything from medication instructions to election materials into some of Africa’s 1,000+ languages.