Monthly Archives: August 2013

A New Dimension of Translation

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We’ve talked before about the complexities of literary translation.  Translators need to balance matters of style, accuracy and clarity.  The Wall Street Journal recently wrote about another facet to translation, how speakable it is.  When it comes to translation of theatre, speakability is essential.  This is a whole new dimension to translation.  Read more about it here:

Mistranslation of Miranda Rights Leads to Acquittal

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Another recent case has highlighted the importance of not just translating, but translating well.  OregonLive reported that a man was acquitted after it was determined that the officers who arrested him read him an inaccurate version of his Miranda Rights.

The curious case even involved grammatical arguments, specifically whether “libre” in Spanish meant “at no cost” or “available.”  This was in reference to the right to a free attorney if it was required.  The court decided that it meant “available” and so the police did not adequately convey that the attorney would be both “available” and “at no cost.”

This is just another case to add to the multitude where a poor translation has altered the outcome.  A proper translation is essential, especially in matters of law where the stakes can be much higher.

Read more about the case here: