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Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything Paperback – 6 Sep 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241954304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241954300
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

In the guise of a book about translation this is a richly original cultural history ... A book for anyone interested in words, language and cultural anthropology. Mr Bellos's fascination with his subject is itself endlessly fascinating (The Economist)

For anyone with a passing interest in language this work is enthralling ... A wonderful celebration of the sheer diversity of language and the place it occupies in human endeavour. Conducted by a man who clearly knows his stuff, it is a whirlwind tour round the highways and byways of translation in all its glorious forms, from literary fiction to car repair manuals, from the Nuremberg trials to decoding at Bletchley Park (The Scotsman)

Bellos has numerous paradoxes, anecdotes and witty solutions ... his insights are thought provoking, paradoxical and a brilliant exposition of mankind's attempts to deal with the Babel of global communication (Michael Binyon The Times)

[A] witty, erudite exploration...[Bellos] delights in [translation's] chequered past and its contemporary ubiquity...He would like us to do more of it. With the encouragement of this book, we might even begin to enjoy it (Maureen Freely Sunday Telegraph)

Is That A Fish In Your Ear? is spiced with good and provocative things. At once erudite and unpretentious...[it is a] scintillating bouillabaisse (Frederic Raphael Literary Review)

Is That A Fish in Your Ear? by David Bellos (father of Alex of Numberland fame) is a fascinating book on the world of translation that might well be this year's Just My Type (Jonathan Ruppin, Foyles Booskhop)

Selected by The Times' 'Daily Universal Register' as a 'Try This' Book (The Times)

A fascinating...very readable study of the mysterious art and business of translation...Bellos asks big questions...and comes up with often surprising answers...sparky, thought-provoking (Nigeness)

Forget the fish-it's David Bellos you want in your ear when the talk is about translation. Bellos dispels many of the gloomy truisms of the trade and reminds us what an infinitely flexible instrument the English language (or any language) is. Sparkling, independent-minded analysis of everything from Nabokov's insecurities to Google Translate's felicities fuels a tender-even romantic-account of our relationship with words. (―NATASHA WIMMER, translator of Roberto Bolaño’s Savage Detectives and 2666)

Is That a Fish in Your Ear? offers a lively survey of translating puns and poetry, cartoons and legislation, subtitles, news bulletins and the Bible (Matthew Reisz Times Higher Education Supplement)

About the Author

David Bellos is Meredith Howland Pyne Professor of French Literature at Princeton University, where he also teaches Comparative Literature. He is the author of many books and articles on nineteenth-century fiction, alongside biographies of three icons of French culture in the twentieth century: Georges Perec, Jacques Tati and Romain Gary. He is also a well-known translator and the author of Is That a Fish in Your Ear? The Amazing Adventure of Translation. David Bellos was recently awarded the rank of officier in the Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres for his services to French culture.


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