Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything by David Bellos

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything

byDavid Bellos

Kobo ebook | September 1, 2011

Pricing and Purchase Info

$14.89 online 
$18.52 list price save 19%

Prices and offers may vary in store

Available for download

Not available in stores


People speak different languages, and always have. The Ancient Greeks took no notice of anything unless it was said in Greek; the Romans made everyone speak Latin; and in India, people learned their neighbours' languages - as did many ordinary Europeans in times past. But today, we all use translation to cope with the diversity of languages. Without translation there would be no world news, not much of a reading list in any subject at college, no repair manuals for cars or planes, and we wouldn't even be able to put together flat pack furniture.

Is That a Fish in Your Ear? ranges across the whole of human experience, from foreign films to philosophy, to show why translation is at the heart of what we do and who we are. What's the difference between translating unprepared natural speech, and translating Madame Bovary? How do you translate a joke? What's the difference between a native tongue and a learned one? Can you translate between any pair of languages, or only between some? What really goes on when world leaders speak at the UN? Can machines ever replace human translators, and if not, why? The biggest question is how do we ever really know that we've grasped what anybody else says - in our own language or in another? Surprising, witty and written with great joie de vivre, this book is all about us, and how we understand each other.

Title:Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of EverythingFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:September 1, 2011Publisher:Penguin Books LtdLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0141969628

ISBN - 13:9780141969626

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Is That A Fish In Your Ear - Sample The sample was all too short, a good sign the rest of the book promises to interest and entertain. Bellos explains how this book is not merely to be a manual on the 'best' way to translate, (a veritable minefield in and of itself), but rather will open up varied, deeper discourses for the reader, for instance into the questions and difficulties which arise when one even begins to attempt to understand just what a translation is and what it is meant to do. Henceforth, how can we translate? Transforming intangible, internal thought processes and ideas from one person to another within a common language is sufficiently complex, particularly as we do not consciously perceive the manner in which we conjure up this first language, let alone to then throw in to the mix a whole new language, with it's own references, backgrounds, grammar, structures, inflections, social mores and words. I hope I shall be returning to complete this book very soon - despite my personal library of hundreds of other tomes I keep promising myself I must read!
Date published: 2013-05-31