18th February 2000 at 00:00
The Art of Translation

An intriguing website from the British Council's literature department and the British Centre for Literary Translation in which professional translators discuss their work and reveal some of the tricks of their little-appreciated trade.

Here, for example, you can learn how Asterix's English translators grappled with the sometimes outrageous punning and wordplay of the original, and how they came up with names such as Getafix and Vitalstatistix. Or how Trainspotting's translators attempted to convey the raw power of Irvine elsh's expletive-laden Edinburgh street argot in joual, its French-Canadian equivalent. Another workshop uses window-in-window displays to compare four different translations of the opening verses of the Book of Genesis, along with the original Hebrew.

There's already a healthy archive of these workshops, each casting a little more light on the complicated relationship of language, linguistics and literature. The site also covers some of the current theoretical debates and provides listings and contact details for those who are inspired to dig deeper.


Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today