family Christmas

I know I am not alone when I look back to my childhood and remember the seasons clearly defined, not just by weather, but by the produce and products available in the shops. But now hot cross buns are on sale at Christmas, and mincemeat and Christmas puddings reach the supermarket shelves at August Bank Holiday.

As I remember it, in our house, although we didn’t really celebrate them all, there was a clear progression from Hallowe’en to Guy Fawkes Night to Remembrance Day. Then there was a bit of a lull, as Christmas wasn’t to be mentioned until December.
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more than words

I’ve been thinking a lot about translation recently. In particular I’ve been considering what happens to a poem that changes form or other details in transposition to another language, and when it ceases to be a translation and instead should be considered an original work: the point at which it becomes a poem inspired by another work, rather than an attempt to render the source in a different language.

This is a complex question, but not the only complex question to occur when considering translation.

Zambian carved wood nativity with hippo
In a recent discussion with some translator colleagues, we considered the problems arising when a central symbol means little in the target culture.
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room at the inn

belen (nativity scene)

We stopped for an aperitivo at a local bar at lunchtime and found the owner’s brother busy setting up a belén – the traditional nativity scene complete with stable, inn, and all the activity of the little town of Bethlehem.

The guy was clearly an experienced belenista.

The scene had been allocated something over two square metres of table space and although the basic layout was settled, he was still working out some structural details. The figures were sitting on another table waiting to be put in position.
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