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Do you think something is missing from your Spanish translations?

Charles Eames said it best: The details are not details. They make the product. And yet so many translations are like signs with missing letters: sometimes sad, sometimes unfortunate.

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On punctuation

Every once in a while, not very often, I fall in love with my own punctuation. When I’m making comments on a student manuscript, maybe, I’ll come up with a brilliant, brilliant piece of punctuation. Then I say, “Do you get it?” And they’re so polite, they say, “Yes, you’ve inserted an asterisk.” “No no, but that’s everything, suddenly the whole cosmos opens up around it.” “Yes, Professor Beattie.
Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 209, Ann Beattie

Vorsprung durch Technik: how a catchphrase was coined

Hegarty had no idea what it actually meant (“progress through technology”) but once he’d been told, the idea stuck. “This is the incidental nature of creativity, looking, watching, hearing stuff and it all goes in.” Later, when the admen were looking for a phrase to tie all the commercial work together, the phrase popped back at him. “Everyone looked at me as though I was mad,” says Hegarty. No one really used foreign languages to advertise in those days. But the client went with it, and soon it was a catchphrase of mid-1980s Britain.

Vorsprung durch Technik – ad slogan that changed how we saw Germany |

How did we end up writing in a way that sounds like inexpertly translated French?: International Art English (IAE), a hilarious analysis of art writing

IAE has never had a codified grammar; instead, it has evolved by continually incorporating new sources and tactics of sounding foreign, pushing the margins of intelligibility from the standpoint of the English speaker. But one cannot rely on a global readership to feel properly alienated by deviations from the norm.

The IAE of the French press release is almost too perfect: It is written, we can only imagine, by French interns imitating American interns imitating American academics imitating French academics. Scandinavian IAE, on the other hand, tends to be lousy. Presumably its writers are hampered by false confidence—with their complacent non-native fluency in English, they have no ear for IAE.

Can we imagine an art world without IAE? If press releases could not telegraph the seriousness of their subjects, what would they simply say? Without its special language, would art need to submit to the scrutiny of broader audiences and local ones? Would it hold up?

[International Art English - Triple Canopy, via The Morning News]