Hello (Bonjour) From Your Friendly TV Translator

I Hope You Enjoy My Subtitles and Dubs—Then Forget I Exist

If you don’t notice my work, it means I’m doing my job properly.

I’m an audiovisual translator, which means that I—and others like me—help you understand the languages spoken on screen: You just click that little speech bubble icon in the bottom-right corner of your preferred streaming service, select the subtitles or the dub, and away you go. These scripts are all written by someone like myself, sitting quietly at a computer and spending day after day trying to figure out, “What are they actually saying here?”

I decided to become an …

In Defense of the Untranslatable  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Defense of the Untranslatable 

There's Value in the Mystery When Feelings Exceed the Words We Have to Define Them

As usual, e.e. cummings was on to something. We feel before we think. Words are a process built to describe—to translate—those feelings into thoughts with agreed-upon meanings. So far, so good. But feelings are anything but a …

Is a Secret Ancient Language of Wanderers a Harbinger of Our Future? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Is a Secret Ancient Language of Wanderers a Harbinger of Our Future?

The European Travelers’ Tongue Rotwelsch—Which Gave Us the Phrase ‘in a Pickle’—Has United Outcasts for Centuries

Have you ever been “in a pickle”?

Then you have encountered Rotwelsch, an ancient language of the road, spoken by vagrants and refugees, merchants and thieves since the European Middle …

Why Hawaiian Pidgin English Is Thriving Today

Continuously Evolving, the Language Gives Its Diverse Speakers a Common History and Shared Values

The origins of the Hawaiian pidgin language reflect the history and diversity of the islands. First used in the mid-19th century by the sugarcane laborers who spoke Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, …

How Moving to England Cured My ‘American Verbal Inferiority Complex’

The Beauty of Rule-Based American English Is That It's More Democratic Than the Brits' Version

I had lived in England for three years when Eats, Shoots and Leaves struck in 2003. English writer Lynne Truss’ “zero tolerance approach to pronunciation” became a British publishing phenomenon—helped …