De Bodard on Translation

Aliette de Bodard, a French woman who writes in English, talks about the difficulties of translation. Here’s an extract:

In Vietnamese, “to have a meal” is literally “to eat rice”. “French cuisine” is “French rice”, and so on for English cuisine or Japanese. This says a lot about the way the culture works, and could be used to inject a little “flavour” in the dialogue, but you can see that this would also create problems because it’s not a natural construction.

Read the whole thing here. (And our congratulations to Aliette on her wedding, which takes place today!)