JILL BISHOP

Contributed Articles

Why does Nuance Matter when Translating and Transcribing Multilingual Content?

by JILL KUSHNER BISHOP, Multilingual Connections Languages are alive—vibrant and eloquent expressions of who we are. During my doctoral fieldwork I looked at how people used language to enact and express their identity, how connections and community were created through speech and how forms of talk, particular phrases or words, could transport people across time and space. Words matter. So when contemplating translation, how can you ensure a focus on each word while not losing sight of the broader cultural considerations? When research brings you to multilingual communities—whether globally or in your own backyard—it’s essential to consider the linguistic and cultural practices of your target audience. Assuming you’re doing work in their language of choice, you’ll likely have content that needs to be translated or audio that needs to be transcribed to analyze the data you’ve collected. In either case, nuance matters. Choices of words, phrases or metaphors—yours or theirs—signify by conveying meaning about ideas,...

Found in Translation: Pro Tips for Translating and Transcribing Multilingual Content

by JILL KUSHNER BISHOP, Multilingual Connections You may recall the old joke: What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. Two languages? Bilingual. One language? American. The study of world languages among Americans lags far behind that of many other countries, with less than seven percent of American college students enrolled in language courses. Among adults who studied a second language in school, less than one percent claim to be proficient. Despite the sad state of world language education in the US, that old joke applies less and less all the time.  The American Community Survey of 2013 study found that one in five US residents—almost 62 million people—speaks a language other than English at home, with 41% speaking English “less than very well”. When research brings you to multilingual communities—whether in the US or globally—it’s essential to consider the linguistic and cultural preferences of your target audience.  Assuming you’re doing work in their language of choice,...