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Peggy Farooqi
Mum of 3 (1994, 1995, 1998)- born in East Germany --lived in UK/ Kent since 1993 -- studied criminology -- love reading / writing / travelling / needlecraft 
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13 January 2014

In Other Words
Mona Baker
Publication Date
f2nd Edtion 2011
Language learning, non-fiction

A course book on translation

First: the book reviewer in me very much liked the title and the play on words with it.

I bought this book as I intend to sit a translation exam, my intention was home study, but I believe the book may also be on the reading list for uni courses. It teaches translation theory which can be applied to all language combinations.

The author, Mona Baker, is a Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Manchester.

The book as 8 chapters which shows the topics covered:
1. Introduction
2. Equivalence at word level
3. Equivalence above word level
4. Grammatical equivalence
5. Textual equivalence : thematic and information structures
6. Textual equivalence: cohesion
7. Pragmatic equivalence
8. Beyond equivalence: ethics and morality

I have never studied translation at Uni and wanted to prepare myself to sit the Diploma in Translation. I found the structure very good as it starts off with basic theories and goes on to more complicated issues. I was easily able to get myself into the basics. I especially liked the way examples are shown to explain certain theories, and even though my language combination is English-German, the examples from other language combinations are easily understood.

I think it's best explained what I mean by an example:
Taken from page 31 (Translation via cultural substitution)

source text (English) 
…. the cream tea expert
translated (into Italian)
…. dell'esperto di pasticceria
Italian translated back into English
…. …the expert in pastry

So while I don't speak Italian, I can understand that the word 'cream team' was in translation substituted for the Italian word for pastry as this is probably a more acceptable word in Italian and understood by what we mean as cream tea.

In short, the book helped me to understand the basics of translation theory. From about chapter 5, it started to get difficult for me to understand without the help of a tutor, but if you set your mind to it and got peace and quiet at home for it, it can certainly be done. I also found the exercises at the back of every chapter rather hard and would have definitely benefited from a tutor group. I attempted them but quickly gave up.

Again to emphasise that I bought the book as a home study and reviewed it as such. It helped with the basics, but in later chapters I had to admit defeat - it will be perfect for a Uni student or if you have previously studied translation theory in other settings. I would also have to say that I have a Uni degree in a different subject, I don't think I would attempt the book if you have no knowledge of reading academic texts.