Quality foreign translations are needed in many languages!
A monumental addition to the world’s cultural treasure chest came in the form of an English translation at the hands of a man named Gwyn Thomas. (The original translation was done by Lady Charlotte Guest in 1877, which is when the title The Mabinogion also became popular.) Thomas, who is a Welsh writer and a professor, has published 16 volumes of poetry, and several volumes of work as a literary and cultural critic. But perhaps his greatest contribution, his grand opus, was his translation of The Mabinogion into English. For those of you who are unfamiliar, The Mabinogion is a collection of stories taken from medieval Welsh manuscripts.
This group of 11 stories focuses on historical events in both the medieval and Iron Age. Several of the stories are important to note as they provide valuable evidence for the development of the Arthurian legend. The stories of The Mabinogion appear in the earlier White Book of Rhydderch and The Red Book of Hergest. They are divided into The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, four native tales, and three romances. This collection consists of the preponderance of prose found in medieval Welsh manuscripts that had not been translated from other languages.
Throughout the manuscript, there are echoes of the primordial Celtic mythology and folklore, including the pantheon of ancient gods and goddesses. Their importance as records of early myth, legend, folklore, culture, and language of Wales is immense.
This latest translation of The Mabinogion, once again and more thoroughly into English, is quite possibly the “finest English language version of one of the ancient jewels of European literature.” This just goes to show how absolutely essential foreign language translation is as a tool to connect one to peoples from different cultures…as well as to our collective past. Such shared knowledge inspires dialogue and cooperation between cultures around the world.
It is imperative to really understand the culture and country and people with whom you wish to do business. This is why internationalization and globalization are so vital when designing your website or your software application. The most gentle of cultural nuances can coax a customer towards your business and your product.
Can you recall a conversation on a cultural point or shared experience that opened the doors of communication between you and your potential clients? How important do you think it is to be informed as to your customers’ cultural background?