Planning meets social research

I have translated a variety of texts about planning, and this one focused on the discipline’s impact on society. Jean-Pierre Garnier wrote a chapter for a book about Henri Lefebvre and his writing, which I translated as: ‘Greater Paris’: Urbanization but no Urbanity – How Lefebvre Predicted our Metropolitan Future.

The quotation below from a translation of Lefebvre’s work provides a flavour of the ideas explored in the chapter, and is quoted at the beginning.

“It is worth remembering that the urban has no worse enemy than urban planning and “urbanism”, which is capitalism’s and the state’s strategic instrument for the manipulation of fragmented urban reality and the production of controlled space”.

Henri Lefebvre, ‘The Survival of Capitalism: Reproduction if the Relations of Production’, 1976, translated by Frank Bryant, New York: St. Martin’s Press.

For further details of the publication, see the table of contents in English. A debate was held when the book was launched, and the audio recording is available here.

Pour ceux qui s’y intéressent, Jean-Pierre Garnier a publié l’écrit en Français.



Traduire l’architecture / Translating architecture

A volume was recently published on architecture and translation, following a conference series: the Journées d’études ‘Traduire l’architecture / Translating Architecture’ held at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris.

I wrote a report about the first conference for the ITI Bulletin. A summary of the book is available, and it can be ordered from the publisher.

When is a square not a square?

– Forays into architecture translation I spoke at ITI’s 2015 Conference on this subject. My presentation employed concepts and terms used in architecture and urban planning to illustrate my journey towards a specialisation. Architecture is an interesting example because, along with the usual particular terminology, it also requires a new way of looking at the world. Although architecture is all around us, even familiar terms can pose difficulties: some ‘squares’ aren’t actually ‘square’ in shape. The best way of expressing a particular term is different depending on your point of view. In German, a single word can denote either ‘floor’ or ‘ceiling’ (or both). This is where imagination and lateral thinking come into play, alongside researching subject-specific use of language. I believe many of the issues which arise in tackling this domain are also relevant to specialising in other areas. And beyond the analysis of individual terms, I touched on the overall translation process. Which in some ways can be compared to the architect’s work process! A photograph has been published on the ITI’s website.

Germany in 2050 – a greenhouse gas-neutral country

The German Umweltbundesamt (UBA) has now published an English translation of its report on Germany’s plans regarding greenhouse gas emissions. I was involved in this project as a translator, and am very pleased to see the translators and proofreaders credited on the inside cover of the English version. If you want to peruse the translation, you can find it online here. The original German report is available here.

Translating architecture – terminology

During my career as a translator, I have increasingly specialised in particular subject areas. One such area is architecture and planning. The article below describes some of the challenges posed by the specific terminology I have encountered. I wrote this in the early stages of translating a dissertation on the manuscript ‘La Construction des villes’ by Le Corbusier. It describes some of the challenges posed by the terms used in the book, which contains both the German essay and the French manuscript. My article was first published in the ITI’s Construction and Environment network newsletter. In pursuit of the intangible

…et en français l’article: À la poursuite de l’intangible traduit par Pierre Fuentes, qui est paru dans la revue Traduire.