David Bellos

Babbling Barbarians: How Translators Keep Us Civilized is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Princeton University Professor David Bellos, author of the bestselling book, Is That A Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything, many fascinating features of language and translation are explored at length.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Teaching a Man to Fish, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

  1. Introductory Musings – On Perec, Chomsky, and other matters
  2. An Illustrative Capture – Learning from The Great Escape
  3. Getting the Joke – Translating Humour
  4. Probing the Foreign – Dickens, word order, and Anglo-Italian gibberish
  5. Films in Translation – Subtitles, dubbing, and “The Bergman Effect”
  6. The Varieties in English – In search of a middle form
  7. Asserting Our Individuality – Language as an expression of our identity
  8. Translation and Meaning – Extending the Principle of Effability
  9. Mathematics and Music – Pushing the boundaries of “language-like”
  10. Language and Thought – Plato, Hopi, and jumping mind-grooves
  11. Paying Respects – Valuing the translator in our midst



Available in electronic format on all major booksellers, including: 





Babbling Barbarians: How Translators Keep Us Civilized is also part of the five-part Ideas Roadshow Collection, Conversations About Language & Culture, which is available in both paperback and electronic format.