Sorry for the long delay in posting. I had a long time coming off my vacation in Bermuda (which I’ll write about in a bit, in connection with Australia and their shared origins as naval bastions/indentured labor colonies for the British Empire), but I do have another post on The Fatal Shore coming through the pipeline and more from Leonard Pierce already in the can. After a long stretch of translation work, I’m now free to ease up. Things will get moving here this week.
I really do intend to bring up more about translation and language on this blog, especially on my upcoming presentation at the 52nd American Translator’s Association conference in Boston at the end of October, but for now I want to spotlight on this article in Forbes by Tim Lee. He speaks to the folly of journalists trying to nail down some terms as failing to live up to a standard of “neutral” writing, because the evolving nature of language means that words which people contend over see their neutrality fade over time.
Such standards, I feel, do change, but not because an imaginary editor somewhere didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings. We didn’t reach the point where we stopped speaking of homosexuality as a “perversion” because a team of thought police came on the telescreen and told us we had to. We got there because the more people learned about what LGBT lifestyles really were, the more they found the old ways of thinking to be an affront to human dignity. Language is, by nature, a tool shaped by collective hands.