Translation is the silent waiter of linguistic performance: It often gets noticed only when it knocks ov
er the serving cart. Sometimes these are relatively minor errors — a ham-handed rendering of an author’s prose, the sort of thing a book reviewer might skewer with an acid pen.
But history is littered with more consequential mistranslations — erroneous, intentional or simply misunderstood. For a job that often involves endless hours poring over books or laptop screens, translation can prove surprisingly hazardous.