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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > April 2019 > Bridge between worlds

Bridge between worlds

Translated fiction now sells better than English fiction. It’s time to celebrate the linguistic detectives who make it all possible, says Miranda France
The 100 Best Novels in Translation edited by Boyd Tonkin (Galileo, £14.99)
Found in Translation: 100 of the Finest Short Stories Ever Translated selected by Frank Wynne (Apollo, £25)

H ere’s a translator’s tale: It’s early morning and I’m waiting on a scene from an Argentinian thriller. A woman has dlscwered her husband’s infidelity and leav es him a chilling message on the mirror written in rouge In rouge. That doesn’t sound right. Although I’ve never tried It. I think It would be hard to write on glass with a cream rouge and impossible with a powdered one. Surely you’d use lipstick? I mm to Word Reference.the online oracle for linguists, and ask the other forum users if rouge can ever mean lipstick in I-atln America. Someone from Spain immediately s»s no. Ijpstlckwoukl beptnta Jabtos. Another poster from Moclco agrees, although he says that lipstick there is ¡apt: labial. Then the southern hemisphere starts waking up A commenter ots that nagc does indeed mean lipstick In Chile. And finally someone from A rgentlna agrees. Her mother always uses this word.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s April issue: Mark Damazer, the former controller of BBC Radio 4, tells the inside story of how the BBC has tried—and sometimes failed—to cover the political crisis that overshadows everything else. Elsewhere in the issue: Playwright and screenwriter James Graham profiles John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, as he takes centre-stage in the unfolding Brexit drama and Tom Clark examines the Independent Group and argues that they could well shake up the established political tribes. Also, Jennifer Williams highlights the growing gap between the haves and have-nots in Manchester—a city that is simultaneously experiencing a housing boom and a homelessness crisis.