Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Elements and Spices

Thanks to Michael of Translate This, here is a pointer to Elementymology & Elements Multidict by Peter van der Krogt, a site which gives the entymology of the elements and their names in 72 languages.

I remember reading an anecdote about a translation of a major literary work in which the translator wasn't familiar with chemistry, didn't know the names of the elements in the target language, didn't bother to look them up, and got many of them wrong. I'd like to be more specific, but unfortunately I didn't save the article and could never find it again in spite of much searching. Does anyone remember the specifics? That translator would surely have enriched his translation, as well as gotten it right if he'd had a resource like "Elementymology" to consult.

Diverting from the initial subject in another direction, Gernot Kater's Spice Pages does basically the same thing as Elementymology but for spices and herbs; history, chemical constituents, etymology, photographs, and names in 72 languages.

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