Writer’s Block

A few people have asked why I’ve had the sheer effrontery to take a week off and come to Cardiff. Well, it may surprise you to learn that even Heads of School have a holiday entitlement, and in the 18 months I’ve been in that position I’ve only managed to take a small fraction of mine!

But the real reason for this break is that I need some time without disturbance to finish off the long-awaited Second Edition of Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction. Dorothy made me a subtle sign for my office door, but it has proved largely ineffective at preventing distractions. So here I am, back in the Cardiff residence, blocking out as much as I can to get on with some writing.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

4 Responses to “Writer’s Block”

  1. “Anyway, I have it on very good authority that Planck’s analysis of the Galactic foregrounds in the BICEP2 region will be published (on the arXiv) on or around September 1st 2014. “?

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    I hope you got a lot written. For those of us who are not astro specialists, was any BICEP news flexed in the last few days?

  3. I understand that the previous edition was translated into many languages. Feel free to suggest me for a German translation. You’ve heard me speak English; my German is at the same level. (Of course, most physics literature is in English, but I studied physics in German, using both German and English books.)

    Authors often have no control over translations. Some (translations, not authors) are actually quite bad, often due to a misguided attempt to save money. Reviews which recommend the original but not the translation probably cause much more to be lost than was “saved” via a cheap translation (often by someone reasonably competent in the languages involved, but not in the material). Just last week, while on holiday on the Adriatic coast in Istria, my wife bought a Spiegel (German weekly news magazine) which had an article about a successful book from the US (some reviewers even rate it as the Great American Novel) which had been translated into German but has not been successful in Germany (about 40% of best-selling books in Germany are translations). The article suspects that this is due in large part to a bad translation. It was published by a major publisher and an experience translator translated it (he was mentioned by name in the article; of course he is mentioned in the translated book as well), but nevertheless there were several real howlers used as examples in the article (apparently only a small sampling). There was even suspicion that some machine translation had been used, at least for an initial version. In some cases, lack of research might be a reason (I forget the name of the book and the author; it takes place in the Wild West and has many descriptions of In-dee-in culture), but in others they were just elementary false friends and so on.

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