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Like most international institutions, the United Nations functions in several languages, demanding the translation of its thousands upon thousands of documents of various kinds into six tongues. But the task of its professional translators is far from straightforward, as Santiago Artozqui, a translator of UN texts from English to French, explains here. Not least is what he calls “a misplaced Atticism” required of French-language documents which “dunks the language in starch and leaves it as stiff as the shirt of a notable”.
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