Tag Archives: Iceland

Is Iceland a green land?

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Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson built up Iceland’s green credentials last week in Paris in front of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He sees Iceland developing clean energy as a new economic model. He also touted the renewable nature of Iceland’s electricity & heating via hydro or geothermal production.

That’s politician talk, but what’s the reality? For one Iceland has the highest consumption of electricity per capita owing to its aluminium industry. Iceland has high carbon dioxide emissions but certainly not the highest for a Nordic country. The country does rely on net imports in pretty much everything & especially oil. Owing to the sparse population, transportation over long distances plays a big role in pollution in general. However, there is a parliamentary resolution, adopter in 2010, to strengthen the green economy. The final report should be due soon.

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Icelandic Names in the News & in Translation

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Iceland has been in the news recently & mostly about fish & finance, but one piece of news got my attention in particular. A teenager was granted the right to use her birth name, Blær or light breeze. The BBC article goes on to explain that Iceland has strict laws regarding names must follow Icelandic grammar. Mind you, people still have over 1800 names to choose from!

This article got me thinking about Icelandic names & how translators struggle with the patronymic system. One typical example – from a French translation – goes on talking about first & last name; I understand it’s convenient & easier. However, I find it annoying & it takes away some of the Icelandic mystique. My other beef regards the use of full name or titles in the media: in Iceland people are addressed by their name alone & not their patronym nor titles like Mister & Mrs. Not really a big deal  I guess.