This text is taken from the New Scientist for 4 October
2003. New Scientist is a weekly UK publication with a worldwide
circulation, which presents, in a serious but popularised form, developments in
science and technology. Characteristic of such popularisation is the use
of informal language in the presentation of the subject. There are many
such examples in this text, ranging from reduced forms (it'll) to
colloquial and semi-fixed expressions (it'll help enormously; how are
we supposed to find happiness; morphed; Australia beats the other three; how
well the country is doing).
You should imagine that the task here is to provide a translation for the editor of the science section of a Greek newspaper such as Vima or Kathimerini. You should consider how far it is appropriate to reproduce such features in your translation, or indeed, what an appropriate style should consist of. You may decide to omit minor points of no interest to a Greek readership, though most such decisions will be taken by the editor rather than the translator.
The pursuit of happiness
It's the subject of countless treatises and self-help books. In the US, the quest for it is an inalienable right enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. Now investigating it has become an academic discipline. Michael Bond looks at the new science of how to be happy
Where or how are we supposed to find happiness? Through good works and
helping people, perhaps, or by finding religion or discovering the joys of
"downshifting"? Well, maybe. But whatever strategy you
choose, it'll help enormously if you live in Puerto Rico or Denmark.
The latest global analysis of how levels of satisfaction and happiness vary from country to country shows that the most "satisfied" people tend to be in Latin America, Western Europe and North America. Eastern Europeans are the least satisfied. The figures - published here for the first time - come from the 1999-2001 World Values Survey. The countries where New Scientist has most readers all come in the top third, with New Zealand ranked 15th for overall satisfaction, the US 16th, Australia 20th and Britain 24th - though Australia beats the other three for day-to-day happiness.
It is not the first time such league tables have been drawn up. What is new is how experts and politicians are taking such data increasingly seriously. Over the past decade, the study of happiness, formerly the preserve of philosophers, therapists and gurus, has morphed into a bona fide discipline. You can find "professors of happiness" at leading universities, "quality of life" institutes the world over, and thousands of research papers. It even has its own journal, the Journal of Happiness Studies (www.kluweronline.com/issn/1389-4978).
And policy advisers are getting interested. In the UK, the Cabinet Office has held a string of seminars on life satisfaction, and last December the prime minister's Strategy Unit published a paper recommending policies that might increase the nation's happiness (www.number-10.gov.uk/su/ls/paper.pdf). These include using quality-of-life indicators when making decisions about health and education (go for the option that leads to greatest life satisfaction), and finding an alternative to gross domestic product as a measure of how well the country is doing - one that reflects happiness as well as welfare, education and human rights.