What is translation? Is translation any different from communication in general? ‘Crossing languages’ considers the range of ways of doing things with words that can be thought of as translation, including from one foreign language to another, but also less obvious examples such as from technical jargon into common language. Firstly, translation does not simply jump from one language to another—there is a no-man’s land called ‘translationese’, which is a blend of two languages. Secondly, all translation involves diplomacy, mediation, and the avoidance of conflict. Thirdly, every translation is a crowd translation, drawing on more than one source text and different people’s expectations. But this is just the beginning.