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O! O? O…

By |August 29th, 2011|

So here we are, at the penultimate vowel of this amazing Alphabet Blog! You may not have noticed this, but O is actually one of the most hard-working of the five vowels, as it appears in so many words in the English language.

What many people like about the letter O is its beautiful round form. Actually, although we have talked about several letters which have evolved from a shape that was completely unrelated to their current one, O does not show any signs of ageing and has been almost the same since the Phoenicians, which means that its nice form […]

Nosy N alphabet blog – M and N were put one next to the other

By |August 29th, 2011|

Why do the nose and the letter N go together?  Well, of course, you need your nose to properly pronounce this letter. If you don’t believe me, either wait until you catch a bad cold, or close your nose with your fingers and pronounce something like ‘Nine nannies and nine nuns’. Together with its sister and neighbour M, N is the only nasal in English (and I can safely say in Italian too).

However, I might go as far as to say that, although M and N are almost twins and definitely sisters, N is a bit cooler. M is easy […]

Never too late to learn a language – Nunca es demasiado tarde para aprender un idioma

By |August 26th, 2011|

It has often been said that children are able to learn foreign languages more easily than adults. However, this belief may be wrong. At least that is what a recent study, carried out by the University of Haifa in Israel,  suggests. The  study showed that a person’s age does not influence the time required to learn a foreign language.

In brief, the experiment involved three groups of people of different ages: the first was comprised of eight year old children; the second group was represented by young people aged 12 years. The third group was made up of adults. A fictitious […]

Trabalenguas (Spanish Tongue Twisters)

By |August 25th, 2011|

The Spanish word for tongue twister is “trabalenguas”, which comes from the verb “trabar” (to jam) and the noun “lengua” (tongue), and which literally means “something that jams/ties the tongue”.

So, here are some of my favourite “trabalenguas”. I’ve included literal translations in English, and although most sound like nonsense, it will help give you an idea of what’s actually being said.

If you are learning Spanish, this is the best way to test your pronunciation skills. Give it a shot and tell us how you do!

• Tres tristes tigres comían trigo en un trigal.
(3 sad tigers ate wheat in a wheat […]

I know some Spanish, can I be a translator?

By |August 24th, 2011|

I think everyone involved in the language services industry has heard this one once or twice. It is normally accompanied by the gnashing of teeth and an “if looks could kill” expression on the face of the translator being asked.

I can completely understand where people get this idea from – people who don’t speak different languages aren’t to know that machine translations are largely useless, and they often don’t consider the knowledge required to assess and translate the nuances and connotations of a particular utterance. That said, most first aiders recognise that they are not qualified to perform heart surgery, […]

Endangered Languages

By |August 23rd, 2011|

Did you know that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 languages currently in use? And did you know that it is expected that half of them will disappear in the near future? This is quite a scary thing to think about.

However, the good news is that there is a programme aimed at fighting this. It is called DEL – Documenting Endangered Languages – and it is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation. The application for grants expires on the 20th September, so you still have some time if you plan to apply for […]

The Translation Bureau

By |August 22nd, 2011|

Although the title of this post actually sounds similar to a film released recently, it is actually the Translation Office of the Canadian Government, or the Bureau de la traduction for French speakers.

Established in 1934, the original Bureau for Translations created the first terminology unit in Canada in 1953, in order to standardize the language used in public institutions. It then went on to provide simultaneous interpreting in the House of Commons. As you probably know, Canada has two official languages – English and French – and the provision of interpreting in Parliament was seen as a sign of equality […]

The Translation Industry in China

By |August 19th, 2011|

Have a look at the two pictures at the top of this article. While the upper one would actually be quite clear for a foreigner who does not speak any Chinese, the lower one is quite a bit of a challenge! Imagine driving around and needing to decipher those names to decide whether to turn or go straight ahead…

However, this just goes to show how much the translation industry in China has improved. According to a report published on the Translators Association of China’s website, it was only with the introduction of the new economic mechanism in the 1980s that […]

OMG! Unbelievably low translation rates cause alarm

By |August 18th, 2011|

The surprises you can find on the internet… I stumbled across a website earlier, where British people can post jobs they can do for just £5.

The reason for charging this amount of money is to allow people to fight the credit crunch. I was quite amused at some of the things you can get for a fiver, such as help choosing what colour clothes you should wear on a certain day…

However, I was slightly more than horrified when I saw this for just £5: translating 2 articles of 350-400 words each from English into Italian or from English into French.

Just […]

Our Directors, the “Mumpreneurs” of the year!

By |August 17th, 2011|

Our company Directors, Sharon Stephens and Rachel Bryan, have been nominated as finalists for another National Business Award!!!

The Mumpreneur Awards aim to celebrate parents throughout the UK who manage the difficult task of juggling business with family life. Sharon and Rachel have earned themselves a place in the final lineup for the Best International Trader Category, which is open to all businesses that trade across the globe. They had more than 700 nominees this year, so reaching the finals of these national awards is already a huge achievement!

As well as being shortlisted for this category, they are also in […]

Get ready for Translation Day!!!

By |August 16th, 2011|

A few days ago I was browsing around the World Wide Web in search of inspiration for an interesting post when I discovered that there is a Translation Day!!! It actually takes place on the 30th September around the world and has been promoted by the FIT, the International Federation of Translators, whose members are not individuals, but associations of translators, interpreters and terminologists around the globe.

When I read the text regarding Translation Day, I was really impressed by its words, so I think it is worth copying the first paragraph here:
Imagine a world without translators: How would we communicate […]

Motherly “M”

By |August 15th, 2011|

Arrivederci Chiara!

By |August 12th, 2011|

Today we’d like to dedicate the blog to a very special person: Chiara Vecchi, who finishes her placement with us today after working in Veritas with great professionalism and passion.

There are so many positive things to say about Chiara, that I don’t know where to start!

Her excellent language skills mean that all her translations are of the highest quality. Her perfect English and excellent level of German, together with her care and attention for detail, and the enthusiasm she put into everything she does, have made her a valued member of the Veritas team.

As a colleague, […]

(Bad) Translation… hands-on experience

By |August 12th, 2011|

Today I had to buy an adaptor for my Italian mobile charger. I finally succeeded and, while I was looking at it, I thought that checking the instructions would probably be a good idea. The English text was slightly different from the rest, but this is more or less what it said (correctly):

The Visitor to UK Travel Adaptor. Ideal for all foreign travellers visiting the UK.
Safety Warning: Please read carefully and use in accordance with our safety instructions below. Suitable for plugs from all around the world. Fitted with a replaceable 13A fuse.

And here is the magic of machine (at […]

Volunteering abroad

By |August 11th, 2011|

After talking about studying abroad in Europe, I think it is now a good time to say a few things about volunteering in a foreign country! Of course you can both study and volunteer abroad at the same time, but I think that volunteering is actually the most suitable option in some cases.

First of all, volunteering is a great idea if you want to be able to spend some time in a country whose language you do not know. You will be immersed in the language among native speakers, and will get a real taste for the language. Secondly, a […]

German Tongue Twisters

By |August 10th, 2011|

So, after Polish, Chinese, Finnish, and Italian it’s now time for some German tongue twisters. Anyone who has ever been to a speech therapist will know what I’m talking about. Even if you’re not trying to practice your pronunciation, give them a go, because it’s always funny to listen to the nonsense you’re saying! Let’s start with the most famous example: “Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische, frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritz.“ (“Fischer’s Fritz fishes fresh fish, fresh fish is fished by Fischer’s Fritz”).

Also well known is: “Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid und Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut.“ (“A Wedding dress stays a wedding dress […]

Finnish Tongue Twisters!

By |August 9th, 2011|

I have suddenly realised that we have never really talked about Finnish! What a shame! Although we have just touched Finland when we talked about Samnordisk, it is worth giving more space to this beautiful, yet not very widespread language. Finnish, together with Hungarian and Estonian, forms the gang of Ugro-Finnic languages. In fact, Finnish has very very little in common with Sweden, although they are one next to each other, but boasts some similarities with Hungarian, even if Hungary is quite far away from there.

So, to introduce this very particular language, why not start with some tongue twisters? Here […]

Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) – IoL (2)

By |August 8th, 2011|

As you might remember, yesterday I mentioned the Chartered Institute of Linguists, which offers accreditations such as the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting. Today I would like to write a little about the Diploma in Translation, which is aimed at translators.

This certification corresponds to a postgraduate level, as it requires an excellent knowledge of both the source and target languages, as well as a deep insight into specialist areas, such as medical, legal, and technical fields. The examiners warn that having spent a few years in the UK is not enough to equip you with the ability necessary to pass […]

Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) – IoL (1)

By |August 5th, 2011|

You might or might not already be familiar with these acronyms (or even have passed the examination!), but just to make sure, let’s say a few things about the Chartered Institute of Linguists and then move on to the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI).

The IoL was founded in 1910 and, with about 6,300 members, is an accredited organisation that delivers language qualifications which will help committed linguists to stand out from the crowd. Its website is a very useful source of information for linguists who are interested in factual information about the dates and venues of exams, as well […]

Erasmus – not just a historical figure, but also a wonderful experience!

By |August 4th, 2011|

Have you ever thought about spending some time in Europe during your degree? If so, consider the advantages of the Erasmus programme, offered by the EU to all its citizens. It allows you to spend from 3 to 12 months in a foreign university which has a partnership with your own, as well giving you an unforgettable experience, which will stay with you forever!

I know that this is always very useful for people learning languages, translation or interpreting, but someone whose degree is law, biology or engineering might argue that it is not useful for them, and it is just […]

The Untranslatables

By |August 3rd, 2011|

Given the many languages that exist around the world today, it’s hardly surprising that sometimes we came across words that are difficult to translate, words that we could spend years trying to find the right equivalent for in the target language. And usually, by searching and searching, you eventually find the proper term… However, if you ever encounter any of the words listed below, stop racking your brain, because I´m afraid to tell you that there isn’t any translation for them! You may find close equivalents, but none will ever be close enough to what the original concept expresses.

Here’s a […]

A few Facts and Figures about Dutch

By |August 2nd, 2011|

We hardly ever talk about Dutch, but I have a friend finishing her degree with me who comes from the Netherlands and she always tells me interesting things about this language, so this is for you Daina!

First of all, I was quite surprised when I discovered that Dutch is actually spoken by quite a lot of people, around 23 millions in total! Most of them are based in the Netherlands, but there are also those coming from the Flanders in Belgium as well as Suriname in South America, Indonesia and South Africa, which were former Dutch colonies. The first three […]

One L of a letter…

By |August 1st, 2011|

In 1799, the letter L was one of the five letters instrumental in deciphering the hieroglyphics of the Rosetta Stone.

The Egyptian equivalent of our L was first represented by the image of a lion. Over centuries, this image evolved into a much simpler character that became the basis of the letter we know today.
When the Phoenicians developed their alphabet around 1000 B.C, the ‘el’ sound was depicted by several more-simplified versions. From here, L becomes a rather complicated character. It took on a variety of forms in just about every alphabet in which it appeared.

The Greeks alone had four versions […]