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Interesting and funny blogs on translation, interpreting and language – have fun!

Pedro Almodóvar’s West End debut!

By |February 23rd, 2015|

A module on Spanish cinema during my first year as an undergraduate gave me my initial taste of ‘Almodóvar’, and it’s fair to say that after seeing the 1988 Oscar-nominated Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), I was hooked. We furthermore studied the 1999 masterpiece Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother) and Volver (2009), and I can remember being enthralled by his portrayal of such strong female characters, and relished analysing these films and fondly remember composing an essay on whether he could possibly be considered a misogynist.

Seven […]

Does sarcasm translate?

By |January 26th, 2015|

We’ve all made that sarcastic remark from time to time and in fact it is a very British characteristic which you don’t usually notice until you’re not around British people, as I have found out on a couple of occasions.

This time, I was texting someone from Germany and slotted in a remark, which actually wasn’t intended as sarcasm, however he misinterpreted it as such and said how he didn’t think it translated very well in a message.

It made me think – despite the amount of emoticons now available on messaging systems, how some messages just don’t translate. They are designed […]

Christmas around the world: Celebrating Christmas in Russia

By |January 6th, 2015|

Seven interesting facts you may not know!

1:Christmas in Russia is normally celebrated on the 7th January in alignment with the Russian orthodox Julian Calender.

2: The Russian “advent” lasts for 40 days, starting on the 28th November and ending on the 6th January.

3: The official Christmas holidays in Russia are from the 31st of December until the 10th of January.

4: In Russian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘s rah-zh-dee-st-VOHM’ (C рождеством!) or ‘s-schah-st-lee-vah-vah rah-zh dee-st-vah’ (Счастливого рождества!).

5: On Christmas Day, hymns and carols are sung. People gather in churches which have been decorated with the usual Christmas trees or Yelka, flowers and coloured lights.

6: Christmas […]

Christmas around the World: Celebrating Christmas in Japan

By |December 22nd, 2014|

You’d just Love celebrating Christmas in Japan
The major religions in Japan are Buddhism and Shinto and with less than 1% of the Japanese population being Christian, Christmas is more of a commercial event with the main celebrations revolving around Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Although Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan with shops and companies opening as normal, the Japanese have adopted parts of this Western tradition into their December calender. Walking through Japan throughout the Christmas season,  you would be greeted with the usual Christmas music, decorations and seasonal foods that you would find in the West and […]

Let’s tweet all about it

By |August 5th, 2014|

Twitter first made its mark back in 2006 and quickly went from strength to strength allowing users to post messages in 140 characters. At first I remember there being a lot of jokes about how people used it to tell others about their daily lives, with tweets about breakfast choices, weather (of course!) as well as a way to spread news fast.

As a well-established tool for both businesses and personal use, Twitter lets everyone join in the conversation using hashtags, which allow posts to be grouped together. It is a good way for businesses to monitor what is being said […]

Colombian culture – a nation of football and diversity

By |July 1st, 2014|

Colombia is a nation enriched by Native American, Hispanic and African culture. Football plays a pivotal role as the country’s most popular sport, and is bound up in Colombian culture.

All those who are familiar with the game could not forget the likes of Carlos Valderrama, who graced the turf at France 98’ with his iconic style of play, and who could forget that afro?

In many ways, Colombia’s passion for football is a testament to the Colombian people, who are equally as colourful and imaginative as their beloved game. Whether you’re from the capital, Bogota, or the more remote regions of […]

Experience Brazilian culture through football

By |June 17th, 2014|

So here we have it, the World Cup has finally kicked off, and we are set for a truly colourful and imaginative tournament.

The very essence of football is bound up in the identity of Brazilians, the world over, and the nation is set to be captivated by this year’s events.

Romero Britto, a Brazilian artist, who had been interviewed in June 2012 by Fifa.com once said of the impact that football has in Brazil: “Brazilians are connected through football. It brings joy and happiness to the people watching the game. So many kids, when they see their hero playing, they get […]

Top 5 Brazilian foods to eat during the World Cup

By |June 13th, 2014|

With the heavily anticipated FIFA World Cup tournament set to kick off in Brazil next week, perhaps you are looking for some apetizing Brazilian foods that are certain to wet your taste buds? These will certainly get you through those nerve-wracking moments!

Brazilian cusine is ingenious in the variety that it offers, blending Portuguese, Native American and African influences together. If you find yourself enjoying the action in Brazil, why not take the chance and enjoy the country’s wonderful cuisine!

Here are just some of the foods that you should try and get a hold of, or have a go at cooking […]

When in Rome – Or Anywhere Else Really – Dining Etiquette

By |June 2nd, 2014|

Global Dining Etiquette – When in Rome…Or anywhere, really.

During a recent visit to Paris, my husband noticed and pointed out that the other diners in the (rather nice) restaurant seemed to be using their bread to push their food onto their fork, instead of their knife. At the time, I thought he was maybe being a little pedantic, but it prompted me to investigate a little further.

As it turns out, there are a number of differences in dining etiquette around the world:

In France, it’s preferred that hands are kept above the table – with wrists resting on the table, not […]

French around the World

By |May 21st, 2014|

In 1536, the Aosta Valley (present day Italy) became the first authority to adopt the French language as an official language, surprisingly, even before the French state had made that step.

It is estimated that around 75% of the population speak the French language, which has continued a long tradition, particularly in Collège Saint-Bénin, since the beginning of the XVII century.

Linguistically, the French that is spoken in the Aosta Valley is peculiar in the sense that it borrows equally from both Franco-Provencal and Italian. This is in part due to the evolution of language in the region, and the corresponding contact […]

Travel talk – Paris afterthoughts

By |May 13th, 2014|

What can I say………………………………?

Paris is one of the most eye-popping places I’ve ever been.

The architecture was sublime, my jaw literally dropped on several occasions. The food was delicious, especially the steak. The weather was fantastic – cloudless blue skies, full sunshine and a lovely breeze just to make sure we didn’t get too hot.

The view to my left after coming up from the Trocadero Metro station, overlooking the fountains and staring straight at The Eiffel Tower, is one that I’ll remember for some time!

I’m happy to report that a fantastic time was had in Paris. I spoke my best French, but the Parisians wanted […]

The French language in Louisiana

By |May 12th, 2014|


The French language became established in Louisiana following The expulsion (1755-1764) of the Acadians by the British from the modern day Maritime provinces of Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island along with the US state of Maine), which occurred during the French and Indian War.

Ultimately, this was a sign of their defiance in relation to the British colonization of the Americas, and their ultimate new beginning in the south alongside their French compatriots.

Louisiana has since moved on to form a unique French entity within North America, in one of the most unlikely places. Not only is their […]

Getting Around in Holland?

By |May 11th, 2014|

Spring is around the corner (honestly!) and some of you lucky people may be planning a trip to Holland to enjoy the tulips, cycle paths and canals.

It is always worth considering how you are going to get around when travelling abroad and a trip to Holland is no exception. So let’s consider the train:

Holland has an extensive and modern rail network with First and Second class carriage options generally available. It is worth nothing that no seats can be booked on the standard rush hour trains in the Randstad area (Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht) so considering a First class ticket is […]

Travel talk – getting around Paris

By |May 6th, 2014|

Making the final checklist before we travel: Hotel booked? – Check. Flight booked? – Check. Passports retrieved, checked and stored safely? – Check. Suitcases the “correct” size? – Check.

Now the question arises; How do we get from Charles DE Gaulle airport to our hotel?

Once again, advice is given from all angles (thank you to all contributors), suggesting that we might take the Metro, the RER, spoil ourselves with a private hire limousine, or even walk. The latter being immediately dismissed as an option – our hotel is over an hour away from the airport by car!!

As with every other aspect of this trip, there […]

Happy International Workers’ Day!

By |May 1st, 2014|

While this year here in the UK, 1st May is a common working day, a lot of people around the world are enjoying a day off thanks to the International Workers’ Day, which commemorates the fight for workers’ rights. It is originally said to have a Celtic origin from Beltane, the Festival of Light, which welcomes the spring season. However, workers’ achievement of an eight-hour working day in the 19th century in the United States is the event that defines it.

Even though May Day is usually marked by workers’ demonstrations, there are also some curious events that take place in […]

An introduction to Germany

By |April 30th, 2014|

As of today, I will be blogging about Germany and other German speaking countries and am starting off with an introduction to Germany! Here at Veritas we have all chosen a country to write about as we all have links to a variety of countries around the world. I myself studied both French and German at university and have visited Germany on a number of occasions, mostly for trips associated with my course and even while I was learning the language at school.

I have visited the North-West and more specifically Münster – and from there Bremen and Nordeney Island (yes, […]

Translation on stage

By |April 23rd, 2014|

Translation on stage is a different scene to interpreting the spoken word in conversation or from listening, so what happens when it comes to theatrical performances?

I was at the theatre a couple of weeks ago, watching an excellent production of a play aptly named ‘Translations’ and in it, there are parts where some actors are meant to be speaking Irish whilst the others speak only English and therefore have trouble understanding each other.

Performing to a packed-out British audience, there may have only been a handful of people in the room who could have understood Irish, however I thought that the […]

Happy World Book Day! The Book Club – Lost in Translation

By |April 23rd, 2014|

In aid of World Book Day.I would like to talk about my very pseudo-intellectual
middle aged, alcohol fuelled book group. When I first moved back to my native Wales, I asked a
mother in the playground if there was a book group, and I was pointed in the direction of a rather
sour looking scrawny lady, who informed me they were not ‘taking in new members’. As a champagne
Socialist and all round champion of inclusivity, (and because my pride was wounded), I started my

We meet every month at different member’s homes, provide nibbles, everyone BYO, and we discuss
the book (amongst other things). […]

Social (media) etiquette

By |April 9th, 2014|

You don’t need a background in linguistics to know that there are differences in the way people talk online to in person. However, with social media taking off big time, there is an argument that platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have given people something to hide behind where social norms and etiquette are slightly forgotten.

One such example is on Facebook, where you can not only ‘like’ comments but you can also ‘unlike’ them afterwards. Since when in everyday conversation have you said ‘Ah yes I like that’ and then followed it with ‘No actually I don’t like that.’ In […]

Travels to the Hoek of Holland

By |April 4th, 2014|

Part 3

The wind howled around the deck of the ship my travels to the Hoek of Holland continued and I completed a charcoal drawing of an elderly couple’s faces in a swollen, grey heart. I thumbed the final smudges onto the page and tried to stifle a sigh. Lucky they’re paying for this, I thought as I committed a set of fake initials to the bottom corner of the page. It wouldn’t pay to have anyone think this picture was my idea.

“Dankeschön, dankeschön!” The barrel of a German man enthused as he dropped his money into my hand.

“Bitteschön.” I quickly […]

French film review: “Le renard et l’enfant/ The Fox and the Child”

By |April 4th, 2014|

“Le renard et l’enfant/The Fox and the Child” is French film aimed at children.

Synopsis: “Le renard et l’enfant/The Child and the Fox” is a Disney France, family film depicting the timeless tale of a friendship forged between a young girl and a country fox.

The story is told from the perspective of a young girl who becomes preoccupied with a wild fox she encounters when exploring the woods near her home. We follow the highs and lows as she develops her tracking skills to locate, approach and eventually befriend her fox.

Laced with elegant and panoramic nature filmography, “The Child and the […]

Tattoo designs – Japanese Kanji

By |April 1st, 2014|

The Japanese language has three alphabets or scripts. Hiragana and Katakana are Kana systems which represent one sound. Hiragana represent sounds in Japanese words while Katakana was constructed to convey sounds of English and other foreign words. Kanji symbols are the third and are a combination of Japanese pronunciation with adopted ideographic Chinese characters.

It is said that some 50,000 kanji exist. However, many Kanji are not necessarily used in daily life. The Japanese Ministry of Education designated 1,945 characters as Jooyoo Kanji, which are the  most frequently used characters. It would be very helpful to learn all Jooyoo Kanji, but the basic 1,000 […]

Paris – Tickets, Travelling, Tasting and Talking the Language

By |March 31st, 2014|

It’s amazing. The advice you receive from anyone and everyone when you mention going away – especially if you’re going somewhere they’ve visited previously. It’s invaluable. I love it!

In only two weeks, I’ve amassed guide maps, discount tickets, advice on negotiating the travel system, where to buy tickets for specific sights before going and even restaurant recommendations. No-one has so far come forward with a ‘free handbag’ voucher for Louis Vuitton, but I can dream…………..

The best part of all, is that I work for an internationally renowned interpretation / translation company, whose employees are all multi-lingual (and then some), so […]


By |March 24th, 2014|

I had a really interesting discussion with my cousin, who lives in America, the other day.  (Granted it was by iMessage, but it was still a real-time discussion.)  It was all about the word ‘Roof’ and its plural.

We both thought that Rooves was the correct plural, but his daughter’s teacher said Roofs.  So he asked me about it (since I trained as an English teacher way back when).  I admit, I had to Google a bit and do a bit of digging.  Turns out, this is a very hotly debated topic!

For example, while the British-English Oxford English Dictionary states that […]

Travels to the Hoek of Holland

By |March 23rd, 2014|

Part 2

The ferry to the Hoek of Holland was not as I had expected. Having indulged notions of the Hilton at sea, the reality rather let the wind out of my sales. The fluorescent Mc Donald’s lights blinking garishly and the selection of folding yellow seats bolted to the deck floor instantly saddened me. My teenage brain had not thought to investigate the duration of this part of my travels to the Hoek of Holland. That fact also saddened me.

“English, right?” The rosy face of a young girl in a poncho invaded my space.

“No, but thanks.” I replied attempting British […]