Around the web – June 2017

June 9th saw the announcement of the results of Bab.la’s 2017 Language Lovers competition, and I was delighted to come 2nd * in the Twitter category! (Full results here). What else has been happening in the world of language and translation during the month of June?

What country is this, and where does its name come from?

A cuckoo, from whence the etymology of cuckold

Bugles were originally made from the horns of oxen

Recep Tayyip Erdogan takes a new step in his campaign against foreign influences

 

On a final note you might like to check out my latest podcast for English language learners, which is on a rather unusual subject (there are video and audio versions).

* Another milestone this month was the fact my Facebook page reached 1000 followers!

 

Further reading:

Around the web – May 2017

The major translation-related news this month has of course been that during its 71st session on 24 May 2017 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 288 recognising “The role of professional translation in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development“. Without further ado, here’s your May round-up of popular articles about translation and language.

  • Is the translation sector “undergoing a wrenching change that will make life hard for the timid”? asks Lane Greene in The Economist article Why translators have the blues.
  • In the Financial Times, prizewinning translator Deborah Smith writes about the pleasures and pitfalls of literary translation.

A copy of La Tour’s ‘Saint Jerome Reading’ (c1636), depicting the priest known for translating the Bible into Latin. © Getty

“Gift” means “poison” in German. This may lead to confusion.
(iStock)

Noah Webster portrayed in an 1886 print
(via Wikimedia Commons)

On a final note, don’t forget to vote for your favourite language-related blogs, Facebook pages, Youtube channels and Twitter accounts in Bab.la’s annual Top 100 Language Lovers competition. I’ve been nominated in the Twitter category for the 5th year running. You only have until June 6th to vote (which you can do by clicking the red logo at the top right of the page)!

The 3 Phases of the Top 100 Language Lovers 2017 Competition: Nominations, Voting, Results

 

You might also like:

Around the Web – April 2017

Easter fell during the month of April this year and I found out that the Hungarian word for the holiday is húsvét, which literally means ‘meat-taking’ (with reference to the end of Lent). Anyway here’s your April round-up of popular articles about language, interpreting, and translation.

Translation platforms cannot replace humans

Three little letters, 645 meanings.

The term double-headed has sometimes been part of the lexicon of duplicity, much like double-hearted.

  • There’s still a week before the second round of the French presidential election, which will be followed by the country’s legislative elections on June 11th and 18th. If you’re not fluent in French, here’s a handy guide to some terms used in the elections.

How do you say ‘fake news’ in French?

 

Further reading:

Around the web – March 2017

Did you know that the Finnish word for Marchmaaliskuu, is believed to come from the word maallinen in the sense of “earthly”, because snow begins to melt and first spots of bare earth can be seen? Anyway here’s your March round-up of popular articles about translation and language.

In 2006 Alitalia listed $39.00 for a business class fare from Toronto to Cyprus instead of the usual $3,900. Estimated cost to the carrier: $7.7m.

Now you can say ‘mansplaining’ in 35 languages

Does the available vocabulary for sex leave something to be desired?

Humour:

Would you use these solicitors?

Humour en français :

  • Quand quelqu’un ne connaît pas un métier cela donne lieu à des demandes totalement insolites (ici des demandes faites à des agences web).

Further reading:

Around the web – February 2017

February 21st was International Mother Language Day, and this year’s theme was “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”. Without further ado here’s your February round-up of popular articles about language and translation.

The giant shoulders of English

“The giant shoulders of English”

This is the oldest fragment of Old Frisian, circa 1100-1125. It was sold by Sotheby’s in 2014 and bought by a private collector in Belgium. Credit: Courtesy of Han Nijdam

This is the oldest fragment of Old Frisian, circa 1100-1125. It was sold by Sotheby’s in 2014 and bought by a private collector in Belgium. Credit: Courtesy of Han Nijdam

  • These maps by Jakub Marian show the most common destination countries and percentage of emigrants from each European country.

emigrants-2015-countries

A beginner’s guide to which words to watch out for where.

A beginner’s guide to which words to watch out for where

By the way, mid-February saw me back at a local junior high school’s Careers Fair for the fourth year running, talking about the professions of translation and interpreting to six different classes of 13 to 15 year olds. And on a more personal note an interview I recently did with Expat.com was published online.

*available as a podcast

Further reading:

Mundolingua

Whether you live in Paris or are just passing through as a visitor I highly recommend a visit to Mundolingua, the Museum of Languages, in the city’s 6th arrondissement. It’s a treasure trove that invites you to discover the secrets of language and linguistics via objects, games, as well as documents and recordings on touchscreens.

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Part of the playing with language continent (the scrabble board is actually a rug)

The museum covers 170m2 over two floors and is divided into five ‘continents’: on the ground floor are the Language (definitions, animals, sounds, meaning, words and grammar) and Learning continents. In the basement are the Languages (myths and origins, religion, etymology, ethnolinguistic, dead languages, dialects, alphabets, sociolinguistics, etc.), Playing with Language and New Technologies continents. Even the staircase is put to use, with depictions of Babel through the ages, and a micro cinema at halfway level.

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One of the themed areas with a height-adjustable touch screen; note the Morse Code alphabet painted on the wall.

Almost all displays have information in the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish), or at the very least in French and English.

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Part of the New Technologies area; the museum also has an Enigma machine.

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This area was all about linguistics

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been printed in 500 of the 501 languages into which it has been translated.

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Language acquisition

Language Issues in the Brain

Language issues in the brain

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A corner on taboo words.

I spent less than two hours there, mainly because we were on a flying visit to Paris and arrived after 5pm (the museum closes at 7pm), but I could have spent much, much longer. My husband (a non-linguist) also greatly enjoyed himself.

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This Chinese typewriter, from about 1970, never caught on. Apparently a good typist averaged 20 characters per minute.

On the  third Thursday of every month at 7:30pm Mundolingua holds an evening event with special guests – past speakers include David Crystal. (The founder of the museum, Mark Oremland, describes it as a three-dimensional representation of the former’s Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language).

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This hanging curtain shows examples of different alphabets from around the world (a small world map at the top of each slat shows where the alphabet is used).

For more details (price, opening hours, address, etc. visit the website: Mundolingua).

See also “My Adventures at the Mundolingua Language Museum” on Superlinguo.

 

Most popular tweets of 2016

Here, in ascending order, are the 10 most popular* tweets about translation and language that I shared during 2016 on my @Smart_Translate Twitter account:

Example of an unpronounceable word; 'unpronounceable' is the opposite of its meaning

Example of an unpronounceable word; ‘unpronounceable’ is the opposite of its meaning

Is 'languid' a word that describes itself? [Lady Lilith, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti]

Is ‘languid’ a word that describes itself? [Lady Lilith, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti]

screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-18-55-16

Some of the 250 translations into different language of "Le Petit Prince"

Some of the 250 translations into different language of “Le Petit Prince”

Do you have a favourite article published in 2016 you’d like to share? Don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments below.

* ‘most popular’ = most clicked on, according to Hootsuite.

Related articles:

Around the web – November 2016

November 2nd-5th saw ATA‘s 57th Annual Conference held in San Francisco, and colleagues Paula Arturo and Claire Cox have both blogged about it. The list of future ATA conference sites and dates is here. Anyway here’s your November round-up of popular articles about language and translation.

web2

Simon explains how to get clients to come to you

maddest

“It looks, especially if you speak British English, as if Clinton was making a claim about the sanity level of Jeremy Corbyn”

The Norwegian Mr Bump.

The Norwegian Mr Bump.

  • Finally a quiz: Do you know these 25 Scottish words and phrases?

 

Further reading:

Around the web – October 2016

October 9th was world Hangeul Day. Do you know anything about Korea’s alphabet, which – because it was deliberately invented – is sometimes called the most scientific writing system in the world? Anyway, here’s your October round-up of popular articles about language and translation.

Donald Trump has been criticised for his lewd remarks about women

Donald Trump has been criticised for his lewd remarks about women

Der Oldtimer is a German word for a classic or vintage car (Credit: Alamy)

Der ‘Oldtimer’ is a German word for a classic or vintage car         (Credit: Alamy)

 Stradbroke Island in Queensland, Australia, faces a campaign to refer to it only by its Indigenous Australian name, Minjerribah. Photograph: naphakm/Getty Images

Stradbroke Island in Queensland, Australia, faces a campaign to refer to it only by its Indigenous Australian name, Minjerribah. Photograph: naphakm/Getty Images

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was made famous in the 1964 film Mary Poppins

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was made famous in the 1964 film Mary Poppins

  • Can you guess the language in this short quiz, using your knowledge of alphabets, language associations, and some educated guessing?

Further reading:

Around the web – September 2016

Here’s your round-up of popular articles about translation and language for the month of September.

Map of the EU - Overseas Countries and Territories and Outermost Regions. (source)

Map of the EU – Overseas Countries and Territories and Outermost Regions (source)

  • Errors can change a life when it comes to legal translation.
  • People have been told to use a new name for the country previously referred to as the Czech Republic: ‘Czechia’ in English, Tchequie in French and Tschechien in German. All are translations of Cesko in Czech.
Bridges span the River Vltava in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Bridges span the River Vltava in Prague, the capital city of Czechia (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Being ill: office job vs freelancing

Being ill: office job vs freelancing

Fixed gear bikes are very popular with hipsters

Fixed gear bikes are very popular with hipsters

Poster for International Translation Day 2016

Poster for International Translation Day 2016

Further reading: