Around the web – November 2021

Here are November’s most popular news articles, blog posts, and stories about translation and language.

Last year Oxford languages decided it was impossible to sum up 2020 in a single word

Video content is all the rage on the internet nowadays

Korean steak tacos with cabbage cilantro exemplify natural biculturalism

What chocolate Kinder Surprise Eggs can tell us about language

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Around the web – October 2021

October 10th saw me celebrate the milestone of ten years since I relaunched Smart Translate! In 1994 I created the company that would later become Smart Translate, before putting it on hold after a few years to pursue my career in business and then abroad. It was only in 2011 on my return to Reunion after three years in South Korea that I seized the opportunity to fulfil my long-held dream of becoming a full-time professional translator. Have you celebrated any milestones recently? Anyway, here are this October’s most popular news articles, blog posts, and stories about translation and language.

Squid Game smashes barriers and records, highlights importance of translation

Is accent in the mind of the listener?

Why you have an accent in a foreign language

  • 85% to 88% of the UK population (i.e. “native speakers of English”) speak non-standard forms of the language. This article debunks 5 major myths about standard English.

5 things people get wrong about standard English

A familect can strengthen bonds and develop language skills.

The sparkles emoji has been with us for over a decade, yet is now more popular than ever

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Around the web – September 2021

Happy International Translation Day! Here are the ten most popular news articles, blog posts, and stories about translation and language for September 2021.

10 translated books that feature translators as characters

Hidden from view … a calligrapher with an early Chinese translation of Robert Burns. (Photograph: David Cheskin/University of Edinburgh/PA)

French in Haiti: Is It Time for a Change?

The hand gestures that last longer than spoken languages
(Image credit: Emmanuel Lafont/BBC)

A movement against Western influence threatens to close off a nation that succeeded in part by welcoming new ideas.

  • On the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, this article looked at some of the ways the event shaped language, and unpacks some of the consequences

The linguistic legacy of 9/11


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Around the web – August 2021

Here are the most popular news articles, blog posts, and stories about language and translation for August 2021.

  • Many news stories this month talked about the plight of Afghan interpreters. Here are articles on the subject from The Guardian, the BBC in the UK and USA, and Australia’s ABC 

Australian military evacuated Afghan interpreters and contractors who served alongside Australian Defence Force troops

New York State Executive Mansion, home to New York State governors

Researchers want to expand scientific terms in African languages including Luganda, which is spoken in East Africa.

Apparently emojis now mean different things to different people

Would there be fewer protests if the pass became a passe?

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Around the web – July 2021

Here are the most popular news articles, blog posts, and stories about language, interpreting and translation for July 2021.

(photo by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay)

The Tokyo Olympics is on. Can you outrun the jargon?

The letters and symbols of the Rosetta Stone helped scholars crack the code of an ancient Egyptian writing system


The cookbook contained decadent recipes—such as rich chocolate soup—that weren’t traditional fare


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Around the web – June 2021

I’ve been working with a new office buddy this month, but what about you, do you work alone or with company? Anyway here are the most popular news articles, blog posts, and stories about language and translation for June.

The winner of the2021 International Booker Prize At Night All Blood Is Black is about a Senegalese soldier fighting for France in World War I (Credit: Corbis via Getty Images)

Fifty Sounds by Polly Barton recounts her experiences in Japan (Picture: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images)

The new Quebec language reform bill may boost demand for Canadian French translation

There are a million different ways to be bilingual
(Gerd Altmann/Pixabay, CC BY-SA)

A Sateré-Mawé leader gathers caferana, a native plant of the Amazon rainforest used as a medicinal herb (Photograph: Ricardo Oliveira/AFP/Getty)

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Around the web – May 2021

Here are May’s news articles, blog posts, and stories about language and translation.

  • Advocacy group Red T – along with many other organisations such as FIT, AIIC, ITI, and SFT – sent an open letter to the NATO Secretary General asking that evacuation plans be implemented for the latter’s locally engaged Afghan interpreters
  • How did “woke” become a slur? Its word history is complex

The complex history of the polarizing buzzword. (Photo Credit: @iheartcreative via Twenty20)

Some languages slice up the messy reality of life differently from your own

Hit or miss

When people share a space, their collective experience can sprout its own vocabulary, known as a familect.

Bodice: the word that launched a thousand romance novel covers

Homer has been given a fresh reading. (Photograph: De Agostini/Getty Images)

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Around the web – April 2021

Did you know that April is the month that the UN celebrates Language Days for three of its six official languages: Chinese, Spanish and English. Anyway, here are more of the month’s news articles, blog posts, and stories about translation and language.

Many words that define human beings by their crimes and punishments are dehumanizing

Shining a light on CPD (image by Colin Behrens)

A British-style, three-letter word for a vaccination shot has proved irksome to many Americans (Illustration: James Yang)

Your kid’s slang isn’t as bad as you think. New research indicates it can have learning benefits for children. (Photograph by SDI Productions/Getty Images)

“I cannot detach my name from people laughing at me, calling me a bitch, letting me know that I’m the punch line of my own joke” (Illustration by Nhung Lê)

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Around the web – March 2021

The month of March is chock-a-block with special days: the Ides of MarchInternational Francophonie Day, St Patrick’s Day, St David’s Day, the vernal/autumnal equinox, Pi Day, and this year the Hindu festival of Holi also fell in March. Anyway here are some more of this month’s articles and stories about language and translation.

March 14 is a day when people like to indulge in pie

Do you know what a “propaganda-condom” is?

Women use emojis more than men and generally understand their meanings better, researchers say. (Illustration: Max Benwell)

      • Lastly, another news story that dominated the last week of March was the supertanker stuck in the Suez Canal. Here’s a look at what the “Suez Canal” is called in various European and Middle Eastern languages


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Around the web – February 2021

February 21st was International Mother Language Day, and February 25th saw me celebrate 27 years since I created the company that would later become Smart Translate! Anywhere, here are this month’s most popular articles and stories about translation and language.

  • How do you define what a professional translator is? A recent court case in Poland – involving a translation agency and an author who realised most of his book “translation” was PEMT – led judges to attempt a definition.
  • In this article, Nataly Kelly says linguistic skills are merely the entry point for translators, and that people skills are what make the world’s best translators stand out from the pack.

What are the skills that differentiate the world’s best translators?

There are very few opportunities in life to have it both ways; semicolons are the rare instance in which you can.

Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Lent: what do they all mean?

  • If you’re a translator and on Facebook you may well have come across (or be one of the 4200 members of) the “Foodie Translators” group. Here colleague Claire Cox talks about how it’s helping us get through the pandemic.
  • More about food: have you ever wondered what a pie chart is called in other languages?
  • Finally, and still on the subject of food (!): why context is everything. Facebook recently censored a chat about a Black Country local dish, mistaking “faggot” (a type of meatball) for a homophobic slur.

Facebook has apologised after censoring a discussion of a traditional Black Country dish

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