Around the web – February 2023

Here’s your February 2023 round-up of news, articles, and blog posts about language, translation and interpreting.

Standing out from the crowd

Lots of genuine etymologies are fascinating and entertaining

Sleep has a more powerful role in language-learning than was previously thought.

Illustration of Roman couple with Latin speech bubbles next to their heads

Instead of transitioning between Latin and English, spoken Latin keeps the cognition all in one language.

Large rock with printed words 'Yr Wyddfa' and 'Snowdon' printed on it

The Welsh name Yr Wyddfa is now used for the mountain instead of Snowdon by the national park authority

On a final note, if you haven’t already done so, do take a few minutes to answer both these surveys:

Further reading on the blog:

Around the web – January 2023

Here’s your first round-up of 2023 with news, articles, and blog posts about translation and language during January.

10 tips for anyone working while travelling or wanting to enjoy other elements of life

The CV scam is becoming less and less profitable to scammers

  • There’s been a lot of coverage recently about ChatGPT. In this article the OpenAI chatbot talks about what could go wrong with GPT3 translations
  • Why do we all need subtitles now? Apparently it’s not us — the dialogue in TV and movies has become harder to hear

Why we all need subtitles now

A copy of a Greek inscription, made by laying wet paper or plaster over carved stone to create a mirror-image impression

The library’s archives include audio, text and video

The cries of camel herders mean nothing to the untrained ear, but animals respond instantly, gathering to walk together across the Saudi desert

Have you ever called a chicken parmigiana a ‘chicken in pyjamas’?

Further reading on the blog:

Most popular tweets of 2022

Here, in ascending order, are the ten most popular* tweets about language and translation that I shared during 2022 on my @Smart_Translate Twitter account:

The transformation of UK English reflect changes in technology as well as society

Just one of 50 bad book covers

With Timothy Barton and Victoria Mendez in Brighton

Words about work and work culture

It’s interesting to note that with the exception of the winning tweet (which was about 5 times more popular than the second-placed tweet), most of these tweets were either humorous, covered UK and US English and the differences between them, or talked about slang and swearing.

* ‘most popular’ = top tweets (most engagement & impressions) according to Twitter Analytics.

For more about words and language in 2022 you might be interested in Google’s Year in Search: the top trending searches of the year, and “Extremely hardcore discourse: the words of the year that slipped under the radar” by The Guardian.


Around the web – December 2022

Here’s your monthly round-up of news, articles, and blog posts about translation and language for December 2022.

We need to talk about… money!

Plaque to Orbeliani Baths of Tbilisi in Georgia with a quote from Pushkin in Georgian and in Russian

“To get the bull down,” is to complete a last-minute rush of work ahead of the Christmas break. Fail to do that and you might end up a yuleshard, someone who leaves errands unfinished on Christmas Eve.’

The etymological origins of the word ‘daisy’ are truly delightful.

The Museum of Wonky English (MOWE) is the first institution in Japan dedicated to the art of mistranslations

Further reading on the blog:

Around the web – November 2022

Here’s your monthly round-up of news, articles, and blog posts about translation and language for November 2022.

The virus formerly known as monkeypox

The war in Ukraine, supposedly in defence of Russian culture, has been a disaster on its own terms

Gaslighting was WOTY 2022 for which dictionary publisher?

the Hand of Irulegi, the earliest known text in Basque script

Further reading on the blog:

Around the web – September and October 2022

Here’s your round-up of news, articles, and blog posts about language and translation for September and October 2022.

Fresco from Pompeii of Echo and Narcissus, with whom Jhumpa Lahiri, as a translator, feels a close affinity

Who translated The New York Times’ widely-read yeshiva report into Yiddish? It may undermine Hasidic leaders.

Death by Machine Translation?

In order to avoid raising suspicion the novel’s translators met and worked in a Uyghur tea shop

On a final note, for International Translation Day I was pleased to help shine a spotlight on my profession by being featured in a local newspaper.

Further reading:

Around the web – July & August 2022

Been away over the summer? Here’s your round-up of news, articles, and blog posts about language and translation for July and August.

What is “good” or “right” when it comes to language?

Mixing up the languages we speak can reveal surprising things about how our brains work.

Who made that word and why?
No matter how many words in a language, it seems that we always need just one more to explain ourselves.

Screenshot from ‘Horizon Worlds’, Meta’s new virtual reality game

  • Will naming heatwaves (i.e. the same system used for cyclones) change people’s perception and help save lives?
  • Here’s an interesting chat with the team responsible for the sensational, nearly no-holds-barred “Stranger Things 4” descriptive captions

Wet writhing and eldritch gurgling

  • On a fun final note, this “literature clock” instantly finds literary quotations based on the time of day (or night) you access the website

Further reading

Around the web – May & June 2022

In May I was away attending BP22 (in Lisbon), Wordfast Forward (in Montenegro) and ITI22 (in Brighton) and wasn’t able to do my monthly round-up. So I’m doubling up this month!

Ryanair plane taking off

Critics of Ryanair’s test pointed out that South Africa has 10 other official languages, apart from Afrikaans

  • Greenland has a rich vocabulary for ice & snow. But what happens to language when those natural phenomena start to disappear?

As Greenland’s iconic icebergs begin to melt as the planet warms, how will its people, and language, adapt?

Romany flag

Which English words are borrowed from Romany?

Is the internet changing how we talk about slang words?


Elsewhere on the blog:

Around the web – April 2022

Here’s your April round-up of the month’s most popular news stories, blog posts and articles about language and translation.

“Algospeak” is becoming increasingly common across the Internet as people seek to bypass content moderation filters on social media

Gender bias turns up in the way we think of the most neutral of words

Scotland’s newest animals get Gaelic names

Macrolepiota procera, the parasol mushroom. Fungi have vocabularies of around 50 words.

Elsewhere on the blog:

Around the web – March 2022

Unsurprisingly, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine occurring late February, the March 2022 round-up has a number of language and translation-related articles, blog posts, and stories about the war.

The US Interior Department is looking to rename 660 federal sites that use an offensive term

Fantasy awards, among others, rarely ever feature a work of long-form or short-form fiction originally written in another language or translated into English

It’s said that if you find a four-leaf clover, it will bring you good luck

In other news, I was honoured to be featured in the “Meet our members” section of ITI’s FrenchNet newsletter: you can see the interview here. At the beginning of March I enjoyed participating in a careers event at a local high school with a class of penultimate year pupils. And I’ve also signed up for the BP22 conference in Lisbon: will I see you there?

Elsewhere on the blog: