Posted by: Lauren Webb, Operations Manager
“Does English exist?” the linguistics professor asked, and suggested this might be a useful question to think about in our daily practice as translators.
Well – yes and no. Imagine you are negotiating a contract with a translation agency or another prospective client who wants a large document translated into English, and you say, “Hmmm … actually, I’m not sure whether English even exists.” Not a good idea.
On the other hand, we do need to remind ourselves (and others) occasionally that translators are more than walking dictionaries, that translation is not just a matter of replacing each word of the source text with a target-language equivalent. Unlike Google Translate or Babel Fish, we may not be able to translate hundreds of words in the blink of an eye (or, as we say in German, im Handumdrehen, “in the turn of a hand”) – but unlike Google Translate or Babel Fish, we are all too aware of the pitfalls and pratfalls of language. Good translators take nothing for granted – not even the existence of English -, trust neither the dictionary nor their instincts, and double-check everything. Did I say double? Make that triple-check.
Of course, when working to tight deadlines and fielding calls from impatient editors or project managers, we can’t usually afford the luxury of contemplating the larger issues like “Does English exist?” For all practical purposes, let’s just assume that it does, and get on with it. But remember that silly joke about Descartes: There he was, pottering around in ...Continue Reading →
In Spain, like in the rest of the world, the language translation industry plays an essential role in the economical, cultural and social development of the country.
Over the last decades, translation activities have grown rapidly. Nowadays, the professional translation market is growing at a rate of 6% per annum. This increase has been motivated by various causes, amongst which are technological and scientific advances, the increase of international relations, growth of the tourism sector, increase of the new information diffusion media, more communication between different linguistic communities, etc.
The Spanish language translation market is composed of two main sectors: the public or institutional and the private sector. The first one includes translation in Institutions and Organizations which depend of the Public Services, National and International Organizations and Companies, Government agencies and departments. The private sector includes translation agencies and companies, editorial translation and freelance translators.
At present, there are around 750 translation agencies and companies working in Spain. More than the half of them are situated in Madrid (36%) and Barcelona (22%), but there are also important translation agencies in the main Spanish cities: Valencia (5%), Seville (9%), Bilbao (9%), etc. A big percentage of the agencies are “virtual translation agencies”, which operate only on the internet.
But the language translation sector is composed mostly of freelance translators. It is estimated that there are 4.000 translators working ...Continue Reading →
You probably got the touch of Poland by now, especially after Tesco’s introduction of several Polish delicacies in their stores like Gołąbki, flaczki or Żubrówka. Sound quite familiar already, right? Well, even though you experienced Polish cuisine I bet you still haven’t heard of ‘łamańce językowe’(Polish tongue twisters).
Here are some tongue twisters that are quite well known in my home land. Interestingly, many Polish tongue twisters are borrowed verses from famous children’s poems.
There you go:
1) W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie
I Szczebrzeszyn z tego słynie.
Wół go pyta: ”Panie chrząszczu,Po co pan tak brzęczy w gąszczu?
(In Szczebrzeszyn a beetle buzzes in the reeds
And that’s what Szczebrzeszyn is famous for.
An ox asks him: ‘Mister beetle,
What are you buzzing for in the thickets?’)
2) Czarna krowa w kropki bordo
gryzła trawę kręcąc mordą.
Kręcąc mordą i rogami
gryzła trawę wraz z jaskrami.
(A black cow with claret-coloured spots
Was moving its muzzle while chewing some grass.
It was moving its muzzle and its horns
while chewing some grass with buttercups.)
‘Łamańce językowe’ are also often used in primary schools in order to test and improve students’ articulation and spelling skills alike. Polish teachers usually use the following tongue twisters:
3) Leży Jerzy na wieży i nie wierzy, że na drugiej wieży leży drugi Jerzy.
(George is lying on a tower and doesn’t believe that there is another George lying ...
Linguistic Dominance or Imperialism can be defined as the transfer of power through language.
In the 21st century, the English language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, which is why it has been attributed the name of “world language”. Being the lingua franca of the modern era, it is currently the language most taught as a foreign language. Due to its extensive use by diverse peoples, many linguists believe that “it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of native speakers” but rather that it has become a part of the cultures in which it is immersed.
This constant use of the language (studied by 89%of schoolchildren in the EU) has had an enormous impact upon many other languages so much so that it has led to language shift and even language death. Language shift, also referred to as language transfer or assimilation, occurs when a community which speaks a particular language shifts to another language. This is the main cause of language death.
Although the expansion of the languages leads to globalisation and also has improved inter-global communication, the downside remains that indigenous dialects and languages are becoming extinct. Some linguists attribute this phenomenon to linguistic imperialism.
Examples of Linguistic Imperialism are spread across the pages of history, not only with the English language but also French, Chinese, and ...Continue Reading →
Tongue Twisters are a fun way of testing the speaker’s ability to correctly pronounce the succession of similar sounds. They are words or sentences with repetitions and recurring syllables which are repeated as fastly as possible. These can surprisingly be found in almost all languages from Spanish to Creole.
In French, tongue twisters also known as Virelangues, provide an interesting insight into the French language and are also an entertaining way to practice sentences which are not easy even for native speakers of the language. It can be interesting to test your abilities at tongue twisting when you are a beginner,an intermediate or even an advanced learner of French.
Here are some of my favourite French tongue twisters (even though some of them don’t make any sense!). Are you brave enough to give it a shot??
Ah ! pourquoi Pépita sans répis m’épies-tu, dans le puits Pépita pourquoi te tapis-tu ? Tu m’épies sans pitié, c’est piteux de m’épier, de m’épier Pépita ne peux-tu te passer ? (Oh ! why Pepita do you spy on me incessantly, in the well Pepita why do you cower? You spy on me without pity, it’s pityful to spy on me, to spy on me Pepita, can’t you stop it?)
As-tu vu le tutu de tulle de Lili d’Honolulu ? (Have you seen the tule tutu of Lily from Honolulu?)
Bonjour Madame Sans-Souci. Combien sont ces soucis-ci?
Six sous, ces ...