Posted by: Sharon
Today we were having quite a funny conversation in the office about our experiences with the Latin language. When I got back to my desk, I thought that it was actually quite an interesting topic, so here we go with a blog post!
In Italy, Latin is quite a common subject for the students of the liceo, the type of high school whose focus is preparing people for university. Most students study it for five years, as I had to do.
However, to put it in Facebook terms, I would be defined as ‘in a complicated relationship’ with Latin, so let’s not enquire any further about my (lack of) Latin successes…
In Britain, however, Latin is considered quite a high-brow subject. It is hardly ever available in state schools, so it is usually linked with going to a private school or college.
Latin has always been praised as a good exercise before learning a live foreign language. It has several cases, declinations and tenses, which prepare your brain for languages such as Finnish and German.
Also, the activity of learning a language keeps your brain fit, like jogging every day with your neurones! In addition, Latin proves to be very useful when it comes to law and medicine, although for the latter ancient Greek is actually paramount. Also, after learning Latin, you will definitely find it easier to learn another Romance language, such as Spanish, Italian, French and Rumanian, as they have a lot in common.
Once spoken by the Romans and considered as a lingua ...Continue Reading →
“How are you?” seems to have become a habitual phrase used to start off a conversation, something we put in before getting down to the nitty gritty of what we wanted to talk about, rather than a real enquiry about someone’s well-being. Although we don’t have many of these habitual phrases in English, in some languages they’re not only very common, but also an essential part of daily life, particularly in the working environment.
In Japan, for example, at the end of the working day colleagues take leave of each other with the words お疲れ様でした (otsukare sama deshita), which literally means “you must be tired” (after a day of hard work). It’s customary to use the same phrase when going home after any kind of group or activity you belong to, such as after a sport or gym class. It’s a respectful way of thanking others for their hard work, and for taking your leave, and is therefore an essential part of the process of going home. Another crucial phrase is お先に失礼します (osaki ni shitsurei shimasu), which is an apology to colleagues who still have work to do that you are leaving the office before them. This phrase highlights the sense of duty and solidarity towards one’s co-workers and company which is part of Japanese culture. For example, in Japan, it is frowned upon to leave the office before the boss of the company.
It’s ...Continue Reading →
Posted by: Sharon
Since 1965, bilingual road signs and warnings have been permitted in Wales, with ‘Araf’ being on the top of the list of every visitor’s Welsh vocabulary.
However, the order in which place-names, attractions and messages appear on road signs varies among the Local Authorities, as can be seen above. Ultimately, it is up to them to decide whether or not the Welsh version of a place-name will be placed before or after the English version, according to the Assembly’s Welsh Language Scheme (5.3). For example, in my home county of Rhondda Cynon Taff and in Cardiff, the English place-name or attraction will always appear first:
However, once one leaves the M4 for Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, the situation changes, and it is now the Welsh version that comes out on top:
I am certain that those of us who speak both Welsh and English will always read the first sign that they see; in RCT, it’ll be the English version that I’ll read, and in Carmarthenshire, the Welsh. In counties where the English place names come first, are there drivers who will deliberately lower their eyes to read the Welsh version? By the time I will have ...Continue Reading →
The “I” is the skinniest and simplest letter in the English alphabet. It is one of the five main vowel letters, and also the fifth most common letter in the English language.
“I” can represent two main different sounds, either a “long” diphthong /aɪ/ as in mine or kite, or the “short”, /ɪ/ as in bill or tin. The short I is used in most European languages, whereas the long I pronounced as “ee” is more typical of English.
Where does the I come from? In 1000 B.C Phoenicians called the letter “yod”, which was later copied and incorporated to the Hebrew alphabet. Greeks made the yod their I vowel, changed its name to iota, and also gave the letter a second meaning, small in size or the last element in a bigger group. This is where the phrase “not one iota” comes from, and the word “jot”, which was the translation of “iota” in the Bible of 1611. The letter was then copied by Etruscans (700 B.C.), by Romans (600 B.C.), and finally pased into the alphabets of modern European languages, like Spanish, French and finally English.
The lowercase i had originally no dot. Since it was too hard to distinguish on a page of handwriting, it was topped with a slanted mark, becoming í. With the spread of printing, the stroke was reduced to a simple dot, giving birth to the present “i” ...Continue Reading →
This week’s translating heroine is our special Alison High!!!
Alison completed a very important project from Russian into English on a very tight deadline and we were surprised by her professional attitude and ability to manage her time! So a round of applause for Alison!
This amazing woman interprets and translates from Russian and French into English. Now based in the French speaking part of Switzerland, she completed a BA in Modern Languages in the UK, before achieving a Postgraduate Diploma in Interpreting and Translation Studies. Since 1991 Alison has been working as a freelance translator for several important organizations, such as the World Meteorological Organization, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Secretariat for the Convention to Combat Desertification.
In her free time, Alison likes spending time outdoors, making dresses and cooking. However, she is also very passionate about digital photography and anything related to IT, ranging from graphics and media to programming and websites.
What else can I say? Thanks again for your professional translations, it’s been a pleasure!!!Continue Reading →