Veritas offers many types of interpreting services, and we are interested in the ethical and ‘real time’ applications and implications of interpreting services. Read these blogs for more information…
Have you heard of Wôpanâôt8âôk? Probably not, since it hasn’t been a ‘living’ language for over 150 years. But that’s about to change…
What is Wôpanâôt8âôk?
Wôpanâôt8âôk is the native language of the Wôpanâak (Wampanoag) tribe of Native Americans who live in the area of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It was once a very important language:
It was the first Native American language to develop and use an alphabetic writing system.
The first complete bible printed in the ‘New World’ was published in the Wampanoag language in 1663
The language enjoys the largest corpus of Native written documents in North America
Why did it ‘die’?
Wôpanâôt8âôk ceased to be spoken around the mid-19th century. As with so many indigenous languages, this happened through the processes of religious conversion, laws against the use of the language, mainstream education, and commerce.
How is it being ‘re-born’?
Although there haven’t been any fluent speakers of the Wôpanâôt8âôk language for over 150 years, the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project (http://wlrp.org) is aiming to return fluency in Wôpanâôt8âôk to the Wampanoag Nation as a principal means of expression, bringing back to life their ancestral language after over six generations of dormancy. This includes developing a Wôpanâôt8âôk dictionary (that currently holds over 11,000 words), a curriculum for second language acquisition for adult learners, and the first Wôpanâôt8ây Pâhshaneekamuq (Wôpanâôt8âôk-medium School) opening in 2015.
Their efforts are already showing great signs of success and promise. In addition to a number of adults now using the language, a few very young children are being raised with Wampanoag as their first language – the first native speakers of the language since the mid-19th century!
Why is the re-birth of the Wôpanâôt8âôk language important for the rest of the language world?
It is [...]
After a visit to the recent World Travel Market in London recently, I wanted to emphasise how much language services can be of use to the tourism industry. This industry covers a diverse range of sub sectors; travel, entertainment and leisure, hotels, airlines, football clubs, tour operators and games organisers. Tourism is essentially travel for leisure, recreation or business purposes and language barriers are extremely common. Interpreters are often needed to for emergency situations, business expansion purposes and simply just as an option for customers.
Tourism affects every single continent in the world and is the main source of income in many countries such as the Caribbean Islands and Latin American countries. At the World Travel Market, Greece had one of the largest sections, confirming how heavily this country relies on tourism as its main source of income.
Lessons learnt from the World Travel Market…
Interpreting is a popular requirement for hoteliers, tourist boards and tour operators. Feedback I received was that it gives them the confidence to be able to deal with customers from all nationalities and adds to a hotel’s many functions. Many of the areas of the tourist industry require interpreters intermittently and in urgent situations. For this I suggested telephone interpreting as an option. Tourists visit their destinations from all over the world and having an interpreter at the press of a button is such a useful option to have and will save a lot of time, worry and cost for many tourists and companies. Veritas offers a telephone interpreting service called Veritas Talk, which is simple to set up and there is no minimum usage time or set up [...]
Do you know the difference between interpreting and translation?
Imagine that you’re going on a business trip to China, and you realise that actually, your Mandarin is a bit rusty, and you could probably do with someone to accompany you to help you ensure that you don’t accidentally order your favourite stir-fried noodle dish when trying to close a deal with a prospective customer.
Do you: a) look for a translator? b) look for an interpreter? c) look for either, because they’re the same thing, aren’t they?
If you chose b) then you’ll probably end up with a confused translator wondering why you want to meet them in person. If you chose c) you have a 50/50 chance of closing the deal, and if you chose a) then, congratulations! You’re on your way to excellent business relations.
So, what’s the difference? They can both speak the languages, can’t they? Why can’t a translator interpret, and vice versa?
In short: translators focus on written communication, and interpreters focus on spoken communication. Both are highly trained professional linguists, but their skill sets are vastly different.
Think of it this way: some people write eloquently and beautifully, and can think of just the right way of describing things to bring words to life on a page and capture their reader’s attention. But ask them to give a speech or just talk to them on the phone and suddenly they’re not so articulate. Conversely, some people tell amazing stories out loud and can hold an audience captive with their anecdotes for hours, but ask them to write anything down and their prose is full of grammatical and spelling errors, half-formed ideas and possibly verging on incoherent. I’m not saying translators are inarticulate and [...]
I love working in an office that not only deals with people around the world, but includes people from around the world. Mainly because the chats we have over a coffee are always interesting and lively, and can sprout from a simple phrase or word used.
Case in point, the other day a couple staff were querying the use of “12:07 AM” in an American translation that involved translating time. An American myself, who has lived here for over 13 years, this made perfect sense to me. But a debate over its correctness ensued. Surely, they said, it should be 00:07, and leave it at that. At which point I said, “But Americans do not use a 24 hour clock.” Everyone just looked at me with a weird look on their faces.
I looked back with a look that said, I thought everyone knew that. Clearly they did not. I then explained that in America, it is either 12:07 AM or 12:07 PM; 3:15 AM or 3:15 PM. Everything is AM or PM. The only time a 24 hour clock is used is if you specify that you are using “Military Time”, which isn’t often. A 24 hour clock is just too hard and confusing. (How can seven-teen mean five? You said seven.) It took me years to learn how to tell time past 12:59 in the UK. I still have to calculate in my head to figure out how to say 3:00pm (3 plus 2 is 5 = 15:00), or to know what 17:00 means (7 – 2 = 5 = 5 o’clock pm)
So, the next time you are communicating with an American about time, use a 12 hour clock and be sure to clarify [...]
Halloween is massive in the US, having been passed down from generation to generation. In 2012, Americans spent almost $8billion (almost £5billion) on Halloween. As an American, I grew up with that tradition of Halloween and all that it involves – trick-or-treating, candy, costumes, pumpkins, TV Specials, candy, scary stories, scary decorations and, well, candy. But when I first moved to the UK in 2000, I really struggled to find any kind of Halloween decorations, and trick-or-treaters were non-existent. So imagine my thrill as year after year, Halloween becomes a bigger (and more commercial) holiday here in the UK. This is mainly due, I believe, to Satellite TV and all the American channels for children such as Disney and Nickelodeon, which show all the Halloween ‘specials’ year on year.
But I am not as happy that although the language of Halloween has translated perfectly well across the pond – “Trick-or-Treat” – the culture of American Halloween has not translated nearly so well. This is because, after decades of annual trick-or-treating and celebrating, Halloween and all that goes with it is as ingrained in the American culture and tradition as the 4th of July. Everyone – young and old – simply ‘knows’ what to expect and what to do. But that ‘knowing’ simply isn’t translating across the pond, where Halloween is mainly being copied off of what children see on television and in movies, and not taught from parent to child.
For the first UK generation really trying to embrace the American-style Halloween (and all the merchandisers trying to profit from it), here are a few explanations of some of the activities you see:
Halloween is full of nostalgia. Since [...]