Tag: translation

false friends

False Friends between English and Spanish

Building a bridge between two languages is a very demanding undertaking, and ‘false friends’ make it harder still. False friends are more commonly known as ‘false cognates’, or words that are similar or identical in both languages but which convey a different meaning. They give us a false sense of security before leading us astray. […]

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Kafka

Carefully constructed: the language of Franz Kafka

A few months ago I took part in a discussion of Kafka on Melvyn Bragg’s radio programme In Our Time. One of the other participants asserted that Kafka’s style describes horrific events in the emotionally deadpan tone of a bureaucrat report. This struck me immediately as wrong in lots of ways. I didn’t disagree, because […]

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song map

Map: many songs for the Eurovision Song Contest

On 23 May, the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 will be taking place in Vienna, Austria – and celebrating the 60th time the competition has taken place. We’re celebrating by looking at translations of the word song in the languages of each country that is participating in this year’s contest – which includes, for the first […]

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translater interpreter

What makes language interpreting different from translation?

The seemingly straightforward question ‘So, what do you do for a living?’ sends professional interpreters into an existential quandary; we struggle how to best answer this polite enquiry. Should we describe ourselves as translators or interpreters? The reason this question poses such a conundrum is that it is never easy to explain to others what […]

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black ink

Learning Portuguese: when brown is black and India is China

Portuguese and English have been part of my life as far as I can remember. I was brought up in Brazil and got used to switching from speaking Portuguese to English then back to Portuguese. Word games were part of my childhood and I would translate some expressions literally just for a laugh. Vamos dar […]

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arabic

Fun with words or why I love Arabic

‘Somebody once said that every Arabic word means itself, its opposite or a camel.’  The professor I was trying to impress threw cold water on this vision of the language I had chosen to study: ‘Very funny, but not true’. Sigh. I owed the quote to Tim Mackintosh-Smith, Arabist and travel-writer known as the sage […]

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untranslatable

Translatable vs untranslatable

In a guest blog post, and following on from her article about ‘untranslatable’ Russian words, Caroline James questions the idea that some words are simply untranslatable. For most language learners and lovers, translation is a hot topic. Should I translate new vocabulary into my first language? How can I say x in Japanese? Is this […]

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spanish

Loving Latin

Have you ever wondered just how far your language GCSE will get you in the wild? I set out to road-test my dusty Spanish qualification last year by travelling through Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, sometimes alone and sometimes with fellow English speakers, with a short stop-off as a classroom assistant in darkest Peru. My (lack […]

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