Spanish is an extremely varied language, spoken in at least 20 countries and even differing among regions within the same country. Finding an easy way to express yourself with a single Spanish translation can be a challenging, but not impossible, task. Knowing your specific regions and working with good in-country resources or a translation agency can help make sure you avoid using the wrong term in the wrong area.
You don’t have to be a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu or a fan of Julia Child to know that French dominates the language of cooking. Words as familiar to English speakers as restaurant, gourmet, and cuisine all came to us from French. And if you are a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, or any other cooking school, you may have noticed that almost the entire culinary vocabulary is French, no matter what country you’re in or what language the instructor speaks. From au gratin to zest(e), French is the lingua franca of the kitchen. So how is it that French became so inextricably linked with the culinary professions?
Do you ever find yourself searching for a word that's not there? Perhaps it's a term you're sure should exist, a certain feeling, or an adjective that you just can't quite pinpoint. If you know more than one language, we know you've searched for a term in one, only to come up short in another. With all the richness of words in the world, there are certainly some words and expressions that are untranslatable when it comes to English. Because language and culture are so closely intertwined, it's no wonder that we cannot fully render all words into all languages. Read on to find out the meanings behind mysterious words like jayus, tartle, and prozvonit.
How do you begin to market to 300 million Arabic speakers worldwide? Is there such a thing as standard Arabic? The short answer is yes; the long answer is yes...and no. An understanding of Arabic's history may help raise your voice in and help define your global business strategy for this huge linguistic region.
The best thing about our Go Global Holiday Card Creator is that you (yes, you!) get to send free e-cards with holiday greetings to friends, family, business associates and/or parole officers around the world, in any one of twelve languages. From a secretary in Shanghai to an uncle in Umbria, put a smile on someone’s face in a different time zone.
Alessia Petrucci, Acclaro's Translation Director, oversees translation and language related processes as well as vendor recruitment. Originally from Tuscany, Alessia has a degree in Translation from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and has worked in the translation department at Microsoft and J.D. Edwards before joining Acclaro. Antonella Masters, Project Coordinator for Acclaro's San Francisco office, is a Roman native and has worked for Chevron and BASF in Italy, as well as for the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Scuola in San Francisco.
Cocomero and anguria both mean watermelon in Italian, except Romans will be more familiar with the former term and most everyone else will know the latter. While this may seem odd, "modern" Italian is actually relatively new. Prior to the unification of the country 150 years ago, centuries of division and foreign rule (Austrian, Spanish and French) have meant both cultural and linguistic diversity, as evidenced in the development of the multiple dialects used all along the Italian Peninsula.
Russian, ostensibly full of complicated grammar and vocabulary that can seem unfamiliar to other languages, has gotten a bad rap as far as learning languages goes. With the right techniques, though, it's not as bad as it seems. A little working knowledge of Russian can go a long way, as it is either the primary or secondary language of some 300 million people, according to Wikipedia, a large majority of which are located in growing global economic centers. Susanna Zaraysky demystifies the process and provides some great techniques to get you started. Next stop: Novosibirsk!
About guest author Susanna Zaraysky: Susanna is a speaker of seven languages and author of Language Is Music (El idioma es música, in Spanish), a short and easy-to-read book on how to learn foreign languages using music and the media. Find Susanna on her website or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Picasa, and on YouTube.
Brazilian Portuguese has a mellifluous (sweet sounding) sound to it. It flows like honey. If you are going to Brazil for business and you want Brazilian reais to move your way, like bees to honey, then you need your Portuguese to be sweet, smooth and melodic. The closer you sound to native, the easier it is for people to understand you and accept you. In all my travels, and I’ve been to over 50 countries, I saw that the better my accent was, the friendlier and more accepting locals were of me. People like to be around others who sound like them. Here are some helpful hints to get there:
We all remember the way new slang, idioms, and hand gestures rapidly spread from kid to kid through high school. But that’s nothing compared to how quickly social media transmits regional slang and unique words and spellings both within common languages and around the globe.
During most of human history, new words and idioms traveled slowly from different regions of a country, and entered common usage at the same rate. The same stately pace applied to words borrowed from foreign languages.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Orkut (Facebook’s main rival in Brazil), Foursquare, and perhaps most importantly, Twitter have changed all that.
The Acclaro blog entry below is featured today on the Japan Intercultural Consulting Blog. Japan Intercultural Consulting is an international training and consulting firm focused on Japanese business.
Translating content into Japanese presents a variety of challenges, most notably capturing the natural flow and tone of Japanese sentences. In American business, writing tends to be more informal, yet if translated into Japanese, it would seem too casual and possibly even rude. Translating English content, which is more than likely not in the appropriate tone for Japan, into Japanese is challenging, but not impossible. Read these tips to achieve high-quality, natural Japanese translations when working with a translation vendor. Also refer to our tips for preparing for any translation project, no matter what the language.
Our recommendations for translation into Japanese:
When our clients ask us to translate or localize into Spanish, the first question we ask is "Which kind of Spanish do you want?"
That’s because Spanish is the official or de facto language of 23 countries, from the obvious (Mexico) to the surprising (Antarctica — the Argentinian and Chilean sections, that is). It’s spoken by half a billion people on five continents. Yet those 500 million speak many different varieties of this most diverse Romance language, from the original Castilian and Andalusian of Spain to the distinctive trade route Spanish of Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Español traveled from the ports of Spain along with Spanish explorers, spreading out all over the world to Mexico, Central America, and most of South America (the exception is Brazil). The language even arrived in Equatorial Guinea. Along the way, Spanish grew and changed in unique ways with every culture it encountered, adapting to a multitude of indigenous tongues, each country creating its own unique vocabulary and accent.
Have you ever wondered how some European soccer players so effortlessly transfer from club to club, country to country, without spending at least a semester in intensive language immersion? France’s Zinedine Zidane, for example, played for Cannes and Bordeaux, then Juventus, in Piedmont, Italy, and later Real Madrid, in Spain. In crucial moments of the game, was he able to come up with the right translation for, “Pass the ball now!”, without a split second of hesitation?
If you’ve watched any post-game interviews, you know the answer to this. These professional soccer players are not only amazing athletes; they are also gifted language learners. Several of the Brazilians who play for Spanish teams, for example, have only the slightest accent as they recount the critical game plays to the Spanish press. How do these world-class players have time to study the language of their club? The secret to their quick language acquisition in this case is the Romance language advantage.
There’s nothing harder to translate than a poem, which might be why we’re so fascinated with poetry in all its many forms here at Acclaro.
In the Western world, we know of sonnets, odes, and blank verse. Most of us learned a limerick or two as children. Yet nearly every culture on every continent has produced its own unique poetic form, whether it comes in the form of song, spoken word, or printed literature.
Here’s a quick round-the-world tour of some not-so-familiar poetic forms. It’s an amazing roundup of human creativity.
You’ve probably read — or
even written — a haiku. But what about a Burmese climbing rhyme? This poem in English by writer
and professor Larry Gross (who also writes classical Korean sijo poems) shows off the tricky internal rhymes of this stairstep verse
Arabic, the Middle East's most widespread language has a unfamiliar alphabet, a fiendishly complex grammar, and a vocabulary enriched by 1400 years of literary culture. According to the U.S. State Department, only Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, and Cantonese are as hard for native English speakers to learn.
Still, maybe you're undaunted. Maybe you need to learn Arabic for your career. Or maybe you're one of those travelers who long to step off the tourist trails and immerse themselves in a fascinating new culture.
If you've had some experience with foreign languages, you already have an idea of what it takes — above all, an appetite for hard work. But Arabic has special features that make it a different challenge from, say, Spanish or French. Here are few tips to make your journey easier.
Practice your ‘ayns. Unfortunately, Arabic has several consonants that don’t exist in English or any other Western language. The king of these is the ‘ayn (Arabic ع)—a perfectly ordinary sound for native speakers, but a major challenge for most novice learners, since it’s pronounced with muscles English speakers rarely use in speech. With diligent practice, though, even the ‘ayn can become second nature. If you put in the time and effort to master it and other difficult sounds at the outset, you’ll spare yourself a lot of trouble in the future (and perhaps impress new friends abroad with your accent).
Those of you who braved the crowds and were trampled by hoards of not-so-merry shoppers this past weekend know that last minute shopping is the pits. There’s no better way to get instantly harried and haggard. Pacing the mall the week before Christmas is sure to take you from jolly to jaded in no time, extinguishing your flame of holiday merriment.
Sparring for a parking place, elbowing your way through the crowded aisles, dodging shopping carts and wayward children, languishing in long lines…only to discover that the items you wanted are sold out – such madness can turn the biggest holiday reveler into a grinch real fast.
Desperation may be setting in today as you come to terms with the fact that not even Amazon can save you at this stage in the game – there are only four business days left before Christmas and rush shipping is sure to cost more than the gift itself.
Presents from colleagues, partners, clients, vendors and friends have started to pour in; your holiday unease is amplified this morning as you contemplate the many offerings from individuals you completely overlooked in the holiday gift list. It’s way too late to reciprocate, especially with your overseas contacts who diligently mailed their gifts to you a month ago to ensure an on-time delivery.
Let's continue exploring the numerous values of the language of love. We know there are many Francophiles in the world. We understand that speaking French will help us network with them. We know that it will enable us to speak cuisine and wine fluently. We saw that French is spoken on virtually every continent and that French colonization planted the seeds so that it would flourish across the globe. Why else should we study the language of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Christian Dior, Gerard Depardieu and Nicolas Sarkozy?
When the going gets tough, the humanities get going, or so it seems. One of the first degree programs to be axed by state universities during budget cuts is, sadly, French, the language of love. The State University of New York at Albany is a recent example. The board just discontinued degree programs in French, Italian, the classics, Russian and theater, according to a recent New York Times discussion. It would appear that the language of the poets and philosophers, of Proust and Flaubert, Balzac and Baudelaire, has become less appealing to a generation more enamored with languages such as C#, HTML and Java.
Given the shifting value system in American culture, is French even relevant anymore? In an age when more parents are placing their pre-schoolers in bilingual programs to learn Mandarin, does French still hold any value? Without hesitating, our response would be oui. Here are the first five of our top ten reasons:
One of my favorite Italian columnists, Michele Serra, writing about the qualities of a certain South American poet, remarked “It has to be said, to be fair to all other poets, that he starts with an advantage: Spanish is to poetry what cello is to music: everything sounds better.”
I’m an Italian, just like Michele Serra and to me, Spanish is indeed a refined, erudite language with just a touch of exoticism. It sounds elegant but slightly harsher than Italian, more serious and structured, but with some strange sounds (the unpronounceable “j” for example) and a better defined rhythm. Yes it indeed sounds great, like the cello — beautiful, soothing and warm while at the same time, deep and slightly threatening.
When you’re a linguist and when you live abroad, you hear a lot about the qualities of languages: beautiful, hard, musical, poetic, harmonious, harsh. And while recognizing that there might be some science behind what makes a language pleasant to the ear, I cannot help but thinking that none of these qualitative remarks have any truth behind them.
Have you ever walked like a cat around hot porridge? Or thrown flowers at yourself? You may have, but not even known you were doing it.
These literal translations of figures of speech are examples of the wit and insight that all cultures employ to convey truisms, humor and the subtleties of human behavior.
But how do you translate figures of speech?
Answer: With great difficulty. Think of the translator who has to translate Aus einer Mücke einen Elefanten mache, which literally means "To make an elephant out of a mosquito," into other languages. In this case, there is an English equivalent: "To make a mountain out of a molehill."
Welcome to Las Vegas and the 24/7 craps tables. While not the easiest game to play in the gambling pantheon, craps is the one most like a team sport. Players actively root for one another and often bolster each other’s bets. When a table is “hot”, players scream, holler, give high fives and yes, even do chest butts.
When it comes to the English language, craps has actually contributed its fair share of terms into our day-to-day speech. However, be careful when using craps and other gambling terms in your documents and marketing campaigns that eventually need to be localized. These terms, although common in English, may or may not “translate” well into other languages and may require substantial reworking by a translator, ultimately adding extra time and cost to your localization project. Read more about how to write for international audiences.
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