• December • will be magic again!

Hello December! :)
Hello December! 🙂

Hey, there! How are you?

I want to welcome all the people who has just landed here either by chance or by choice.

It’s always a pleasure to have you in my blog. I was reading my stats and there has been a massive increase in number of visits.
I think I should start writing a little more often, which is an absolute must lately. I would like to start writing about my experience as a freelancer. I went through a lot this year. I must confess that I didn’t expect to have the chance to meet all these wondeful people, who at first were only “colleagues” but I can call “friends” now.
You are very precious stars in this wide sky where we work shining and standing out.

Thank you so much for the helpful suggestions, the ideas shared at night when we are working on neverending assignments, while drinking uncountable cups of coffee.

I’m so grateful for the new clients who popped up out of nowhere, thanks to social media and networking.
Furthermore, I had the chance to work for some of my entrepreneurial icons. I think I can’t be happier. I know it sound childish, but it was very important to me. You try to follow the steps of somebody who is a model for you from far and, one day, they notice you. It’s like, suddenly, you knew that you are going in the right direction. So, THANK YOU

I want to keep learning and feeding my hunger, because I want to answer all the questions I still have about this career, which is a multifaceted way of working. It allows you to choose how to organise your day – although, sometimes, you feel more like a juggler than a translator – and how to complete all the assignments in time preserving coherence and quality. Plus, I’m going to get rid of all the toxic aspects of this life I chose for myself.
There was a tough time when I wanted to give up, because I thought I couldn’t achieve my goals. I felt hopeless and it was a direct consequence of my choices. It wasn’t anybody else’s fault but mine. Therefore, I wanted to change something and I decided it was the right time to spread my wings and sore alone.
When you work with people who treat you like you were just the means to get what they want, well, that’s not cooperation, that’s exploitation.
Don’t allow anybody to poison your [working] life. I know a lot of people out there can relate to this point. So, just speak the truth, it will set you free. We can count only on ourselves. At the end of the day, we have to thank ourselves for any little thing we gained. Don’t let other people appropriate your success and results.

There’s only YOU in this equation. Choose wisely. Always be surrounded by people you like and who deserve your trust.

That said, I hope to have you here when I publish the New Year’s resolutions 2015. I’m planning something new and going to reveal some points in the last post of the year at the end of December. There’s a lot to do, but I know I can do it one step at a time.

Stay tuned!

Wishing you a great week!

See you soon,

~Chiara

December will be magic again by Kate Bush
(live piano version – Xmas version)

December will be magic again.
Take a husky to the ice
While Bing Crosby sings White Christmas. He makes you feel nice.
December will be magic again.
Old Saint Nicholas up the chimney,
Just a-popping up in my memory.

Ooh, dropping down in my parachute,
The white city, she is so beautiful
Upon the black-soot icicled roofs,
Ooh, and see how I fall.
See how I fall
(“Fall!”) [backwards]
Like the snow.

Come to cover the lovers.
(Cover the lovers,
But don’t you wake them up.)
Come to sparkle the dark up.
(Sparkle the dark up,
With just a touch of make-up.)
Come to cover the muck up.
(Cover the muck up,
Ooh, with a little luck.)

December will be magic again.
Light the canDLe-lights
To conjure Mr. Wilde
Into the Silent Night.
Ooh, it’s quiet inside,
Here in Oscar’s mind.

December will be magic again.
Don’t miss the brightest star.
Kiss under mistletoe.
I want to hear you laugh.
Don’t let the mystery go now.

Ooh, dropping down in my parachute,
The white city, she is so beautiful
Upon the black-soot icicled roofs,
Ooh, and see how I fall.
See how I fall
(“Fall!”) [backwards]
Like the snow.

Come to cover the lovers.
(Cover the lovers,
But don’t you wake them up.)
Come to sparkle the dark up.
(Sparkle the dark up,
With just a touch of make-up.)
Come to cover the muck up
(Cover the muck up,
Ooh, with a little luck.)

Oh, I’m coming to cover the lovers.
Ooh, and I’m coming to sparkle the dark up.

Free People Search Infographic: Many Languages One America

I checked my inbox this morning, and I found a kind email by Heather Brown.
She asked me to repost this infographic. I found it very interesting, because it shows data resulting from a study carried out in the fields of language and linguistics in relation to the United States of America being a “Great Melting Pot”.

It is divided into sections concerning which languages and dialects are spoken, where such languages are spoken, which fields involve those languages , and the multilanguage attitude in the USA.

Have a look! 🙂

Cf. http://freepeoplesearch.org/blog/infographic-many-languages-one-america.html

Many languages,one americaan infographic from FreePeopleSearch.org

 

[Repost] Multilinguals Have Multiple Personalities (by Alice Robb)

LANGUAGE – APRIL 23, 2014

Multilinguals Have Multiple Personalities

Ian essay published on Monday, New Republic Senior Editor Noam Scheiber—who grew up speaking both Hebrew and English—explains why he stopped speaking only Hebrew to his three-year-old daughter. “My Hebrew self turns out to be much colder, more earnest, and, let’s face it, less articulate,” he writes. “In English, my natural sensibility is patient and understated. My style in Hebrew was hectoring and prosecutorial.”

I understand the feeling. My not-so-fluent French “self” is most comfortable talking about classroom supplies. It’s surprising, though, that people who are actually fluent in two languages also feel their personality shifting as they switch between languages. Yet researchers have confirmed this: Between 2001 and 2003, linguists Jean-Marc Dewaele and Aneta Pavlenko asked over a thousand bilinguals whether they “feel like a different person” when they speak different langauges. Nearly two-thirds said they did.

How does that play out in day-to-day speech? In 1964, Susan Ervin, a sociolinguist at the University of California, Berkeley, set out to explore the differences in how bilinguals represent the same stories in different languages. She recruited 64 French adults who lived in the U.S. and were fluent in both French and English. On average, they had spent 12 years living in the U.S.; 40 were married to an American. On two separate occasions, six weeks apart, Ervin gave them the “Thematic Apperception Test”: She showed her subjects a series of illustrations and asked them to make up a three-minute story to accompany each scene. In one session, the volunteer and experimenter spoke only French, while the other session was conducted entirely in English.


Image from the Thematic Apperception Test

Image from the Thematic Apperception Test

Ervin then analyzed the stories, looking at the different themes incorporated into the narratives. When she compared the two sets of storiesshe identified some significant topical differences. The English stories more often featured female achievement, physical aggression, verbal aggression toward parents, and attempts to escape blame, while the French stories were more likely to include domination by elders, guilt, and verbal aggression toward peers.

In 1968, Ervin—by this point, “Ervin-Tripp”—designed another experiment to further explore her hypothesis that the content of bilinguals’ speech would change along with the language. This time, Ervin-Tripp looked at Japanese women living in the San Francisco area, most of whom were married to American men and many of whom had American children. Most of the women were largely isolated from other Japanese in America, and spoke Japanese only while visiting Japan or talking to their bilingual friends. Ervin-Tripp had a bilingual interviewer give the women various verbal tasks in both Japanese and in English, and found—as she expected—important differences.

For instance, when the women were asked to complete the following sentences, their answers differed depending on the language in which the questions was asked:

Scholars have also used more qualitative methods to try to understand language’s impact on personality. In 1998, Michele Koven, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spent a year and a half carrying out ethnographic research with bilingual Parisian adults whose parents had immigrated from Portugal. All of her subjects were fluent in both French and Portuguese, and most maintained close ties to Portugal while living in France; many planned on returning eventually, though most also had monolingual French friends. Koven focused specifically on how her subjects represented themselves in narratives of personal experience, which she elicited by asking them to recount various life events in both languages. When Koven transcribed and analyzed the content of their accounts, she saw that her subjects emphasized different traits in their characters, depending on which language they were speaking. For instance, the women in the French stories were more likely to stand up for themselves, whereas the female characters in the Portuguese narratives tended to cede to others’ demands. And their own personas changed, too. One girl, Koven writes, sounded like “an angry, hip suburbanite” when she spoke French, and a “frustrated, but patient, well-mannered bank customer who does not want attention drawn to the fact that she is an émigré” when she spoke Portuguese. Whether that’s due to the different context in which she learned French and Portuguese, an inherent difference between the two languages, or some combination, researchers have yet to figure out.

Image via Shutterstock

 

posted in: the plankculturelanguagebilingualismlinguistics

 

[Repost] How to keep an English conversation going (by Clare from english-at-home)

How to keep an English conversation going

It can be difficult to keep a conversation going. Even if you understand what the other person is saying, you can feel “blocked” or “frozen” when it’s your turn to speak. The words or phrases you need don’t often come quickly enough to mind.

The more opportunities you can get to use and speak English, the easier it is to find the right words when you need them. Take every chance you get to use your English! See How to practise your English for lots of ideas to find speaking opportunities.

Sounding fluent and confident in a few words

Here are some useful ways to keep the conversation going. The “secret” is that you don’t actually need many words to do this!

1. Show interest in the other speaker
You don’t need to say much. Often just one word is needed to show you are interested and listening. Try “Really?” (with a rising intonation), “Right” or “Sure”. You could even show you are listening with a non-word such as “Mmm” or Uh-huh”.

“I hate watching rubbish on the TV.”
“Right.”

2. Use a short phrase to show your feelings
For example, “How awful”, “Oh no!”, “You’re joking”, “What a pity” etc.

“My neighbour had a car accident yesterday.”
“Oh no!”
“Yes, but thankfully he wasn’t hurt.”
“Mmm.”

3. Ask a short question 
You can use an auxiliary verb to make a short question which will encourage the other speaker to keep talking:

“We tried out the new Chinese restaurant last night.”
“Did you?”

“I’m going to Barbados next week on holiday.”
“Are you? Lucky you!”

“It’s snowing again.”
“Is it?”

4. Repeat what the other person said
Do this especially if the other person has said something surprising.

“He won £200 on the lottery.”
“£200!”

“I’m going to Barbados next week.”
“Barbados!”

Other ways to avoid silence

Here are some more tips to help you say something – even if you haven’t understood the other person or there’s nothing else to say.

If you don’t understand

“Sorry, I don’t understand.”
“Sorry, could you repeat that?”
“Sorry? I didn’t get that.”

If you don’t know the word

“I can’t find the word I’m looking for…”
“I’m not sure that this is the right word, but…”
“What I want to say is…”

If you can’t find the word immediately

You don’t want to be completely silent, but you need time to find the words.

“Well…”
“OK…”
“So…”

You can even make some “noises”

“Hmmm…”
“Uh-huh”
“Umm…”

Agreeing with the other person

You want to show that you agree, but you don’t have anything else to say.

“Yeah.”
“Right.”

Changing the subject

Everyone in the conversation has given an opinion, and now you want to talk about something else.

“Anyway,…”
“Well, as I was saying…”
“So, back to …”
“So, we were saying …”

Rephrase

Sometimes we say things that other people don’t understand, or we give the wrong impression. Here are some expressions you can use to say something again.

“What I meant to say was…”
“Let me rephrase that…”
“Let me put this another way…”
“Perhaps I’m not making myself clear…”

Go back to the beginning

If you’re explaining something, and you realise that the other person doesn’t understand, you can use the following phrases:

“If we go back to the beginning…”
“The basic idea is…”
“One way of looking at it is…”
“Another way of looking at it is…”

For more help with English conversations and speaking, see Better English speaking skills.

[Repost] What is language? 8 myths about language and linguistics (by AllThingsLinguistic)

What is language?
8 myths about language and linguistics

 

What is language?

Language is an arbitrary, conventionalized association between a symbol and a meaning: there’s no necessary connection between the meaning of a word and how it’s represented in language (spoken, signed, or written). This idea comes from Saussure.

If there was a necessary connection between symbol and meaning, we would expect there to be only one possible language. Even for domains where there’s a closer link, such as onomatopoeia and the first words that a baby speaks (often mama, baba, papa, dada since these are easy to articulate), there are still differences cross-linguistically. And for other words, such as dog, chien, perro, languages differ even more.

The conventionalization criterion distinguishes language from other, non-linguistic forms of communication, such as body language and gesture. Two monolingual speakers of English are equally likely to produce similar or dissimilar gestures in describing a given situation (such as a ball rolling down a hill) as a monolingual speaker of English and a monolingual speaker of another spoken language, but two speakers of ASL will produce signs to describe that situation in a way that are systematically similar to each other and different from another sign language such as BSL.

What is grammar?

In linguistics terms, your mental grammar is the system of unconscious rules and patterns behind how you speak. It’s what tells you that “the cat sat on the mat” sounds natural in English but not “cat the mat the on sat” (although the equivalent could be fine in another language), or that “blick” could be an English word but no “bnick” or “tlick”. You aren’t formally taught a mental grammar, and it’s not just a list of all the words and sentences you’ve heard, because you can also understand words and sentences that you’ve never heard before:

“Last week a former Royal Marine who is the boyfriend of the model Kelly Brooks crashed into a bus stop while driving a van carrying a load of dead badgers.” (via Language Log)

anti-paper, anti-anti-paper, anti-anti-anti-paper “people who are against people who are against using paper” (etc)

What is a language?

A language like English, French, Japanese, etc. is an accumulation of all the unconscious rules in the brains of all the speakers who can understand each other. Mutual intelligibility is generally how linguists distinguish languages from dialects, although in practice there are also social factors at play. (Hence the quote: “A language is a dialect with an army and a navy”). For example, although Swedish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible, they’re spoken in different countries so people often call them languages, while Mandarin and Cantonese are not mutually intelligible at all but are sometimes both referred to as Chinese.

Even with the mutual intelligibility test, there are inevitably going to be some inconsistencies between the mental grammars (idiolects) of various speakers, but there are enough general similarities that we can all understand each other and can thus be said to speak the same language. And although a language exists in the minds of speakers, as a speaker if you just up and decide some day that you’re going to call a pen a “frindle” that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is part of the language, because no one will know what you mean, but maybe if you do it long enough it might eventually spread more broadly. Linguists often study language in just a few individuals because any individual is a representation of how the human mind works with respect to language, even though there is also variation between individuals.

What is linguistics?

Linguistics is the study of human language, as we actually speak it, both in terms of an individual language spoken by an individual person and what that tells us about language in general. Linguists seek to answer questions like: what are the unconscious rules that we use when we speak? And, since no one ever actually taught us these rules, how did we come to learn them?

Myths about language

Myth #1: Children learn to speak through explicit teaching or memorization

Children learn language long before they enter a classroom, just from exposure to it, and they produce language that they couldn’t have ever heard before based on figuring out linguistic patterns. A classic example showing that children figure out patterns in language that they can generalize to unfamiliar data is the wug test, but another source of evidence comes from children’s overgeneralizations of irregular forms. For example, children may produce goed, eated, foots despite the fact that they’ve only ever heard went, ate, feet.

In fact, children may even resist explicit teaching of language, as this example shows:

Child: Want other one spoon, Daddy.
Father: You mean, you want THE OTHER SPOON.
Child: Yes, I want other one spoon, please, Daddy.
Father: Can you say “the other spoon”?
Child: Other … one … spoon.
Father: Say … “other.”
Child: Other.
Father: “Spoon.”
Child: Spoon.
Father: “Other … Spoon.”
Child: Other … spoon. Now give me other one spoon?

Myth #2: Animals have language just like humans

Animals can communicate with each other, but human language is unique for several reasons. Firstly, human language is recursive: sentences can be infinitely long (or as long as your breath/memory will hold out) by embedding one phrase or sentence into another. Some examples from children’s songs: “the branch on the tree and the tree in the hole and the hole in the ground…”, “…she swallowed the spider to catch the fly, and I don’t know why she swallowed the fly…”, “…who lived in the house that Jack built”.

Human language is also creative and productive: you can make sentences and even words that no one has ever heard before (e.g. snowpocalypse, I’m all cookied-out). Finally, human language is more abstract than animal communication: we can talk about past and future and even hypothetical events and entities. Although bee dances can communicate information about food and distances, and dogs can recognize names of toys and even whether you’re happy or angry, neither of them can tell you about how their weekend was or what they’d do if they had a million dollars.

Myth #3: Reading and writing are an essential part of language

Not all languages are written, and language has been around at least a hundred thousand years before any writing. Spoken and sign languages (at least for young children) are acquired naturally and without conscious effort, whereas reading and writing can take years of formal instruction and effort that results in varying levels of proficiency. Writing is also idiosyncratic and doesn’t reflect everything about spoken language (and is often even less accurate for sign languages). Spelling doesn’t change as quickly as speech and is more standardized.

English spelling is also complicated and inconsistent. For example, the sound /i/ can be spelled at least 8 different ways, as in meet, eat, Pete, funny, key, quay, machine, and ceiling. And the symbol “e” can represent at least 4 different sounds, as in pen, game, redo, and the. Even in languages with more logical spelling systems, like Spanish, the spelling doesn’t reflect the whole language because it misses important aspects like prosody (the intonational pattern of a sentence or phrase).

Linguistics looks at the sounds of language and analyzes the words based on their sounds, not their spelling, although “non-standard” spellings can often give clues as to how words were pronounced when we don’t have recordings of speakers.

Myth #4: Some languages/dialects are more complex or better than others

Children learn whichever language they are exposed to at a similar rate (although children exposed to multiple languages may learn each language slightly slower, they will catch up and often exceed their monolingual peers within a few years). What seems “simple” or “complicated” to you as an adult depends on what you already know: for example, if you speak a language that already has tone or case marking or definite/indefinite articles or a tense/lax vowel distinction, these concepts will seem easy to you, but if you haven’t been exposed to them early, these concepts will seem hard.

Languages that are straightforward in one area are often complicated in another area. For example, a language with a rigid system of word order and many prepositions may lack case marking, while a language with many cases may have freer word order and/or fewer prepositions. Another example is that a language with fewer sounds overall is likely to have longer words than a language with many sounds (the number of possible words of length CV is the number of consonants C in the language times the number of vowels V in the language), and languages with less complicated syllable structure tend to be spoken faster.

There’s some evidence that languages that have been learned by a lot of speakers in adulthood are likely to be more isolating, while languages that have predominantly been learned by speakers in childhood are more likely to be more agglutinative/polysynthetic, suggesting that these might be factors in relative ease or difficulty, but children are still equally capable of learning any language and even if we end up finding some differences, this is not evidence for one language being superior. (There are definitely easier and harder writing systems though: English-speaking children, for example, take longer to learn to read andare diagnosed with dyslexia at higher rates than Spanish-speaking children, because the English orthography is far more irregular than the Spanish one.)

Languages or dialects that people think of as “better” reflect a social (and often racist) judgement about who has power or who is considered more important, not anything intrinsic about the language itself (here’s one example).

Myth #5: Languages deteriorate over time

It’s common to think that “kids these days” aren’t talking as well as previous generations, but all living languages change over time and it is not a sign of inferiority: any language at any stage still consists of complex subconscious patterns. Borrowing words also doesn’t make a language inferior or corrupt: all languages borrow, and borrowed words get adapted into the sound system and grammar of the borrowing language.

Myths about linguistics:  

Myth #1: Linguists speak all the languages

Linguists aren’t necessarily polyglots, and a linguistics course will definitely not teach you how to speak all the languages (if only it were that easy!), although an awareness of the diverse features of language may make it somewhat easier to learn languages in the future. Although some organizations such as the military use “linguist” to refer to people who speak multiple languages, this is not the same as an academic/theoretical linguist. For more, see Why linguists hate being asked how many languages they speak.

Myth #2: Linguists correct/criticize how people talk

Linguists analyze language how it exists, not how some people wish it exists: for a linguist to tell someone that they’re speaking wrong is like a biologist telling a bird that it’s singing wrong. You may be thinking of grammar mavens, editors, and/or lexicographers, although many editors and pretty much all lexicographers are actually quite tolerant about this kind of thing and only give feedback when asked. For more on the interplay between prescriptivism and copyediting, see this post.

Myth #3: Linguistic/grammar rules include things like don’t split infinitives, don’t use ain’t

Linguists analyze the part of grammar that is automatic and generally subconscious. Grammar rules that you have to be taught in English class or a style guide are:

a) Often about spelling/punctuation, not the structure of the language, and we’ve already established that writing doesn’t reflect the full language anyway

b) Often based on the misapplication of Latin grammar to English by 18th or 19th century grammarians (for example, the confusion about “you and me” vs “you and I”)

c) Often modelled on the speech of people who have historically had power (rich old white men).

None of these are particularly relevant to answering the question of how language in both its diversity and commonality came to exist in the human mind: linguists analyze what people actually do when they’re speaking, not what they or someone else thinks they should do.

 

Cf. original: http://allthingslinguistic.com/post/82231926822/what-is-language-8-myths-about-language-and

Affirmation.

Today, I want to share with you one of my favourite songs, back to 1999.
I draw inspiration from the lyrics.  Who else remembers this song? 🙂

 

 Music by Savage Garden

 

 Lyrics by Daniel JonesDarren Hayes

“Affirmation”

I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people’s hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it’s bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self-esteem
I believe I’m loved when I’m completely by myself alone
I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can’t appreciate real love until you’ve been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don’t know what you’ve got until you say goodbye
I believe you can’t control or choose your sexuality
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires
I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can’t appreciate real love until you’ve been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don’t know what you’ve got until you say goodbye 
I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
I believe that God does not endorse TV evangelists
I believe in love surviving death into eternity
I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can’t appreciate real love until you’ve been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don’t know what you’ve got until you say goodbye
[repeat ]

 

 

[Repost] If You’ve Never Used These English Idioms, You’re Probably Not a Native English Speaker (by Lana Winter Hébert)

If You’ve Never Used These English Idioms, You’re Probably Not a Native English Speaker

LEISURE LIFESTYLE OCTOBER 9 BY 

 Those of us who grew up with English as our first language have been exposed to idioms and idiomatic expressions for most of our lives. They may have confused us a little when we were children, but explanation and constant exposure not only increased our understanding of them, but likely drew them into our own vernacular. If you’re in the process of learning the English language, you may come across some of these and not be entirely sure what they mean. Here’s a list of 20 that you’re likely to come across fairly often:

1. A Chip on Your Shoulder

No, this doesn’t mean that you’ve dropped part of your snack. To have a chip on one’s shoulder implies that the person is carrying around some grudge or bad feelings about something that happened in the past… like having walked through the wreckage of a building, and ended up with a chip of that building stuck to them for years afterward.

2. Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Like taking a HUGE bite of a sandwich that will fill your mouth up so much that you can’t move your jaw, this idiom implies that you’ve taken on more than you can handle successfully. An example would be agreeing to build ten websites in a week when normally you can only handle five.

3. You Can’t Take It With You

You can’t take anything with you when you die, so don’t bother hoarding your stuff or not using it except for “special occasions”. Live now, because all your stuff is going to be around long after you’re gone.

4. Everything But the Kitchen Sink

This implies that nearly everything has been packed/taken/removed. For instance, if someone said: “The thieves stole everything but the kitchen sink!” it meant that they took everything they could carry; it’s damned hard to remove a sink and carry it around.

5. “Over My Dead Body”

When the only way you’ll allow something to happen is if you’re no longer alive to stop it.

6. Tie the Knot

To get married. This is left over from the old tradition of handfasting, wherein the hands of the bride and groom would be tied together with a length of ribbon to symbolize that their lives were fastened together permanently.

7. Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover

Things aren’t always what they appear to be at first glance, so it’s a good idea to give something a chance, even if its outward appearance isn’t immediately attractive.

*The exception to this might be actual books that have hideous covers: those tend to be terrible all around, and in cases such as these, it’s best to contact the author or publisher and recommend a good graphic designer.

8. When Pigs Fly

This means “never”. Pigs aren’t about to sprout wings and take flight anytime soon, so if someone says to their kid that they can get a forehead tattoo when pigs fly, it’s not gonna happen.

9. A Leopard Can’t Change His Spots

Basically: you are who you are. Just like a leopard can’t concentrate really hard and change the pattern on its skin, people can’t change who they really are at heart.

10. Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

To freely show and express all of your emotions, as though your heart were on the outside of your body.

11. Bite Your Tongue!

Stick your tongue between your teeth (gently), and then try to speak. You can’t say a word, can you? To bite one’s tongue means to stay quiet: literally to hold the tongue still so it can’t make a sound. This goes along with:

12. Put a Sock In It

The idea behind this is that if you stuffed a sock in your mouth, you’d be quiet… so if you tell someone to “put a sock in it”, you’re telling them to shut up.

13. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

If a couple of dogs had been fighting and are now sleeping peacefully, it’s best to just leave them alone. The idea behind this one is to avoid bringing up old arguments so they’ll just be argued about again.

14. Foam at the Mouth

To hiss and snarl in anger like a rabid dog (whose mouth would be foamy as he jumps around like crazy and tries to bite people).

15. A Slap on the Wrist

A very, very mild punishment. To be slapped on the wrist doesn’t hurt much, and isn’t a deterrent from misbehaving again.

16. You Are What You Eat

This is the idea that everything you eat influences your health and well-being. If you eat nothing but junk food, you’ll end up unhealthy and malnourished, so be sure to eat a well-balanced diet.

17. “It’s a Piece of Cake!”

…meaning that it’s incredibly easy. No-one has a difficult time eating a piece of cake, do they?

18. It Takes Two to Tango

A person can’t dance the tango alone, nor can they fight by themselves either. If an argument has occurred, there were two people involved, so two were responsible.

19. Head Over Heels

To be incredibly excited and joyful, particularly with regard to being in love. Imagine someone so happy that they do cartwheels down the street: like that.

20. An Arm and a Leg

When something is so ridiculously expensive that you might have to sell your own body parts in order to afford it, it’s said to cost “an arm and a leg”.

Featured photo credit: Opened book with letters flying out of it on bright background via Shutterstock

[Repost] Clearing up the Top 10 Myths About Translation (by Nataly Kelly)

Nataly Kelly

Clearing up the Top 10 Myths About Translation

Posted: 06/13/2012 11:06 am

 

1. Translation is a small, niche market. The global market for outsourced language services is worth more than US$33 billion in 2012. The largest segment of the market is written translation, followed by on-site interpreting and software localization. The vast majority of these translation services are provided by small agencies — there are more than 26,000 of them throughout the world. These companies coordinate translation projects in multiple languages simultaneously, often involving many different file types, processes, and technology tools. The words themselves are translated and interpreted by the hundreds of thousands of language professionals scattered all across the globe. Many translators and interpreters also have direct clients, but most are freelancers whose work comes from agencies.

2. The need for translation is fading away. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statisticsestimates that there will be 83,000 jobs for interpreters and translators by 2020 in the United States alone. This job market is expected to grow by 42 percent from 2010 to 2020, significantly higher than the average of 14 percent for all professions. Data from Common Sense Advisory shows that globally, the market has a compound annual growth rate of 12.17 percent.

3. Most translators translate books; most interpreters work at the United Nations. Literary translation and conference interpreting are two of the most visible specializations, but they actually represent very tiny segments of the market at large. Who are the biggest translation spenders? Military and defense agencies spend the most on translation, with the United States routinely spending billions on language services for defense and intelligence initiatives. On the commercial side, some of the largest segments of the translation market are manufacturing, software, health care, legal, and financial services. As a result, freelancers often work in these specialty areas — as financial translators, medical interpreters, legal translators, and court interpreters.

4. Any bilingual can be a translator or an interpreter. The ability to write in English does not make a person a professional writer. The ability to speak English does not make a person a professional speaker. Likewise, the ability to write or speak two languages does not mean that a person can translate or interpret. Plenty of people who are perfectly fluent in two languages fail professional exams for translation and interpreting. Why? Being bilingual does not guarantee that a person will be able to transport meaning from one language and culture to another without inflicting harm in the process. Most translators and interpreters are highly educated, with advanced degrees and training in either translation, linguistics, or a specialty field. Also, while not mandatory, professional certifications are widely recognized and strongly encouraged. In the U.S., translators are certified by the American Translators Association, and a variety of certifications exist for interpreters.

5. Interpreters and translators do the same thing. The all-encompassing term that the general public uses to refer to language professionals is “translators,” but the reality is that translators and interpreters have very different job skills. Translation refers to written language, while interpreting refers to spoken language. Translators must have great writing skills and training in translation, but they must also be adept at using computer-assisted translation tools and terminology databases. Interpreters, on the other hand, have to develop their short-term memory retention and note-taking skills as well as memorizing specialized terminology for instant recall.

6. Translators and interpreters work in more than two languages. One of the most common questions translators and interpreters are asked is, “How many languages do you speak?” In reality, many translators work in only one direction — from one language into another, but not in the reverse. For translators and interpreters, it is better to have in-depth knowledge of just two languages than to have surface-level knowledge of several. Why? Of approximately one million words in English, the average person uses only 4,000 to 5,000 words on a regular basis. People who are “educated” know between 8,000 and 10,000 words. The professions with the widest vocabulary, such as doctors and lawyers, use about 23,000 words. Interpreters and translators who work for these specialized professions often use this kind of advanced technical vocabulary in two languages. Some translators and interpreters do work in more than one language combination — for example, conference interpreters often have several “passive” languages that they can understand. However, translators and interpreters are not usually hyperpolyglots.

7. Translation only matters to “language people.” The need for translation crosses both the public and private sectors. In the business world, executives at companies of all sizes are beginning to recognize that translation is a pathway to enabling more revenue and entering new markets. A recent study found that Fortune 500 companies that augmented their translation budget were 1.5 times more likely than their Fortune 500 peers to report an increase in total revenue. Also, government bodies are increasingly taking an interest in translation. Indeed, even those involved in development and non-profit work need to pay attention to translation. A report on translation in Africa conducted for Translators without Borders in May 2012 showed that greater access to translated information would improve political inclusion, health care, human rights, and even save lives of citizens of African countries.

8. Crowdsourcing puts professional translators out of work. As online communities have become more popular, so has something called “crowdsourced translation.” This phenomenon typically emerges when online community members get excited about a product and want to use it in their native languages. Sometimes, these customers and fans even begin creating their own translations and posting them in user forums. Instead of leaving their customers to pontificate on the best translations amongst themselves, smart companies are giving these communities the ability to easily suggest their translations. Are companies harnessing the work of these volunteers to obtain free labor? Actually, as the research shows, saving money is not a primary motivation — setting up these kinds of platforms can cost companies more time and money than just paying for traditional human translation. They typically pay human translators and translation companies to edit the group-translated content anyway, but they believe the collective approach gives power directly to customers and users, enabling them to have a say in which translations they like best.


9. Machine translation is crushing the demand for human translation. 
The opposite is true. Machine translation is actually expanding the demand for human translation and fueling the market at large. How? Machine translation — especially the free online kind — serves as an awareness campaign, putting translation squarely in front of the average person. Translating large volumes of information is never free — it comes at a cost, even with machine translation. Machine translation technology and related services make up a tiny percentage of the total translation market. Of course, machine translation can achieve some feats that humans cannot, such as quickly scanning large bodies of text and provide summaries of the information contained within them. However, as with most technologies, humans are needed to use machine translation intelligently. As Ray Kurzweil points out, technologies typically don’t replace whole fields — rather, they more often help fields to evolve.

10. All translation will someday be free. The translation and interpreting industry adds tens of thousands of new jobs to the global economy each year and there is no slowdown in sight. Translators and interpreters are extremely important members of this industry — in fact, they are the very heart of it. However, much like other professional service industries, the translation industry also relies on countless other professionals: project managers, account managers, vendor managers, production managers, schedulers, trainers, quality assurance teams, proofreaders, desktop publishing professionals, engineers, product managers, salespeople, marketers, technicians, and even people who work in procurement, human resources, billing, and IT. Research from Common Sense Advisory shows thatdemand for translation is outpacing supply — so if anything, human translators are becoming even more important. However, they are part of a much larger ecosystem, one that keeps global business churning and international communication flowing.

Follow Nataly Kelly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/natalykelly

[Repost] Six Ways to Increase your Productivity as a Translator (by Dana Shannak)

Six Ways to Increase your Productivity as a Translator

Freelance translators work hard, but sometimes feel that their productivity is slipping for one reason or another. These are routines that I find help me to be more productive:

  1. Sufficient sleep. People need different amounts of sleep to function at their best. I find that if I am tired, I don’t work as quickly and efficiently as I do when I’m fully rested. Listen to your body, and make sure that you’re getting the correct amount of sleep. Remember that exercise helps your body to sleep, so spend a certain amount of time each day doing your favorite workout. One way to make sure that your brain is ready to rest is to feel that you’re in control of your work situation. Deciding at the end of the day what you’re going to do the next day helps. Which brings us to the next productivity tip.
  2. To-do lists. Setting goals is an extremely important part of freelance translation work. These goals may be how much money you need to earn per day/week/month or how many words you want to translate per hour/day. Once you know your goals, draw up your to-do list, breaking it into manageable sections. For example, before I tackle a job, I will do any research required—my to-do list entries state “research” and “translate.” Obviously, all translators have different goals and to-do lists, but the general idea is the same.
  3. Prioritization. Deadlines rule the lives of freelance translators. Usually, you’ll have jobs due at different times, so it’s important to work on them according to due date, rather than starting with the tasks that you prefer doing. I adore translating press releases, but I also do other types of translation work, so I have to be disciplined and make sure I don’t favor one over the other.
  4. Sprint short distances. Take breaks during the day when you start to tire. The human mind can only absorb so much information at a time and the body needs fuel to keep it going. Fifteen minute breaks for some fresh air, a beverage and snack, or to move away from your work station does wonders, and you’ll be able to work faster and increase your productivity when you return to the task in hand.
  5. Learn to say “No.” Discernment about jobs comes with experience. If a job offer raises red flags such as the amount of time allowed or the rate of pay being too low, then don’t take on that work. It’s all right to refuse work—if it’s for a regular client, it’s likely that they will be prepared to negotiate timing and fees.
  6. Rewards. It’s sometimes a good motivator to give yourself rewards when you’re working. Things like checking out social media and personal emails can be a good reward. Or, you may prefer rewards such as playtime with your pet or a walk in the park. Once you’ve finished a large job, taking time out to watch a movie or spending a morning with friends is great. In other words, pick a reward that will motivate you and aim to get there!

Some tips from other translators:

I wake up very early in the morning because it’s the quietest time of day. I can focus better and nobody is emailing me constantly. I enabled the pop-up feature of Gmail and it annoys me more than anything else because it breaks my concentration, although sometimes it’s handy for urgent matters.

Mar Saumell from MS Translation & Localization 

Creating and updating my glossaries (French, English, Spanish, Italian). Listening to the news in French, English, Spanish, and Italian. Reading a little bit (subjects/areas of interest, and articles in my field/industry-translation and consecutive interpreting), networking online and off-line.

 Nellie Anne Kafui Adaba

 

I’d love to hear your ideas about how you increase your productivity as freelance translators, so feel free to add your comments below.

Read more: http://www.danatranslation.com/index.php/dana-translation-blog/98-six-ways-to-increase-your-productivity-as-a-translator#ixzz2yqQgGXSB
Follow us: @DanaTranslation on Twitter

[Repost] Up the apples, she’s got a lovely pair of bacons – what do East Londoners mean? (by transpanish)

Up the apples, she’s got a lovely pair of bacons – what do East Londoners mean?

Cockney rhyming slang is jam-packed with references to fruit, vegetables and other kinds of foods. This East London working-class slang, structured around a simple rhyming system, was the East Londoner’s language code which prevented bosses, the police and other authority figures from understanding what was being said.

Some of the most popular food-related cockney rhyming phrases include “apples and pears,” “bacon and eggs” and “custard and jelly.” Below, we’ve compiled a fairly extensive list of food rhymes and their East London meaning…

cockney_slang

apples and pears

The phrase “apples and pears” rhymes with “stairs” and so is commonly used to refer to anything which might be going on above. You might say to someone, looking for an item they’ve lost, “It might be up the apples,” meaning it might be upstairs and therefore worth checking.

bacon and eggs

Bacon and eggs rhymes with legs and is used when you want to compliment a woman. You might say, “You’ve got a lovely pair of bacons,” meaning that she has a really good looking pair of legs.

custard and jelly

“Shall we watch a bit of custard?” might be a question someone would ask if they wanted to watch the television, as custard and jelly refers directly to the telly (television).

loaf of bread

If you’re ever told to, “use your loaf,” in the East End of London, it’s because you’re being told to “use your head” or to think/act smarter. “Head” rhymes with “bread,” and so the phrase is shortened from “use your loaf of bread (head)” to “use your loaf!”

mince pies

When a guy from the East End of London wants to chat up a lovely lady that he sets his eyes on, he might say, “You’ve got lovely mincies.” “Mince pies”, rhymes with “eyes” and… the conclusion to be drawn from the rest is quite clear.

peas in the pot

When you walk into a room and someone says, “It’s a bit peasy in here,” they mean that it’s a bit hot. “Peas in the pot” rhymes with “hot,” hence the use of the phrase, “peasy.”

plates of meat

“Plates of meat” rhymes with “feet.” You might hear someone say, “Be careful of me (my) plates,” if they’re frightened that someone else is about to stand on their feet.

potatoes in the mould

A shortened version of “potatoes” in the East End of London is the word “taters.” The phrase “potatoes (taters) in the mould” rhymes with “cold” and is used when someone is feeling a little nippy. You might hear someone say, “It’s a bit taters in here.”

rabbit and pork

If you happen to be spending a lot of time with someone who talks and talks and talks and never seems to want to just be quiet, you might want to say, “Wow! You can really rabbit, can’t you!” The phrase “rabbit and pork” rhymes with “talk” and is used to talk about the big chatterboxes in our lives.

tea leaf

“He’s a little tea leaf,” is used to accuse someone of being a “thief.”

As is made evident from the examples above, the parts of the rhymes which don’t actually match the sound of the word they are referring to is the word that is normally used in Cockney Rhyming Slang. For instance, in “bacon and eggs”, “eggs” rhymes with “legs”, but “bacon” is the part of the phrase which is used when you want to tell a woman she has a lovely pair of “bacons” (legs).

By opting for the section of the rhyme which doesn’t actually rhyme, the secret meaning of the phrase was kept even more of a secret amongst the working classes of East London. Secrecy to Cockney Rhymers means everything.

 

Cf. original: http://www.transpanish.biz/translation_blog/examples-cockney/

 

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