Small Translation Mistakes That Caused Massive Problems Part 2

In part 1 of this article we looked at political mistakes, covering some of the errors in the Cold War and also telling you about the time that George Bush Snr gave a group of Australians the finger. Those mistakes were slight and they didn’t cause many issues in the long-run (although some nearly brought … Read More

Small Translation Mistakes That Caused Massive Problems Part 1

In this two-part article we’ll take a look at what can happen when translation goes wrong. We’ve all made mistakes, it’s all part of the game and of the learning process. No one’s perfect. When you add the fact that sometimes the translators working on the most important translations are inexperienced, nervous or even just … Read More

The Way of the Polyglot

No one can deny how useful it is to speak more than a single language. Many see fluency in two or more tongues as a sign of intelligence, too. But beyond being a convenience or novelty, multilingualism has the power to open closed doors. It can create job opportunities, enhance cross-cultural understanding and promote unity … Read More

Language Development Through the Ages

One of the greatest mysteries of science is the origin of human language. A lack of empirical evidence has forced researchers to rely on fossil records, observations of how animals communicate, contemporary linguistic comparisons and other indirect studies. As a result, two contrasting schools of thought have arisen. One side says the complexity of language … Read More

Keith Chen: The Benefits of Futureless Languages

In February 2013, media outlets from America’s Wall Street Journal to the U.K.’s BBC were abuzz about bold observations being made by a behavioral economist at Yale University. Keith Chen was claiming that a soon-to-be-published study would show how rates of obesity, smoking, drinking, debt and poor pension planning correlate directly to the types of … Read More

The Roots of Translation

Of all the written works ever translated from one language to another, none has gained greater attention than the Bible. One estimate puts the number of languages in which biblical passages have appeared at 2,798, and at least 518 different language versions of the book’s Old Testament have been identified. They range from the original … Read More

Progress in Machine Translation

Machine translation is nothing new—at least not in the realms of science fiction. In his 1945 novella “First Contact,” American author Murray Leinster (aka William Fitzgerald Jenkins, 1896~1975) deserves credit for proposing a device he called the “universal translator” (UT). By the time the series “Star Trek” debuted on U.S. television in 1966, the UT … Read More

The Expertise Factor in Business/Technical Translation

One of the surest ways to tell the difference between an expert and a layman in any field is their use of specialized language. The expert is a master of nomenclature, fluent with the signs, symbols and phrasings of a particular science, discipline or art. The layman uses common terms in discussing technical matters, betraying … Read More

How Language Learning Affects Thought and Behavior

Learning a language is a curiously powerful process. It’s like taking a journey through a strange land full of obstacles, surprises and discoveries. Through study, instruction or experience, one who was previously incapable of understanding the meaningless utterances of others becomes able to make sense of and replicate their words, phrases and syntax. The effects … Read More

Language and the Human Brain

While many folks struggle to master their own mother tongue, others seem to pick up new languages easily and quite naturally. Does the ability to acquire language have something to do with intelligence? Or is it simply a matter of how our “grey matter” is wired? Some revealing answers can be found in the field … Read More