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Diversity – Word of the day

The Charter of the United Nations was created 70 years ago, in an attempt to lay the foundation for progress for all of the humanity. This year, the United Nations aim to formulate and adopt a post-2015 development agenda. In the framework of this ambitious goal, a conference “The Notion of Progress in the Diversity of World Cultures” was held in New York in the last days. The main questions the conference addressed: how to work towards progress and a better future in a world torn my cultural conflicts and how diversity can have a positive connotation on uniting instead of separating the human race.

Let us start with a look at the word diversity. The word derived from the Latin diversitatem, with main meaning of “contradiction, disagreement” – so far so bad – but the word had a second sense as well – “difference, turning different ways”. The word was adopted in the French language in 12th century with the spelling of diversité and meaning of “diversity, unique feature.”

The first written record in the English language comes from the religious works of one of the most widely read English hermits - Richard Rolle in 1340, where the word is used in the meaning of “variety”. In the following years the word was mainly a part of the juridical vocabulary and referred to a “contradiction, a contrary to what is agreeable or right”, with the next written record coming from Geoffrey Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale, 1386: “There was such diversity between his both laws”.

With the rise of modern democracies in the late 1700s, the word diversity appealed as a virtue in a nation. In 1790, one of the best-known intellectual attacks against the French Revolution was published. Edmund Burke, a Whig himself and viewed as the philosophical founder of conservatism, in his tract Reflections on the revolution in France, sees the idea of social liberty of mankind threatened by the rich-poor conflict and the diversity of the governing interests: ”Through that diversity of members and interests, general liberty had as many securities as there were separate views in the several orders.”

And there we are, nearly two and a half centuries later, the global cooperative progress of the humanity is still utopia. And as UN realizes, new goals for progress must be formulated to respond to changes in the world in terms of population and GDP. Cultural diversity is to be seen as a set of unique characteristics (as its literal French etymology from 12th century suggests) which can co-exist in parallel. And there is not a better reference than European Union's official moto:  “United in diversity “. By embracing diversity and through dialogue and peaceful settlement of disputes sustainable progress and a better future can be achieved. A noble dream.


Part II: How Can a Translation Engineer Help Me?

This four-part series looks at IT in the translation industry or, more specifically, what is known as translation engineering. Part I (IT Solutions for Your Translated Materials) considers the growing field of translation engineering against the backdrop of the industry as a whole, and looks at exactly what translation engineers do.

How can a translation engineer help me

How can a translation engineer help me? - EVS Translations

Let’s now look at the work of translation engineers in more detail. What solutions can they offer you beyond translation?

Formatting work

Problem: The client sends a PDF version of the text to be translated because the source environment of the original text was created in a specialist design tool (e.g. Adobe FrameMaker), which he/she assumes the translation service provider can’t work with. But PDF files can be unhelpful for translators since they’re not compatible with translation software (see “Translation memory” below).

Solution: Translation engineers provide two options to prepare the files: 1) Convert the PDF to a Word document that is compatible with translation software or 2) extract the text from the original source environment and import into the translation software therefore eliminating the need for PDF/Word document creation. Offering 1) or especially 2) saves the client a great deal of time and effort.

Desktop publishing

Problem: The client has a user-manual that he/she would like to have translated. It would be ideal to have the translation and design work completed by one supplier.

Solution: With desktop publishing capabilities, a client can receive a print-ready document (a brochure or user-manual, for example). An additional benefit is that at EVS Translations, the final version can be checked for linguistic accuracy in terms of line breaks, (the breakup of logical sentences and other layout issues that occur when a language has been translated). A desktop publisher without the necessary linguistic knowledge cannot guarantee the final quality. See Part III for translations that require work in InDesign.

Translation memory

Problem: The client has annual reports that were translated by two different translation service providers without translation memory software. This means that terms in the source language have been translated differently in each report and even within the same report. What’s more, because client-specific terminology has not been consistently adhered to, the brand message is lost.

Solution: Using translation software increases efficiency, consistency, speed and quality. When the same or similar words and sentences appear in a text, a translator can see the preferred translation and use this in the document. Translation engineers are essential to perform the work of importing and exporting files between programs and respond to any technical issues that arise. They also manage the translation memory by updating it with new terms and phrases as required by the client.

Subtitling & voiceover

Problem: The client wants to create a German version of its video promoting new products and services – there’s no script, but could you insert German subtitles? Is voiceover work possible?

Solution: Translation engineers create a time-coded file and prepare it for the translators. Voiceover work can be carried out using this time-coded file and clients are sent voice samples of artists. If the project is subtitles only, translation engineers will take the finished translation and then adjust it accordingly—some foreign language subtitles may require more time to be displayed (for example, Chinese) and other subtitles may need to be edited to meet time requirements of the video. The subtitles are then integrated into the video.

Website translation

Problem: We need a French version of our website.

Solution: Why do you want your website translated? Websites are unique and varied, so our expert in-house teams of translation engineers will look at each individual project and consider the best plan of action. For html or xml-based sites, the files can go straight into translation software for translation work to be carried out; other websites may require work to be carried out in a content management system.

Are you targeting a specific audience? Do you want to sell particular products? Do you want to have the site optimised for specific terminology? Does the new market in which you are operating has special terms for the products or services you are selling. This and a host of other questions should be asked before the translation is even started.

EVS Translations has teams of in-house translation engineers at each of its international offices. This means clients have the option of receiving a finished product, rather than just a translated text. It also means that what can potentially become a complicated project involving a large team (project manager, translators, proofreaders, translation engineers) becomes a streamlined process handled in-house with a team that is in direct communication.


Vacation – Word of the day

Vacation – what a sweet word! Though with vacations often is the same as with freedom – we dream of and look forward to getting there, but once we have it – are either not certain how to make the best out of it or go through the stress of planning the ultimate experience. And that does not come as a surprise, as both words have a lot in common and most of us associate vacation with exactly freedom. But we had all been there – the months' long planning of a vacation, months of research and offers' collecting for the sake of a week's vacation. And, logically, often are left dissatisfied, as the reality have not fully met our long gathered expectations or even because the planning drained us way too much and the stress to cover all we pinned on our vacation bucket list did not leave us enough time to effectively relax and enjoy the gulp of freedom from our typical daily occupations.

The word vacation originates from the Latin vacationem, which incorporates the meaning of leisure, freedom, exemption, been free from duty. At the beginning of 14th century, the term was adopted in Old French with the spelling of vacacion and meaning of vacancy, vacant position. It derived from the fact that, in the past, upper-class families would move to a summer house for part of the year, leaving their usual family home vacant. Only half a century later, the word made its way into the English language as well. With the first written reference coming from one of the best known Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - The Wife of Bath's Tale (1386) where a character is described diving into reading books “When he had leisure and vacation from other worldly occupation.”

In the United Kingdom, vacation once specifically referred to the long formal suspension of activity by the law courts and, later, universities and schools —a custom introduced by William the Conqueror from Normandy where it facilitated the grape harvest.
1456, Reginald Pecock, The Book of Faith: “How much labour is made in Court in London, by times of vacation, about the reading of the King's statutes”

Sir John Fortescue, Governance of England, 1460: “How many hours of the day this counsel shall sit, when they shall have any vacation. “

The concept of taking a vacation is a fairly recent invention. As a term to describe a well planned journey usually for the purpose of recreation or tourism, vacation first appeared on the vocabulary radar in 1878, in a collection of anonymously published poems A Masque of Poets. The long piece that concluded the book and contained today's word of the day was Guy Vermont by John Townsend Trowbridge: “At Saratoga, where you meet all grades of well-dressed people spending short vacations. “

Nowadays, the term vacation is still the one common in the American English and for the British - we have our holiday.




Pasty – Word of the day

If you’re looking for something to eat while you’re on the go, enjoy filled baked goods, or are looking for a food that’s quintessentially Cornish, you’ve most likely encountered the pasty. Aside from being recognized as Cornish, this food is more than just the traditional equivalent of the modern fast food hamburger. Aside from meat, potato, rutabaga (often called swede or turnip), onion, seasoning, and a pastry crust, this food-on-the-go contains 2 ingredients that many modern competitors lack: history and identity.

The word pasty comes to us from the Anglo-Norman paste and the Old French pasté, both of which mean dough or pastry. Though pasties may now be known as rather common fair, they were initially considered a food for the “upper crust” of society. One of the first mentions of a pasty appears in the reign of Henry III, who, in the 1200’s, granted a charter to Great Yarmouth, instructing them to send to him (by way of the the sheriffs of Norwich and the lord of East Carlton) “one hundred herrings, baked in twenty-four pies or pasties.” Even the royals were not immune to the allure of the pasty, as a letter from one of Henry VIII’s bakers to Jane Seymour confirms, with the baker stating, “hope this pasty reaches you in better condition than the last one.” Aside from the patronage of the well-to-do, Lord Berners’ translation of Froissart’s Chronicles (1525) of the Hundred Years War shows some of the variations of fillings, as he discusses, “pasties of salmon, trout, and eel.”

With the passing of time and the rise of the industrial revolution, the pasty soon became popular with the working classes. Nowhere was this appeal more evident than in Cornwall, which was being economically driven by tin mining. For the miners, the pasty was easily portable full meal that could be eaten without utensils and could be easily warmed (on a shovel over a candle, for example).

Though the industrial revolution as well as the days of large-scale Cornish mining have disappeared, the hectic pace of modern life has only increased demand for the pasty. This demand, however, has caused for the pasty to be mass-produced outside of Cornwall. Fearing that Cornwall’s most identifiable dish was losing its identity, Cornish producers successfully lobbied for a Protected Geographical Indication in 2011. Whether or not having an authentication logo on the package will do anything to help Cornish producers or change the production locales of non-Cornish producers remains to be seem, but one thing can be assured: from monarchs to paupers, regardless of location or occupation, with pasties, it was love at first bite….well, except for the eel, maybe.





Roaming – Word of the day

Though mostly by accident or, occasionally, necessity, we’ve all been there. While we don’t realize it at the time, we feel the impact when we get the bill. In the last 12 months, British mobile phone users have been subject to a staggering £573 million in roaming charges, mainly due to Continental European travel. Aside from caps, charges, and laws, it’s safe to say that all of us, at some point in our mobile communication lives, have fearfully encountered the charges, barriers, and dropped calls brought about by roaming. The first European roaming call was made between the Finnish PT and Vodafone in October 1991, and the first international roaming agreement was signed only a year later. And though the concept has become the bane of our existence outside national borders, what about the word itself?

Often associating it with modern electronics, many are oblivious to the fact that the word roaming is quite a bit older than that late 90’s Nokia flip-phone gathering dust in one of your drawers. Demonstrating why it has been recycled into a technological meaning, the initial definition of roaming involves the action of wandering or moving aimlessly (such as outside of a network’s coverage area). Coming from Middle English and first appearing in the 1300’s, the origin of the base word “roam” is still unknown. It could have possibly originated from the Old English ramian, or the Old Norse reimuthr, both of which mean “the act of wandering.”

The first known use of the word is from the late 1300’s in a tale about St. Augustine that was chronicled by Carl Horstmann and published in German language under the title Sammlung Altenglischer Legenden (A Collection of Old English Legends) (1878), where it is written “As he passed one field by, on his roaming.” Jumping forward a century, to 1984, we see the first use of the modern meaning of the word in a June 20th release from PR Newswire, which seeks to introduce a new definition to the word: “Roaming allows a cellular customer to obtain service outside of his home calling area.” Finally, as a forewarning to those currently stuck paying the £573 million in roaming charges, a 2003 Holiday Which? issue suggests that, “Before leaving the UK, you must contact your operator to set up your phone for roaming, if you want it to work at all.”


Eskimo – Word of the day

The origin of the word Eskimo has traditionally been unclear and use of this word today as an umbrella term for all indigenous people of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Siberia may be considered derogatory. Eskimo was the name used by the first foreign settlers who arrived in these Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, and it was originally thought to derive from a word in the Algonquian languages meaning “eaters of raw meat". Despite the fact it is now believed to derive from the Ojibwa word “to net snowshoes”, the negative connotations persist. In Greenland, the preferred term is “Greenlander” or “Kalaallit” and in Canada it is “Inuit”; but since the word “Inuit” does not exist in the Yupik language of Central Alaska, the term Eskimo is accepted there as a collective term for the Yupik and Inupiat communities (of northern Alaska).

In 1877, the word Eskimo appeared in the book Discourse Western Planting written by Richard Hakluyt, an English writer who promoted the settling of North America through his writing. Here, Hakluyt wrote: “The more northerly partes of the lande amonge the Esquimawes of the Grande Bay”. It’s unclear why he spelled Eskimos as Esquimawes, but perhaps it’s a variant of the French, which was "Esquimaux”. Esquimaux, itself, derives from Montagnais (an Algonquian language), which French traders came into contact with.

In the 1800s, the Yupik Eskimos of Alaska came into contact with Russian explorers and so began the process of cultural change. Central Alaskan Yupik is an example of how languages can diminish once a dominant language is introduced (that is, English). According to Ethnologue, a comprehensive web-based publication on world languages, on average six languages per year have become extinct since the publication started in 1950. On its language status scale which ranges from 0-10 (0 being an international language and 10 being a language that is extinct), it places Central Alaskan Yupik at 6b under the title of “threatened”. Here, threatened means: “The language is used for face-to-face communication within all generations, but it is losing users”. The Linguistics Society of America discusses the fate of languages in its article What is an endangered language? and mentions the case of Yupik Eskimo communities writing: “just 20 years ago all of the children spoke Yupik; today the youngest speakers of Yupik in some of these communities are in their 20s, and the children only speak English". The article finishes with a warning of the consequences when languages becoming extinct: "Much of the cultural, spiritual, and intellectual life of a people is experienced through language…When a language is lost, all of this must be refashioned in the new language...Frequently traditions are abruptly lost in the process and replaced by the cultural habits of the more powerful group…The loss of human languages also severely limits what linguists can learn about human cognition".


Text Translation Not Enough? IT Solutions for Your Translated Materials

This four-part series looks at IT in the translation industry or, more specifically, what is known as translation engineering. Part I considers the growing field of translation engineering against the backdrop of the industry as a whole, and looks at exactly what translation engineers do. Part II explains in more detail the solutions that our translation engineers at EVS Translations can offer clients. Part III offers practical advice on preparing your materials for a translation that requires desktop publishing work. And finally, in Part IV, we’ll meet one of our translation engineers at EVS Translations who talks about his workload, creating animation videos and speaking four languages.

Part I: IT solutions for your translation

The trouble with translation

translation engineering

IT solutions for your translated materials from our in-house translation engineering teams

Last year, the US-based business magazine Inc., which focuses on growing companies, rated the translation industry as one of the top industries for starting a business. It highlighted positive contributors to growth, including the continued demand for translation from businesses seeking to globalise. This is an industry that was able to maintain growth even during the previous global economic downturn—things are looking up.

But in Jill Krasny’s follow-up article for the magazine: Lost in translation? There’s a whole industry to help, she notes that despite this positive outlook “Commoditization remains a big hurdle in the industry”. The problem is, consumers find it difficult to distinguish between products and services, so purchasing decisions are being made on price alone. The translation industry may seem like an attractive industry to enter, but unless you can offer solutions and go beyond the translation of text to gain competitive advantage, you will not reach high enough on the value chain and may ultimately not survive.

One German to English translation to go. Would you like DTP with that?

There is an increasing demand for complex projects in the translation industry that require the expertise and resources of translation engineers. Clients might not want to send a Word file—they want the option to work in different file formats. They want a print-ready brochure, not just translated text. Can you help with a website translation, too? Involved in the technological aspects of translation, but not responsible for the linguistic work, translation engineers may work in the areas of:

These additional services add value for the client and the extent to which a translation service provider can respond to these demands is one factor that differentiates the competition in the industry. EVS Translations excels in the area of translation engineering because it has expert in-house translation engineering teams at each of its international offices and does not rely on outsourced expertise. These teams can respond immediately to changing requirements or issues that arise, and can communicate directly with project managers and translators. This further enhances the quality of the translation and ensures a high level of client satisfaction with the overall service.

In Part II, we'll look more closely at the five areas of translation engineering and the benefits for clients.


Mattress – Word of the day

We are well familiar with all the health and beauty benefits of sleep. Yet it is not only that we need to sleep enough and give our bodies the needed time to recover, but shall be also very rigorous when comes to the comfort of our beds.

Research shows that people sleep better and experience fewer symptoms of stress when sleeping on newer beds, but while we can not change our beds as often as we might wish to, we could carefully select our supportive frames and mattresses.

The UK mattress manufacturing industry generates an annual revenue of over £700m with the replacement of old mattresses accounting for two-thirds of total purchases.

If you haven’t shopped for a new mattress recently, there are many options to choose from – from the classic spring ones to the newer latex and gel, through cold and memory foam to air-, water- and even hybrid mattresses.

The world of mattresses evoked in parallel with the history of the bed. We know that Tutankhamen had a bed of ebony and gold but what for a mattress did he use? In the Roman Empire mattresses were stuffed with reeds, hay, wood or feathers – depending on one's social and financial status. And not to forget, Romans had also discovered the waterbed.

Through Renaissance mattresses were made of straw and feathers stuffed into coarse ticks. The first true mattresses appeared in 16th century. The phrase “sleep tight” comes from that times, when mattresses were placed on top of ropes that needed regular tightening, to prevent from sagging. Two centuries later the filling already included natural materials like coconut fiber, cotton, wool and even horse hairs. The first box- springs, acting as shock absorbers, were invented in late 19th century and in the next century the market got over-flooded with new technologies and varieties.

The word mattress comes from the Middle Latin matracium, which was borrowed from the Arabic matrah (place where something is thrown). In 12th century the word entered the Italian and French languages and a century later was part of the English vocabulary as well. With the first written reference coming from 1300s' early South-English legendary, the life of Saint Vincent: “Make a bed..Of quilt [a sack stuffed with wool and straw and used as a cushion] and of mattress.”

The next written reference comes from the register of the Church of England, from one of the first wills recorded in The Court of Probate, around 1395: My second best feather bed, with canvas mattress. Obviously a bed and a mattress was precious enough to be included in a will, but when a feather bed with a canvas mattress was the owner's second best, we are left to wonder what was his bed of first choice and what for a mattress it could had had.


Marmite – Word of the day

Nobody thinks that Marmite is “just, sort of, OK.” As their long-running advertising campaign rightfully states, “you either love it or hate it.” Being produced since 1902 and having sales which have recently topped £46 million, Marmite obviously has its fans, but, for the uninitiated, let’s take a closer look at what’s in that little brown glass jar.

Marmite is, quite simply, a yeast extract. Originally, in the late 19th century, organic chemist Justus von Liebig discovered that brewer’s yeast, which is the by-product of the brewing process, could be concentrated and eaten. Though it takes the form of an extremely salty brown paste, Marmite proved to be an immediate success due to its being a good source of B vitamins, such as Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, etc., which, at the time, were lacking in the diet of many Brits.

The name “marmite” is thought to originate from the French term of the same spelling which is the name for a small earthenware casserole dish with a lid. Though they may seem to be quite different things, the association was made due to the fact that the yeast extract product was initially sold in small earthenware pots that closely resembled the French vessel. While the switch to the current glass jars was made in the 1920’s, as well as there being a picture of a French marmite on the label, the jars are still made to resemble the original earthenware containers.

Considering that it is 100% vegetarian, packed with essential vitamins, and low-gluten, it’s definitely worth a try. However, it’s not the type of food product that you want to slather on everything. Though the internet is filled with videos and horror stories of people who have mistakenly taken spoonful-sized bites of Marmite or the Australian version, Vegemite, it’s best when used sparingly. While the most recognized use is at the British breakfast table on a piece of toast in a thin layer along with butter or margarine, there are also many uses for the more adventurous - from flavouring soups and cooking, to baking a Marmite cake, and even a number of cereal bars and snack foods that have the Marmite flavour.

So, the next time you see the little brown jar, have a little confidence and try it, so you can know for sure whether you “like it or hate it.”


Sexy – Word of the day

Being sexy is actually a pretty old fashioned concept—the word has been around since the turn of the twentieth century. Take the noun sex and add the –y suffix and you have an adjective to describe something which is sexually appealing. In 1905, the monthly journal The Review of Reviews used the word in a book review: “As one good lady said with a sigh of relief on laying down one of Allen Raine's stories—‘nothing sexy in her books’”. Here was its first appearance in English print.

Does this mean nothing sexy was going on in society before this time? Well, we know plenty of sexy things have happened in history, so the answer is probably no, but before sexy there was sexful (appearing in the 1896 novel Yellow Aster), and before that there was only its synonyms.

The word is often used positively to describe a desirable appearance or, as the quote above shows, in the past it was a quality sometimes treated with disdain. In 1912 the Colorado Springs Gazette had its own interpretation: “If a woman is genuinely keen to win the affections of a man she is a universal woman of the real sexy sort”. These days, thankfully, men might also associate the word sexy with women who are self-confident or successful.

But does a man who is sexy have the same qualities as a woman who is sexy? Look at these sentences:

  • The man looked across the room and saw a woman sitting with her drink. Incredibly sexy, he thought.

And here:

  • The woman looked across the room and saw a man sitting with his drink. Incredibly sexy, she thought.

Do your associations with the word change when the gender roles are swapped?

Not only applied to the topic of people, sexy can also be used as an adjective to describe something that excites interest: “Corn and soybeans may not sound as sexy as electronics or aerospace” (Wall St. Jrnl. 22 Sept. 1/6, 1970), or:   “I intend to make sure that we look beyond the pretty screens and sexy specifications to concentrate on what really matters to..the user” (What Personal Computer Dec. 7/1,  1991).

Sexy across cultures

In some cultures, the concept of sexy is forbidden. In Japanese popular culture, it is often not as desirable as being cute. In many Western countries, sexy is splashed across the media – magazines, TV, music (and as early as 1923, the Los Angeles Times was criticizing the movie industry: “Motion-picture directors are suffering obsession for sexy bare shoulders and sexy love-making”). In these cultures, the pressure for people to be sexy can be intense, but in this digital age where airbrushing is used extensively, it’s becoming a thing of fantasy.

Sexy translations

This is an English word that has entered into many other languages, but when translating it, there may be more appropriate terms in the target language depending on the context. Take Japanese as an example. If you wanted to say "She is sexy", you could say "Kanojo wa sekushii" (lit: "She sexy"), but if you translate the quote shown above from What Personal Computer, it wouldn’t make any sense to use sekushii here, since in Japanese sekushii is only used a sexual context.

Sexy has been around for a while now and, unlike its short-lived predecessor sexful, it doesn't show any signs of going out of fashion.