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Reservation – Word of the day

With many of us making final preparations for our holidays, you might make sure that you pack the sunblock, your swimwear, and an emergency first aid kit. However, you won’t get very far without today’s word - reservation. Trying to enjoy a restful getaway without anything that requires a reservation, such as flights, trains, or any other accommodation, can often be worse and more stressful than staying at home in the first place. Other than knowing that you need one if you want to go anywhere, what about the word itself, where does it come from and why do we use it?

Initially, the word “reservation” is of Latin origin, from the word reservare (to reserve), and came to us via the Old French reservation in the late 1300s. Like many of our words, the arrival of today’s word can be traced to the Normans, who arrived in Anglo-Saxon England without any reservation at all. Though we do still use the word as it was primarily used- meaning the action of reserving an some right or interest in a property- it has also been used in a religious sense by various Christian Churches as well as in a general sense, when defining certain aspects of use.

Considering that people are currently more willing to travel further from home on vacation and looking at the modern British holidaymakers, reservation have become close to essential. According to the Association of British Travel Agents, approximately 80% of us will take a holiday this year. Furthermore, of the estimated 3 holidays that we take a year, almost 7 in 10 of us will visit somewhere in the UK, while just over half of us will decide to travel abroad.

The first recorded use of our word occurs in John Wycliffe’s Last Age of the Church circa 1400, where it is written, “They [sc. priests] make reservation the which been called dimes [10%], first fruits, other pensions.” Used in a more political/church-based sense several decades later, The Brut Chronicle, circa 1425, writes, “The King sent certain ambassadors to the Pope, telling them that he should leave of and meddle not in his court of the keepings & reservations of benefices in England.” Finally, speaking in a more generalized sense, we see in Shakespeare’s King Lear (1608) the line, “I gave you all..But kept a reservation to be followed With such a number.” Ending on that note, as you travel over the coming summer months, here is hoping that your reservation will be kept with a number, and not a speech about being over-booked.


Need an Interpreter? Four Ways to Prepare

EVS Translations provide technical equipment for interpreting international conference held in New York

EVS Translations provide technical equipment for interpreting international conference held in New York

EVS Translations provide technical equipment for interpreting international conference held in Berlin

EVS Translations provide technical equipment for interpreting international conference held in Berlin

Unlike translation, which involves the transfer of a text from one language into another, interpreting involves the transfer of spoken language. This ranges from an accurate rendering of each sentence to a summary of the whole message. Professional interpreters have to work with a sustained high-level of concentration. They listen intently to a speaker then rapidly reformulate the information into the target language for the client; there is no time for dictionaries or to ask for clarification. It is challenging work that requires a mix of professional linguistic skills, expert subject knowledge, and a high degree of mental stamina.

Interpreting skills alone, however, do not guarantee success. For an assignment to run smoothly, careful planning is essential, especially when more than one interpreter will attend and event and audio equipment is required. Language services providers offer the dual benefit of interpreter selection and project management, but clients can also prepare for the assignment—here’s how:

1. Consider the type of interpreting you need

Our advice: Many people are unfamiliar with the different types of interpreting. If you want an interpretation delivered as a speaker is talking, you will require a simultaneous interpreter. At conferences, simultaneous interpreters sit in special soundproof booths and provide immediate interpretation to the client via a headset. A consecutive interpreter, however, provides a summary of what a speaker has said, either during pauses in a talk or at the end. Consecutive interpreting may be more suitable for events such as small business meetings. Here, an interpreter might listen to a speaker, inform their client what the speaker said, then listen to the client’s response and interpret this for the original speaker.

Remember! Simultaneous interpreting at conferences requires at least two interpreters whereas consecutive interpreting normally requires only one. This is because simultaneous interpretation is so intensive that regular breaks and a change of interpreter are essential to maintain the quality of the interpretation. For the kind of consecutive interpreting described above, allow enough time in the meeting for all information to be repeated—talk-time is effectively going to double.

2. Provide as much detail as possible

Our advice: Clients must provide details about their event, especially the subject matter since this forms an important part of the interpreter selection process. Interpreting is not a one-size-fits-all profession and using an interpreter with the appropriate area of expertise is essential for high-quality interpreting. The interpreter still has to prepare, however, so it's extremely helpful if a client can provide reference materials for the interpreters so they can familiarise themselves with any client-specific terminology or specific topics for discussion. This could include website links, annual reports, speaker scripts, or any other relevant materials.

Don’t forget! Details of the venue, agenda, dress code, and if there is a preference for a male or female interpreter should also be provided, as soon as possible.

3. Be aware of the technical demands

Our advice: Simultaneous interpreting requires audio equipment, which includes a headset and microphone for the interpreter, a headset for the client and a sound system. Simultaneous interpreters at large conferences need to work in soundproof booths, so if a venue doesn’t have this facility, portable table-top booths will be required instead. It is, therefore, critical that a language services provider is able to provide the appropriate equipment for an event.

Remember! It’s also important that the client understands potential technical requirements. These could include a site visit by a technician to check a venue’s facilities, including its PA system, prior to the event.

4. Allow enough time to prepare

Our advice: In an ideal situation, a large conference interpreting assignment would come with around three to four weeks’ notice. Smaller assignments require less notice, but always benefit from adequate planning time. For urgent interpreting, EVS Translations has the advantage of being well-connected with a large community of professional interpreters, who may be able to attend events at short notice.

Don’t forget! With all the skill in the world, an interpreter can't perform their work effectively if an assignment has been poorly planned. Good project management ensures this doesn’t happen and it’s clear input from the client that helps this process.

EVS Translations provides interpreting for business events and political conferences. If you require a team of simultaneous interpreters for an international conference, a consecutive interpreter for business negotiations or more information about how EVS Translations provides interpreting services to global businesses and NGOs, contact us today.


Serotonin – Word of the day

Is happiness mainly affected by our personal experiences, actions and satisfaction from those or by chemical processes in our body? Yes, today we will talk about the neurochemical of happiness – serotonin.

The neurotransmitter which is produced in the brain, where it carries its primary function of transmitting impulses between nerve cells, is believed to strongly influence our mood.

Numerous researches find a link between serotonin imbalance and mood swinging like depression, anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder and even excess anger.

And not surprisingly, most of the conventional pharma antidepressant medicines work by boosting serotonin levels. But the trap is that there are no stable proofs whether lower levels of serotonin trigger depression or, on the contrary, that depression causes serotonin levels to drop. And to make it even harder, a way to measure the exact level of serotonin in a living brain does not exist.

Though there are numerous natural ways to fight depression and stimulate serotonin production which we all can go for. Starting from a vacation at a sunny place with the sun light helping our bodies synthesise vitamin D, which activates the genes that release serotonin to regular exercising, a happy balanced diet (some serotonin-rich foods are kiwis, pineapples, tomatoes and walnuts), and adequate supply of vitamin B-6.

The calming chemical was discovered in the 1860s as a blood clotting substance, to get its name in only the late 1940s, by Maurice Rapport, a biochemist who was assigned a project to isolate the serum. Interestingly, the discovery happened by a chance – a test tube was left in a cold room during Rapport's holiday. The isolated crystals' discovery was named in 1948, in the September issue of Medicine: “The general behaviour of the crystalline substance is suggestive of its homogeneity. We would like provisionally to name it serotonin, which indicates that its source is serum and its activity is one of causing constriction.” No imagination was used here, typically for a biochemist, the name derived from “serum” and “tonic”.

Serotonin discovery was 10 years behind that of LSD, firstly syntesised in 1938, but exactly the connection between serotonin levels in the brain and mental illness served as a major catalyst for the revolution in neuroscience and antidepressants' boom.

1974, Michael Charles Gerald, Pharmacology: “There is a large body of evidence that links LSD's actions to its effects at serotonin receptor sites in the central nervous system.”

There are scientifically backed up evidences that there is a huge difference in how men and women react to a reduction in serotonin and biochemical explanations why women are more prone to mood disorders and how female hormones interact with serotonin to cause some symptoms to occur or worsen during the premenstrual time or around the time of menopause. Men have to be tolerant and understand that their loved women are affected by mood swinging at certain periods of time or at least can comfortably blame a bad character or unhappiness on a biochemical imbalance.


Japanese – Word of the day

The adjective Japanese, which describes the people of Japan, their language and things related to Japan, first appeared in English print, albeit with a different spelling, in a book about China. In 1586, the Spanish author Juan González de Mendoza (1545 - 1618) wrote his work The History of the Great and Mighty Kingdom of China and the Situation Thereof with an English translation by Robert Parke in 1588. Parke used the Spanish word Iapones in his translation because there was no English equivalent for the word at that time.

Sixteenth century Portuguese traders brought the word Giapan back to Europe to describe the country they had visited. Giapan probably derives from the Old Malay word Jepang, although Marco Polo had already recorded the name Cipangu after travelling in China in the mid-thirteenth century. In early seventeenth century English print, Japon and Japons were the singular and plural nouns used to describe the people of Japan, but by the early eighteenth century the word Japanese had come into use.

The book Race and Racism in Modern East Asia (2012) brings together descriptions and observations on the Japanese taken from English encyclopedias and newspaper publications of the mid to late nineteenth century. It makes for quite an eye-opening read since it reveals the feelings and attitudes of Europeans towards the Japanese which included admiration, contempt and a sense of Western superiority.

In the Encyclopedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia (1885), Edward Balfour wrote of the Japanese: “The race are gentle, kind to one another…Their greatest failing are licentiousness and untruthfulness". In 1874, The Japan Daily Herald cited “fickleness, cowardice…ingratitude” as their negative traits. The Japanese did receive a glowing report from the Europeans, however, in The Japan Weekly Mail (1874): “We can only say that the Japanese have, up to the present time, shown a marvelous aptitude, as compared with other oriental nations, for adapting themselves to European civilization”.

In 1877, The Japanese Gazette rejected Japanese claims that foreigners were brutal and wild and that the English were impolite in comparison with the Japanese, poorer in terms of mental qualities and lacking in respect for their elders.

Of course it did, how unfair of the Japanese to make such outrageous remarks!


Luxury – Word of the day

Luxury - Word of the day - EVS Translations

Luxury - Word of the day - EVS Translations

As human being, it is in our DNA to want more, better, and, well, more of better. Though it may involve a special purchase, a certain lifestyle, or doing particular activities, all of these can potentially be classified as today’s word: luxury. Before you run out to purchase those solid silver spoons and plan your round-the-world cruise, perhaps we should look at the word and, indeed, the concept itself.

The word luxury arrived in English around 1300, and comes from Latin via the Old French luxurie which, interestingly was defined as debauchery and lust with more of a sexual connotation. Thankfully, within the next 150 years though, the understanding of the word seems to have drifted back to its original Latin meaning of, simply, excess of extravagance, which we are (hopefully) more familiar with than the Old French definition. As for what the word means conceptually, unlike what the entertainment magazines or travel brochures tell us, luxury doesn’t just have to be an expensive vacation or a certain brand of clothing that a particular celebrity is wearing, it can also be something as minuscule as more time to devote to a favourite activity or treating yourself to a favourite drink or meal after a hard day’s work.

Luxury goods

For those luxuries that can be bought and are deemed to be “luxury goods,” apparently, here in the UK, we know and are willing to spend on. Currently, we spend approximately £8 billion on luxury goods, which is second in Europe only to France. By 2018 though, projections indicate that, of the £96 billion that the entirety of Europe will spend on luxury goods, the UK will be the top spender. Furthermore, consider that, unlike countries such as the USA and Germany, where luxury goods are often discounted, we’re willing to pay full price, it could easily be said that we tend to value luxury goods even higher than most. Of course, with brands like Burberry, Rolls-Royce, Asprey, and Dunhill, who can blame us?

One of the first known uses of the word occurs around 1386 in Chaucer’s The Man of Law’s Tale, where, applying the Old French meaning, it is written, “O foul lust of luxury.” While the sexual nature of the original definition doesn’t seem to have totally fallen out of use until the 1800s, by 1633, in Phineas Fletcher’s work, The Purple Island, we can see the word adopting its old meaning of excess: “ I never knew of want or luxury..or base-bred flattery.” For better or worse, 1833 sees Harriet Martineau describing the term in her work, Briery Creek, applied to a character by saying that, “He buys a new luxury which will yield no good beyond his own selfish pleasure.” Still, what’s life without a little pleasure and luxury?


Here – Word of the day

What could possibly be interesting about the word here? Here is the opposite of there; “it’s neither here nor there”, “Here’s to a wonderful evening and great friends”. This little word turns up all over the place in the English language; but what if I told you here in this word-of-the-day entry has an entirely different meaning?

The word here means army and shares a connection with the word harbour.

If you travelled back in time to the ninth century, the people of England spoke Old English or Anglo-Saxon. If you could visit England during this era, the language would be almost incomprehensible and certainly no one would understand you, neither your words nor your funny accent. But with a bit of research into Old English, the origins of many of our modern words become clear.

For the Anglo-Saxons, the word here meant army or, in a more general sense, a company or host. In the ninth century, the word appears in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and it refers to the 'host' of the Danish invaders: Þy ilcan geare gefeaht Æþelhelm dux wiþ Deniscne here (honestly, it does; although this sentence means nothing to the modern English speaker).

This explains how the UK city of Hereford got its name: here- means army and -ford means a river-crossing. In this city, the armies of the day crossed over the River Wye.

Moving on to the word harbour.

In Old English this was herebeorg. The her- underwent a phonetic change to become har- and a beorg was a shelter, which also underwent phonetic change to become -bour. A harbour, then, was a place for an army to shelter and this is why here has a connection with harbour.


Candy – Word of the day

Candy – Word of the day - EVS Translations

Candy – Word of the day - EVS Translations

In 1965, an American musical band, The Strangeloves (pretending to be Australian in order to attract publicity) had a hit song that encapsulated what was quickly becoming a global truism: I want candy. In reply to that statement, well, who doesn’t? To a varying degree, everyone has a sweet tooth, whether it be for hard sugar candies, caramel, liquorice or the all-time favourite - chocolate. Before you bite into that Cadbury’s Flake bar or pop a Rowntree’s jelly into your mouth, let’s take a second to think about where the word for that sweet indulgence comes from.

While the term candy arrived in Middle English in the late 13th century from the Old French çucre candi, literally meaning "sugar candy," it goes back much further. Before the French combined it with the word for sugar, the Arabs called it quandi, which came from the Persian qand, which was an adaptation of the Sanskrit word khanda, meaning “a piece of sugar.” Interestingly, as one can see going back through the languages, the understanding and use of the word sugar follows the exposure to sugarcane, which, in the ancient world, was described as “reeds those produce honey without bees.”

Candy market

Though, throughout most of its history, candy has been a confectionery for the upper classes, thanks to mass production, it is now a daily indulgence which virtually anyone can afford- and afford it we do. The three largest candy companies in the world- Mars, Mondelez International (who currently own Cadbury), and Nestle- had nearly £28 billion in combined sales in 2014. Additionally, the global appetite for British sweets seems to only be growing: 2013 saw more than 150,000 tonnes of British candy exported to 143 countries, resulting in adding £1.1 billion to the UK’s economy.

The first known use of the word candy comes from around 1475, in the Liber Cure Cocorum, where it is written that, “With sugar candy, thou may hit sweet.” Logically, the first use of the word candy in its stand-alone form comes from a cookery book, Elizabeth Raffald’s 1769 The Experienced English Housekeeper, where one of her 800 recipes states that, “To a Pound of double refined Sugar put two Spoonfuls of Water, skim it well, and boil it almost to a Candy, when it is cold, drain your Plumbs out of the first Syrup, and put them in the thick Syrup.” Finally, circa 1809, we can see candy taking it’s familiar form of an everyday treat, as is suggested in John Foster’s Letters & Correspondences, when he writes of “handing round candies and cowslip wine.”


Multilingual Translation: Understand the Process to Find the Right Provider

Multilingual Translation

Multilingual Translation: Understand the Process to Find the Right Provider - EVS Translations

Translating documents into multiple languages can be a complicated process. A user manual to be translated into 5 languages from English, for example, would consist of about 12 people: 1 project manager, 5 translators, 5 proofreaders and at least 1 translation engineer (see here to learn how translation engineers provide formatting and desktop publishing expertise). Unlike a translation in one language combination (Spanish into English, for example), the team for a multilingual translation is larger, requiring a greater level of coordination. What’s more, different languages present different format and design challenges, so a solid understanding of the issues that may arise is essential. Does your company have the resources and expertise to manage this project? Do you want to spend time coordinating individual freelancers? Most likely the answer is no. For a project like this, it makes sense to use a translation service provider, which will produce the content you need while overseeing the entire process. This saves you time, effort and, without a doubt, results in higher quality.

Does your translation services provider have the appropriate human resources to handle your project?

Looking for a translation service provider can be an arduous task and it’s difficult to understand the structure and organisation of translation service providers simply by looking at a website. They range from companies that handle the project management in-house but outsource all parts of the project to those that employ in-house staff not only for project management but also for linguistic and DTP work. For the latter type of company, a multilingual project should be relatively straightforward, but for providers that outsource most or all parts of the project, it could be more of a challenge; firstly, because they have to spend time assembling a team and, secondly, because problems arise more easily when the team is fragmented. A question you might want to ask a potential provider is: What kind of team would you have in place for this project? A well-established translation service provider has the proper human resources in place to ensure a good turnaround time and that a deadline can be met.

Does your language services provider offer appropriate design expertise and understand the issues posed by certain languages in your project?

Multilingual translations can be challenging because the range of languages in one project may present several formatting or design issues. One such problem is the expansion and contraction of languages in comparison to the source language. Chinese contracts in comparison with English source text (and the characters also need more space above and below) whereas French and Spanish expand. Translation engineers format documents for you so the final layout is perfect.

Creation of print-ready documents (user manuals, brochures etc.) requires desktop publishing expertise. Using a translation service provider that can offer this service benefits the client because the provider has the necessary linguistic expertise to guarantee the quality of the document’s final layout. Fonts also need consideration: some may not support certain languages because of special characters, so a substitute, such as Arial, may be necessary.

An experienced translation service provider will understand the issues specific to certain languages and discuss them with the client; so an absence of any questions and a focus on price could be a red flag.

The right multilingual translation services provider offers a reliable, comprehensive service

With in-house linguistic and desktop publishing staff at each of its international offices, EVS Translations offers high-quality translations with design solutions to global businesses.


Cruise – Word of the day

Being an island nation with a rich maritime history, it seems only logical that many in the UK think of the sea when it comes to taking a holiday. While many fly over the sea or are passengers under the sea (via the Chunnel) in order to reach their destination, some still find the allure of the open water conducive to relaxation. Before getting too caught up in dining opportunities, on-board entertainment activities, and ports of call, let’s look at the word itself and see what we actually mean when we decide to “take a cruise.”

The English word cruise comes to us in the 1650s from the Dutch word kruisen, meaning, in a nautical sense, “to cross, or sail to and fro” and originated as the word kruis, simply meaning “to cross.” Given the generalized sense of the word, it should come as no surprise that it was initially just meant to define the movement of any ship, from warships to transport vessels. Our modern understanding of the word as a tourist package or holiday destination is an instance of adapting an older word to a newer concept.

Like the idea of a holiday itself, what we think of as cruising is a product of the Victorian era. Due in part to an 1840 contract to deliver mail to Alexandria, Egypt by way of Gibraltar and Malta, the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, capitalizing on the route, soon began offering sea tours to these and other regional destinations. From this humble beginning, ships rapidly became larger, more luxurious, and the choices of routes became ever-expansive. Today, British cruising is bigger and more varied than ever: with approximately 2 million Brits going on cruises annually, more than 800 departing British shores, and a notable number cruising around the UK, the industry itself adds £2.5 billion to the economy.

Reflecting its generic meaning, the first known use of the word cruise occurs in 1706, in Phillips’s New World of Words, where it is defined as, “the Course of a Ship.” The first use of the word as we understand it occurs in The Four Million, a collection of short stories by American author O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), where he writes that, “The hibernatorial ambitions of Soapy were not of the highest. In them were no considerations of Mediterranean cruises."


The Future of Software Documentation is Now

EVS Translations as sponsor of the Evolution of Technical Communication Conference SofiaEvolution of Technical Communication Conference,  SofiaEvolution of Technical Communication Conference,  SofiaBulgaria SLV sponsors the ETC Conference and the future

As a leading Single Language Vendor in Bulgaria, EVS Translations is pleased to have been a sponsor of the Evolution of Technical Communication conference. The event is the annual gathering for all technical communicators in Bulgaria, organized by Tekom (Association for Technical Communication), and took place in Sofia last Friday, 19 June.

The conference highlighted the latest trends in software documentation and in particular viewed software documentation as a product allowing seamless integration of new content, while at the same time improving the accuracy and quality of documentation.

Technical communication is serious business with many opportunities for all professionals working in that field, for instance technical writers, technical translators and marketing managers. As a translation company embracing the new trends, over the last years EVS Translations has expanded its international departments to include many DTP, voice-over and subtitling, video, SEO, web developer, formatting and alignment experts. Indeed, the future of the translation industry is closely connected to specialised software and agile development, as the conference again pointed out.

Impressions from Yanitsa Kirova, EVS Translations Sales Manager in Bulgaria:

The Tekom Conference in Sofia was a great success. Many speakers from across the documentation industry spoke on the changes and the challenges facing documentation and its distribution, especially the adoption of concepts from agile development.”

Until next year, when we hope to see more integration of translation into the agile documentation process and when our IT expert John Flathmann would be one of the key speakers at the ETC venue.