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Chardonnay – Word of the day

Chardonnay is a small village in Burgundy and is the town that gave the grape its name. Wine lovers dispute its origins. However, it is clear that chardonnay was virtually unknown until 1980. According to Google Books, between 1979 and 2003, usage of the word chardonnay moved up by 700% from an admittedly low level. This simply reflects just how interesting chardonnay has become for people who drink wine. 30 years ago, there were just a few hundred acres of vineyards with chardonnay grapes in California. According to an ongoing study by the University of Adelaide, chardonnay is now the fifth most popular grape variety across the globe.

And it is exactly this popularity that is making wine buyers ask interesting and relevant questions. What makes a wine? What is marketing and what is reality? What is the difference between chardonnay sold for USD 6, for USD 60 or even for USD 6,000? Thank goodness this is a ‘word of the day’ feature and we do not have to provide the answers.




Jade – Word of the day

Jade is a word which appears in English via translations from various languages.

In his The Discovery of Guiana which was published in 1595 Sir Walter Raleigh describes how easy it was to find gold in South America. In his somewhat exaggerated recording of the wealth of the countries, he translated from the Spanish “peidras hijadas”, to record “a kind of green stones” called in i.e. jade stones, which were used to “cure maladies of the spleen”. Only three years later in his Italian dictionary, John Florio described the “Iada, a kind of precious stone like an emerald”.  Jade also appears in a translator by John Davies of Vincent Voiture a French letter writer where the word is rendered ejade.

It was only in the Chamber Cyclopaedia published in 1728 that jade became the official spelling (even if jade and jad appeared later as alternatives).

But the early references give no indication of the value it had to the dynasties in Central America and Asia. In China it has a higher status than gold or diamonds.



Sake – Word of the day

Sake is the Japanese word for alcohol, although Westerners often understand it to mean rice wine, the traditional liquor of Japan made from fermented rice. The drink has been around for hundreds of years, with the first mention in Japanese going back to around 712 AD.

Centuries ago, Japan was an island far away and there was virtually no contact with Europe. Dutch traders discovered the drink and got the word into English in a very roundabout fashion. The Frenchman Jean de Thévenot travelled extensively in Europe and the Middle East in the second half of the seventeenth century, as well as in India. He wrote about his experiences in a book published in 1687 The Travels of Monsieur De Thevenot. Archibald Lovell translated this work from French into English.

It was here that sake made its entrance into the English language. Thevenot described the Japanese as idol worshippers with good sharp metal swords which can easily cut a man in two. He also noted that they love sugar and that a Dutch man gave him what the Japanese drink. “Their ordinary drink is a kind of beer (which they call sake), made of rice, they put sugar into it”. Thévenot liked it!

Despite this, sake did not find its way to Europe as a drink. One hundred years later, the Encyclopaedia Britannica described sake in great detail as “rice beer as clear as intoxicates for a few moments, and causes head ache”.

At that time, sake was all the rage in Japan and there were over 30,000 producers. Today, however, there are only about 1,000 and the sake industry has been officially classified as depressed. Sake is virtually unknown outside Japan with only 2% of total production being exported.

Sake can be consumed either hot or cold and when it is warm the alcoholic fumes certainly do feel intoxicating. Here are a couple of tips when drinking sake: it is always sipped and never consumed quickly or in shot and, as always in Japanese drinking culture, it is polite to top up the drink of your drinking partner who will, in turn, top up your cup.

Sake can be found in all izakayas across Japan with cheap and high-end versions available.



biomed biotech translationsFor most of history, medicine has been about treating symptoms. Thankfully, those days are quickly becoming a distant memory as a more holistic understanding of medicine paired with new technological possibilities allow doctors to treat patients better and more deliberately. In order to grasp the full extent of how rapidly modern medicine is changing in front of our eyes, one only needs to pay attention to the news. Barely a day goes by without a story chronicling the development of new treatment methods and discoveries. Earlier this year, for instance, a research team at Vanderbilt University utilized gene-silencing factors to aid tissue regeneration, which has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of chronic wounds. Aiding tissue regeneration by promoting blood vessel growth could bring relief and faster, more effective, healing to 6 million patients in the United States alone. Moreover, the new therapy could revolutionize the time-consuming treatment and after-care which costs an estimated $25 billion per year. Though a change in the treatment of an ailment that afflicts less than 2% of the American population may seem trivial, this is just the tip of the iceberg and a small glimpse of what biotechnology can do.

The leading biotech players are based in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia. But aside from these traditional centers of medical and biotechnical research, most notably China and India have worked hard to create their respective biotech centers. It is further commonly assumed that biotechnology is an industry of big business. However, this assumption is far from the truth. While the US is, for example, home to thousands of biotech firms, the majority of these companies are small to mid-size companies. Though these companies may be small, they form the backbone of this rapidly growing industry.
For smaller biotech businesses, their competitive advantage lies in their scientific expertise and their niche products. By focusing on highly specific medical devices and biotech solutions, small companies can outperform larger competitors.

So why not work with a language service provider who has more than 20 years of experience with medical and medical technology translations and can service more than 20 languages in-house. Place all of your translation needs into our steady hands and access new markets. EVS Translations provides specialist translations of medical technology brochures, marketing materials, CT protocols, research studies and related materials for corporate partners from the U.S., Germany, Israel, France, England, Russia, Korea, and Japan. Contact us today to discuss your projects.

Our U.S. office is located in Atlanta, in the heart of the biomedical capital of the Southeast.

Learn more about how we can help you successfully grow your biomed business and give us a call TODAY:

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Executive – Word of the day

It was Geoffrey Chaucer who first used the word “execute” in the Knight’s Tale, the opening episode of his magnum opus The Canterbury Tales. Written probably between 1380 and 1392, the Knight’s Tale introduces themes of courtly love and ethical conduct that are further developed throughout the following episodes. Set in a world governed by divine providence, to execute in Chaucer’s context means to “carry out” or implement the destiny predetermined by God’s eternal wisdom.

A good 250 years later, in 1646, it was Thomas Browne who used the word “executive” for the first time in English. Browne used the term as an adjective in an extensive discussion on, believe it or not, hermaphroditism among man and animals. Browne wrote in book three of his Pseudodoxia Epidemica, recounting one of Aristotle’s theories on the matter, that some “endeavouring to prevent incontinency, they unawares enjoyned perpetual chastity; for being executive in both parts, and confined unto one, they restrained a natural power, and ordained a partial virginity” (162). After its introduction to the English language in a medical context, the term quickly entered the political discourse. Only one year after Browne published his Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Nathaniel Bacon’s treatise on government, the Historical Discourse of the Uniformity of the Government of England, stated that in times of peace “the executive power rested much in the nobility” (29). The book not only became a key work on the relationship between the governing and the governed, parliament and monarchy, and the rights of the people, but it also firmly inscribed the word “executive” in the political vocabulary of the English language.

Interestingly, however, this is not the end of the genealogy of the word executive. As a noun referring to the part of a government that enforces and supports the laws developed by the legislature and subsequently interpreted by the judicial branch, the term first appears in the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America. More specifically, it was at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 that the concept of an executive branch of government was first debated. James Madison, for instance, recorded in his notes on the debate that “the perfected union would probably consist of a legislature, of an executive and of a judiciary.”

Finally, the economic sense of an executive, a highly ranked person in a business organization, was introduced to English speakers in a book by George Horace Lorimer at the beginning of the last century. In his book Letters from a Self-made Merchant to his Son (1902), Lorimer’s main character John Graham, the head of a pork packaging company in Chicago, provides management advice to his son in a series of letters. Graham’s advice is to work hard and work your way up from the bottom because “there is plenty of room at the top here, but there is no elevator in the building” (3).



Kitsch – Word of the day


Kitsch - Word of the day - EVS Translations

The term “Kitsch” is a very recent invention. First used in a German poem in 1878 the term kitsch was meant to satirically describe a painting of questionable quality.  Linguists suspect that the term actually originated from the English word “sketch” which was used very frequently by wealthy American and British tourists travelling around Europe in the late nineteen-century hunting for old world art but all too often bought up badly drawn pictures on German flea markets instead.

After its inception in the 1870s, kitsch took almost another 50 years before the word entered the English language. It was used for the first time in a letter by Brian Howard, a flamboyant poet and member of the Eton Arts Society and model for Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisted. Howard writes that he had a good week “riding, chasing dogs and listening to “Kitsch” on the radio.” As is often the case with relatively new words in English, the term was first placed in inverted commas when it is used for the first time. The capital “K” indicates that it is taken directly from the German.

Subsequently, Kitsch founds its way inescapably into the English language. Probably the most important step in the process of putting the term on the linguistic map was an article by the American art critic Clement Greenberg entitled Avant-Garde and Kitsch (published in 1939). The article is well and truly about kitsch with the word appearing 53 times in the article. Greenberg defined Kitsch as “a product of the industrial revolution which urbanized the masses of Western Europe and America” and then gives a wide variety of examples of what constitutes Kitsch, including Hollywood movies, tap dancing, magazine covers and advertisements. Greenberg further write that “Kitsch pretends to demand nothing of its customers except their money -- not even their time.”


Beyond America’s Pastime

baseball translation servicesFor many years now, Americans have grown up familiar with the phrase “as American as hot dogs, baseball, and mom’s apple pie”. However, the truth is starting to become somewhat different. While two of the three are instances of Americans taking from other cultures - apple pie has its roots in England and the hot dog began as a frankfurter in Germany - baseball is the lone instance of an American game that has increasingly become a global game. Looking at the numbers from 2013’s Opening Day, 28.2% of all players on major league teams were born outside the USA, and in that percentage, 15 countries and territories were represented. From the first instance of baseball being played outside of the United States during the Mexican-American War in 1847, baseball has indeed grown into a viable “global” sport, with large fan bases across the Americas and the Pacific Rim.

With its proximity to the United States, it makes sense that America’s pastime would also be a major sport in the neighboring countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. (Moreover, now that football has taken the top spot from baseball in the United States over the last decade, it can easily be argued that baseball is in better condition in the Caribbean than in America itself!) While many Caribbean nations are too small to support a domestic league of their own (the main exception being Venezuela), they do provide a large pool of recruitable talent which draws scouts from Major League Baseball. The recruiting results have been very noticeable. The Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico have a combined population of slightly more than California. Yet combined, they are responsible for almost 20% of all MLB players (10.2%, 7.3%, and 2.3% respectively).

Outside the United States, the Pacific Rim, notably Japan, has the most advanced and developed league. But there are marked differences between the two. Currently, Nippon Professional Baseball has a limitation on roster positions for foreign born players. But it recently reached an agreement regarding player trades and movement with MLB. As for the game itself, there are subtle differences in playing field sizes and equipment, and there’s a noticeable difference in fan bases: North American teams are differentiated by location, but Japanese teams are differentiated by their owners or corporate sponsors.

Though we have discussed baseball’s position as a dominant sport in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific Rim, baseball has also been growing in popularity in previously unexpected locations, such as South Africa, Oceania, and even in Europe. With growth coming from established as well as new markets, the ability to continue growing the game while attempting to navigate the differences in how the game is played as well as language and cultural barriers becomes increasingly difficult. For anyone involved in the game, from marketing and merchandising to scouting and recruitment, successfully communicating is essential, which makes the need for professional and reliable translation services vital.



Multilingual – Word of the day

The term multilingual relates to the presence and interaction of more than one language in a geographical region, political entity, or similar entity.  Accordingly, a multilingual person is an individual who is fluent in more than one language.

Multilingualism has, of course, existed since the beginning of time. The Rosetta Stone evidences the fact that multilingual documents have existed for thousands of years. The famous Rosetta Stone itself is more than 2000 years old and carries inscriptions in 3 languages – Hieroglyphics, Demotic and Greek. Following its discovery in 1799, the Greek and Demotic translations of the hieroglyphics allowed researchers to unlock the language of the ancient Egyptians.

Even though, multilingual documents existed since the beginning of writing,  it is only in January of 1838 that the word “multilingual” appeared in English for the first time,  and, believe it or not,  with negative connotations. Fraser’s Magazine for Town and Country published a book review that opened with a Shakespeare quotation: “He hath been at a feast of languages, and hath carried of the scraps.” In the following article the reviewer concludes that “the art of multilingual quotation is no mark of reading.” The author of the reviewed book wanted to show how clever he was by quoting repeated in foreign languages.

Fortunately times have changed. Today, multilingualism predominantly carries a positive connotation and translates into real life economic advantages. A recent study concluded that those Americans who speak at least two languages will, on average, earn some USD 3,000 more per year than those who only speak one language. At the same time,  a Swiss study entitled Economics of the Multilingual Workplace (Grin, Sfreddo, Vaillancourt) found that a variety of positive economic and social factors are directly related to the multilingual ability of Swiss citizens – including Switzerland’s GDP. Switzerland currently has four official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh).

In our increasingly globalized world, multilingualism is becoming both norm and necessity. In Germany, for instance, more than 50% of all German companies are held by non-German shareholders. Their annual reports have to be published in English and German, at the very least. In France, similarly, all of the annual reports of the top 40 companies are written in English and only 38 in French. It is fair to say that with the incredible amount of multilingual translations produced every day we have now entered the age of multilingualism.


Izakaya – Word of the day

Izakaya is the term for a Japanese pub. It was first used in Japanese in the 1750s and means “the house with alcohol” and is a popular and affordable venue for enjoying a casual drink with friends or an after-work drink with colleagues. Typically you pay for two hours or three hours of all in-eating or drinking or both and you can drink as much as you like during this time. Obviously this all-inclusive drinking was a good solution. Late night in Tokyo, rowdy university students make the most of a cheap night out and Japanese white collar workers can be found sitting around the floor level tables enjoying beer and snacks with their colleagues. This is a place for them to forget the stress of their long day and loosen the constraints of corporate life - at least for a few hours before they are back on the train heading out to the office.

The word izakaya only appeared in English in the Los Angeles Times which claimed that izakaya had already "taken a foot hold in Los Angeles and will be on the rise nationwide in time ". However, that was back in 1987, and this prediction has not yet come true.

Even though the British Airways magazine High Life introduced the word in 1993, the izakaya has not yet taken off. Perhaps now is the time. Just recently izakaya restaurants have opened in London. Who knows whether they are there to stay, but at least restaurants such as Kurobuta, Bimco and Flesh & Buns have arrived.

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Interpretation – Word of the day


Interpretation - Word of the day - EVS Translations

Interpreting means explaining something, to make the meaning clear. It is used every day, by everyone, making sense of what is perceived.

In the language business, a differentiation is made between translating the written word (= translation) and translating the spoken word (= interpreting). In general use there is often not much differentiation. This was then case when the words entered the English language, and is the case today.

The very first use of the word interpreting in English is the Wycliff translation of the Bible in 1382 which cites Peter who makes a wise comment that prophecies do not come true as a result of interpretation.

The first time the word is used in terms of the spoken word is again a Bible translation (this time the Tyndale version in 1562). The reference describes how foreigners visiting Jerusalem were able to understand those whom the Holy Spirit blessed with the ability to speak in foreign languages.

Yet another early translation of the Bible (the Coverdale version in 1535) makes use of the term in a description of Joseph talking to his brothers. Joseph, who had been separated for many years from his family and since become an Egyptian ruler, the right hand of Pharaoh, hid his identity from his brothers who did not understand him because “he spake to them by an interpreter”.

Simultaneous interpretation as a profession is relatively new. For many years, international conferences took place in the language of diplomats – French. It was the Peace Conference held in 1919 that changed this. Ironically enough the location was Paris where the League of Nations gave English the status as its second official language. Initially consecutive interpretation was used (i.e. one delegate speaks and then the interpreter interprets; then the delegate speaks again and the interpreter interprets again, in essence doubling the length of any meeting). It did not take long before simultaneous interpretation equipment was developed and deployed.  This cut back the length of conferences and a new career was born – the professional interpreter.

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