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Paper Tiger – Word of the day

Paper tiger - Word of the day - EVS Translations

Paper tiger - Word of the day - EVS Translations

In the realm of the current conflict in the Middle East and in particular related to the tense between Russia and Turkey, backed up by its NATO allies, many see Russia in the position of a Paper Tiger – threatening but weaker than presenting itself.

Some 60 years ago, in a scenario taking place in similar settings, in 1958 Middle East turmoil, with American marines in Syria and British troops in Jordan helping prevent a communist takeover, the Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, opposing the U.S. Government, called all imperialists and reactionaries Paper Tigers.

The expression was not coined by Mao, as the idiom has its long history in the Chinese language and culture.

But it got its popularity in the West, attributed to Mao, and referring to people and countries that appear powerful and/ or threatening but are actually ineffective and unable to withstand challenges.

The phrase, along with its definition, was firstly introduced into the English language as a direct translation of the Chinese phrase zhǐ lǎo hǔ (紙老虎), in 1836, in John Francis Davis work The Chinese: “A blustering, harmless fellow they [sc. the Chinese] call ‘a paper tiger’. “

And it all makes logic, as the Chinese consider the tiger as the king of all animals, opposed to the lion in the Western culture. The most powerful and fierce animal, yet made out of an easy to destroy material – paper.

In the Chinese language there are hundreds of idioms containing the character 虎 () ‘tiger’, and the majority of those naturally refer to the mighty of the beast, with some been similar to those found in English, though the tiger replaces the lion. For example the English idiom to “twist the lion's tail,” used to describe something as being dangerous, becomes “touch the bottom of the tiger”, mō lǎohǔ pìgu (摸老虎屁股) in Chinese.

Which turns the next mention of our idiom in English print, into a real linguistic masterpiece. 1895, The Philadelphia Inquirer: “The Chinese call a harmless blusterer ‘a paper tiger’. So, when Richelieu Robinson was in Congress, the Chinese journals doubtless had frequent occasions to report that the tail of the British lion was being twisted by a paper tiger. “

Richelieu was the artistic pseudonym of an Irish caricaturist, well known for his “twisting the tail of the British lion” caricatures for the New York Tribune, who later became a democratic member of the U.S. Congress – a real paper tiger.


Tarot – Word of the day

Tarot – Word of the day - EVS Translations

Tarot – Word of the day - EVS Translations

There is hardly anyone who was never tempted to ponder what the future holds for them. How their plans would work out? Which decision is better to take? And what if… (insert option here)?

Do you get shivers down the spine or at least slight nervousness and general unease, when it comes to fortune-telling business? It is not about being superstitious or sceptical, it is about the unknown. The unknown is the universal force to catch off guard even the most prepared for this life. It is that eerie feeling, when you walk about the fun fair and you spot the tent of the cunning old lady with the obligatory crystal ball and tarot cards.

This is a typical scenario of how we adopt various ready-made scripts and do not actually look past the popular belief.

The tarot cards, for example, are known to the general public to be a fortune-telling tool. One suggestion is that, rather than predicting the future, nowadays they are used to explain and put the present into perspective, to challenge the perception of a current situation and eventually give a new point of view, as an alternative psycho-therapeutic method to work with the subconscious and ultimately know ourselves better.

The word tarot was introduced into the English language in the 16th century as a direct borrowing from French. The word originated in Italian, deriving from the name of the playing cards tarocchi (singular tarocco), which seems to have originated in northern Italy around 14th century and according to one theory the name of the cards relates to the Taro river in the region.

Another theory links the etymology of the word to the Arabic turuq, which means 'ways'.

Even if the etymology stays fairly unknown, the set of cards appears to have easily spread across Europe to be used for numerous games.

Initially, there was nothing obscure and occult about the tarot deck which numbers a total of 78 playing cards - 22 figured cards plus a set of 56 cards in four suits.

But two centuries later, we find a written evidence of the divination usage of the tarot cards in The Oracles of Francesco Marcolino da Forlì book from 1540 where the cards are used to select a random oracle, yet have no meaning in themselves.

Half a century later, the word appears for the first time in print in a British source in its original meaning of playing cards. That happens in 1592, in De La Mothe's work French Alphabet: “Will you play at Tables, at Dice, at Tarots, at Chess?.”

In 1770s, Antoine Court de Gébelin, a French-born Protestant pastor, published a dissertation on the origins of the symbolism in the Tarot relating its origin to the Ancient Egypt and the believe that the Tarot images represented the ancient Egyptian Theology.

With time, the Tarot cards started been praised as art by collectors, as The Fortnightly review – one of the most prominent and influential magazines in nineteenth-century England reports in 1899: “Piot..was..the first to collect ‘Tarots’, those valuable playing cards, which now fetch such a high price. “


Solidarity – Word of the day

Solidarity – Word of the day - EVS Translations

Solidarity – Word of the day - EVS Translations

In many ways, it seems as if modern communication technology has become a kind of Pandora’s Box. It gets us all kind of information about or from anywhere in the world and increased portability. But sometimes, this very benefit can make us, as individual people somewhat distant from events, feel very helpless and insignificant. Examining recent events of strife and tragedy in Paris - the empathy, understanding, and unity fostered by today’s word can empower everyone with an individual stake in being a part of the solution instead of being a mere distant observer. And that is why, over the course of the last days - one particular word has been commonly used. Though it is often, sadly, reserved for usage during the worst of times, solidarity can, when used correctly, reflect, as American President Abraham Lincoln stated in his inaugural address, “the better angels of our nature.”

For many of us over a certain age, the definition of solidarity is so closely associated with the independent Polish labour movement Solidarność, which translates to “Solidarity,” of the early 1980s, that it is hard to believe that it has a much longer and more varied history than this. Originating in English during the early middle 19th century from the French solidarité, the word is a derivative of the Latin solidum, meaning “whole sum.” It is precisely this “wholeness” or unity which gives the word solidarity its strength.

Expressing this strength, however, seems to fall, without delving to deeply into philosophy or reasoning, into 2 schools of thought. Taking a more universal approach, Catholic social teaching and the works of the Russian Prince Pyotr Kropotkin suggest that solidarity is a more about instinctive understanding and doing what needs to be done to assist others for the greater good of society. Presenting a somewhat less altruistic outlook, Emile Durkheim viewed solidarity as more of being in every group’s best interest-like the family or tribe would support itself, and in more complex settings, such as the Polish example with which we are all familiar, individual groups, like labour unions, would look after their own with the understanding that there was also an interdependence/reliance among all groups for the overall betterment of society.

The first known use of the word solidarity in English occurs via Hugh Doherty’s 1841 work, False Association & Its Remedy, where it is defined simply as, “Collective responsibility.” Using it in a nationalistic sense, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in English Traits (1856) of England that, “One secret of their power is their mutual good understanding... they have solidarity, or responsibleness, and trust in each other.” Understanding that there could be solidarity between any objects that work together for a common goal, George P. Marsh, speaking of writing (or, taken out of context and giving us something to collectively think about, society as a whole), noted that “The organs of speech act and react upon each other;..there is, to use a word, which if not now English soon will be, a certain solidarity between them all.”


EVS Translations Publishes the English Translation of the German Income Tax Act

English Translation of the German Income Tax Act

EVS Translations Publishes the English Translation of the German Income Tax Act

Following the success of the German translation of the Sarbanes Oxley Act, EVS Translations continues in its role of providing corporations, investors and individuals alike with expert translations for international financial regulation and legislation. This November, EVS Translations published the English translation of the German Income Tax Act, which will undoubtedly set the standard for all subsequent English versions.

Who needs this translation?

This definitive translation of the Income Tax Act will prove essential reading for companies with German related business, hedge fund investors, individuals who own stocks and shares in German companies and foreign expatriates currently residing in Germany. How much tax will you owe on your income? What are the laws on double taxation? This accurate English rendition of the German Income Tax Act allows all English speakers to access the information easily and be confident about operating in accordance with German tax law.

Our experience

EVS Translations has over 20 years experience working with international corporations in the financial sector. Its in-house teams of financial translators based at each of its international offices translate into their native tongues to produce outstanding translations. If it is reliable, up-to-date information that you need, EVS Translations is your trusted partner.

Where to find it

Order your copy of the English translation of the German Income Tax Act (ISBN 978-3-7375-6344-4) online via epubli (Direct link for orders:, Price: 129.00.

If you have any problems with the ordering process or questions about the translation, publishing and distribution of the German Income Tax Act, feel free to contact us by email: marketing(at)  or phone: +49 69 829799 – 55.


Cosmos – Word of the day

Cosmos - Word of the day - EVS Translations

Cosmos - Word of the day - EVS Translations

November is the birth month of the pioneering cosmologist and astronomer Carl Sagan. His groundbreaking vision of the Cosmos and our planet as a part of the infinite vastness that surround us, have given food for thought and tickled the imagination of many of us for decades. Carl Sagan is most popular with the TV series Cosmos he hosted back in the 80s, which are considered highly significant in the promotion of science through television programming.

“The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.....” This is how he opens in episode one and takes his viewers on a journey through space and time to discuss the origin of life, consciousness, spirituality, along with a perspective of our place in the Universe, among other scientific topics.

His meditation on Earth, Pale Blue Dot, is a humbling experience. In this monologue Sagan says insightful words, still relevant to the events that happen in our modern world every day and make us pause and hopefully think: "The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."

The word cosmos originates from the Greek kosmos and signifies “order, good order, orderly arrangement”.

Pythagoras is believed to have been the first to apply this term to "the universe," perhaps originally meaning “the starry firmament,” but later it was extended to the whole physical world, because of its "perfect order and arrangement" as opposed to chaos.

The term cosmos was also used in Christian religious writing with a sense of “worldly life, this world (as opposed to the afterlife).”

The first known usage of our word comes from Anthropometamorphosis - John Bulwer's final and most popular work from 1650 - "As the greater World is called Cosmos from the beauty thereof."

However, the word gained real popularity only after the publishing of the translation of Alexander von Humboldt's work Cosmos: a sketch of a physical description of the universe in 1848. Cosmos was the scientific bestseller of the age, which gather together two generations of scientific research and discovery. “In this work I use the word Cosmos..[as] the assemblage of all things in heaven and earth, the universality of created things, constituting the perceptible world”.

An idea worth giving a spin - “Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” - Carl Sagan,Cosmos


Pixel – Word of the day

Yes, we are talking tech, but this is not about the supremely expensive model of Google Chromebook. This is about the things that we see. Normally, today’s word is something that, if you are shopping for an electronic item, is simply defined by numbers, such as 720, 1080, 4K, etc. and whether or not you can tell enough of a difference between them to justify an increased price. Often, it is one of those “techy” words that we commonly use without ever really understanding what it means, so, rather than being mystified by numbers, let’s examine pixels.

Unsurprisingly, the term “pixel” does not come from Latin or Greek, it is a contraction of the words “picture element,” using the first syllable of the shortened plural form of the word picture, pics (pix), and the first syllable of element. As the name suggests, a pixel is the smallest single element of a picture. For example, if you enlarge an image on your computer screen until it begins to distort, every small individual square that you see is a pixel, or if you were to magnify a TV screen, the pixels would appear as red, blue, and green (and, depending on your TV, yellow) lines within an overall grid pattern.

And of course, more pixels equates to a better, clearer, more realistic picture. With consumers becoming increasingly tech-savvy and the rate of technological change only speeding up, pixels, especially the number of them, are increasingly more important. Again, for example, looking at the past decade alone, we have seen enhanced definition televisions (at 480 pixels) give way to screens of increasing pixel size, from 720 to 1080 to 4096 (4K), with the top tier- 4K- expected to grow in units produced by 500% from 2014 to 2015. Regardless of pixel number though, it is still worth doing some research to find the best size for your personal needs.

Due to today’s word being “tech jargon,” the origin is hard to trace, with most of the initial users, such as the first published user, Frederic Billingsley, who in 1965 used the word to describe picture elements of space probe videos, stating that the word, circa 1963, was simply “in use at the time.” Using the word in a more technical understanding in 1977, the New Yorker writes that, “The [advertising] panel is divided into two thousand and forty-eight ‘pixels’, or picture elements of red, green, blue, and white bulbs, and ordinarily only one or two of the bulbs on a pixel are flashed at a given time.” Jumping ahead another decade, to 1989, the Computer Buyer’s Guide and Handbook (unbeknownst to them at the time) does a good job of explaining why the speed of picture movement is an important driver in consumer TV/monitor preferences, stating, “They have slow switching speeds... This makes it hard to turn the individual pixels on and off rapidly.”


Environmental Pollution – Word of the day

Environmental Pollution – Word of the day - EVS Translations

Environmental Pollution – Word of the day - EVS Translations

Indonesia is burning and The Guardian rated the ongoing environmental catastrophe as "certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century – so far."

Extensive rain-forest areas over about 8000 square miles have been on fire and represent a virtual inferno over the past few months and in this very moment.

Wildlife species along with humans are continuously disappearing in the monstrous haze cloud, that has been now for a long time beyond manageable. The land of Indonesia is burning and smouldering for more than normal, because the forest actually rests on great heaps of peat.

It consists exceptionally of dry deposits of a mixture of partially decayed plant material, which fuel the wildfire. This is the result of decades of destroying the forest by planting mono-cultures of pulpwood, timber; along with palm oil and torching the land to clean it for the purpose. The burning and smouldering continues for months, releasing clouds of methane, carbon monoxide, ozone and ammonium cyanide. According to a recent report from the World Resources Institute, the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere are "more than all the U.S. economic activity", making Indonesia the fourth world largest emitter of carbon dioxide. Needless to say thousands of deaths (child mortality and species extinction) are attributed to the environmental pollution.

The word pollution originates from the Latin verb polluere (to soil, defile, contaminate) and according to British sources, was introduced into the Late Middle English around the 14th century. The earliest meaning of the word was for something that is desecrated, a spiritual or moral corruption, impurity and was firstly used in print in the Wycliffe's Bible around 1382 - translations of the Bible into Middle English under the direction of John Wycliffe.

The contemporary usage of the word pollution is in the sense of a physical contamination, its presence, especially as result of human activity.

The introduction of hazardous, harmful substances into the environment, as much as excessive levels of light, noise and organic waste is all considered pollution.

An early example of a metaphoric usage of the word can be seen in Francis Bacon's book The Advancement of Learning from 1605 - "The Sun passed through pollutions and itself remains as pure as before".

While the first reported environmental pollution refers to the contamination of the river Thames and comes from 1828, January issue of The Times: “We submit to the disgrace of drinking the water of that very river, in a state of pollution, and hesitate to move up to a purer source. “


Michelin Guide – Word of the day

Michelin Guide – Word of the day - EVS Translations

Michelin Guide – Word of the day - EVS Translations

We have all heard of, seen or even followed the dining recommendations of the Michelin Guide; but not all of us directly link the prestigious guide to the tire company with the same name.

Yet, the story behind the guide started as a clever marketing approach by the tire company exactly. One of the three largest tire manufactures, Michelin, started its history in 1889 as a small rubber factory to lead the way to its first patent for a removable pneumatic tire in 1891.

Despite the very small number of motor cars on the road in France, the two Michelin founding brothers were determined to turn vehicles from a novelty used for mainly short Sunday picnic rides into a mass transportation over long distances.

In order to encourage the customers' demand for their own products; they developed the brilliant marketing concept of encouraging long distance travelling by publishing a car travel guide which catalogued hotels, mechanics, and gasoline vendors throughout France.

The first Michelin guide (French: Guide Michelin) was published in 1900 and as the company was growing so was their guide to include editions for other countries as well, starting with Michelin Guide Belgium in 1904 and introducing travel maps in 1910.

But it was in 1926, that the guide expanded to the industry that made it famous — fine gourmet dining. And 5 years later the three-star system was introduced, first throughout the French provinces and followed by Paris in 1933, in which year 23 restaurants in France were rated with three stars.

According to the guide, a star was for a "very good restaurant in its own category’, two stars represented "excellent cooking, worth a detour" while three stars were reserved for "exceptional cuisine, worth a special trip".

The first time the name of the French tire company appeared in print in an English media was only 3 years after its founding, but apparently the short time was enough to make the brand favourable. In 1902 Motors and Motor-Driving magazine: “The tire which was most favourably known abroad, i.e. the Michelin”.

And the first time the Michelin Guide was referred to by an English author, was in 1921, in William John Locke The mountebank. The book tells the story of an orphaned boy who becomes a travelling juggler: “The avocations that had led him to know the Inns of France with the accuracy of a Michelin guide. “

The first Michelin-starred town was mentioned in the English spook novel The IPCRESS File. The novel focused on the Cold War brainwashing includes scenes in the French town of Joigny, which the author Len Deighton described as: “a Michelin-starred town a hundred kilometres south of Paris.”

To come to the British cookery author Elizabeth David, who in her 1960 French provincial cooking appears sceptical about the Michelin restaurant star rating criteria: “A careful look at the details of restaurant specialities given in the Michelin and other guides shows that not a few of them owe their star to some kind of sausage or pâté.”

The first restaurant in the UK to gain a Michelin star was London's Le Gavroche in 1974.

Though, the Michelin Guide is facing many critics when comes to its rating criteria and saluting a particular style of dining which does not fully reflect the modern taste and most of all is facing the Internet dining review competition; we, by no means, can underestimate the story and the prestige which coined it the nickname The Bible for Gastronomes.


Quake – Word of the day

Quake - Word of the day - EVS Translations

Quake - Word of the day - EVS Translations

If you’ve never experienced an earth quake, it goes something a little like this: you might be sat in a quiet room and suddenly you hear the tiniest creak in the walls…this is how you know an earth quake is coming. As it shudders into motion, everything around you starts to rattle and your throat tightens as you think to yourself: “Is this the Big One? Should I run?” Of course, running is the worst thing you can do. Back in 2009, a Tokyo local news reporter told the story of a man who ran straight out of his house as an earthquake began—straight into the street and into the windscreen of an oncoming car. Earthquakes never bothered him again and people were reminded of the importance not to panic when a quake hits.

When the Tohoku earth quake of hit Japan in 2011, people in Tokyo started to dive under their desks. Newsreaders, this time, read the news while wearing bright yellow safety helmets and you felt sorry for them that they were still having to report, while everyone else prepared to take cover. Skyscrapers in the city centre district of Shinjuku showed off the very best of Japanese building design as they swayed ominously from side to side, and supermarket floors were showered with the contents of broken wine bottles. In the following days, everybody kept the news channel on: warnings were given when a tremor was on its way and, day in day out, the message was: “take cover where ever you can and stay inside”. Where other cities of less developed countries would have been left in ruin, Tokyo stayed standing with very little damage and only one fatality. Despite the BBC reports of a “city on the edge of panic”, Tokyoites stayed strong, but watched news reports in horror as a tsunami ripped apart entire communities and left a power plant in chaos…
Sometimes, however, it seems there are other things besides fault lines under the earth that can cause a quake and the work takes on a quite different sense...

The word quake derives from the Old English verb cwacian (Old English was in use until around the middle of the 12th  century), which meant to shake or tremble as a result of an external or internal impulse, or natural instability. Quake, as a noun, first appears in the context of earthquake in a manuscript written somewhere around 1325 (included in a 1911 publication of the German journal: Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen). In this manuscript the word earthquake is spelled ‘erþe quaque’ and it’s not until 1628, that quake appears with its modern spelling. Incidentally, when members of what is formerly known as the Society of Friends or the Religious Society of Friends were told by their founder to “tremble at the name of the Lord”, they did so quite literally and experienced fits as they were “moved by the Spirit”—these people became known as Quakers.


The Baltic Migrants Hub to Home

Baltic Migrants Hub to Home

The Baltic Migrants Hub to Home - EVS Translations

When the Baltic States joined the European Union in 2004, the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania hoped their countries will provide a high standard of living. However, the reality proved far different to see thousands of people, especially young and well educated, leaving the three countries over the last decade.

The migration statistics for the three Baltic states are fairly similar, with Latvia's population declining from 2.7 million in 1991 to 1.97 today, Lithuania's from 3.7 million people in 1991 to 2.9 today and for Estonia, out of 1.6 million in 1991, there are now only 1.3 million people left. The European passports opened the gates of migration to mainly the neighbouring Scandinavian countries, Britain and Germany.

And as many expats know to be true, the love for one's country and the need to feel connected to one's roots seems to somehow multiply when a person lives abroad.

And there comes DELFI ( – the most popular internet portal among the Baltic Internet users, ranked right after the global top players – Google, Facebook and YouTube.

With its start in 1999, today Delfi is a major portal which provides local and global political, economical and technology news, lifestyle and health advises, horoscopes, games, TV guides, exchange rates, weather forecast and many other social interaction and user generated content options.

Among in the official languages of the Baltic states, Delfi is also available in Polish, English and Russian.

And it comes as no surprise, that it is ranked among the top 500 most visited websites in all the neighbouring Scandinavian countries, and also among the top 10 000 most visited ones in Britain and Germany – the countries with the biggest Baltic immigration flow. Not to neglect the stats that the English version amazingly scores among the top 1000 most visited websites in the UK, and the explanation seems quite obvious – Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian people who live, work or study abroad use Delfi to keep up with what is happening in their home countries and share news from home with their new English speaking friends, colleagues and family members. As a matter of fact, is visited more frequently from abroad by users who are in the age range 25-34 and have a college degree – and that may well reflect the typical Baltic immigrant profile.

Earlier this year, The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Delfi, holding it responsible for user generated hate comments made on its website, sparkling a serious debate on the freedom of expression online.

Delfi provides its users the freedom to connect to their countries and  is a wonderful example of being global by staying at home. No translation company is necessary. No multi-lingual SEO optimisation, no localisation. Its aim is to be more local – at home and away from home.