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Bento – Word of the day

A bento is a Japanese lunchbox which usually consists of rice with a selection of vegetables and seafood or meat. In restaurants they are usually served in wooden lacquered boxes or for take away in polystyrene containers - both versions with several compartments to separate the different food items. There are also plastic two / three-tier lunchboxes for the home made version.

The word bento was first referenced in the English language when Richard Cocks, Head of the Japan post for the British East India Company, wrote in his diary about being presented with a bento by his Japanese host. The word was first used in English on 23 November 1616 in a diary entry. It doesn’t say whether he enjoyed the bento, but since he was based in Japan as head of the British East India Company for ten years, this was perhaps a sufficient amount of time to grow accustomed to pickled ginger, sticky Japanese rice and other classic bento ingredients.

Japanese wives and mothers are at the realm of the bento tradition since they make them for the children and husband at the start of the day working day. These lunches are nutritionally balanced and lovingly prepared with a wide array of cooking techniques employed to create the perfect bento. For children of nursery age there are kyaraben. This bento contains different foods cleverly crafted into cute character shapes, whether its sausages shaped like octopus or rice balls that look like pandas. The official line is that this type of bento encourages fussy little eaters to enjoy their food, but most likely the real reason lies in the competition between mums to outdo each other with their creative talents and cute food creations. Dads and husbands can also look forward to their bento at lunchtime - perhaps a different variation everyday with wives showing their appreciation through every flower shaped pickle and heart shaped boiled egg (yes, there exists a gadget to shape your boiled eggs into hearts).

For everyone else on their lunchbreak, there are cheap, questionably-nutritious convenience store bentos or bentos from specialist fast food bento shops. They are an easy meal to grab on the go and, when faced with the choice of a bento or convenience store sandwiches, a far more edible option.

Everyone loves a bento. They are a mainstay of Japanese cuisine whether enjoyed at the office, on a picnic or when sitting on the train. It’s a meal idea that is catching on in Asian restaurants in the West, but Japanese food can be an acquired taste and whether they ever rival the trendy image of their sushi counterpart remains to be seen.


Cabriolet – Word of the day

A Cabriolet was originally a woman’s hat worn to provide protection (used 1757 in France), but quickly became the name of a horse-drawn carriage that provided some protection from the elements – a hood, or cabriolet, that could cover those sitting inside perhaps with a curtain to prevent the rain coming in. The first appearance of cabriolet in English is found in the following description: “When the bourgeois of Boulogne takes the air, he goes in a one chaise which is here called cabriolet.” This was the comment of Smollett who made a trip across Europe lasting two years. He published his experiences in Travels though France and Italy which came out in 1766, the year after he finished the journey.

As the world moved into the era of the motorcar, horse-drawn carriages disappeared, but the word cabriolet remained, despite often being substituted with the word convertible. In 1884   The Times newspaper made a reference to a “waggonette convertible to Stanhope phaeton” (both being a type of carriage), a comment which perhaps marks the start of the change from use of the term cabriolet to convertible. In 1918 the Webster's Dictionary of the English Language describes convertible as “changeable from a closed to an open style;—said of an automobile body”.

Today both cabriolet and convertible are used in English to describe a type of car and the word cab, in taxi-cab, also derives from the word cabriolet.


Landslide – Word of the day

A landslide occurs when a rocks and land are loosened from the underlying bedrock and move down a slope rapidly. In terms of damage and deaths, the landslide is often underrated. David Petley, a geographer, reported that over 32,000 people had been killed in seven years 2004 in 2,620 separate fatal landslides. The recent fatal landslide near Hiroshima is one of many this year.

It originally appeared in English as landslip with landslide taking over in the late 1800s.

But it was in the New York Times on 4 November 1888 that a new meaning for landslide was used for the first time. There was a clear victory in an election, a “veritable landslide”. Since then landslide has been the standard way of describing a large political victory, of one party or person sweeping away all the opposition. Speaking at a dinner with journalists in 1958, after listening to a speech which accused the Kennedy clan of wanting to buy its way to the presidency. J.F. Kennedy pulled out a fake telegram "I have just received the following telegram from my generous Daddy. It says, "Dear Jack: Don't buy a single vote more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide." In the 1960 election Kennedy received only 0.17% more votes than Nixon, but due to the American electoral system still won by a landslide.


Avalanche – Word of the day

An avalanche is a huge flow of snow which falls with increasing speed into the valley below.

Naturally enough the first English experience of the avalanche was when travelling in Europe at the end of the 1700s – with early sightings being in Italy, France and Switzerland. It took a while for the spelling of avalanche to become standard – with the Italian word “valance” and the French word “valanche” being used first.

The first reference to an avalanche in English is in a report in The Gentleman’s Magazine of 1765 of a most extraordinary event of how three women were saved after they had been buried for 36 hours by an avalanche in the Italian Alps. There is a graphic description of the priest getting ready to go to church who hear a “noise toward the top of the mountain” and saw “two valancas driving headlong towards the village”. The women who were trapped were given money to rebuild their house and lived the same life as before their misfortunes.

Smollett was a major English novelist who also wrote a travel book and used his fame to get a huge advance as a translator (he translated Don Quixote from Spanish to English for which he was paid five years before publication and edited a 35-volume translation of Voltaire’s works from French into English).

He also took a 2-year trip to Europe which he wrote up in Travels though France and Italy which came out in 1766, the year after he finished the journey. He travelled though the Col de Tende from Nice and writes about the key danger on the narrow mountain path – “valanches”. He describes this as “balls of snow which … roll down with such rapidity that the traveller is crushed to death before he can make three steps on the road”. He reports that the avalanche destroys trees, houses and kills people.

But by the time Byron wrote Manfred in 1817, the word avalanche had become standard. His hero asks the avalanche to “come and crush me”, but unfortunately all that happens is that it falls on things what would still live.


Jihad – Word of the day

The word jihad originates from the Arabic word meaning struggle. Its use in the English language relates entirely to the fight of Muslims against those who do not believe.

This in underlined by the initial uses in English of the jihad. In the 1870s, the first references are published in military history about India in the 1870s. It first appears in the 1869 second edition of the Historical Sketches of the South of India by Mark Wilks who had long since died. It refers to “projects of Jehad” and provides the relevant translation “holy war”. There is no record why this sentence was not in the first edition which has come out in 1817. A History of the Sepoy War in India in 1875 by the historian John Kay uses the phase “to collect money and preach the Moslem jihad” and in 1880 a General Roberts refers to the mullahs who “have been preaching a jihad or holy war”.

Almost exactly at this time, the word was used in the sense of a war against non-religious enemies. In the 1880s these included political doctrines, the government, even deer.

According to Google Books, the use of the word jihad moved from zero in the 1870 increasingly steadily to 1998. After this date the deployment of the jihad and its use in English exploded. The use of Jihad as a word in books increased by a factor of four in only four years. According to Google Trends it peaked in 2004. Even so, it is currently omnipresent in the media as a word. It word appears in almost every news bulletin – a Jihad spokesman, the jihad cause, the call to jihad are just of few of the BBC News features over the last three days.


Anime – Word of the day

Anime is a word used in Japanese to refer to animation film, but whether the word derives from the English word animation or French term dessin animé is the source of some debate. Despite the word being used in Japan as a reference to any kind of animation, in the West it is understood to mean specifically a Japanese animation film.

In 1995, Time Out reviewed the anime Ghost in the Shell writing “The sci-fi animé conjures up an eye-dazzling, futuristic cityscape that, sadly, is not matched by the human landscapes at the heart of the story…much more attention should have been paid to the script and disastrous dubbed dialogue”.

Despite this crushing review, anime is hugely popular in Japan and has grown in popularity in the West, especially in the U.S., since the 1990's. From 2000, the US began to use voiceover for Japanese anime on TV and localize some of the content for the English speaking audience. The result was a generation of young Westerners being exposed to Japanese culture and an increased interest in Japanese language study - indeed, it seems that many university students on Japanese courses will name anime as their inspiration for taking on Japanese.

In 2001, the Spirited Away became the US’s top grossing anime film. The director was the highly celebrated Hayao Miyazaki – perhaps considered to be the father of anime - and this was his biggest commercial success. The heroine of the film is a young girl who fights to survive when she is whisked away to the spirit world where her parents have been turned into pigs. Strong females and feminism have been quoted as recurring themes in Miyazaki’s anime films, as well as environmentalism and pacifism.

Even if you are not a fan of anime, it is hard not to admire the levels of artwork that go into a production, especially in an age where many animations in their entirety are made using CGI. And the more complex and darker themes which run through some of the major anime productions such as Princess Mononoke or the stories that capture the essence of childhood can sometimes be a breath of fresh air when compared to their Disney production counterparts.

Read how English voiceover and localization of Japanese anime helped to create a huge following for this industry in the West.


Waiter – Word of the day

“The sum is six pounds and be pleased to remember the waiters” is the first reference to the waiter in English. It appears in a play Parsons Wedding written by Thomas Killigrew and published in 1664. It is spoken by a character called drawer, which was the original English word for waiter.

Somewhat later Steele in the Spectator (1712) writes about how difficult it is to organise dinner parties at various restaurants. One reason to change the location for dining is “bold rebellion in the point of attendance by the waiters”.

In what appears to be an early example of syndication, an article on politeness published in many newspapers in 1799 describes just how rude people can be. Domestic servants have it bad, but a waiter serving at an inn or tavern has it much worse. A waiter often suffers monstrous abuse because “every man who enters an inn thinks he is entitled to vent his own ill humour upon them”.

The waiter is a key element in an eating experience. As the Jewish proverb goes “In a restaurant choose a table near a waiter”. But this should not be too difficult. In the United States today there are approximately 2.4 million people with the job description of a waiter. With approximately 635,000 restaurants in the US this makes approximately 4 per restaurant.


The medical technology hub of the New South

Atlanta - medical technology hubJust several decades ago, when people thought of the American South, and especially Georgia, it often involved conjuring up images of peanut farms and peach plantations. Though the New South still boasts successful agricultural industries, its reputation as one of the country’s most dynamic and innovative economic centers is built on less traditional sectors. Today, Southern businesses are known for their aerospace innovations, IT solutions, and medical patents rather than their onions and okra. In many ways the capital of the New South economy, Atlanta, is today home for not only a number of established Fortune 500 companies such as The Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, and Delta Airlines, but also has become the national center of America’s pharmaceutical and medical technology industries.
Today, more than 500 medical, pharmaceutical and medical technology companies have settled in the metro area and employ over 50,000 people.

In many ways, Atlanta’s national standing and global draw for all things relating to medical technology simply makes sense. As the national headquarters for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta is the epicenter of issues involving the national public health. The city also boasts a number of leading research hospitals and universities, such as Emory University, Georgia Tech, UGA, and Georgia State that attract both established professionals and the next generation of promising researchers in medical technology and pharmaceuticals. In addition, Atlanta’ business development authorities have worked consistently to make the city attractive to startups as well as globally-known brands by implementing a series of business-friendly incentives, not only or medical technololgy.

The results of this business development offensive, paired with the region’s low employment costs and affordable cost of living have produced impressive results quickly. In addition to increasing the presence of medical technology leaders such as CIBA Vision, Baxter International, and Kimberly-Clark Health Care, Atlanta boasts a number of pioneering niche companies focused on highly specialized and innovative medical fields including:

  • GeneCure Biotechnologies focuses on using gene transfer technology to develop treatments for life-threatening human diseases, such as genetic and infectious diseases, and cancers.
  • CryoLife develops implantable biological devices, surgical adhesives, and biomaterials for use in cardiac, vascular, and spinal reconstruction.
  • Elan Holdings, Inc. is a neuroscience biotech company that, focuses on advanced therapies in neurology, autoimmune disease treatment, and severe pain control.
  • DSM Chemicals produces vitamins and ingredients for the feed, food, and cosmetics industries, as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients.
  • Micromeritics Instruments manufactures particle-sized analyzers, surface area analyzers, and other small scale instrumentation.

If you are a medical technology company with an increasing demand for language services, EVS Translations is your ideal partner. We have 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.

Our U.S. office is located in downtown Atlanta. Contact us today to discuss your projects.

Learn more about how we can help you successfully grow your business and give us a call TODAY:
+1 404-523-5560 or send us an email: quoteusa(at)


Ebola – Word of the day

The name of the Ebola virus which is making the headlines today originates from the Ebola River in the Congo. The first time the disease appeared was in August 1976. Patient zero was a schoolteacher who had been touring along the Ebola River just days before he was identified with what become known as the Ebola virus. This was the start of a virus which has an average fatality rate of 83%.

Outbreaks of ebola

Up to 2013, the World Health Organization recorded a total of approximately 2,000 Ebola cases in 24 outbreaks, all of them in Africa. Original scientific papers used various different names for the disease including haemorrhagic fever and Marburg-like virus. The New York Times on 1 December 1976 was an early use in a national use. It described the disease as a green monkey fever “which will be known as the Ebola Virus”. The word came into medical use almost immediately after a series of articles in The Lancet in March 1977.

Read about ebola symptoms

If you are up to it, read more about the Ebola virus in the non-fiction thriller The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. But be warned. The blurb on the book says that it is “one of the most horrifying things I’ve read in my whole life”. And it was written by Stephen King who is not easily frightened! Not surprising for a description of a disease which extremely unpleasant, almost certainly fatal and for which there is no vaccine or licenced treatment.


Sanction – Word of the day

Sanction orignally means law

The English word sanction originates from the French word of the same spelling which means legislation or law. Until the end of the 1500s it was used widely in a religious context with sanctions referred to in terms of the commandments or divine law.

Only gradually was sanction used as a legal term meaning a penalty for not complying with social law. In the 1700s and 1800s sanction was mainly used in this legal context.

Sanction comes into its own as a weapon

The idea of sanction as an economic weapon was first used in English after the First World War. The 1925 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature and one of the co-founders of the London School of Economics George Bernard Shaw wrote a pamphlet Peace conference hints in 1919 in which he described “Such widely advocated and little thought-out ‘sanctions’ as the outlawry and economic boycott of a recalcitrant nation”. It did not take long for the word to move out of inverted commas.

Just how effective sanctions are is a matter of debate. Key examples of economic sanctions are the United States against Cuba, or the United Nations against Iraq, South Africa and Zimbabwe or the current sanctions being imposed against Russia.