Archive for October, 2012

Atlas of True Names

Since we’re all curious about the meanings and etymology of all the words, I want to share this post with you: Atlas of True Names.

In this website, they make world maps but not the kind we are familiar with. They write the meanings and the etymology of all the place names, instead of their original names. Nothing to say more… Just take a look at all these maps.

London

 

US East

 

 

 

US West

 

Asia

 

Italy

 

To see more maps and their details, click here.

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Japan Firm Launches Real-Time Telephone Translation

Several times, I witnessed Google Translate translating between similar languages almost without a mistake; however, when it comes to more challenging language pairs, there is really nothing it can do! 🙂 

Since we should be aware of every advances in our field, I want to share Hurriyet Daily News’ article with you:

Japan’s biggest mobile operator said Monday it will launch a translation service that lets people chat over the telephone in several different languages.

The application for NTT DoCoMo subscribers will give two-way voice and text readouts of conversations between Japanese speakers and those talking in English, Chinese or Korean with a several-second delay, the firm said.

“Hanashite Honyaku” will be a free application that can be used on smartphones and tablet computers with the Android operating system, DoCoMo said.

Customers will also be able to call landlines using the service, it said, adding that voice-to-text readouts will soon be available in French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.

“We hope that with this application, our subscribers will be able to widen the range of their communication,” a company spokeswoman said.

However, she conceded the service does not offer perfect translations and has trouble deciphering some dialects.

DoCoMo also said it has launched a separate service that lets users translate menus and signage using the smartphone camera.

 

Source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/japan-firm-launches-real-time-telephone-translation.aspx?pageID=238&nID=32962&NewsCatID=345

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Interesting Place Names

It is time to get surprised! Place names can be really surprising and interesting… We, as language lovers, love etymology, I know it! And the best part is you can show off your friends by telling all these short stories! 🙂 Thanks to about.com for this compilation… 🙂

Amazon River
Early Spanish explorers noticed that women battled alongside men and so named the river for the legendary Amazon female warriors.

Austria
From the word Ostreich meaning, “eastern kingdom.”

Belgium
The Celtic tribe Belgae lived in the area before the first century.

Bolivia
Named for the South American independence fighter Simon Bolivar.

Delaware, United States
Named for the 17th century governor of Virginia, Thomas West, the Baron De La Warr.

Ganges River
In Hindi the word “ganga” means river.

Ireland
From the Gaelic name of the country, “Eire”, which is pronounced “air.”

Ivory Coast / Cote d’Ivoire, Africa
In the 19th century, the French traded ivory from this coastal colony.

Japan
Comes to us from a transliteration the Chinese phrase meaning “land of the rising sun.” In Japanese call their nation Nippon.

Mediterranean Sea
In Latin, the term “mare mediterraneum” means “sea in the middle of the earth.” At the time of it’s name, civilization surrounded the Mediterranean.

Sahara Desert
From Arabic for “brownish desert.”

Sydney, Australia
Named for the British Secretary of State Lord Sydney. Australia itself is named for the ancient mythical Greek Terra Australis, or “southern land.”

Tripoli, Libya
The name means “three cities” in Greek and is named because of three ancient cities which were once in the modern city’s location.

Venezuela
Reminded explorers of Venice because of native homes on stilts; Venezuela means “little Venice.”

Yellow River
This Chinese River is a translation of the Chinese and is named for the river which is yellowish due to the large amount of sediment it carries.

 

For additional place names, visit the website! http://geography.about.com/od/historyofgeography/a/placenames.htm

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More Natural Pronunciations for Online Language Learning

Finally, I found a website with natural sounding pronunciations for online language learners. I have introduced many websites before; however, the pronunciations all have a kind of mechanical sound. This one, although including only basic words, is more realistic if you want to try new languages in your spare time! I just tried Arabic and I already learned the numbers! 🙂

 

There are 11 language options. When you move your pointer over “French”, for example, you can see a brief info about the language and the flags of the countries where French is spoken.

 

When you select a languages, you see different types of conversations.

 

Let’s say you click on “My Home”. You see the whole plan of a home and you can click on any subject and hear the pronunciation.

 

You can also visit each room and click on anything! You can cook meal and see what’s in the fridge…

This is quite funny and exciting because you eventually learn some words and hear the exact pronunciations…

 

Click here to visit the website.

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Really Bad Jokes in English

The other day, I saw a kind of infographic about the bad jokes in English, and I thought that we also have hundreds of them in Turkish, as well. I’m sure we have such kind of jokes in every language. However bad they are, they are also quite funny in a way. Whenever I hear one, I pretend it does not amuse me – just because it is a bad joke- but I kind of get amused by it. This feeling is hard to tell, you see. It is also impossible to translate them! 🙂 Let’s see how you feel!

How do crazy people go through the forest?
They take the psycho path.

How do you get holy water?
Boil the hell out of it.

What did the fish say when he hit a concrete wall?
“Damn.”

What do Eskimos get from sitting on the ice too long?
Polaroids.

What do prisoners use to call each other?
Cell phones.
What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?
Nacho Cheese. (Prounounce “Not your cheese.”)

What do you call Santa’s helpers?
Subordinate Clauses.

What do you call four bull fighters in quicksand?
Quatro sinko.

What do you get from a pampered cow?
Spoiled milk.

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
Frostbite.

What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?
A nervous wreck.

What’s the difference between roast beef and pea soup?
Anyone can roast beef.

Where do you find a tortoise with no legs?
Right where you left him.

Why are there so many Smiths in the phone book?
They all have phones.

Why do bagpipers walk when they play?
They’re trying to get away from the noise.

Why do gorillas have big nostrils?
Because they have big fingers.

What do you get when you cross a pit bull with a collie?
A dog that runs for help … after it bites your leg off.

And more…

Share your comments with me and feel free to add more bad jokes! 🙂

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Historical Tips About First Translations

  • The word translation derives from the Latin translatio (which itself comes from trans- and fero, together meaning “to carry across” or “to bring across”).
  • The ancient Greek word for interpreter/translator is Hermêneus, directly related to the name of the god Hermes. Its many further meanings—mediator, go-between, deal-broker, marriage-broker—open up a window onto the work of interpreters during prehistory.

  • The traditions of translating material among Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Syriac, Anatolian and Hebrew go back several millennia. An early example of a bilingual document is the 1274 BCE Treaty of Kadesh.
  • One of the first recorded instances of translation in the West was the rendering of the Old Testament into Greek in the 3rd century BCE. The translation is known as the “Septuagint”, a name that refers to the seventy translators (seventy-two, in some versions) who were commissioned to translate the Bible at Alexandria, Egypt.
  • A secular icon for the art of translation is the Rosetta Stone. This trilingual (hieroglyphic-Egyptian, demotic-Egyptian, ancient-Greek) stele became the translator’s key to decryption of Egyptian hieroglyphs by Thomas Young, Jean-François Champollion and others.
  • The Renaissance has been termed “the great age of translations.” The rise of Humanism inspired translators from various European countries to translate many texts, especially those of the ancients.
  • The translator of the Bible into German, Martin Luther, is credited with being the first European to posit that one translates satisfactorily only toward his own language.
  • Especially after the Renaissance, Europeans began more intensive study of Arabic and Persian translations of classical works as well as scientific and philosophical works of Arab and oriental origins.
  • Despite occasional theoretical diversity, the actual practice of translation has hardly changed since antiquity. translators have generally shown prudent flexibility in seeking equivalents — “literal” where possible, paraphrastic where necessary — for the original meaning and other crucial “values”.

 

 

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Tips From A Guy Who Speaks 50 Languages!

50 languages! I guess my brain would be like a vegetable soup. 🙂 So far, I have attempted to learn 5 different languages (English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German)  and I could only continue with 2 of them. Even I just know 3 languages, English, Turkish and French, I sometimes mistaken French words with English ones… For example, the other day I wrote “biere” instead of “beer” in a translation! 🙂 It was so embrassing though. As translators, it is our dream to know as many languages as possible, isn’t it?

However, there are some genius people who can speak more than 10 languages. I’m sure they get confused from time to time but it should be great to know that you can communicate millions of people! What a confidence! I came across an interesting article about learning languages. There are some tips from a guy who “knows” 50 languages:

One of the most famous language learners alive today is Alexander Arguelles, a linguist who has learned over 50 languages (some of them dead, admittedly) and has developed a couple of techniques that he shares with people online. You can learn all about his techniques on his website — he makes instructional videos available for free — and a lot of people swear by them.

Here’s his famous “shadowing technique,” where students listen to the language with simultaneously speaking it out loud and reading along with it in a book. Arguelles describes it like this:

The videos I have made about Shadowing demonstrate and discuss the proper form for using my technique of shadowing or listening to and simultaneously echoing a recording of foreign language audio that accompanies a manual of bilingual texts . . . In order to shadow most effectively, it is important to observe three points:
1. Walk outdoors as swiftly as possible.
2. Maintain perfectly upright posture.
3. Articulate thoroughly in a loud, clear voice.

He also recommends his “scriptorium technique,” where students write the language while simultaneously speaking it out loud. He writes:

In order to do this properly, you should:

1. Read a sentence aloud.
2. Say each word aloud again as you write it.
3. Read the sentence aloud as you have written it.

The whole purpose of this exercise is to force yourself to slow down and pay attention to detail. This is the stage at which you should check all unknowns in grammars or dictionaries.

 

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