Monday, November 30, 2009

If translation didn't exist...

"Common European thought is the fruit of the immense toil of translators. Without translators, Europe would not exist; translators are more important than members of the European Parliament". Milan Kundera.

We live in such a modern world and we are now used to so many technologies and devices that we hardly value or stop to think about the different disciplines and arts that make so many things possible…

There's one good example of great importance because of everything that has been created and transformed thanks to it, and that is translation. Translation has united cultures, societies, artists, writers, businesses, countries and people around the world within the passage of time.

The art of translation has made possible that the most amazing history, poetry and literature works of the greatest thinkers and authors of all times can be read, studied and understood by millions of people that speak hundreds of different languages.

The fact that there are professionals dedicated to study languages and specializing in really knowing the cultural details and customs of different countries and regions has made possible that persons from really faraway places of the planet can establish communication and find that they actually have things in common.

Since there are more than 300 spoken languages in the world, if translation didn't exist, you wouldn't be doing a lot of the things you do in your daily life. For example, you wouldn't be able to watch thousands of movies from directors of different countries because there would be no way for you to understand them, since there wouldn't exist subtitles for you to read the dialogs in your own language.

Also, many television shows that have been adapted from the originals from other countries wouldn't reach your national television providers guide, because they would be in their original languages…Furthermore, a lot of great famous books that have been adapted to the big screen couldn't possibly be so because of the fact that the books are written in the author's native languages, which can't be comprehended by the scriptwriters.

There are countless examples in countless fields that transform your everyday life because of the possibilities that translation has brought to life. The world would be a completely different place and wouldn't be so culturally rich and so full of knowledge if it weren't for translation and, of course, for translators.

Even scientific inventions and science development have advanced much more and faster because of the possibility of uniting the knowledge and the experiments of scientists from around the world that do research and work in their own languages.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

What silence has to say

"Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods". Ralph Waldo Emerson

Silence is, most of the times, undervalued by those people who live immersed in the increasingly faster routines of today's society, where time is precious but is used to buy more time, and where spaces for relax, for reading at the park and for listening to nature are practically extinct.

Today, our cities are full of noise, constructions are all over the place, people yell to be heard, everyone has to say something, cars don't fit in the streets, televisions are always on their highest volume, people walk listening to loud music through their earphones without seeing anything that happens around…

Our society has forgotten about silence. No one seems to care about quiet spaces anymore. It's actually really difficult to find a place where you can easily go and spend a while without listening to all kinds of noises that disconnect you from your inner peace and from that relax instants that you need to go away for a bit.

Go ahead and try this experiment: go to a public place and sit alone in silence, just stay there with yourself and start looking at how other people react. They will probably stare at you with a "what are you doing? Are you crazy?" kind of look…Not a lot of people are aware of the huge value that the essence of silence represents.

The treasure of silence

Silence is a treasure that a lot of poets, writers and artists have valued and though about through time, to the point that they have dedicated entire works, or simple phrases, to describe it, to analyze it, to thank it, to celebrate its existence.

In silence have been created millions of works of art and inventions that are treasures of humanity and that have changed its history forever. Silence has allowed geniuses to find their brilliant ideas, writers to find their words, artists to find their shapes, painters to find their colors, musicians to find their notes, physicians to find their numbers, animals to find their preys and common people to find their way.

Silence represents a precious moment in which a person can listen to his/her own voice to think and make decisions about life, and take new paths in order to achieve specific dreams and goals. Furthermore, silence is need and should become a priority in people's lives…It could do them so much good, especially in the stressful times we live in today.

We do so many things, we run so much every day, we dedicate such a big part of our valuable time to so many worthless details…Without a doubt, anyone could use ten minutes of each day to relax, to sit or just lay in the bed, listening to the words of silence, making peace with life, imagining the dreamed future in pictures and daydreaming about what he/she wants to become…

You could be surprised with what silence can do for you. You may think you lose time if you just stay still without talking or doing anything, but the greatest idea of your life could just be whispered to you in the words of silence.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009



Online social networks changed communication forever

Online social networks allow people to know details about other people's lives in a most discreet way

Online social networks are here to stay; they've been created and are so deep into people's lives already, that they will only grow to develop new applications and original ways for people to instantly communicate with friends, family and acquaintances from all around the world.

If Internet, e-mail, chats and instant messaging had changed people's habits, online social networks have absolutely revolutionized people's daily routines, the way they communicate with each other and the way they find out about how everyone's doing on a particular moment. Today, someone won't call a friend, they will send a message through Facebook…

Online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and occupy big portions of people's time every day, whether it is at the office, in their house or in their spare times.

A recent study found out that the under 35 year olds are totally addicted to these social networks; for example, 39% of Twitter users and 27% of Facebook users under 35 years old check their Twitter and Facebook accounts, respectively, more than ten times a day.

These networks offer activities that people can still do sitting in front of their computers, but that represent free time and relax for their minds, as well as contact with all their friends, acquaintances and family, with whom they can share pictures, exchange messages, have conversations, share opinions, watch videos, listen to their favorite songs, play games, etc.

It's a common space in which people feel that they're not alone when they actually are. They just have a virtual space that they can access any time they want, as long as they have an Internet connection. It's gone so far, that currently a lot of people spend their biggest online social network time in their mobile, rather than in front of the computer. People like the immediacy with which they can show their family and friends where they are or what they just bought, by simply taking a picture with their cell phone and then sending it in seconds…

These networks have an interactive essence that makes them appear as an omnipresent and endless conversation between millions of people all over the world. There's a reason why Twitter's slogan is "Join the conversation"…It's become an addiction that makes people want to publish and share with everyone what they're thinking or doing, or what just happened to them at their office, even what they're eating at the moment or that they're hungry and want chocolate really badly.

Online social networks have made people addicted to know and look into each other's lives: they can see pictures, find out about what others did on the weekend, see the news about the end of a relationship…It's a more discreet way of taking a glance at what goes on with the world and with other people's lives, without asking and without anyone knowing that you where interested in somebody's affairs.

These networks have also created a debate about the risks of loosing privacy when everyone publishes everything without thinking about the consequences. Furthermore, the debate has even reached the security risks that this information disclosure represents. But that'll be good for a future post.

For now, let's just say that online social networks have widen people's opportunities of keeping in touch with their acquaintances from all around the world, and that they represent a great tool for letting everyone know about a business, an idea or an opinion. It's just a matter of being careful and wise about the use of information.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Understanding your world through history

"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are". David C. McCullough.

If one day you feel you want to understand better the world in which you live, the reasons why your family is the way it is and why you are the person that you are in the present, grab a book of your country's history and read it. You may think there are no direct connections between what you're living today and what years ago happened in the same lands…

But there really are. Once you start knowing and understanding a little bit more about your culture, your country, your people, your ancestors, you start to realize how every detail of your present life has its roots in the past of a whole nation and even of its neighbors, and of the whole world.

If you see history as some academic task that you used to have when you where at school, is because you haven't let yourself understand what it is about. When you start seeing history as a true story that's been told in hundreds of different versions by hundreds of different authors, through history books and through novels, through documentaries and through fiction films, you begin to discover its magic, the treasure that's behind all those words and images.

Those stories that sometimes feel so distant and so old are the ones that have molded the world and made it as it is. Once you start connecting facts of different nations and cultures, your mind is able to see the world as one big universe that has a lot of interdependent small universes that are not far from each other after all.

History can help you understand who you are and value where you were born because that fact has made you exactly as you are. Sometimes you listen the name of a war and you just imagine some crazy people that a lot of years ago killed each other for no reason; but if you take the time to find out who those people where and why they risked everything they had, even their lives, for fighting in the lands where you now live, you might understand that they, as you, had families and dreams, but did something that changed your world.

When you know how your home was built, you value it the most. Don't let time pass without finding out and thinking a little bit about where you came from…You may surprise yourself caught up in the middle of a history book, thinking that is a great novel no one could have ever created if it wasn't with the richness of reality.

Learn from history; let it teach you wonderful lessons that no one else can. Understand the world you live in today so that you can have strong and active opinions about it, and so that you can confidently speak about historical facts and events. People like other people who know interesting details and who can teach them about different aspects!

So, go ahead, grab a history book about any moment in time that interests you and that you've somehow wandered about…It will change the way you look at the world and at your own life.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blogging, the ultimate limitless publishing marvel

As an anonymous author once said, "A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list".

Welcome to the world of blogs, where anyone can say and show anything, and also can publish it through a media that makes the content visible to anyone with an Internet connection, eliminating the geographic frontiers and many others.

Blogs are, definitely, a precious opportunity for anyone who wants to say or show something of their own or regarding the business they work in. Of course, as anything else, blogs can be used by people who have really interesting contents to share with others, as well as by people that just want to satisfy their own needs or tastes.

But that shouldn't be a problem, since blogs belong to a communication era in which personalized contents are the ones that lead the trends, and that means each person has the absolute freedom and capacity of looking for what they want, choosing what they liked the most and then discarding what they weren't interested in.

Therefore, blogs constitute an invaluable tool and opportunity for citizens that, in today's world, don't need to be celebrities or work for the mass media in order to have a website and share their stories, opinions and ideas on it.

Furthermore, today almost anyone with an Internet connection is able to create their own website, design it as they desire, update it whenever they feel like and publish any kinds of contents, whether they are personal stuff as pictures, videos and thoughts, or they are work related and intend to offer products, services or simply share somebody's expertise.

Communicating freely

Blogs are free spaces where people can actually express anything they feel like. The multimedia tools create a very wide range of possibilities for people to create and publish contents in very original and attractive ways that, step by step, begin to capture a specific audience for each blog.

And there's where the fun and interesting part starts; the blog becomes a constant conversation between the owner and the readers, who, most of the times, actively use the interactive tools to share their opinions and communicate with the other users.

A blog is also an alternative of journalism for those journalists who feel their job's not inside a big media office, but think they can do it independently and want to write with more freedom, and to do it from their own voice and view, and with their own name.

Journalistic blogs become then an alternative for the people that want to be informed through more independent, and maybe more creative, voices, where they can also select a determined number of websites of specific subjects they're interested in and they like.

Obviously, at this point, it becomes essential that people learn how to wisely select what they read and how to decide if a specific source is reliable and serious (if it's a serious subject they're looking for).

So, today, writers, poets, photographers, designers, etc., have more opportunities and no excuse to say they haven't been able to publish their work. A blog can be easily created and shared, and it takes, mostly, quality contents for it to reach the first levels of success (being patient is essential), which may lead to greater goals and become a dream came true.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Books represent countless universes

Those who read, have countless universes in their minds…That's why it's so much better to have a conversation with a person that understands what means to read a book and to get into a story.

Books are a treasure that we shouldn't leave behind in our everyday life. They were created by humanity in the search for finding a way to satisfy the human necessity of telling stories, of sharing universes, of putting ideas out of people's heads and giving them a physical shape to let them remain through time and become a part of history that future generations could access.

That's why books have such a great and unique value; they represent whole universes with endless and interesting historic points of view and details, told by individual voices in extraordinary and original ways, sometimes with a touch of art, and captured in pieces of paper with printed letters that, in their simplicity, hold invaluable secrets that patiently wait to be discovered.

Yes, a book represents a whole new universe; it develops a story with unique characters and in a specific place and time…Whether a book tells a true story or a fiction one, all those new scenarios and the way the author leads the reader through them become images and ideas that the reader's mind interpret in a very unique way.

Have you ever had the feeling of finding yourself thinking about something you believe you're remembering from somebody, and then realizing that it was just a situation or a character from the book you're reading? That means you're living your life, but, at the same time, you also have that other imaginary universe with you, which many times makes your days more bearable when you go through difficult or stressing times and you just want to think in something else, something that you don't need to worry about, something that will be there for sure whenever you decide to grab the book and immerse yourself in it.

Books widen your knowledge

Books are also wonderful because they represent a travel machine; their pages are a ticket that allows anyone to travel to unimaginable places at any time and without taking a step in any direction. Once you start reading the descriptions of characters and places, you begin to feel like you know them, and you start creating your own images and ideas of where and how everything happens.

The stories become part of your life and put the spaces in which they take place into those you somehow know and have in your mind. That means when you read, you learn; you let other people's worlds and views enter your life and let you see it in a whole new way, you discover how other cultures think and live, and you enrich yourself with those customs that you would have never imagined possible.

Everything that books make you learn and imagine has a great effect on you; there's a good reason why people love talking to those who read the most: because they always have interesting stories and anecdotes to tell, and because they know about a lot of different subjects and places.

If you're not a reader, you just haven't discovered one of the most spectacular wonders of the human world. Even if you don't think you could go through an entire book, you can just try it until you find the right one for you. You won't regret it; you will know when you find it, that a new universe has entered into your life.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The impact of positive energy

Have you seen or felt how when you meet or talk to specific persons they produce special positive or negative feelings in you? The message can be the same, but the impact that it has on the receptor can be dramatically different depending on who expresses it and on the way that person does it.

The energy that you project with your attitude is much more important and determinant than you could ever imagine. You've probably heard how people talk about somebody's "good energy" or about somebody's insecure and negative energy that impacts everything that person does and says.

There are people who naturally act and speak with so much intensity and vitality, they appear to have it in their own personality and to easily communicate their opinions and be perceived as really confident people by everyone else.

Usually, those persons speak loud, smile a lot and don't hesitate when they have something to say. Their self-confidence makes them go out feeling strong and fearless about what others may think or like.

Not everyone's the same, but people can definitely learn new things and have in mind some tips that can help them improve their social and work relations by letting them feel better and act more confidently.

Something to have in mind would be to know that messages are not expressed by just saying the words. When someone says something, their whole body's talking to the audience that's receiving the information; the eyes express things in ways you could barely imagine while you speak, the facial expressions are decisive too, and the movements of different parts of the body such as arms, hands, and back also let the others now more about what you are explicitly saying.

Smiling in a friendly but respectfully way is a step to open yourself and let others in, without taking out the seriousness of any matter you're referring to, but not appearing like an iron wall that can stop other's intentions or connections either.

Looking into the eyes of the people you're speaking to is a key for letting them know that you're sincere and transparent, and that you know what you're talking about. People like to see through and to feel that nothing's being hidden from them.

Having an expressive pair of eyes combined with a sincere and open smile is great for someone that's interested in a conversation.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Starting a business today

Millions of people dream about starting a business of their own; about showing others their ideas and offering them the possibility of using them; about sharing their knowledge and seeing results; about letting their dreams come true and become useful for people all over the world.

Until some years ago that was much more difficult than it is now, taking into account the enormous range of possibilities that Internet has opened for anyone that's ever dreamt about creating a business and selling their own products or services.

In the first place, when Internet and social networks weren't part of the scene, people were under a lot of pressure to come up with really unique products or services in order to obtain help and sponsorship, and to be able to sell them in somebody else's store if they couldn't open one of their own.

Also, back then, it was almost essential to have a physical place, limited to a geographical location and increasing costs, where customers could get to know the products and services, and could buy them and solve their problems and doubts. Now, things have changed radically regarding this aspect: Internet and the tools provided by social networks have become the virtual, and many times free, places for showing, offering, communicating and shopping.

That means anyone that has an idea or has created a product or service can simply appropriate their own space of the Internet to convert it in their shop, where they can show anything to anyone with no limitations of place, time, taste and even language, if they decide to translate the information to reach bigger audiences.

These are all great new and represent real opportunities for millions of ideas that are waiting to be shared and to become successful products that can travel the biggest distances in the shortest periods of time through the marvelous miracle of Internet.

Don't wait any longer! Risk it all for your dreams and be sure that passion will take you anywhere you've ever dreamed of. It's so much easier now. Start by making the decision and the rest will come.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Traveling with your eyes open

Usually, people that feel passionate about languages also does about traveling because they both mean seeing new places and knowing how people live, communicate, work and think in different areas and cultures that coexist in our planet.

Traveling is a great way of opening your mind to unique visions of the world and of understanding that everything you've seen and every detail that has built your education up to now are just a small piece of that infinite universe that cultures, languages, religions, weather, art and customs bring to life.

It's important to clear up that the world traveling doesn't only mean going really far from home; of course that if you go to the other side of the planet, you'll find enormous contrasts and, if you're sensitive to your surroundings, you'll learn a lot and enrich yourself with the marvels of nature and humanity.

But also, just getting out of your city or of the places you usually visit can become a surprisingly delightful and teaching experience if you decide to open your eyes, mind and soul to actually see and understand what the people and the environment in those places are willing to share with you.

What to see in a new place

When you go to a new place you should be excited for everything you'll get to see and hear. Don't walk as if you had blindfolded eyes; don't miss the opportunity of smiling or crying after seeing and experiencing something that moved your emotions; look right in the eyes of a child that walks by your side; ask the stall keeper anything about his or her day or about the business; discover the details in peoples lives.

There are some well known ways of getting to know the truly traditional and original characteristics and customs of any place, to not merely see what the touristic books tell you to see and to go beyond the, sometimes, shallow glance of the typical tourist.

A really old one, but useful and interesting, is to talk to a taxi driver about the place, its customs, the worth visiting sites, etc., because, as expert connoisseurs of cities, they know vital information for visitors and are also great sources of data because they talk to a lot of people every day.

Something else would be to try to meet somebody from the place, not a tour guy and not another tourist, but someone that lives there and can show you the traditional places and take you to try the traditional dishes. That's a way to taste the real flavor of a new place.

You've got to make an effort and see a little bit of the different aspects of life: day life and night life. Go to a bar and sit there to just look around and keep some faces in your memory, listen to their music and watch them sing and dance…

Those details will probably seam really simple and common at the moment; you won't think you're experiencing anything exceptional, but then, when time goes by, once you're not there anymore and you get to try to remember everything to tell stories to your family and friends, you'll be surprised with how big an impact those faces had on you and you'll have interesting and unique details to tell because you'll be talking about cultural memories, about memories of humanity.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Opening new doors through languages

Languages mean new universes of people and cultures. When you learn a language or have anyone to translate some content or dialog for you, you open yourself to different points of view and new knowledge that you might not find in the same way in your own language, which, generally, involves the people you already know or have contact with.

Also, languages that are different from your own are universes of needs that might be new for you, as they have been out of your reach until the moment you open your door to them. That means that not only personally, but also in business aspects, a new language represents great opportunities of enrichment and can become a new market, new ideas, new customers, new business, new profits.

But don't worry! You don't have to actually learn the language to enter into this endless possibilities world. You can do it if you want and you have the time, but if not, there are simple ways of starting and entering step by step.

One first step could be translating your website. As you probably already know, Internet has infinite tools and contact possibilities that erase geographical boundaries and allow you to travel in seconds and find that thing or person that you need anywhere in the world. So, if you translate your website to another language, the people and organizations that will have access to your companies' information and services will multiply for a big number.

Obviously, you should do this if you really are willing to provide your services to people and organizations outside your country and that speak another language. For that you would need someone in your company to have great command of the particular language or, optionally, you could hire external services from translators and interpreters that could handle the language part for you.

You can go ahead and take the risk! Maybe you haven't seen this side of your business growth possibilities and it might really surprise you. We're talking about a whole new universe of people with all their needs. They could find what you do very interesting and useful, and they can become just what you were looking for.

It's not that complicated. You can start with getting some professional advice, having your website translated by experts that know exactly what you need and that can direct you to your target, and just staying alert and open to any new opportunity that appears. It might need a little investment at the beginning but I'll surely pay off.

Open yourself to new universes through languages! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The magic of languages

When letters come together they form words, which then, combined in a very specific way, become phrases and bring languages to life, creating sounds and signs that make sense for the people who understand each particular language. But languages are so much more than that…They have endless cultural aspects that have built them and given them their own characteristics.

There are many years of history behind each of the approximate 6.000 languages that exist today, and they're the result of men's needs and efforts to communicate with others, so they contain the richness of men's cultural and technological evolving.

That's why knowing a language means a lot more than learning words and grammar. It means understanding another culture, comprehending how other people communicate and express themselves, and realizing that they have different views of the world. It means discovering the magic of new worlds through completely new concepts and visions of life. It could mean rediscovering life.

When you know someone that speaks another language, even if you don't understand them, with just listening to the words, the tone and the volume with which they speak, you start to find out small details that reveal interesting aspects of their culture. Also, that's because languages are not only the words that compose them; when those words start being part of somebody's life they acquire a personality that has been molded by culture. Culture expressed through languages can create attitudes and forms of expression: for example, it can make someone be very expressive and kind of loud or really rough with their words and keeping it simple when it comes to expressing a feeling…There's a lot to discover through languages.

The art of languages

Another passionate side of languages relies in the art that's created from them. Literature, poetry, the dialogues of a movie, the name of a painting, the lyrics of a song…Artists love languages and express all their inspiration trying to put it in words, to let the world know and understand what they think and what they want to say.

Knowing different languages represents the possibility of going deeper into the minds of those who have written wonderful works, treasures of history. Each word was chosen by each artist specifically to say exactly what they were thinking and it involves an enormous cultural process to be placed where it is.

Also, artists and writers have shown great interest in languages throughout history; many of them lived in war periods where they had to leave their original homes to start new lives where they had to learn new languages that then became their powerful ways of expressing what they went through by means of the words that shaped their new lifestyles.

The richness within languages is priceless. It's the magic of history captured in words that create new meanings everyday and continue building the history for tomorrow.

When you learn a language you're actually learning the way other people live and see the world. But, with the existing 6.000 languages, it becomes obvious that no one can learn them all, so there's where translation acquires all its value: it represents the possibility of reading works, understanding people and knowing what happens anywhere in the world.

Translations are cultural exchanges that allow people to view the world through other's eyes.

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