Monday, February 14, 2011

Don't get it wrong - Cross-cultural awareness in professional translation.

Mistranslations and cross-cultural miscommunication sometimes arise as a result of insufficient knowledge of certain languages and cultures. It is wrong to assume that fluent speakers of a second language are able to produce a high quality translation without any other skills or qualifications. A professional translation is more than just identifying equivalent words in a dictionary or using an online translator; professional translators are able to bring valuable cultural knowledge to the translation work, which machine translation tools cannot produce yet.

Restaurant entrance sign

Monday, February 7, 2011

Looking ourselves in the mirror: how unique is human language?

In our quest to define our own identity as humans, we have continued to stubbornly highlight those features that enable us to stand out from the rest of species; however, that is not an easy task to accomplish. If we just consider that technology is the characteristic quality of human beings, we are inadvertently excluding the native indigenous tribes of the Amazon rainforest due to the abysmal gap between them and the technologically developed nations. Even though the exclusion would satisfy those corporations which are mainly responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon, our curiosity should lead us to find better ways to answer what makes us humans. Obviously, we all would agree that language is a key characteristic, but is it a distinctive human feature?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chinese New Year / Spring Festival is here: The global festival of Chinese culture

2011 is the Year of the Rabbit
If language is the vehicle of a particular culture, the Chinese language is like a bullet train which is carrying the weight of more than four thousand years of cultural baggage at lightning speed towards the future. China is undeniably a country full of contrasts, where tradition and modernity often meet and clash while the country is on its rapid way of development. However, the millenary Chinese culture and language are keeping up well with the accelerated pace of globalization. Taking the internet as the mirror of cultural globalization, we find that Chinese netizens are colonizing the World Wide Web by creating more than 50% of the total internet content. Moreover, millions of people are studying Chinese all over the world and Chinese culture is also spreading thanks to the overseas Chinese communities celebrating their traditional festivals, where everyone is welcomed. Among those festivals, the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is the most important and lively of the traditional Chinese holidays and includes some of the most representative elements and powerful images of the Chinese culture.