Thursday, April 21, 2005

Translating literature

Translating literature and poetry are both a challenge and a beautiful adventure for any translator. Producing a good text in the target language can be really difficult to achieve, sometimes it demands changing the original words to produce in the reader the same effect as the original. As a translator you seek to offer the receiver the same feeling, the same flavour, the same spirit that the author gave to the original. If good literature and poetry are difficult to write, imagine how difficult it can be to translate them.
Here is a "simple" bit of Hugo, in French. You can give it a try and give your translation
On doute
La nuit . . .
Tout fuit,
Tout passe;
Le bruit.

This is one possible translation to get you started:
Of night,
I pause . . .
The round
World fades,
And space
The sound.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Get your own manga portrait

Here you can get your own manga portrait done, for free. I got this link from, a good blog that I enjoied a lot visiting. When I find out how to do it I will include a list of my favourite blogs...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Spanish Words for the Feria de Abril

Probably, the most important celebration in Adalusia. So famous that is also celebrated all over Spain. In the Feria de Abril you can see women dressed with the colourful flamenco dresses or with the black costume and hat typical from Cordoba (one of the regions of Andalusia). People on beautifully ornated horses or horse-drawn carriages, music and dancing everywhere, make of this a party time for all andalusians and visitors to Seville. Here is some useful vocabulary related to the Feria the Abril
Manzanilla - Usually referred to camomile, it is also a white wine typical from Andalusia
Rebujito - drink made with lemonade, manzanilla wine and ice, although sometimes they add some other spirits, like martini, to guarantee the "Feria- effect"
Casetas - The Feria takes place in different "tents" which compete to see which one helds the best "fiesta"
Feria - Fair in its origins, now it is more related to a party held outside.
Sevillanas - Women from Seville but also the most typical dance from Sevilla, almost any Spaniard knows how to dance it, although it is composed of a series of different steps and movements, quite difficult for begginers.

More blogs about languages

I have recently discovered this blog about languages, although it may be too specialised, (only for advanced students and linguists) it contains a lot of information and useful links for anything related to languages.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Flash comic in Spanish

Calico Electronico is a genuine Spanish comic character, half-hero half-silly.
A funny way to practice Spanish is watching this comic animations in Flash. It may be a bit difficult to understand for begginers in Spanish but it is worth giving it a try.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The problem with SER and ESTAR

One of the most difficult things for a foreigner to learn, and for a native Spanish speaker to explain, is the difference between the two spanish verbs: Ser and Estar, which correspond both to the English verb to be, the French être, and the italian essere.
Why do we have two different verbs in Spanish for this unique verb in other languages, is a mistery; although a theory states that languages evolve, specialising in semantic fields for which there is a certain need in that society. For example in Eskimo language there are many differents words for "snow".
However, the troubles with ser and estar are the origin of multiple funny situations with foreign spanish students (funny at least for me..)
Here are some important things to remember if you do not want to be the victim of our jokes (bad, bad spanish natives...)
Soy bueno - in English: I am good
Estoy bueno - I am really good looking!
Soy malo - I am bad
Estoy malo - I am ill
Estoy caliente - I am hot now (sexual)
Soy caliente - I am always hot (sexual)
With caliente, you will always make the laughs, so if you are hot, just say "it is hot" - hace calor.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Happy Posted by Hello

How to choose a good dictionary

Dictionaries can become the best friends for translators, they are a great help for students and quite necessary if you are learning a language. One of my first lessons at the Translation Faculty was entirely devoted to advice on how to choose a dictionary. Today 10 years later, I still remember how useful that class was.
We may tend to think that electronic aids can replace dictionaries, but I really advice you to get a good dictionary if you are studying a foreign language. Good dictionaries are more trustworthy than any program or online dictionary you can find.
When you are choosing a dictionary, the first think to consider are your needs, what to you want the dictionary for?
For advanced learners and translators big dictionaries and specialised glossaries can be the best choice, while a pocket size paper-back dictionary can be more helpful for a traveller.
Here is a good article about how to choose a dictionary:

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tongue Twisters

You can have a hard time when trying to pronounce certain words in other language, but
it is so charming to hear a foreigner struggling to pronounce difficult words! As if isolated words were not difficult enough we have tongue twisters, short sentences, difficult to pronounce sometimes even for natives, real phonetic games!
Here are some tongue twisters (trabalenguas in Spanish) for you to have fun with:

Spanish -Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal
English - Shelly sells sea shells on the sea shore. the sea shells she sells are seashells she is sure
French - Les chaussettes de l'archiduchesse sont-elles sèches? Archisèches!
I really can't get right the tres tristes tigres one!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

No Reason to Learn French?

An entire conference aimed at reviving French language in Asia couldn't even come up with enough reasons. This isn't really surprising (sad perhaps, but certainly not surprising), but what is interesting is some of the comments made by the Belgian ambassador who said that "English is vastly more useful than French in the business world and French companies would be well advised to use English if they wanted to succeed in Korea.
" Catherine Tasca, former French minister of culture said English was "not a quality language." What exactly is a "quality language"?

Monday, April 11, 2005

The best place to study spanish

If you have decided to learn Spanish, and you want to take a course abroad, where would you go?
There are so many countries and places where Spanish is the native language that sometimes it is difficult to choose a destination.
If you live in the US, in Canada or in any other place of the American continent you will realize that the variety of Spanish most widespread is Latin-American Spanish, including Mexican Spanish, Spanish from Argentina, Spanish from Chile, etc. Therefore a good option can be studying Spanish in one of these countries.
Mexico and Argentina, for example, are popular destinations, although not the only ones to be considered. If you decide to go for Mexico, I can suggest you the city of Guanajuato, with good language schools and a lively atmosphere.
But the origins of Spanish are in Spain, and this can be an excellent destination if you live in Europe or you are ready to take a locger journey.
Popular destinations in Spain are Barcelona, Madrid and the Costa Blanca, but there are less known cities such as Salamanca, located in the region which can be considered the cradle of Spanish. With one of the oldest universities to be built in Europe, Salamanca is the favourite destinations for students from other regions of Spain. It has become an important cultural spot in Spain, as well as one of the best places to experience the Spanish "fiesta".
Read more about Salamanca here
Let me know if you are coming to see it with your own eyes...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

What language should you learn?

Learning a foreign language or improving it is quite appealing to almost anyone.
The more languages you speak the more options and advantages you will have when searching for a job, a career improvement and of course when planning a journey, specially to a foreign country. Anything else? of course, speaking other languages will also help you to communicate with people. Making new friends, meeting other cultures, and even finding your "better half" can be at the reach of your hand.
Now, if you decide to learn a foreign language, ¿what language should you learn? different factors can help you to take your decision. English, Chinese and Spanish are the most spoken languages on the world, but you can also think about your interests and the countries that you would like to visit, for example, or even the people that you would like to meet.
To help you decide here is a test to help you choose which language to learn
Enjoy it!