Commas in English and Spanish


In English, we generally use a comma in front of the conjunctions “and” and “or”. The structures in English allow for us to skip the comma when working with other conjunctions. In certain sentences, the pause indicated by the comma will not be enough and a semi-colon must be used instead. Subordinate adverbial clauses between […]

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A Beginning…Cuneiform


Though spoken language has been in existence for tens of thousands of years, it was not until the end of the fourth millennium before the common era—according to the best calculations of experts on the matter—that written language was invented.  One of the earliest known forms of written language emerged from the region of Sumer […]

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Esperanto: a Language with a Good Cause


Esperanto is the international language created by Polish doctor Ludwik Zamenhof so that all people might be able to communicate with each other on an equal footing.  He published a brochure in 1887 that he signed with the pseudonym Doktoro Esperanto.  Thus was born the Esperanto language, which means “he who has hope.” Over more […]

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Easter


In most languages, the word “Easter” is derived from the word “Pesach,” the Hebrew name for the Passover holiday, a Jewish festivity that is directly related with the Catholic celebration.  The Jewish Passover lasts between 7 and 8 days during which the exodus and liberation of the Israeli people from Egypt is remembered. Early Christians […]

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Compensating and Compromising


In the field of translation, there are inevitably going to be phrases and meanings in a Source Text that will not be able to be conveyed (at least not with complete fidelity) in the Target Text…that’s just the way it is.  Even the best translators in the world will encounter fragments of text that simply […]

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When Knowing a Language Is Fun


Portuguese is a Romance language spoken by 240 million people.  The international expansion of this language took place during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries with the Portuguese Empire, whose borders stretched from Brazil to Goa, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, East Timor, Cabinda, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, […]

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Is 1,000,000 words possible?


The Global Language Monitor, which was born from the ashes of yourdictionary.com, focuses on trends in the use of language, primarily through automatic algorithmic readings of texts on the web. The latest news from the site (and you’ll notice, should you visit the site, that most of the “news” on the homepage is articles where […]

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Adjectives: Differences in English and Spanish


In English, adjectives are always spelled the same and, syntactically, are almost always placed before the noun. In Spanish, there are a few that are generally unchangeable, but the majoirty aren’t, and nearly all of them denote the number of the subject (singular or plural). Its expressive value differs depending on if it is placed […]

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Cogency: Am I Making Myself Understood?


The ability to formulate an argument (written or spoken) that logically sustains itself is not perceived the same way in every part of the world, a fact which makes the work of a translator quite peculiar in certain instances.  In fact, the intersection of language and culture yields some incredibly interesting dilemmas, with regards to […]

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