Blog Archives

Modifiers, Interrupted

glosar-300x195

As linguists, our work often times requires translating complex texts that include sentences and structures of all lengths and types. Given that sentence structures are often different from one language to another, the experienced linguist is well aware that a good quality translation may sometimes require the re-ordering of clauses so as to flow more […]

Tagged with:

The Translation of Humor in Asterix

Asterix was one of my first devotions as a reader. I started reading the comic so young that, even before understanding that the story takes place somewhere in Europe two thousand years ago, I noticed that the coexistence of different languages was a very present element throughout the strip. This occurs between the language to […]

Tagged with:

The Spanish Language: Vulgarisms and Vices

As language professionals—translators, writers, editors, literature students, etc.—we tend to feel outraged whenever we hear or see grammatical, spelling or semantic errors, which unfortunately are becoming more common and generally accepted by laypersons, including friends and family. What’s worse, this is also happening in many media outlets. We are often shocked by the unrefined turn […]

Tagged with:

Happy Grammar Day!

If you’re someone who can’t stand the punctuation errors and spelling mistakes that are abundant in print media, or someone who finds himself or herself constantly correcting journalists on TV for using the wrong tense, then March 4 is your day! Since 2008, this day has been recognized in the United States as the “National […]

Tagged with:

Grammars: where Linguistics meets Computer Science

Noam Chomsky is a celebrity in many fields. Some translators get surprised when I mention that he is also well known in Computer Science. He invented (discovered?) a classification of grammars as formal systems according to their power of expression (or processing): the Chomsky Hierarchy. This scheme classifies the languages generated by the grammars in […]

Tagged with:

Machine Translation

A delightful example illustrates well one of the earliest myths about the problems that may arise when trying to translate text using a computer. The biblical sentence “The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak” was translated into Russian by a machine, and then back into English. The result was “The vodka is good, but […]

Tagged with:

Acronyms and Abbreviations

There is little consensus in the English world on the distinction between acronyms and abbreviations when dealing with shortened versions of words and phrases. Here are some aspects to consider: Abbreviation The most general term, which loosely applies to all shortening of words or phrases, is “abbreviation”. This term covers all examples, from contracting the […]

Tagged with:
Page 1 of 41234