Blog Archives

Pleonasms in Legal English

Pleonasms—the use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning—in oral and written forms of English legal jargon often take on a single meaning. They consist of synonyms taking the form of doublets (e.g. “terms and conditions” or “null and void”) or triplets (e.g. “give, devise, and bequeath”), which in many cases can be […]

Tagged with:

Mexico Heads towards Linguistic Independence

Intense debates have taken place to decide whether the Spanish language should be regulated by the Royal Spanish Academy, which, as you may know, is based in Spain and does not include many regionalisms or current uses in existence in its (very) numerous varieties. Historically, many thinkers, philosophers, writers, and translators have considered the Royal […]

Tagged with:

House Taken Over: Displacing the Machines

In this post, “House Taken Over” is not in reference to the famous story by the renowned writer and translator Julio Cortázar. Rather, it refers to the feeling experienced by human translators in the age of machines. Just as the characters in Cortázar’s story feel displaced by an invading entity, human translators feel displaced by […]

Tagged with:

What Is a Controlled Natural Language?

Translators frequently have to confront issues that are often the result of problems existing in the source text we are translating. Some of the most common of such errors include omissions, the use of structures that are difficult to understand, and even the use of abbreviations only known by the person who wrote the original […]

Tagged with:

Modifiers, Interrupted

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:

Dzongkha Is Not Just a Perfume

Dzongkha, besides being a woody fragrance that transports you to Buddhist monasteries, is also the official language of Bhutan. It means language (kh) within dzong. The dzong are fortified monasteries that in the past protected what is today Bhutan. They were built roughly in the seventeenth century by the Tibetan military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal […]

Tagged with:

Is Spanish a Sexist Language?

This is a long-debated discussion, especially among some feminist groups engaged in the very important fight for women’s rights in a variety of fields. However, sometimes the initiative goes even further, and we find that they have proposed several modifications to Spanish so that it stops being a “sexist” language, based on the premise that […]

Tagged with:

Tetum: Not Malay or Indonesian

Tetum is a language of the Austronesian family and, along with Portuguese, is spoken in East Timor. And, while it is strongly influenced by Malay and Indonesian, it is, indeed, a different language. Some history to understand why Portuguese and Tetum are spoken in this area Back in the 15th century, language spoken in Central […]

Tagged with:

Translations and DTP from Right to Left

We have to pay special attention when translating languages that are written from right to left, as what is a “no-brainer” for native speakers may not be for readers of an alphabet in the opposite direction. Within this group of readers we can also include clients, who often ask for our advice on some issues […]

Tagged with: