Learn the third most widely language in 5 minutes

Leave a comment

Image

The standard variety of Spanish that is usually taught in classroom settings is otherwise known as Castellano or Español. However in many parts of Latin America, the standard variety is commonly accepted as Castellano, rather than Español. Apart from the standard variety, other Spanish dialects or varieties are also present due to geographical reasons. This does not mean that such dialects are inferior. These non-standard (instead of sub-standard) varieties usually differ in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary while grammar remains intact to a large extent. The different pronunciation and vocabulary merely reflect a different linguistic environment that has shifted away from the linguistic environment that adopts the standard variety.

Languages are subject to change overtime and the linguistic environment and speakers play a major role in influencing language use. Written Spanish does not differ amongst different speakers and the different spoken forms are not portrayed too. Differences can be found between European Spanish and Spanish America. Furthermore, there are also differences within European Spanish and Spanish America respectively. The different varieties that adopt Spanish America can be generally categorized into Mexican, Caribbean, Andrean Pacific (Cuba, Panama), Plata River (Peru, Colombia), Chilean and Central American (similar to Caribbean).

Despite an array of contrasts within the Spanish dialects, there is one extremely striking feature that allows listeners to tell Spanish speakers apart. This is usually known as the maintenance versus the loss of distinguishing these two phonemes /θ/ and /s/. The contrast between these historical phonemes /θ/ and /s/ is retained in northern and central Spain whereas these two phonemes have merged in Spanish America and a huge part of southern Spain. The maintenance of such a contrast is referred to as distinción in Spanish. Speakers of Spanish America produce the merged phoneme as [s] while on the Canary Islands, speakers produce it as either [s] or [], which is unlike /θ/.

Examples:

cinco “five”
ciudad “city”

<to be continued…>

Pic source: learnspanish4life.co.uk

Advertisements

Loanwords in Japanese (II)

Leave a comment

Image

Besides the influence of trade, foreign loanwords in Japanese have other implications too. By using loanwords, the speaker demonstrates being a cut above the rest in terms of education, social status and exposure. English as a universal language invokes the thought and feeling of one being polished and superior since many Japanese perceive Western culture to be more interesting and prestigiEous. Research findings show that ordinary folks usually adopt foreign words, such as English, in order to indicate a higher social status. Another contributing factor that supports the endorsement of foreign loanwords in Japanese may be the desire for novelty. As foreign loanwords tend to represent fresh and modern ideas and products, using such loanwords will enable one to appear well-informed and ahead of times.

It is not surprising to note that the prevalent foreign loanwords in Japanese can be found in the music industry. The fascination with English in the music scene is conspicuous – the titles of Japanese pop songs are very often in English. Let us take a look at just this particular list of loanwords!

Loanwords Katakana
genre (French) ジャンル janru
ballad (French) バラード barado
Black music ブラックミュジック burakkumyujikku
hip hop ヒップホップ hippuhoppu
jazz ジャズ jazu
pop ポップ poppu
rap ラップ rappu
backup dancer バックダンサー bakkudansa
band バンド bando
director ディレクター direkuta
group グループ gurupu
main vocal メインボーカル meinbokaru
member メンバー menba
songwriter ソングライター songuraita
lyric リリック ririkku
melody メロ mero
rhythm リズム rizumu
title タイトル taitoru
tempo (Italian) テンポ tenpo
collaboration コラボ korabo
maxi single マキシシングル makishishinguru
new single ニューシングル nyushinguru
live ライブ raibu
festival フェス fesu
one man live ワンマンライブ wanmanraibu

Pic source: www.tofugu.com

Loanwords in Japanese (I)

Leave a comment

Image

As native speakers mingle with foreigners and in turn, gain exposure to foreign ideas, objects and expressions, it is not surprising that such neologisms begin their foray into the native speakers’ world. Very often, these neologisms undergo very minimal change and in the case of the Japanese language, they are usually represented by katakana. Let’s take a look at some of the loanwords in Japanese:

Loanword Katakana
piano ピアノ piano
computer コンピュータ konpyuta
album アルバム arubamu
very delicious バリうま bariuma (bari is the intensifier – “very”)
arbeit (German – “work”) アルバイト arubaito (“part-time job”)

As we can observe from the above table, apart from a phonological change, loanwords in Japanese may also diverge from their original meaning. Taking arbeit into account, the meaning has undergone a shift – referring to a part-time job instead. With trade relations reviving between Japan and the foreigners especially after the 19th century, Japan’s contact with the outside world grew and so did its vocabulary. Before the 19th century – probably between the 16th to 17th century, Japan limited trading opportunities to the West due to the infiltration of Catholicism and the persistence of converting the locals into Catholics.

During the 5th century, Chinese loanwords were initially written in kanji (Chinese characters). However, as Japan opened herself up to other foreign traders, other loanwords soon began their foray into Japanese. For example, loanwords would come from Dutch and German (medicine) as well as French and Italian (music and food). Generally, loanwords that do not come from the West are written in katakana. Loanwords are Japanized in Japanese as they end up taking on a Japanese pronunciation feature. Two interesting examples of Japanized loanwords occur when Japanese speakers abbreviate new borrowings or create new expressions (coinage) from foreign loanwords.

Loanword Abbreviated
supermarket スーパー supa
departmental store デパート depato
Loanwords Coinage
salary, man サラリーマン salaryman “employee”

pic source: randomwire.com

Loanwords in English

1 Comment

Image

Language is subject to change overtime. Modern English, as we call it, is actually a blend of various languages! Even the original Anglo-Saxon language consisted of a smorgasbord of different dialects from the West Germanic tribes living on the North Coast.  Did you notice a loanword that has just occurred? Yes – smorgasbord! English borrowed and anglicized the Swedish word smörgåsbord. That explains the slightly different pronunciation in English.

The West Germanic tribes were made up of the Saxons (Germany and eastern Holland), the Jutes (probably from northern Denmark) as well as the Angles (possibly living along the coast and on islands between Denmark and Holland) and the dialects used amongst the different speakers were mutually intelligible. In other words, they could easily guess or understand one another.  English’s closest relatives can be found right across the waters – Holland and Germany. Below is a list of similar looking and sounding words!

    English

Dutch

German

as

als

als

bread

brood

Brot

cow

koe

Kuh

dream

droom

Traum

hear

hoor

Hören

him

hem

ihm

under

onder

unter

Interestingly, English as we see now is a hodgepodge of dialects which explains the similarities shared by it and the other neighboring varieties. With each new power figure or conqueror, there will be new borrowings from the donor language into the recipient language. For instance, William the conqueror and his Norman supporters invaded England in 1066 and brought together with them Norman French which was regarded as the prestigious mode of communication. Although simple daily communication was carried out in English, it was injected with a huge number of French words.

From then onwards, English has been actively absorbing new vocabulary from various sources. For example, vestiges of French, Latin and Greek can still be found in English. In diplomacy, French represents the language of diplomacy across Europe, Latin acts as the language of the church while Greek is the strongest contributor of words related to philosophy and science. Apart from these European languages, The American Indian languages, Australian Aborigine languages and the languages of Africa and India have also donated a tremendous amount of words that refer to species of plants and animals in the world!

 As the number of English speakers increases in societies made up of non-native English speakers, different English varieties spring up. The colloquial English variety of Singapore, otherwise known as Singlish, intersperses English with local dialects such as Malay, Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese. Even though English acts as the main mode of communication in Singapore, foreigners will definitely take time and effort to understand Singlish due to the strong influence of local dialectal loanwords and Chinese sentence final particles (la, lor, leh) borrowed into English.

Language is subject to change overtime. Modern English, as we call it, is actually a blend of various languages! Even the original Anglo-Saxon language consisted of a smorgasbord of different dialects from the West Germanic tribes living on the North Coast.  Did you notice a loanword that has just occurred? Yes – smorgasbord! English borrowed and anglicized the Swedish word smörgåsbord. That explains the slightly different pronunciation in English.

The West Germanic tribes were made up of the Saxons (Germany and eastern Holland), the Jutes (probably from northern Denmark) as well as the Angles (possibly living along the coast and on islands between Denmark and Holland) and the dialects used amongst the different speakers were mutually intelligible. In other words, they could easily guess or understand one another.  English’s closest relatives can be found right across the waters – Holland and Germany. Below is a list of similar looking and sounding words!

English

Dutch

German

as

als

als

bread

brood

Brot

cow

koe

Kuh

dream

droom

Traum

hear

hoor

Hören

him

hem

ihm

under

onder

unter

Interestingly, English as we see now is a hodgepodge of dialects which explains the similarities shared by it and the other neighboring varieties. With each new power figure or conqueror, there will be new borrowings from the donor language into the recipient language. For instance, William the conqueror and his Norman supporters invaded England in 1066 and brought together with them Norman French which was regarded as the prestigious mode of communication. Although simple daily communication was carried out in English, it was injected with a huge number of French words.

From then onwards, English has been actively absorbing new vocabulary from various sources. For example, vestiges of French, Latin and Greek can still be found in English. In diplomacy, French represents the language of diplomacy across Europe, Latin acts as the language of the church while Greek is the strongest contributor of words related to philosophy and science. Apart from these European languages, The American Indian languages, Australian Aborigine languages and the languages of Africa and India have also donated a tremendous amount of words that refer to species of plants and animals in the world!

 As the number of English speakers increases in societies made up of non-native English speakers, different English varieties spring up. The colloquial English variety of Singapore, otherwise known as Singlish, intersperses English with local dialects such as Malay, Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese. Even though English acts as the main mode of communication in Singapore, foreigners will definitely take time and effort to understand Singlish due to the strong influence of local dialectal loanwords and Chinese sentence final particles (la, lor, leh) borrowed into English.

pic source: encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com

Translating Onomatopoeia

2 Comments

Image

How would you describe the sound of a car honk? In fact, something as universal as the sound of a car honk can be depicted differently across languages! For example, native Japanese speakers will perceive it to be tu-tu, native French speakers will hear it as tut-tut while native Korean speakers will express it as bbang-bbang. Onomatopoeia is basically a formation of a word that is used to represent a sound associated with a referent. The etymology of onomatopoeia has its origins in Greek. In Greek, ὀνοματοποιία, coined from ὄνομα for “name” and ποιέω for “I make”, simply describes the sound of the source in a phonetic manner. Stark examples include sounds made by animals, such as meow and woof.

Onomatopoeia is quite common across languages, however, some languages appear to place a larger emphasis on onomatopoeia. Japanese onomatopoeia is considerably challenging even for translators. Japanese onomatopoeia can be divided into 擬声語 giseigo and 擬音語 giongo. The former refers to sounds associated with humans and animals while the latter refers to sounds associated with real sounds that can be heard within the context. Giseigo include high pitched sounds produced by women, such as kyaakyaa and sounds made by frogs, such as kero kero. Giongo include sounds from streams, such as sarasara or from falling raindrops zaazaa.

A study discovered that a bulk of Japanese onomatopoeic expressions was not translated in Swedish. The conclusion was of a sociolinguistic nature, taking into account that onomatopoeic expressions were possibly considered to be childish and uncouth, hence, the translator would not be able to retain the original meanings of the onomatopoeic expressions without affronting Swedish readers. In one example, the translator used the Swedish expression plaskar to substitute two different Japanese onomatopoeic expressions, bachabbacha and bochabocha. These two onomatopoeias refer to water splashing sounds but bochabocha describes a deeper water level. In another instance, the translator used the Spanish expression crac to substitute two different Japanese onomatopoeias, pokipoki and kotsun. These two onomatopoeias refer to the sound when something is hit. The former indicates the cracking of fingers while the latter describes the sound of something tiny and hard hitting a hard surface lightly. When translated in Spanish, the difference is not spelt out.

It is interesting to note how universal sounds can be perceived differently according to speakers. There are also certain onomatopoeic expressions which are available in the source language but unavailable in the target language. In addition, nuances of these onomatopoeic expressions are usually overlooked. This makes it a challenge for translators when they have to retain the original meaning of the onomatopoeic expression as much as possible. Omission would be highly unadvisable and undesirable. Alternatively, translators can strive to paraphrase or elaborate by adding descriptions even though a close substitute is available. Are there any onomatopoeic expressions in your native language that are deemed almost untranslatable?

pic source: http://tx.english-ch.com

The Power of Punctuation (II)

Leave a comment

Image

The outcome of this study showed that the students have not been cautioned that punctuation marks may convey meaning and be crucial in forming a mutual relationship between the writer and reader. In addition, this lack of understanding or knowledge in punctuation systems impedes Iranian translators from producing accurate pieces of work.  The reason for these findings can be briefly summarized in three points. First, the punctuation system in Persian does not provide enough data in explaining and establishing the functions of punctuation marks. Second, there is a lack of contrastive study done on English and Persian in differentiating the functions of similar punctuation marks in these languages. Third, there is a lack of applying a linguistic point of view in translation studies when it comes to understanding the affect that punctuation marks have on discourse (organizing one’s text and forming a relationship between the writer and the reader).

Even when the punctuation systems of both the source language and target language are well established, translators may still experience some difficulty. For instance, even fluent Greek-English bilinguals do not breeze through translating English documents to Greek and vice versa. This is again, due to the fact that punctuation marks play different roles across languages. For example, in Greek, at the end of an interrogative sentence, people use a semicolon instead of a question mark. There may be guidebooks on explaining the functions of punctuation marks in foreign language but people often dismiss or overlook the important feature of punctuation marks. This is not advisable at all. In conclusion, “translating” punctuation marks requires having a strong foundation in not just one punctuation system, but in at least two, in order for quality translation to occur.

pic source: loveandcupcakesal.com

The Power of Punctuation (I)

2 Comments

Image

In 1905, when the striking Bolshevik printers of St. Petersburg vehemently requested to be paid the same rate for punctuation marks as for letters, this triggered the first wave of the Russian Revolution. This factoid from a librarian’s speech spurred Lynne Truss on to dedicate her non-fiction book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation to the printers. In this book, Truss laments the current situation of punctuation in United Kingdom and United States, with many taking a more nonchalant stance and adopting more liberal rules towards it. Her intention is to highlight the importance of punctuation to her readers by combining admonition with wit.

For instance, this excerpt from Truss’ book pokes fun at misapplying the punctuation mark:

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

“Why?” asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“Well, I’m a panda,” he says. “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. “Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.

When we think of translation, what often come to our mind are larger units, such as words, instead of tinier units, such as punctuation marks. In fact, punctuation marks are empowering. They form powerful connections by creating a relationship between the writer and reader. Failure or confusion in understanding punctuation marks in a source language results in problems when meaning is transferred onto the target language. Because punctuation marks help the writer in organizing his text, when translators overlook or misunderstand them, the reader may be left feeling bewildered and frustrated.

Punctuation marks play different roles across languages. In a study that focused on translating a few sentences from English into Persian, only a minority of the 22 graduates who majored in translation managed to succeed. The reason was attributed to the absence of contrastive study on the punctuation systems of English and Persian as well as the failure to apply and use punctuation marks appropriately.  Three punctuation marks were chosen in this study. They are the colon, the semicolon and the comma. It was discovered that majority of the students who did not succeed in translating the sample sentences either could not translate or mistranslated the punctuation marks. In view of the comma, only 9% of the students could translate successfully. Taking the various functions of the semicolon into account, 18%, 18% and 4% of the respective usages were properly translated. Lastly, the correct translation of the colon was a mere 4%. (to be continued)

pic source: docstoc.com

Our Story

Leave a comment

Scribers International is a 4-year-old brand founded by two young entrepreneurs. Founded on several essential principles, we decided early on that language plays a very crucial role. “Okay” was a word that is simply unacceptable to us.

 

Today, Scribers has changed the world’s view of internationalisation and localisation services.We believed there is no one-fixed formula to every project which is why we have a successful returning rate of 99%. We expanded and stay relevant to address the greater needs of large and small corporations, as well as Governments worldwide, creating and managing an extensive repertoire of services that includes content development and editing, document translation, software localisation, interpretation, multimedia localisation, desktop publishing and transcription.

 

At Scribers, we are made up of free-thinking individuals with different tastes, opinions and backgrounds. Each day, we create opportunities for businesses of all sizes to connect with their target audience and we always exceedtheir expectations.

Do you really know what your customers’ needs?

Leave a comment

When you browse in Amazon.com, hundreds of thousand business management books advise you on boosting your business in sales, market share and profitability. Then you start to develop a new product  or service which you expect to rock the business by selling them. But here is the questioImagen: Does your customers really need this latest, coolest and best product? While you are eager to promote the latest product or service to prevail your competitors, you might put yourself in danger  or even be out of the market.

The giant white brand

Haier, consumer electronics and home appliance manufacturer, ranked the top spot of global major appliance brands in 2012 for the fourth consecutive year (Euromonitor). But this giant brand, which controls the majority market share in China, was in trouble in the past when they promoted the first washing machine in rural areas in China.  Guess what? Customers bought washing machine with a different purpose –washing vegetables. Put in detail, the occupation of these customers who lived in rural areas are farmers; thus, using the washing machine to wash vegetables did bring great convenience.  Now, this smart brand has a good understanding of their customers’ needs, they launch a new “vegetable washing machine” to satisfy their lovely customers.

How to nail the “next best offer”?

Four steps are recommended before building your NBO strategy (Harvard Business Review).

1.      Defining Objectives

Make a clear road map and specific goal, such as increasing market share and revenue. Be ready to face changing circumstances.

2.      Gathering Data

Be serious in collecting detailed data (demographic and psycho-graphics; purchasing history; social and location information) which helps you to have a better understanding of your customers.

3.      Analyzing and Executing

Use statistical analysis to match your customers and keep your eyes on the circumstances.

4.      Learning and Evolving

Collect customers’ responses in follow-on offers. Take this as a consideration in designing new offers.

<<Takeaway>>

Build or sharpen your NBO strategy through these four steps. Understand your customers better before they do. Be ready to rock your business!

Scribers, an ISO 9001 Certified Translation Company and a leading provider of high value localisation and translation services, creates and manages an extensive repertoire of services.

pic source: Vertical markets

The New Age of Inbound Marketing

Leave a comment

Image

I just read the blog from Moz and saw this useful chart. Personally, the comparison of the traditional concept of interruption marketing and the new concept of inbound marketing is quite clear at a glance which I just can’t wait to share this with you.

In the past decades, customers have limited channels to absorb information which made interruption-based marketing having a strong power to influence customers’ decision-making. TV commercial is a good example of interruption marketing. When you really put yourself in the story; the TV commercial would pop out and interrupt you in order to get more attention. It really works in the past time. However, as technology advances, customers have more channels to get information through official website, blogs and other social media platforms which means marketers cannot get customers’ attention as easily as the ol’ day.

What should we do now?

By observing this chart from Moz, we have a clear understanding of the core value of inbound marketing. Now, you might need to modify the weight of these  two marketing strategies and measure its’ effectiveness. Indeed, Scribers believes that in the next few decades, the efforts and dollars to put forward to “Inbound marketing” will be more sophisticated! Let’s exploit and have fun in this trend!

Image source: Moz

Scribers, an ISO 9001 Certified Translation Company and a leading provider of high value localisation and translation services, creates and manages an extensive repertoire of services.

Older Entries Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: