which-city-speaks-the-most-languages

Which City Speaks the Most Languages?

Which city speaks the most languages? It’s not London, nor any of the metropolises of Europe.  It’s actually New York City. This city of immigrants is also the most linguistically diverse city in the world. Want to learn more? Here are 7 interesting facts about New York City and its languages.

There are over 800  languages spoken in New York City.

For reference, the most linguistically diverse country in the world is Papua New Guinea, with 820 languages. New York crams almost that many into a single city. Nowhere else comes close. Even London “only” has around 300 different languages.

Queens is the most linguistically diverse neighborhood in the entire world.queens_montage_2012_1-1

“The capital of linguistic diversity, not just for the five boroughs, but for the human species, is Queens,” according to Rebecca Solnit and Joshua-Jelly Schapiro’s  Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas.  Residents of Queens speak approximately 138 languages, according to 2000 census data.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that Queens also holds the Guinness World Record for the most diverse place on the planet. Read more

love-idioms

36 Love Idioms and Words For Love English Wishes It Had

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning might have had an easier time if she’d incorporated some other languages in her poetry. Different languages use different words and phrases to describe different aspects of love. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we went around the world to collect 36 of our favorite foreign love idioms, words, and phrases to help you better describe how you feel about your valentine:

 Love Idioms in French

Retrouvailles: This literally translates to “rediscovery,” and it’s a fitting way to describe your joy at being with your beloved again after a long caffeine_1_3d_ballseparation.

Avoir des atomes crochus: This phrase literally means “to have hooked atoms,” but it translates to having great chemistry with someone.

La douleur exquise: Got a crush on someone unobtainable? This French phrase describes your pain.

Coup de foudre: A lighting bolt, that initial jolt of attraction.

Love Idioms in Italian 

Cavoli riscaldati:  Translating to “reheated cabbage,” let this Italian phrase remind you why reigniting that old flame might not be such a great idea after all.

“Chi ama me, ama il mio cane.” Literally, “he who loves me, loves my dog.” If someone loves you, they accept you as you are.

“Chiodo scaccia chiodo.” Literally “a nail drives out another nail,” this usually used to console someone after a breakup.

Love Idioms in Portuguese

Cafuné: In Brazil, this is the act of running your fingers through your lover’s hair.  Brazil has always been a melting pot, and it’s possible this word was borrowed from the Kimbundu language of Angola.

Saudade: When “I miss you” isn’t enough, suadade is a “deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. ”

Cheiro no cangote: To nuzzle someone’s neck with your nose. Read more

heart you

I Love You in 25 languages

To help you to be extra romantic we have added the language translation of I love you in 25 popular languages below…

I love you in Bulgarian: Обичам те
I love you in Catalan: T’estimo
I love you in Chinese: Cantonese: 我愛你 – Mandarin: 我愛你; 我爱你
love-love-loveI love you in Croatian: Volim te
I love you in Czech: Miluji tě
I love you in Danish: Jeg elsker dig
I love you in Dutch: Ik hou van jou
I love you in Estonian: Ma armastan sind
I love you in French: Je t’aime
I love you in German: Ich liebe Dich
I love you in Greek: Σ’ αγαπώ
I love you in Hungarian: Szeretlek
I love you in Irish Gaelic: Tá grá agam ort
I love you in Italian: Ti amo
I love you in Japanese: 大好き
I love you in Latvian: Es mīlu tevi
I love you in Polish: Kocham cię
I love you in Portuguese: Amo-te
I love you in Romanian: Te iubesc
I love you in Russian: Я вaс люблю
I love you in Slovene: Ljubim te
I love you in Spanish: Te amo
I love you in Swedish: Jag älskar dig
I love you in Turkish: Seni seviyorum
I love you in Welsh: ‘Rwy’n dy garu di

Somtimes you need to say more than just ‘I love you’, for times like that we have a document translation service right here to help you say what you want in any language!

Good luck! and let us know how it goes… but remember…

Comedy packaging translation

metaphors-for-death

60+ Metaphors for Death From Around the World 

Death comes for us all, but that doesn’t mean we like to talk about it. Languages and cultures around the world are full of metaphors for death, ways to discuss it without having to say the actual words for “death” or “die.” Some of these metaphors are pleasant, euphemisms meant to soften the blow for grieving friends and family. Others are more direct, the verbal equivalent of whistling past the graveyard.

Let’s take a look at some metaphors for death from around the world:

English Metaphors for Death

Looking for an alternative to “dead?” English has plenty!

For example, you could say deceased, demised, passed on, ceased to be, late. . . Hold on, I think we should just let Monty Python take it from here:

And now for something completely different: a collection of metaphors for “death” from 16 other languages. Some are poetic, some are blunt, and some are kind of funny. Which one is your favorite?

Polish Metaphors for Death2540741766_721a5e2041

Kopnąć w kalendarz—to kick the calendar
Przejechać się na tamten świat- take a ride to the other world
Wykorkować– cork off
Pożegnać się z życiem – say goodbye to one’s life
Spocząć w grobie – rest in the grave
Skończyć swoje dni – finish one’s days
Zgasnąć jak świeca – go out like a candle
Ostatnie pożegnanie – last farewell Read more

multilingual-pop-songs

7 Cheesy Multilingual Pop Songs You’ll Secretly Sing Along With

These days, the most popular songs around the world have lyrics in English. But there are certainly exceptions. And sometimes English-speaking artists will throw in bits and pieces of other languages for effect.

As with pop music in general, some of these songs stand the test of time better than others. For example, here are 7 cheesy multilingual pop songs that you’ll sing along with when nobody is looking.  Don’t worry, we promise not to tell!

Los Del Rios: “Macarena”

Languages: English and Spanish

Remember this one? Of course you do! And if you press play, it will probably be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

“Macarena” (and the associated dance) was all the rage in the 90s.  The song was originally released by Los Del Rio in 1994.  Spreading first in Spanish-speaking communities around the world, it soon “went viral”(before that was a thing) and conquered everywhere else.

Top Chart Position: There are six versions of “Macarena,” but the partially English-language Bayside Boys remix is the one that hit #1 in the US and #2 in the UK.

Where are they now? Los del Rio is still around. They last released an album in 2012.  None of their other albums or singles were received with the same level of insanity enthusiasm, but sometimes a one hit wonder is all you really need. Read more

taboo-language

5 Examples of Taboo Language From Around the World

What is taboo language? Sometimes, politeness is as much about what you don’t say as it is about what you do say.  Swearing is part of that –  even today, when those “7 dirty words” have become a lot less dirty, there are still plenty of situations where you’d want to avoid using them. But swearing isn’t the whole story. “Language taboos,” words people aren’t allowed to say, are common to many cultures, both ancient and contemporary. Here are 5 examples of taboo language from around the world. Some of them may surprise you!

Taboo Language: When Your Mother-In-Law Is “She Who Cannot Be Named”

“Mother-in-Law” jokes were once a staple in Western comedy. You might not get along with your in-laws, but what if you literally had to treat them like Voldemort? An entire category of joke would have never existed!

Some cultures follow a practice called “avoidance speech,” where it is forbidden to say your mother-in-law or father-in-law’s name.  The details of this taboo vary by specific culture. The taboos most commonly affect daughters-in-law, and they don’t always stop with just names. For example, consider the Kambaata language of Ethiopia.  As Bryant Rousseau explains in the New York Times,

Some married women who speak the Kambaata language of Ethiopia follow ballishsha, a rule that forbids them from using words that begin with the same syllable as the name of their father-in-law or mother-in-law.

This rule can complicate a conversation, but there are workarounds. Certain basic words in the vocabulary come in synonymous pairs. “One is the normal term, used by everybody; one is the term used by women who are not allowed to say that word,” said Yvonne Treis, a linguist at a French research institute, Languages and Cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Some languages also have rules about which words you can use in the presence of your in-laws. And in some Australian aboriginal cultures, men aren’t even allowed to speak to their mothers-in-law. Which might sound like a relief, until you realize how much it would complicate family gatherings. Read more

language-and-translation-news-stories

9 Language and Translation Stories You May Have Missed 

We’re already one month into 2017, and it’s already shaping up to be a busy year in the world of language and translation. Feel like you’re falling behind? Read these 9 language and translation stories you may have missed.

The Rosetta Wearable Disk: Language Preservation is in Fashion

Sad but true: We lose another language every 14 days. But now, you can wear more than 1,000 languages around your neck, thanks to the Long Now Foundation’s Rosetta Wearable Disk.  It’s a silver-and-gold necklace on a chain that uses nanotechnology to store over 1,000 minuscule nickel “pages” printed with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 327 languages and vocabulary for 719 more.

This would be an amazing gift for the language lover in your life . . . but it will cost you. How much? A “donation” of $1000 or more.  

Finally, I feel obligated to note that the Smithsonian story I’m linking to isn’t quite correct. There are currently 6,000-7,000 living languages, of which 3,748 have a writing system. So no, the disk doesn’t include “All of the world’s languages.” Just a lot of them.  Read more

endangered-languages-in-europe

The Top 10 Most Endangered Languages in Europe

Every 14 days, another language falls silent forever. Linguists warn that in the next century, anywhere from 50-90% of all the languages in the world will be lost. While many of these languages are in developing countries, some are in Europe and even in the UK.

Before they disappear forever, let’s take a look at the 10 most endangered languages in Europe.

Endangered Languages in Europe: Cappadocian Greekcappadocian_greek_homeland

Country: Greece

Number of native speakers: 2,800

Cappadocian Greek is spoken by the descendants of the Cappadocian Greeks who were forced to move from Turkey to Greece in the 1920s.

Cappadocian Greek evolved during the time of the Byzantine Empire. Like the rest of the empire, the people of Cappadocia, Turkey spoke Medieval Greek. However, in 1071, Byzantine forces lost the Battle of Mazikert, and the area around Cappadocia was taken over by Turkish speakers.

The Greek speakers kept their language, but it evolved separately from the rest of the Greek-speaking world and was heavily influenced by Turkish.

After the Cappadocian Greeks were moved back to Greece, most of them learned to speak standard Greek.

Fun fact: Scholars thought that the Cappadocian variant had died out in the 1960s. But in 2005,  researchers from Ghent University and the University of Patras found around 2,800 Greeks of Cappadocian descent who still spoke the language. Read more

president-trump

President Trump, In Translation

T.S. Eliot called April the cruelest month. But not for professional translators and interpreters who specialize in news and politics. In 2016, the cruelest month was probably November, when they (along with the rest of the world) came to the horrifying realization that they would be stuck with Donald Trump for at least the next four years.

We’ve written about some of the reasons Donald Trump is hard to translate: the word salad, the vulgarity, the words that don’t quite make sense. But now that he’s actually, officially the president of the United States,  the stakes are higher. And if you thought that becoming President meant Trump would put down Twitter and be more mindful of his speech, you would be incorrect.

So, here’s a quick recap of how translators and interpreters are coping with Trump’s first week as president:

Interpreters to Trump: Finish Your Sentences, Man!donald_trump_swearing_in_ceremony

Unless he’s reciting a pre-written speech, Trump’s speaking style could charitably be described as “stream of consciousness.” It’s like he starts talking about a topic and then takes a detour all the way from the Shire to Mt. Doom, often leaving the original thought unfinished.

As Christiane Abel, a French professor and interpreter for the US State Department, told the LA Times:

“There are several things that make an interpreter’s life easy. When people finish their sentences …  the syntax is well-structured … when the speaker starts speaking and you kind of understand where the person is going, you can kind of decode the underlying thought.”

That’s not Trump. And while the lamentations of French translators have attracted the most media attention, French is far from the only language in which it is difficult to translate new President. For example,  as  Japanese translator Agness Kaku explained to the Washington Post:

English is a subject-prominent language — understanding a sentence in English involves pinning down who or what the subject is. Japanese, on the other hand, requires tracking the topic of a conversation.

In Trump’s remarks, Kaku said, the subject is very easy to keep track of — “it’s about him, it’s about the enemy.” But the actual topic or point of his sentences is often difficult to grasp, complicating Japanese translations. “It just drifts,” she said. “You end up having to guess as a translator, which isn’t very good. You shouldn’t have to guess.”

Read more

Graphic Design Around the World

How Graphic Design Differs Around the World 

Why would you need a multilingual design studio, anyway? As long as the words on your documents are translated correctly, shouldn’t that be good enough?

Well, no. Not always, especially for ads, marketing materials, and other visually intensive content. Earlier this week, we looked at some reasons why multilingual typesetting is harder than it seems. But getting the words to look right on the page is only part of the puzzle. You might think that good design is universal, but what makes a “good” graphic design in the UK won’t necessarily resonate with your audience in Japan.

With that in mind, let’s a took at some of the ways graphic design differs around the world:

Graphic Design in Japan and Asia

In the West, we tend to think of the Japanese as the original minimalists. However, graphic design in modern-day Japan is often anything but minimalist. Japanese consumers tend to favor designs with bright colors and bold brushstrokes.  Circles and flowers are common motifs, and cute mascots are a common way for businesses to make themselves more relatable to their customers.

Japanese design is also frequently “information dense.” This tendency is especially notable when it comes to websites. Japanese websites often seem cluttered and “dated” to Western eyes, but as Rich Mirocco explains on the Canva Design school blog,

“(In Japan), details are a welcome aspect of communication and therefore web design too, as a website conveys information and sells the company and its products in place of a live salesperson.”

Many of these traits are also considered desirable in China and South Korea. In China,  Website Magazine  notes that

Chinese sites tend to be divided into many independent spaces, while on western style sites the layout is arranged around a focal point on a page. This is dictated by cultural norms around displaying and consuming information, with China more used to browsing rather than focusing.

Read more