Lincoln Prison Translation Fail

A translator at Lincoln Prison made an unfortunate error in translating a prisoner handbook for Russian speaking prisoners, translating “exercise yard” as “execution yard.”  Obviously, this would not have been good for the morale of Russian-speaking inmates, but fortunately according to the BBC the error was caught during proofreading and the mistranslated material was never actually handed out to the prisoners.

According to the Telegraph, the  mistake came to light in a report from Nick Hardwick, the Chief Inspector of Prisons,  who wrote:

“Staff were concerned that some translations were not entirely accurate, one example being a Russian handbook which had translated ‘exercise yard’ as ‘execution yard…the accuracy of translated material should be verified.”

Read more

Scientists Decode Words from Thoughts

At the University of Utah, researchers took a step closer to being able to translate your thoughts. Creepy as that may sound initially, the idea is actually to help paralyzed people communicate their needs more easily by creating an implantable a device that translates brain signals into spoken words.

According to a press release from the university, the researchers used an implant of 16 micro-electrodes arranged in a grid. The release notes that the micro-electrodes sit under the skull but float on top of the brain “without poking into it,” so they are safe to use over the parts of the brain responsible for speech. The study was performed on epilepsy patients who already had their craniums temporarily detached for surgery. Read more

Avoid Sunburn and Looking Like a Lobster

Fancy lying on the beach enjoying the sun and the heat? While it’s freezing cold here in England, you could be on a paradisiac island drinking out of a coconut with absolutely nobody around. Escaping the grey, the noise and the cold is what a lot of people are wishing in secret right now. (well, me anyway!) However, as much as I enjoy the beach and the sun, I hate sunburns… like everybody actually. Have you ever heard someone hoping to look like a walking lobster in town?! Yeah, not really.

Unfortunately, it happens that sometimes, even if you don’t wish for it, you’ve got it. It’s like for Christmas when you ask your mum to buy you the last video game, well, she buys you a weather station to build in plaster instead. (no kidding, this sort of “game” does exist, I’ve got one!) After the stage of disappointment that can last few days I have to admit, you are trying to see the good aspects of it, I mean after all, a nice miniature hand painted weather station can be useful and it can be fun to make. Read more

All I want for Christmas

It’s the 25th of November today and in exactly 1 month, it will be Christmas! I can’t believe that this year went so quick… You get caught up in your daily routine and often birthdays, weddings or celebrations come quicker than you first thought. I realise that I have 30 days to buy the presents for my family, to be honest with you guys, I’m stressing out!! Because we live in a society of consumption, people already have what they want and it’s become harder each year to find original and unique gifts to offer. I regret these times when putting an orange underneath the Christmas tree used to make kids happy! Now they are all about PlayStation, Apple devices, designer clothes or fancy bags. (Same with adults really)

So today, I took my mission very seriously and surfed the web for a couple of hours looking for some unusual ideas. Because if you are an avid reader of this blog, you must be interested in travels and languages, I found the top 10 Christmas gifts especially for you guys.

1. A Language course

Very useful if you plan of moving to another country next year.

2. Lonely Planet ‘s “Best in Travel 2011”

Best guide ever, I remember I bought one when I went to Australia.

3. Lessons in foreign cooking

Be the next Chinese/French or Italian Chef 🙂

4. A Trailfinders gift card

Helping you out with the cost of your flight or hotel.

5. A pocket translator

Always handy to translate some easy sentences like a menu, directions or features.

6. Downloadable language learning tools for your iPod

For all of you guys sleeping, eating and breathing Apple!

7. A Travel journal

Record your amazing adventures and experiences.

8. A Charity donation in your name

It’s good to do something for others.

9. A Dictionary/book of verb tables

Not very exciting but indispensable to your survival abroad.

10. A TEFL course (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

Become a teacher and hopefully get a visa downunder.

Which one are you going to ask to Santa Claus? And why?

Make Foreign Friends at Disneyland

I remember the first time I went to Disneyland Paris, I was 10, my (annoying) brother and parents were there too. I remember the first time I saw the gates of this huge park, I thought “oh my god, this is going to be the greatest day of my life!”.  I remember running after Mickey, pushing the other kids in the hope of getting an autograph.

If you are a kid, Disneyland is the best place to be because you’ve got the chance to meet your favourite characters in real, be the hero of your own movie for a day and go on some really cool rides. When you grow up, well, it’s not the same, if nothing has changed over there, you had and you don’t see things the way you did before.

When I went back to Disneyland Paris a few years ago at the age of 20, I realised that if it wasn’t the most magical place in the world anymore, it might be the best place to meet people and especially from abroad. Is there a better way to engage in a conversation while queuing for hours in front of  Space Mountain or Indiana Jones entrances? (and sometimes in really awful conditions such as heavy rain or snow!) You’re right, there isn’t. 🙂 Read more

Next Year, Twitter Will Be Available in Arabic

Popular messaging service Twitter just announced that it would be broadening its appeal by launching in Arabic next year. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced the plans in an interview with Abu Dhabi’s The National.

Currently, Arabic speakers who want to use Twitter must either tweet in English, tweet in “Arabish,” a system used to render Arabic words using Roman numerals and letters, or use one of the Arabic-language Twitter clients instead of the Twitter website itself.

Fast Company notes that optimizing the Twitter homepage for the Arabic language will be a bit of a challenge for Twitter, since Arabic is read from right to left instead of left to right.

Considering how many Twitter users use the service via text message, another challenge is the fact that many cell phones don’t have Arabic keypad options available. Read more

How to Talk Like a Texan

Last week, I posted an article about learning to live the Texas life. However, one thing I neglected to cover is Texas’ unique version of the English language.  Speaking the Queen’s English will get you nothing but funny looks if you intend to take the plunge and try living the rodeo life. To talk like a Texan, you need to master two skills: accent and vocabulary.

To get the accent, trying watching reruns of Dallas. Practice the drawl. Many one-syllable words sound like two syllables in Texas.  Also, if there’s an “ing” suffix on the end of the word, drop the “g.”

Next, let’s take a look at some vocabulary you’ll need:

Aggie: Someone who attends Texas A & M University or roots for their sports teams. Aggies are the mortal enemies of Longhorns. “Aggie jokes” are jokes told to make fun of Aggies.

Armadillo: An odd mammal that looks like it’s wearing leather armor. When threatened, the armadillo will roll up into a ball to protect itself.

Bluebonnets: The state flower, bluebonnets grow in most of the state, but especially in the Hill Country near Austin. Taking pictures in the bluebonnets is a tradition for most Texas families.

Cattywhompus: Adjective used to describe something that is misaligned or out of place.

Chili: The official state dish, a combination of ground beef with onions, peppers and spices like cumin. True Texas chili is always made without beans and often without tomatoes. Read more

Creating a Braille Document

Note: K International can convert any document you have into Braille. Click here >>> Braille Translation <<<.

B raille is a system widely used by blind and visually impaired people to read and write. It is made up of raised dots, arranged in cells that correspond to each letter of the alphabet. Developed in 1821 by Louis Braille of France, himself blind after an accident at the age of three, it has now been adapted to almost every known language and has revolutionised life for people all over the world.

Making Braille

Making braille documents is a complex process, although we do now use technology to speed it up as much as possible. If you’ve ever wondered how the documents are made this short clip from the RNIB shows the process behind making a braille document. Read more

Speak Aussie!

I remember the first time I went to Australia, i couldn’t understand a word of what people were saying… I studied English for 9 years at school, lived in England for 2 years and I felt like i was landing on another planet. Aussies definitely have a unique accent when they speak, very different from the American or British one, it’s like learning a completely new language!  Few Bondi Rescue watchings, many barbecues with my friends Scotty, Danny, Luke, Lori-Rae and some Delta Goodrem listenings later, I’ve finally got the hang of this “bloody” accent.

If right now you feel lost like i was, check this video out…

or learn few typical expressions!

Barrack for. Cheer. as in barrack for the Blues (a sports team).

Battler. Someone who tries hard despite money problems.

Bitumen. Paved road, asphalt.

Bludger. One who won’t work and usually relies only on Social Security payments.

Bonnet. Hood (of a car)

Boot. Trunk (of a car)

Bottle shop. Liquor store. Read more

Microsoft TechEd Berlin

Given the importance that technology has in any organisation, our IT Manager David Brooks and myself were sent to Microsoft TechEd 2010 in Berlin. Our goal was to learn, research and connect with like minded people and to bring back new ideas and technology. Like many trips, there was not much time left to explore. This was a shame as my little sister is half German (a long story!) which has created a heightened interest for me in anything German.

As with most things in life, the IT world has its own fashions and this year the buzz was surrounding cloud computing, virtualization and the new Windows Phone 7. The phone stand was very popular and was attracting a large number of people waving their business cards in the faint chance of winning one. Unfortunately, I was not one of the lucky people, better luck next time I hope! Read more

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