Entries by Alison Kroulek

A Translation Showdown: Man vs Machine Translation

Computer scientists began trying to solve the problem of machine translation in the 1950s.  Since then, both the availability and quality of machine translation have improved tremendously. But in the battle of human translation vs machine translation, are humans now expendable? Some scientists working on machine translation claim that with recent improvements, algorithms are almost […]

Which Countries Have the Most English Speakers?

Around 840 million people speak English around the world, according to Ethnologue. (335 million people speak it as a first language, and 505 million speak it as a second language.) That’s a lot of people, but where do they all live? Read on to find out which countries have the most English speakers and the […]

13 Movies for Language Nerds 

Are you in love with all things linguistic? Do you fancy staying in to watch a movie this weekend? We’ve got some recommendations for you. Presenting . . . 13 movies for language nerds like you!  Arrival (2016) A science fiction movie that centers on translation and interpretation, with a linguist as the main protagonist? Yes, please!  […]

Star Wars Spoilers, Revealed in Translation 

We often talk about information getting “lost in translation.” But translation can also reveal information that was originally concealed. For example, earlier this week, the studio released translated versions of the title for the upcoming Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi.  As the Star Wars storyline expands, dedicated fans play detective, trying to anticipate upcoming plot twists. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]