Interesting & varied language stories from all around the world, curated by our dedicated writer. From the topical to the absurd, the grand and the obscure, it’s all here for you to enjoy.

11 Interesting Facts About the Irish Language

It’s St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of the occasion, let’s get to know the Irish language a little better. Here are 11 facts about Irish that will make you sound smarter when you’re out celebrating with a pint tonight:

Approximately 1.77 million people speak Irish in Ireland today.

Anywhere from 30% to 40% of the population of Ireland can speak Irish.  However, only around 140,000 of them are native speakers. Most learn it as a second language. Only around 82,000 people speak it daily outside of school.

The language has spread outside of Ireland, too.

For example, about 18,000 Americans speak Irish at home.  There are about 9,000 Irish speakers in Great Britain. And there is even a (small) official “Gaeltecht” in Ontario, Canada. 

Irish used to be one of the main languages of Newfoundland, Canada.

Starting in the late 1600s, Irish immigrants began arriving in Newfoundland to work in the cod fishery there. Between 1750 and the 1830, the stream of Irish arriving on the island turned into a flood. By 1815 there were more than 19,000 Irish in Newfoundland, and the majority of them spoke Irish.

The language died out in Newfoundland by the 19th century, but it left some traces in the local dialect that still persist today.

The Irish language has even been used in space.

In 2013,  Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield sent a tweet captioned in Irish from the International Space Station. This marked the first time the Irish language was used in outer spaceRead more

Funny Sign Translations: 30 More Signs We Didn’t Translate

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs . . . but sometimes they get lost in translation! We’ve scoured the Internet for funny sign translations, and this is what we found. We certainly didn’t translate any of these, but we hope they give you a laugh:

Well, that’s not helpful

Lost in translation

If this place catches fire, we’re in trouble…

What AM I supposed to do then?

tsinc2x

Imgur/ JaromirAzarov

I’ll just stand here looking bored, I suppose . . .

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

datnbyh

As if pressing the big red button wasn’t tempting enough, pressing this particular big red button appears to bring on the apocalypse. You know you want to push it, just to see what happens. Don’t you?

Bad trip, man, bad trip!

kywqwrh

Sounds like someone should have passed on the brown acid…

I think I’ve lost my appetite. . .

wyciqf2-1

Imgur/JaromirAzarov

I’m not sure what they serve here, but I don’t think I want it for breakfast.

Brilliant idea

 6rw1gul

Just what everyone needs after a night out of Indian food! Someone is going to make a fortune off this. Read more

Irish Translations and Traditions for St. Patrick’s Day 

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, the time of year when everyone is at least part Irish (or pretends to be.) But put down the green beer – it’s time to take your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to the next level.  And we’re here to help, with a round-up of St. Patrick’s Day traditions from around the world and some helpful Irish translations for a more authentic St. Patrick’s Day experience.

St Patrick’s Day Traditions Around the World

St. Patrick’s Day originated in Ireland as the feast day of St. Patrick. But it really came into its own amongst Irish immigrant communities in the United States. And since Ireland has historically been a nation of emigrants, St. Patrick’s Day is now celebrated around the world.

St. Patrick’s Day Traditions Around the World: Parades6995631593_da7b3ac6b3

Surprisingly, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade didn’t even take place in Ireland. It was held in New York City in 1762. Ireland didn’t get in on the action until 1903!  Read more

human translation vs machine translation

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 as good at translation as humans.  And when the subject of “jobs that will soon be taken over by robots” comes up, futurists almost always put “translation” in the crosshairs.

But what happens when machines take on human translators? Earlier this month, Sejong Cyber University and the International Interpretation and Translation Association of Korea decided to find out. 3 machine translation programs went up against a group of human translators. It was a translation showdown: human translation vs machine translation.

Man versus machine, the translation industry’s version of the famous contest between John Henry and the steam-powered hammer  Guess who won? Read more

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 highest English proficiency.usa-globe

United States: 268M English Speakers

No surprise here: Those arrogant former colonists may not speak the Queen’s English correctly, but they do have the world’ s largest English-speaking country.  Approximately 225 million Americans speak English as a first language, while 43 million speak it as a second language.

India: 125M English Speakersindia

India is next on the list, with 125 million English speakers. But only 226, 449 of those speak it as a first language. For the rest, it’s a second language.

However, as BBC reporter Zareer Masani noted in a 2012 article, the patchwork state of English education means that many Indians speak “not so much English as Hinglish, or what my parents’ generation called Babu English – the language of clerks.”

Pakistan : 94,321,604  English Speakerspakistan

Surprised?  English is one of Pakistan’s official languages, along with Urdu. Although virtually nobody in Pakistan speaks English as a first language, around 49% of the population do speak it as a second language. Read more

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! 

Most movies about “first contact” smooth over the inevitable language barrier. In Arrival, the language barrier is the plot. And in the process, the movie reveals truths about translation that language nerds of all stripes can appreciate. Read more

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. So everything Star Wars-related is scrutinized, including foreign language versions of material that’s already been released in English.

How Many Jedi Are Left? English Conceals, Spanish Reveals


Fans have been scratching their heads for months, trying to figure out who The Last Jedi is and what the title means. Is it Luke?  Rey? Kylo Ren? Some new character we haven’t met yet?

Or is the title plural? After all, in English, the plural of Jedi is . . . Jedi. As the Telegraph speculated in an article from January,

[I]t took  us a while to cotton on to this fact. But after spending  a fair few hours last night contemplating the question “Who is the last Jedi?”, we realised that that, because the word Jedi can be both singular and plural, “Who are the last Jedi?” in fact works equally well.

Read more

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

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

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

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