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.

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

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

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

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