November 21st, 2014

In The News: Google Play Store Opens to Chinese Developers, Analysts Say Smartclothes are the Future

This week in the news, Amazon made a pledge to run its entire cloud computing division on renewable energy, Google announced its return to China with the opening up of its Play Store to Chinese developers, and analysts predict that wearable devices will soon be replaced with smartgarments.

November 20th, 2014

In the Eye of the Beholder

The saying goes that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but it’s important to note that all of us see the world through the lens of our culture. So, it’s perhaps more accurate to say that beauty lies in cultural context. But culture isn’t static the world over, nor does it remain the same from one generation to the next. In today’s T for Translation, we’ll explore the concept of beauty as defined in different cultures.

North America

The version of beauty that has been idealized in North America since the late 1990’s emphasizes synthetic tans, hair extensions, fake fingernails, massive amounts of makeup, and clothes designed to either hide or emphasize features. Though their society openly acknowledges this style’s illusory nature (and often decries it), it nonetheless pursues it with abandon.

November 19th, 2014

Cacoethes – Wacky Word Wednesday

Sometimes it strikes even the best of us: the sudden desire to do something we know is bad for us. It might be the seemingly irresistible urge to call up an ex-partner in the middle of the night or the impulsive and strange thought that it would be fun to break some expensive antiques. We might not feel this very often but at some point most will experience cacoethes.




A sudden and uncontrollable urge, especially for something harmful.

November 18th, 2014

Kids, Culture, and Cartoons: Translations that Teach

Though cartoons are entertainment and are made to be both fun and funny, they also act as important education platforms for kids. Children absorb a lot from their favorite cartoons – they learn about their own culture, about values and morality in their society, and about what makes a character a good or bad person (or animal, as is often the case in cartoons). As such, cartoons’ translators often need to be far more creative and transformative with the content than would be considered acceptable for adult media translators. In today’s T for Translation, we’re going to examine the ways in which translators create culturally appropriate content for kids.

November 17th, 2014

New Chinese Terms and Their Backstories, Part 1

Like any other language, Mandarin is constantly evolving; new terms and phrases emerge and old words take on new meanings. With over 50,000 characters, the Chinese language can also give its speakers a lot of room for creativity. In this post, the first part of a two-part series, we highlight several terms that have recently entered the Chinese lexicon and explore each of their anecdotal origins.

November 14th, 2014

In the News

This week, the European Space Agency succeeded in landing a space probe on a comet, Japanese tech company Toshiba unveiled the farm of the future, and Thync – a U.S. company – has revealed a new piece of wearable technology that will allow users control their own state of mind.

November 13th, 2014

Big Brands Bouncing Back

Big brands come and go but few stand the test of time; even the longest lasting often succumb to setbacks. There are those, though, that seem to combust and fade into the economic ether only to re-emerge bigger and better than before. In today’s T for Translation, we’ll look at a few brands that have suffered great losses and made it back against all odds.

November 12th, 2014

Smicker – Wacky Word Wednesday

Sometimes you meet someone who takes your breath away. They look like the sunshine, their words are like honey, just being around them makes you feel all tingly, and when they leave, you look after them with a mix of longing and romantic abandon. That look has a name and it’s today’s Wacky Word: smicker.




To look at or after amorously.

November 11th, 2014

The 5 Most Popular Translated Novels of All Time

Stories with intriguing, twisted plots seldom fail to fascinate bookworms all over the world, no matter what language they were originally written in. Today on T for Translation, we’ll highlight the five most popular novels which transcended their linguistic audience and have since captured the hearts of booklovers around the world.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

A classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea has been translated into 147 languages. The novel was adapted to film in 1953, along with many of Verne’s novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days. Often referred to as the “Father of Science Fiction,” Verne is the third most translated author of all time, behind Disney Productions and Agatha Christie.

November 10th, 2014

The Future of Interpretation

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of people in the world do not speak English.  Even in the United States, one in five people speak a language other than English at home, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies. That doesn’t mean to say that 20 percent of the US population can’t speak English, but it shows that other languages play a more prominent role in the country than previously assumed.