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Results 1 to 10 of 387 (page 1 of 39)

The advantages and disadvantages of a global language

An English blog post about the benefits and drawbacks of having one global language.I was reflecting upon the topic for my blog post when an idea popped into my head. Last summer, I was going over old photo albums, records, passports and such with my family. And then I stumbled across something that really struck me. My mother showed me my maternal grandfather’s work card, which he obtained in Germany. After World War II, my grandfather, who was the eldest in his family, decided to leave his village in Calabria, in the south of Italy, and search for work elsewhere in Europe. This German work card surprised me because there was no English translation in sight! In fact, the text was translated into French. I had become so used to English being the global language, especially after feeling its omnipresence while travelling abroad, that I forgot that French once occupied that same global position. This got me thinking, “What are the advantages and disadvantages of a global or universal language?” Advantage 1: Facilitates communication between different cultures A global language allows for communication between different cultures. Language has always been the focal point of cultural identity. A global language dismantles communication barriers and offers individuals a gateway to understanding one another’s cultures. Two years ago, my family and I travelled to Argentina, where we watched the Buenos Aires soccer team play a game. As a futbol fanatic, I remember talking in English with this Argentinian university student after the game. We had an amazing conversation about Argentinians’ passion for soccer compared with that of Canadians. Even though we were both from different countries, and English was not our native tongue, we were able to connect culturally through our ability to speak the current global language. Advantage 2: Facilitates international trade With the rise of globalization and neo-liberalism since the 1970s, an unprecedented amount of international trade and business between different countries has been carried out. The reality is that in order to buy from or sell to a business partner from another country, you need to communicate effectively and accurately. Thankfully, a global language eliminates the communication barrier, promoting greater international trade and opportunities for economic growth. As I was doing research for this blog post, I came across a very interesting index called the “Language Barrier Index (LBI).” In short, the LBI “quantifies international language barriers by measuring the dissimilarity between the main languages of trading partners.”Footnote 1 Although it involves a very complicated mathematical equation, it speaks to the advantage of having one world language. Using the LBI, Lohmann found that “language barriers are a significant deterrent to bilateral trade. A 10% increase in the Language Barrier Index can cause a 7% to 10% decrease in trade flows between two countries.”Footnote 2 Disadvantage 1: Presents challenges for non-native speakers in the sciences There are bigger disadvantages of having a global language than the one I’m going to discuss in this section. However, I wish to explore this one because it has a direct impact on the field I’m currently studying in. Since I’m in environmental studies, scientific literature is vital to any lab, research project or assignment in my classes. Getting a scientific paper published is a long (about one year) and difficult task that requires many steps. Having a global language has allowed scientists to access a vast amount of literature from around the world, but it has also presented significant challenges for non-native speakers of English. You might be thinking, “They’re scientists. Why are adequate English language skills needed by scientists to get their papers published?” Well, scientists need to clearly communicate their findings, conclusions and methods, and for some non-native speakers, that can be strenuous. Scientists who want their work to be globally recognized need to attend English conferences or discussions and read English scientific papers. According to an article published in The Atlantic, 80% of scientific papers were in English.Footnote 3 Furthermore, the article notes that “a journal published in a language other than English must at the very least include English abstracts.”Footnote 4 Disadvantage 2: Poses a threat to minority languages According to a BBC article, in this last century, some 400 languages have become extinct – about one language every three months – and in the next century, 50% of all remaining languages will become extinct.Footnote 5 Needless to say, this is worrying, because simply put, an extinct language means the loss of a unique culture. People who speak a global language have greater opportunities for employment, education and overall success. Therefore, some minority language speakers believe that learning to speak a global language will benefit them financially.Footnote 6 Furthermore, with globalization, our cultures are ever increasingly interconnected, catalyzing the takeover of minority languages by a global language. In conclusion, a global language has its advantages and disadvantages. Its strong points include facilitating communication between different cultures and paving the way for greater international trade between countries. Its drawbacks are the challenges it creates for non-native speakers in the sciences (especially when it comes to publishing scientific literature) and its contribution to the extinction of minority languages. The question remains: Will English continue as the world’s global language in this century and beyond, or will another language take its place? Sources Note 1 Lohmann, J. “Do Language Barriers Affect Trade?” Economics Letters 110.2 (2011): 159–162. Web. 27 February 2021. Return to footnote 1 referrer Note 2 Ibid. Return to footnote 2 referrer Note 3 Huttner-Koros, A. “The Hidden Bias of Science’s Universal Language (opens in new tab).” The Atlantic, August 2015, Web. 27 February 2021. Return to footnote 3 referrer Note 4 Ibid. Return to footnote 4 referrer Note 5 Nuwer, R. “Languages: Why We Must Save Dying Tongues (opens in new tab).” BBC, June 2014, Web. 27 February 2021. Return to footnote 5 referrer Note 6 Mufwene, S. “Colonization, Globalization and the Plight of ‘Weak’ Languages.” Cambridge University Press, July 2002, Web. 27 February 2021. Return to footnote 6 referrer
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 184,498

10 interesting facts on translation and translators

A blog post containing 10 interesting facts on translation and translators to mark International Translation Day.Every year on September 30, we celebrate International Translation Day. Why on that date? Because it coincides with the Feast of St. Jerome, who was one of the first translators to translate the Bible into Latin. International Translation Day is about celebrating translators and the work they do. To mark the occasion, I’ve compiled 10 interesting facts on the fascinating world of translation! Some translation stats 1) The 5 most translated languages in the world are English, French, German, Russian and Italian. 2) The Bible, which can be read in nearly 650 languages, is thought to be the most translated publication (and at least one of its books has been translated into 3,225 languages). Next is the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is available in more than 500 languages. 3) Certain literary classics have also been translated into many languages, such as The Adventures of Pinocchio (available in 260 languages) and The Little Prince (available in 300 languages). Translated into 70 languages, the Harry Potter series still has a way to go! 4) About 330,000 people practise translation as a profession, and that doesn't include those who do it informally. 5) According to a UNESCO database called "Index Translationum," which lists all of the books translated in the world, the top 3 most translated authors are Agatha Christie, Jules Verne and William Shakespeare. The work of translators 6) The English verb "translate" comes from "translatus," a form of the Latin verb "transferre," meaning "to bring over, carry over." 7) The translation profession is more than 2,000 years old! That's right: the Old Testament is thought to have been translated into Greek in the 3rd century BC, in which case it would be the oldest recorded translation. 8) Scientific knowledge has long been shared through translation. For example, Émilie de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet, an 18th-century physicist, was the first person to translate Isaac Newton's law of universal gravitation into French. 9) Translators are known for inventing alphabets, the precious tools that allow us to share our knowledge. Mesrop Machtots invented the Armenian and Albanian alphabets. Saint Cyril invented the Glagolitic alphabet, the precursor to the Cyrillic alphabet, which bears his name. The Cyrillic alphabet is used today to write many languages, including Russian, Bulgarian and Serbian. And a little closer to home, we have James Evans in Manitoba, who invented Cree syllabics, which are used to write the most widely spoken Indigenous language in Canada. 10) Translators play a key role in providing access to foreign literature. Portuguese writer José Saramago, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, expressed this reality so well when he said, "Writers make national literature, while translators make universal literature." What do you think of Saramago's quote? Have you discovered authors you love through translated works? If so, share them with us in the comments below! Translated by Natalie Ballard, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 66,267

The language of tweets and hashtags: A bilingual mini-glossary of social media terms

An English blog post on social media terminology.If I told you I added a “hashtag” to my Tweet or that I posted a “status update” on Facebook, you’d probably know what I meant. But what if I told you that I was a “wikipedian” or that my latest “vlog” was online? Would you know what I meant then? Maybe not! Today, we use social media to make it easier to share content, collaborate and connect with people. But social media platforms have a language all their own, and if you don’t know it, using certain platforms can be a challenge. Here’s a useful table that will help you understand the meanings of certain social media terms. The table also gives you the equivalent French term. So the next time you tweet in French, you can say you added “mots-clics” to your “gazouillis” instead of “j’ai tweeté des hashtags”!   English-French mini-glossary of social media terms English term French term Definition chatting clavardage (masculine noun) A real-time texting conversation between users over the Internet.1 unfriend désamicaliser; décopiner; amiradier To remove a person from your list of friends or contacts.1 geotagging data données de géomarquage (feminine plural noun) Information that associates a geographical location with photos, videos, messages, etc.1 emoticon; smiley émoticône (feminine noun); binette (feminine noun); A symbol or an image that represents the mood of the person sending the message. tag étiquette (feminine noun) A keyword added to a picture, video or text in order to classify its content or identify a person. Note: In French, the term used on Facebook is “identification.” crowdsourcing externalisation ouverte (feminine noun); externalisation à grande échelle (feminine noun) The practice of making use of the creativity, intelligence and expertise of Internet users to carry out a particular activity. home timeline fil d’actualités (masculine noun) On Twitter, the chronological stream of all the tweets from any accounts to which a user has subscribed.1 news feed fil de nouvelles (masculine noun) On Facebook, the centre column of a user’s homepage that contains status updates, videos, photos, etc. twitterer; tweeter gazouilleur (masculine noun), gazouilleuse (feminine noun) A Twitter account holder who reads and posts tweets. retweet; RT gazouillis partagé (masculine noun) On Twitter, a tweet that a user forwards to his or her followers. status update mise à jour de statut (feminine noun) A new post on your personal profile.1 Note: Term used on Facebook. hashtag mot-clic (masculine noun); mot-dièse (masculine noun) A keyword, a keyword string or a theme preceded by the pound or number sign and used to index and categorize content. handle; nickname pseudonyme (masculine noun); pseudo (masculine noun) An Internet user’s alias or shortened name. post publication (feminine noun) Anything published on a social media platform, such as text, images, videos and audio recordings. log in; sign in se connecter; ouvrir une session To start a log-in session; to sign into your account.1 log out; sign out se déconnecter; fermer une session To end the current log-in session; to sign out of your account.1 video blog; vlog; videoblog vidéoblogue (masculine noun); vlogue (masculine noun); blogue vidéo (masculine noun) A blog in which posts are in the form of a video.1 wikipedian wikipédiste (noun); wikipédien (masculine noun), wikipédienne (feminine noun) A person who writes or edits articles on Wikipedia. Source: The Translation Bureau’s Social Media Glossary 1 My own definitions. For a more complete list, I encourage you to check out the Social Media Glossary in TERMIUM Plus®. It’s a very useful tool for all social media users. Now that you know the meanings of certain social media terms, do you think you’ll be more comfortable using and talking about various social media platforms? Let us know in the comments below! Adapted by Natalie Ballard, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 52,792

What’s up with "you"

An English post discussing the evolution of the pronoun you.Other languages have at least two ways to say “you.” And some have even more. French has “tu” and “vous.” German has “du” and “ihr” and “Sie.” Spanish has “tú” and “usted” and “vosotros” and “ustedes.” But English has only “you.” For one person or several. For a subject or an object. It wasn’t always that way. Old English had three second-person pronouns, with different subject and object forms. And Middle English had two: the singular “thou” (object: “thee”) and the plural “ye” (which was gradually replaced by its object form “you”). So how did “you” end up as the sole survivor? It seems that we owe our lone second-person pronoun to two main factors: French … and snobbery. After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, French exerted a considerable influence on the English language. For one thing, thousands of words came into English from French. But vocabulary isn’t all we borrowed from those refined and courtly Normans; they also introduced us to a new way of using pronouns. They used their plural pronoun “vous” to speak to two or more people; but they also used it to show respect to one person of high status. And they used their singular pronoun “tu” to speak affectionately to a close friend or family member; but they also used it to speak down to someone of lower rank, such as a servant. Evidently, we liked the idea of using pronouns to show social rank. Over the following centuries, we gradually adopted the same practice in English, using “you” like French “vous,” to show respect when speaking to a stranger, to a superior or to a social equal (among the upper classes). At the same time, we began to use “thou” like French “tu,” to show intimacy with a friend or family member, or to talk down to a social inferior. This usage became well established in English by the 13th century and continued into the 16th century. As part of this process, “thou” even came to be used as a verb meaning “to address someone as ‘thou’ ” (often as a sign of contempt). A good example can be found in Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, where a character is urged to call a rival “thou” to suggest that the rival’s status is inferior: “Taunt him with the licence of ink: if thou thou’st him some trice, it shall not be amiss.” And at the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh for treason in 1603, the prosecutor made a point of insulting him with these words: “All that Lord Cobham did was by thy instigation, thou viper! For I thou thee, thou traitor!” Over the 16th and 17th centuries, city people gradually stopped using “thou,” largely out of snobbishness and a consequent fear of offending. Because the upper classes called one another “you,” the members of the growing middle class began to do the same to show their rising social status. At the same time, it became dangerous to use “thou,” which was seen by many as insulting. In a 1660 book, one Quaker wrote that members of his faith (who used the familiar pronoun with everyone to show their belief in equality) were often beaten by “proud men, who would say, 'What! You ill-bred clown, do you Thou me?'" By the 1700s, as a result of these social pressures, “thou” had disappeared altogether from Standard English except in poetry or religious texts. Ironically, the result for today’s English is that “you” and “thou” have switched roles. The once lowly “thou” is now seen as formal, elegant and refined because it belongs to the language of poetry and prayer. And “you,” the pronoun of status in Middle English, is now the universal pronoun used to address any person (or even any animal or object). In short, it has become just a commonplace word. Language is always evolving, and there are many English words whose meaning or use has changed over time. Do you have a favourite example to share with us?
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 37,909

French in Canada: Some interesting facts you may not know

An English blog post describing the French language in Canada, specifically its main dialects, its contributions to Michif and its borrowings from other languages.Did you know that Canada is the country with the largest number of native French speakers after France? From coast to coast, French has played an important role in the linguistic landscape of Canada for over 400 years. Many of us speak or read French, some of us fluently, but how much do we actually know about this language as it is spoken in Canada? Dialects of French in Canada There are about 10 million French speakers in Canada, and they’re found in every province and territory! When travelling, you may have noticed that the French you hear sounds different from one location to the next. There are 2 main dialects you’re most likely to hear: Laurentian and Acadian.   Acadian French originated in Nova Scotia but is common today across the Maritime provinces, particularly in New Brunswick. Acadian French is also the basis of Cajun French, spoken all the way down in Louisiana. Laurentian French is spoken primarily in Quebec. It originated in the St. Lawrence River Valley and spread westward across Canada. More recently, immigrants from Francophone countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Haiti are calling Canada home. They bring with them their own French dialects from around the world, which reflect their histories and cultures. Canadian French and Michif Canadian French contributed to the creation of a unique language: Michif. The Métis people developed this language, which combines features from French and Indigenous languages, primarily Cree. Michif is unusual in that the nouns are generally derived from French and the verbs are derived, for the most part, from Cree. Michif is spoken today in small communities in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Want to hear how Michif sounds or learn a few phrases? Check out the LearnMichif website! Borrowings from other languages When 2 languages meet, we call it language contact. Evidence of language contact can be seen in the French language spoken by Canadians today. Many commonly used French words derive from First Nations languages. For example, “achigan” (fish) is of Algonquin origin and “atoca” (cranberry) is of Iroquois origin. Likewise, many English words have been borrowed into Canadian French. For example, “pinotte” (peanut) is used in expressions such as “être rien que sur une pinotte” (to be very busy or in a great hurry). “Le français au Canada: d’un océan à l’autre”: a travelling exhibit My colleagues and I hope that initiatives like the Canadian Language Museum and the Language Portal will increase knowledge of and interest in the unique dialects heard throughout Canadian communities. For that reason, the Canadian Language Museum has produced a travelling exhibit about the French language titled “Le français au Canada: d’un océan à l’autre,” to celebrate the history and unique linguistic qualities of French dialects in Canada. You can find out more about our travelling exhibits on the Canadian Language Museum website. Do you know of any other interesting facts about Canadian French? Have you visited Canada from another French-speaking country and been surprised by what you heard? Let us know in the comments section!
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 34,379

A historical overview of the “grammar-translation” method for teaching foreign languages

An English post describing the history of the traditional method of teaching languages.The grammar-translation method is probably the oldest method for teaching a foreign language in the West. Because its origins go back to the teaching of classical languages, it is also known as the classical method. Despite a decline in popularity due to strong opposition from a so-called "reform" movement, this method is still being used in the 21st century, in textbooks employing a teaching model in which text is translated from the foreign language (L2) into the learner’s language (L1). This is the case, for example, with the Mentor method or with Assimil’s "Sans peine" series. How has the grammar-translation method (particularly as it involves translation of text into L1 or L2) evolved over the centuries, and what are the principles underlying it? We will seek to provide some answers to those questions in this post. The grammar-translation method in the 18th century According to Claude Germain, Professor Emeritus at the University of Quebec at Montreal, the starting point for learning an L2, beginning in the 18th century, was a foreign language text divided into parts, translated word for word into the learner's language (L1) and accompanied by grammatical comments, like the method used in Assimil textbooks. This didactic method of presenting the content (grammar-translation into L1) amounts to replacing a deductive grammatical approach (rules before examples) with an inductive approach. In inductive learning, the learner studies examples (texts in L2) and then identifies the rules. Metaphorically speaking, this method can be described as implicit teaching, because in the grammar-translation into L1 method, the rules are not stated explicitly before the examples are analyzed. However, it may actually be inaccurate to speak of an implicit or intuitive approach, because intuition presupposes a knowledge obtained without benefit of analysis, reasoning or reflection. Pedagogical translation According to Jean-Pierre Cuq, pedagogical translation, which uses the traditional techniques of translation into L1 and L2, can be of value for either learning or assessment, depending on when it is used. Translation from L2 to L1 mainly tests comprehension, while translation from L1 to L2 puts the learner's knowledge of grammar into practice. The origin and evolution of bilingual textbooks The tradition behind textbooks that use translation into L1 or L2 as a teaching method goes back to third-century Rome, when the Hermeneumata appeared. These were bilingual manuals that included simple dialogues in two columns, with the Latin translation in one column and the Greek text opposite it. The use of dialogues may have been inspired by the Greek tradition; for example, by the dialogues of Plato. In the Middle Ages, Latin teachers took their inspiration from the Hermeneumata and created "colloquia," that is, conversational manuals. The years leading up to the 16th century saw the introduction in England of "double manuals" designed to teach French as a language of prestige among young English aristocrats. One example of these manuals is the "Caxton Manual," a book containing dialogues and depictions illustrating everyday situations. The texts were presented in French and English, sometimes in two separate columns, sometimes alternately, line by line, in both languages. Blanchet adds that the dialogues in the double manuals (known as manières de langage) often rhymed and included comments in Latin. In the 16th and 17th centuries, some authors, including Giles du Guez and John Locke, strongly criticized the practice of learning a foreign language by studying grammar rules; they recommended a fairly deductive method of learning by reading interlinear translations of dialogues or texts adapted to the learners' level. The order of languages varies from one author to another: sometimes the lines written in L2 precede those in L1; sometimes, the order is reversed. The interlinear translation method continued into the 20th century. A well-known example of this method is found in the Mentor textbooks, where the interlinear translation (first in L2 and then in L1) is accompanied by the pronunciation (represented according to L1 conventions) and by footnotes. The history of the evolution of foreign language teaching and learning methodologies is fascinating and helps to shed light on how the textbooks and methods we use on a daily basis work. Do you often use the grammar-translation method for teaching or learning? What has your experience of it been? We welcome your comments. Bibliography View bibliography Besse, Henri. “Des techniques d’enseignement / apprentissage des langues étrangères, et de l’exemple de la traduction interlinéaire (PDF)” (in French only). Synergies Chine, vol. 6, no. 1, 2011, pp. 13-23. Germain, Claude. Évolution de l’enseignement des langues: 5000 ans d’histoire. Clé International, 1993. “Intuition.” Trésor de la langue française informatisé (in French only). ATILF – CNRS and University of Lorraine. Larsen-Freeman, Diane. Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. Oxford University Press, 1986. Panorama des méthodologies (in French only). Directed by Philippe Blanchet. University of Rennes 2/CNED–Pôle EAD, 2001. Translated by Josephine Versace, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 25,031

What bilingualism means to me

A blog post from the Translation Bureau CEO Stéphan Déry on what bilingualism means to him.Speaking two languages has been a part of my life for a long time. Although I wasn’t fully bilingual when I joined the government in 1990, working in Ottawa allowed me to perfect my second language skills, as I spoke English with my Anglophone colleagues whenever I had the chance. And outside of work, I spoke French all the time. So you could say I led a pretty balanced bilingual life. Having the opportunity to regularly speak two languages gave me a good sense of the value of bilingualism. A new opportunity reinforced the value of bilingualism for me In 2015, I accepted a position in the Atlantic Region and moved to Halifax, a city where English is the main language. As I settled into my new role, I soon saw that, while people were shy to speak to me in French, many of them had a genuine interest in the language and culture. And it wasn’t from a lack of desire to learn that they hadn’t become totally fluent in French, but rather from a lack of opportunities to practise. My team and I wanted to change that. We started by organizing “help me practise” Wednesdays, an activity to give people the chance to practise French or English with each other. Then we launched a number of other activities to promote bilingualism. For example, we partnered with the Quebec Region to put in place a language exchange program so people could help each other improve in French or English. We also offered tools to help people practise their second language every day. Collaborative activities like these made people enthusiastic about learning their second language. The greatest benefit of bilingualism is learning another culture As people practised speaking French and English with each other, they learned about the culture of the other language. They came to share their diverse ideas, experience and opinions. The richness of that exchange between my colleagues in Halifax, a primarily Anglophone environment, reinforced for me the value of sharing not only one’s language but also one’s culture. It’s clear to me that learning another culture opens us up to new ways of thinking and doing. And to me, that is where the true value of bilingualism lies! I’d like to hear from you. How has speaking two or more languages added value to your life? Let me know in the comments below!
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 22,518

Honouring Indigenous Peoples

An English quiz in which the user answers language-related questions on the theme of Indigenous peoples.Try our quiz to learn about Indigenous Peoples and test your knowledge of certain points of English too!1. In Canada, the term “” refers to an Indigenous grouping composed of many different nations having their own origin, history and culture, and whose members have called North America home from time immemorial.First Nationsfirst nations2. The epic poem The Song of Hiawatha is based on Ojibwe legends the real Hiawatha was an important Iroquois leader., although. Although,3. Inuktut is the native language of .the Inuit peopleInuit4. Six Nations, the largest reserve in is home to members of all six Iroquois nations.CanadaCanada,5. The word “caribou” comes from the language.Mi’kmaqMickmac6. Michif is the traditional language of the Métis peoples in the Canadian it is mainly a mixture of Cree and French.Prairies;Prairies,7. In Canada, the preferred collective term for Indians, Inuit and Métis is Peoples.AboriginalIndigenous8. The are the largest group of First Nations in Canada.CreesCris9. The Constitution of the Haida Nation states, “Like the forests, the roots of our people are intertwined such that the greatest troubles cannot overcome us.”us”.10. The traditional hunting grounds of the Siksika, or Blackfoot, were the buffalo ranges in Alberta and Montana.Southern, Northernsouthern, northern  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 22,519

Translation: Let’s trust the professionals

An English blog post outlining the reasons you should use the services of a professional translator.Like you, I wouldn’t ask a friend to fix my car just because he likes to tinker, or ask someone to prepare my income tax return just because she’s good with numbers. It’s the same with translation: it’s crucial to entrust your English texts to a professional translator. I live in Toronto, where there are few Francophones and even fewer fluently bilingual people. This state of affairs can result in some pretty comical situations in everyday life, but especially at the office. There are pros and cons of machine translation Reluctant to bother me for “simple” translations, my Anglophone colleagues are increasingly relying on machine translation tools to come up with a quick translation for a sentence. Just hearing the words “machine translation” makes me cringe. Let’s get something straight: machine translation has its advantages, but it has a lot of limitations, too. The software just needs to misinterpret one word, and you end up with a sentence that’s completely absurd. Of all the nonsensical things I’ve ever seen, my favourite is still a website’s home page button, which had been translated into French by the word Domicile instead of Accueil! As you can well imagine, my eyes almost popped out of their sockets when I saw that mistake! Asking a Francophone for help may not be a good idea Maybe some of your colleagues, acquaintances, neighbours and friends speak French as a mother tongue, but that fact doesn’t make them translators! In fact, knowing how to speak French is one thing, but knowing how to write it correctly is something else. And we all know that the French language is full of subtleties, exceptions and traps that turn it into a minefield for anyone who hasn’t mastered it. Bilingual Francophones are not necessarily capable of translating a text, and they don’t necessarily want to, either. Translation isn’t just replacing one word with another We’ve all seen bad translations before. And no one appreciates poor-quality service, even if it was inexpensive. That’s why it’s important to make an informed choice and opt for an experienced translator, with genuine expertise. Canada is lucky enough to have excellent translation associations, including the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario and the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agréés du Québec, as well as many others. I recommend that you use them to find a professional! What does it mean to be a professional translator? What are the characteristics of professional translators? Here’s a short list for your enlightenment, but note that translators do not have to meet all the criteria below to give excellent service. They have studied translation or have equivalent training. They are members of a professional translators’ association. They translate into their mother tongue and have an excellent knowledge of spelling, grammar and syntax. They are experts who translate texts on subjects and in fields they are familiar with, whether architecture, engineering or the arts. This expertise means that they are proficient in a technical language that uses very precise vocabulary, rather than approximate terms. For example, you wouldn’t ask a literary translator to translate a financial statement. They choose correct terminology by using data banks such as TERMIUM Plus® and the Grand dictionnaire terminologique (in French only). They use a wide variety of writing tools. My favourite tools in French are Clés de la rédaction, the Rouleau des prépositions and the Dictionnaire des cooccurrences. They ask questions about the text to make sure they have understood it correctly, and they sometimes find inconsistencies in the source document. And what about you? I’m sure you’ve come across some bad translations yourself … So share some gems with me in the comments section. I’m looking forward to reading them! Translated by: Josephine Versace, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 22,439

10 practical tips to enrich your French vocabulary

An English blog post on 10 tips for increasing your French vocabulary.When we learn a language, especially at school, we study grammar rules and verb conjugations, we memorize sentences and sometimes even word lists. But when the time comes to speak, we may feel unable to express our ideas clearly. Maybe we don’t have enough vocabulary to do so, or maybe the vocabulary we do have isn’t useful in that situation. For example, let’s say you have to give your opinion on city traffic. You know what your view is, but you lack the specific vocabulary to express it. Or let’s take a simpler, everyday example. After many hours of studying French, you want to explain how to prepare one of your favourite recipes. You know the verbs you need for the steps, but you don’t know the words for the ingredients. Or vice versa: you know the words for the ingredients, but not the verbs for the steps. So what can you do to enrich your vocabulary in a practical way, without creating or memorizing word lists? Through my experience as a French teacher and also as a foreign language learner, I’ve discovered a few simple but effective strategies for learning new words. Here are some everyday tips you may find helpful: 1. Read the French version of product labels Here in Canada, we have the wonderful advantage of having the labels of many products written in both official languages, English and French. 2. Make French the display language on your electronic devices Change the language setting to French on your computer, cellphone or tablet. 3. Read the news in French When you read a French newspaper, choose a news article, pick out the important words, and look them up in the dictionary. 4. Write a page in your journal for each of your daily activities For example, if you go to the gym, at the end of your workout, write up a summary to learn the French words for the machines and the muscles you used, and the exercises you did. 5. Check the weather forecast in French Break the ice with any Francophone by using the appropriate words to describe the weather in each season. 6. Find out the French name for your favourite articles of clothing for every season This way, each time you wear those items of clothing, you’ll think of their French name. And you’ll find shopping easier when you visit a Francophone province. 7. Create a Twitter account in French Even if you don’t like social media very much, you can still learn vocabulary for topics that interest you by following the accounts of people, groups and organizations (like the Language Portal of Canada) that matter to you. 8. Add French captions to your photos Why not create an Instagram account specifically to write French captions under your photos? You can also ask your (new) Francophone friends to suggest captions. 9. Enrich your vocabulary through play Click on Jeux sur le vocabulaire (vocabulary quizzes) on the Resources of the Language Portal of Canada website, and you’ll find a variety of quizzes that will help you discover new French words or refresh your memory of old ones. 10. Research vocabulary related to a topic that interests you TERMIUM Plus®, a terminology and linguistic data bank, lists numerous terms by subject field. That really helps in retaining concepts and applying them in everyday life. Now, it’s your turn! What tips would you add to this list? In the Comments section, share your ideas (or your friends’ ideas) for learning new vocabulary. Thanks in advance! Translated by Josephine Versace, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
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