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Should the US adopt Spanish as a Second Language?

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Se_habla_espanol_by_templarioart

Spanish is the second most-common language in the United States. There are 45 million Hispanics who speak Spanish in the United States, making it the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking community. German, Italian, Polish, Russian and Greek are also spoken among older generations of immigrants. Also spoken are Tagalog, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. And let’s not forget that there is also a small population of Native Americans who still speak their native languages.

However, it may surprise you to learn that the United States does not have an official language, even though the majority of the population speaks English. According to an ACLU briefing paper, the proposal was “rejected as undemocratic and a threat to individual liberty” by the Continental Congress. Needless to say, the proposal of any official language in the United States is simply out of the questions.

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Glossary of Neutral Spanish – Part 2

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

This is part 2 from the previous post. Included here are terms in Neutral Spanish from letters C to E. I’d like to remind you that this list is specifically for subtitling and voice over; there may be different options. Feel free to leave your comments or suggestions to add to the list.

cabello (hair)
cafetería (coffee shop, café, cafeteria)
calcetines   (socks)
calle  (block)
camarero  (waiter)
cantinero  (bartender)
carretera (route)
cartera (wallet, billfold)
club de desnudistas (strip joint/bar)
cojín (cushion)
col (cabbage)
columpio   (swing)
computadora (computer, PC)
condón (condom)
conducir (drive)
consentir (pamper, spoil, mollycoddle)
costoso (expensive, costly, dear)
cubo (bucket)
chaqueta, abrigo (jacket)
chispas de chocolate (chocolate chips)
demorar (take long)
deprisa, velozmente  (quickly)
derramar  (spill)
desdichado (miserable)
desnudista (stripper)
detener, detenerse (stop)
dinero (money)
dulce (candy, sweet)
ebrio (drunken)
económico, poco costoso (cheap)
echar de menos, echar en falta (miss)
el biquini   (bikini)
elevador (elevator, lift)
emparedado (sandwich)
enfadado  (angry, upset)
enseñar/mostrar (show)
enviar (send)
escoger (choose, pick)
escuela (school)

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(To be continued…)

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Glossary of Neutral Spanish – Part 1

Friday, November 20th, 2009
Here an additional note on Neutral Spanish. I’d like to share with you the first part of a list of neutral terms (not exclusive), complied for the use of the movie industry, mainly for subtitling and voice over. As I mentioned in a previous article, these terms are only a standardized version, that is, the translation most commonly used by the largest amount of people. There are other possible translations.
Some terms might sound strange and you might think that “yours” is the better word. In other cases, you’ll think it’s strange that you already use what’s considered to be “neutral”. Whenever you need to translate into neutral Spanish, you should look for a term that has the same meaning for an Ecuadorian, Uruguayan, Hispanic speaker in the United States and Spain. Even if a word sounds more lindo, chulo, mono, majo o rico than the other, you should choose the “prettier” one, el más bonito.
This list can help you with this task. Here is the first part (letters A and B):
acera  (sidewalk, pavement)
adinerado  (rich)
afortunado  (lucky)
aguacate  (avocado)
aguardar  (wait)
alardear  (brag)
alcalde  (Mayor)
amar  (love)
amarrar  (tie, tie up)
anciano  (old person)
apartamento  (apartment, flat)
apenado  ( embarrassed)
apodo  (nickname)
apresurarse, darse prisa (hurry)
arete  (earring)
atemorizar (to scare)
ático, desván (attic)
atrapar, sujetar, tomar, asir  (catch, grab, hold, take)
automóvil  (car, automobile)
autobús  (bus)
ayuntamiento  (city hall)
barbacoa  (barbecue)
barbilla  (chin)
barniz de uñas  (nail polish, nail barnish)
batería  (battery)
beber  (drink)
biberón (bottle [baby])
blusa  (blouse, shirt)
boda  (wedding)
boleto  (ticket, plane ticket)
bolos  (bowling [game])
bolso  (purse, handbag)
bonito  (pretty, cute, nice)
bragas  (panties, knickers)
brincar  (jump)
We’ll continue with this later.

An additional note on Neutral Spanish. I’d like to share with you the first part of a list of neutral terms (not exclusive), complied for the use of the movie industry, mainly for subtitling and voice over. As I mentioned in a previous article, these terms are only a standardized version, that is, the translation most commonly used by the largest amount of people. There are other possible translations.

pelicula_portada

Some terms might sound strange and you might think that “yours” is the better word. In other cases, you’ll think it strange that you already use what’s considered to be “neutral”. Whenever you need to translate into Neutral Spanish, you should look for a term that has the same meaning for an Ecuadorian, Uruguayan and Hispanic speaker in the United States and Spain. Even if a word sounds more lindo, chulo, mono, majo or rico than the other, you should choose el más bonito (the “prettier” one).

This list can help you with this task. Here’s the first part (letters A and B):

acera  (sidewalk, pavement)
adinerado  (rich)
afortunado  (lucky)
aguacate  (avocado)
aguardar  (wait)
alardear  (brag)
alcalde  (Mayor)
amar  (love)
amarrar  (tie, tie up)
anciano  (old person)
apartamento  (apartment, flat)
apenado  (embarrassed)
apodo  (nickname)
apresurarse, darse prisa (hurry)
arete  (earring)
atemorizar (to scare)
ático, desván (attic)
atrapar, sujetar, tomar, asir  (catch, grab, hold, take)
automóvil  (car, automobile)
autobús  (bus)
ayuntamiento  (city hall)
barbacoa  (barbecue)
barbilla  (chin)
barniz de uñas  (nail polish, nail barnish)
batería  (battery)
beber  (drink)
biberón (bottle [baby])
blusa  (blouse, shirt)
boda  (wedding)
boleto  (ticket, plane ticket)
bolos  (bowling [game])
bolso  (purse, handbag)
bonito  (pretty, cute, nice)
bragas  (panties, knickers)
brincar  (jump)

We’ll continue with this later.

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Machine Translation Plays the Telephone Game

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Remember the Telephone Game? Most of you probably remember it from childhood. You would whisper a short sentence into someone’s ear and so on until it went full circle. When the message reached the last person it was totally different from the original and it had everyone laughing out loud. You’re probably thinking, “Yes, I remember that game. But what does it have to do with Machine Translation?” Machine Translation is playing a fast-growing role in the translation industry. Some companies admit that it’s only partially effective (some say 70%); I beg to differ. Let’s play the Telephone Game and see what happens after 10 consecutive translations of the same text.

If you have a text you need translated, we recommend professional translation services from our company, Trusted Translations.

Lost-in-Translation

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Neutral Spanish

Friday, November 13th, 2009

To wrap up my previous post, I’d like to make a brief comment on this subject.

A translation targeted towards different Spanish speaking regions or countries should be translated into “Neutral Spanish”. As I mentioned before, it’s very important that the client be aware of this. What we’re talking about is a standardized version of Spanish, especially in terms of vocabulary, so that all Spanish speakers can understand its meaning. We already established that there is only one Spanish language, but it’s spoken differently throughout the world. Grammar -the syntax itself will be basically the same regardless of any variations. But the choice of certain terms and idioms (phrases, loanwords, sayings, idiomatic phrases, etc.) will need to be adapted in order to reach a middle ground. The use of the RAE Spanish dictionary (Royal Spanish Academy) is essential. This is the bible and guide for translators in search of what Wikipedia defines as “a version that tries to avoid terms that may be identified with specific countries (“ordenador” is most used in Spain while “computadora” in turn is used in America) or linguistic regional phenomena (the Latin American voseo)…”.

DRAE

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TRYING TO KEEP SPANISH PURE IN THE U.S.

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

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Can anyone stop the ever growing Spanglish movement in the U.S.? After all, Spanglish is not a language but rather people who speak English and Spanish badly. The North American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE, for its initials in Spanish) has taken on this challenge. Seen by some as the “language police”, the Academy has teamed up with the U.S. government to improve and standardize the use of Spanish particularly in government public service communications. Their mission is to help implement the use of correct Spanish for the 40 million Hispanics living in the U.S.

For more information, please visit: www.nydailynews.com/latino/2009/05/14/2009-05-14_academy_to_become_spanish_inquisitor_.html

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Accuracy: Professional Translators Make a Difference

Friday, November 6th, 2009

It is commonly believed that any bilingual person can translate. However most fail at written translations. This is because such informal translation is oral, not written. For an informal translator, any translation which communicates the main idea of the message suffices. But in a professional translation, the original document must be understood thoroughly and accurately. There are professional standards which a translator needs to follow. And while bilingual interference may not be as important in an informal translation, it is a serious problem in professional translation. Later I’ll continue on the subject by talking about the importance of Consistency.

GarfieldInterpreter

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