For your Valentine: An Italian Love Song

Ti Amo, Italian

Ti Amo!

Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, we’ve become very sentimental at STAR Translation today.

One of our Project Managers wanted to share a verse from a favourite song of hers to spread the message of love to all of you out there.

Give it a go; try to read the Italian…

Original, Italian Version

Io ti cercherò negli occhi delle donne
che nel mondo incontrero’
e dentro quegli sguardi mi ricordero’ di noi…
chissa’ se si chiamava amore…

English Translation:

“I will look for you in all the women’s eyes
that I’ll meet in the world, and in their eyes I will remember us
Who knows if we could call that love.”

By Lorenzo Jovanotti, Io ti cercherò

Listen out for the lyrics (above) in Jovanotti’s song:

Do you have a favourite love song, poem or quote you’d like to share with us? Post it in the comments below. We’d love to hear it!

The STAR Team

Say I love you in different languages this Valentine’s Day

I love you

Say I love you in different languages this Valentine’s Day

Observed on the 14th of February, Valentine’s Day is a day for all the lovers in the world to express their love for one another by offering flowers, sending greetings cards and exchanging gifts and confectionery.

This most intimate day of the year goes back to the High Middle Ages (often in reference to romantic love) when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Courtly love was a medieval Europe conception of love based on chivalry and nobility. Then, in the 18th century, it slowly evolved into the Valentine’s we know today.

In the early 19th century, handwritten letters were given to admired ones. Not only adults but children once received Valentine’s symbols, typically heart-shaped keys, to unlock the giver’s heart.

This year’s Valentine’s Day will be no exception. What will you do to mark the occasion with your loved ones?

Download our poster on how to say “I love you” in 5 romantic languages.

And learn how to pronounce them in many other languages for your Valentine.

The STAR Team

Chinese New Year: Year of the Sheep

Chinese New Year, Year of the Goat

Chinese New Year: Year of the Goat

Preparations are taking place across Dublin and around the world for the Chinese New Year, which will kick off on the 19th of February. It’s one of the longest festival in the Chinese calendar running through to the 24th of February. Celebrations begin on Chinese New Year’s eve and last through to the end of the month in the Chinese calendar.

Sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival, a centuries old tradition that played a significant role in Chinese myths and legends. The holiday is ingrained in its people’s customs and is one of the most important festivals with annual celebrations taking place in chinatowns are the world.

This year marks the year of the sheep, or goat to some.

The Goat is the eighth sign of a twelve-year cycle of animals (mnemonics for the calendar system)  in the Chinese zodiac, which in turn is related to the Chinese calendar and other festival celebrations. But not only that; those born in the year of the goat are said to resemble the traits of the animal, or any other animal as part of the Chinese zodiac.

Years Of The Goat / Sheep | Chinese Calendar

Start Date End Date Heavenly Branch
13th February 1907 1st February 1908 Fire Goat
1st February 1931 5th February 1932 Earth Goat
17th February 1919 19th February 1392 Metal Goat
5th February 1943 24th January 1944 Water Goat
24th January 1955 11th February 1956 Wood Goat
9th February 1967 22th January 1968 Fire Goat
28th January 1979 15th February 1980 Earth Goat
15th February 1991 3rd February 1992 Metal Goat
1st February 2003 21th February 2004 Water Goat
19th February 2015 7th February 2016 Wood Goat
6th February 2027 25th January 2028 Fire Goat
24th January 2039 11th Feb 2040 Earth Goat
11th February 2051 31 January 2052 Metal Goat

What’s your animal in the Chinese zodiac? And do you refer to it as the year of the sheep or the year of the goat? Let us know in the comments below.

Download our Chinese New Year: Year of the Goat / Sheep poster!

The STAR Team

How Nintendo’s Mario Became Wario

Wario by Nintendo

Wario by Nintendo ©2007

How does a little translation change a game character?

Game players around the world love Mario and his antagonist, Wario. Although Wario isn’t a bad guy; he’s just a baddish, tougher version of Mario!

But how did Nintendo come up with the name Wario? Actually there are a couple of interesting facts around this.

The first and simplest explanation, of course, is that they wanted Mario’s competitor to be the exact opposite to him: a “bad” Mario.  This is why the characters look alike. In coming up with the name, they considered using a similar name to Mario. How could you make the name Mario sound bad?

Second explanation: in Japanese (Mario was invented in Japan), the phrase “warui” (悪い) means “bad”. Simply changing M to W gives you “Wario”, which sounds similar to warui. A little translation and a play-on-words gives you a new name.

Thus, “Bad Mario” or “Wario” was born.

Trivia: Wario first appeared in the 1992 title Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins for the Game Boy.

The STAR Team

Google: Augmented Reality & Real-Time Translation

Machine Translation

New tech in machine translation

In January, Google released new features to its translate app.

Available on both iOS and Android platforms, the app can make on-the-spot translations using its Word Lens tool and text translations by inputting words or sentences manually. But this year, the app was updated with voice translation functions in 36 languages. Users can tap the mic button in the app and begin talking. It recognises multiple users and the language being spoken. Once the languages have been recognised, the app is ready is translate without the need to tap the mic button again. Impressive!

Word Lens

Word Lens tool from Google

Word Lens tool from Google

The Word Lens tool in the Google Translate app allowed user to take a photo of a piece of text, a road sign etc. and translate it accordingly. Now, all the user has to do it point the phone’s camera towards the object and see the translated text overlaid on their screen. This is referred to as augmented reality and Google acquired the technology in May last year when they bought the California-based tech firm, “Quest Visual“.

Prior to the augmented reality tech, the app required a data connection to fulfill a request to translate. But now, that’s not an issue. Word Lens can also translate from English to and from German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Russian.

Closer to the Future

These futuristic features take us closer to turning our phones into something like the universal translators out of a Star Trek movie. Closer to a new age where language is no longer a social barrier for communicating new ideas, and to one another.

Often the hardest part of travelling is navigating the local language“, states Google Translate’s product lead Barak Turovsky. “Now Google Translate can be your guide in new ways…

Are you using it? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

The STAR Team

How Big is a Global Company?

Big Companies

How big is a big company?

There are many interesting facts we come across in our business dealings with global companies.

An interesting question is what exactly does it mean to be a global company? STAR Translation has 44 offices on 5 continents and employs some 900 people. Are we a big company?

For fun, we had a look at one of the largest brands in the world, that is, “McDonald’s”. McDonald’s has an astonishing 36,302 stores in 119 countries. That’s truly global! In fact, it’s hard to find a country without one: McDonald’s-less nations!

The company employs some 1,924,035 people. Imagine trying to manage that! Taking into consideration that each country has its own laws, cultures etc. It’s certainly amazing how they keep their brand consistent throughout the world. If you go to a McDonald’s in France, the experience is virtually the same as a McDonald’s branch in the USA. Their management systems are commendable.

They serve some 60 million customers every day.

Aside from McDonald’s, who else has the largest number of employees in the world?

According to Wikipedia, the largest employer in the world is the US Department of Defence, or “defense”, as an American would spell it, with approximately 3.2 million members of staff. If we just look at commercial companies however, Walmart wins hands down with 2.2 million employees. It’s interesting that Walmart is similar in size to the US Army.

And outside the US, the two largest employers in the UK are Tesco (597,784) and the private security company, G4S with 620,000.

How does your business stack up?

Some interesting facts:

  • Fun McDonald’s facts
  • McDonald’s sells more than 75 hamburgers every second
  • If you’re a production manager consider this: “Americans alone consume one billion pounds of beef at McDonald’s in a year — five and a half million head of cattle.”

Source: Business Insider
The STAR Team

Duolingo — Free App Brings Classrooms Online

Language Learning

App brings online learning to classrooms

A new app that has been on the market for over two years will help schoolchildren learn a new language, for free!

In developing countries like Malaysia, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, learning a new language such as English is seen as a ticket out of poverty. Well, at least a certain level of proficiency. The need for English language teachers is unquestionable. However, despite the demand, English teachers in these countries cannot speak English either.

For two developers, and co-founders of the popular app, Duolingo, Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker, believe it could aid language learners where resources are limited.

Duolingo first appeared on the App Store over two and a half years ago and today is holds an estimated 60 million users worldwide. But it’s not just benefiting those where access to good education is a problem; von Ahn sees it as a language educational tool for classrooms the world over.

With this in mind, von Ahn and his colleague Hacker are launching a new platform, ‘Duolingo for Schools’: an app that will enable teachers to track students’ progress and activity, and subsequently tailor lectures and classroom exercises.

“It’s hard to know how many, but we think right now we have a few thousand teachers using Duolingo without this feature. I think this will multiply that by a factor of ten easily,” von Ahn states.

Duolingo’s success is down to an increase in the activity of online learning, and the fact that it’s perceived by many that you can get a quality education for free online; an idea that has gone mainstream as the online learning space swells with newer and better learning apps, and even learning games!

Making money for free!

How does a free app pay the bills? The co-founders developed a business model to help pay for the free service. After a student finishes a lesson in Duolingo, they can test how much they have acquired by translating a piece of text in a news article or the like. With companies like Buzzfeed and CNN who pay Duolingo for these crowdsourced translations, according to von Ahn, it is Duolingo’s millions of students who churn out several hundred articles a day.

With all these advantages, some language academics have cautioned the use of apps like Duolingo, saying it can never replace the teacher, or the textbook, particularly at the university level.

“You can review vocabulary and practice verb forms, but it’s not giving you any cultural context.”

“You can review vocabulary and practice verb forms, but it’s not giving you any cultural context,” says Elise Mueller who’s an academic technology consultant specializing in language teaching and technology at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Whether or not Duolingo was designed for the classroom, teachers started incorporating it into their curriculum and since the original app wasn’t designed for this, teachers have had to make some unconventional workarounds. But ‘Duolingo for Schools’ will change all that.

Do you use Duolingo? If not, would you consider learning a new language through it? Let us know in the comments below.

The STAR Team

Source: Wired

Medical Miscommunication

Medical Miscommunication

Medical Miscommunication

From Poor Handwriting to Google Translate

Doctors’ handwriting had always been considered a menace around medical wards and general practices until recently a new one surfaced: Google Translate.

Anyone who has ever resorted to using Google’s alternative machine translation tool, even for non-medical reasons, knows what confusion it can cause.And yet this hasn’t discouraged medical staff from using GT during treatments. Typically, medics have to make quick decisions about a patient’s condition where no interpreters are present. In rolls Google Translate. It’s quick and easy so medical staff could get the gist of what their foreign national patients were saying.

Lost in Translation

A survey was carried out for the purpose of understanding what GT would return after translating 10 common medical phrases. The auto-translated phrases were then back translated by native human speakers of those languages — the results revealed all sorts of horrors. In one particular case, the medical English word “fitting”, a past participle of “to have seizures” was used: a mistranslation by medical staff whereby the English read, “your child is fitting”, in Swahili, it became “your child is dead”.

Another slightly less terrifying one was the Polish translation of a suggestion offered to relatives of a patient who either deceased, or nearly — “your husband has the opportunity to donate his organs”. To Google Translate and this in turn becomes, “your husband can donate his tools”!

Many other phrases churned out almost poetic translations such as one into Marathi (an Indian language) which read, “your husband had a cardiac arrest”. GT came out with, “your husband had an imprisonment of the heart”. In Bengali, the phrase, “your wife needs to be ventilated” resulted in, “your wife wind movement needed”. Imagining doctors and nurses alike repeating these poetic phrases adds a little humour. Perhaps not so much for the patients and their families.

Google Translate cannot recognise the context of the sentence or phrase it is translating, which results in mistranslations. Anybody relying on GT for formal communication may well find themselves in trouble, despite the hilarity of some of its flaws.

Have you ever come across any embarrassing mistranslations? Share your stories with us in the comments below.

The STAR Team