International Day of La Francophonie

International Organisation of the Francophonie

International Organisation of the Francophonie

Celebrate the International Day of the Francophonie (Journée internationale de la Francophonie) with us! Our office in Dublin employs skilled native French project managers among other nationalities. Therefore, in honour of the French language and culture and to appreciate our French team in-house, we would like to give you a little background information on this day.

The Organisation

The International Organisation of the Francophonie (IOF) is an organisation responsible for the promotion of not just the French language and culture, but humanist values: democracy and human rights, throughout the world. Its head office is based in Paris and it has four permanent representations in:

  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (the African Union and at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa)
  • Brussels, Belgium (the EU)
  • New York, USA
  • Geneva, Switzerland (the UN)

Also, the IOF has three regional offices located in West Africa; Central Africa and Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific). Each office is located in Lomé (Togo), Libreville (Gabon) and Hanoi (Vietnam), respectively. And with an additional two regional antennas in Bucharest, Romania and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The French Speaking World

Observed annually on the 20th of March, the International Organisation of La Francophonie was created in 1970.

Its mission is to embody the active solidarity between its 80 member states and governments (57 members and 23 observers)

Their website aims at enabling its users to:

  • Discover the extent of the IOF’s vitality and wealth, its diverse cultures, accents and partner languages
  • Inform of the IOF’s latest political activities and to promote peace, democracy and human rights worldwide
  • Learn about the cooperative measures to promote the French language, cultural diversity, sustainable development, education and training
  • Surf the Web more easily using RSS feeds and to discover all the French language resources available online
  • Access a database comprising thousands of photos, videos and audio content

Visit the International Organisation of La Francophonie for all the latest information.

Francophonie in Ireland!

The French Embassy in Ireland has a page dedicated to the IOF. There, you can discover events happening around the country involving the French language and culture.

Interested in the French language? Then why not leave us a comment in French!

You can also engage with others on Twitter using #francophonie.

The STAR Team

Saint Patrick’s Day 2015

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

This year’s Saint Patrick’s festival will kick off on Saturday 14th of March up to the day itself on the 17th of March.

The Irish government established the festival of Saint Patrick’s in November 1995. Their aim was to be among the greatest Saint Patrick’s festivals that take place around the world. One of which that the ‘owners’ of St. Patrick’s Day (and the festival alike), the Irish people, could be proud.

Saint Patrick’s is the only national holiday that is celebrated in more countries than any other. It’s a day when everybody, no matter what background, wants to be Irish!

Why the festival was established

Patrick’s Day and festival was started to rank among all of the greatest celebrations in the world. Just as the Chinese New Year is celebrated the world over, so too is Patrick’s Day. The festival creates an excitement throughout Ireland and inspires innovation, creativity, grassroots involvement, and marketing activity for all businesses.

It helps involve, provide opportunity and motivation for all those who claim Irish descent, and those who sometimes wish they were Irish, to attend and join in the imaginative and expressive celebrations. The festival aims at projecting an accurate image of Ireland to the world, and one that is seen as a creative, professional and sophisticated country that can appeal to everyone.

Plan your Saint Patrick’s Day & Festival with the numerous events taking place throughout Ireland. As usual, the Saint Patrick’s Day parade comes to life on the 17th of March.

Useful Irish Language Resources

We have lots of free Irish language phrases for you to start learning:

Get a quote on Irish Translation Services for you next project.

The STAR Team

Know your Irish Public Holidays

STAR Celebrates International Women’s Day

Women of STAR Translation

The Women of STAR Translation, Dublin. Left to right: Serena, Ana, Fabienne, Lucie, Justyna, Imelda, Uriell & Elise

On the 8th of March, businesses and governments will celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s a day set in place to respect the contributions and achievements women workers have made in the past and in the modern world today.

Many countries celebrate and appreciate the various economic, political and social achievements all women have made to society.

The Women of STAR Translation

In honour of International Women’s Day, STAR Translation wants to promote the awareness of how important it is to have women in the workplace. The majority of our team of project managers are professional, skilled women. They work with our customers and translators to deliver quality translation services everyday. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #MakeItHappen. Show your support for Women and equality in the workplace!

The History

Although the day itself has many varying beginnings, the first ever recorded occurrence of a Women’s Day took place on the 28th of February 1909 in New York City. It was organised by the Socialist Party of America, and was primarily in remembrance to a similar strike a year earlier in 1908 by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. All other marches, protests, conferences and strikes that followed the precursor of 1909 were never held on the 8th of March.

On the lead up to 1914, not one Women’s Day celebration happened on the 8th of March. However, in 1914, International Women’s Day was held on the 8th of March, possibly because that day happened to be a Sunday.

All Western countries mark the 8th of March as International Women’s Day. The 1914 observance of the Day in Germany was dedicated to women’s right to vote, which the German women did not win until 1918. During the early 20th century, many women fought hard for their rights as equal citizens. At STAR, we want to show our support for women in the workforce.

Women’s Rights

The United Nations has a dedicated website on Women’s Rights, its history and what’s happening now. You can also get involved in Women’s Rights through the official International Women’s Day website.

The STAR Team

Sweden Sans — National Font for a Modern Country

Sweden Sans

Sweden Sans Typeface

Swedish designers were given the task of creating a national font and they called it Sweden Sans.

A design agency in Stockholm was commissioned to create a typeface to be used by the Swedish government and corporations. Taking national identity to the next level.

Sweden Sans

The designers were handed a brief to come up with a new font that would replace the various ones used on the sites of government ministries, agencies and corporations. The idea is to integrate the nation’s public information into one visual brand identity. The font had to be “fresh and dynamic”, representing Sweden to the world.

For one designer, “it was a big responsibility to be representing our country, but we were really proud to be asked,” said Stefan Hattenbach from the Söderhavet design agency in Stockholm. “Aesthetics are very important in Sweden and we have a long tradition of great architecture, furniture and design — so this was the natural next step.”

Joined with him was head of design at Söderhavet, Jesper Robinell; “we started to think about how it would work with different typefaces, then started mood boards with different fonts and pictures – especially of old Swedish signs we’d seen from the 1940s and 50s.” The pair started looking at the Swedish national flag, that yellow Scandinavian cross against a bright blue background (used since the 1600s). Combining their sketches with modern electro music, to disco and even Bob Marley.

After about six months of designing, they had drafted a modern, geometric font based on the normal sans-serif but with a few stylish tweaks to it.

“We have an expression in Swedish, lagom“, states Robinell, “which means ‘not too much and not too little’, something in the middle that means you’re content. We Swedes are happy with that. And lagom is what we’ve aimed for with Sweden Sans.”

The Q

Both pointing out that they’re really pleased with the look of the letter Q, in particular. “It has a tail”, they mention.

“It’s all about Scandinavian minimalism. If they notice the typeface too much, it hasn’t worked.” The agency has also received other design briefs from other countries looking for something similar, but they didn’t go into detail: “We can’t name names,” Hattenbach states, “as the projects are still in their first phases, but we’re currently ‘in discussions’ to do much more nation branding in future.”

We love the new Sweden Sans font and the idea behind it. What are your thoughts on it, and a nation having a brand identity?

The STAR Team

Source: The Guardian

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

This year’s Seachtain na Gaeilge, also known as SnaG (Irish Language Week), runs from the 1st to the 17th of March.

SnaG is one of the biggest festivals of our national language and culture in Ireland. It runs up to Saint Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March, and is celebrated in many other countries.

What’s on?

As of the 1st of March:

  • Irish week at Blackrock Castle Observatory
  • Irish films at the IFI, Temple Bar, Dublin city
  • Placename exhibition, Gorey, Wexford
  • Irish Alphabet, botanical art exhibition, Bunclody, Wexford
  • Storytelling with Seó Ó Maolalaí, Halla Contae Fhine Gall

For a full list of the many events taking place around the country, visit the official SnaG website.

About the Festival

Anyone can take part in the hundred of events organised around the country. If you’re enthusiastic about the Irish language and eager to increase your knowledge of it, then find out what events are planned in your local area. Since local authorities and volunteers run many events, there’s sure to be one in your vicinity.

No matter what grade of Irish speaker you are: fluent, learner or a novice, there are numerous entertaining and fun events to suit all ages and walks of life.

Croí na teanga — it’s you!

You can get involved with voluntary and community groups, local authorities, schools, libraries, and music, sports, arts and culture organisations; help organise events for SnaG in your area.

Why is SnaG running for two weeks?

Seachtain na Gaeilge was established in 1902 and is an annual festival in celebration of the Irish language and culture. It’s a widely recognised brand name and understood across Ireland. Its festivals have grown from strength-to-strength in recent years, thus the festival’s duration has grown from a week to up to two weeks. Since Seachtain na Gaeilge is the original brand name, it had been decided that it felt right to keep it!

Are you interested in the Irish language or Irish culture? Leave us a comment in Irish to test your skills.

The STAR Team

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