English is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Just how good are we in using it though? Most of the time we’re all really good, but there are a few words that just drive us all mad and we constantly mix them up.
As we proofread documents we come across a lot of common misunderstandings in the use of certain English words.
Here is a little infographic we designed to help eliminate some of the common errors we come across everyday.
Did we miss anything? Drop us a line with your favourite errors.
How good are you?
Infographic - 7 common English mistakes
STAR Translation Services provides proofreading services in multiple languages.
A common topic we often discuss with clients is their website ranking. They come to us saying they are not getting traffic and are not sure about translation as how will the know if the translated site will get traffic as well?
STAR can help you with your international web traffic, but lets just look at English websites for now as its the perfect starting point. SEO and web ranking is a bit of a black art, there is magic and there is some science involved. However the average user can get some basic information themselves to gauge whats going on. One such free system is Alexa.Com.
Alexa.Com is own and managed by Amazon.com so you know they have a good reputation. Its not 100% perfect so you have to take it with a pinch of salt as they say in English.
Alexa tracks users who use their system (free toolbar etc) to search the internet. So its a measure of how popular your site is within their users.
So the good side is, is that the system is consistent – you get consistent results from a portion of the internet users worldwide. For any good webmaster or SEO guru that is good enough for you to track whether your traffic is improving or not. You should track this every month and see how you are doing.It can take up to 90 days for some web changes to impact your SEO ranking.
Did you know it typically takes about 90 days for any major change to your website to appear on Google
To use the system you just go to the site rank page and enter your websites URL.
It will tell you roughly what keywords are being used to find your site, how many inbound links you have and your overall traffic ranking.
Next time we’ll discuss multilingual SEO and how STAR can help you deliver your website the right language to drive more business to your website.
One of the things we find amusing is how machine translation can make some really silly mistakes. A common misunderstanding is that translation is just about words however context is very important in understanding exactly what the words mean.
Machine translation engines provide free translation, but the quality is often very bad. They translate words and phrases but can never perform like a human in understanding the text. Here are some fun examples we’ve found in our own research.
“A School of Fish was spotted in the sea”
The translation above literally means that a school (schools where kids go) full of fish was in the sea. In French the word école means a physical school. They don’t have the term “school of fish” in French. We also translated – Sharks swim in schools and got the same result. Sharks swim in colleges!
The translation is thus taken out of context since the right phrase to translate “a school of fish” would have been “un banc de poisson”. Google and all the other machine translation engines we tested made the same mistake.
Some French Machine Translation Errors
A interesting french idiom is “Se faire la belle”, which means to run away and not to make beautiful!.
Another similar idiom would be to “To take french leave”, which describes when a guest leaves a party without informing their hosts.
Google translates this as “Pour prendre un congé françaises” which means – to take French holidays and we won’t say anything else about the grammar mistake.
The correct translation is “Filer à l’anglaise“.
Amanda at http://www.spiderworking.com spotted this one for us using Facebook’s translation with Bing. The Japanese user was discussing Scotland but we’ve no idea what the translation is meant to say.
Have you good examples of mistranslation – we would love to see them. You can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Translation Mistakes”, so add them below in our comments sections.
When it comes to communication in any language – context is really important. For good translation it is important to always let your translators know the context of the text you have provided for translation. When I talk about “arms” are the connected to people or bullets?
The Two Ronnies where masters in understanding English usage and context in comedy. The famous 4 candles sketch is simply about context. It is a clear illustration of how the context is important when translating. Machine translation (free translation on the internet) still delivers bad translations because of its inability to identify context; this is the reason why most mistakes made by machine translation are so funny.
Why is the context important?
Context- The context influences the meaning of a phrase or a sentence. It is linked to the environment in which the communication takes place. In translation the context is very important. One word may mean a different thing depending the context in which it is used.
Understanding- To translate you need to understand the text. A good understanding is the key to an efficient translation. A sentence or a text is composed of words and phrases – but it requires thought, comparing the sentences around it to fully understand its meaning.
Translation- Translation has to take into account the industry or field the document is used and with what it deals with. Translation/language can be different related to specific fields. The context can be technical, medical, legislative etc.
Specialization- Being able to translate specialized documentation means the translator has to have specific skills in order to understand the context and how to phrase a translation. That means that translators need to be specialized in a specific field to translate correctly. You need to understand engines for example to describe them. Knowing an engine is power by combustion and a motor by electrical power – would mean you would automatically use different words to describe how power is supplied to them.
This short English grammar lesson will help you to choose correctly between “who’s” and “whose”.
“Who’s” is the contracted form of who is or less commonly who has.
Example: “Who’s working today?” can also be written like this “Who is working today?”
“Whose” is the possessive form of who. It means “of whom” or “belonging to whom”.
Examples: “Whose translation is this?”
We find the easiest way to deal with contractions is that when you see the ‘s just expand it in your head. It’s the same with “its and it’s”. When you expand and read it in your head it’s much easier to decide which word is correct.
Did you know that STAR provides English proofreading services to our clients? People think of translation companies as only doing “foreign language” work. We can actually proofread any language and English is one of them
A recent survey reveals that smartphones are having a real impact on Irish way of life. The use of basic mobiles phones have already changed Irish daily behavior. As they are handy and easy to carry people use them everywhere: at home, on the go or even at a social gathering. Some figures show that:
49% of the Irish population own a smartphone
A increase of 71% by the end of 2012
95% of the users use their smartphone at home whereas 26% use it at school.
25% are not addicted to smartphones since 75% can’t leave the house without it.
67% think that smartphones are good to pass the time away while waiting. I may be part of the 33% that prefer Sudoku or magazines for they are far cheaper.
50% think they are a modern person and feel that they should have the Internet on their mobile. So does it mean that the remaining 50% should consider themselves out out-dated.
77% use their smartphone to take photography. So are professional photographers becoming an endangered species right now?
Irish smartphone users are multitasking. Indeed, they use it while listening to music, watching TV or browsing on the internet.
They mainly use it to communicate (83%), to stay informed (61%) or for entertainment (89%)
Obviously networking is one of the most popular activities since 86% of users update and visit their social networks on their phone.
Regarding apps, people have about 29 of them installed on their smartphones with about 9 paid apps installed. 43% will use more apps in the future.
The German Association Initiative Mittelstand, supported by the German Federal Commission for Information Technologies and IBM Deutschland GmbH, has recently awarded STAR Group with the IT Innovation Prize, for its application GRIPS, selected from over 2,500 entries.
This award acknowledges STAR Group’s constant commitment to innovation, a synonym for competitiveness beyond translation services in such fields as the development of content management systems. STAR is a world leader in corporate language management systems.
GRIPS is a state-of-the-art tool for the management and automated publication of technical information, created to support the entire process of information processing. BMW Motorrad, Ferrari, Evobus, Hilti, GDELS Mowag or Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH are some of the renowned companies that trust GRIPS information management system.
GRIPS is based on XML format matrix storage of technical information, allowing the synchronization of the technical information production process with the design and product development processes. GRIPS eases technical copy-writing-related tasks, while minimizing the risk of struggling with incoherence and redundancy errors, thus reducing significantly updating, translation and publishing costs.
Translation Planning: National Aboriginal Day 21th June – Canada
Most companies will be closed in Canada 21th of June for National Aboriginal Day. Projects will be delivered on time as scheduled. Please take into consideration for all translation and export planning.
“Between” would be used for two elements and “among” would be used for three or more elements.
We use “among” when something is in a group or a crowd of people and we use “between” when it’s two things.
They discussed the issue “among” the group, or, let them talk “among” themselves.
They bought the house “between” them, or, I will be able to choose “Between” French and Italian for my first language to study.
Some people would use both “among” and “between” about two people and they could use it for three and more people depending on how they write or say it.