Sep 18 2014

Great Scots! Yes or No, Languages Stay Together

Great Scots!

Great Scots!

Today, 18th of September, all Scottish people head to the polling stations to cast their utmost important votes. Their votes will decide the future of the United Kingdom as a whole. Will Scotland become an independent state?

Regardless or the result of the vote today #indyref, #voteyes, #voteno, both the English and Scottish languages will stay together! There will always be a Scots legacy in England.

With a media frenzy gathering pace throughout and all eyes on Scotland, we decided to look at some peculiar words in the English language that have their origins in Scottish Gaelic and Scots.

Scottish Gaelic

Before we proceed, you probably noticed that we mentioned Scottish Gaelic and Scots. Aren’t they the same? Not at all. Scottish Gaelic or Gàidhlig is in the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. It’s indigenous to Scotland. Scottish Gaelic derived from Middle Irish during the 10th to 12th centuries and thus, is descended from Old Irish. Other notable languages in the Goidelic family are Manx and Irish (no surprise there!).


Scots or Scots language is a variety of Gaelic spoken in the lowlands of Scotland and parts of Ulster (Northern Ireland). Scholars and linguistic experts have been debating over the linguistic status and social significance of Scots. Is it a language or a dialect? There is no universally accepted criteria to distinguish a language from a dialect so they’ll be arguing about it for some time to come.

The Words

Scots English Meaning
Clan (also clann) originally from Gaelic: “family”; children, progeny, offspring, even tribe
Haver / Haiver to talk in a foolish manner, to talk nonsense
Bonnie (also bonny) originally from French: “bon” meaning good; attractive, pretty, applies to both genders
Laddie a young boy; adolescent male
Lassie a young girl; adolescent female
Plaid (also plaide) originally from Gaelic: “blanket”; to fold [past participle of ply, giving to 'plied' based on Scots' pronunciation]
Tweed a cloth woven in a twilled pattern

Of course, there are many other Scots words in use in the English language. You might even be using some of them without knowing it. Do you know any other Scots or Scottish Gaelic words in English?

Let us know in the comments below.

^The STAR Team

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Sep 12 2014

Clichés: By The Book

Cliché: Sign of the times
A cliché (also cliche) is an expression, idea, opinion or phrase that was once considered an original metaphor, but over time became overused and unoriginal. They were used to convey a novel approach or, to some effect, explain an artistic element.

An English playwright named John Heywood, wrote a book in the 1500s: the book of proverbs, which catalogued clichés and figures of speech common at the time. These were considered original, witty and informative. Today, however, they’re tired and unwitty, but we use them nonetheless.

Clichés can often be confused with idioms (special phrasing), hyperbole (exaggerated rhetoric), metaphors (figures of speech) and similes (expressing comparison, likeness).

Nowadays, we call these overused, ready-made phrases clichés!

You’re probably trying to remember some tired clichés — the ones your  mother used regularly — explaining the repetition of daily chores, perhaps.

Let’s compare them


  • Better late than never
  • Tried and true
  • Fit as a fiddle
  • Weak as a kitten
  • A bun in the oven
  • Dead ringer
  • A no-brainer!
  • Labour of love


  • It’s not rocket science
  • He was pulling my leg
  • Let’s keep an eye out for her
  • The cat’s out of the bag now!
  • He threw himself at her feet!


  • Waste not, want not
  • Break a leg
  • The early bird catches the worm
  • Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise


  • The computers at work are old dinosaurs
  • She cut him down with her words
  • Waves of messages of hope were sent to the victims
  • He lay there, soaking up the sun

All the above examples may paint a clearer picture for you, but what’s the purpose of a cliché and how did they come to be?

We already know that a cliché is a phrase to express an idea. They’re also traditional in form which, due to their repetitive use in social life, have a heuristic power i.e. enabling others to learn. It has been stated among certain sociologists that clichés manage to stimulate behaviour without reflection on their meanings. To some degree, they are automated phrases used to aid understanding. A cliché can spark further cognition, emotion, volition and action.


Cliché was pulled from the French language around the mid 19th century. A cliché was a printing plate cast from movable type. It’s a past participle of clicher, to stereotype. In the early stages of printing movable type, letters were placed one at a time as it made sense to cast a phrase used repeatedly. The word cliché came to mean such a ready-made phrase.

Oxford English Dictionary
Literary Devices

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Sep 02 2014

Capitalise That!

Capital Letters in the English language

Getting it right!

Let’s face it, it can be a tad confusing when it comes to whether a word receives a capital first letter or not. However, there is a general rule of thumb to consider if the first letter of a word is to be capitalised: uniqueness! That is, for instance, if you have word such as Web (short for the World Wide Wide), then Web receives a capital W. There’s only one Web.

Just allowing uniqueness as a prerequisite to capitalisation doesn’t seem correct, though. You have probably seen many words with capital first letters without any of them being distinctive. Here are the top four rules to adhere to to know when to capitalise:

  • At the beginning of a sentence
    • As with all western languages, the first letter of the first word in a sentence typically starts with a capital letter.
  • People, places and other related words
    • People’s names tend to be unique even though many people can share the same name.
    • E.g. “Matthew had travelled the world in search of fine foods. He found Indian food most pleasurable.
  • Titles of books, magazines, films, organisations, special days et cetera
    • Use a capital first letter when writing / typing the titles / names of organisations, plays, films, holidays, books, publications and so on. However, do not capitalise connecting words such as a, an, the, of, in et cetera — only the main words
    • E.g. Smithsonian Institution
    • E.g. The Cabin in the Woods
  • Every first letter of an abbreviated word should be a capital
    • EEA (European Economic Area)
    • IAU (International Astronomical Union)
    • MEP (a Member of the European Parliament)
Words that receive a capital first letter
Unique Word Related Word
Cambodia Cambodian
Dada Dadaism
Pantagruel Pantagruelian
Europe European

Remember to use capital first letters in formal writing. It’s easy to forget nowadays since email and text messaging encourages the use of informal writing.

STAR Translation

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Aug 22 2014

The Untranslatables

The "Untranslatables"

There are many words in the English language that were borrowed from other languages such as Latin, French, German, Spanish and so on. They are called loanwords and exhibit little or no modification at all. Although, there are many words that the English language could do with adding…

Languages are fascinating to study and there is always something new and exciting to learn about them. We have been looking at a wide array of languages and words that do not appear in a modern English dictionary.

Without further ado, we bring you a list of foreign language words that English has yet to borrow!

Language Codes Words / Phrases English Meanings
JPN Komorebi That scattered, dapple light effect that occurs when sunlight pierces the tops of trees
DEU Backpfeifengesicht A face badly in need of a fist
GEO / KAT Shemomedjamo [Lit.: I accidentally ate the whole thing]
DEU Packesel A person who carries everybody else’s luggage / bags [Lit.: Burrow]
SVE Lagom Used to describe something that is not too much or too little — just right — nicely balanced
TGL / FLIP Gigil An urge to pinch something irresistibly cute
HAW Pana Po’o The act of scratching one’s head to remind them of something they have forgotten
ITA Slampadato Addicted to tanning
NOR Pålegg All the ingredients (anything) that is put into a sandwich
ARA Ya’arburnee [Lit.: May you bury me] Asked of a loved one, so that they may not go through the hardship of being alone or dying before the other
RUS Pochemuchka A person who asks too many questions
PER Zhaghzhagh The sound one makes when they grind their teeth from either the cold or when they are angry (onomatopoeic)
DEU Neidbau A small house or shack built to annoy or frustrate one’s neighbour(s)
CZE Vybafnout The act of jumping out at someone and saying boo
JPN Aware The bittersweetness of a brief and fading moment of transcendent beauty
AKA Pelinti [Lit.: To move hot food around in the mouth] The moment you put too much hot food in your mouth, tilt your head back and move it around to cool it down
IND Mencolek To descibe having someone under one’s arm and on the opposite shoulder
CZE Prozvonit The act of calling a person’s mobile phone only to ring once, so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller their minutes / credit
SMO Faamiti The act of making a kissy sound to attract the attention or a dog or baby
IKU Iktsuarpok The act of continuously checking one’s front door to see if the people one’s awaiting have arrived yet
SSE Tartle The moment when one pauses in hesitation before they introduce someone else — forgetting the person’s name
YAG Mamihlapinatapai The act of two people looking at one another and wishing the other would do something that both want, but neither want to do
THA Greng-jai The feeling one gets when one doesn’t want the other to help because it will be a burden on them
FRA Seigneur-terraces Term for people who sit at cafés all the time and don’t buy anything
ULW Yuputka The feeling that something is crawling on one’s skin when walking through the woods
DAN Hygge The feeling to describe sitting around a campfire with friends during the wintertime
DAN Kaelling A woman who never stops nagging or yelling, especially in public places
DEU Kummerspeck [Lit.: Grief bacon] A name for the weight gained after an extended period of emotional overeating

Some of these words and their subsequent meanings aren’t anything new to us. We have all experienced something like their meanings before; we just didn’t have a specific word for them.

FYI: The word “untranslatables” does not exist in English. Untranslatable is an adjective, not a noun.

If you have other words that we haven’t mentioned above, then let us know about them in the comment’s box below.

The STAR Team

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Aug 05 2014

Job Vacancy: Project Manager (Internship)

We are hiring!

Project Manager (Internship) for STAR Translation Services


Based in Docklands Innovation Park, Dublin, STAR is a provider of translation services in 40 languages. Founded in 2002, we are a privately held company and a member of the STAR Group — Europe’s largest privately held translation company. STAR has over 40 offices around the world.

Our student placement program is for foreign students who are interested in 6 months placements to gain experience in the translation business and improve their English language skills. Much of the work we do here is related to project management only. We do not do any translation work on-site. Our teams in Dublin manage projects for clients and sends the work to a country’s STAR office for the translation into its respective language i.e. German translation goes to Germany.

Responsibilities (Key Tasks):

  • Project Planning and Scheduling
  • Send and receive translation projects
  • Sending and receiving jobs to our teams within the STAR network. This includes managing translators’ deadlines. Candidate should have strong organisational skills, ability to multitask and prioritise appropriately. Strong verbal skills to communicate with clients and the ability to coordinate translation and DTP components are a necessity. A strong command of Microsoft Word and Excel is required.
  • Handling the volume of many projects: this role is key to ensuring the smooth operation of day-to-day business

Project Management
The main work of the Project Manager here in Dublin is to prepare the files for translation

  • Check the files for segmentation and layout issues before translation
  • Prepare word counts / costings and translation kits for the teams
  • Sending out of translation kits
  • Updating of project management database and importing files afterwards
  • Translation exporting and doing DTP work on final files
  • Checking invoices sent from translators for projects
  • Apply OCR to paper files that have been submitted for translation

You will get to see a wide scope of tasks in our office, as we work on a number of file formats and different languages.

Client Relationship Management
You may work directly with some clients, as part of this role involves establishing a strong working relationship is with our clients; STAR prides itself on its long term relationships with its clients.

DTP Skills
Part of your role is to prepare files for translation and fixing layout issues on the translated files after translation. This involves working with complex file layouts in Microsoft Word, for example. A good all-round knowledge of different file
formats and systems is also required.

Training Program
STAR Translation is both ISO 9001 and BS EN 15039 certified, so training starts with these processes. You will be given an overview of all relevant processes.

  1. You will be shown how to complete the first step process
  2. Undertake the first step process under supervision
  3. Complete the first step on your own (asking for support when necessary)

This staged training approach is then repeated for the next step of the process and so on, until you have mastered all of STAR’s processes.

Requirements (Key Skills)

  • Excellent communication & organisational skills
  • Good written & spoken English
  • Strong focus on quality
  • Excellent knowledge of standard computer software such as Microsoft Outlook, Excel & Word
  • Ability to manage multiple projects & work well under pressure

Contact Damian Scattergood for more information about this position.
More information about STAR Translation Services in Dublin

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Jul 29 2014

We’re Nominated — Blog Awards Ireland 2014

It’s that time of year again and STAR is a part of it yet again!

Our blog has been nominated under the category of Best Blog of an SME 2014. And we’ve made the long list.

We were also nominated last year. All the team members here at STAR Translation Dublin are delighted to be recognized for our work.

blog awards ireland

Click on the button to view all the nominations on the long list under Best Blog of an SME. The Best Blog of an SME is sponsored by Mediabox

We enjoy writing fresh and exciting content for our subscribers and followers online. We’re actually busy beavering away on a completely new website and blog, so watch out for our new site in mid-August.

Visit the official Blog Awards Ireland website for all the details and other nominations.

The STAR Team

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Jul 10 2014

STAR At Localization World

Our team recently attended the Localization World conference at the Convention Centre in Dublin. It was an amazing conference with visitors from around the world.

The event had nearly 700 attendees from the global translation industry covering some 46 countries. It was an amazingly multicultural event. Some 22% of the visitors where from the USA. The conference ran from the 4th through the of 6th June.

The event had both an exhibition and many seminars / talks on translation, localization and technology for the localization industry. As a leading provider of translation services and technology, STAR was delighted to be exhibiting at the conference. We had our teams from Dublin and Switzerland at the show.

Petra Singer and Damian Scattergood from STAR at Localization World.

The team enjoyed a fantastic walk and night-time view of Dublin city outside the conference centre.

Ulrike Von Salviati and Petra Singer from STAR at the Localization World conference, Dublin.

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Jul 07 2014

Chimpanzees communicating to one another! New Language Researched

Chimpanzees communicate to one another in the wild!

Courtesy of Catherine Hobaiter

©Catherine Hobaiter

A team of researchers from the University of Saint Andrew’s, lead by Dr Catherine Hobaiter, have translated a communication system of gestures used by chimpanzees in the wild.

In their findings, they documented 19 specific messages from one chimp to another and they discovered a lexicon of 66 gestures used within these messages. All their work has been published in the journal ‘Current Biology’.

The scientists followed and filmed a group of chimps in Uganda and observed 5,000 incidents of these gesture of communication. It was once believed that only humans were capable of deliberately sending messages or gestures to another individual. As scientists looked towards apes and chimpanzees alike, they saw the incredible similarities we share with them.

Chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than they are to the other ape families.

Having witnessed these messages, the team of researches have come to the conclusion that, “they’re the only thing that looks like human language in that respect.” The chimps’ messages were also unambiguous and used to convey a specific feeling or meaning from one animal to the other. While other apes and monkeys are also known to understand complex information, chimps alike do not use calls or their voices to communicate.

Among all the filmed gestures, the most convincing and unambiguous were leaf clipping and a grab.

  • Leaf clipping: for example, where a chimp conspicuously nibbles leaves is used only to elicit sexual attention
  • A grab: for example, is used for “Stop that!,” “Climb on me!” and “Move away!” Depending on the context, of course!

Researching the communication between great apes and chimpanzees allows evolutionary biologists to gain more knowledge on the evolutionary aspects of language and behaviour and how we [humans] evolved.

“The big message [from this study] is that there is another species out there that is meaningful in its communication, so that’s not unique to humans,” said Dr Hobaiter.

Reference: BBC News (Science & Environment)

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Jul 04 2014

Share a Coke Zero with STAR!

Share a Coke Zero with us!

STAR Coke Zero


Tag #ShowYourSTAR photos on Twitter and Facebook

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Jun 30 2014

Typoglycaemia: Word Recognition


In September 2003, an internet meme surfaced stating:

“I cdn’uolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg: the phaonmneel pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rseearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Scuh a cdonition is arppoiatrely cllaed Typoglycaemia .

“Amzanig huh? Yaeh and you awlyas thguoht slpeling was ipmorantt.”

Fact from Fiction:

Not so much a research study, but based on one man’s PhD thesis that was finalised in 1976. A man named Graham Rawlinson. His work was never published: The Significance of Letter Position in Word Recognition, Nottingham University.

There was little evidence to support the main factors of word recognition and the cognitive processes behind reading written text, but roughly three dozen studies were carried out on both adults and children. It is obvious to some that we read words as a whole rather than reading letter by letter, in one’s native language, of course. Although, it has been stated, to some degree, that when one reads in a foreign language, they tend to read every letter.


Typoglycaemia (or typoglycemia) is what’s known as a neologism, a name for a newly coined word, term, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use but, that has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Typoglycaemia is a portmanteau of two separate words: “typo”, typographical error, and “hypoglycaemia”, severely diminished content of glucose in the blood. We didn’t that make that up!

You can find Mr. Rawlinson’s summary of notes on his thesis on the Cambridge Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit website

^The STAR Team

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