Less vs Fewer, Amount vs Number

Less versus fewer

Less or fewer / STAR Translation Imaging

Less vs Fewer, Which One’s Correct?

Answer is at the bottom of post.

Less of few

While you’re thinking about this little puzzle, you might like to consider the correct usage of the words less and fewer, amount and number.

These words cause problems for many native English speakers.

The incorrect usage can be seen everywhere, from car advertisements to supermarket signs. A classic example would be the 10 items or less signs in supermarkets, which should read 10 items or fewer or better still, “fewer than 10 items”.

Less vs fewer, how do you know which to use?

The word less is used for items that cannot easily be counted: We have less milk than we thought; the balloon contains less air than yesterday; the cleaning took less time than I expected. These things can be measured, but not counted as such.
Fewer is for things that can be counted: The milkman delivered fewer bottles of milk than we requested; there are fewer balloons now than yesterday as some have burst; I have to clean fewer rooms now that I live in a smaller house.

The words amount and number have a similar rule that applies.

Amount is used for items that can’t be counted e.g. He tries to eat only a small amount of cheese; he bought a huge amount of food for the party; she only spends a small amount of money on cleaning products.
Number is for things that can be counted: She works with a large number of cheesemakers; he invited a small number of people to his birthday; she prefers not to use a large number of cleaning products.


Princes, the plural of prince; when you add an S to princes it becomes princess, a singular word!

Updated: 20th of February 2015

The STAR Team

Why translate both Chinese for China and Chinese for Taiwan?

Different Chinese Translation for China and Taiwan

Due to the large area covered by Greater China (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore), there is a high diversity of spoken dialects of the Chinese language. In fact, the term dialect is somewhat misleading, since they are in most cases mutually unintelligible and can thus actually be classified as different languages.

Since Beijing has for most of the time been the capital of China and city of the emperor, the dialect of Beijing has emerged as Standard Chinese, which is now the official language of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Singapore, and a strong connecting force between all those countries.

Unlike the spoken Chinese languages, written Chinese is much less diversified. Most notable is the difference between the Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters. While the People’s Republic of China started in the 1950s, to simplify a larger part of the characters with the goal of speeding up the learning and writing process, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao kept the Traditional characters.

Converting a text from Traditional Chinese to Simplified Chinese and vice versa can be done, more or less, with a few mouse clicks. The real issue is not the characters, but where the translation is going to be used. Even within Standard Chinese there are local variations in terminology and grammar between China and Taiwan. These differences are similar to those between American and British English, but much larger in extent.

Generally, consumers (and thus the industry) are very sensitive to such local language variations. Especially in Taiwan, considering the history it shares with China, it is impossible to use translations done anywhere else.

This is the reason why STAR has an office in Taiwan. Besides doing translations into Traditional Chinese for Taiwan we also adapt documents into Traditional Chinese for Hong Kong.

Spoken or Written?

Which Chinese dialect do you need? Check out our simple table to help you decide …

The STAR Team

I love you, 28 languages, Valentine’s 2010

I Love You

We launched a new section on our website for lovers this Valentine’s day.

It tells you how to say “I love you” and “Will you marry me?” in 28 European languages. The text was translated and an MP3 file was also produced to accompany it. Say I love you to you Valentine!

A team of over 30 people in 26 separate countries gave their time for free to the project to deliver the translations and voice-overs.

“The news has been all about recession over the last few months. We wanted to do something fun to spread some smiles and happiness for Valentine’s day. I’m a romantic at heart so I loved working on the project”, said Damian Scattergood, managing director of STAR Translation in Ireland.

“We hope that people will enjoy it and we might get a few marriage proposals as a result!”

STAR in a Nutshell

Damian Scattergood and Paul Quigley started their translation company in 2000 just after the dot-com bubble burst. The entrepreneurs joined the PDC (HotHouse): a program for new start-ups in Dublin’s Docklands area in 2001. The company has grown successfully every year since then, and is now part of the STAR Group: Europe’s largest privately held translation company.

The STAR Team

Keynote Speakers at Worldware Conference


When: 16th – 18th of March 2010
Where: Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, California

The theme of the Worldware Conference is “The ROI of Software Internationalization.” This conference explores methodologies to get international product releases out on time and on budget.

An Entrepreneur in a Shrinking World will be the keynote presentation on the 17th of March. The presenter will be Cliff Miller, chief strategy officer for DeviceVM.

Global Expansion in a Networked World will be the keynote presentation on the 18th of March. The presenter will be Konstantin Guericke. Konstantin was most recently the CEO of jaxtr, a social communications start-up with over 10 million registered users, and co-founder of LinkedIn.

Visit Worldware Conference for more information.

The STAR Team

International Credit Control in tough times

To protect your business in tougher times there are a few financials methods worth considering.

Export Credit Insurance :
This type of insurance policy covers your business against the non-payment of debts or bankruptcy of your customers outside your own country.

This is certainly worth considering if you are working with new clients and the sales value impacts your cashflow directly.

Domestic Credit Insurance :
You can also consider this type of insurance policy that covers your business against the non-payment of debts or bankruptcy of your local customers.

Factoring :
Third party finance provided by a factoring house. They buy your trade debts and advance you 90% of your invoice value. You pay a fee off the top line, but get payment immediately.

Invoice Discounting :
This is very similar to factoring. The difference is that your customers generally and not made unaware that you are doing this.

Legal Expense Insurance :

You can take out insurance that will cover your business against the cost of such things as legal advice and debt collecting costs for certain debts.

Transit NXT: Service Pack 2 Release

Transit NXT Service Pack 2 is now available for download from STAR.

Service Pack 2 contains the following new feature and solved issues:

Support for DITA XML

A standard file type “XML_DITA” for DITA format is now available.
DITA is a standardized document format for describing information types.

Feature updates:

Transit NXT
– Spellchecker:  improved spellchecking functionality and procedures
– Arabic:  improved format check, improved segment display
– Markup:  improved markups display, improved search within markups, markup assignment in virtually joined segments
– Improved processing of Powerpoint animations
– Improved processing of binary resource files
– Reference material: improved maintenance and organisation of reference material

TermStar NXT
– Statistics:  improved field statistics
– Import/Export:  improved import/export functionality

For further information contact your local STAR sales office.
Ireland and UK call Dublin : +353 1 8365614  of visit www.star-ts.com

Unfriend: Word of the Year 2009

Unfriend: Word of the Year 2009, New Oxford American Dictionary

Unfriend was named Word of the Year 2009

It has both currency and potential longevity. — Christina Lindberg

The word unfriend has just been named Word of the Year by the New Oxford American Dictionary.

Unfriend is defined as a verb that means ‘to remove someone as a friend on a social networking site such as Facebook’. “It has both currency and potential longevity,” stated Christine Lindberg, senior lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary programme. The word, however, is informal.

Other word finalists included …

a method of tagging a topic on Twitter so it can be found by other tweeters
people who are distracted by texting while driving

The STAR Team

Translation and Localization Thailand

Localization Thailand, 3rd to 4th of December 2009

The Asian localization services business is rapidly evolving in Thailand’s translation industry.

To support the development of the localization industry in Thailand, the Localization Industry Standards Association is collaborating with the Royal Institute of Thailand, AsiaOnline, and ProZ to bring together the leaders in globalization process and strategy for a groundbreaking two-day conference on the role of the localization industry in Thailand and the Asia-Pacific region.

“Localization and Translation Services Thailand: Bridging Asia with the World” — 3rd to 4th of December 2009)

The STAR Team

Is your Website Secure? A little help from Google

Is Your Website Secure from hackers?

With so much international Web traffic nowadays, it is important to ensure your website is secure for malware and attacks. Has it been hacked recently? Does it contain any malware or viruses?

Our web team advises all web developers and site owners to check your sites regularly. There’s a convenient way to check the safety of your site with the Google Safe Browsing Diagnostic Report.

Replace your_domain.com in the input field with your site’s URL.

Whilst not completely comprehensive — it will not detect sites that have had spurious links or content added — it may identify if Google has spotted malware or other threats on your site.

We deliver website localization services to customers for over 1,000 language combinations.

The STAR Team

Prepare to Be Inspired, Language Show Live

Prepare to Be Inspired at the Language Show Live UK

As we move into an increasingly competitive global marketplace, the need to improve the UK’s capabilities in languages has never been more important. This is the message that CILT, the National Centre for Languages, will be driving home at the Language Show this weekend. They will be sharing a whole range of materials and initiatives to inspire language teachers, learners and linguists alike.

The Language Show is undoubtedly the biggest event of the year for anyone with a passion for languages. With over 100 free seminars and 185 exhibitors, it gives language teachers and enthusiasts all the help, advice and resources they need to keep up to date with the latest trends and developments around language learning.

For more information, visit the Languages Show Live UK.

The STAR Team