The languages category features all of our blog posts relating to languages around the world. We post on topics and news about languages and people.

International Day of La Francophonie

International Organisation of the Francophonie, International Day of La Francophonie

International Organisation of the Francophonie

Celebrate the International Day of la 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 2015

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day 2015

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 2015 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 your next project.

Graham,
The STAR Team

Know your Irish Public Holidays

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015, Ireland’s Cultural Festival

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.

Graham,
The STAR Team

For your Valentine: An Italian Love Song

Ti Amo, Italian love song

Ti Amo!

Sing-Along: Italian Love Song

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 Italian love 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, Valentine’s Day

I love you in different languages, Valentine's Day

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

Valentine’s Day History

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.

Freebies

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 five romantic languages.

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

Graham,
The STAR Team

Countries Languages Quiz 2015

Countries and Languages Quiz

Countries and Languages Quiz, name the countries
Name the four countries whose flags are represented above.

Try the Countries and Languages Quiz

We want to know how much you know about languages and the countries that speak said languages. Above there are four countries. Can you name them and their respective languages?

Comment to answer…

The STAR Team

Duolingo Free App Brings Classrooms Online

Language Learning

Duolingo Free App brings online learning to classrooms

Duolingo Free App for Schoolchildren, Teachers

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 in Translation

Medical Miscommunication

From Poor Handwriting to Google Translate, Medical Miscommunication

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 allowing medical staff to 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

The Migratory Language Welsh

Flag of Wales; migratory languages welsh

Flag of Wales

Migratory Language Welsh lands in Argentina

Over 150 years ago,  some 150 Welsh migrants took to the seas seeking a new way of life in the new world.

They gave themselves three places to choose from as their new home: Vancouver Island, Palestine or Argentina. Ultimately they chose Argentina to settle and establish a new colony as their home — a valley named Chubut in the region of Patagonia. The reason for their decision to settle in that part of South America was one of isolation. At the time, there were no other European settlements in the region, only indigenous tribes.

There was a lot of political radicalism in Wales during the 19th century and a growing sense of Welsh national consciousness engulfed many rural communities. They wanted to retain their national identity without the possibility of a passive English language invasion.

Politics and Religion

One man named Michael D. Jones, a radical, a religious man and nonconformist, was tired of the political and religious influences the English had over the Welsh population. Jones was a believer in the preservation of the Welsh language and traditions. It was he who became the leader of this like-minded community of travellers and partly his decision to travel to Argentina.

Jones had a single objective: to build a new Welsh colony overseas. One that is self-governing, democratic and nonconformist.

New Hope: Argentina

As all new beginnings bring hardships and struggle, the new Welsh colony had to overcome many difficult obstacles. When they arrived in 1865, they lived in caves along the coastline. But as the years went by, they experienced a golden age, a period of good fortune and prosperity: a time of economic and cultural growth swept through the settlement. They spoke only Welsh and preserved many national traditional such as the Eisteddfod (a traditional ceremony called “the chairing of the bard”).

Changing Times

Decades later, the Argentine government stepped in and enforced all community settlements in Argentina to learn and speak only Spanish. This meant that Spanish could only be taught at schools.  There wasn’t much the Welsh community could do but slowly adapt as the Spanish language took hold and Welsh eventually lost the battle. However, some families kept the language in the house. Old world Welsh traditions didn’t die out either and are still practiced to this day.

Centenary Celebrations & Revival

One hundred years on, 1965, there was a growth in interest in all things Welsh. Welsh culture and language began to reassert itself into the settlement. The small village in Chubut was finally connecting to Wales and there was a sense of appreciation among the villagers of the pioneering role the first settlers played.

Michael D. Jones migrated from Wales to save Welsh national identity and establish it elsewhere. But what he failed to realise was, that with immigration comes assimilation: the new country creates its own, new identity. However, the Welsh-Argentine community of Chubut will always remain proud of its roots.

The STAR Team

Source: BBC Magazine

Traditional Italian Recipe: Spaghetti alla Carbonara

As an international translation company we have many different people and nationalities working for us. Serena, one of our Italian project managers, was asked the other day about Spaghetti alla Carbonara — the Italian way! Often recipes are different around the world, even though they have the same name. So Serena took the time to do something different for us and share her traditional Italian dish. Hope you like it!

It’s a bit different from our normal blogs. Please see below for the English translation.

Recipe: Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara: Ingredienti

Spaghetti alla Carbonara: ricetta facile per tutti!

  • Difficoltà: Bassa
  • Cottura: 10 min
  • Preparazione: 15 min
  • Dosi per: 4 persone

INGREDIENTI:

  • Pancetta, 150 gr.
  • Olio d’oliva, 2/3 cucchiai
  • Pecorino, 200 gr.
  • Pepe, secondo i gusti
  • Spaghetti, 400 gr.
  • Uova di gallina, 3 tuorli + 1 intero

PREPARAZIONE:

  1. Versate in una padella grande un pó d’olio d’oliva e della pancetta tagliata a cubetti.
  2. Fate soffriggere la pancetta e spegnete il gas quando é ben cotta.
Preparazione: 1-2

Preparazione: 1-2

  1. Nel frattempo sbattete in una ciotola le uova e aggiungete il pecorino, il pepe nero (secondo i gusti), un pizzico di sale e una noce di burro. Amalgamate bene il tutto.
Preparazione: 3

Preparazione: 3

  1. Nel frattempo, mettete sul gas una pentola con dell‘acqua dentro per far cuocere la pasta. Quando l’ acqua bolle, aggiungete un pizzico di sale, e buttate la pasta che preferite, preferibilmente spaghetti. Fate attenzione a non far scuocere la pasta e a farla cuocere al dente, perché in fine verrà ripassata ancora in padella sul gas!
  2. Aggiungete alle uova la pancetta e mescolate bene tutto.
Preparazione: 4-5

Preparazione: 4-5

  1. Dopo aver scolato la pasta, mischiatela alle uova e alla pancetta e ripassate il tutto in padella a fuoco lento, per far cuocere l’uovo. Aggiungete ancora pepe e pecorino secondo i gusti. Mescolate bene la pasta con gli ingredienti a fuoco lento!
Preparazione: 6

Preparazione: 6

Spaghetti alla Carbonara in padella

Spaghetti alla Carbonara in padella

Buon Appetito!

English Version

Spaghetti alla Carbonara — An easy recipe for all to enjoy

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Cooking Time: 10 mins
  • Preparation Time: 15 mins
  • Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • Pancetta cubes: 150g
  • Olive oil: 2/3 tablespoon
  • Pecorino Cheese: 200g
  • Ground black pepper for seasoning
  • Spaghetti: 400g
  • 4 Eggs: 3 egg yolks +1 whole egg

Cooking Method:

  1. Heat a large frying pan on the hob, add the olive oil and the pancetta cubes and fry until lightly golden in colour
  2. Beat the egg yolks and the whole egg in a bowl, then add grated pecorino cheese, some black pepper, a knob of butter and mix everything well
  3. In the meantime, bring some water to the boil in a large saucepan and just when it starts boiling, add a couple of tablespoons of salt. Add the spaghetti and cook them for a further 8 minutes, or possibly until “al dente” because the pasta will be placed over the steam!
  4. Drain the spaghetti well, tip into the frying pan with the pancetta and beaten eggs. Add more grated pecorino cheese and mix thoroughly
  5. Let everything cook slowly [on the fire] for one minute. The heat from the spaghetti will be sufficient to partly cook the egg, but still leave it creamy
  6. Add as much pepper and pecorino cheese you want

Enjoy your meal!,
The STAR Team