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.

And the Nominees are…

Top Language Lovers 2014 competition

Nominees for Top 100 Language Lovers 2014

STAR Dublin has been recently nominated in two categories as part of the ‘Top 100 Language Lovers 2014’ competition. A competition hosted by the language portal and the Lexiophiles Language blog. We have been nominated for similar awards in the past. Nonetheless, we are thrilled to be nominated as always.

The first category is Language Professionals’ Blogs where we have been placed among thousands of participants. The second category in which we have also been nominated is Language Twitter account. This year’s [competition] is the seventh edition. The voting has already begun and you can cast your votes now.

We won’t get upset if you don’t vote for us! and Lexiophiles are looking for the best 100 language lovers; there are a total of five categories. They are:

  • Language learning blogs
  • Language professionals’ blogs
  • Language Twitter accounts
  • Language Facebook pages
  • Language YouTube channels

Out of these five social media categories, everybody can vote for their chosen “language lovers”. The voting phase starts from the 20th of May through the 9th of June 2014. Once all votes have been cast, the final tally consists of Lexiophiles’ ranking criteria (50%) and users’ votes (50%). The winners will be announced on the 12th of June 2014.

Voting is simple. Use the buttons below to direct you to the polls in either category.

Vote the Top 100 Language Professional Blogs 2014

Vote for us in the Language professionals’ blog category!

Vote the Top 100 Language Twitterer 2014

Vote for us in the Language Twitter account category!

The STAR Team

STAR Translation Meets Star Wars

STAR meets Star Wars

STAR Translation meets Star Wars crew at Comic Con

Translation is a tough business but it also has a softer side too.

Damian Scattergood, our managing director, has a keen interest in science fiction and conlangers. Conlangers are people who create languages. What is a conlanger?

Last week, Damian went to MCM Comic Con in the RDS Dublin to check out the latest in sci-fi and got to meet some of his heroes.

There were a number of actors and writers at the convention meeting their fans and sharing stories. Ian McNeice of Doctor Who was there, alongside Lyndie Greenwood of Sleepy Hollow and Danny John Jules and Hattie Hayridge of Red Dwarf.

The biggest STAR was Warwick Davis, famous for his roles in STAR Wars, Willow, Harry Potter and many more well know films. We, along with Damian’s son Nathan, had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Warwick. Damian is a huge Star Wars fan, so he was thrilled to meet one of his own childhood heroes.

The 501st Legion were also on duty for the entire day. This is an amazing group of people who attend events in full Star Wars costume. They work with charities and commercial organizations making events really stand out for kids, both big and small! For more information on the legion and how to hire them, visit the 501st Legion.

It was a great day and one we’d recommend to anyone interested in sci-fi.

STAR's Damian with the 501st Legion
The 501st legion have words with Damian

The STAR Team

Related link: Comic Con Ireland

Who is the fastest speaker in the World?

Fastest Speaker in the World Title

Most people speak at a rate of 50-100 words per minute, that is around 1-2 words per second, but there are three people in the world that are able to speak faster than everybody else. There isn’t just one fastest speaker in the world! Fran Capo of the US, Seán Shannon of Canada and Steve Woodmore of the UK are the fastest speakers in the World.

They continually compete against one another for the title of Fastest Speaker in the World among frequent newcomers.

Fran Capo holds five World records. She appears in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest talking woman. Actually, Fran broke this record twice; Fran’s first time was on the Larry King Live! show in 1986 speaking 585 words per minute and the second time was at the Guinness Museum in Vegas, speaking 603 words in 54.2 seconds. That’s eleven words a second!

Steve Woodmore broke the previous records of the fastest speaker in 1990 on a British TV show called ‘Motor Mouth’. He recited a piece of the famous soliloquy “To be, or not to be” from William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’ in 56 seconds. That’s an average rate of 637 words per minute.

Steve Woodmore held this record for five years until Seán Shannon beat him with a rate of 655 words per minute in 1995 when he also recited Hamlet’s famous soliloquy “to be, or not to be” [260 words] in a time of 23.8 seconds in Edinburgh on 30th of August 1995.

If you are a Mandarin speaker however, the fastest talker speaking Mandarin is Feng Qingping of China. Feng achieved this record when he recited the first three paragraphs of “Mulanci” in 20.5 seconds in Beijing in 2013.

Why is this important?

We provide voice-overs, transcriptions and subtitling services. Knowing the average speed and number of words people speak is useful in estimating and quoting for translation projects.

Let’s say you have a TV interview with 2 people for 15 minutes. How many words would there be to translate? 15 minutes at an average of 150 words a minute means you’ll have approximately 2,250 words of text to translate and subtitle.

Often with voice-overs, you also need to consider the target language. German can be 20% to 30% longer than English; subtitling in German can be tricky. With German you have more words to fit into a fixed video slot. Our audio and video teams can help you with advice on the best way to put your multilingual video projects together.

The STAR Team

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2014

Glendalough by The Art Of Graham

A Celtic round tower and monastery in Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland / Instagram

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2014: it’s Irish language week

To spread the word of the Irish language and its history, we’ve dedicated this post to it.

Irish is the official language of Ireland, although only 41% of its population can speak it. From the 1st to the 17th March this year, the people of Ireland are encouraged through festival events and cultural happenings to speak Irish. Seachtain na Gaeilge is a non-governmental organization, first established by Conradh na Gaeilge in 1903. This cultural event has taken place this time of year for more than a hundred years.

Irish is one of the oldest written languages in the world. First records of written Irish date back as far as the 6th century AD. Prior to written Irish, its archaic form was that of stone inscriptions known as Ogham writings: Ogham was carved on small monuments throughout the Irish sea from the 4th to the 7th centuries. As many of you probably know, Irish is a Celtic language. It was widely spoken in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the west coast of Britain from 500 AD onwards, although it began to slowly decline through the centuries thereafter.

Over time, Irish became influenced by other northern European languages. From 900 to 1200 AD, the Scandinavian languages of the Vikings gave Irish new loanwords such as ‘pingín’ meaning penny and ‘margadh’ meaning ‘market’. When the French-Normans eventually arrived on Irish soil, words like ‘cúirt’ for court and ‘garsún’ for son began to appear. Up until 1500 to 1600 AD, the entire country was speaking Irish again; many Normans whom had chosen to settle in Ireland, as many Vikings had done before, started using Irish as their own tongue. Irish was never an administrative language on the island even though the majority of the populace spoke it. English was necessary for administration and any legal affairs.

Irish suffered many blows during the 16th and 17th centuries with English plantations of Ireland, the Williamite war (Jacobite-Williamite war of Ireland) and the enacting of the ‘Penal laws’.

Many attempts to reinstate Irish as a major language within the country failed despite great numbers of the rural population speaking it natively. Many Irish people began to adopt the English language during and after the Great Famine of Ireland (1845 to 1852) in which hunger, disease and mass emigration affected the country and its language. Not all was lost after the famine of the 19th century: the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language was established in 1876. This gave recognition for the inclusion of Irish in the education system.

In 1893, the Gaelic League was established; known as Conradh na Gaeilge. The league invoked a mass movement of support for spoken Irish and its influence can still be seen today.

How will you celebrate Seachtáin na Gaeilge? Show off your languages skills by posting comments or status feeds this week and next in Irish.

The STAR Team

Know your Roots

Root words tree illustration

Like people, languages and words have roots.

For many European languages, Latin is a common root language, as it is for the Romance languages which Latin gave birth to. Spanish, Portuguese, French and of course, Italian and Romanian wouldn’t exist as they are today if it weren’t for Latin or what was once called Vulgar Latin. It is useful to note that “vulgar” does not relate to the pejorative meanings like ‘tasteless’ or, ‘indecent’ but rather to its original meaning: ‘common’ or, ‘vernacular’.

With the then widely growing Roman Empire, classical Latin became an influential language. It is from Latin that we derive such words as ‘Salary’ and ‘Sausage’. These two words actually have a common origin having entered the English language in the 14th century. Salary derives from the Latin ‘salarium’, which meant ‘salt-money’.

To Roman soldiers of the time, salt was an important commodity, as it was a mineral used to preserve foodstuffs.

‘Sausage’ was another addition to English in relation to salt with its root Latin word ‘salsicium’, which meant ‘meat made with salt’ or, ‘salted meat’. Let’s break them down: both words begin with ‘sal’, which means ‘salt’. Other words such as salsa and salata are Latin for ‘salted’. But today they take on entirely different meanings, as a salsa is a sauce and salata is a salad.

How about some true English words. There are words like ‘silly’ and ‘nice’ that had very different meanings in the past. When ‘silly’ was first used about a thousand years ago, it meant something or somebody that was happy or blessed. As time passed, it adopted the definition of being innocent. Once again it changed to mean a person who one should feel pity because there is something “wrong” with them, and a silly person was once a feeble-minded one.

As you may know, one can be silly but intelligent. A silly person to me is one who lacks common sense or good judgment.

And what about someone being described as ‘nice’, I hear you say. Well, nice arrived in the English language during the 1300s. It referred to a person who was ignorant or foolish. Having shift to another negative side with definitions as ‘lazy’, ‘fussy’ or ‘showy’ as the centuries moved. Before the 1700s, ‘nice’ was associated with well-dressed people, careful persons and, also, those who were particular. One could say that being particular is similar to being fussy, though.

Post 1700 and the word ‘nice’ was an indicator of a large number of positive traits, as opposed to its negatively defined roots. Isn’t that nice?

The STAR Team

A Brief History Of The English Language

English Language History

English is a West Germanic language. Its history and origins are divided into three stages:

  • Old English
  • Middle English
  • Contemporary English

A Brief History Of The English Language

Old English

Otherwise known as Anglo-Saxon, was formed between the years 700 and 1100 AD. The first English words arrived in England during many invasions from people in neighbouring lands such as the Jutes from Denmark, the Angles and Saxons from what is now modern day Germany, the Frisians from what is now the northern Netherlands & parts of Belgium and the Nordic Vikings from what is now Norway and Sweden. There are still a great number of Anglo-Saxon words used today, as a result of the communication between these various Germanic peoples. Take the English word call: its origins lie in the Viking word, “caellian” meaning, to call or to scream.

Scandinavian and German influences are felt today, but Old English is very far from the current English you and I know well — its alphabet is almost unrecognisable.

Middle English

From 1100 AD onwards, and into the dark ages, signified an important advancement of the English language. It was from the late 12th century to the late 15th century that Middle English was predominantly spoken throughout the island of Great Britain. When William I of Normandy, also known as William the Conqueror, won the battle for England against the Anglo-Saxons, he was crowned as William I, Norman King of England. Norman-French became the court language and 65,000 emigrant French scholars brought their language influences with them, too. The common people of England still spoke Old English, however, over time French words gradually made their way into the slowly evolving Middle English dialect. To this day, many French words are still in use, as they were mostly new words without an English equivalent.

One English word of interest is ‘dandelion‘. Having arrived in Middle English during the late middle ages; anglicised from the Old French word ‘dent-de-lion‘, it literally means ‘lion’s tooth‘. There is no record of this plant having an official name in old English. Although it has had many colloquial names attached to it throughout early Mediaeval European history. Perhaps you may have heard of ‘piss-a-bed‘ or ‘blowball‘ or, ‘Irish daisy‘.

Contemporary English

From the late 15th century, the humble inception of Contemporary English began. Just before the initial stages of the Renaissance in the Italian states, English began to have a real grammatical structure. There is a strong influence of Greek and Latin with words like maternity, skeleton, vacuum, explain & system. The English representative of this period of ‘rebirth’ was William Shakespeare (1564-1616), one of the World’s most famous writers. Shakespeare was known for bringing new life into ancient classical words and even creating some of his own. The word ‘moonbeam‘ is one such example of his clever contractions of already existing words, but by placing them together he gave them new meaning.

Even today, one can see minor changes that countries like the United Sates, Canada, Australia & New Zealand have made on English. All Languages continue to evolve over time, especially the English language because it is so widely spoken. Who knows what English will look and sound like in one hundred years time.

To Be Continued.

The STAR Team

Free Welcome Poster in Different Languages

Welcome poster in different languages

Welcome in different languages / STAR Translation Imaging

Would you like to say a big welcome to your customers and friends in different languages?

Now you can with our free welcome poster in different languages. Click the links below to view and download the free printable versions for your office or home, and share it with friends.

We created this welcome poster, in sixteen popular languages, to show our customers just some of the languages we are asked to translate into, typically from English.

Ideally, hang it on wall or door that sees many people pass by: in an office or any communal area. This poster is perfect for hostels, hotels, B&Bs, schools and colleges — that see a lot of international guests.

Welcome Poster (7MB, JPG)

Welcome Poster, high resolution (16MB, PDF)

The STAR Team

David Crystal, great linguist and lover of language

Thinking man pose, David Crystal

Thinking man / Stock photo

The great linguist, David Crystal

Today, instead of talking about grammar and language, we’ve dedicated this blog post to write about a linguist. Linguists are the forgotten heroes of language who work in the background lovingly creating, managing and documenting our languages. Today we focus on David Crystal.

David Crystal is a famous linguist from North Wales, but is also known as a writer, editor, lecturer and broadcaster. He was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland in 1941.

A specialist in English language studies, David Crystal published his first book in 1964. He worked on such subjects as intonation, stylistics and in the application of linguistics to religious, educational and clinical contexts.

Two of his most famous books are encyclopaedia that he prepared for Cambridge University Press, The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language and The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language.

He was founder-editor of the Journal of Child Language, Child Language Teaching and Therapy, and Linguistics Abstracts and has been a consultant, contributor and presenter on several radio and television programmes and series.

David Crystal is currently patron of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) and the Association for Language Learning (ALL), president of the UK National Literacy Association and an Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Bangor, Wales.

You can learn more on the official David Crystal website. We’ve learnt a great deal about linguistics and languages through him.

The STAR Team

Distribution of world languages

Ethnologue’s distribution of world languages

Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a web-based publication that catalogues every known living language in the world. They carried out a survey on the distribution of world languages.

This project involves hundreds of linguists and researchers from around the world.

The most recent edition of the Ethnologue: Languages of the World estimates the current number of living languages to be 6,909. The global distribution of speakers is strikingly uneven, though.

Distribution of languages by number of speakers adapted from the Ethnologue: Languages of the World.
Number of living languages Total amount of speakers Number of speakers per language
389 (6%) 94% of the world’s population Over 1 million
6,520 (94%) 6% of the world’s population Under 1 million

At present, the world has over 7 billion inhabitants, but there are roughly 333,000 professional translators and interpreters in the global market. Moreover, the total number of living languages could be larger than Ethnologue estimates since the distinction between languages and dialects is always unclear.

Dialects are considered languages by scholars and speakers alike, of which might not be part of Ethnologue’s list.

The STAR Team

Source: Ethnologue

Face Reading for Business

joseph mcguire

In any business, learning to communicate effectively ensures better results. Research shows that at least? of the meaning of any given conversation is conveyed non-verbally. Face Reading has been used in China for several millennia as a tool for understanding personality, behaviour styles, work styles, stress patterns and much more. In recent times it has been used extensively by top U.S. companies such as Nike, CNN, Merrill Lynch, Mattel and others in areas such as HR, Recruitment, Team Building, and Sales training.
A key to success is to recognize how others need to be presented to, and our facial features provide a wealth of information. Some simple guidelines are:

  • Predominantly horizontal lines at the top of the forehead, eyebrows, lower eyelids, lips, and chin denote someone for whom logic and facts are paramount e.g. Warren Buffett
  • Sharply angled eyebrows and inner eye corners, prominent cheekbones, taut skin reveal a controlling personality e.g. Lance Armstrong, Steve Jobs
  • Curved eyebrows, round eyes, soft cheeks, and curved chin refer to someone for whom feeling and personal connection are hugely important e.g. Rosamund Hanson (Actress)

This is by definition a brief glimpse into a vast subject, but it will hopefully engage your curiosity about how to connect even more effectively with clients, colleagues and employers.

(Joseph McGuire can be contacted at: [email protected] or 087-246 1853)