Archives for Language
Did you know that today is International Romani Day?
Since the beginning of the ‘90s, the 8th of April has been the day to celebrate and promote traditional Roma culture and to raise awareness of the challenges and difficulties that Romani people still face today due to discrimination.
A brief history
Romani people are Europe’s largest ethnic minority and they live scattered in several countries, such as Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania, Spain, Germany and Hungary. Their story is the that of endless travels as various Romani groups arrived in several waves throughout the centuries to Europe from the area that’s Pakistan and India today. While on the way, traditionally they were trading various goods and animals, or worked as craftsmen, entertainers or blacksmiths. Today most Romani people are settled and gave up the travelling lifestyle.
Romani belongs to the Indo-Aryan language family together with Hindustani, Bengali and Punjabi and according to the latest estimates, only 5-6 million people speak it. In fact, due to the low number of speakers, lack of Romani learning materials in schools, racial discrimination and other sociolinguistic variables, UNESCO classified Romani as an “endangered” language.
Some argue that Romani is a set of dialects or even a set of closely-related languages. Romani people actually belong to 10-12 smaller groups. Partly due to this fact, their geographical scatteredness and the language’s contact with the host countries’ languages, there are several distinct variants.
Interpreting for Romani speakers
It is important to know that Romani has many dialects as booking the wrong interpreter might not be very productive. As a first step, always find out where the Romani speaker, who will require interpreting, is originally from as you will need an interpreter who is from the same country.
“It’s not as simple as just contacting the interpreter and checking their availability,” Ursula, our Bookings Manager explains. “Depending on the type of assignment, we need to get the interpreter/client/customer on the telephone or exchange written texts to check they can understand each other or the material first.”
Do you have any questions about the Romani language or interpreting for Romani speakers? Get in touch with our Bookings Team today on 01223 346870 or at email@example.com and they will be happy to answer all your questions.
Cintra is like a machine with many interconnected and intricate pieces that have to align perfectly so that we can provide a great service to our customers. One part of this machine is, of course, our highly experienced and trained interpreters who are out there in the world, helping you communicate and make sure you can get your message across. However, out of public view there is a whole team of busy Bookings Coordinators who make sure that the right interpreters get to you at the right time, and help that Cintra machine stay well-oiled and run smoothly.
Today we’ve caught up with Bookings Team Manager Ursula Fairhurst to ask her about what her team do and how they can help you. …read more
We are happy to announce our next Diploma in Police Interpreting course in Warwick!
Are you bilingual, have excellent communication skills and have been thinking of becoming a police interpreter? If you’ve been dreaming of becoming an interpreter in the criminal justice system, now is the time to make those dreams come true, with Cintra’s Diploma in Police Interpreting preparatory course. …read more
I love March. There is something about it that makes it one of the most positive months of the year for me. It marks the end of winter and beginning of spring and fills me with fresh enthusiasm about that lies ahead. (And as you’ve probably already heard – we have got an amazing year to look forward to!)
On a more personal level, it is also a time when I reconnect with my Bulgarian roots, and any expat will tell you just how much this means when you live abroad.
Every first of March in Bulgaria we celebrate Baba Marta Day. This is a centuries-old pagan tradition celebrating the coming of spring when people give each other a martenitsa to wish each other good health and prosperity for the year ahead. Martenitsas are made of white and red wool and are either in the form of a wrist band, or a little decoration to be attached to the clothes, traditionally in the form a boy and girl called Pizho and Penda. Martenitsas are to be worn until you see a stork – they spend the winter months in Africa and return to their nests in Bulgaria in March. The martenitsa is then taken off and attached to a blossoming tree. Yes, it gives the local councils a job clearing up afterwards, but for the joy it brings people – I’d say it’s money well spent!
At Cintra we want to share the joy of March with you too, so we’ve decided to offer you a 20% discount on translation projects with Central and Eastern European languages in March. Just contact our Translations Department and quote BABAMARTA16 to claim your discount. We will also send you a martenitsa with your completed translation!
I’m Svetlana, Translation Manager at Cintra Translation and a native Bulgarian living here in Cambridge.
Keen on linguistics for as long as I can remember myself (I used to steal my sister’s French textbook when I was little and tried to ‘read’ it); interested in psychology; love a good story (book, film or play), Indie rock, a good meal and a glass of red wine.
Google Translate Sings creator Malinda Kathleen Reese caused a sensation in 2014 with her YouTube parody of Let It Go, the hit song from Disney’s Frozen. If you’ve seen the video, you’ll remember that Malinda Kathleen, Vassar student and quite a voice herself, put the lyrics through what she describes as “several layers of Google Translate”, coming up with a hilarious gobbledygook version that’s now been viewed close to eight million times. Parodies of other Disney anthems followed, and now nearly three years later, Malinda’s recorded 27 videos under the Google Translate Sings banner.
There’s a lot there for a translation company committed to using human intelligence to smile about, and as it’s that time of the year, we thought we’d share our Google Translate Sings chart toppers with you.
All I Want for Christmas has to be our festive favourite. We all know that Mariah Carey doesn’t want gifts: she wants YOU. In the Google Translate Sings version, Malinda gets ducks under the tree and hangs up her tights instead of a stocking. You get the idea. Enjoy the performance.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without The Wizard of Oz. Are those really avians flying over the rainbow?
Another irresistible seasonal showstopper in this translation from the Frozen songbook: Do You Want to Build a Snow Male?
How we cackled at the Google Translate Sings mechanical version of Defying Gravity from hit musical Wicked.
Google Translate Sings’ repertoire of parodied pop hits is pretty democratic. Taylor Swift isn’t immune from the treatment, and One Direction probably get what they deserve. Our favourite pop parody has to be Malinda’s version of Miley Cyrus’s controversial Wrecking Ball performance.
As Google Translate Sings says: “Enjoy the silliness!”
UK consumers will spend around £400 million celebrating Hallowe’en this weekend. American Trick or Treaters are set to spend close to $7 billion on sweets, costumes and party paraphernalia, celebrating what’s become the western world’s second biggest party of the year after New Year’s Eve.
As a chief exec I have to admire how retailers have driven the growth of the sector: in Britain alone, up by a whopping 3,000% from sales of around £12 million in 2001. As a dad though, my response to all this commercialisation is predictably unprintable. In the translation business, we love what we call ‘untranslatables’, and this week, I’m treasuring two that express the spirit (excuse the pun) of Halloween as lived in our house.
I might stop at one of the piles of pumpkins that have popped up on all routes into Cambridge, but then again, I’ll be in a rush, my son’s really too young to carve one and who’s got the time or the proper tools to gouge out all that hard flesh anyway? So, it’ll be the usual last minute improvisation on ghoulish décor at our place. The same will go for costumes. What’s wrong with a paper plate mask and an old sheet over your jumper and wellies? My son won’t be impressed, but the Portuguese admire and even have a word for my approach – desenrascanço; clumsily expressed in English as ‘the skill of improvising a solution from the materials at hand.’
The Trick or Treating bit demands a supply of good humour even where good jokes are in short supply. Thank you to the Indonesians, for coining one short word to express the particular fun of a truly pathetic joke, so excruciatingly told you can’t help but laugh. That would be a jayus.
I expect to shell out many handfuls of sweets in return for quite a few lame jokes before the weekend is out. And so I present my own very best jayus, saved especially for just such an occasion.
Did you hear about the wooden car with the wooden engine? It wooden go!
Have a great Halloween!
I’m Jerry Froggett, Chief Executive here at Cintra Translation.
High quality. Highly professional.
That would be my team!
To talk to us, call +44 (0)1223 346870
Hi, I’m Serap and I am DPSI LAW qualified Turkish interpreter. I live in the UK and work regularly for Cintra, interpreting and translating Turkish to English and vice versa. I like and enjoy my job – let me give you an idea of a typical day in my working life.
My busiest working day is usually a Sunday, and this weekend was no exception. I’m a qualified police interpreter and also work for healthcare trusts, so although we were going out for Sunday lunch with family, I’m always prepared to go to a police station or hospital at short notice. We take two cars, so my husband doesn’t get stranded. And I keep an overnight bag in the boot. Once, after interpreting for the police over four days and nights, a court usher asked me why I wasn’t wearing a suit. Now I take clothes for interpreting in any situation – police stations, courts, hospital waiting rooms and wards, people’s homes and sadly, even mortuaries.
This Sunday the call from Cintra – a police job – came while we were still at home, so it was easy to for us to go into the routine that gets me on my way as quickly as possible. Cintra works with forces across the East of England and the Midlands, so while my husband made me coffee and a sandwich for the journey, I found the police station on my sat nav. My average ‘commute’ time is 2.5 hours, and I keep in touch with Cintra by Bluetooth, so if I’m delayed the Cintra manager will let the client know. That lets me focus on the job, and I like it that Cintra know all their interpreters by name. To some agencies interpreters are just a number – and I’m not so keen on that!
Once I get to the police station I find out if I’m interpreting for a suspect, a witness or perhaps the victim of a crime. The work is highly confidential, so, sorry, I won’t be telling any true crime stories about this weekend’s particular case! The commonest are drink driving and sexual assault, but I have interpreted in a double murder investigation, and that was quite chilling, believe me.
It’s the interpreter’s job to translate everything the Turkish and English speakers say when we’re in an interview room. Even if a suspect or witness says in Turkish: ‘Don’t translate this.’ Or if the police officers talk about the weather, I translate the chit chat: everyone needs to know what’s going on, just as if the interview was all in English.
And I have to translate exactly what is said. Sometimes, because of the different ways our languages work, or even because of the educational level of the speaker, the words we translate sometimes don’t make much sense to the hearer. For example, Turkish has no pronouns equivalent to he and she: we just use it. So a suspect or a witness might tell me in Turkish: ‘It was talking to me and then it ran up and punched me.’
If I was translating this into English in a social situation, I could make assumptions about the two different people the speaker is referring to. But in a police interview, the interpreter can’t make assumptions. I have to say: ‘He or she was talking to me and another he or she punched me.’ When the police officers look at me like I’m crazy, I suggest they ask me to ask the Turkish speaker to explain for themselves in more detail.
We got through this weekend’s interview quite quickly, and although I missed Sunday lunch, I did get home in time to put my daughter to bed and check with the child minder for after school tomorrow. I’ve been booked to interpret for a health visitor who’s weighing a two-week-old baby. I saw the mum when she was pregnant, so it will be nice to see the new-born – and find out if it’s a he or a she: I’m pretty certain this one won’t be an it!
To work with us here at Cintra, all interpreters and translators must be trained and qualified as Serap is to the required professional standards. Our linguists are assessed and security-vetted as part of the registration process, and are required to follow our Code of Conduct which stresses confidentiality and impartiality.
Cintra is one of the few agencies with its own in-house interpreter training and Diploma in Public Services in Interpreting exam centre. Through our specially devised courses, foreign language speakers who are new to interpreting can be trained and assessed and start working, before obtaining further qualifications, including the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting.
Speculation about the role of the Scottish National Party after Election Day on 7 May has got me thinking about how a higher profile for Scottish MPs at Westminster might just benefit the translation and interpreting sector. For a start, we might find some new untranslatables making an appearance:Movie A Dog’s Purpose (2017)
Dreich is the Scots shorthand for dark and dreary days of bleak, cold and depressing rain. That should work well for English and Welsh voters too! Smirring is an altogether gentler rain although responsible for some real bad hair days. Most women could make good use of a (printable) word to describe that fine, drizzling wet you can’t quite see, that comes with a powerful frizz action.
When you give something a shuggle you shake it about, or loosen it up a bit. Perhaps a new, post-election coinage might encapsulate politicians shuggling along together in coalition?
For all those voters who keep changing their minds, there’s swithering, which is almost onomatopoeic. And lastly, there’s my particular favourite: wabbit, a unique mix of tired and exhausted, defined by a Glaswegian friend as feeling ironed to the bed sheets. A fair few politicians might find that a useful term come May 8.
So, I’m looking forward to an injection of vividly descriptive new words for our translators to get their heads round. Can we also anticipate a run on our localisation services? After all, whatever the precise outcome of the election, it’s a fair bet that many of the new MPs, regardless of party, will have a worldview and familiar cultural references very different from the current Westminster bubble.
As someone who pays close attention to just how connected politicians are to the electorate, I can’t help wondering where the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon gets her messages? In Scotland, when people talk of getting the messages, they’re not talking focus groups and hard-working families. No, in Glasgow, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Fort William, getting the messages means you’re just popping off to Tesco or the Co-op, not taking in the kind of electioneering designed to persuade us that our politicians really do know the price of a pint of milk!
This carefully localised message was crafted for a British audience by me, Tess Wright, Cintra Translation’s CEO. Our translators and interpreters are experts in localising your marketing materials wherever in the world you do business.
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Let’s imagine we’ve had a busy morning and are on our way to grab a cup of coffee together. With us is a colleague who speaks three European languages, including English, but is a native Russian speaker.
We’re doing what you do in narrow corridor: walking fast, talking, gesticulating and twisting around. Just in time, I spot a pool of liquid up ahead.
In a split second, and ever mindful that 28% of the 77,593 non-fatal workplace injuries reported in 2013/14 were slips and trips, I throw a warning over my shoulder to you and our Russian-speaking colleague.
OK, you’ve been there. You can picture the scene. Now, let’s run the soundtrack. But hold on a minute – which of the 17* ways of saying, ‘Careful, someone’s spilt their coffee, don’t slip!’ will I plump for?
One of the great strengths and delights of English is the sheer number of words in the language: every time I open my mouth or put pen to paper I’ve got a working vocabulary of around 35,000 words to choose from. And I’ll keep adding one new word a day until I’m well into middle age.
Non-native speakers living in the UK work hard to keep up. They add between two and three new English words to their working vocabulary every day. But, by any count, building up a good store of health and safety speak is going to take them some time.
Non-native speakers aren’t only up against it coming to grips with our mix of idiom, dialect and regional accent. We love our catchphrases culled from sport, pop, TV and film. And don’t forget to factor in trending slang, and even perhaps the odd workplace obscenity. It’s no wonder that making assumptions about the language we use to warn of danger is fraught with danger.
English is rich and can be very precise, but for the non-native speaker working in the UK, our colourful, colloquial, idiomatic language is often more like a trippy, slippery minefield of misunderstanding – in other words, it’s an accident just waiting to happen.
*You can probably think of even more.
We’re working with an increasing number of companies to translate their Health and Safety policies and procedures into the languages their workers speak and read fluently. Companies and HR managers employing us to translate everything from policy documents to induction packages and factsheets report strong business reasons for investing in quality translation services. We can also provide interpreters in over 100 languages so that you can communicate with staff and customers who speak languages other than English.