Monday, 16 March 2015

Subtleties and Human Language

We do not seem to be worrying enough about communication most of the time when it comes to linguistic items.

Today we were assessing a text that had been translated from English into Portuguese.  The term, in the original text, was Mission

Intuitively, the word missão, from the Portuguese language,  comes to mind.

The context was Education Mission.

When we look at the Portuguese Portuguese dictionary, Missao, Portuguese Dictionary we do not find the likely-to-have-been-intended sense of this word, which has to be the sense  number 3.d of the first definition in Mission, English dictionary, and that is a body of experts or dignitaries sent to a foreign country.

When we look at the Brazilian Portuguese dictionary, Missao, Brazilian dictionary, we also do not find the intended sense.

This way, this cannot be the right word. 

Yet, all our intuition tells us that it should and, in the near  future, more than likely, the English dictionary sense that  the author of the original text intended will be included inside of the meaning of missão.

Language is really complicated (Difference and Coincidence in Senses).

We actually had to opt for using comitiva, a word that sounds and looks  completely different from mission, because of this little research we  bothered doing.

It is just one word, but one can tell that we must have spent  some good five minutes to decide on what to do with it.

There is an infinite number of issues involved in performing quality  translation work. This is just one of them, and  perhaps a minor one.

Gaps (PROz, gap), gluts (glut, PROz), and everything in the middle, say a partial gap or a  partial glut, are nothing compared to syntax and what comes as a  consequence of studying it.

A sentence such as, excellence in performance and quality in training are the current concerns, may bring a  lot of trouble: Is  excellence referring to both performance and quality or one could be 
thinking of simply quality in general when writing this sentence?

As if it did not suffice, we still have incompetent writers of the original 
language and instances of incompetency appearing all the time. It is 
probably the case that there is nobody who  has never committed a mistake in writing or speaking alive in this world.

There are not enough rules and the existing rules seem to be too fragile 
when we compare one language with another. 

Once more, we obviously should move toward unified grammar and syntax. 

It is really hard to understand why we have so much variation in communication in human kind if  we came from a single being, is it not?

The vast majority of the world, more than likely, would like to be able to communicate with fewer difficulties.

How nice would  it be if by learning the grammar and syntax of our L1 we were learning a universal grammar and syntax,  like you know what we mean, a model of rules, thinking, and etc. (Verb Conversion, Blogger)?

Why not?

We should also include as many variations as it is logical to include in the  languages we have, especially English, the universal  language.

This way, we should accept the regular versions of all English verbs on top of the irregular ones, so that  nobody who learned in the old way would be wrong and  nobody who uses simple logic would be wrong either.

We should also accept alternative pronunciations in our  English dictionary, so that genuine, with the i sounding as  the letter in isolation does and genuine, with the i sounding  as in prince, should both be correct (Pronunciation, Blogger).

Monday, 9 March 2015

All the Care on Earth with Dictionaries and Assertions about Inclusions

It seems that the modern thinking in lexicon building is that anything that may exist will be listed. 

Infopedia, for instance, brings an option for us to suggest modifications or new dictionary entries.

One of the words that caught our attention recently was industriário.

Until today (10/03/15), the Aurélio, which is considered one of the most complete Brazilian dictionaries ever, does not have industriário in its online volume (Aurélio).

Infopedia, however, does define this word (Infopedia, industriário).

That is why we have to be  always with our lexicons in front of us, quite sincerely: Regardless of whether we are providing services in translation or interpreting, these are fundamental tools.

We should always have immediate access to the latest and most complete dictionary for the pair we work with and this access has to be provided to us by means of at least a computer (we should also need an Internet connection). 

The modern tablets can guarantee that we do not go through any shame and make court officers wait, for instance, as we browse the lexicon.

If working from home, we can obviously have a normal computer with Internet access available at all times and in front of us as we provide our services.

A word that initially sounds odd to us may be more than known to everyone else because the speed of the Internet is much higher than the speed of the printed volumes.

In particular, there are situations in which it is mandatory that we have access to such resources, say when we are interpreting for the medical sector: All of a sudden, the name of a drug or disease we have not yet heard about, even because these things are created on a daily basis, can be mentioned. Not only it might be impossible for us to have a priori knowledge of these expressions, but it might be even more impossible to be able to come up with a perfect equivalent in the other language by the moment we need.

We must definitely fight more for better conditions of employment, and that has to include the special telephone sets (Special Telephone) and tablets as a minimum thing if we are working as contractors and therefore, more than likely, under high financial hardship. 

What are you doing with my I?

There is a very interesting song called Let’s Call the Whole Thing off (Let's). It is about a couple and the fact that they have different origins and then say things in a different way.

One of its lines is You say "potato" I say "patattah".

This song makes us remember how people who are originally from overseas speak English a bit differently from the people who have been born in Australia.

The other day we heard genuine, which should be pronounced (ˈjen-yə-wən) according to Webster's, genuine  being pronounced (jĕn′yo͞o-īn), that is, with the same sound as vine when it comes to the ine (Webster's, vine).

Saying genuine like this is not only interesting, it is actually pleasant, so that we started wondering about the reasons not to change the English language in a way to allow it to accept all those variations.

We obviously would only rarely misunderstand a sentence because the person pronounced a certain word in an alternative way, but changing it all and accepting these nuances would make communication in this world way easier.

English is the universal language, so that we should really put more effort into really universalizing it.

Another day, we said triumph, which should be pronounced (ˈtrī-əm(p)f) according to Webster's, triumph, this way: (ˈtri-əm(p)f). This is the same I  we see in prick (Webster's, prick).

We finally learned that even though tribulation is read (ˌtri-byə-ˈlā-shən), several words that start with tri are pronounced in the same way as triumph. For instance, we have triad (ˈtrī-ˌad also -əd, Webster's, triad), trifecta (trī-ˈfek-tə, ˈtrī-ˌ, Webster's, trifecta), tripod (ˈtrī-ˌpäd, Webster's, tripod), and a few others.

Oh, well, this is a bit harsh, Uncle Sam (Uncle Sam): If we pronounce the letter i in the way we do (ˈī, Webster's, i), then we should obviously say (jĕn′yo͞o-īn). It is so much sexier!

Uncle Sam was an old man according to the posters, but perhaps his nephew, his nephew, who knows, his nephew, would finally be able to democratize all this.

Let’s please be more inclusive also in terms of language even because it gets to a point where it becomes difficult to defend our official choices.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Mixed Glossary (Portuguese/English)

This glossary is provided to you by the SPTIA (Syndicate of Professional Translators and Interpreters of Australia) as a courtesy. Please give back to this institution: You may, for instance, attend one of their courses ( 

Police ReportBoletim de ocorrência
Police SearchVasculha/Revista
WatchhouseCasa da guarda
Baby toothDente de leite
Frisky SearchVasculha superficial/Revista Superficial
Knee Replacement SurgeryCirurgia para colocar prótese no joelho
Overnight BeansFeijão amanhecido
Sentence (language)Período
Clause (language)Oração
Back houseCoxia
Bridging VisaVisto (temporário) de espera (enquanto o outro não chega)
To handcuffAlgemar
To pierceFurar/perfurar (ex.: orelha)
Small hours/Early morningMadrugada (Small hours)
Early childhood Início da infância (nascimento até oito anos de idade de acordo com a UNESCO - UNESCO)
Late childhoodFinal da infância (nove até doze anos de idade - Late)
Early afternoonComeço da tarde (uma até três da tarde - Afternoon)