Monday, 20 December 2010


If you do spend money on big posters and window displays during the festive season, at least make sure you have it proofread before printing! Mary Christmass everyone!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Gay shop window?

This particular high-street shop better not use the same window display for their branches in Scandinavia! They have used the letter ö from the Swedish alphabet, not realising the message could now be quite offensive in Swedish... Be careful using our extra letters if you don't know how to use them, I'd say!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Bed weather?

I'm always fascinated by the rolling "Breaking News" text that is at the bottom of the screen during BBC news bulletins. Just yesterday the text said that rescue efforts in Indonesia following the volcano eruption had been affected by "bed weather". There a are many a morning that I wake up and think it's "bed weather" too, and contemplate just staying in bed rather than braving the wind and the rain outside, but I didn't think rescue services were afflicted by this as well...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Nokia. Connecting People... in different ways

Taking my new mobile handset out of its box, I glanced at the text printed on the box and noticed the different translations; first the English version, followed by the German version, the Spanish, the French, the Italian, the Swedish and so forth. Just comparing the tagline "Designed the way we work" with the various equivalent translations demonstrates the challenges a translator faces every day. Do we translated word-for-word; completely re-write and risk loosing the original meaning; find the equivalent in our language or, simply, leave the English version? "Designed the way we work" is apparently "Professionell. Elegant. Effektiv" in German. In French it's "Adapté à notre façon de travailler" and in Swedish? Well, the translator decided to leave it in English! And the Italian translator decided the same. The one language which was missing, and quite surprisingly so, was the Finnish version - for some reason they chose not to feature the language of Nokia itself. Just out of interest I would have liked to see it in Finnish... perhaps the original version?

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Press releasing

A press release announcing the launch of our new website can be read here.

English is enough?

Last month the Telegraph newspaper reported that "the number of teenagers studying foreign languages has plummeted to a record low," following the recent publication of national A-level results. The article goes on:

"Only 13,850 students took an A-level in French this year as entries slumped by more than three per cent in just 12 months.

Over the last 10 years, the number of pupils studying the subject in the sixth-form has nose-dived by a third.

Figures also show a rapid demise in German, with just 5,548 A-level entries this year - a drop of almost 42 per cent since 2000.

The disclosure – in data published by the Joint Council for Qualifications – will fuel warnings that foreign languages are becoming largely extinct in state comprehensives.

Pupils from private schools and state grammars now make up a significant proportion of those taking the subject at the age of 16.

The slump has been blamed on a Labour decision to allow pupils to drop GCSEs in languages for the first time in 2004. This has had a serious knock-on effect on the number of pupils taking the subject at sixth-form and university.

Ministers hoped to reverse the decline by making the study of languages compulsory in primary schools but the plans were quietly scrapped during the legislative “wash up” before this year’s General Election.

According to the latest figures, the overall number of pupils taking other modern languages also slumped by seven per cent in 2010 – the fourth fastest drop of any subject this year.

Spanish was the only mainstream language to grow in popularity, with entries increasing by four per cent to 7,629. The rise has been put down to the influence of Latino culture in the US and the continuing lure of Spain as a holiday destination.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: 'With the exception of Spanish the disastrous decline of students taking a modern foreign language continues. This is a result of successive governments underestimating how vital possessing a modern foreign language is to Britain’s role globally.'"

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A split in linguistic personalities

I can relate to the feelings of the author of this article very well, about "the identity shifts of people living in two cultures." Having been brought up in Finland, I have a hard time losing the traits that are so synonymous with Finnish culture; shyness, quietness and what other people might perceive as coldness. I would say I'm a different person in my adoptive country, the UK, and the English language and culture changes who I am; more outgoing, talkative and approachable - but sometimes, just sometimes, the Finnish in me shines through... I don't think you can fully "get rid" of your roots (why would you want to?) but you most certainly do, in some ways, develop linguistic personalities!

Friday, 30 July 2010


But why are typos and mistakes merely annoying when you're closer to home? This one from Scotland.


I dared not have the juice that apparently "cures sex"....

We weren't quite sure what we were supposed to do in case of a flash flood...

I love these little treats when I go abroad. Signs and menus with funny English. These delights are from Thailand.

Funny Translator

One could have hours of fun playing around with this new "gadget". It's called Funny Translator and it highlights the important difference between real translators and machine translation. It takes your English sentence and abuses it in a number of online machine translation tools. Several different languages later you have an end-result that barely resembles English anymore.