May 14, 2018

Once upon a time French was the main sources for culinary jargon. Words like terroir, crouton, bouquet garni, entrée and so on clearly entered English from across the Channel. The sonorous Gallic tongue is often used to describe certain foods, cooking dishes and techni...

April 23, 2018

An accurate translation is a many-splendoured thing; offense arising through a failure to make one’s meaning clear is, well, whatever the opposite of ‘many-splendoured’ would be. Let’s say you’re at a formal event of some kind, the conversation flows freely and then, m...

May 15, 2017

A colleague of mine has a story he likes to tell about a client taking possession of a translation from English into Arabic. ‘Amazing,’ the gentleman said and then ran his forefinger along the text, resting it on each letter in succession. ‘So,’ he went on, ‘this is ‘s...

March 15, 2017

New Zealand local and national news reports tend to have a very different character from those in Brazil. Some New Zealand headlines I found in a quick survey of recent news included “One-Armed Man Pleads Not Guilty To Bar Incident”, “Sewage Leak Turns Creek Black” and...

November 10, 2016

South America is often regarded linguistically as a kind of Brobdingnagian extension of the Iberian peninsula, pock-marked here and there with moribund holdouts of post-Inca vernacular and such occasional presumed idioglossocracies as El Dorado and The Lost City of Z,...

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