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Posts tagged ‘Italian’

30
Jun

The Difficulties of Translation: Love Translated

To language enthusiasts, it’s sometimes a bit of a shock to see how a favourite book or film title is rendered in another language. A common phrase, especially since the film which took it as a title, is ‘Lost in Translation’, the idea of some slight nuance being dropped between one language and another.

But sometimes it’s more than just a little nuance. Sometimes it’s a total transformation of the title, and a total change in meaning. Consider the phrase ‘lost in translation’ itself: a clever play on the idea of physical loss and metaphoric loss, it contains both the sense of merely overlooking something, and of being geographically lost- as well as emotionally bewildered. It’s a poignant phrase. Now consider the title of this blog post: ‘The Difficulties of Translation’ (Трудности перевода) is the Russian title for the same film, while ‘Love Translated’ (L’amore tradotto) is the distinctly simplified Italian variant.

Italian also simplifies one of the most beautiful film titles of this age: ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. The original title conjures images of endless hope, while the Italian ‘Se mi lasci ti cancello’ (If you leave me, I’ll delete you) narrows the ambit significantly and reduces the complex plot to the mere idea of a lovers’ tiff. Similarly, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, the incredibly evocative title of  Salinger’s great classic, certainly loses its panache and the protagonist’s sense of anonymity in the Italian edition, ‘Il giovane Holden’ (The Young Holden).

 


Needless to say, this works both ways, and anyone who is familiar with Proust’s famous work ‘À la recherche du temps perdu’ will be disgusted by the rather trite English version, ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ (thankfully renamed in more recent publications to ‘In Search of Lost Time’). Similarly, Camus’ ‘L’Étranger’ is only ever translated as ‘The Outsider’ or ‘The Stranger’ in English- unlike the French, English lacks a word which encompasses both nuances at once.

Got any favourite translations of titles in other languages? We’d love to hear them, whether you think they’re better or worse than the original!

 

 

9
May

Did you know you can speak Latin?

Last week we added our 133rd language to the uTalk app – and it’s a good one!

Latin has been around ever since the year 75 BC and it has evolved from Old Latin to Classical Latin, to Early Modern Latin and finally Modern Latin. Along with Greek, its roots are used in theology, biology, and medicine right up to the present day. Romance languages, such as Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Romanian have developed from Latin. Later on, many words from all these languages were taken into English, so even if you’ve never actively learned it – you might actually speak Latin.

Here are a few examples of Latin words and phrases that we use regularly:

1. ad hoc: to this

Ad hoc refers to something that was created for a specific purpose or situation as the need arises, without previous planning. An ad hoc political committee, for instance, is formed specially to deal with a specific situation.

2. vice versa: the other way around

For example: “I like you and vice versa” means that you also like me.

3. carpe diem: seize the day

This phrase comes from a poem by Horace and is used to encourage people to enjoy the moment without concern for the future.

4. sic: thus

Sic is used with square brackets [sic] after a quotation indicate that an odd or unusual phrase was reproduced exactly as it was in the source, and therefore it is not an editorial error.Latin

5. per se: by itself

Per se is used to refer to a particular thing by itself. For example: “The idea, per se, wasn’t bad; it was just the way he said it.”

6. mea culpa: through my fault

You might say this if you were admitting guilt, or owning up that something went wrong because you made a mistake.

7. circa: around

If you hear “circa” before a date or other fact, it means it’s an approximation – so for example, “This church was built circa 1600″.

8. in loco parentis: in the place of a parent

When an individual or organisation acts in loco parentis, they assume legal responsibility for a child in the absence of their parents.

We’re really excited to finally add Latin to our uTalk app. Take a look – it’s a great way to see how Latin would sound in modern day society and also to better understand how the language works.

 

6
May

10 famous faces who speak other languages

We’ve posted previously about movie and sport stars who speak other languages. But it turns out they’re not the only famous linguists, so here are a few more. Prepare to be impressed…

Audrey Hepburn

There was much more to the star of Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s than her movie career. Audrey Hepburn was well known for her charity work with UNICEF, and after spending her childhood in Belgium, Britain and the Netherlands, she was also fluent in English, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish and German.

Rita Ora

Rita Ora was born in Kosovo (then called Yugoslavia) to Kosovar-Albanian parents, moving to London when she was a year old. The pop star, model and X Factor judge speaks Albanian fluently and is proud of her heritage; last year she was named an honorary ambassador for the Republic of Kosovo.

Ellen Macarthur

Former yachtswoman Dame Ellen Macarthur learnt to speak French when she was 21 and living in a French boatyard while she prepared for a solo transatlantic race. She’s now fluent and says she would never have been so successful in her career without knowing the language, which helped her build relationships with other sailors and gain sponsorship.

Eddie Izzard

Comedian (and record-breaking marathon runner) Eddie Izzard is currently touring with his stand-up show Force Majeure, which he performs three times a night, in three languages: French, German and English. In 2014, he was named the Guardian’s public language champion, and told the newspaper: “There’s a political basis for me to learning other languages, because if we don’t come together in the world then the world’s not going to make it.”

 JK Rowling

JK Rowling studied French and Classics at university, and when she came up with the idea for the Harry Potter series in 1990, she was working as a bilingual secretary for Amnesty International. She later moved to Portugal and split her time between teaching English as a foreign language and writing the best-selling books.

Mark Zuckerberg

The Facebook founder surprised everyone in 2014 when, during a visit to Tsinghua University in Beijing, he started speaking Mandarin – and continued for half an hour. Though his efforts got a mixed reception from the press, the audience seemed delighted – and we were pretty impressed, too.

Jon Heder

The star of Napoleon Dynamite is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served a two-year religious mission to Japan after high school, where he became fluent in the language. And though he now describes himself as “a little rusty”, he still sounds pretty good to us.

Tim Peake

Tim Peake is the first British astronaut to go to the International Space Station – but before leaving Earth he had to learn Russian (the language of the controls in the Soyuz capsule used to get to the ISS), and has described this as the hardest part of his 14 months’ training.

Tom Hiddleston

Okay so we already mentioned Tom Hiddleston in our last post, but frankly, we never get bored of listening to him speaking loads of languages – among them French, Spanish, Greek and Italian, plus some Mandarin, Russian and Korean. And he studied Latin at university…

Viggo Mortensen

The Lord of the Rings star was born in New York, but spent his childhood in Venezuela, Denmark and Argentina, leaving him fluent in English, Spanish and Danish. He also speaks some French and Italian, and understands Norwegian and Swedish.

Does your favourite celebrity make the list?

 

1
Apr

Beginner’s guide to Romanian

The Junior Language Challenge is a national competition for children aged 10 and under across the UK. One of the goals of the competition is to give young learners the chance to discover exciting new languages, and this year we’ve chosen Romanian as the first language.

But how much do you know about this European language? Here’s Ioana’s introduction to her mother tongue…

Some other fun facts about Romanian

  • The Romanian language is 1,700 years old and is the only Romance language spoken in Eastern Europe. That’s why you’ll be surprised how many similarities it has with French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. However, it also retains a number of features of old Latin and also contains many words taken from the surrounding Slavic languages, as well as from German, Greek and Turkish.
  • The name “Romania” comes from the Latin word “Romanus” which means “citizen of the Roman Empire.”
  • Something that might come in handy is that Romanian is a phonetic language, so words are pronounced as they are spelled. Yay!
  • A foreigner trying to learn or speak Romanian can expect positive reactions from native speakers. Most Romanian will certainly appreciate the fact that you are making an effort to speak their language.
  • Romanians tend to be very good at foreign languages, they start learning as early as 6 years old in school either English, French or German and they add a second language at the age of 11. The majority of young people speak very good English and some of them even another one or 2 languages.
  • Romanians love meeting new people and making friends; they are also renowned for their hospitality, so if you speak Romanian you have a pretty good chance of having a blast if you’re visiting this country.
  • And speaking of travelling, Romania has amazing landscapes. In fact, Romania’s Carpathian Mountains are home to the largest undisturbed forests in Europe.
  • Don’t deny yourself the ease of ordering delicious Romanian food that comes in generous portions, and you’re guaranteed to remember a trip to Romania as one of the best you’ve ever had.

La revedere și mult succes (goodbye and good luck)

If you’re a parent or teacher of children aged 10 and under in the UK, visit juniorlanguagechallenge.com to find out more about our annual competition, which is now open! Entry costs just £5, which is all donated to our fantastic charity, onebillion.

 

23
Mar

‘Something I’ll always be very proud of’: Shane’s JLC story

Shane came in 3rd in The Junior Language Challenge in 2014 and is now in year 7 studying German and Latin. Below he talks about the wonderful JLC experience and why any teacher/parent should register their kids. 

If you’re a parent or teacher of children aged 10 and under in the UK, visit juniorlanguagechallenge.com to find out more about our annual competition, which is now open! Entry costs just £5, which is all donated to our fantastic charity, onebillion.

In 2014 I entered the JLC for the second time, having got to the final the previous year. This time I knew what to expect and was really keen to get going. The first language was Italian, which was probably the language I found the easiest (of the 6 over 2 years). Two pupils from my school, Denmead, got through to the semi-final and we were told that we would be learning Japanese. I knew one word of Japanese already, but this wasn’t going to give me any advantage! It proved to be a very interesting language to learn, but when it came to the quick fire round this was the most challenging.

At the semi-final it all seemed much quicker than the previous year. During the final round, I managed to resist the temptation to look up at the leaderboard before I had finished. My dad compared the leaderboard to the football league tables when a goal is scored, a couple of wrong answers can move you up or down several places very quickly. I think it is much more nerve racking for the teachers and parents than the children as they watch this. I was lucky and saw my name stay in the top three so knew I had qualified for the final.

The language for the final was Somali and although it was completely new to me I knew that the app and website were the only tools I needed to get me through. The combination of games, the increasing level of difficulty and the chance to hear the words pronounced correctly meant it worked for me. I actually enjoyed practising, learning and the idea of preparing for a competition.

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When it came to the final, I probably had my best round to date and as I was answering the last couple of questions my eyes were drawn towards the big screen displaying the leaderboard. I saw I was in third place with a few points to spare so knew I had done it. I felt speechless for a few minutes after we stopped, I had hoped to improve on the year before but didn’t think I would manage to get the bronze medal! My top tip for anyone getting through to the final is to stay calm and distract yourself with some great music and a good book. Calm parents and teachers (like mine) help you relax, just enjoy the experience and do the best you can.

To be part of a national competition is great and to gain third place is something I will always be very proud of. During the competition Franco (part of the JLC team) was always really kind and understanding with the children who needed help with their equipment and his good humour made sure everyone attending felt relaxed. We were always made to feel proud of what we’d achieved.

If your school isn’t yet involved in the JLC then I suggest you ask your headteacher to sign you up. It raises money for a great cause, introduces a fun and easy way to start learning different languages (some you might never have heard of before) and gives you a chance to compete against school mates and then possibly children from other schools if you are lucky enough to get through to the next round.