For notifications of new posts on language, translation, energy and culture, you can subcribe to our blog, with comments and discussion of articles very welcome on our social media accounts.
Three unicorns running

Unicorn Bets Set in Race to Carbon Zero

Are capitalists hoping to harness unicorns to lead the charge to a zero carbon economy? Some experts think so and are calling for investment in unicorn incubation programmes with the promise of great returns. Recently the unicorn has lent its name to the elite group of billion dollar startup tech firms, and now looks set to sire a whole new breed of firms focused on facilitating low carbon living. As icecaps melt, sea levels rise, and global overheating threatens human extinction, can a magical horse with a pointed hat save the human race? Some hard-headed technologists are advocating this, so is it time we understood this beautiful beast and its future a bit better?

Three unicorns runningThe unicorn has captured the human imagination since the earliest days of India, appears in the Christian Bible, in medieval bestiary books illustrating beasts of every alleged kind, and has often been harnessed as a symbol. Typically understood to be a forest-dwelling white horse with a single, spiralling and pointed horn sticking out of its forehead, it might initially have been the ancients’ remote misinterpretation of actual one-horned animals such as the ibex or rhinoceros, or of profile representations of cattle, but it developed a mythical presence in the Middle Ages in Europe which lives on to this day.

Read more

The Goggo effect

Déjà Vu is an advanced Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) program, which was introduced in 1993 and became know as the Ferrari among CAT tools. It was developed by the ingenious Emilio Benito of Atril, who sadly is no longer with us. Quote from his obituary by Michael Benis:

A fond goodbye to the king of CAT – It was with great shock and sadness that the translation community learned of the death of Emilio Benito on Sunday, February 8, 2004 at the age of 56 from complications arising from cancer and its treatment. Emilio earned himself a great many friends in the industry due to the innovative strengths of the Déjà Vu translation memory software system he created, his constant willingness to listen to and act on feedback and his indefatigable support for any users experiencing problems, sometimes nothing to do with the software itself, at any time of the day or night, seven days a week. Read more

Peace, prosperity and friendship

A passionate debate has erupted over the grammar of the wording on the new 50 pence ‘Brexit coin’ due for release by the Royal Mint on Friday, January 31 2020. It was prompted by a tweet from high-profile author Philip Pullman last Sunday:

“The ‘Brexit’ 50p coin is missing an Oxford comma, and should be boycotted by all literate people,” he said. Readers who are unfamiliar with the Oxford comma can read the Wikipedia entry here. It makes interesting reading in any case, and has been known to contribute to translation headaches. Read more

Question mark in labyrinth

Translating web pages – easy snap or tempting translation trap?

Could you just translate this web page please? Well…

Spider in spiderwebIt’s easy you say, but a simple request that sounds like a snap can turn into a translation trap. Web pages are where we read these days, so why not start the job there and just translate what you see on the website? Well, web pages are actually made up of not just the words and images you see on the surface, but also technical code you don’t see, and styling you do, so you may regret your words when you find yourself swimming in a simmering sea of alphabet soup. And what if the result can’t be served up in a way that can be readily consumed? So before just jumping in and translating web pages, let’s look at what really is on a web page and how the text there might, or might not, mesh with the professional translation process to deliver a successful result – in a final format translator and client can readily use.
Read more

Bauhaus school building in Dessau

From Bauhaus to Baumhaus to Our House via Oz

2019 sees centenary celebrations for Germany’s groundbreaking Bauhaus design school, whose 14 year lifespan influenced art, architecture and design worldwide throughout the twentieth century and beyond. On 8 September The Bauhaus Museum opens in Dessau, and HE Translations have added the word Bauhaus to our growing list of German words used in English, many of them highly influential terms. Read more