Tag Archives: translation

Word Nerd: German, the original hashtag language

4 Dec

You know how hashtags work. A hashtag is a hash sign followed by a word. Sometimes a phrase is compounded into a single word. People can intuitively understand its meaning from either the word itself or the context. Sometimes, though, it’s possible to take it #TooFar #BeyondAllReason #DoesItEvenMakeAnySenseAnyMore #ICantEven. Well, if you thought this was […]

Word Nerd: 7 words of wisdom that India gifted to the English language

16 Oct

Language and history often go hand in hand. The words we use – or don’t use – often contain fascinating stories within them that carry a good deal of meaning beyond the dictionary definition. Here are a few – feel free to add some of your own in the comments! 1. Ahimsa This Sanskrit word […]

Word Nerd: The perils of translation

23 May

Whenever we speak with someone whose native language or culture is different from ours, we are essentially translating. Good translation requires much more than a vocabulary – it takes a nuanced understanding of both language and culture. Japanese, for instance, has different verbs for the same action, and using a less respectful verb in a […]

Word Nerd: Paneer, cottage cheese, and the vocabulary of diversity

18 Apr

Photo of cheeses by Rodney. Used under CC BY 2.0 license

Recently, a friend who is a professor of Italian language and culture expressed her frustration that an English-language textbook had translated “ricotta” as “cream cheese”. I remarked that it was like Indian cookbooks wrongly translating “paneer” as “cottage cheese”. She said that this was different because the author was a scholar of Italian cinema, and […]