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THE FIRST LATINO MUSICAL PRODUCED BY DISNEY  IS  'ENCANTO.' The producers' approach to getting Colombia just right

Finding a family-friendly movie during the holiday can be difficult for many reasons. Still, holiday movies always impact and eventually become a holiday memory to all. 2021 was a challenging year for most of us, including the entertainment industry received criticism for the lack of movie options. This year Disney may be the winner in the family-friendly holiday category. Encanto tells a warm, feel-good history of a Colombian magical story. In the Encanto family, most relatives obtained unique powers. They live in a magic house, each family member has an exceptional talent. Their casita responds to their commands and wishes, and each bedroom is magically tailor-made based on the person's gift. All have a special gift, besides for one, Mirabel. 

"Encanto," directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard, topped the Thanksgiving weekend box office in its exclusive theatrical release. It follows Mirabel, the only member of her family. The latter was not given a magical ability upon her fifth birthday, as she discovers that she doesn't need a special gift to be extraordinary.

The Madrigal family and its gifts are based on a very familiar archetype. Luisa, Mirabel's older sister, has a gift of super strength. Isabela, her older sister, is the golden child, and Julieta, their caring mother, creates food that can treat illnesses.

The movie is built from the foundation of these family archetypes that are so relatable. In addition, the film also tells us to see deeper and to realize that people in our family are more complex than the masks we put on them. 

The desire to convey a narrative about multiple perspectives inside a family is what drives the filmmakers to set "Encanto" in Colombia, a country with rich Indigenous, European, and African cultural traditions.

"ENCANTO" RELEASED IN SPANISH in the USA

When "Encanto" opened in theaters last November, Disney fans had the chance to see the movie in Spanish. Given the setting, which is a Spanish-speaking country, it makes sense to release the film in Spanish as well. 

That's why the publication of "Encanto" in Spanish across the United States on November 24, 2021, was so intriguing. The Spanish version was shown in over 250 theaters featuring an entirely Columbian cast making it one of Disney's most successful films. Much of the dub of this film was recorded and produced in Columbia. The English version also contains many Spanish songs, words, and language references giving the viewer a social and language immersion experience. 

ROLE OF TRANSLATION IN “ENCANTO” FILM

For several weeks, Production and Creative Manager Berenice Esquivel and her assistant Andrea Bravo Puerto formed a task force with a translator to interpret the screenplay. Andrea brought in a number of materials, such as photographs and texts, to help them learn about the many accents found around the country. The actors put forth a lot of effort to learn diverse dialects.

As Disney Studios Content strives to deliver more diverse stories, it is expanding and strengthening its global network of voice dubbing talent. There is no one-size-fits-all answer; given the diversity of demographics in each country, it is something that must be addressed in each market individually. In Italy, for example, a Colombian consultant was hired to help with pronunciation and to manage the project. In France, Julian Ortiz, a Colombian musician, plays Félix (Mirabel's uncle), and Juan Arbelaez, a well-known Colombian chef in France, plays Agustin (Mirabel's father). They supplied pronunciation advice, as well as planned and deliberate training for both of the new voice performers.

Disney is leading the charge in helping to expand and broaden the dubbing community around the world through targeted activities such as translation and interpretation. A Colombian sound engineer, for example, was called in as an adviser in Poland, and Encanto was his first theatrical credit. Background vocals for the dub were also provided by Peruvian and Cuban vocalists. In Germany, three Latin American actors voiced roles, and four new Disney actors were employed; in Portugal, two Latin American actors voice roles (Abuela and Julieta, Mirabel's mother); and in the Czech Republic, a Uruguayan actor portrays Félix, and a Latin American engineer was hired as an advisor.

This is the first time Disney has created a story that focuses on a Latin family and is translated to different languages for the world to see. No matter where you're from or what language you see, Disney hopes you'll see yourself and your family in it.

Why choose The Translation Company?

At The Translation Company, we select translators based on their experience and special areas of expertise. We require every translator we hire to pass a rigorous examination and provide verifiable references on their past performance.

Our translators must also possess a Bachelor’s degree in the target language they plan to work with. Each translator who wishes to work as a technical expert must also submit additional credentials and qualifications, such as related coursework, work experience, and a peer review of his or her technical knowledge. Our translators have also been certified by at least one accredited institution, in either the United States or the country where the translation will be used.

Brand Translation: Making Mistakes Can Cost More Than

“Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes.”

– Günter Grass

Whatever your product and no matter how famous your company is, not every country is going to understand what you’re trying to sell. Due to a mix of slang, cultural differences, and misunderstandings, sometimes companies will have to rebrand their products or tweak their slogans so the message isn’t lost in translation.

Most of the time companies get this right. But sometimes, they get it really wrong. Mistranslating can negatively affect a company’s sales and prevent it from reaching its potential. This is why brand translation is so incredibly important for all companies that want to sell to foreign markets.

Brand Names Change for Foreign Markets

Even the most famous brands must change sometimes to accommodate their audience. Let’s look at some great examples of this happening.

1. Coca Cola

In China, Coca Cola goes by the name “Kekoukele,” which translates to “tasty fun.” The name is far easier for this country to remember and pronounce.

2. Sprite

Sprite also made a change for their Chinese audience changing their name to “Xuebi”. The two words that make up the Chinese version are “xue” which means “snow” and “bi”, blue-green. This was deemed a better fit for marketing.

3. Milky Way

Chocolate names between the U.S and Europe can get a little confusing. There is a chocolate bar in Europe called a “Milky Way”, in the U.S this is called a “3 Musketeers”.

However, there is a chocolate bar in the U.S also called a “Milky Way”, which is the European equivalent of a “Mars Bar”. Somehow, this branding has ended up being rather confusing while trying to ensure that everyone from each place knows exactly what chocolate bar they’re buying.

4. Lay’s

Lay’s, an American company, bought the British Walkers crisp manufacturers a few decades ago. However, to retain customer loyalty in Britain, Lay’s didn’t rebrand the product, which is why now, if you want Lay’s in the U.K, you need to look out for Walkers instead.

5. Domestos

This cleaning product goes by various names depending on the country. Some brand names just don’t work well in particular countries so a rebrand is in order.

Domex in the Philippines and India. Glorix in the Netherlands and Russia. In Japan, it’s called Domesuto, and in Argentina, Brazil, and Vietnam, you need to look for Vim.

6. Dr. Oetker

A German brand selling frozen pizza was never going to work in Italy. Therefore, this company rebranded for their Italian audience and now goes by the Italian name “Cameo” which has helped them become the most successful frozen pizza company in the country.

The Most Famous Slogans Lost In Translation

Despite the millions or even billions of dollars thrown into advertising around the world each year, some companies sometimes miss the mark with their translation.

It’s hard to believe that companies, especially high-profile companies, can make such a basic mistake since they have the budget to hire the best translators in the world. And yet, from time to time it happens.

Going global for a brand is the ultimate goal. This outcome ends up with the company being able to expand, earn more money, and become a household name.

However, the only way any brand is going to reach global status is through high-quality and accurate advertising.

Mistranslation of a company slogan is not accurate or high-quality advertising, and an error like this could easily offend their target audience.

Do you want to buy from a company that isn’t speaking to their demographic as they should, after all? Of course not.

However, translating from one language to another isn’t as simple as it first seems. Most often, direct translations don’t work. Whether that be from English to Spanish, French to English, Russian to Chinese, or any other variation.

Colloquialisms, gender, slang, cultural misunderstanding, and even local humor all play a role in how to translate a slogan or brand identity from one language to another.

Since mistakes do happen, we have been able to bring you the best examples of famous slogans lost in translation. While their audience may have laughed at the time, the company’s involved were no doubt kicking themselves for missing the mark.

1. Green Giant

Who doesn’t love this jolly green giant making kids (and adults) all over the world big and strong? Well, after this blunder, the Arabic-speaking world wasn't particularly keen. Green Giant’s famous slogan “The Jolly Green Giant” directly translated into Arabic becomes “Intimidating Green Ogre”. Not the kind of slogan that the kids would love!

2. Mitsubishi

When Mitsubishi launched their new SUV, it was called the “Pajero 4WD”. The name was taken from the leopardus pajeros, an Argentinian cat. However, the word pajero actually means “w*nker” in Spanish.

Thereby, offending the entire Spanish-speaking populace. Due to this, the car was renamed the Mitsubishi Montero which was the least they could do given the circumstances.

3. Pepsi

Everyone in the world has heard of Pepsi. And if you’re in an English-speaking country, you’ll no doubt be familiar with their slogan “Pepsi brings you back to life”. This is a great slogan… except for when they took the campaign to China.

When translated into Mandarin, the slogan ended up being “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”. That’s not the kind of saying you want your brand to be associated with. Pepsi made a huge mistake in this instance.

4. KFC

Following on from the above mistake comes another blunder in China by a well-known brand. If you hear the saying “Finger Lickin’ Good”, you’ll know right away that KFC is behind it. However, in China, this was translated into “Eat Your Fingers Off”.

5. Traficante

Traficante is an Italian mineral water brand. To most people, hearing adverts from Traficante would do nothing aside from making you thirsty. However, to Spanish speakers, traficante means ‘drug dealer’.

That’s not the kind of water you would want your family drinking, is it?

6. Coors

Coors brewing company previously made one of the biggest slogan translation mistakes of all time. Their well-known slogan “Turn it loose” was translated into Spanish as “Suffer from diarrhea”.

Now, as a direct translation, we could definitely see how this could have happened. But as one of America’s richest companies, they could easily have paid for professional translating and avoid such an embarrassing mistake.

7. Schweppes

We’re back in Italy for the next oversight as Schweppes managed to translate their famous tonic water into toilet water for their Italian campaign.

What may seem like a joke was a very real error that undoubtedly cost the brand a lot of money in lost sales. After all, how many people do you know who want to buy toilet water?

8. IKEA

We all know that if you’re going to want to buy furniture in IKEA, you’re going to have to learn a few words in Swedish. This furniture store labels all their products in the original language which can sometimes cause a few ripples among other languages.

For example, a few years ago, IKEA sold a desk called “Fartfull”. This word means speedy in Swedish but is rather laughable in English. Between the awkward name and odd design of the product, IKEA ended up pulling it from the shelves.

9. Apple

You’d never guess that one of the biggest companies in the world could make such a blunder with a product name or slogan.

But, unfortunately for the Japanese, they did. The word for “Siri” in Japanese translates to “Rump, ass, bottom”, which makes for rather uncomfortable conversations among speakers.

As we all know Siri has stayed so this particular error has never been fixed.

10. Chevy

One car made by Chevy that was reported to have flopped due to the name was the Nova. Nova means “no go” in Spanish which wouldn’t give the Spanish-speaking world much confidence in the product, understandably.

However, the rumor turned out to not be true and Chevy reported their sales weren’t affected by this translation error.

But it is a great example of why names must be checked before being marketed as this one could have gone wrong.

11. Pepsodent

What do most people want from toothpaste? To clean and to whiten, of course.

Nonetheless, that isn’t the case in every part of the world. In one particular area of Southeast Asia where the locals chew betel nuts specifically to blacken their teeth. Blackened teeth are seen as being attractive meaning that toothpaste specifically advertised as being whitening isn’t going to be needed. And that’s exactly what happened.

This poorly thought-out campaign didn’t translate well in this area as the locals were not the right audience at all.

12. Fresca

This refreshing, fruity drink is the perfect option for a summer’s day. However, it has been the source of many cheap laughs in Mexico as in that country, Fresca means “lesbian”. Fresca should have spent a little more time on their translation research before printing billboards that could have harmed sales!

13. Clairol

Clairol may be experts in all things hair but their marketing department could use a little more help. Their popular hair curling iron “Mist Stick” didn’t sell well in Germany due to a translation issue.

In German, “mist” means “manure”. So, it’s understandable why German people didn’t want to buy such a product for their hair let alone talk about it. Clairol failed in their sales all because they didn’t rename their product for the German market.

14. Nokia

Remember the Nokia Lumia? Well, Spanish speakers certainly do. Following the theme of terrible translations into Spanish, is the Nokia Lumia. Lumia means “prostitute” in Spanish. Now, the Finnish cell phone maker wasn’t trying to offend tens of millions of people but they really dropped the ball with this campaign. It seems companies all over the world make similar mistakes over and over again.

Will they ever learn?
How Can Brands Avoid Translation Errors?

In this article, we have seen how accurate transition is in all aspects of advertising, marketing, and branding. Poor translations can negatively affect a company’s bottom line and make it harder for them to gain global awareness.

If a company is expanding beyond its native language, it must take translation seriously. A lot depends on high-quality, professional, and accurate branding, after all.

The best way for any company, large or small, to avoid serious mistakes and silly errors is to use a translation company to do the work.

Investing in translation from the experts means the results will always be 100% and the company will have more success in the future as they can truly connect with their foreign audience.

If you’re a company looking for accurate brand transitions of any kind, what should you do now?

The Translation Company

The Translation Company delivers quality, care, and understanding in every project, offering a wide range of services that are tailor-made and adapted for your needs no matter what they are.

The Translation Company guarantees 100% satisfaction on all of their projects and has been in the business for over 15 years - they know exactly how to deliver a fantastic service.

Whether you are looking for advertising translations, branding translations, slogan translations, or anything else related to your business, The Translation Company has all the tools you require to make your life or project a whole lot easier.

With offices in the US in Frisco, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco and internationally in China and Brazil, they cover a range of areas and time zones. Offering translation services in over 200 languages with a huge range of subject matter experts, they will be able to assist you in all your translation needs with outstanding quality and service.

You can contact them here for more information and a friendly member of their team will be in touch with you to discuss what you need in more detail. We’re here to help you with whatever you need to make your life a whole lot easier!

How Are Translation Services Important to Non-Profit Organizations? 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

-Margaret Mead

Non-Profit Organizations play an absolutely vital role in building healthy communities. They do this by providing critical services that contribute to both economic stability and mobility. They also strengthen communities in other very important ways like socially and culturally. Frequently, we can see non-profit leaders as the voice of the people that they serve, help and represent.

Translation is a completely necessary service for many non-profit organizations. Especially those that work outside national borders with people who don't speak English. Or within their national borders but are working with people who speak English as a second language. Having information available in different languages facilitates communication and encourages members of communities to ask for help when they need it.

Within the U.S. there is a need for translation services in non-profit organizations. The U.S. is a country that is not only populated but also developed by immigration, and that hasn’t changed since its founding nor is it ever likely to change in the future.

That being said, there still aren’t enough resources for many immigrants who have not yet learned English or at least not well enough to understand it without help from an interpreter or with translated materials. Sometimes, in the case of more recent immigrants or those who simply haven’t managed to find enough work, non-profit organizations that provide free healthcare, food source, housing, and other services are their only options. Imagine then that you are trying to get help with a medical issue and not being able to understand anything that the doctors and nurses are telling you. It can be a stressful and even frightening feeling that no one should have to experience.

Translation is definitely not the same as interpreting, but having a leaflet, website or even forms on hand in the patient’s native language does wonders to bridge the gap.

Why is Translation Important in the US?

The United States attracts immigrants from across the globe, who speak a diverse array of languages. In 2013, approximately 61.6 million individuals, foreign and U.S. born, spoke a language other than English at home. While the majority of these individuals also spoke English with native fluency or very well, about 41 percent (25.1 million) were considered Limited English Proficient (LEP). – Migration Policy

The US has never been more linguistically diverse. Whether Non-Profit Organizations are working with clients, donors, partners, or the general public, they are highly likely to encounter people who speak little or no English.

Sensitive issues, especially those that Non-Profit Organizations need to communicate about are difficult enough to address in your language. Having a partner that provides accurate, reliable and personal translation and interpretation services can help to ensure communication runs smoothly, clearly and easily for all involved. Therefore, Non-Profit Organizations can strengthen their relationships, and fulfill their noble missions.

What is a Non-Profit Organization?

A Non-Profit Organization is a tax-exempt organization that does not make a profit but instead benefits the broader public interest. However, the Internal Revenue Service defines that there are more than 25 different categories of organizations that are exempt from federal income taxes and, therefore, declared as Non-Profit Organizations. The most common Non-Profit Organizations is classified as a 501 (c) (3), which includes public charities or private foundations. The majority of Independent Sector members are organizations.

These organizations include large national and multinational organizations such as the American Red Cross, as well as your local soup kitchen down the street, community social hospitals, and then places of worship. You can find more details on the different types of tax-exempt organizations directly on the IRS website.

Facts about Non-Profit Organizations

  • There are 1.6 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States – this includes all 501(c) designations from churches and cultural centers to food banks and disaster relief organizations.
  • The non-profit sector – 10 percent of the American workforce or 11.4 million jobs – is the third-largest workforce in the U.S., behind retail and manufacturing.
  • Americans are generous. Total charitable giving in the U.S. in 2016 was about $390 billion, a 2.7 percent increase from 2015.
  • Approximately 63 million Americans — 25 percent of the adult population — volunteer their time, talents, and energy to make a difference.
  • The 2016 national value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour. In other words, Americans contribute $193 billion of their time to our communities.

Source: Independent Sector Organization

Services Non-Profit Organizations Might Need Translation Services For

There is a huge range of services that a translation company can assist Non-Profit Organizations with. Here are just a few of them:

Non-Profit Organizations translation projects

Non-Profit Organizations need to work with a huge range of people and companies when they take on new projects. Sometimes they will source funding from non-English speaking countries which means translation services are essential.

Alternatively, they may be providing services to countries that do not use English as a first language. For example, when sending aid, resources, materials, or health care essentials to non-English speaking countries, navigating paperwork and documentation would be impossible without the use of a translation service. Imagine doing all of the hard work, having a container full of aid that would change entire communities and villages but it is held up in customs because incorrect paperwork was filed.

Another scenario is when helping non-English speakers in the US itself. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” - The Civil Rights Act of 1964

While this became part of the law when the government introduced Executive Order number 13166: Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency. Many of the people that Non-Profit Organizations work with in the US do not know about this legislation nor do they benefit from it. Therefore, it falls to the Non-Profit Organization to arrange for translation services.

Caseworker Conversations

This applies more to Non-Profit Organizations that work mainly within the US. Non-Profit Organizations that specialize, for example, in women who are victims of domestic abuse, will need to be able to provide in-person translation services. These translators must not only translate real-time but with empathy and social awareness of the situation.

Educational Materials

The number of students in the US who are registered as English Language Learners ELLs (Students who are not proficient in English) is at 10.1 percent, or 5 million students (National Education Center for Statistics), and this can present a number of difficulties for educators.

Forms

Non-Profit Organizations spend a lot of time and money following a huge range of processes, policies, and procedures. This includes filling and filing a lot of taxes and records. A translation service can help with this process for internal purposes, such as when dealing with foreign governments and organizations.

Alternatively, they can provide translated forms and documents that are used by the people that Non-Profit Organizations are trying to help. Giving them the tools and resources to be able to apply for social welfare, assisted living, educational support, healthcare, and more can really help a huge number of people whose first language is not English. It can literally change their lives.

Newsletters

Sending out newsletters to members of Non-Profit Organizations is a great way to keep them updated with all the hard work that is being done. It gives Non-Profit Organizations the chance to inform them of any changes relevant to their work. However, it is important that this is accessible to all readers. Making a newsletter in different languages to suit the demographic of a Non-Profit Organization is essential in keeping everyone in the loop.

Websites

People searching for the help of Non-Profit Organizations will generally use google in the first instance. This means that websites need to be multilingual. Then, think about all the hard work, effort, and time invested in SEO practices in English… these need to be mirrored in other languages. Poor translations, conflicting information, and incorrect computer-generated translation can cause more harm than good.

Online automated translation services cannot capture the essence of true meanings. Think about complex legal phrases, colloquialisms, and expressions. While free tools can be a good foundation, Non-Profit Organizations need perfect translations, every single time.

Challenges Faced by Non-Profit Organizations in Translation Services 

Just like any other type of business, Non-Profit Organizations have their very own unique language access needs. These are shaped by the communities they serve, objectives, organizational size, and services they provide.

Although every Non-Profit Organization needs its own language access plan to fit its specific needs, it is true that you can find that many non-profit organizations have similar challenges when they are looking to provide useful and meaningful language access.

Some of the most common challenges include:

  • Limitations due to budget constraints
  • Limited staff
  • Limited resources
  • Limited capacity
  • Limited time
  • Providing resources and services for less common languages spoken in their area
  • Providing timely and cost-effective language services

How Does Poor Translation Services Affect Non-Profit Organizations?

There are a few ways in which poor translation services can affect Non-Profit Organizations. Here are a few of them:

  • Errors in miscommunication take valuable time when there are already limited resources. This can lead to higher costs and a waste of resources.
  • Ineffective communication can result in Non-Profit Organizations losing funding and finding themselves gaining public scrutiny.
  • Delays in any services and miscommunication errors lead to unnecessary visits and calls that impact the productivity and the efficiency of Non-Profit Organizations.
  • Ineffective communication can negatively impact the reputation of Non-Profit Organizations within the community and lead to decreased involvement in the program or initiative.
  • Miscommunications can impede the mission and goals of Non-Profit Organizations.

The Translation Company

The Translation Company delivers quality, care, and understanding in every project offering a range of services that are tailor-made and adapted for Non-Profit Organizations. The Translation Company guarantees 100% satisfaction on all of their projects and has been in the business for over 15 years - they know exactly how to deliver a truly first-class service.

They can do that in a range of ways that specifically cater to Non-Profit Organizations, for example:

  • Achieving and enhancing government compliance and regulatory compliance with relevant legislation
  • Lowering costs by maximizing Non-Profit Organizations resources and cutting down on time spent dealing with miscommunication errors
  • Increasing the efficiency and productivity of Non-Profit Organizations
  • Providing a positive response to local community needs
  • Promoting community integration especially in immigrant, refugee, and LEP communities
  • Increasing staff adoption and reduces staff frustration within Non-Profit Organizations
  • Enabling Non-Profit Organizations to build a higher level of trust and awareness in the communities that they serve

The Translation Company makes their services even more accessible to Non-Profit Organizations with a variety of ways they can help for less money. By offering discounted services and no tax charges, Non-Profit Organizations can trust in them to provide a fantastic worthwhile service, for a much lower cost.

With offices in the US in Frisco, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco and internationally in China and Brazil, they cover a range of areas and time zones. Offering translation services in over 200 languages with a huge array of subject matter experts they will be able to assist you in all your Non-Profit Organization's translation needs with outstanding quality and service.

You can contact them here for more information and a friendly member of their team will be in touch with you to discuss further.

Is Emoji the New Language?

“Emojis are by no means taking away from our written language but rather accentuating it by providing a tone that words on their own often cannot. They are, in a sense, the most evolved form of punctuation we have at our disposal.”

― Emmy J. Favilla

The word “emoji” comes from the Japanese for “picture and character”. The idea for emojis came about in the late 90s when Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita was working at the communications company NTT Docomo. The company was creating a new online platform, however, the platform only allowed for a limited number of characters.

To solve this issue, Kurita had the genius idea of using pictures to replace words meaning users could say more with fewer characters.

While emojis were first used on desktop PCs, they didn’t become as popular as we know them to be today until the mid-2000s when certain phone manufacturers started adding them onto their mobile devices.

From there, emojis, along with other shortened words like “omg”, “lol”, and “thnx”, became the new cool way to communicate with friends and family.

Starting with fewer than 200 emojis, we now have nearly 3000 to choose from on most smartphone and computer devices. With so many emojis to express how we’re feeling, some people have expressed concern that these symbols are killing off the beauty of written language. Is this true?

Are Emojis Killing Written Language?

The short answer to this concern is a resounding no. Even with nearly 3000 emojis to choose from, there are thousands of words, expressions, and verbiage that emojis could never replace.

Sure, it’s easy enough to reply to certain messages exclusively using emojis if what you want to say or how you want to react is more simple, but anything beyond simple and you’ll always need to write what you want to want to express.

For example, your partner sends you a message saying “I miss you, I can’t wait for dinner later, see you tonight”. You could reply to this message with a couple of emojis such as a heart, a hug, and a food symbol to quickly summarise what you want to say.

However, if you need to ask a question like “ What do you want to eat for dinner tonight?”, then you’re going to need to use real words and not rely on emojis to do all the talking.

Nonetheless, the argument could be made that while emojis aren’t killing off the written word, they are making people lazy.

Are Emojis Making People Lazy?

When autocorrect was introduced onto our mobile devices, people reported a sharp decline in their ability to spell. Unsurprisingly, most people unconsciously started to become reliant on their phone to do all the spelling, thus people stopped remembering how to spell words they were more unfamiliar with or used less frequently.

Then came along predictive text and suddenly we didn’t even need to know even half the word we were trying to use because our phones were able to know what we were going to say before we even got there.

Finally, the increased use of emojis came and it was the third nail in the coffin of spelling and grammar. These three aspects combined have most certainly caused the vast majority of people to become lazy when writing.

For words, we have autocorrect and predictive text, and for everything else there are emojis. These three combined are making people, both young and old, lazy in their writing and it is something that is forecast to be a problem in the future.

Are Emojis Acceptable in the Workplace?

It’s one thing to use emojis when writing to your friends and family but what about at work? Is it acceptable to use these symbols of expression when in a professional setting?

A recent survey conducted by management company Curiosity At Work showed a range of results in respect to what workers found acceptable and what they didn’t. It should come as no surprise that the younger workers were more in favor of emojis in the workplace as compared to older workers. The type of job that one had played a role in the results as well.

The full survey results can be found here, although some of the highlights are listed below to give you a brief overview.

Nearly half (46%) of young adults—18-29 years old—think emojis are work-appropriate while only 28% think they’re inappropriate to use. Not only do more young adults approve of their use, but many think they can be used to their benefit.

Professionals, 45 years and older, are more likely to say that its use at work is inappropriate—versus appropriate—by 14 percentage points.

A few older professionals wrote with particular conviction when discussing emojis’ place at work saying the following statements,

"Emojis are the height of unprofessionalism.”, "They do not present an image I would like to present."

Employees are more than four times as likely to disapprove—versus approve—of the use of emojis with a customer-prospect type of job (45% vs. 11%).

The Pros of Using Emojis

For all their faults, there are valid positive points when it comes to using emojis in everyday written language. The main pros us using these symbols include the following:

They enable users to message faster by eliminating unnecessary words

Younger people especially have reported that they feel emojis help them express their feelings better. It’s less awkward to use a symbol to show how you’re feeling as opposed to writing your feelings which many struggle with.

Emojis help reinforce the senders' thoughts, for example, adding a heart emoji to “I love you” can have a greater impact as the idea is reinforced

Emojis show a sign of friendliness if the correct ones are used. Therefore, they can be good icebreakers if writing to someone for the first time

In a professional setting, many younger people feel the use of emojis can help build relationships with coworkers

The Cons of Using Emojis

As with all things, when there are positives, there are usually negatives as well. Some of the cons of using emojis include the following:

The addition of emojis when we already had autocorrect and predictive text has led to mental laziness for many with spelling and grammar. More frequent use of emojis means people are forgetting how to spell uncommon or unfamiliar words

Different emojis have different meanings depending on the context and age of the sender/receiver. This can lead to miscommunication or confusing exchanges

People’s overuse of emojis can also confuse the receiver as they have to guess what the other person is trying to say

In a professional setting, many older people feel emojis are not professional and should not be used in a work environment

Do Different Demographics Change Emoji Meanings?

Believe it or not, yes. The type of emoji the sender chooses and the context in which they use it depends on their age. This isn’t just a younger person/older person kind of situation either. The meanings can change across all generations. Some of the emojis that experience this drastic change in meaning include:

The Skull Emoji

Gen Z uses the skull emoji to express that something is funny. They are effectively saying they’re dead from laughing. While every other generation just uses it as its original meaning.

The Smiley Face

It’s hard to imagine that a simple smiley face could mean anything other than the sender is smiling. However, again Gen Z uses this emoji as a passive-aggressive symbol. Whereas every other generation is just genuinely smiling.

The Thumbs Up Emoji

The thumbs-up emoji is rarely used by Gen Z, Millennials, or even Gen X. This is because this is seen as a rather dismissive response. Imagine if you spoke to someone in real life and their response to you was to put their thumb up. You could easily take this as a condescending and dismissive way to end the conversation.

Baby boomers, however, don’t see this in the same way which is why they’ll frequently use this emoji in response to a paragraph of text or special announcement from their kids.

Eggplant and Peach Emojis

Who knew that food emojis could be so taboo. Unfortunately, some innocent emojis have fallen victim to the emoji equivalent of slang. Namely the eggplant and peach symbols. While boomers see them as they are, anyone younger will know these two are exclusively used to indicate a far more suggestive and sexual tone.

The Crying Emoji

This is another emoji that has had its meaning changed by Gen Z, although it’s not uncommon for Millenials to use it with a different meaning either. This crying face emoji is rarely used to show the sender is crying.

Instead, it’s used to show the sender is overwhelmed, in a more humorous way, with something funny, cute, or unbelievable. Ask any Gen Z, and they’ll tell you the laughing crying face emoji is 100% uncool.

The Cowboy Emoji

Have a quick scroll through your phone and you’ll see a cute emoji face wearing a cowboy hat. But what does it mean?

Well, according to Gen Z, this is the perfect choice to send when you want to show that you’re pretending to be happy on the outside but are dying on the inside. Don’t worry, this one doesn’t make much sense to us either.

However, at least you now know what the sender is trying to tell you if you ever receive one.

Is Emoji the New Language?

Overall, it’s safe to say that using emojis is NOT the new language. Although each day more than 5 billion emojis are sent throughout the world, there simply aren’t enough available, nor do they convey enough meaning to ever become a standalone language.

Take another symbol-based language, for example, Egyptian hieroglyphics. Despite there being fewer hieroglyphic characters than emojis, the symbols were packed with nuances and meaning.

There are symbols for the alphabet, for words, for full sentences, even. You can have a real, meaningful conversation with hieroglyphs that is impossible to do with just emojis.

The more emojis you put in a row, the more indistinguishable your message becomes, the reader is forced to start guessing what you’re trying to say because a string of emojis does not form a sentence.

So, emojis can enhance conversations, they can enforce meaning, add a little fun, and make it easier for people to express their emotions. However, emoji is not the new language.

The Translation Company

While we may never need to officially translate emojis into “real” languages, we do often need to translate from one language to another. Whether that be due to work projects, college work, visa applications, administration papers, advertising, marketing, or a hundred other things!

When you are faced with this kind of translation need, you must choose a translation company that is experienced, professional, and 100% accurate in its work. That’s where The Translation Company is here to help!

The Translation Company delivers quality, care, and understanding in every project, offering a wide range of services that are tailor-made and adapted for your needs no matter what they are.

The Translation Company guarantees 100% satisfaction on all of their projects and has been in the business for over 15 years - they know exactly how to deliver a fantastic service.

Whether you are looking for advertising translations, book translations, paperwork translations, or anything else related to your business, schooling, or general life, The Translation Company has all the tools you require to make your situation or project a whole lot easier.

With offices in the US in Frisco, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco and internationally in China and Brazil, they cover a range of areas and time zones.

Offering translation services in over 200 languages with a huge range of subject matter experts, they will be able to assist you in all your translation needs with outstanding quality and service. Contact their friendly team here and experience a stress-free, hassle-free, quality service!

What Is the Difference Between Parisian French and Canadian French?

Si vous parlez à un homme dans une langue qu'il comprend, vous parlez à sa tête. Si vous lui parlez dans sa propre langue, vous parlez à son coeur.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.

French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world with over 270 million speakers worldwide both native and secondary.

While the majority of native speakers hail from France or regions in Canada, in particular Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario, there are actually 29 countries that have French as their official language.

As French made its way around the globe, changes started to take place as each region and country made the language their own. Nowadays, aside from France, Canada is the country with the most French speakers. Approximately 20% of Canadians’ native tongue is French.

Surprisingly, this North American, English-speaking country has areas that have been hugely influenced by the language and culture. But how much has changed since the first French settlers came to the eastern coast? And what are some of the greatest differences between Parisian French and Canadian French? Let’s find out more below.

The Origins of French

The origins of more or less any language are rarely simple. And French is no exception. Originally, the area now occupied by France and Belgium spoke a, now long forgotten, language known as Gaulish. Then, just over two thousand years ago when the Roman Empire started conquering much of Europe, Gaulish came under attack by Latin.

Over the following years, Latin became more prominent, and Gaulish died off, all bar around 150 words which were kept.

The Evolution of French

However, in a turn of events, France decided to transform Latin and make it “a language of the people”, rather than a language that was seen as stuffy or pretentious. And voilà, old French was born. An incredible mix between Gualish, Latin, and external influences.

However, like with most languages, the evolution of this language wasn’t finished yet. Slowly, old French became middle French, and eventually, middle French settled into the modern French that we see today.  While French is one of the five Romance languages owing to its Latin roots, it is certainly the most divergent thanks to its rapid and purposeful changes.

How Did French Make Its Way to Canada in the First Place?

While we know you haven’t come here for a history lesson, it’s interesting and important to know how the French language ended up in Canada in the first place.

Before the British came along in the late 18th century, a French explorer called Jacques Cartier managed to make his way across the Atlantic in 1534.

Unfortunately, despite the fact the land was already occupied by the First Nations, France officially laid claim to the land and sent their own settlers over to colonize as many of the areas as possible.

At this point, France had a fair amount of wealth and political strength which made their occupation relatively easy. During the next roughly 230 years, the French population grew as did the land they claimed. The areas they claimed included Quebec, Acadia, Nova Scotia, among others as well as parts of America.

During their time, they focused on building, setting up new towns, and trying to bring as much of their own culture as possible. However, in 1763, they were to be no more as the British defeated the French armies and took over rule in Canada.

Why Did French Only Become the First Language in Several Canadian Regions?

At the time of the French rule, there simply weren’t enough people to spread out over such a vast country as Canada. Especially such a large country that also has an unforgiving landscape in many places. This meant that French settlers stayed in small groups close to each with their spread being slow. Because they couldn’t go across the whole country, they couldn’t spread the language either, and thus, French was confined to only a few areas of the country.

Why Is French Still Used Today?

Once the British took over, it would be fair to assume that English became the used language and French would die out. However, it never did. And even now, nearly 250 years later, the French language has not only stayed in the original areas but has grown in use. Why is this?

Well, when the British took over, the French were allowed to stay. And given the fact that Canada established its first Official Languages Act in 1969 to outline the equal status of English and French at the federal level, there was no need for the French to learn English.

As the population of the country grew and the British settlers became more and more prominent, the French isolated themselves somewhat to be able to continue living with their own native language. This meant that great communities were formed that are culturally incredibly different from English-speaking parts of Canada even though they are right next to each other.

Today, keeping and teaching French is understandably important for all French Canadians. Due to this, there are laws in place which protect the language and ensure it is taught as a second language in many parts of the country. Therefore rapidly increasing the number of speakers each year.

The Most Important Differences Between Parisian French and Canadian French

So, how many differences are between these two versions of the same language? Well, if you were to focus on vocabulary or slang, accent or intonation, you could list thousands of differences. And then a few thousand more. However, generally speaking, there are 7 important differences between them. Let’s look at what they are in more detail.

1. The Anglican Influence

It will come as no surprise the Canadian French contains a lot of Anglicisms. Or more simply put, phrases and words have been taken from the English language and incorporated into another without change.

Given the fact that 80% of Canada speaks English as a first language and the countries close proximity to America, these sneaky little Anglicisms were always going to happen.

While it is generally agreed that a native Parisian French speaker could understand, for the most part, what a Canadian French speaker was saying, they may have some trouble comprehending English expressions or idioms that have been directly translated into French.

2. The Aboriginal Influence

Similar to the above, there is an influence on Canadian French from the First Nation languages. Again, this is unsurprising given that Canada was home to aboriginals and First Nations tribes before the area was colonized.

Some examples of this influence or word borrowing can be seen in vocabularies such as fish or cranberry. In Canadian French, you would use ‘atoca’, and ‘achigan’ respectively. Whereas in France, you would say ‘canneberge’, and ‘poisson’.

3. Archaic Tones

The French ruled parts of Canada for around 200 years before the British took over. Even though the French were overruled, some people chose to continue with French as their area’s main language.

However, this isolation meant that the language didn’t develop completely into the modern French we know today. Instead, many archaic expressions, phrases, and vocab used back in the 16th century ended up being passed on and remain today.

4. Slang Words

It’s thought that every language in the world contains slang words. This kind of development is a natural part of language and expression so it stands to reason that all languages old and new have their own little dictionary on slang. Canadian French, like every other language or dialect, has their own slang, too. Completely different from the slang you would hear in Parisian French.

Just in the same way that you would hear different slang words in every Spanish-speaking country in Latin America. They may have a main language in common but each country and culture forms its own special lingo.

5. Pronunciation

Pronunciation of words, particular letters, and different intonation are a few of the biggest differences between the two languages. If a Canadian French speaker were to speak French in France, the native speakers would instantly recognize the differences. And the same in reverse.

This difference might not be obvious to someone who doesn’t speak the language but those who do may even be able to pinpoint exactly where the other person is from.

This is just like when native English speakers can tell the difference very quickly between Americans, Australians, or English folk. Non-native speakers might think all three sound the same but in reality, they are vastly different.

6. Grammar

Grammar forms the main structure of any language, therefore, any changes are very noticeable. Canadian French has changed their grammar here and there over time to be slightly, but again, noticeably different from Parisian French.

For example, in France, they say the preposition ‘on the’ as ‘sur la’. Whereas in Quebec, for example, you’ll hear ‘s’a’ instead.  Similarly, you’ll hear ‘dans les’ (on the) in France but dins in Canada.

Additionally, the formal is used far more frequently in France. In Canada, it’s common for people to use the formal when dealing in business but when talking to elders or strangers it’s more normal to use the informal. Unlike in Parisian French where the formal is still very much a part of day-to-day life.

7. Technical and Legal Terminology

You may go many years without ever encountering this difference. Especially since dealing with legal matters or very specific and niche vocabulary is not a regular occurrence for most people.

However, when it does come up, it can be a nightmare. Imagine being a French Canadian living in Paris or Montpellier and you find yourself dealing with a legal issue? Perhaps even a visa or customs issue and yet, the terminology is so different that you don’t know what to do. Or vice versa.

Living in another country and already knowing the language is undoubtedly a massive advantage. But what do you do if a serious situation comes up and you genuinely don’t understand what is being said or what is being written? Unfortunately, while differences in languages add so much more diversity and beauty to the world, it’s not always the most convenient.

So, if you find yourself in this type of situation, something similar, or are worried about it possibly happening in the future, what can you do?

Well, aside from learning specific terminology relating to your problem, the best option is to simply seek out the help of a professional language translation company. This way, you can be certain that your problem is going to be solved fast and without any extra stress or hassle.

The Translation Company

The Translation Company delivers quality, care, and understanding in every project, offering a range of services that are tailor-made and adapted for your needs no matter what they are. The Translation Company guarantees 100% satisfaction on all of their projects and has been in the business for over 15 years - they know exactly how to deliver a fantastic service.

Whether you are looking for Parisian French, Canadian French or any other of the 200+ language we cover, we are here to help you with all of your translation needs.

With offices in the US in Frisco, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco and internationally in China and Brazil, they cover a range of areas and time zones. Offering translation services in over 200 languages with a huge range of subject matter experts, they will be able to assist you in all your translation needs with outstanding quality and service.

You can contact them here for more information and a friendly member of their team will be in touch with you to discuss what you need in more detail, offering you solutions that are adapted to your translation needs. We look forwards to hearing from you!

 

The Importance of Legal Translation Services

“The law is the last result of human wisdom acting upon human experience for the benefit of the public.” - Samuel Johnson

Paperwork of any kind is never easy. You need an incredible amount of patience to get things done when you dip your toe in the world of bureaucracy. But, unfortunately, it is a completely necessary evil. Today, we are going to look at how this factors into getting power of attorney, specifically in non English speaking countries.

What is the Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (the POA) is a legal authorization that gives a designated person, named as the agent or the attorney-in-fact, the power to act for another person, named as the principal. The agent may be given a broad range or limited authority to make decisions about the principal's property, their finances, investments, or even medical care.

  • A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document giving one person - the agent or attorney-in-fact, the power to act for another person - the principal.
  • The agent can have broad legal authority or limited authority to make decisions about the principal's property, finances, or medical care.
  • The POA is often used when the principal can't be present to sign necessary legal documents for a financial transaction.
  • A durable power of attorney remains in effect if the principal becomes ill or disabled and cannot act personally. (Source)

When Might You Need a Power of Attorney?

Certain circumstances may trigger the desire for a power of attorney (POA) for a legal adult - someone over the age of 18.

For example, if someone is in the military, they might create a POA before deploying overseas so that another person could act on their behalf should they become incapacitated or unavailable to make important time-sensitive decisions. Though it is more common, incapacity isn't the only reason that someone might need a POA. Expatriate workers and their families, for example, may need to set a POA for their affairs in America while doing their work overseas.

Other important tasks a POA can authorize someone to carry out are:

  • Banking transactions
  • Real estate decisions
  • Dealing with government
  • Retirement benefits
  • Healthcare billing
  • Incorporation of a legal entity

Power of Attorney in Latin America

There is a common misconception that to form a company, buy property, or carry out other legal work in Latin America, you have to be physically present. Processes such as filing documentation, registering with local authorities, preparing the company by-laws, opening a bank account, etc, can be complex and time-consuming.  This is where a power of attorney is a useful tool that will simplify the process. It allows a trusted local partner to complete the paperwork on your behalf, without the need for you to be physically present in the country where the process will take place.

How is the Power of Attorney Granted?

A power of attorney can be created through an oral declaration at a court, or through a formal legally binding document. The latter is certainly the most recommended way of creating a POA because most countries and their respective financial institutions will require physical, authenticated, and notarized documentation to complete any formal procedures.

In regards to creating a POA, it will require the following steps:

  • The grantor will provide information regarding their needs and requirements to its local partner abroad (legal firm, attorney, etc)
  • The local partner will then draft a power of attorney and send it to the grantor
  • The power of attorney will need to be notarized and apostilled
  • The power of attorney will need to be physically mailed back to the local partner (the original)

Sounds simple, right? And sometimes, it really is as simple as that. However, often it is not.

Power of Attorney Complications

Many people choose to buy the property or start a business in Latin America to take advantage of the lower overheads, relaxed way of life, and culture shift. All of those things are what makes Latin America so special, but they can also cause problems when it comes to filing for a power of attorney. You can experience a lot of delays, information online can be inaccurate, different regions have different rules in regards to paperwork, and all of these documents must be filed using perfectly translated documents.

This is where it is super important to work with well-known, reliable, and trustworthy firms so you are sure exactly what powers you are giving away and more crucially… to whom. Since a POA is a legal document that gives your local partner the ability to act completely on your behalf, you need to make sure that you understand exactly what your documents say in their native language and what it means for you legally. That is where you need a reliable, reputable translation service.

The Translation Company

The Translation Company delivers quality, care, and understanding in every project offering a range of services that are tailor-made and adapted for law, Power of Attorney, and working in Latin American countries. The Translation Company guarantees 100% satisfaction on all of their projects and has been in the business for over 15 years - they know exactly how to deliver a fantastic service giving you complete peace of mind that you know what you are signing, and what the consequences are.

With offices in the US in Frisco, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco, and internationally in China and Brazil, they cover a range of areas and time zones. Offering translation services in over 200 languages with a huge range of subject matter experts they will be able to assist you in all your legal translation needs with outstanding quality and service. Starting with a power of attorney right the way through to home purchases, starting a business, or even filing taxes, they are here to help you. You can contact them here for more information and a friendly member of their team will be in touch with you to discuss your needs further. The Translation Company is here to ensure that your legal processes in Latin America run 100% smoothly.

Things you need to know before moving to a Spanish-Speaking Country

“To speak a language is to take on a world, a culture.” – Frantz Fanon

Each year, tens of millions of people move from their home country and set up a new life abroad. For most, the prospect of a better job or retirement are the main factors in making this drastic change. And the story is no different for Americans.

Around 40% of American-born citizens who emigrate to another country end up in central and south America with Mexico, Costa Rica, and Ecuador being among the most popular. A huge number of Americans love these Spanish-speaking countries, and the number moving each year is ever-increasing.

So, why do so many people move to Spanish-speaking countries in the first place?

The High Satisfaction Between Work and Life

The biggest reason why Americans are moving to the central and south American countries in droves is the high satisfaction between work and life. Having the balance between your working life and your personal life is the ultimate goal for most people, so it makes sense that countries which rank highly would be common choices.

In a recent study by InterNations, the top ten countries in the world where expats were happiest in their work/life balance included 3 Spanish-speaking countries - Mexico, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. Added to this, four of the top ten most popular counties for American retirees are also Spanish-speaking - Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, and Colombia.

However, if you plan on having a hassle-free retirement enjoying the climate and beautiful scenery. Or you are desperate to have a stress-free and balanced life in your new country and new job, then there are a few things you’ll need to know before you make the move.

Things You Need to Know Before Moving to a Spanish-Speaking Country

Of course, like with any country, you’ll experience some drastic changes in culture, climate, food, and more. To deal with any situation efficiently and not get overwhelmed by the unexpected, it’s best to learn what you need to know before you get on the plane.

1. Personal Space

While not every culture is going to be the same in every Spanish-speaking country, some aspects are seen throughout. One of the biggest ones is affection and personal space.

Back in America, the idea of a stranger greeting you with anything more than a handshake might strike you as somewhat odd. However, in Latino countries, hugs and kisses are common and expected. You will most likely be greeted by most people with a kiss on both your cheeks - even if you have no idea who they are.

This is a polite and affectionate greeting that you’ll soon get used to. If someone goes to kiss your cheek, don’t step back or you could risk being seen as an ignorant foreigner.

2. Food Choices

In general, food choices will be different from what you’re used to in your country. While there is a lot of Latino influence in American foods and the same in reverse, you will have to adjust to not always be able to get what you want when you want.

Get ready for new dining experiences and you might just find your new favorite foods! You will find some of your favorite American foods in the supermarkets and restaurants as well but don’t expect to find them everywhere you go.

3. Sense of Community

In all Spanish-speaking countries, you will find a strong sense of community. This means that a stranger will think nothing of inviting you and your family round for dinner. Or striking up a conversation in the street or the supermarket. There is often a ‘what’s mine is yours’ attitude that helps bring people closer together.

By contrast, Americans are very used to having their own personal space and privacy where speaking with strangers is awkward and unnecessary

Additionally, if someone is offering to get you a drink or invite you around for lunch, it’s common that your first response might be to feel uneasy. You start wondering if they are trying to trick you or have an agenda.

It’s unfortunate that this is the case and it often makes it hard to get accustomed to strangers going out their way for you just because they want to.

4. Slow Pace

Have you ever heard the, albeit satirical, expression ‘Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?’. This play on the original expression sums up life in Spanish-speaking countries pretty well. For the most part, people aren’t in a rush. If you need a service such as a plumber, electrician, mechanic, etc, they will help you but perhaps not as quickly as you’re used to.

You’ll find that even in places such as the supermarket and post office, workers go at their own pace. There’s no rush and this is never going to change. Being punctual is no longer important so don’t be offended when everyone and anyone arrives 30 minutes after they said they would.

Admittedly, it can get extremely frustrating to feel like the world is going slower and everything is constantly being put off until the next day - when, inevitably, it’ll be put off until the following day again - but once you accept that this is life, you actually start to enjoy this part of the culture.

5. Festivals and Parties

Spanish-speaking countries love nothing more than a good party. It can seem like they can find any excuse to celebrate. From street parties, festivals, and more, you’ll have to get used to a lot of noise, music, dancing, fireworks, and parades.

National holidays are taken very seriously also, with people marching through the streets playing music even if it’s 5 in the morning. Unless you previously lived in a loud, busy city back home, you might need some time to get accustomed to this frequent level of noise!

6. Direct Speech

Don’t be offended when people speak to you directly or abruptly. Spanish-speaking countries don’t have flowery speech or use please, sorry, and thank you very often. They’re not being rude, they just don't see the need to use them

Spanish-speakers find it odd when foreigners use polite words all the time so don’t feel like you have to end every sentence with a please or thank you.

7. The Language

Spanish is the most popular language taught in American schools. It’s also the second most common language spoken in the country. So, even if you have never actively learned the language in your free time, you should know some basic phrases and vocabulary. This is a great start but to fully integrate into your new life and community, you’ll need to be able to speak the language to a fairly high level.

While you’ll find plenty of people in Spanish-speaking countries that also know bits of English, you can’t rely on this all the time and you should never expect people in their own country to speak a second language just to accommodate you. Especially when it comes to dealing with more serious aspects of life such as bills, contracts, visa applications, legal documents, and other paperwork.

These will be in Spanish and you’ll need to have a good proficiency in the language to get by - or at least hire a translator to help you.

Latin America vs Spain

Each year, more than 400,000 Americans visit Spain for vacation, and a further 30,000 move to Spain while they attend university. That’s a lot of people who are learning and hearing Spanish (Castellano) in a completely different part of the world from South America.

So, will those who learn Spanish in South America be understood in Spain? And will those who learn Spanish in Spain be understood if they eventually move to one of the other 20 Spanish-speaking countries?

Fortunately, the answer is, for the most part, yes. Of course, each of the world’s 21 Spanish-speaking countries has its own slang, pronunciation, dialects, and nuances.

However, in general, these differences can be compared to the differences found between Australia and England, for example, or between the United States and New Zealand.

Talking with other people who come from a different English-speaking country may present a few challenges at first as your ear adjusts to a new accent, you pick up a few previously unknown words, and you may even need the other person to slow down. But, overall, both parties can communicate effectively.

This will be the experience that most people have when using Spanish learned in Spain when they visit Peru, Costa Rica, Chile, etc.

Likewise, since each of the Spanish-speaking countries in South America also has nuances between themselves, you will encounter the same situation when using Spanish learned in Ecuador if you’re visiting Argentina. Or Spanish learned in Chile when you’re visiting Bolivia. Or Spanish learned in Colombia when you’re visiting Panama, and so on.

You won’t always understand what everyone is saying, you may need speakers to slow down or repeat themselves, and you'll learn new words, but you’ll be able to get by pretty easily.

The Unstoppable Language

It may surprise you to learn that after Mandarin, Spanish is the most spoken language in the world in terms of native speakers. When talking about Spanish as a second language, it ranks an impressive fourth with an estimated combined total of 585 million Spanish speakers in the world, both native and second-language speakers. This number is constantly rising by about five million each year.

Add to this that Spanish is the 3rd most popular language used on the internet, and the 2nd most common language used in scientific research papers, and you’ll see why more and more people are studying this language as soon as possible.

Being able to communicate in a second language has always had advantages, but being able to communicate in Spanish is one of the most beneficial of all.

However, while around 43 million Americans speak Spanish, that still leaves roughly 285 million who don’t. So, if you’re heading off to a fresh start in a Spanish-speaking country but don’t yet know the language or aren't confident in your abilities then you’ll need to seek out a professional translation company to help you along the way.

As we mentioned earlier, moving to a Spanish-speaking country involves a lot of paperwork, bureaucracy, and administration that can feel incredibly overwhelming if you don’t understand the papers and forms you are being given.

Not to mention the problems you could encounter if you misread or mistranslated and end up making mistakes. When a life-changing event like moving countries comes along, hiring a reliable and established translation company is the best way to ensure you avoid problems and can start your life as quickly and easily as possible.

The Translation Company

The Translation Company delivers quality, care, and understanding in every project, offering a range of services that are tailor-made and adapted for your needs no matter what they are. The Translation Company guarantees 100% satisfaction on all of their projects and has been in the business for over 15 years - they know exactly how to deliver a fantastic service.

Whether you are looking for that person-to-person translation, typed work - such as moving or legal documentation - or a translation of all the paperwork you need to deal with in your new country, The Translation Company has all the tools you require to make starting your new life as simple and stress-free as possible.

With offices in the US in Frisco, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco and internationally in China and Brazil, they cover a range of areas and time zones. Offering translation services in over 200 languages with a huge range of subject matter experts, they will be able to assist you in all your translation needs with outstanding quality and service. You can contact them here for more information and a friendly member of their team will be in touch with you to discuss what you need in more detail.

To Infinity and Beyond…

“If we adopt the same collaborative mindset and practices that got to the moon and back, and that built the International Space Station, we can alleviate poverty - and do much more.”

- Ron Garan.

Space has captured our imaginations since the dawn of humankind. Galaxies far far away have seeped into human traditions, religion, culture, and society. From star signs to the tides, gravity to divination; the great beyond influences us physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The Space Age

The Space Age is the dawn of our universal exploration. It is the period encompassing all the activities related to the space race, space exploration, space technology, and the cultural developments. And were also influenced by these events, beginning with the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, and continuing to the present.

Let the Race Begin

The Space Age began with the development of multiple technologies that converged on October 4, 1957, with the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union. This was the world's very first artificial satellite. The launch of Sputnik 1 ushered in a new era of political, scientific, and technological achievements that became known as the Space Age! This speared the rapid development of new technology and a race for achievement - mostly between the United States of America and, what was known at the time, the Soviet Union.

The Space Race reached its peak with the Apollo program that captured the imagination of the globe. The landing of Apollo 11 was watched by over 500 million people around the world and is widely recognized as one of the most defining moments of the 20th century.

A Change of Pace

However, what could be seen as, at first a sprint to the finish, quickly slowed in speed. For the United States, the space shuttle Challenger disaster, which happened in 1986, marked a significant decline in crewed shuttle launches. Following the disaster, NASA grounded all of its shuttles for safety concerns for two full years up until 1988. Then, during the 1990s funding for space related programs fell sharply as the remaining structures of what was the Soviet Union disintegrated and NASA no longer had any direct competition.

From Government to Private Interests

Since then, participation in space launches has increasingly widened to include more governments and now even commercial interests. Since the late 1990s, the public perception of space exploration and space-related technologies has been that these launches are increasingly commonplace with less and less risk. In fact, launches happen so often, most barely make the news.

Russian - The Language of Space?

After Apollo 11 won the space race and took the crown from the Soviet Union, which seemed certain at that point to be the first nation on the moon, it was inconceivable to imagine that any language other than English would be the language of space.

So how did it happen?

The International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is a modular space station in low Earth orbit. It is a multinational collaborative project that involves five participating space agencies:

  • NASA (United States)
  • Roscosmos (Russia)
  • JAXA (Japan)
  • ESA (Europe)
  • CSA (Canada)

The ownership and use of the space station were established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements and are still jointly held today. The station serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which scientific research is conducted in a range of fields such as astrobiology, astronomy, meteorology, physics, and others. The International Space Station (ISS) is suited for testing the spacecraft systems and equipment that is required for possible future long-duration missions to the Moon and even further afield, to Mars.

The station is divided into two sections:

  • The Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) is operated by Russia only.
  • The United States Orbital Segment (USOS) is run by the United States as well as many other nations.

Therefore, onboard the International Space Station astronauts must speak English and Russian to near-fluent level, while knowing additional languages is even better.

As of August 2021, 244 astronauts, cosmonauts, and space tourists from 19 different nations have visited the space station, many of them multiple times. This number includes 153 Americans, 50 Russians, 9 Japanese, 8 Canadians, 5 Italians, and 1 Brazilian.

But if there is a large English-speaking section to the International Space Station and the official working language aboard the station is English, why is Russian obligatory?

Return Fare Please!

NASA decided to permanently ground all U.S. Space Shuttles in 2011. NASA has since relied on Russia (and now SpaceX) to take their American astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Meaning that for most astronauts to travel into space, they must speak English and Russian. After all, Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft is the only way of traveling to the International Space Station. And since all its controls are in Russian, every astronaut must learn the language.

Each crew of the Soyuz consists of three people - one Russian, one foreign (most often American), and an additional crew member, who is sometimes a space tourist. The commander of the Soyuz is always Russian, while the foreign astronaut becomes the commander of the space station.

The foreign astronaut, who is also a co-pilot of the Soyuz, must be able to communicate in Russian for the entire six hours of the ascent, since the mission control center near Moscow, gives commands in Russian. Using an interpreter would simply take too long, especially as the further you get from Earth, the longer the delay in communication. Once aboard the International Space Station, the crew communicates in a mixture of English and Russian, so astronauts must be fluent in one of those languages and have a high degree of competency in the other. (Source)

Language is the lyrical heartbeat of any culture. It was also at the heart of many of the challenges during Shuttle-Mir. To learn to speak and read Russian, astronauts across the world have had to master the "strange-looking" Cyrillic alphabet, train their ears and mouths to encompass awkward, new, and very different sounds, as well as grapple with a vocabulary that is rich with meanings.

A New Challenge

The U.S. State Department's Foreign Service Institute has a comprehensive scale for English speakers to understand the level of difficulty and the amount of learning needed to acquire a level of fluency in another language.

The department ranks Russian among several "Category II" languages, alongside languages such as Greek, Icelandic and Croatian, with "significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English; for example, the alphabet.

To reach a “reasonable” level of fluency in Russian, students can be expected to spend around 1,100 class hours as well as  many hours of their own individual study time. To put that into perspective, compare this to the 575-600 hours needed for languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Afrikaans.

NASA hires new astronauts every four years or so, and quite a few people apply. In 2013, 6,000 people applied to become astronauts; NASA selected eight. And when a whopping 18,300 people applied for the class of 2017, only 12 were accepted — that's an acceptance rate of less than 1%. First, you need to complete two years of basic training. That includes both physical training and classroom studying. Astronauts-in-training must also pass physical tests. They need to earn scuba certification and swim three laps in a pool while wearing a flight suit. They must undergo military land and water survival training, too, which is essential for emergencies. (Source)

And even after all of that… astronauts speak mostly about the Russian language's difficulty being one of the most difficult parts of the training. Denmark's first astronaut, Andreas Mogensen, once said that learning Russian was one of his biggest challenges as he trained for an International Space Station mission. Former NASA astronaut Bonnie Dunbar also described the difficulties of learning Russian as she prepared to live on Russia's Mir space station. For her first six months of training, although "you knew the answer, you didn't know how to say it in Russian. For about six months, I felt like a small child," she said in an interview published on NASA's website. (Source)

The situation however is much better for today's NASA astronauts. They receive years of training in Russian and even participate in homestays with Russian families to become more familiar with the language as it can make the difference between life and death in an emergency. But having two International Space Station languages certainly brings operational inefficiencies and delayed responses.

Do We Need a Singular Language of Space?

Well, do we need an international space language? Experts say that it may be time to consider it, especially since the International Space Station could run out of funding and wrap up operations during this decade. The space world is changing rapidly. China is a strong space power that is only growing its operations and that may in the future partner with the Europeans, at the least. And countries all over the world have talked about landing humans on our neighboring planet Mars, another huge effort that would likely require an international collaboration to succeed.

The Present

2021 has seen the dawn of the new space adventure. In the United States, Virgin Galactic conducted its very first suborbital human spaceflight from New Mexico on 22 May 2021 with SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity. Two astronauts were onboard, Frederick Sturckow and David Mackay. The flight was also the first suborbital human spaceflight from Spaceport America. A second flight, carrying company founder Richard Branson and three other passengers, was then conducted on 11 July 2021.

The first fully automated flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital spacecraft successfully sent four civilians, including company founder Jeff Bezos, into space just above the Kármán line on 20 July 2021.

For these journeys, the passengers were not required to speak Russian, English, or any other language, but the golden ticket to space comes at a high price. For a trip on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo and Blue Origin's New Shepard, seats typically cost $250,000 to $500,000.

Then again, after retiring its space shuttle, NASA has had to pay Russia around $80 million for each seat on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. So whilst private ventures have not yet reached the International Space Station, NASA may be hoping they do so soon to save them a few million each trip.

The Future

The goal of NASA is to eventually retire the International Space Station and allow companies to build their space stations with the latest technological designs that require far less maintenance and financial input from the publicly-funded body. In the future, we could see astronauts just rent seats on space shuttles and stay in private rooms in space stations - similar to how a business traveler will buy plane tickets from airlines and sleep in hotels today. Whilst the thought seems like a crazy idea, the reality is that we are already taking the steps in that direction.

So whilst astronauts see the transition into a singular language of space, and an easier outcome for future missions, the reality is that it is likely to become much more diverse.

The Translation Company

If space is your dream but you are looking for translation solutions a little closer to home: the best option is to move towards a professional translation company. Not just any translation company, but The Translation Company.

The Translation Company delivers quality, care, and understanding in every project, offering a range of services that are tailor-made and adapted for a wide range of sectors. The Translation Company guarantees 100% satisfaction on all of their projects and has been in the business for over 15 years - they know exactly how to deliver a fantastic, professional, and high-quality service.

Whether you are looking for that person-to-person translation, typed work - such as research report and data - or a translation of documentation, The Translation Company has all the tools you need to share your work on a global scale.

With offices in the US in Frisco, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco and internationally in China and Brazil, they cover a range of areas and time zones. Offering translation services in over 200 languages with a huge range of subject matter experts, they will be able to assist you in all your translation needs with outstanding quality and service. You can contact them here for more information and a friendly member of their team will be in touch with you to discuss your project further.

Crossing Borders and Language with Science

"Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.”

- Albert Einstein

Science has dominated the headlines for nearly two years as we have watched the world become gripped by the tight fist of a fast sweeping pandemic: Covid-19. However, as we have seen borders close, restrictions tighten and countries look inwards in order to preserve the health and care system of their nations, science has looked outwards.

It is through this collaboration that theses, journals, studies, research projects, and thousands of hours of work from the greatest minds across the globe have managed to produce the ticket back to normality: A vaccine. But how did they get there with such speed? The answer is a surprisingly simple one - Communication.

Newton’s Principia Mathematica was written in Latin; Einstein’s first influential papers were written in German; Marie Curie’s work was published in French. Yet today, most scientific research around the world is published in a single language, English.

English has been the fundamental basis of this dialogue as it is the universal form of communication in science and mathematics. Although many countries across the world still publish journals in their native tongues, English is still currently the best way to share one’s research and findings with scientists in other parts of the world.

The Story of English and Science

Permafrost, oxygen, and hydrogen: They all look like science, they sound like science. But these words actually have origins in Russian, Greek, and French. Today though things are a little different. If a scientist is going to coin a new scientific term, it is most likely going to be in English. And if they are going to publish a brand-new discovery, it is most definitely going to be in English.

You need to look no further than the Nobel prize awarded for physiology and medicine to Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser. Their research was written and published in English. But this was not always so. (Source)

During the Middle Ages, Arabic was the first primary language used for science in all Islamic countries, while Latin was the primary form of communication among scientists across Europe.

The 20th Century

“If you look around the world in 1900, and someone told you, ‘Guess what the universal language of science will be in the year 2000?’ You would first of all laugh at them because it was obvious that no one language would be the language of science, but a mixture of French, German, and English would be the right answer,” said Michael Gordin. Gordin is a professor of the history of science at Princeton University. He states that English was far from the dominant scientific language in the 1900s. The dominant language back then was in actual fact, German.

German, French, Italian, and English were all used in their own respective countries, and often came to be associated with a particular discipline of which that nation was known for their expertise. For example, Germany was more popular for physics or chemistry. The dominance and use of each of these languages changed over time, depending on the growth, investment, and decline of science, which was dependent on factors such as the economic state and culture in each country and or area.

After World War 1 things began to change. Outside of Germany and Austria, speaking and writing in German was banned and not just in Europe either. In the US, it was illegal to speak German for a fair few years which had a big effect on the slow swing towards French, Italian, and English becoming more dominant languages in the world of science.

The rate of progression to English from this point came from more and more native English-speaking countries pushing the lines of science and non native English speakers being bilingual from a young age. This made it the easiest option for collaboration and so English slipped into the unofficial language of mathematics and science.

Esperanto

Esperanto an artificial language devised in 1887 as an international
medium of communication, based on roots from the chief European
languages. It retains the structure of these languages and has the
advantage of grammatical regularity and ease of pronunciation.

The biggest challenge to the dominance of English was from an unlikely place. Esperanto is a language that was created by a Polish linguist who was also an ophthalmologist named Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof.

Esperanto is an extremely easy language to learn as there are no irregular past tenses, no irregular plurals, and no irregularly used prepositions. Additionally, the pronunciation is easy, and the writing system is completely phonetic. But it never quite took off in the way it was hoped for.

Why Was Esperanto a failure?

Since there are no native speakers of Esperanto most would have had to learn it in school. The problem with most native English speakers is that since English is the universal language in many ways, they saw no need to learn a second one. This caused Esperanto to not even be a slight priority for most people in most places.

Benefits of a Singular Language of Science

First of all, English is already widely spoken and learned as the most common second language around the world.

It is used in business, medicine, and many other fields already, so why not use it in science, too? Having just one language as the unofficial, official scientific language also expedites the process of communication between scientists. They all have crucial new information and research to share with the rest of the world regularly.

On the surface, it seems very inclusive as well. For example, as long as you are a scientist and have a good level of English, you can participate internationally in your respective scientific field which opens many doors and career prospects as well as funding options and collaborations.

Difficulties of a Singular Language of Science

English, for better or worse, is the international language of science. And most, if not all, of the world’s greatest and brightest scientists will speak it as a second language. This means that they shoulder an extra career challenge: not only must they gain command of their science, but they must also be able to write and speak to a professional standard in a foreign language to communicate that science.

When learning English to communicate for travel or other work sectors, a slight mistranslation or use of the wrong tense can make little difference. English is suitable as an international language in a number of ways. On the surface, it’s easy enough to convey basic meanings when conducting trade, business, and tourism, and on news sites and social media. However, when meanings are complex and technical, then precision is a must. This is when the English language can evolve into a more complicated hurdle to overcome.

If we look at languages that use the same alphabet, tense structure, or even have shared words, we can see non native speakers making the transition a little smoother. However, imagine your native tongue is Arabic, Russian or Japanese… a singular unfamiliar language can suddenly become a huge obstacle and a hindrance to the flow of sharing science.

Additionally, it takes a lot more energy and time to write in a language that isn’t your native language, and it also might not end up conveying exactly what you meant to say. There is more to language than just putting words together to form cohesive sentences and phrases. This is even more evident in technical writing. There is also the cultural and contextual aspect that language feeds off of, which means we tend to favor things that are written in our native language as we can immediately connect with the words, the culture, and context.

When you add complicated scientific terminology into the mix, you can end up with scientific writing that just doesn’t express itself as authentically as it would if it were written in the scientist’s native language.

How to Bridge the Language Barrier

While the rise of English as a global and scientific second language does handicap some scientists in other countries, it has also been instrumental in greasing the wheels of communication, says Ben Panko, a staff writer for Smithsonian. Here are a few things you can do to improve your English when writing for scientific purposes:

Be Succinct

English boasts over 1 million words in its arsenal and if we compare that to Spanish that sits at around 100,000, you can see that English has a lot of ways to say the same thing. Remember though, when you are learning English, it is encouraged in tests to show your range of vocabulary, to be flowery, to depict and describe with a broad range of adjectives, phrasal verbs, and changing narratives.

But science is direct. It doesn’t like to be overstated or overly described. The language used is a subset of English all on its own and to truly master that, it takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work.

Open Like a Trailer

Start with a bang, because if you want people to keep reading, they like to be hooked. This is similar in some languages and not so much in others. In English texts, we place a lot of front-end emphasis on that all-important introduction so you have to nail it, every single time.

Look For a Mentor

Two things to note here: Firstly, your English teacher who helped you with IELTS, Cambridge, or TOEFL is not the right person, unless they have a background in science or academic writing. Their skillset will only assist you so far and whilst it is the place to start, it is certainly not the place to finish.

Secondly, your colleagues are not your English teachers. That is a bold statement, and I can guarantee that most of your colleagues will help you and your other non English natives will probably have a bunch of handy tips and resources to give you a boost. But, don’t take that for granted. They have their own jobs and deadlines to work to and you can’t always rely on them for the help you need.

That is where a mentor can be a great investment in your time and development. They will have the skills, knowledge, and experience that you need to make English easier.

Knowing Your Options

You are a scientist and that is already a huge achievement. You have probably dedicated most of your adult life to studying your specialty and your work is not just a job but a part of who you are. However, English may be holding you back. If you struggle with language and you're finding it difficult to produce written documentation, presentations, lectures, and theses to the level needed, you do have options. The best option is to start by looking towards a professional translation company. Not just any translation company, but The Translation Company.

The Translation Company

The Translation Company delivers quality, care, and understanding in every project, offering a range of services that are tailor-made and adapted for education and specifically, the scientific sector. The Translation Company guarantees 100% satisfaction on all of their projects and has been in the business for over 15 years - they know exactly how to deliver a fantastic service.

Whether you are looking for that person-to-person translation, typed work - such as research report and data - or a translation of your thesis, doctorate, or report, The Translation Company has all the tools you need to share your work on a global scale.

With offices in the US in Frisco, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco and internationally in China and Brazil, they cover a range of areas and time zones. Offering translation services in over 200 languages with a huge range of subject matter experts, they will be able to assist you in all your translation needs with outstanding quality and service. You can contact them here for more information and a friendly member of their team will be in touch with you to discuss your project further.

Afghanistan: The Power of Interpretation

"Too often, stories about Afghanistan center around the various wars, the opium trade, the war on terrorism. Precious little is said about the Afghan people themselves - their culture, their traditions, how they lived in their country, and how they manage abroad as exiles.”

- Khaled Hosseini

Afghanistan has dominated the headlines this month both here and across the world. From news stations to social media, from print to YouTube, the images have defined the news cycle and the end of a chapter that has been in the making for twenty years.

Regardless of your voting preference or if you strongly align yourself red or blue, we can all agree that the price of humanity is not bound by a political party.  Whether you agree with the withdrawal, believe that troops should have stayed longer, or sit somewhere in the middle of those polarized views, there is no shame in feeling sadness as to the events that are unfolding.

This article will look at the people on the ground in Afghanistan who have been there over the last years working as interpreters, telling their story and what they are feeling today about what has been happening over the past few weeks.

How The War Unfolded

The campaign in Afghanistan started covertly on September 26 2001, with a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) team known as Jawbreaker arriving in the country and, working with anti-Taliban allies, initiating a strategy for overthrowing the regime. U.S. officials hoped that by partnering with the Afghans they could avoid deploying a large force to Afghanistan.

In late October, Northern Alliance forces began to overtake a series of towns formerly held by the Taliban. The forces worked with U.S. assistance, but they defied U.S. wishes when, on November 13, they marched into Kabul as the Taliban retreated without a fight. Kandahar, the largest city in southern Afghanistan and the Taliban’s spiritual home, fell on December 6, marking the end of Taliban power.

With the ouster of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, the international focus shifted to reconstruction and nation-building efforts in Afghanistan. (Source)

The Role of The Afghan Interpreters

It is important to note that interpreters are not seen as military personnel by governments but instead as contracted civilians. During America’s longest war, interpreters became an essential part of the operations both on the ground and in strategic planning. Whilst interpreters are not trained in combat, they worked side by side with troops daily, facing the same perils as armed forces. Many servicemen look back now on what interpreters gave them which was so much more than literal translation:

“I was uncertain of the legitimacy of our presence in Afghanistan. In search of justification for my place there, I turned to the interpreters, a natural target for my many questions. What did the Afghan people think of us being there? I needed to know. Did they trust us? Were they scared of us? In answering, they interpreted more than the language. They helped all of us to better understand the people, the place, the situation.” - Clive Lewis, former British Soldier and now MP.

Now, those interpreters are set to pay the ultimate price.

The Situation on The Ground for Afghan Interpreters

The outlook is bleak. Promises have been made by the Taliban, which has now taken total control of the country once more. However, as August 31, 2021, the agreed date of US withdrawal, looms closer, many Afghan nationals who supported international troops and worked alongside them will almost certainly face retribution from the Taliban.

Afghans who worked as interpreters for the United States have applied for evacuation, the White House said Thursday. "There are approximately 20,000 Afghans who have applied," Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

The Complications for Afghan Interpreters

The only way for interpreters to leave Afghanistan is via Kabul airport which is currently under the control of US forces. However, the Taliban have created a barricade around the perimeter so no one can pass without clearing the Taliban checkpoint.

Some of the interpreters are eligible to leave but have been unable to reach the airport safely now due to crowds and the checkpoints. Others applied for visas years ago but their applications have been stuck in a bureaucratic limbo, and are now unsure if they will be able to leave.

The process has been complicated even further as fleeing embassy staff have destroyed many documents and passports. The documents have been destroyed in order to protect the citizens, as should these documents be found by the Taliban, there could be fatal consequences for anyone whose name is among the passports, visa applications, and other secure data. Unfortunately, it is the best way to secure their anonymity against the Taliban but then also leaves thousands stranded with no proof that they should be able to leave the country.

Broken Promises

Whilst the Taliban has made its assurances, the coverage tells a different story. The militant Islamist group is said to be carrying out door-to-door searches while violent scenes have also been reported at some Taliban-controlled checkpoints.

Usman

Usman, who worked as an interpreter for the British armed forces, was sheltering with his wife and some neighbors when the Taliban came. He was woken in the early hours of the morning and told the group was nearby.

"They were searching door-to-door," he told the BBC's World at One program. "Everyone panicked - then the news spread to every other house. A neighbor said they were searching for weapons, documents, and government vehicles. They were trying to find out who had worked for NATO or the government. I put on my clothes and just jumped over a wall and ran away. I know that I am going to be killed. There is no other way."

Usman was told he was eligible for relocating to the UK in December, but after all his paperwork was processed, he received a letter of rejection on Friday.

Hashem

Hashem, a translator, was sheltering in an apartment in one of the country's biggest cities.

"I've been working with intermediary forces and thought the US and German governments would help, I have had to destroy all my documents. I had the courage to go to Kabul airport, and someone from the Taliban told me there had been fake news spreading that the Americans would take people out. He told me to tell others not to go to the airport. We're discussing plans about what we can do to flee to another country.

Aida and Saabira

It is not just those who have worked for international governments who are fearful. Two women who worked for a media outlet are in hiding and say the Taliban are searching for them.

"They have twice called at my house... looking for me and my husband, they are asking other members of my family where we are and they have also been sending me threatening texts. They say that when they find me, they will kill me. I feel desperate and stressed about what will happen to me and my family," – Aida

"Right now, we are like turkeys in our homes, we can't go out because the Taliban are all around us. The Taliban are trying to find government workers, journalists, and women's rights activists. We are really worried - what if they come to our home? What if they knock on our door? The airport is not possible for us because we haven't got a visa. We haven't got money or any support, so it's impossible." – Saabira

Sohail Pardis

Sohail Pardis was driving from his home in Afghanistan's capital Kabul to nearby Khost province to pick up his sister, his vehicle was blocked at a checkpoint by Taliban militants. Just days before, Pardis had confided to his friend that he was receiving death threats from the Taliban, who had discovered he had worked as a translator for the United States Army for 16 months during the 20-year-long conflict.

"They were telling him you are a spy for the Americans, you are the eyes of the Americans and you are infidel, and we will kill you and your family," As he approached the checkpoint, Pardis put his foot on the accelerator to speed through. He was not seen alive again. Villagers who witnessed the incident reported that the Taliban shot his car before it swerved and stopped. They then dragged Pardis out of the vehicle and beheaded him. (Source)

There is Hope in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has gone through a lot of transformation in the last 20 years and is a different country from the one the Taliban left in 2001. Khaled Hosseini told BBC World News and that his one sliver of hope was that the Taliban would realize the country had changed and that they would adapt to the times.

Something that the Taliban cannot take from Afghanis is the freedom they have now tasted and the thirst for change. As always, in times of crisis there are stories of hope, and in the darkest days of humanity is when we can see the brightest sparks of selfless human nature.

No One Left Behind

No One Left Behind is the only nationwide nonprofit committed to ensuring that America keeps its promise to its allies and their families who risked their lives in Afghanistan: “We keep our nation’s promise by trying to fix the State Department’s 14-step SIV process with its 3.5 year wait time and by providing emergency financial aid and used vehicles to newly-arrived interpreters. Last year we helped 636 SIV families in 93 cities in 20 states with over $430,000."

Refugees

Several countries around the world have pledged to resettle thousands of Afghan refugees recognizing the danger they now face as well as the sacrifices they have made in helping military forces during the occupation. Here are some of the numbers pledged:

United States - 30,000 Afghan refugees and visa applicants will be given sanctuary on bases in the US, including Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and Fort Bliss in Texas

United Kingdom - 20,000 Afghan refugees to seek sanctuary in the UK over the coming years, with a focus on women, children, and religious minorities.

Germany - May grant asylum to some 10,000 Afghans who worked with the army as well as human rights activists and lawyers.

Australia - Intend to resettle 3,000 Afghan refugees through an existing humanitarian program this year.

France - In a speech on Monday night, Macron said France was ready to help activists, artists, and journalists who risk being targeted but did not confirm a number.

Tajikistan - Announced it is preparing to take in up to 100,000 refugees from neighboring Afghanistan.

Uganda - Agreed to a request from the US to take in temporarily 2,000 refugees from Afghanistan.

A Fast-Approaching Deadline

Right now, as the situation stands there is no conclusion. Ideally, US troops and their allies need more time to ensure the swift but safe evacuation of interpreters and their families. But in a recent statement from the Taliban representatives, there will be no extension to the August 31 date set. And so far, the Pentagon has not sought to negotiate an extension.

Thousands of people have been evacuated but chaos continues in and around Kabul airport for those seeking asylum. Other countries like the UK, France, and Germany have stated they would like to extend the deadline to ensure evacuations can continue and no one is left behind. But they have also stated that without the assistance of US troops it would be impossible for them to stay and keep Kabul airport secure.

Looking Back Over the Past 20 Years

During the longest war America has seen in its history there have been achievements. Afghanistan has seen a huge amount of investment in its Afghan National Army and police force. Governance, education, healthcare, and development also saw billions of dollars injected into them while smaller amounts were also allocated for anti-drug efforts and humanitarian aid.

Perhaps some of the more notable and visible changes have been for women. In 2001, the number of females over age 8 in schools was 0. By 2012 this had risen to 2.9 million. Under new Afghan law, females all across the country are now permitted to drive vehicles. They are also permitted to participate in certain international events such as the Olympic Games and robot competitions.

Life expectancy increased slightly from 56 to 60 years. According to the UN, access to safe drinking water improved from 4.8% of the population to 60.6% by 2011.

Unsung Heroes

Translation and interpretation open the world, crosses borders, and gives people from different religions, countries, cultures, and societies the ability to communicate. It is in this communication that as humans we have achieved so many great things across the world. By working together towards common goals, we have broken down barriers for a better future.

Whatever the fate of Afghani interpreters, there can be no denying their bravery. Over the past 20 years, they have put themselves and their family at risk to help with the occupation and pave the way to a new Afghanistan. Watching the withdrawal unfold and the fall of their government as the Taliban has swept across the nation does not make their efforts meaningless. If anything, it only highlights the high price they were willing to pay for a better, safer future.

The Translation Company

At The Translation company, we work overseas and across borders uniting people through language to help them achieve their goals. If you are affected by the current situation in Afghanistan and need further assistance in translation or interpretation, do not hesitate to reach out to our team. We are always here for you. You can contact ushere for more information.






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