British landmarks seek Chinese names

Nominations are now open to rename our landmarks in Chinese. Celebrities, places and foods are often given names in China that describe what people think about them. VisitBritain is today launching a new campaign, ‘GREAT names for GREAT Britain’, that invites Chinese consumers to come up with the most fitting, amusing and memorable Chinese names for some of Britain’s food, landmarks and other attractions.

The 101 British landmarks will cover a wide range of locations. Names will be revealed in batches over the next 10 weeks on VisitBritain’s social media platforms including Weibo. The first batch covers points of interest with a royal connection, including Kensington Palace and The Mall.

Other highlights from the list include Chatsworth, Eilean Donan Castle, Brighton Pier, King’s Cross St Pancras station, Dartmoor, Hadrian’s Wall, Beachy Head, Rhossili Bay, London’s Shard and the Wales Coastal Path. British people and objects also feature including the kilt and the Highland Games, along with the Loch Ness Monster, Cornish pasty, Devon cream teas, Stilton Cheese, Haggis and Beefeaters.

Faced with the Welsh village with Britain’s longest name – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – one suggestion that has already been forthcoming is Continue reading “British landmarks seek Chinese names”

Translation is not always one to one

The So Bad, So Good website has come up with its list of the best 25 non-English words with no counterpart in English: “25 Handy Words That Simply Don’t Exist In English”. This makes for an amusing read, and it would be interesting to hear what speakers of those languages feel.

Translators, of course, are well used to this difficulty. It is all too common to come across a word that has no direct equivalent or requires further elaboration to explain the implied nuances. Even worse is a word in the source text which has more than one meaning and is ambiguous in context. It may even be that the source text knowingly plays on this ambiguity – then the translation must aim to relay this ambiguity by careful choice of words or expansion and explanation.

So, in fact, this list is amusing but also highlights a common misconception about translation. Continue reading “Translation is not always one to one”

It’s all Greek to them

One of our studio spotted a howler on the behalf of his alma mater. Cambridge University classics faculty has just opened a shiny extension building. In keeping with their studies, the doors have been decorated with a quotation in ancient Greek.

Ancient Greek inscription on door

The quote is Aristotle, meaning “All men by nature desire to know”. Unfortunately whoever was responsible for lettering the door did not know Continue reading “It’s all Greek to them”

Sign that puts Italian translation off the rails!

Here’s a little something to put a smile on your face for a Monday morning. One of WorldAccent’s studio team recently returned from holiday, having swapped Italian typesetting for the Italian countryside.

As well as bringing back some delicious cake, he took a snap of this amusing sign from the door of his train compartment:

Italian to English translation on train sign

Yes, that English translation really does read:

In the event of declenchement of audible alarm evacuer the compartiment without precipitation and come into contact with the crew

No, we can’t work out how they managed that either. We’re just fairly sure it wasn’t a native Italian to English translation!

Incidentally, if you are intrigued by the idea of getting the train to mainland Europe (or even further), have a look at the informative and enthusiastic train information site, Travelling by train across Europe may not be the quickest way to get there, but it’s a lot less trying on your state of mind (not to mention being the low carbon option).