Friday, November 12, 2010

Proverbs/sayings across cultures

An important consideration for when you are writing or translating is to keep in mind that our sayings might not translate very well, or exist at all in the other language.

In English, we can call someone a smart cookie, but in Spanish, that doesn't really exist. You can do a direct translation: galleta intelligente, but it doesn't convey the meaning you wanted.

Proverbs also have the same difficulties, in English, there is a saying: Don't judge a book by it's cover, but in French, the same proverb is actually L'habit ne fait pas le moine (literally, the clothing doesn't make the monk).

It doesn't even have to be a different language; when writing in English, Canadians, Americans, Brits and Australians all have different expressions that the others might not be familiar with. So be careful!

While some proverbs and sayings are used by many cultures, it could be that the exact wording differs. Or, it could be that that idea doesn't exist in another language/culture. And so, when writing or translating, keep in mind that your idiomatic expressions are culturally, socially and linguistically based and to look up whether that expression has "crossed over".

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Difficulties writing in French?

If you find yourself forgetting all your french, like me, and need some help when writing, here are a few useful tools.

The first is a linguistic dictionary/database that is offered by the Canadian Translation Bureau: Termium. This dictionary can actually be used for English, French and Spanish translation and definitions. It accesses a database with all the different uses of the word so you can find the one that best suits your needs. To use it, you choose what language you are searching in, English, French, Spanish, or all three under the Search Keys button, and then type a word to see the definition and translations.

 There is also a handy tool called BonPatron that corrects French spelling and usage. It doesn't help with verb tenses or whether to use avoir or ĂȘtre in past participles like that, but it will catch noun endings and accent use, etc. I find it helpful since I can't seem to remember word genders.

And, of course, you can always consult English-French or monolingual dictionaries and the very helpful Bescherelle for French verbs (la conjugaison).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A dilemma

The choice for cameras these days is overwhelming! And trying to dive into the digital SLR (D-SLR) field is even more daunting when you don't really know a whole lot about it. I am actually trying to buy a D-SLR at the moment since I want to learn how to improve my photography and learn how to use that type of camera. I had learned al ittle bit a few years ago, but I think I'll need a refresher!

But the choices are too much, as is the price sometimes. I don't want to buy a high-end camera if I am not going to stick with it, or improve passed a point, but is buying a lower end one worth it?

I actually have gotten some good advice, and I've seen it repeated in a few places. Go for a basic body of a camera first to learn the basics, and then once you know what you want to shoot, buy a lens that matches that. The lenses can actually stay with you for a long time if they fit more than 1 model. Canon for example has its EOS line, and the lenses fit on the cameras with that name. Imagine that!

I found a good guide online for information that is written in plain English, and that explains the terms of the SLR world for us newcomers. Go check out the guide to choosing a camera and the many reviews, etc. on the site, The Digital SLR Guide, at the same time. Very helpful.

Now on to actually choosing which one to buy and then purchasing and using it!