Language Awareness FlashMob 2015

Whether you are a native English speaker or you if you speak a foreign language, participate in this event on September 30 2015.

Here is a link to the pilot we did last year… FlashMob 2014. This year we plan to go bigger and better! With Leeds acting as European City of Culture in 2023, language really matters to Leeds and it is important that we make everyone aware of it.

Purpose of this flash-mob: 
    • to create awareness of cultural diversity and to show the importance of the international community in Leeds.
    • to celebrate International Translators Day

First rule: Be quiet. Spread the word about this flash-mob exclusively among people who are native English speakers that are keen to get and invite them to join.

More information: if interested in participating, please register in this event and you will receive further instructions.
Information to atendees will be released on the following schedule:
    • WE23-What is a Flash-mob?
    • THU24-What to wear?
    • FR25-At what time?
    • SA26-For how long?
    • SU27-What to do?
    • MO28-What are the rules?
    • TU29-Where?

Summer is over… back to work everyone!

So summer is over (where did it go?) but at TranslatorsVillage we have as usual been tending our garden, taking care of our plants and sowing seeds that will bring forth fruit in the months and years to come….

…If you are uncertain of the gardening analogy it means we’ve been looking after existing clients and gaining new ones, as well as working on new services and strategies to grow the business…

What have we been up to (apart from basking in the warm sunshine)?

  • we’ve taken on a new partner – Katie Lovell – who speaks Portuguese and Spanish (and English of course!) and who is about to start her MA in Translation Studies at the University of Leeds. Say “Bem vinda” or “Bienvenida” to Katie.
  • we’ve further developed our website by adding more information and linking our blog ( – lots of changes in progress but still lots to do
  • we’ve gained some new and exciting clients who have asked for voiceovers and other additional services
  • we’ve attended some valuable networking events (imbibing small amounts of wine in the process!)
  • we’ve launched our new and innovative product, the Export Translation Package

Where have we been?

  • attending local networking Events: Enterprise Café, Rotary Business Club, North Yorkshire Business Forum, Export Network meetings, Yorkshire Enterprise Network (in Bradford)
  • attending a UKTI “ExportJam” workshop – where Blanca and Graham both took central roles – as can be seen from snippets in these videos
  • working and networking at the Google Garage in Leeds
  • meeting the newly appointed Language and Culture Advisor at UKTI

So… what’s next?                Plenty!!      

  • complete our major website transformation (several parts are still under construction but we’d be happy to hear any comments on what we’ve done so far)
  • collaborate with UKTI, Chamber International, Leeds City Council on initiatives and events to mark the
    • European Day of Languages (26 Sept)
    • International Translation Day (30 September)
  • attend the Leeds Business Week (12-16 October)
  • continue to train and develop our partners to gain, retain and enthuse new clients
  • invite more guest bloggers to share their experience, knowledge and thoughts with our community
  • keep identifying like-minded people we can work or collaborate with
  • work on developing our latest initiative – ExportVillage! (more on that shortly…)

To our clients…

Many thanks for continuing to trust us to do a good job for you and for giving us some really varied and interesting projects to deliver – and for keeping us “on our toes”.

Please keep looking at our website and blog as it is constantly being revised and updated with our products, services and free guides to make real impact through the language – or languages – you use.

After all, business is all about communication and the key to effective communication is language.

To our translators, partners, collaborators…

We continue to enjoy your support as we define and redefine our ethos and our strategies.

Our philosophy remains to be an honest business, do a good professional job, make continual improvements, charge appropriate rates, treat clients well and with respect, take pride in what we do – and how we do it.

We know you share these principles and that’s why we can work together and feel pleased at the end of each day.

Like us, stay inspired by making sense of a tough translation, seeing a complex project through to its conclusion or finding a solution to something you thought was impossible…

Image result for quotes about work and ethics

Why are languages hard to learn?

There are over 6,500 different languages spoken throughout the world, although perhaps 2,000 of them are spoken by fewer than 1,000 people. There are major differences between all of these languages. The two key elements of human language are words (the individual units that relate to things, actions, states, notions, etc.) and grammar (the “rules” that apply to organising the words in ways that create meaning).

Sadly, when these 6,000+ languages developed, in different places, at different times, among different communities, none of them started with creating a grammar to provide the structure to string the words together to make sense. Each language has developed over thousands of years, and normally continues to change and develop throughout its existence. Every language was created to serve the communication needs of its community and changes as the needs and character of the community change.

Grammar is a relatively new invention developed by linguists after a deep study of how a particular language works to try and identify any inherent rules or guidelines in the way it is used. Understanding a language’s grammar can help other people to learn that language. But it is precisely because no two languages share the same grammar or structure that it is usually so hard and time consuming to learn another language. There is not normally any “logic” to grammar – it is just an arbitrary set of rules that attempt to explain an underlying structure to a language that has not developed in a structured or logical way.

This is also the reason why “machine translation” (using computers to translate) is still so far from perfect. Computers, unlike most humans, are entirely logical. They like to be programmed so that, for example, every time they see a specific word in one language they can change it into a specific word in the second language. But there are so many occasions when that just does not work. For example, the English word “glass” has a Spanish equivalent “vaso”. So, “a glass of milk” becomes “un vaso de leche”. However, “a glass of wine” is more usually expressed in Spanish as “una copa de vino”. This demonstrates how even simple words can have many different alternatives in other languages, depending on the precise context in which they are used.

Increasingly, computers are developing the ability to appreciate the context of a text and therefore learning when to translate “glass” as “vaso” or “copa” based on the other words surrounding it. But it will still be a very long time before they will be able to grasp the context of a text as quickly as a person can and even longer before they can appreciate subtleties such as humour, irony, intent, etc.

Many languages have developed side-by-side and some have developed out of others. Linguistics experts have devised language trees (like family trees) to show the relationship between major languages. Because they are related some languages share words and parts of their grammar may be very similar. 

But, even then, this may create problems. There are many “false friends”, words in different languages that look alike but mean very different things.

So, learning another language is complex and time consuming because you have to learn hundreds or thousands of words and also a completely new grammar system to know how the words can be linked together to make sense. There is often very little “logic” you can use. As we all learn at school, whatever bit of grammar you are using or even if you are trying to work out how to spell a word – there are always those dreaded “exceptions to the rule”! On top of that, when you do see a new word you think you recognise, you need to beware - it may well have a totally different meaning…

But, don’t despair if you have never learned another language. You’re in good company…
Bill Gates - billionaire and philanthropist