Intelligence and Being a Translator

Qualified to translate documents

Are you intelligent enough to be a translator? A better question might be, how are you intelligent? If you subscribe to the current wisdom of the nine types of intelligence, you know that everyone is proficient in at least two types of intelligence. So how smart you are is less important that how you are intelligent.

What Are These Nine Intelligences?

These nine types of intelligence are musical intelligence, visual intelligence, logical intelligence, verbal intelligence, bodily and existential intelligence, social/ interpersonal intelligence, naturalistic intelligence, Intrapersonal introspection and critical reception.

The idea is relatively complex but if explained to persons in their mother tongue, it can be fairly easily understood, unless you are explaining this idea to Chinese people. Then it can easily become convoluted and unintelligible due to the language barrier.

Challenged Student Studying

Application of This Theory

A model school in Indianapolis, Indiana, aligns its teaching with this theory and has had unmatched success with it. The school tests all prospective students in all nine categories to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

If a student shows that he is strong in four of the intelligences but weak in the other five, the student is placed in a class which will challenge him to the nth degree in his four strong areas. With the remaining five, he is challenged only to the degree that moves him forward, albeit very slowly. As the semester progresses, the student is challenged at a progressively higher level in the weak areas.

In the four areas in which he already excels, his advancement may be 20 percent, but in the weak areas he usually shows advancement by as much as, 65-70 percent, an astounding improvement!

At first, progress is almost unnoticeable to the student. But soon, he begins meeting challenges at the same level as in his other studies. By the end of the course, he is able to meet challenges across the board, though on a different level from his classmates.

One area in the human brain is strictly dedicated to problem solving. When a person exercises that area by overcoming initial challenges, that part of the brain actually gets bigger and becomes more efficient.


Verbal Intelligence

To learn a new language, a degree of verbal intelligence is required. People with a high verbal-linguistic intelligence are good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words. Having this intelligence makes it easier for them to learn languages other than their own.

Interpreters and certified translators cannot manifest a facility with words which an average person usually cannot. For this reason, many bilinguals cannot become translators. A person with an average verbal intelligence can learn another language but cannot master it beyond a certain level. To translate a text in its true letter and spirit, a high level of verbal intelligence is required. For that skill a high verbal/linguistic intelligence is a prerequisite.

Identifying Potential Linguists

Language teachers should discern students with high verbal intelligence from students with low verbal intelligence in their classes so that they can devise strategies for their students according to each student’s needs. Weaker students need much reinforcement to learn language basics, whereas students with high linguistic intelligence can easily grasp elementary concepts with minimum intervention from the teacher. They will advance quickly to master one or several languages and should be encouraged to do so, as they may potentially become expert translators.

European and Asian Languages Share a Common Ancestor

All Eurasian languages, from Portuguese to French, have formed a “super family” whose roots date back 15, 000 years. Scientists have discovered that billions of people are linguistic “descendants” of one language that was spoken in Southern Europe at the time of the last Ice Age.

Ancient Language Development in Europe

caveman talking on phone

It appears that English, Urdu and Japanese (among others) can be used to trace a language that was used in the region of North-Eastern Russia. The ancient language was the basis for at least seven languages that formed the old Eurasian linguistic “super family”. In the Eurasian region, everyone can trace their linguistic roots back to the group of people that inhabited southeastern Europe more than 15,000 years ago, when the glaciers began retracting.

Scientists have long maintained two opinions about the origin of the Eurasian super family of languages. The problem is that many words evolved so quickly that their exact origin cannot be determined. Most words stand 50% chance of being replaced by another term every two-three thousand years. On the other hand, there are words that weather time much better than others. Pronouns, numerals and adverbs have a proven record of surviving thousands of years.

Evolution of Word Usage

Language EvolutionThere was a study that used a computer model to register the rate of word changes. The idea was to identify words by the number of their recorded changes, thus leading to a unified “layer” of the original Eurasian language. Some of the words that have “survived” the numerous changes throughout centuries include: I, me, man and mother. However, there are also more obscure examples, such as sawdust and worm. Scientists claim that the survival of sawdust, for example, shouldn’t be considered strange at all. From prehistoric times onwards, people have used wood for different activities; sawdust, as a part of wood, was used for insulation, fire-making and the production of fibers. Therefore, the term survived millenniums.

Etymology is an interesting discipline that has allowed people to learn about language, cultural evolution and the ways in which words became extinct. In that respect, the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel can be understood and interpreted as a metaphor for the gradual diversification of languages.

Global Cultural Exchanges


Have you ever heard a story, in most cases an urban legend, something like this, “If you sit with your foot on your knee in such-and-such country, the locals take it as an insult”? Most of us have heard similar stories by the score. How do such stories emerge and become legends? Are they just the workings of an over active imagination, or are they something else?

Sometimes they are based on truth, but more likely they are not. They are just misconceptions that have bred and fed on themselves to take a life of their own. Before you know it, these stories with little or nothing to support them become accepted as facts. Sensational reporting doesn’t help matters either. Because people don’t want boring stories, news sells only if it’s sensationalized. Through both social and print media, which may not be policed at all for truthfulness, the material we come across usually does not paint an accurate picture of a country and its culture.

Nothing Can Be Better than a First-Hand Experience

To understand a culture, first-hand experience is essential. For this purpose, countries like the USA initiate cultural exchange programs through which artists, filmmakers, musicians, poets, etc., from different countries meet one another. Cultural exchanges directly or indirectly address matters of global concern. These include tolerance, conflict resolution, awareness of human rights, importance of art and craft, freedom of creative expression, etc.

Cultural expos and other such cultural exchange programs supply a unique opportunity for nations to introduce their culture to the rest of the world.


Reducing Misunderstandings

Of course, there are misconceptions on both sides of the global divide. But since we have no means to filter the authentic from the inauthentic, ill-conceived ideas about those who are strange multiply and persist. So what can be done about it? One solution is cultural exchange programs, such as cultural festivals and expos, etc., which could be organized to bridge gaps between countries.

As an example, DeMonfort University in Leicester, England, will hold its 13th Cultural Exchange Festival to exchange ideas and beliefs multilaterally. During one week each year, this event hosts more than 3,000 people, and the number is growing. Talks and discussions occur on formal and informal levels, as individuals from one country meet and speak with individuals from other countries.

Alliance, an American cultural exchange community, organizes cultural exchanges between residents of the US and other countries to promote and understand indigenous cultures from all over the world. Displays of art and culture in varied genres attract not only artists to such programs but also aficionados who simply appreciate art and want to add something positive to their own lives.

These are just two examples of many efforts being made multilaterally. The U.S Department of State also offers exchange programs involving students and faculty from various countries.

How Language Comes into Play

One of the biggest obstacles at such events is the language barrier. At the Leicester festival, booths of bi-lingual and multilingual volunteers help any two, three or more people converse by interpreting for them. As bi-bilingualism has become indispensable in today’s world, such events can be made more fruitful by engaging translators and interpreters for better communication between people from across the globe.

We can cast a casual glance around the world and easily see conflict everywhere we look. It is obvious that we’re in trouble globally and that we must do something about it. But stopping global and local problems must begin with ending misunderstandings and false conceptions of differences. Each of us needs to step up and put a stop to misconceptions abounding worldwide. If anything can reduce or eliminate misunderstandings, it has to take place on a grassroots level with the common people, each one committed to finding truth and accepting cultural differences. Learning other languages is a necessary step to achieving global understanding.

Want to Teach English Abroad? Your Journey Starts Here!

186007356Contrary to what many people think, finding a job as an English teacher abroad is not so complicated as you might think. However, you need to take care of some important details before embarking on this journey. Where does one begin?

To be considered for teaching abroad, you must meet some of the basic requirements for the position of a teacher. First of all, a Bachelor’s degree is usually a must, and you’ll probably need it if you want to get certified. Chinese teachers find that it can be helpful to have worked as a Chinese translator, but it isn’t required.  Most foreign English teachers who are hired to work in China only know English.  But can obtain a certification in your home country first or travel to the place where you want to teach and obtain it there.

Usually, the certification required is TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). You can gain certification in either of two ways: by participating in an in-class program or by taking an online course. However, sometimes it’s not easy to find a good certification program because many companies offer TESOL and TEFL training. If you don’t know how to select a good company, check to assure that the company is accredited.

Teaching English in China

Your choice of country may influence your success. Our advice is to seek employment in one of the countries of Southeast Asia, because you’re bound to get a good job placement there. Other markets, such as Western Europe and Latin America, can be much harder to enter due to heavy competition. Choice of location entails a difference in salary, as well. The ability to interpret and translate into the local language can command higher salaries.  Southeast Asia is a region where you can earn much more than in Latin America. The Middle East, on the other hand, is also very lucrative when it comes to job opportunities.

Be sure to consider the language(s) spoken in the country where you want to teach, the cost of living there, the cultural/political framework, etc. All of this could have a great effect on your stay and work. And don’t forget to ask yourself: “How long do I expect to stay?” You must not skip this step, since many schools want to sign a contract for at least a year, in addition to your verbal proof of assurance. We wish you the best of luck in finding a great job opportunity abroad!

Cut Translation Costs Without Jeopardizing Quality

452415807Finding a good, reliable, affordable translator is not an easy task. It can be quite costly, especially if you deal with sensitive subjects and have large files to translate. Machine translation, of course, is out of the question, so the primary concern is to find a perfect balance between your translation budget and your expectations. How do you manage that?

Create a Glossary

The first thing you need to do is create a translation glossary. A glossary can do wonders for the translator because it facilitates all aspects of the process and improves the quality of the end product. A glossary serves as a kind of translation memory, and it is an effective tool for going through high volumes of work.


Cut the Fluff

Second, you should approach your content rationally. The amount of fluff content can increase the scope of translation, but it is an unnecessary expense. You have to clear your copy of the extra load and leave only the essential information and data. Also you should avoid duplicate content and find a balance between quantity and quality.

Edit Content

The third step involves making your copy shine. If the source language is not good enough, there is no way that translation will improve it. In the original to be translated, be careful about your style, tone of voice and the message you want to deliver. Remember: quality translation depends on a clear idea!

Polish and Refine

Finally, we come to the fourth step, polishing the final draft. Even if your content looks fine, you will definitely need to go through the whole draft carefully once more to make sure the final copy is exactly the way you want. Editing is everything—never forget this. Editing and proofreading are highly beneficial because this polishing stage will insure that your copy looks exactly as you want it to look.

In conclusion, consider translation as a long-term investment. If you want to be at the top of your game and have success in your business endeavors, you will have to pay for translating expertise. Sometimes the cost will be more than you expected, but don’t let this discourage you. There are times when it is better to pay more, because the end result can be extraordinary.

But remember that once you make sure your content is free of fluff and well written, you have created a sound base for your translation. Just be sure to edit all of it. You will be surprised how good preparation can help you find an affordable translation service provider who produces a quality product.

Portuguese: It’s More Than One Language

Portuguese Speaking CountriesApart from the mother country, Portuguese is usually associated with Brazil, but it is also the official language of Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe. Together, these countries comprise the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP), an organization for friendship among Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) nations. The very term Lusophone is derived from the Ancient Roman province of Lusitania, which covered present-day Portugal.

Each of these Lusophone countries has its own dialect that greatly differs from the language spoken in Portugal. For example, Brazilian Portuguese differs from the European variant by an extensive set of grammatical rules, syntax and vocabulary. Voce and tu both mean you, but the latter is used frequently in some regions as a colloquial expression, while the former is the official variant of the term. Voce is not well received in Portugal nor used there. Many words have two variants; train: comboio (Portugal) and trem (Brazil); farm: quinta (Portugal) and fazenda (Brazil). Apelido means “last name” in Portugal and “nickname” in Brazilian Portuguese. But differences don’t end here: Brazilian Portuguese also differs greatly from Mozambican and other variants; at the same time, every variant has its own set of differences, adding to the linguistic mash.

In today’s world of global communication, there is a need for a “universal” Portuguese, a variant that will be accepted and spoken worldwide. Although there is still heated debate on the subject, many steps have been made to bridge the gaps between and among the multiple variants. In 1990, the Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement was established. Its purpose is the formation of a unified orthography for all the Portuguese-speaking countries. This agreement has facilitated communication and reduced spelling differences among countries of the Lusophone world.


With more than 250 million speakers, Portuguese ranks as the sixth most spoken language in the world and Portuguese translation is one of the most requested services from translation agencies. Brazil claims the biggest part of Lusophone population (201 million, more than 80%), so it would be logical to expect Brazilian Portuguese to become the standard variant, accepted by most Lusophones. Time will tell whether this variant will become the dominant one. Until then, Portuguese-speaking nations will continue to make their best effort to understand one another.

Five Traits of an Excellent Translator

5-traits-of-an-excellent-translatorEven though translators are fairly numerous and thus easy to find, it can be difficult to find the perfect one for your needs. Many seem like a great fit, but you have to be sure because the wrong choice may lead to an unintended outcome. How can you be sure you found the best translator for your job? What are the signs of a high quality translation service provider? The best translators share the following traits:

graduation-cap-and-diploma1. Formal education and professional training

Speaking a language is not enough, even when the language is a translator’s mother tongue. In contrast to growing up with a language, formal education provides extensive knowledge of grammar, linguistics and cultural norms. The person who has studied the systems and connotations of a language understands how the language works and has been directly exposed to the intricacies of the language, working with it in a variety of contexts. Therefore, never underestimate the importance of education.

2. A specialized area of work

You cannot expect one person, even a translator, to know every subject. Translators are no miracle workers, so don’t treat them as such. Hire according to their area of expertise. If someone claims to be an expert in several fields and offers no proof to support that claim, know that you’re on the wrong track. Find someone with both the language skills and expertise in the specific area of the document for translation.

3. Translating exclusively into a mother tongue

Translating into one’s native tongue is absolutely essential. Some people who are bilingual can do quite well in both source and target languages, but hiring translators who translate into their native language is a safe bet because you won’t have to fear about the end result.

4. Great business image

High-quality translators keep current with the times, and know how to make use of modern technology. Most of them have a strong social media presence, a professional-looking website and excellent testimonials. In today’s world, reputation is an absolute must, and excellent translators are completely aware of how to create and safeguard a sterling professional reputation.


5. Going the extra mile

All of the aforementioned qualities will not mean much if the final one isn’t present. High-quality translators stick with you till the end and invest 110 percent of their efforts to reach a satisfactory result. They are always ready to answer any question that you might have, and they never express nervousness. They are not mere workers, because they perceive themselves differently. They are artists in the true sense of the word. Great translators are such perfectionists, willing to do whatever is necessary to deliver an excellent copy, that nothing will stop them from reaching their goal to be the best. You might have to pay a bit more, but the cost will definitely be worth it.

Weigh all of your options, and think carefully before deciding who your translator will be. Remember that it’s not always about the price, but about the quality. The moment you find a professionally trained, passionate person with a strong reputation, a specialized area of work and the readiness to translate exclusively into their mother tongue, you’ve found the right service provider for your needs.

How To Communicate Internationally Without Getting Kicked in the A*%!


Our world today is far more competitive than it was in the past, in part because networking has brought uniformity in many aspects of life around the world. Today becoming a global citizen in the true sense of the word, requires one to be adept to many things. Also, the emergence of global companies has set new HR standards whereby only a true global citizen can excel.

To become a global citizen, one must be proficient in more than one language. In today’s world, bilinguals definitely have an edge over monolinguals. Polyglots knowing more than two languages definitely increase their value in their professional careers. People with good linguistic and communication skills such as legal translators frequently take preference over others without a multiple language facility, and rightly so. Additionally many people use their linguistic skills professionally to become experienced translators and leading translation agencies throughout the world.


The Place of Translators

The field of translation is an attractive career option because the need for professional translators is increasing as a result of the expansion in international business and trade. In all likelihood the need for translation will further increase in future. Thus those considering making translation a full-time or part-time career should have few reservations.



Technology Savvy

Internet and other information technologies are now commonly used for commercial purposes. For this reason most companies provide personal laptops, cellular phones and other tools to their workers and expect them to be technology savvy, since the use of technology minimizes the risk of errors and saves time. Employers also usually provide the latest software available in the market and expect their employees to stay up to date with new apps.

Marketing and sale of products is also promoted through social media. Nowadays marketing and sales personnel of international companies run their advertising campaigns primarily through the Internet.
Many advancements have also been made in the wireless networking technology.


Absence of Racial Prejudices

To become responsible global citizens, professionals must shun all racial prejudices, which can become major obstacles in free interaction with members of other communities. A global citizen must be flexible enough to work in a multicultural environment and maintain a good work relationship with foreign colleagues.

One’s personal feelings, religious or cultural differences cannot affect relationships at work. A global citizen acts responsibly in the workplace and keeps personal opinions personal.

Ability to Compete

Because our world has become a highly competitive place, the worth of an individual is based upon his/her ability to compete successfully in the competitive marketplace. This ideology may seem opposed to the idea of equal rights for all humans, which is the foundation of all democratic states, but when we talk about rights, every individual has the freedom to excel and make the most of his/her life.

Individuals are at liberty to compete freely to obtain their share of wealth, power and prosperity. And every global citizen has the potential to compete with others. As long as a person uses an acceptable means to achieve his/her goals, competition remains healthy.

All these attributes shape an individual into a global citizen. Today global citizenship is an aspiration of everyone hoping to become globally successful, for global acuity is increasingly important for survival in a global economy.

A Brief Introduction to German Culture

Map-of-Germany-Cartoon2Germany, or Deutschland as Germans call it, is located in Central Europe, where it has a rich and distinctive history and culture. Because it shares its borders with nine countries–Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, and Poland–other cultures have greatly influenced German language, culture and lifestyle into what Germany is today. Neighboring countries, particularly Austria, with which it shares the longest border, is the most similar to Germany.

A Country with a Rich History

For a tourist, there are plenty of historical sites in Germany. The Trier baths, Roman Amphitheater. Black Gate (Porta Nigra) and pillars of the Roman Bridge over the Mosel; the Weiden Roman Burial Chamber on the outskirts of Cologne, the Drusus Stone on the grounds of the Mainz citadel, and other remains date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries. However, Roman ruins are common throughout Germany.

Other historical monuments are fairly new as compared to these. The Brandenburg Gate, the remains of the Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany at one time, the Berliner Dom as well as castles and palaces built by dukes or Prussian emperors are major attractions for tourists.

The German Lifestyle

Germans, who are very hard working, place much value on precision and order in almost every aspect of their lives. They do not compromise on the quality of work. You will not find them frivolous. In fact, they are generally raised with a sense of responsibility ingrained in them. They are highly committed, self -disciplined, and generally reserved. This doesn’t mean they are unfriendly, but they may take a while to be communicative, especially when mingling with other cultures.

Eating Habits

The eating habits of Germans are not very different from those of other Europeans. They consume pork more than twice as much as beef or goat meat. Schweinshaxe and Saumagen, as well as pork sausages, are staples of German diet. Germans also eat bratwurst. beets, cabbage, cauliflower and other veggies as parts of their meals. Potatoes in all forms are a staple, as is brown bread. Usually German food is bland with little or no spices added.

As a large Turkish population lives in Germany, Turkish cheese and sausages, Turkish bread and doner kabab are also easily available. Beer, brandy and schnapps are the most popular alcoholic drinks in Germany.

Religion and Language

A large majority of the German population is Christian, divided almost evenly between Catholics and Protestants. Due to a large population of Turks and migrants from other Muslim countries, 5 percent of the population is Muslim. Jews are few because of the massive deportation and extermination during the Second World War.

Around 95 percent of the population speaks German, but some people close to the Rhine estuary also speak Serbian. Turks speak German, as well as Turkish and Hebrew. People living close to the Danish border speak Danish, whereas an indigenous language, Romani, is also spoken by a very few.

Apart from the Christian holidays, Oktoberfest is one of the most colorful events that Germans celebrate. It lasts a fortnight. The festival is a source of joy for adults and children alike. The actual event is centered in Munich, but similar fairs occur all over the country. It is the world’s largest party.

Doing Business with the Germans

Germans are very organized, efficient and orderly in their business. They do not like long discussions because they hate wasting time. The top executives of a company or organization conduct meetings with their counterparts, and hierarchy is given importance. Meetings are very formal, with an amazing amount of preparation and effort preceding each one. Germans tend to avoid on-the-spot and casual decisions.

German professionals make the most of their time and tend to get straight to business. Because Germans are very straightforward, their communication may seem undiplomatic and brusque to a foreigner. Their business communication is a proof of this characteristic.

The Global Dominance Of English

English language

Because English still holds supreme power in the online world, it is probably the most powerful language in the world  today. It entered the stage in the mid-twentieth century, after World War II, when it replaced French as the common language of diplomacy. English has maintained its supremacy ever since, but it may not continue to dominate forever.  Times are changing, economies are booming, new markets are emerging, and website owners should be on the lookout- you never know when the reign of English may cease. The question emerges: if you decide to localize your site, what would your second choice of language be? Who is challenging the language supremacy of English?

Mandarin Chinese Challenge

It is assumed that Mandarin Chinese is one of the most prominent languages in the world today. According to an estimate that dates back a few years, Mandarin is the mother tongue of nearly 950 million people, which is double the number of native English speakers. Mandarin is spoken by people in China, Singapore and Taiwan, but it has also overtaken English as the most widely used second language in Hong Kong. If we include dialects and local variants, it is clear that Mandarin is a strong language with an enormous base. It is still far from being the most powerful language on the Internet, but it is here to stay, and its importance will probably only increase in the years to come.

Spanish as a Global Force

In addition to Mandarin Chinese, there is Spanish. The importance of Spanish should not be underestimated: it is a language spoken by around 400 million people in Spain, South America (excluding the Portuguese-speaking Brazil), Equatorial Guinea and Western Sahara. In the United States, Spanish is the fourth most widely spoken language and is recognized as the native language of 37 million people, which is around 10% of the country’s population. Due to a massive influx of immigrants from Latin America, Spanish has grown so rapidly in the U.S. that there is a strong demand for professional Spanish tranlation services.  With the global economy changing, it is quite obvious that Spanish will rank high as one of the most in-demand languages for website localization.

Other European Languages

However, Mandarin and Spanish are not alone in the race against English. Strong, highly developed countries are striving towards having websites in their native languages. Germany, France and Russia are such countries. The stronger a country, the greater its need for expressing independence. Although German, French and Russian have fewer native speakers than English, they are still globally recognized and taught around the world as second languages. There are other languages, such as Hindi and Arabic, which have a multitude of native speakers, yet somehow they are not currently getting picked up by the online community.

We live in a world dominated by English, but it doesn’t mean that it is the final lingua franca of civilization. Latin and Greek both served as a lingua franca for centuries, but they are now dead languages.  There are more than 1 billion people speaking English, but only one third of them speak it as their native language. Technological advancements and nationalistic aspirations might easily change the balance of linguistic power in the future.