Developping for the translation industry RSS 2.0



 Monday, 05 November 2012

As seen on TechCrunch today:

You could call it a massive social media mistake by social media itself. I think it was an admirable moment of honesty between Facebook and the world. Maybe it’s both. But this week Facebook’s official Facebook Page shared this: “Birthday cakes are made for people to be together. They give friends a place to gather and celebrate. But too much cake probably isn’t healthy. So birthday cake is a lot like Facebook.

Facebook seems to have had a moment of clarity. Years ago its official stats page touted how much time users spent on the site. The last official statement before it IPO’d was 10.5 billion total minutes per day in January. But it eventually realized that’s not necessarily a good thing. Now Facebook prefers to describe itself by how many things people share on the site rather than the hours spent there.

Great products are efficient. It should take the minimum amount of time to get the maximum value. Trying to simply increase the amount of time spent on site can lead to poor design decisions. It can also lead to unhappiness and unhealthiness.

The fact is that we find information addictive. We love to seek, to learn. It’s an evolutionary trait. The more we know, the more likely we are to survive. But with such vast amounts of information at our fingertips thanks to the Internet, that addiction can really hurt us.  I know I’ve been late to get-togethers with friends, or grabbed a seat in the corner at a party because I couldn’t help but browse Facebook, Twitter, news, and other web content.

I truly believe there are benefits to the ambient intimacy of the Facebook news feed. It lets us stay in touch with distant acquaintances we might have drifted away from, gives us a support network, makes us more open and tolerant, and can help us organize real-world interactions.

But it can also alienate us, pulling us out of the present to read about the past of others. And it can erode our relationships if we use it for a substitute for a hug, a handshake, or a hearty laugh in person. Some studies link Facebook use to unhappiness because it makes us think everyone else is more beautiful, out having more fun, and are more popular than us.

Most of these negative consequences come from excessive usage. We’d probably feel better after a good phone call with one friend than browsing the news feed stories of one hundred.

Perhaps the Facebook Page’s status update was the work of a single employee who didn’t think it through. But even still, it indicates a sense of sympathy at Mark Zuckerberg’s company.

One day maybe Facebook will directly confront the issue of Internet addiction that it’s certainly a part of. But for now, Facebook has confessed that it can hurt us. That may show that the people behind it feel a touch of guilt about the excessive time the service has sucked away from us. That’s better than it cruelly cackling about the 200 lifetimes it swallows up each day.

Other posts

Historical Translation Blunder: President Carter Creeps Out a Nation

Big news in security: 1024-bit RSA encryption cracked!

Quick Challenge: Einstein's Riddle

Nice brain-teaser

Monday, 05 November 2012 11:52:13 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
News
 Thursday, 01 November 2012

ALBERT EINSTEIN'S RIDDLE

ARE YOU IN THE TOP 2% OF INTELLIGENT PEOPLE IN THE WORLD? SOLVE THE RIDDLE AND FIND OUT.

There are no tricks, just pure logic, so good luck and don't give up.

1. In a street there are five houses, painted five different colours.
2. In each house lives a person of different nationality
3. These five homeowners each drink a different kind of beverage, smoke different brand of cigar and keep a different pet.

THE QUESTION: WHO OWNS THE FISH?

HINTS

1. The Brit lives in a red house.
2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
3. The Dane drinks tea.
4. The Green house is next to, and on the left of the White house.
5. The owner of the Green house drinks coffee.
6. The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.
7. The owner of the Yellow house smokes Dunhill.
8. The man living in the centre house drinks milk.
9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
10. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.
11. The man who keeps horses lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.
12. The man who smokes Blue Master drinks beer.
13. The German smokes Prince.
14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
15. The man who smokes Blends has a neighbour who drinks water.

Albert Einstein wrote this riddle early during the 19th century. He said that 98% of the world’s population would not be able to solve it. Can you?

Other Posts:

Historical Translation Blunder: President Carter Creeps Out a Nation

Nice brain-teaser

Silverlight Game Creation Tutorials

What are Genetic Algorithms?

Thursday, 01 November 2012 15:10:05 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Challenge
 Monday, 29 October 2012

In 1973, Carter traveled to Poland to hold the United States' first-ever news conference in a communist country, one where he would be fielding questions from actual Communists. So the stakes of this little visit were mega-huge. Imagine President Barack Obama holding a news conference in Taliban country. Now imagine that the night before the huge news conference, Obama says he wants to have sex with the Taliban. You just imagined Jimmy Carter's Poland visit.

Carter was speaking through a $150-a-day freelance translator who barely spoke Polish. The guy's mistakes started early on and never let up: When Carter opened with "I left the United States this morning," it got translated to, "I left the United States, never to return." When he said, "I have come to learn your opinions and understand your desires for the future," it was translated into, "I desire the Poles carnally." If the people of Poland weren't creeped out enough by Carter's apparently insatiable lust for some Polish sausage, the interpreter made things even more confusing by using archaic words and Russian syntax, and while he was at it, he made fun of the Polish constitution, too. Carter couldn't catch a break with this guy.

So that guy was fired, and a new translator was hired for a state banquet. Carter delivered the first line of his speech, paused for the translator… and heard nothing. Carter said the next line, paused again, and again there was silence. Apparently Translator No. 2 was having the opposite problem – he couldn't understand Carter's English – and so he decided silence was the best option, forcing the Polish leader's own translator to step in and pick up the slack.

This is yet another example of the risks of working with a cheap translation provider…

Image: Wikipedia Commons

Other posts:

Quick, funny German-English translation

Funny translation mistakes and More Funny translation mistakes

Huge List of Dumb and Crazy Laws in the United States

Chuck Norris programming facts

Monday, 29 October 2012 22:10:55 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Humor | Language | Language Industry
 Thursday, 25 October 2012
 Tuesday, 23 October 2012

In early 2011, a reporter at PC World did a series of articles on Google Docs, and he took a close look at their claim that they can “easily translate documents into 53 different languages.” He asked his bilingual Twitter followers for help, sending them an English document and its Google Docs translation and asking them what they thought.

The results were hit or miss. English and French was passable :

 "I'd give the translation 7 on a scale from 1 to 10. I would not use such a service in a professional setting, although it gives a good general idea of the text."

But English and Hebrew was “one big disaster.”

My Hebrew-speaking volunteer said, "Sorry to say, but, in general I can describe the translation into Hebrew as "one big disaster". In 95 percent it is just unreadable (not only "hard to understand")."

He also tested Arabic, Spanish and probably several other languages. He summed up the results by saying, “Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t blindly trust any translation done by Google Docs. Obviously, the translations feature in Google Docs needs some work, to be, at least, understandable.

In summary, if your business model is even marginally dependent on brand image, you should think twice about using those “free” translation services. A professional translation company is always the best way to go.

Other posts:

Origin of the punctuation marks we use everyday

Google Translator Hacked

In the news: Google will allow users to opt-out of Analytics tracking

US Investigators Pinpoint Author Of Google Attack Code

Password aren't a good defense?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 10:58:51 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
General | Language | Language Industry
 Monday, 22 October 2012

Some people are really language gymnasts. Georges Perec, who could write a whole 300 pages novel without ever using the letter e, also wrote a palindrome of more than 6000 characters. At the time of this writing, it can also be found at http://graner.net/nicolas/salocin/ten.renarg//:ptth (which is, of course, a palindromic URL, in case you did not notice). This is the palindrome in French. Enjoy:

Trace l'inégal palindrome. Neige. Bagatelle, dira Hercule. Le brut repentir, cet écrit né Perec. L'arc lu pèse trop, lis à vice versa.

Perte. Cerise d'une vérité banale, le Malstrom, Alep, mort édulcoré, crêpe porté de ce désir brisé d'un iota. Livre si aboli, tes sacres ont éreinté, cor cruel, nos albatros. Être las, autel bâti, miette vice versa du jeu que fit, nacré, médical, le sélénite relaps, ellipsoïdal.

Ivre il bat, la turbine bat, l'isolé me ravale : le verre si obéi du Pernod -- eh, port su ! -- obsédante sonate teintée d'ivresse.

Ce rêve se mit -- peste ! -- à blaguer. Beh ! L'art sec n'a si peu qu'algèbre s'élabore de l'or évalué. Idiome étiré, hésite, bâtard replié, l'os nu. Si, à la gêne secrète -- verbe nul à l'instar de cinq occis --, rets amincis, drailles inégales, il, avatar espacé, caresse ce noir Belzebuth, oeil offensé, tire !

L'écho fit (à désert) : Salut, sang, robe et été.

Fièvres.

Adam, rauque ; il écrit : Abrupt ogre, eh, cercueil, l'avenir tu, effilé, génial à la rue (murmure sud eu ne tire vaseline séparée ; l'épeire gelée rode : Hep, mortel ?) lia ta balafre native.

Litige. Regagner (et ne m'...).

Ressac. Il frémit, se sape, na ! Eh, cavale ! Timide, il nia ce sursaut.

Hasard repu, tel, le magicien à morte me lit. Un ignare le rapsode, lacs ému, mixa, mêla : Hep, Oceano Nox, ô, béchamel azur ! Éjaculer ! Topaze !

Le cèdre, malabar faible, Arsinoë le macule, mante ivre, glauque, pis, l'air atone (sic). Art sournois : si, médicinale, l'autre glace (Melba ?) l'un ? N'alertai ni pollen (retêter : gercé, repu, denté...) ni tobacco.

Tu, désir, brio rimé, eh, prolixe nécrophore, tu ferres l'avenir velu, ocre, cromant-né ?

Rage, l'ara. Veuglaire. Sedan, tes elzévirs t'obsèdent. Romain ? Exact. Et Nemrod selle ses Samson !

Et nier téocalli ?

Cave canem (car ce nu trop minois -- rembuscade d'éruptives à babil -- admonesta, fil accru, Têtebleu ! qu'Ariane évitât net. Attention, ébénier factice, ressorti du réel. Ci-gît. Alpaga, gnôme, le héros se lamente, trompé, chocolat : ce laid totem, ord, nil aplati, rituel biscornu ; ce sacré bedeau (quel bât ce Jésus !). Palace piégé, Torpédo drue si à fellah tôt ne peut ni le Big à ruer bezef.

L'eugéniste en rut consuma d'art son épi d'éolienne ici rot (eh... rut ?). Toi, d'idem gin, élèvera, élu, bifocal, l'ithos et notre pathos à la hauteur de sec salamalec ?

Élucider. Ion éclaté : Elle ? Tenu. Etna but (item mal famé), degré vide, julep : macédoine d'axiomes, sac semé d'École, véniel, ah, le verbe enivré (ne sucer ni arrêter, eh ça jamais !) lu n'abolira le hasard ?

Nu, ottoman à écho, l'art su, oh, tara zéro, belle Deborah, ô, sacre ! Pute, vertubleu, qualité si vertu à la part tarifé (décalitres ?) et nul n'a lu trop s'il séria de ce basilic Iseut.

Il à prié bonzes, Samaritain, Tora, vilains monstres (idolâtre DNA en sus) rêvés, évaporés : Arbalète (bètes) en noce du Tell ivre-mort, émeri tu : O, trapu à elfe, il lie l'os, il lia jérémiade lucide. Pétard ! Rate ta reinette, bigleur cruel, non à ce lot ! Si, farcis-toi dito le coeur !

Lied à monstre velu, ange ni bête, sec à pseudo délire : Tsarine (sellée, là), Cid, Arétin, abruti de Ninive, Déjanire...

Le Phenix, ève de sables, écarté, ne peut égarer racines radiales en mana : l'Oubli, fétiche en argile.

Foudre.

Prix : Ile de la Gorgone en roc, et, ô, Licorne écartelée, Sirène, rumb à bannir à ma (Red n'osa) niére de mimosa : Paysage d'Ourcq ocre sous ive d'écale ; Volcan. Roc : tarot célé du Père.

Livres.

Silène bavard, replié sur sa nullité (nu à je) belge : ipséité banale. L' (eh, ça !) hydromel à ri, psaltérion. Errée Lorelei...

Fi ! Marmelade déviré d'Aladine. D'or, Noël : crèche (l'an ici taverne gelée dès bol...) à santon givré, fi !, culé de l'âne vairon.

Lapalisse élu, gnoses sans orgueil (écru, sale, sec). Saluts : angiome. T'es si crâneur !

* * *

Rue. Narcisse ! Témoignas-tu ! l'ascèse, là, sur ce lieu gros, nasses ongulées...

S'il a pal, noria vénale de Lucifer, vignot nasal (obsédée, le genre vaticinal), eh, Cercle, on rode, nid à la dérive, Dèdale (M... !) ramifié ?

Le rôle erre, noir, et la spirale mord, y hache l'élan abêti : Espiègle (béjaune) Till : un as rusé.

Il perdra. Va bene.

Lis, servile repu d'électorat, cornac, Lovelace. De visu, oser ?

Coq cru, ô, Degas, y'a pas, ô mime, de rein à sonder : à marin nabab, murène risée.

Le trace en roc, ilote cornéen.

O, grog, ale d'elixir perdu, ô, feligrane ! Eh, cité, fil bu ! ô ! l'anamnèse, lai d'arsenic, arrérage tué, pénétra ce sel-base de Vexin. Eh, pèlerin à (Je : devin inédit) urbanité radicale (elle s'en ira...), stérile, dodu.

Espaces (été biné ? gnaule ?) verts.

Nomade, il rue, ocelot. Idiot-sic rafistolé : canon ! Leur cruel gibet te niera, têtard raté, pédicule d'aimé rejailli.

Soleil lie, fléau, partout ire (Métro, Mer, Ville...) tu déconnes. Été : bètel à brasero. Pavese versus Neandertal ! O, diserts noms ni à Livarot ni à Tir ! Amassez.

N'obéir.

Pali, tu es ici : lis abécédaires, lis portulan : l'un te sert-il ? à ce défi rattrapa l'autre ? Vise-t-il auquel but rêvé tu perças ?

Oh, arobe d'ellébore, Zarathoustra ! L'ohcéan à mot (Toundra ? Sahel ?) à ri : Lob à nul si à ma jachère, terrain récusé, nervi, née brève l'haleine véloce de mes casse-moix à (Déni, ô !) décampé.

Lu, je diverge de ma flamme titubante : une telle (étal, ce noir édicule cela mal) ascèse drue tua, ha, l'As.

Oh, taper ! Tontes ! Oh, tillac, ô, fibule à reve l'Énigme (d'idiot tu) rhétoricienne.

Il, Oedipe, Nostradamus nocturne et, si né Guelfe, zébreur à Gibelin tué (pentothal ?), le faiseur d'ode protège.

Ipéca... : lapsus.

Eject à bleu qu'aède berça sec. Un roc si bleu ! Tir. ital. : palindrome tôt dialectal. Oc ? Oh, cep mort et né, mal essoré, hélé. Mon gag aplati gicle. Érudit rossérecit, ça freine, benoit, net.

Ta tentative en air auquel bète, turc, califat se (nom d'Ali-Baba !) sévit, pure de -- d'ac ? -- submersion importune, crac, menace, vacilla, co-étreinte...

Nos masses, elles dorment ? Etc... Axé ni à mort-né des bots. Rivez ! Les Etna de Serial-Guevara l'égarent. N'amorcer coulevrine.

Valser. Refuter.

Oh, porc en exil (Orphée), miroir brisé du toc cabotin et né du Perec : Regret éternel. L'opiniâtre. L'annulable.

Mec, Alger tua l'élan ici démission. Ru ostracisé, notarial, si peu qu'Alger, Viet-Nam (élu caméléon !), Israël, Biafra, bal à merde : celez, apôtre Luc à Jéruzalem, ah ce boxon ! On à écopé, ha, le maximum

Escale d'os, pare le rang inutile. Métromane ici gamelle, tu perdras. Ah, tu as rusé ! Cain ! Lied imité la vache (à ne pas estimer) (flic assermenté, rengagé) régit.

Il évita, nerf à la bataille trompé.

Hé, dorée, l'Égérie pelée rape, sénile, sa vérité nue du sérum : rumeur à la laine, gel, if, feutrine, val, lieu-créche, ergot, pur, Bâtir ce lieu qu'Armada serve : if étété, éborgnas-tu l'astre sédatif ?

Oh, célérités ! Nef ! Folie ! Oh, tubez ! Le brio ne cessera, ce cap sera ta valise ; l'âge : ni sel-liard (sic) ni master-(sic)-coq, ni cédrats, ni la lune brève. Tercé, sénégalais, un soleil perdra ta bétise héritée (Moi-Dieu, la vérole !)

Déroba le serbe glauque, pis, ancestral, hébreu (Galba et Septime-Sévère). Cesser, vidé et nié. Tetanos. Etna dès boustrophédon répudié. Boiser. Révèle l'avare mélo, s'il t'a béni, brutal tablier vil. Adios. Pilles, pale rétine, le sel, l'acide mercanti. Feu que Judas rêve, civette imitable, tu as alerté, sort à blason, leur croc. Et nier et n'oser. Casse-t-il, ô, baiser vil ? à toi, nu désir brisé, décédé, trope percé, roc lu. Détrompe la. Morts : l'Ame, l'Élan abêti, revenu.

Désire ce trépas rêvé : Ci va ! S'il porte, sépulcral, ce repentir, cet écrit ne perturbe le lucre : Haridelle, ta gabegie ne mord ni la plage ni l'écart.

Great stuff!

Other posts:

Once in a while, stop and pay attention...

List of Crazy Laws in the United States

SQL Injection humor

Facts and Figures about the Language Industry

Monday, 22 October 2012 15:21:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Language
Despite there being over 250,000 actual words in the English language, there’s still several words from other languages that don’t have an English equivalent.

Here’s 18 of them, from the beautiful to the morbid, from the serious to the whimsical.

1. Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.

2. Toska (Russian) – Is often used to describe the sensation of great spiritual anguish, usually without any cause or condition.

3. Jayus (Indonesian) - A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.

4. Iktsuarpok – (Inuit) – To go outside to check if anyone is coming.

5. Litost (Czech) – The closest definition is a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

6. Kyoikumama (Japanese) – A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement.

7. Tartle (Scottish) – The act of hesitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.

8. Prozvonit (Czech) – This word means to call a mobile phone and let it ring once so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller money. In Spanish, the phrase for this is “Dar un toque,” or, “To give a touch.

9. Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese) – The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.

10. Torschlusspanik (German) – The fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages – it’s literal translation “gate-closing panic”

11. Tingo (Pascuense Easter Island) – The act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.

12. Wabi-Sabi (Japanese) – A way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.

13. Dépaysement (French) – The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country.

14. Hyggelig (Danish) – A feeling of openness, warmth & friendship often between friends.

15. L’appel du vide (French) – “The call of the void” or an urge to leap from high places.

16. Ya’aburnee (Arabic) – “You bury me,” a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

17. Duende (Spanish) – Originally used to describe a supernatural entity similar to a forest-fairy or sprite, that brought about a feeling of awe & gave one a unique understanding of the beauty of the world. But early in the 20th century, Spanish playwright Federico García Lorca altered its meaning to become the more straightforward “mysterious power of a work of art to deeply move a person.”

18. Saudade (Portuguese) – The feeling of longing for something or someone who you love and which is lost.

Source

Other posts:

Scary Truth About Google Translate

What is the origin of the punctuation marks we use everyday

More funny cross cultural mistakes and blunders

Chuck Norris Programming facts

25 Handy That Don’t Exist In English

Monday, 22 October 2012 15:15:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Language

Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language, in fact it’s the 3rd most commonly spoken language in the world (after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish). Interestingly enough it’s the number 1 second language used worldwide – which is why the total number of people who speak English, outnumber those of any other.

But whilst it’s the most widely spoken language, there’s still a few areas it falls down on (strange and bizarre punctuation rules aside). We look at 25 words that simply don’t exist in the English langauge (and yet after reading this list, you’ll wish they did!)

1 Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut

2 Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favor, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude

3 Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist

4 Bakku-shan (Japanese): A beautiful girl… as long as she’s being viewed from behind

5 Desenrascanço (Portuguese): “to disentangle” yourself out of a bad situation (To MacGyver it)

6 Duende (Spanish): a climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art, which might be fulfilled in flamenco dancing, or bull-fighting, etc.

7 Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love

8 Gigil (pronounced Gheegle; Filipino): The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute

9 Guanxi (Mandarin): in traditional Chinese society, you would build up good guanxi by giving gifts to people, taking them to dinner, or doing them a favor, but you can also use up your gianxi by asking for a favor to be repaid

10 Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo): A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time

11 L’esprit de l’escalier (French): usually translated as “staircase wit,” is the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it

12 Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery

13 Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan): A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire

14 Manja (Malay): “to pamper”, it describes gooey, childlike and coquettish behavior by women designed to elicit sympathy or pampering by men. “His girlfriend is a damn manja. Hearing her speak can cause diabetes.”

15 Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing

16 Nunchi (Korean): the subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood. In Western culture, nunchi could be described as the concept of emotional intelligence. Knowing what to say or do, or what not to say or do, in a given situation. A socially clumsy person can be described as ‘nunchi eoptta’, meaning “absent of nunchi”

17 Pena ajena (Mexican Spanish): The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation

18 Pochemuchka (Russian): a person who asks a lot of questions

19 Schadenfreude (German): the pleasure derived from someone else’s pain

20 Sgriob (Gaelic): The itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking a sip of whisky

21 Taarradhin (Arabic): implies a happy solution for everyone, or “I win. You win.” It’s a way of reconciling without anyone losing face. Arabic has no word for “compromise,” in the sense of reaching an arrangement via struggle and disagreement

22 Tatemae and Honne (Japanese): What you pretend to believe and what you actually believe, respectively

23 Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): to borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left

24 Waldeinsamkeit (German): The feeling of being alone in the woods

25 Yoko meshi (Japanese): literally ‘a meal eaten sideways,’ referring to the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language

Source

Other posts:

Scary Truth About Google Translate

What is the origin of the punctuation marks we use everyday

More funny cross cultural mistakes and blunders

Chuck Norris Programming facts

 

Monday, 22 October 2012 15:02:38 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Language
 Thursday, 12 April 2012
 Tuesday, 06 March 2012

Question Mark ?
Origin: When early scholars wrote in Latin, they would place the word questio – meaning “question” – at the end of a sentence to indicate a query. To conserve valuable space, writing it was soon shortened to qo, which caused another problem – readers might mistake it for the ending of a word. So they squashed the letters into a symbol: a lowercased q on top of an o. Over time the o shrank to a dot and the q to a squiggle, giving us our current question mark.

Exclamation Point !
Origin: Like the question mark, the exclamation point was invented by stacking letters. The mark comes from the Latin word io, meaning “exclamation of joy.” Written vertically, with the i above the o, it forms the exclamation point we use today.

Equal Sign =
Origin: Invented by Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde in 1557, with this rationale: “I will settle as I doe often in woorke use, a paire of paralleles, or Gmowe [i.e., twin] lines of one length, thus : , bicause noe 2 thynges, can be more equalle.” His equal signs were about five times as long as the current ones, and it took more than a century for his sign to be accepted over its rival: a strange curly symbol invented by Descartes.

Ampersand &
Origin: This symbol is stylized et, Latin for “and.” Although it was invented by the Roman scribe Marcus Tullius Tiro in the first century B.C., it didn’t get its strange name until centuries later. In the early 1800s, schoolchildren learned this symbol as the 27th letter of the alphabet: X, Y, Z, &. But the symbol had no name. So, they ended their ABCs with “and, per se, and” meaning “&, which means ‘and.’” This phrase was slurred into one garbled word that eventually caught on with everyone: ampersand.

Octothorpe #
Origin: The odd name for this ancient sign for numbering derives from thorpe, the Old Norse word for a village or farm that is often seen in British placenames. The symbol was originally used in mapmaking, representing a village surrounded by eight fields, so it was named the octothorp.

Dollar sign $
Origin: When the U.S. government begin issuing its own money in 1794, it used the common world currency – the peso – also called the Spanish dollar. The first American silver dollars were identical to Spanish pesos in weight and value, so they took the same written abbreviations: Ps. That evolved into a P with an s written right on top of it, and when people began to omit the circular part of the p, the sign simply became an S with a vertical line through it.

This comes from a book named “Uncle John’s Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader” http://www.neatorama.com/2007/07/09/the-origin-of-everyday-punctuation-marks/

 

Other posts:

Some funny cross cultural marketing and translation mistakes part 1 and part 2

.NET String Format Syntax Cheat Sheet

Google Translator has been Hacked

Information on The New Canadian Translation Standard

Tuesday, 06 March 2012 08:53:13 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
General

Navigation
Advertisement
About the author/Disclaimer

Disclaimer
The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

© Copyright 2017
Stanislas Biron
Sign In
Statistics
Total Posts: 135
This Year: 0
This Month: 0
This Week: 0
Comments: 1
All Content © 2017, Stanislas Biron