Is Britain’s democracy under threat?


George Hodan. CC0 Public Domain

For centuries Britain’s Parliament has been respected as one of the oldest and most reputable democratic institutions in the world. However, recent events have put that status in grave doubt, and there is huge uncertainty about what will happen in the next few months. Britons and concerned citizens are watching anxiously to see what happens next.

You would have to be the most isolated of hermits not to be aware of the crisis in the UK caused by the Brexit referendum that took place in mid-2016. By a small margin the UK voted to end its 43-year relationship with the European Union (EU). Some commentators put this result down to the rise of English nationalism. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain and Wales was less pro-Brexit than England. Continue reading

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WIPO Pearl

This is a guest article by Jost Zetzsche. (See the end of the article.)

Years ago I rather briefly mentioned the impressive terminology repository WIPO Pearl,but after meeting Geoff Westgate of WIPO recently, I was once again reminded that it might be one of the most underused tools in our arsenal. I imagine it’s relatively widely used by translators specializing in patent translation (after all, “WIPO” stands for the World Intellectual Property Organization, and their 170-million-word-a-year translation efforts are mostly related to patents), but that doesn’t mean that the use of this term gem (how is that for a rock band name?) is limited to those translators. In fact, as the following graphic shows, if you are working in any of these fields (which extend to hundreds of subfields if you click on them), you are well-served with this terminology resource (not a great name for a rock band!).

Wipo subjects

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Posted in English, French, German, Spanish, Word reference | Leave a comment

Favourite selections

From Pixabay

Today’s post is the first of an occasional series that Tradiling readers can contribute to: Favourite selections.

The idea of favourite selections is not original. Books of quotations, anthologies of music, tourist guides, they are all based on the same idea. But the notion of a paragraph-length text selection is not so frequent. Let’s see how it goes.

If you wish to contribute, please just bear in mind that the selection should not be too long and write to me at with your proposal.

If you put “favourite selections” into a search engine, the results include a lot of music, some book clubs, food, Reader’s Digest, Bible verses, and much more.

For my “favourite selection” below I have disclosed neither the author nor the source, though you can find both easily enough by searching the web.

For those of you ready to indulge me, the challenge is to read the following paragraph and see if you notice anything unusual about it, without searching for online help.

Leave your suggestions in the comments, please. The usual much sought-after distinctions will be festooned on those who suggest noteworthy answers.

With all its manifold new words from other tongues, English could never have become anything but English. And as such it has sent out to the world, among many other things, some of the best books the world has ever known. It is not unlikely, in the light of writings by English speakers in earlier times, that this would have been so even if we had never taken any words from outside the word hoard that has come down to us from those times. It is true that what we have borrowed has brought greater wealth to our word stock, but the true Englishness of our mother tongue has in no way been lessened by such loans, as those who speak and write it lovingly will always keep in mind.

Just a little summer fun!

Tradiling will be back with more topical content (including your own favourite selection?) in September. For those of you on holiday, have a great one.

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Donald Trump’s John Hancock

Clip of The Globe and Mail on YouTube

The start of July is noteworthy, among other things, for a cluster of national liberation anniversaries around the world:

  • 1 July: Canada Day
  • 3 July: Independence Day in Belarus
  • 4 July: Independence Day in the USA
  • 6 July: Independence Day in Malawi
  • 9 July: Independence Day in Argentina
  • 14 July: Bastille Day in France

This year’s 4th July events were made more memorable because of Donald Trump’s extraordinary ad-libbing during his presidential speech:

In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, Commander-in-Chief.

The Continental Army suffered the bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware, and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.

Our Army manned the air (inaudible), it rammed the ramparts.  It took over the airports.  It did everything it had to do.  And at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory.  And when dawn came, their Star Spangled Banner waved defiant.  (Applause.)


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Traducir: un camino de continuo aprendizaje

Cropped image from Pixabay

Cualquier profesión merece respeto y ser tomada con seriedad. Algunas de ellas conllevan una gran responsabilidad y requieren una gran variedad de aptitudes, así como una profunda preparación. Entre ellas se encuentra la de traductor e intérprete, precisamente esa para la que yo tengo la osadía de estarme preparando a mis 54 años. Quizá sea una locura, pero me fascina y creo que también puede haber un lugar para mí en este gremio tan poblado de personas valiosas y extraordinariamente dotadas. No todos somos genios y hay que saber aceptarlo. Lo acertado es hacer un balance previo de los talentos que uno tiene antes de aventurarse en una nueva empresa, para evaluar nuestras posibilidades de éxito. He reflexionado mucho sobre ello y he llegado a la conclusión de que la de traductor e intérprete es una profesión para la que algunas cualidades resultan imprescindibles: capacidad de escucha, empatía, adaptación al cambio constante, humildad, perseverancia y honestidad. Por supuesto, hay muchas más, pero es con estas con las que me siento más identificada. Continue reading

Posted in Interpreting, Profession, Spanish, Translation, Undergraduate studies | Leave a comment