Guardianes que dibujan puentes entre culturas...

Translator's Day!

Reflections on a Translator's Life

by Susana Greiss

Stick to the languages you know best, and polish, them, polish them, polish them.

 When I reflect on my professional life, I am always surprised at how quickly we have accepted the revolution in the way translators are trained and how they earn their livelihood, which has actually occurred in the span of only a few short years.

The changes that have taken place with the advent of computers are nothing short of miraculous, and yet we have not only taken them in stride, but are constantly seeing new developments, which most of us embrace almost immediately. Perhaps it is in the very nature of translators to adapt, since we are used to going back and forth between cultures, so why not the ever-shifting conditions with which we must deal at every turn?

When I think back, it seems that it was quite inevitable that I would become a translator, although in those days parents were usually concerned with their daughters' future, more than they were concerned with their careers. They believed that their daughter's future would be determined by who they would eventually marry.

My parents were Russian and I was born in Georgia, where they had moved from Moscow to escape the harsh winter and the famine that followed the Russian Revolution. My father was a civil engineer, which automatically made him an "enemy of the State", part of the "intelligentzia". It soon became clear that it was not safe for us to remain, even in the South, and so my parents found a way to get out. The first country that would take us was Brazil. I was four years old, an only child, and already on the way to a multicultural destiny.

I learned to read and write Russian on that first long and arduous voyage. Upon arriving in Brazil, my father went to work in the jungles of São Paulo in search of sources of hydroelectric power for the Light & Power Company (of Canada). When I developed a bone disease, doctors advised us to seek treatment in France, where my mother and I spent four years. At the age of 7, I was learning my third language, French. Life was harsh for emigrés. Unlike immigrants who leave their country in search of a better life, never intending to return, emigrés are like exiles, always dreaming of a triumphant return to their ancestral home, with their bank accounts intact. This is why emigrés seldom prosper in their new land - they always feel they are just visiting and will soon be heading home. The downside of this thinking is that it is unlikely to happen; the upside is that children of emigrés like myself retain a great deal more of their parents' culture and are the richer for it.

Upon our return from France, my parents split up, my mother remaining in Brazil and my father, having lost his job due to the nationalization of foreign-owned utilities by the new Brazilian President Getulio Vargas, moved to Uruguay in hopes of finding work. It was the depth of the Depression. He eventually found a job with the British Railroad, which assured him a lifetime of genteel poverty. I moved to Uruguay at the age of 15 and enrolled in the British School. One thing my parents learned early on: if you knew English, you could make it anywhere, but it was too late for them. At the American School I attended in Rio de Janeiro, English was taught as just another foreign language, but at the British School all the subjects were taught in English. So now I had to learn Spanish and English at the same time: languages four and five.

Upon graduation, after two years of business and more language courses, I went to work as a bilingual secretary. I found the work extremely boring and regimented, but as long as I was acquiring skills and experience, I stayed with it. I wasn't thinking about the long term; in those days, a girl worked for a few years, and then she got married. If a girl continued to work after getting married, everyone would shake their heads: "He is unable to support her," they would say. Then came the war, and the world was turned upside down.

I eventually went to work for the American Embassy in Buenos Aires and married an Argentinian. One good thing came out of that marriage: my two kids, a boy and then a girl. My life as a homemaker was short-lived, though; it lasted about six years, and then it was back to earning a living. In those days secretaries didn't make enough to support a family, so after returning to Uruguay for three years, I moved to Brazil where my mother still lived. I became a trilingual secretary - a notch up. I found that there was a demand for translators at international conferences, and they paid well. I was probably not a very good translator, but I was in demand and I was learning "on the job." My father insisted that I should go to the United States. It would be good for me, he said, and it would be good for the kids. To placate him I reluctantly agreed to apply, half hoping that it would take ten years before I was called. I liked what I was doing, and I was not eager to embark on a new venture. However, barely two years later, the American Consulate called me for an interview and my company agreed to sponsor me. I was in!

My first job in the United States was a disappointment and paid little. I was supposed to "pay my dues," they said. I didn't like that; I wasn't using my talents. So I began looking for another job. I found one as a Translator-Correspondent, working in four languages - English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. At last, another notch up. A few years later I was hired by a leading bank in New York as a translator. Over the years I had acquired a background in several fields, and could hold my own among my peers. However, it took me a few more years before I actually earned a bachelor's degree and then a master's degree in translation. That's what I call doing it the hard way!

At the time, I discovered that translators generally 1) were foreign-born, and many were refugees; 2) they had started out with other aspirations. No one woke up in the morning saying to themselves: "My goal in life is to be a translator!" Only at the League of Nations did they have good jobs for translators, and you know what happened to IT! Also, a few ladies of leisure would translate poems and novels for pocket money or because they felt it was "glamorous." It was like this wonderful TV ad where kids say: "When I grow up, I want to be a school dropout;" "When I grow up, I want to be ignored;" "When I grow up, I want to be forced into early retirement...." Translators just didn't get recognition, they didn't expect to make much of a living, just get by. Very few people were actually trained as translators, but most had a solid college education and a solid knowledge of languages, at least their own language.

I had a friend who fell exactly into that category and my circle of friends expanded to include other translators. I found them to be much more interesting as people, and discovered that we often had similar life experiences. I never had trouble making friends, but I always felt "different" and I'm sure they felt it too. When my friend retired, she recommended me as her replacement. I now entered the realm of Reinsurance, of which I knew nothing. I was also the only translator there, and didn't have much to fall back on. However, it was another notch up....

On my new job, I started looking through the files, asking questions and got the company to enroll me in Insurance courses. The College of Insurance was across the street, and I consulted fire codes, insurance policies and fire extinguisher catalogs in their library. I was learning what I had never had the luxury of being able to do before: research. The first time I had to translate a proposal for purposes of insurance of a nuclear plant, I got a call from the head man in that department, congratulating me on the job I had done. "Compares favorably with what we are used to," he said. What an upper! What happened was that I consulted a document in the files similar to the one I was tackling for guidance, but when I saw that my predecessor had used the word "nucleus" instead of "core", I realized that the files were useless to me. I went across the street to the library and looked up "nuclear plants." I immediately found all the terminology I needed.

It takes a great deal more than that to be a good translator these days, of course. We still have very few institutions where we can take formal courses or a degree in translation. But we have a strong organization - the American Translators Association - with its annual conferences and scores of workshops starting from beginners to advanced to specialized. We have accreditation in all major languages, and some not-so-major languages. We have a directory where we can look up other translators in our own field or language, most of whom are quite gracious when it comes to sharing their expertise and give their support to those less experienced. We have local groups, such as the New York Circle of Translators which organizes monthly meetings and frequent workshops, and offers opportunities to socialize and meet not only other translators but also owners of translation bureaus and potential employers.

The trend today is away from full-time employment and toward independent work as a contractor or a bureau offering other related services, such as editing, extracting, research, desktop publishing, teaching, not to mention the wide range of specialized interpreting skills (court, conference, escort, community, etc.), script writing, cross-cultural consulting, voiceovers, narration, dubbing, and so forth - the latter bordering on acting. Translation itself is also specialized: medical, legal, financial, and a million other fields, which can be quite challenging and require special background.

We are now also required to live in close intimacy with computers, familiarize ourselves with new software, and span the world on the wings of the Internet. All this is very exciting, but it is also time-consuming and costly. Just as you thought you had it all together, here comes a new program, and your state-of-the-art computer is obsolete. It can be frustrating, especially for a newcomer who can barely wait to get his or her first assignment, not to mention pay his or her first month's rent. Some of us love it, and some are cool to it. For instance, I don't feel that I have a really close, intimate relationship with my computer. I don't trust "him" one hundred percent. Sometimes it plays annoying tricks on me at the most inconvenient times, so we either sit down for a quiet heart-to-heart talk, or I call 911 for a rescue team (usually some more knowledgeable colleague!). Of course, the "impasse" is usually my own fault, but that's besides the point!

Seriously, if anyone is interested in a few pearls of wisdom from someone who has been around this business for a while, I will say this:

1. Get all the education you can. There is no such thing as information that you cannot use in translation. You never know what your next assignment might be.

2. Decide whether you want to concentrate on just one or two language combinations or go as far afield as you can. There are pros and cons on either side. For instance, in my case, I have accreditation in five language combinations (but only into two) languages. Stick to the languages you know best, and polish, them, polish them, polish them. Language evolves so fast these days that it is hard to keep up. If you translate into only one language, your brain will respond much faster; you don't have to shift gears all the time. You retain new terminology better. You can work more efficiently. Of course, we have exceptionally gifted people who seem to have no limits to their language skills. But not everyone is like that. On the other hand, if there isn't a large volume of translation work into your native language, then you should try to develop another language as much as possible. However, this is almost impossible unless you have lived a number of years in a country where that language is spoken.

3. Develop writing skills. I see a lot of badly written documents authored by native writers. If you cannot write, you can never be a good translator because you have difficulty putting words together and expressing what you want to say.

4. Choose one or more specialized fields. Remember that unless you are translating a letter from someone's aunt (and that doesn't pay much), practically everything that needs translating is either literary or technical. If you live outside the United States, in many countries there is work for literary translators, because there is a large number of new books published in English and a large market for them abroad. In the United States, as my friend Cliff Landers, professor of economics and Portuguese translator once said, you can count the number of people who make a living at literary translation in the United States on the fingers of one hand. Go into any bookstore and see how many books are translations from other languages: very few. And these translations are done by people like Cliff, who is a full-time professor and translates in his spare time for the love of the art (and a few bucks).

5. How do you acquire a technical background? You take courses, preferably college or graduate courses. You take a job as a paralegal, in a doctor's office or hospital, a bank, a real estate office, or what have you. Read the Wall Street Journal, or at the very least the New York Times or Time Magazine.

6. You also need to learn how the world of translation works. For that, in the first place you must be schizophrenic. That is a requirement. On the one hand, here you are, an aspiring translator. On the other hand, you have to be a business person. The best translator in the world will sit idle if he or she is not a business person. So, how do you achieve that? My first advice is get a job in a translation bureau if you can. You will see how they go about getting clients, how they relate to their clients, translators and other professionals. You will learn how to organize your office, and many other useful things. You will also see the work of many experienced translators and learn from them.

7. If you are a nine-to-five person, freelance translation is not for you. On the other hand, freelancing does give you the flexibility to take care of your other responsibilities or to travel, or sleep late (or stay up late to finish a job due first thing in the morning). It also opens up the opportunity to grow into a business. Many translation bureaus started out that way. If you have family obligations, working at home is a Godsend. When I had a full-time job, I was counting the months and weeks I had to wait until my vacation, and the years I had to wait for my retirement. My retirement age has come and long gone, but now I don't want to retire. I am my own boss and working gives me a rich life (never a dull moment), friends, it keeps me in the fray of things and gives me enough income to indulge in some travel and a few "luxuries."

When I decided to freelance after many years of working in-house, the only calls I got were for interpreting. Interpreting today is much more professional than it used to be. Years ago courts would hire you practically off the street. No test was required. If the clients didn't complain, they would use you again and again. I refused these assignments at first, but since I wasn't busy, I decided to try my hand at EBTs (examinations before trial), Family Court cases, etc. The rules were simple and I did a good job. After a while, I became busier with translation work. We didn't have beepers or cell phones in those days, so I would stand in line at the phone booth at lunch break to call home. However, I never knew when I would be through with my assignment, or a translation bureau would call while I was in the subway on my way home, so I would lose work. Also, I didn't like the court atmosphere and having to sit for hours just waiting to be called. When I figured that I was probably losing more money interpreting than staying home, I gave up interpreting (To this day they sometimes still call me). Some people prefer interpreting to translating, they say it's easier. You might want to try it.

8. You need to have a good résumé and cover letter. Writing or calling translation bureaus cold is a hard way of getting work. However, there are lists of translation bureaus that can be purchased (with labels and all), and you must decide whether this is the way you want to go.

9. Translators don't live in an oasis. They need contacts and they need credentials. You can get both by joining (and attending) your local translation group and the American Translators Association. ATA puts out a magazine that will open your eyes, as it did for me when I first joined. Get accreditation if you feel you are ready for it, or take a practice test, which will be returned to you with corrections and comments and will give you food for thought. If you fail accreditation, you can always try again later. Accreditation and membership will get you listed in professional directories and lists consumers of translation buy. The ATA directory is on the Internet, and I have received a number of calls from that listing.

When I joined ATA and the New York Circle of Translators, it opened a whole new world for me. Not only did I learn from my peers and made contacts, but I found that one person can make a tremendous difference. I started the Continuing Education Committee, the Slavic Languages Division, and presented several sessions at ATA Annual Conferences, to mention a few of my professional activities. In 20 years, I only missed one conference, and everyone knows me or of me. It's almost like a passport (not to mention all the fun I've had along the way). But the point is that I started with no particular talents that qualified me over anyone else.

10. The most important thing is for you to be proficient, to be honest with your clients and to follow their instructions, particularly deadlines. Deadlines are the password in translation. A missed deadline could have dire results for your client, so honor it. If you find you have a problem with it, be honest. Don't bury your grandmother. After all, you only have two of those. Don't use her as an excuse for not delivering the job on time. Call your client and explain as early on as possible what the problem is. It is a good idea to look your document over immediately to check for any problems (legibility, missing pages, etc.).

If you have a genuine concern that you may not be able to complete the job on time, or that you may not be familiar with the subject matter, let the client know at once. For instance, a new client called asking that I translate a piece for some publication in Spanish. When I received the document, I saw that it was on architecture and had very specific architectural terms. I then called the client and told him that since this piece was going to be published, correct terminology was of essence and that architecture was not my field. I could do some research in the library, but the result might still be wanting and the job would be time-consuming. My client was silent for a moment, and then he said: "I am impressed by your sincerity and your professionalism. Thank you for being honest with us. We will certainly keep you in mind for other assignments because we value quality work." Within the hour, he was on the phone with another job. However, even if he hadn't, I am sure that he would have no problem recommending me to his colleagues.

The client will sometimes describe the document inaccurately; one of my least favorite terms some clients use is "straightforward." Very often what seems straightforward to them may not be straightforward to you. For instance, I once was given a brochure for pre-teen girls to translate into Spanish. The only problem was that in every Spanish-speaking country the designation for women's clothing is different, so they had to go through a string of "consultants" to decide which term would be understood by everybody.

11. Reputation is extremely important in our profession. Guard yours with great care. It will pay off.

To conclude, as I said earlier, freelance translating is not for everyone, but good translators can make excellent money these days. We have lawyers, engineers and other professionals who are making a good living at translation. We are also developing ways in which you can provide for your future with IRAs, KEOG plans, annuities, group insurance, and so forth. If you are looking for a full-time job, at this juncture your best bet is the government, but in the corporate world there are many jobs that are translation related, so develop other skills, the least of which is, of course, good typing.

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

Museo del Libro y de la Lengua

Inauguran el Museo del Libro de Clorindo Testa en Barrio Norte

Dirigido por la socióloga y ensayista María Pía López, docente de la Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires (UBA), el instituto -planta baja, dos pisos, zona de instalaciones, auditorio y otros espacios aun no habilitados- es una construcción diseñada y ejecutada por el estudio del arquitecto Clorindo Testa.

Por los caminos internos, el nuevo museo quedará conectado con la Biblioteca Nacional, con el Museo Nacional del Grabado, con el Instituto Cultural Juan Domingo Perón, con la embajada del Paraguay y con las plazas Del Lector y Boris Spivacow.

La voluntad de hacer desaparecer de la memoria histórica, lingüística y visual de los argentinos la política del primer peronismo, empujó en 1955 a los militares a demoler la mansión Alzaga Unzué, expropiada en la década del 30 del siglo pasado, y que fuera la residencia presidencial de Juan Domingo Perón y Eva Duarte.

El espacio destinado a dar cuenta de los avatares del lugar está en marcha, bajo la curaduría del artista plástico Daniel Santoro.

El proyecto del museo -pensado por el director de la Biblioteca Nacional, el sociólogo y ensayista Horacio González- está inspirado en el Museo de la Lengua Portuguesa, ubicado en la ciudad de San Pablo, Brasil, la versión local, a otra escala, es una novedad continental.

La idea-fuerza es provocar una reflexión sobre el idioma de los argentinos, sus continuidades y metamorfosis, su irrigación, influencia y efectos sobre los usos y las costumbres.

El ejercicio crítico sobre el estatuto de la lengua, para los responsables del museo, atraviesa la historia, en sintonía con las preocupaciones de Alberdi, Sarmiento, Echeverría, Hernández y Lugones, hasta Borges, Masotta, Martínez Estrada y Viñas, sin olvidar las novedades (lingüísticas) del universo digital.

En la planta baja ("El territorio del idioma"), el objetivo será "señalar los procesos históricos más profundos que modificaron las lenguas utilizadas mediante paneles expositivos, archivos sonoros y mapas", así como "exponer el carácter plural y constitutivamente heterogéneo de la cultura nacional, y exponer de manera crítica las políticas restrictivas de la pluralidad popular".

En el primer piso ("Los libros"), se trata de "mostrar un conjunto de libros organizados alrededor de distintos temas: tecnologías de impresión, traducciones, pedagogía política, ciencias y descubrimientos, cronistas y viajeros, risas y parodias, libros infantiles, el Martín Fierro y su crítica, editores europeos en la Argentina, nuevos públicos".

En este caso, la exposición estará ordenada según ejes temáticos, y contemplará tres niveles de investigación: la creación, la producción y la recepción.

En el segundo piso ("Sala de exposiciones temporarias: el mundo de las palabras") se implementará "un dispositivo tecnológico -realizado con proyectores, computadoras y sensores- que permita la proyección lumínica de palabras y textos, móviles en relación a la circulación del visitante", y cuyo contenido textual variará con cada exposición temporaria.

Los murales expuestos son "Otoño", de Juan Carlos Castagnino; "Primavera", de Lino Enea Spilimbergo; "Verano", de Manuel Colmeiro Guimaraes; e "Invierno", de Demetrio Urruchúa, ubicados, cada uno, en los cuatro puntos cardinales.

El museo cuenta con un auditorio equipado como sala de conferencias y de proyecciones audiovisuales. La programación estará ligada a la profundización de los temas tratados en las distintas salas del museo y estará ligada a dos políticas centrales del mismo.

Por un lado, incentivar el lazo con las instituciones escolares y el desarrollo de estrategias pedagógicas respecto de la cultura argentina. Y por el otro, la de constituirse como un centro de investigación sobre la lengua, ligado a la red de universidades del país entero.

También habrá una "constelación editorial", un mapa interactivo que ofrecerá al visitante un panorama detallado de la industria editorial argentina desde sus comienzos hasta la actualidad, y estará armada con un diseño que simula un mapa donde figuraran editoriales e imprentas, desde la (imprenta) misionera hasta los emprendimientos independientes surgidos a partir del 2001.

El visitante podrá elegir una editorial y presionando sobre el nombre de la misma, acceder a más información: año de fundación, responsables, escritores asociados a ese emprendimiento, principales libros editados, impacto sociocultural, etcétera.

El espacio de las instalaciones mediante un dispositivo de proyección y reproducción de fragmentos de radio o televisión, permitirá al interesado ver u oír fragmentos de programas de distintas épocas donde se podrán percibir las variaciones ocurridas a través del tiempo alrededor de distintos tópicos: uso del tú, vos y usted; frases que entraron en el habla cotidiana; humor, juegos de palabras, entonación y coloquialismos.

Finalmente, el curioso podrá "navegar" a través del territorio argentino eligiendo ente diversos contenidos: registros del habla natural de algunas provincias, música representativa de cada región y habla de los pobladores originarios.

How do you say...? (1)

Love & Relationship Idioms

ask for someone's hand in marriage
- to ask someone to marry you

After dating his girlfriend for several years the man finally asked for her hand in marriage.

attracted to (someone)
- to feel a physical or emotional attraction to someone

I was attracted to the woman at the party from the moment that I first met her.

blind date
- a date where the two people have never met before

I went on a blind date in university but it was not too successful.

break (someone's) heart
- to cause someone emotional pain

The man broke his girlfriend's heart when he told her that he no longer loved her.

break up
- to end a relationship

The couple broke up after dating for more than three years.

crazy about (someone)
- to think that another person is wonderful

My cousin has been crazy about her colleague for many months now.

date (someone)
- to go on a date with someone, to have a date with someone

My sister has been dating her boyfriend for about two years.

dig (someone)
- to like someone a lot

The girl really digs the boy in her chemistry class.

double date
- a date where two couples do something together

It was fun to go on the double date even though everybody wanted to do something different.

dump (someone)
- to end a relationship by telling someone that you do not want to see him or her

The woman dumped her boyfriend after they had a big fight.

fall for (someone)
- to begin to feel love for someone

The woman always falls for the wrong person and is never happy.

fall in love (with someone)

- to begin to experience feelings of love for someone

The man fell in love with a woman from his university class and they got married several months later.

find Mr. Right
- to find the right or perfect person

The woman is always hoping to find Mr. Right but so far she has not had any luck.

find the right girl/guy

- to find the right partner, to find the person you want to marry

The woman is always making an effort to find the right guy.

first love

- the first person that one falls in love with

The girl's first love was with a boy in her high school art class.

get along with (someone)
- to have a good friendly relationship with someone

The woman gets along with everybody very well.

get back together
- to return to a relationship or marriage after separating

The man got back together with his girlfriend after separating for several months last winter.

get engaged

- to decide to marry someone

The man got engaged to his wife several years before they got married.

get hitched

- to get married

My sister and her boyfriend surprised everyone by suddenly getting hitched last weekend.

get serious (with someone)

- to become more serious with someone (used for a relationship)

The two students dated for several months before they began to get serious.

give (someone or something) a second chance
- to try to save a relationship by forgiving and welcoming the other person back, to give a person or a relationship a second chance

The girl's boyfriend left her for several months but when he came back she was happy to give him a second chance.

go dutch
- to go on a date where each person pays half of the expenses

Many university students have little money so they often go dutch when they go on a date.

good together
- to be able to get along well with each other

The couple are good together and nobody has ever seen them argue.

go out with (someone)

- to go on a date or to be dating someone

I am going out with a woman from my hiking club.

go steady

- to date one person regularly (not so common recently but at one time used often by teenagers)

The two students have been going steady for three years now.

have a crush (on someone)
- to have strong feelings of love for someone (often for a short time and with no results)

The girl has a crush on a boy in her class.

have a thing for (someone)
- to be attracted and care about someone

The girl has a thing for the new boy in her class.

head over heels in love with (someone)
- to be very much in love with someone, to be completely in love

My friend is head over heels in love with someone in his company.

hit it off (with someone)
- to get along well with someone (from the first time that you meet that person)

I hit it off with a woman in my photography class and we have been dating for several months now.

hung up on (someone)
- to be obsessed with another person, to be interested in another person

The young woman is hung up on a member of her tennis club.

interested in (someone)
- to have a romantic interest in someone and possibly want to date that person

My sister is interested in someone from her university biology class.

kiss and makeup

- to become friends again after a fight or argument

After they have a fight the couple is quick to kiss and make up.

leave (someone) at the altar
- to decide not to marry someone at the last minute

The man became very nervous and decided to leave his girlfriend at the altar.

leave (someone) for (someone else)

- to end a relationship with your partner and start a relationship with someone else

The man left his wife for his secretary but soon discovered that his life was worse than before.

love at first sight
- to fall in love with someone or something the first time that one sees him or her or it

When I saw the woman at the party it was love at first sight and I knew that I wanted to meet her.

The woman loved the house. It was love at first sight.

made for each other

- to get along extremely well with another person

The man and woman get along very well together and seem to be made for each other.

make eyes at (someone)
- to look at someone in a way that makes it clear that you like that person and find him or her attractive

The man became angry when he saw that his girlfriend was making eyes at someone else at the party.

make up

- to forgive each other after an argument, to begin to see each other again after ending a relationship

The couple had a big fight at the restaurant but they made up and things quickly got back to normal.

The boy and girl separated but recently they made up and began seeing each other again.

a match made in heaven
- a couple who get along perfectly

When the two people finally got together it was a match made in heaven and everybody thought that they would stay together forever.

 meet the right girl/guy
- to meet the right partner, to meet the person that you want to marry

The woman always joked that she would never return home if she met the right guy.

on the rocks

- to be in a state of difficulty, to be having problems (usually used for a relationship)

The couple are experiencing many problems at the moment and their relationship appears to be on the rocks.

the one (for someone)

- the right partner, the right person to marry

When I introduced my girlfriend to my mother she said that she was the one for me.

one and only

- the only person that one loves

The man's wife was his one and only since they met in high school.

patch up a relationship
- to repair a broken relationship

The couple wanted to separate but they managed to patch up their relationship and are now very happy together.

perfect couple
- two people who appear to get along perfectly

Our neighors seem to be the perfect couple.

pop the question
- to ask someone to marry you

The man thought about things carefully before he actually decided to pop the question.

puppy love
- infatuation (strong feelings of love) between school-age children or teenagers

The two teenagers thought that their love was the greatest in the world. Other people thought that it was only puppy love.

say I do
- to get married (during a wedding ceremony it is common to say "I do" when you agree to marry your partner)

The man was very happy to say "I do" at the wedding ceremony.

seeing (someone)
- to be dating someone on a regular basis

The woman was not seeing anyone when she met a man who she liked at the party.

set a date
- to decide on a date for a wedding

After thinking about marriage for a long time the couple decided to set a date.

settle down
- to establish a regular routine after getting married

After dating many women the young man finally decided to settle down.

split up

- to end a relationship

The girl and her boyfriend decided to split up after being together for seven years.

steal (someone's) heart
- to cause someone to fall in love with you

The woman stole the heart of the man who was working beside her at her office.

take one's vows
- to get married and take your wedding vows or promises

The couple took their vows at the courthouse in the small town.

those three little words
- the words "I love you"

After several months of dating the young man finally said those three little words to his girlfriend.

tie the knot
- to get married

After dating for several years the young couple decided to tie the knot.

true love
- a genuine feeling of romantic love

It seemed like true love until the couple began to fight all of the time.

unrequited love
- love that is not returned, one-way love

The woman was in love with the president of her company but it was unrequited love. He did not love her.

walk down the aisle together
- to get married (in this case in a church and where the bride walks down the aisle to the altar)

The couple have decided to walk down the aisle together and begin their new life.

walk out on (someone)
- to abandon your partner and end a relationship

The man walked out on his wife and nobody knew the reason why.

whisper sweet nothings in (someone's) ear
-to say romantic or intimate things to someone

The actor was whispering sweet nothings in the ear of the actress in the romantic movie.

Primer Congreso Internacional de Correctores de Textos en Lengua Española

14, 15 y 16 de septiembre

Organización a cargo de la Fundación LITTERAE; de UniCo (Unión de Correctores, España); la Asociación de Profesionales de la Edición y Corrección (PEAC, México); la Asociación de Correctores de Textos del Perú (ASCOT) y de la Carrera de Traductorado Público de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Buenos Aires.

Sede: Aula Magna de la Facultad de Derecho de la UBA

Av. Figueroa Alcorta 2263

Consultar aranceles y programa en:

El español: rápido pero conciso

Los españoles se expresan más rápido que los franceses, ingleses o italianos, pero transmiten menos información por segundo, según el último estudio sobre lenguaje realizado por la Universidad de Lyon.

La investigación, que ha contado con el apoyo del Centro Nacional de Investigación Científica francés (CNRS), desvela una correlación negativa entre la densidad de información contenida en las sílabas de una lengua y la rapidez con la que esta se expresa.

Ese análisis sitúa al español en el penúltimo puesto de los siete idiomas estudiados en cuanto a la cantidad de información transmitida por sílaba, lo que quiere decir que sus usuarios deben pronunciar hasta el 30 por ciento más de sílabas para expresar lo mismo que en inglés o en chino mandarín.

La paradoja es que la lengua de Cervantes es también, después del japonés, la más rápida a la hora de hablarse, con 7,82 sílabas por segundo, frente a la media de 6,1 sílabas en inglés en esa misma fracción de tiempo, un hecho que confirma una hipótesis ya avanzada hace décadas: que la rapidez de un idioma se adapta a su estructura.

De las lenguas puestas a prueba, el inglés, el francés, el alemán, el español, el italiano, el mandarín, el vietnamita y el japonés, solo la última supera al español tanto en rapidez como en baja densidad de información por sílaba pronunciada.

«Lo que constituye una información puede ser muy diferente de una lengua a otra», puesto que en francés el pronombre personal debe añadirse a una frase cuando es sujeto, mientras que el español lo puede omitir.

En consonancia con esas obligaciones sintácticas, la rapidez de pronunciación de un idioma se adapta para intentar trasmitir la misma cantidad de información por minuto.

Por otra parte, se apunta que existen dos limitaciones sintácticas en la forma en la que se expresa un lenguaje: las llamadas de urgencia, que requieren pocas sílabas para ser efectivas, y la memoria humana, que dificulta recordar una palabra que se extienda más allá de cierto número de sílabas.

Publicado 19/09/2011, Agencia Efe

Raising cultural awareness in the primary classroom (lecture by Viv Lambert)

Saturday, 24 September 2011 at 10 a.m.

Children bring different knowledge to the classroom and they are influenced by their backgrounds and cultures. In recognising this, we can encourage children to open their eyes to the world around them and appreciate that everyone is different, has different societies, customs and celebrations. In this presentation, Viv looks at ways to raise children’s awareness of cultural issues in the Primary language classroom through a variety of activities including crafts, projects and songs.

Best Days of our lives
Viv Lambert, will briefly present Best Days, our new series for children.

“Our school days are often referred to as the ‘best days of our lives’ and my aim with Best Days is to give children some of their best days learning English.”


Viv Lambert is an RSA-Diploma qualified Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. She works as a freelance writer, consultant and editor of Primary ELT materials. She is an experienced teacher-trainer at the Lake School in Oxford and at the University of Chichester. She also teaches French at her local Primary School. Recent publications for Macmillan include Twist and Shout, Next Stop and Faces. She is also author of Best Days, Macmillan’s new series for children.

Have your Best Days when learning English!

10.00 - 10.30 am.: Registration
10.30 - 11.20 am.: Raising cultural awareness in the primary classroom
11.20 - 12.00 am.: Best Days of our lives
12.00 am: Final Raffles!

Information & registration:

Venue: British Arts Centre (BAC) - Suipacha 1333 - C.A.B.A.

Registration: call 0810 555 5111 or send an email to

Free of charge, enrollment is essential.
Certificates of attendance will be issued.


Teacher's Day Coming Soon!

Teacher’s Phobias

Redundaphobia – the fear that, even outside of school, you will begin repeating everything you say three times to make sure others understand.

Sneakasnackaphobia – the fear a student will surreptitiously eat a candy bar in your classroom and find out, quite by accident, that he has a peanut allergy.

Paperpilephobia – fear that if you don’t put off all of that paperwork from the office, they’ll think you have plenty of time to do nothing but their paperwork.

Coldandfluaphobia – the fear that every virus that enters your classroom is looking specifically for you.

Atontogradeaphobia – the fear that every single student will turn in a project two hours before your grades are due.

Chickenpattaphobia – the fear that the three-week-old chicken-patty-on-a-bun under the heat lamp in the school cafeteria will be yours on the day you forget your lunch.

Budgetcutaphobia – the fear that the next published set of school budget cuts will include a photo of you.

Infinitaphobia – the fear that the faculty meeting that seems endless really is.

Applicaphobia – the fear that the student you’ve been urging to apply himself to his work will instead apply himself to making your life miserable for the rest of the year.

Lovasubaphobia – the fear that everyone at school will like your substitute teacher more than they like you.

Achapteraheadaphobia – the fear that your students will learn the material faster than you can plan the lessons.

Gottagoaphobia – the fear that the coffee that keeps you alert will also keep you dancing around for the last twenty minutes of class.

Adminlistaphobia – the fear that the stupid chain joke you just sent to a colleague was actually accidentally sent to every administrator in the school district.

Typographophobia – the fear that the newsletter on grammar and spelling that you sent home includes a number of misspelled words and punctuation errors.

Observatiophobia – the fear that you’ll discover in the middle of your administrator-observed class that you’ve planned a twenty-minute lesson for an eighty-minute class.

Desksquishaphobia – the fear that the student desks that are migrating closer to the front of the classroom every day will eventually crush you against the whiteboard.

Theyllbebackaphobia - the fear that the worst behaved kids will be the ones that won't pass to the next grade.

III Jornadas Argentinas sobre Lengua y Sociedad

30 de septiembre y 1.º de octubre

Sede: Universidad de Belgrano. Zabala 1837

Consultar aranceles y programa en:

English Globalization