March 14, 2016

It's obvious that the Spanish contrastar means "to contrast." But it also has an unexpected meaning: "to verify":


He contrastado estos datos con la sociedad.

I have verified this information with the company


información contrastada

verified information


By the same token...

March 10, 2016



I will be teaching an all-day seminar on Spanish Legal Translation for the Northwest Translators & Interpreters Society (NOTIS) on Saturday, March 19, 2016. Then on Sunday morning I will conduct a workshop on translating contracts from Russian to English. In the afte...

March 10, 2016

 This book about what the French call langue du bois and what we might call "doublespeak" in English is interesting to translators because it provides examples of the kind of vacuous language that we have to understand in our daily work, and then translate into our mot...

March 7, 2016

The meaning of "altura" that you learn in school is "height." But this word has an unexpected meaning: it also translates as "dignity."


Se lo dijo con mucha altura means "She told him in a very dignified manner."


Reaccionó con mucha altura means "He reacted with great...

March 4, 2016

Note that the word "antes" is not reflected in the English translation of the Spanish phrase antes al contrario, which means "on the contrary, quite the opposite, far from it." This can trip up a translator who is translating word for word on autopilot!

March 3, 2016

After a visit to the offices of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (also known as the "WAT" or Dictionary of the Afrikaans Language) in Stellenbosch last month, where I was given a guided tour by Dr. Willem Botha, the editor-in-chief of the dictionary, I was inspir...

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