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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Jul 2004
    • Posts: 18

    More Than Words

    If the only difference between languages was the words we use then there would be no need for translators. It would only be a matter of switching from one language to another in the same way that we convert from the metric system to the English system of weights and measures. Software programs designed to convert documents into different languages would be cheap and 100% accurate. Unfortunately it’s not what we say but how we say it that makes each language unique. The difference between the Spanish verbs “ser” and “estar” are lost when translating to English. The double negative, commonly used in Spanish, sounds terrible in English. The verb “to look” means “mirar” but be careful with look out, look into, look over, look after, look for, look up, and look up to. “Esta noche” could be last night or tonight depending on how and when you use it.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 58,834

    Re: More Than Words

    Yesterday, I saw a woman who was learning how to say 'good afternoon' in Khmer. She assumed that the first word would be Khmer for good and the second afternoon. She seemed to be baffled by the idea that the language was not simply a direct word for word translation.

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