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Tourism in Balkan Countries

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Have you ever wondered what it is like to go for a short holiday to the former Yugoslavia countries? For the past few years I have had the impression that it has become really popular among tourists from Poland so I decided to give it a try too. After visiting Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, I collected many memories and observations, and I believe some of them can be really surprising.


As far as I can tell, many people think about these countries only through the prism of the Yugoslav Wars (1991-2001). The wars are still a fresh memory for most living people there and if you would like to experience local attitudes to this horrible past you can always visit museums of war and genocide (I can recommend one in Sarajevo). Memories of war also have a more controversial side because the history can be an attraction for visitors from all over the world who had never suffered from war. Because demand creates supply, one can buy a souvenir ball pen made of bullets and take part in a tour to the bombed out buildings.

Despite all of this, the Balkans can offer you much more. The first thing that I noticed were the breathtaking landscapes. Going South you can marvel at more and more beautiful views. A large part of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro consists of the Dinaric Mountains made of limestone. Their dramatic slopes surround the cities and are situated along most of the roads which makes driving through Balkans a perfect experience. When approaching the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro one can marvel at how the mountains there go directly to the sea. If you want to take the perfect picture you should go to the Uvac River in Serbia or to the bridge over Tara River in Montenegro.

If you travel to improve your knowledge of different cultures in the former Yugoslavia countries, you can also experience the ethnic and religious diversity. Orthodox and Muslims, Serbs, Bosniacs, and Montenegrians live close together. Because of that, you can experience a specific mix of European and Arabic culture. Overlooking a Balkan cityscape you can see churches and mosques built close to each other. If you want to buy some souvenirs, go to the market and have a look at its colors. What is surprising is that at every single market one can still find real handcrafted metal, ceramic, wood objects and tapestries, which makes all of them less kitschy than most of the European souvenir shops.

The best way to experience Balkan culture is to try local food. A part of the menu common in all the countries is grilled meat, for example Cevapi (simillar to Arabic Kofta) and Pljeskavica (a flat piece of meat) which they serve with French fries and a very small amount of vegetables. If you would like to get some vitamins you can always order the Szopska salad – consisting of tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, onion and salty white cheese. When making a stop in Montenegro I would recommend trying more usual Mediterranean food like squids or prawns. The best place for dessert, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is an Arabic pastry shop. There, you can eat extremely sweet baklava cake or other sweets and drink traditionally served tea or Turkish coffee.

In all these countries people speak different dialects of the Serbian language, which are very similar, but after the breakdown of Yugoslavia they were made official languages – Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. They each use different writing systems , either Latin or Cyrillic. If you want to see how specific this situation is you can look on the labels of products – you can read exactly the same description three times – twice in Latin and once in Cyrillic.

For people who love sightseeing there is much to do. In Serbia you can visit monasteries (Sopocany in Novi Pazar) and strongholds (Petrovaradin in Novi Sad, Kalamegdan in Beograd). If you enjoy the Roman Empire period then I recommend that you to go to Eastern Serbia and see the ruins of Roman cities and military camps. For those who like to combine sightseeing with a little bit of hiking and pretty views, Stari Ras in Serbia and Stari Bar in Montenegro are must sees. Kotor in Montenegro and Mostar in Herzegovina are still lively and touristic cities where you can find both picturesque old towns and nice pubs and cafes for visitors and locals alike. To experience big city life one should go to Beograd and Sarajevo which, despite remaining evidence of the Yugoslav Wars, seems to have normal capital-city lives.

I have not counted, but as far as I can estimate more than 50% of tourists in the countries I have visited were Polish, especially in Montenegro. Do you have any idea why Poles like to travel to the former Yugoslavia so much? Locals have noticed the development of tourism in this region for sure. Many of them speak communicative English, but what surprised me the most was the restaurant in Stari Bar (a very beautiful Middle Age settlement and stronghold located in Bar, Montenegro) where I met a Polish-speaking waiter! Additionally, in many touristic places (maybe except for some in Bosnia and Herzegovina) you can pay for your meal or souvenirs in Euros. Accommodation infrastructure is good too and I can say that in most spots one can easily find a comfortable place to stay at a very nice price.

What kind of travel will let you discover the Balkans in the best way? I recommend a road trip! The more time you have, the better! Many travel bloggers describe trips for which you would need about three weeks. Of course it is possible to go there for a shorter time, but you have to be aware that you would have to spend more time in the car than at all those beautiful places. And I should know, it is really hard to leave some spots, even if you know you have much more to explore.

(AM)

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Learning a Foreign Language? Do These 5 Things Everyday

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Lucy from Britain, shares her native English with the world via her channel on YouTube called English With Lucy. In numerous videos, she offers tips and comparisons such as „American vs British Expressions and Phrases” and „5 Things Native English Speakers Never Say!”. However, I found her video „5 Things You Need to Practice Every Day” to be extremely useful and informative for anyone learning a foreign language. Here are the 5 things Lucy wants you to practice every day:

1. Follow an audio soap-opera (15 mins)

In her video, she describes a specific audio-only soap-opera that offers 15 minute episodes. While short, audio-only stories are ideal for listening practice, not every language will offer this. You may need to find other options. While learning Polish, for example, I began watching a popular TV serial called Przyjaciółki. The main priority is to find a story interesting to you that follows the lives of the same characters over a long period of time. In this way, you will develop context for future events and actions involving those characters.

2. Participate in a language exchange (1-2 hours per day)

Lucy suggests that you find someone who is learning your native language who is a native speaker of the language you want to learn and that you should exchange with them. This is also called Language Tandem. Sometimes it can be hard to organically meet such a person so there are online services that will help you find a partner. The goal here is to spend an equal amount of time speaking in each language that you want to exchange, the one you are learning and the one you are sharing.

3. Daily word goal (x-words per day)

In order to improve your vocabulary in your target language, you must consistently strive to learn new words. You can set a goal of learning a specific number of words such as 10 per day. Or you could meet this goal through the use of topics or themes such as learning vocabulary related to Travel, Economics or History. Another way to approach this goal would be to target words in grammatical categories such as Adjectives, Nouns or Verbs.

4. Daily planner (x-sentences per day)

Get yourself a dedicated yearly planner where you can write a short journal entry each day. Use the new vocabulary that you learn each day to write a few sentences. Having a planner solely for foreign language learning will help you stay on track of your daily goals and will allow you to see the progress that you make.

5. Daily translation [x-paragraph(s) per day]

Choose any written format (news article, book, magazine, advertisement, letter, etc.) and translate it. Lucy recommends that you choose a subject or topic that is interesting to you and that you may like to speak about. Once you have passed the basic beginner level, it would be good to set yourself the target of translating at least one paragraph per day. Then you could work up to translating one page per day. The focus for this task is to read and translate into your own words. A pro tip is to stick to the same topic for a week and record each new word/phrase you learn. Review daily.

As you can see by the highlighted words throughout these tips, they are designed to give you daily practice in each major aspect of language fluency which include a foundation of Vocabulary in order to Read, Write, Listen and Speak the target language. Even if you can only manage to implement these tips a few times per week, you would be well on your way to foreign language proficiency. You can do it!

(SNS)

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksYCNuctkmQ

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Is our office ecologically friendly to the environment?

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Atominium works with translators who are skilled in many different languages and located all over the world. Because these workers can choose their living and work spaces, it allows both them and Atominium to be more ecologically friendly to the environment. How so? Well, when people are able to work from home they have options not always available to workers in a typical office setting.

For one, there is no commuting involved. Less carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere when people can choose to stay home. Working from home also allows huge savings regarding the fast fashion industry which is known to be the second most polluting industry and uses a lot of water resources. Home-based workers do not need a specific wardrobe and they certainly do not need to keep up with fast fashion trends. They can choose to buy less clothes and to repair and reuse those they already have.

Companion animals are known to reduce stress levels and contribute to happiness. Animals are not permitted in office settings but having one at home offers stress relief and contributes to a healthy lifestyle when you take frequent breaks – to walk a dog for example.

These days, online workers have access to eco-friendly tools like green website hosting and digital storage options which allow for less paper and office supplies to be used. A lower demand for these types of products will lower the speed at which deforestation is occurring

A home-based worker has more flexibility to choose a wide variety of Earth-friendly actions which may be dictated to them in an office environment. Actions such as abiding by the famous mantra: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This mantra has even been expanded to close the consumer lifecycle of goods and is now: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.

Working at home allows for more time to cook meals instead of ordering fast-food and take-out. This can drastically cut down the amount of single-use plastics that end up in the environment and the oceans. There is also complete control over the use of utilities which can be more appropriately adjusted depending on the weather.

While there are pros and cons to any working situation, working from home can obviously be eco-friendly and it is up to each individual to take full advantage of such opportunities to do their part to protect the environment. Think about what other individual actions and habits contribute to a greener planet.

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Translator versus Technology

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With the advent of modern technologies, people often wonder if a translators job will soon become obsolete. At present, it seems unlikely due to the complexities of human communication. Languages develop, grow and change over time. Combine that with the difficulties of translating from one language group into a completely different one, like from Japanese into Polish for example, and you can begin to understand the inherit complications.


Translating is not as straight-forward as it sounds. A translator cannot always see or hear a sentence and directly, or word-for-word, turn it into another language. Language is a collection of thoughts, ideas and expressions in addition to individual words. Localized culture, history and traditions all have an influence on languages. Instead of a collection of words, language should be thought of as a collection of ideas. Most ideas can in fact be translated from one language to another because human beings around the world have so many similarities. But this is not always true and translators will research the best way, or multiple ways, in which to convey a source language idea into the target language.

This is especially relevant for business marketing campaigns. One famous example is when the U.S. company, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), had their English slogan „It’s finger lickin’ good” translated in China. The Chinese version roughly translated as „Eat your fingers off!”. While these scenarios can be quite funny, they can also be vulgar, insensitive, cruel and offensive. These are the situations that translators want to avoid. You can see for yourself how using a free online translation tool would translate KFC’s slogan. Type it in, translate it, then swap it to see how it really sounds in the target language. The Chinese version I got for the above slogan is: „It’s fingers are very good”. That is not the same idea or concept of the original slogan at all.

Translators have the training, tools and skills to approach problems like this where it is necessary to consider factors such as the culture, slang, and nuances of each language involved. Translation technology is not yet capable of making these distinctions and decisions. While translation technology, like so-called CAT (Computer Aided Translation) tools, often do speed up the translation process for a human translator, they are simply one of the many tools that a translator uses to accomplish their job. A job field which is actually growing and is in no way becoming obsolete. In a globalized world, we need translators now more than ever. And translators will make good use of new technological tools as they become available.

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Differences between Spanish – South America and Europe

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Languages change when spreading to new places. Spanish, due to its huge range and the distance between the countries in which it is used, has developed forms characteristic for the regions. During colonization by Spain of certain areas of North America, territories of Central America and South America, the language of the colonizers became a separate language, much different from that of the native language. Here are some differences between the Spanish language used in Latin America and its European counterpart.

In Spain, Spaniards term their language Spanish. Meanwhile, many Latin Americans call their language the Castilian language. This difference has its source in Castile (the region of Spain), where the first colonizers came from. Castilian is a dialect, as is Gaulish and Gaelic in Great Britain, although English remains the dominant language. In the same way, Spanish is considered to be the dominant language in Spain, and Galician and Catalan are just different variants of the proper Spanish in some regions.

The grammatical differences are also very interesting. The first example is voseo. In Central America, Argentina and Uruguay, the conversion of the pronoun (the equivalent of you) to vos was accepted. Similar differences appear for the the verb cantar, i.e. to sing – the native Spaniards will say tú cantas, in turn a resident of Uruguay vos cantas.

In many other languages, as in both Spanish varieties, one word can have many meanings depending on the region in which it is used. For example, the word Haragán – in Spain, but also in some parts of Latin America is a term for a lazy person. However in Venezuela and Argentina, it means something completely different – it is hair dryer.

Distinct differences in lexis occur even in small languages (based on the number of users) ​​within a single country. There are many differences and they concern various fields. For example, a resident of Argentina and Chile named a strawberry – frutilla, while a resident of the Iberian peninsula would describe it as a fresco. A resident of Madrid will say falda for a dress while a person living in Buenos Aires will certainly call it a pollera. Very interesting are the borrowings from the languages ​​of the indigenous people of the Americas. In the Spanish variety of Spanish, we find words from Nahuatl, such as cuate or guajolot, meaning a friend (Spanish: amigo) and turkey (Spanish: pavo). While in Spanish, used in Europe, the word computer translates into an ordenator. Spanish in Latin America will translate the same word as computadora. Europeans generally accepted the term mobile phone and the Spaniards transformed it into teléfono movil. When it comes to Latin American countries, direct consumers of American media, there society calls it a cellular phone.

Of course, these differences are not so important that a person who knows Spanish in Europe cannot cope with communication with a person living in Latin America.

(KB)

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