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Salamanca – the Golden City

lis 13

Salamanca is the most student-dominated city in Spain, which is located on the west of the country. One of the reasons why so many youth decide to study in Salamanca is the fact that the University located there was founded in 1218 by King Alfonso IX; it was the fourth university in Europe. One of university’s main attractions is the Salamanca’s Frog (esp: Rana de Salamanca). It is one of thousands of ornaments on the facade of the university building. The frog is only a few centimeters long but there are some interesting legends related to it. One of them says that the one who finds the frog can be sure that he/she will graduate from the university and happily get married. According to other legends, the one who will first fall into the eye of Rana de Salamanca will also be the first to pass all the exams.

And why a frog? Well, the theories about this differ. The most common explanation says that in ancient Egypt, the frog was a symbol of death. Over time, especially in the Middle Ages, the frog began to be identified with the sin of desire. Combining it with the skull was to give students a clear signal – those whose life will be promiscuous will suffer diseases and a fast death awaits them. In the old part of the city, we can find the main square of the city – the Plaza Mayor. Until the mid-nineteenth century, bullfights were held here. It is one of the largest squares in Spain (6,400 m2), and considered by many to be the most beautiful in Europe. It is surrounded by 88 arcades located on three-storey buildings.

An unusual place is the Cathedral, which is combined from two into one. The first of these is the Old Cathedral (Catedral Vieja) from the 12th century. The second part of the complex is the Late Gothic New Cathedral (Catedral Nueva). Its construction began in the sixteenth century and at the time it was compared to the Cathedral.

Later, the New Cathedral was enriched with Baroque elements but not only … On one of the portals (Puerta de Ramos), apart from the rich vegetative and animal ornaments we can also find clear references to modern times. The best example of this is a cosmonaut sculpture. How did it happen to be there? In 1992, when renovating the new cathedral, more contemporary elements were added to it in order to leave a mark of our times.

(KB)

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W poszukiwaniu jesieni

paź 31

Nie jest łatwo przejść obojętnie obok przyrody skąpanej w jesiennych barwach. Dla fotografa to wręcz niemożliwe. Próbuje, stara się, walczy, ale jakaś niewidzialna siła wyciąga jego rękami aparat z futerału. Uruchamia. Ustawia. Pstryka. Walka przegrana. Jesień to ulubiona pora roku wielu fotografów i na pewno ciężko sobie bez niej wyobrazić fotograficzny kalendarz. A jeśli takie mają być skutki owej przegranej, to ja mogę poddawać się częściej. Zapraszamy do naszej jesiennej galerii.

Fot. K. Tarczoń

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Conference interpreters have nerves of steel!

paź 16

There are many jobs that require special concentration, among them the profession of a conference interpreter.


In the face of professional stress, translators are between anaesthesiologists and air traffic controllers (the most stressed) and florists and hairdressers (the least stressed). Nevertheless, handling stress at work is a big problem because it has a big impact on job satisfaction and longevity in the profession.

During simultaneous translation, you must: listen to the speaker, analyse the declamation (language subtlety, implications, humorous elements, etc.), process it into a grammatically correct and dictionary-based declamation in the target language and also speak in the target language.

Simultaneous interpreters always work in pairs and change every 20-30 minutes because their work requires enormous concentration and resistance to stress.

The translator converts 130 to 180 words per minute on average. Research carried out at the University of Geneva has shown that the risk of mistakes in translation substantially increases after 30 minutes; this is related to overloading the mind and the impact of stress on the body. To make matters worse, such an overworked translator is often not aware of a drastic decline in the quality of his work and becomes less and less alert to mistakes, and this in turn can lead to serious misunderstandings in communication.

Simultaneous interpreting (cabin) was used for the first time during the Nuremberg trials. The representatives of the United Kingdom, the USA, France and the USSR sat in the International Military Court, and the majority of the accused spoke German. Because it had never been translated in this way, a company designed some special equipment. Despite many difficulties, the experiment was so successful that this new method of translation was also adopted by the newly established United Nations.

(KB)

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Back to school, kids!

wrz 12

The beginning of the school year is a great experience for all children from all over the world. Some of them are happy because of a return to classmates, others are afraid because of what the new year will bring. However, everybody would like to know where the school came from and where the holidays are the longest?

Did you know that:

Usually people think that the first school was the Academy founded by Plato in Athens around 387 BC. Later, Plato’s student, Aristotle, founded his school, called the Lyceum (Lykeion). In the beginning, in many countries, the schooling obligation concerned only boys … The school duty in Poland was officially approved in the 19th century during the Annexation.

There are countries in which the school obligation concerns 5-year-old children! For example Australia, Great Britain and Jamaica.

Russia, Belgium and the United States are countries where school duty ends when the student reaches the age of 18. By comparison, in Haiti, this obligation ends at the age of 11, and in countries such as Egypt, Singapore, Taiwan – at the age of 14 or 15. In Finland you have to attend school for at least 9 years.

In South America, holidays usually start in December and last until February, Chileans go back to school only in March, and in Australia – in January. However, in most countries, especially in Europe and in America, holidays are from July to the end of August, with the exception of Spain, Italy and Portugal, where students are welcomed only in the second half of September. In Japan, children start school in April, and in Indonesia the school year begins in July.

There are also different habits to start the year: in Germany, every student receives a huge, colourful cone-shaped tube, filled with sweets and small school supplies, and spends his/her first day at school with their elderly guardian.

In India, the first day of the school is called the Day of Reception or Praveshanotsavam. Students are greeted with presents that include new backpacks, balloons, candies and books. The beginning of the school year takes place in late spring or during the monsoon season, hence apart from the traditional layette, children also get colourful umbrellas. In France, however, there is no start of the school year; children come to school and start learning.

All we have to do is to wish everyone a wonderful experience, lots of inspirational lessons and good grades!

(KB)

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Summer bouquets of August

sie 23

August is inextricably linked to herbs, flowers, and the harvest. Today we invite you to look through the juicy, lively colors of floral compositions. They can decorate our houses and fill them with a delicate scent of summer’s twilight. Though it will return next year, it can remind us of its presence throughout the coming winter mornings when we gaze at and smell our dried „summer” bouquets. Do you like such esthetics?

Photo: Klaudia Tarczoń

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