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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.

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Hindi – the fourth most spoken language in the world

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Hindi is the mother tongue for over 200 million people. In fact, it is used by many more people because it is not only the official language next to English, but also the language used in traffic instructions.

Over half a billion Indians speak Hindi. This language is the fourth most widely used language in the world (after Mandarin, English and Spanish). Hindi has also existed since the 12th century as a written language.

The main areas in which Hindi predominates are Central and Northern India, in the area of ​​the city of Delhi and in some Indian states.
Hindi uses the Devanagari alphabet. Devanagari is the syllable script in which the characters represent whole syllables. In this way, each consonant in this alphabet is connected to a vowel.

In the Indian constitution, the official languages ​​of the country are Hindi and English. In addition, the constitution officially recognizes 22 further national languages, typical of a region or state.  In a country as large as India, a total of 35 languages ​​are used, each of which has at least one million people. Many of these languages ​​have their own writing systems so there are 12 different alphabets in the country. A resident of North India speaking with a neighbor from the South of India will certainly use English or Hindi.

The twin language for Hindi is Urdu. Urdu is the mother tongue for over 50 million people in India and for millions in Pakistan. In a conversation, a person speaking in Urdu will have no problems communicating with a Hindi speaker.
Both languages ​​have the same grammatical structure and basic vocabulary. Hindi has many borrowings from Sanskrit, while Urdu has distinct influences from Persian and Arabic. Not to mention the fact that Hindi uses the Devanagari alphabet and the Urdu Arabic alphabet.

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How to Make a Linguist? One woman’s’ path.

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I grew up in America knowing that I had Polish roots but having no exposure to the language. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I began asking more questions and trying to learn more about my family history. By becoming a genealogist and studying my family origins, I was led to learn new skills and topics such as research, analysis, language and history. A high school project started me down the path of collecting documents about my ancestors. But very quickly I ran into the language barrier. Many of the documents I sought were in foreign archives and written in foreign languages (mostly Polish, Russian or German). But I was determined to make progress anyway.

After graduation, I joined the U.S. military as a linguist and I chose to study the only Slavic language available to me at that time, Russian. The courses were extremely intense and my sole responsibility for the first 18 months. That career decision has led to a lifetime of studying language, culture and history. My work life has supported my hobby for many years and between the two I have amassed large amounts of context in which to study my roots.

At the age of 35, I was finally able to move to Poland to work on a Master’s degree in European Studies and attempt to learn Polish. I have found it to be more difficult to learn than even Russian. In part, because so many young people that I have met in Kraków speak English now. Studying difficult Slavic languages has made me appreciate that I am a native speaker of English especially since English has become more and more prevalent throughout the world. At the same time, Polish both delights and frustrates me on a daily basis. As an analyst, I see patterns in language and therefore prefer to learn visually with documents and reading. But to truly become fluent in a foreign language, you must converse. That is even more difficult for introverted people but it can be done. I hope. I am still trying. The Polish ladies at the deli counter still ask me to repeat myself and I know I do not always use the correct grammar, but I’m hungry and the kiełbasa is so tasty!

Recently, I was given the wonderful opportunity to be a translation intern at Atominium. Here, my past experiences and personal abilities converge to make translating from Polish to English everyday a joy and a challenge. The challenge of translating ever new topics keeps things interesting and contributes to language learning. After all, as I believe Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit”. That’s how you make a linguist, or any professional really, with tons of tiny habits throughout a lifetime that add up to a powerful skill set. Both people and languages are constantly evolving, so it is convenient that now language learning is both my hobby and my job. Where are your habits taking you?

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