Did you ever wonder about the pricing of translation projects? Why are translation services so expensive? How hard can it be to translate several pages into another language? It's not rocket science. Also, Google Translate is a thing.

First and foremost, we DO NOT use Google Translate for translating in any language pair. Professional translations are done with the help of CAT (Computer-assisted Translation) software. CAT tools, with their translation memories and term bases, shorten and streamline the translation process. Additionally, they facilitate consistency in translations.  Even though machine translation software is getting better, the complexity of certain texts, the variability of terms and key language nuances remain in the human domain. And this is exactly what makes a quality translation.

What is quality?

According to ISO 9000, quality is the “degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.”
Inherent characteristics mean the qualities of products important to buyers, and requirements are expressed, unexpressed or implied needs and expectations of buyers regarding the product.

Unlike the marketing era that featured  “price wars” with the main task of creating a new market for new products, the current period of focus on quality is characterized by a large diversity of products, market saturation and prices on the edge of cost-effectiveness, with quality becoming the most important aspect for customers. There are currently around 400 translation agencies in Croatia. Clients have a wide choice, and considering that almost everything can be done via e-mail, even the location is not an issue. After all, we also work on the global market with clients from various parts of the world.

Difference between price and value

Even though you probably expect for the price of a translation to be similar at every agency, the price difference can sometimes be up to 100%. This is largely affected by the fact that the price of translations at translation agencies that are not in the VAT system can immediately be 25% lower. Furthermore, there are agencies that operate only online and therefore have significantly lower costs compared to traditional agencies. On top of that, there are agencies working for peanuts, that is, offering translations at extremely low prices. Such translations are known in the industry as extremely low-quality translations since they are done by underpaid, underqualified and/or inexperienced translators not taking paying attention to the quality, style and even basic accuracy of translations.

Let's take a simple example (even though, if we would ask a translator, it would be one of the most complicated ones) – translation of menus. Imagine finally getting several vacation days and using your annual leave. You sit down in a gorgeous small Italian restaurant overlooking the sea and start reading the menu. You're craving for something with an appetizing flavor that goes with the local wine.  And you find –gnocchi in angry sauce. Hmm... A translation done for peanuts.

Somebody translated that menu from Italian to English. It doesn't matter whether the job was done by a freelancer or an agency. A little bit of literal translation, a little bit of inexperience/carelessness and the sauce can become angry instead of spicy.

Practice has shown that it is better to ask the client for a description/recipe/photograph of the meal than it is to literally translate a certain meal. Cuisine is a part of the culture of a nation, and often there are no equivalents for certain dishes in another language. But it is the translator's job to invest their time, to research the dish in question, and to find the best solution or to present the meal using a description. And someone who invested time end effort into finding the best possible solution will also want to be paid fairly for their work.

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get,” said investor Warren Buffett. Finally, poor translation services can cost you a lot more than money. Whether it is a translation of a professional paper, brochure, menu, website or advertisement – your communication with consumers shows how much you care about their satisfaction and how much they can rely on you and your product or service.

Translation price does not always reflect the quality, but the level of service must justify the price paid by the client. We all need to stay competitive on the market in order to keep doing business at all. But on the other hand, translators need to set their "value". You would not want somebody to underestimate your work, invested time and effort, right? Translators are the same. Not every translation is equally demanding, but research, knowledge and experience go into every translation, so that the client can get the best possible result in the end. Actually, we can only speak for ourselves here.

What determines the price of a translation?

Specifically, the translation price mostly depends on the quantity of text and the language pair. For example, the translation of a text from Croatian to English will be cheaper than the translation from Croatian to Dutch. Why?

There is a very small number of translators working in the Croatian-Dutch language pair. Their number decreases even more if you consider their reliability. If you entrust your translation to an agency, then that translation agency must vouch for the quality and accuracy of the translation, as well as meeting a deadline. When entrusting your translation to an agency, you should be confident that your translation will be done professionally and to a high standard. That is why the translation price in translation agencies can be somewhat higher than it is with freelancers. At the same time, this gives you some certainty. Working with an agency will ensure consistent terminology and style in your translations since they are likely to use glossaries and translation memories (databases) dedicated to your industry or even custom-made for your company.

Besides, if you don't know the ins and outs of the translation industry, you don't know whether you'll get only a basic translation or an edited/proofread translation. Maybe you need a translation, editing, proofreading and industry-specific revision? To ensure the quality of translations for our clients, every translated document produced by Sinonim undergoes the process of editing and proofreading, as well as quality assurance, regardless of the language in question. Mistakes can happen to everyone. That is why you should do everything you can  to minimize or eliminate them.

cijena-prijevoda-kvaliteta-min

How to choose a good translator?

When selecting a translator or an agency, you should take into account everything offered as part of that service, the time required for translating the text, the reliability of the translator and his or her expertise. The translator's job requires learning and improvement on a daily basis. That is the person/agency you entrust with your work, documents, financial reports... Find someone to build a partnership with and help you achieve your goals. At the end of the day, this is what we do at Sinonim. We look forward to every new success story to which we have contributed.

For any additional questions and information, feel free to contact us at info@sinonim.hr.

Don’t let the title fool you. ‘Untranslatable words’ is just an easier way of saying ‘words that don’t have a direct equivalent in another language’. But that doesn’t roll of your tongue as much.

 

Untranslatable Words: Arigata-meiwaku – Japanese

This could be translated as unwanted kindness. Specifically, it describes a situation in which someone tries to do you a favor, despite you not wanting it, and consequently causing you additional trouble or just not helping you at all, but you are expected to express gratitude nevertheless due to social conventions. A truly Japanese word in every sense.

untranslatable words-japanese

 

Untranslatable Words: Sobremesa – Spanish

This word literally means ‘over the table’, but it signifies the period after a meal when the people sitting at the table continue to talk and enjoy each other’s company. Not an important word if you have no friends.
Sobremesa can also mean tablecloth.

 

Untranslatable Words: Zapoi – Russian

This Russian word is used to express continuous drinking for several days, so much so that the person withdraws from their normal social life. Sounds fun.

 

Untranslatable Words: Handschuhschneeballwerfer German

Used metaphorically to describe a person who acts like a coward by criticizing and attacking only from a safe distance. Literally, it means a person throwing snowballs while wearing their gloves. In both cases – a pansy.

 

Untranslatable Words: Utepils – Norwegian

Everything feels much better when you have a word for what you're doing. Since utepils means enjoying a cold beer outside on a sunny day, our non-working weekends during the bright and warm days can feel much more meaningful.

 

Untranslatable Words: Trepverter – Yiddish

Another one of those words we absolutely need in our language. This one, particularly, signifies a witty comeback that you think of when it’s already too late. It literally means ‘staircase words’.

 

Untranslatable Words: Gökotta – Swedish

One of those words we didn’t know we need in our lives. Gökotta is used in Swedish to express the action of rising at dawn to listen to the birds sing. I don’t like to wake up early for anything, but you go Swedes.

untranslatable words-swedish

 

Untranslatable Words: Gattara – Italian

We would translate it as ‘(crazy) cat lady’, that is, a woman who owns many cats or devotedly feeds stray cats.

 

Untranslatable Words: Gigil – Filipino

You know that feeling you get when you see a puppy or a baby so cute you want to pinch it? Well, that’s gigil. Now you know. It can be anything adorable, not just those two things. You’re welcome.

 

Untranslatable Words: Mencolek – Indonesian

Practically everyone tried to pull this trick on their friends when they were kids, we just didn’t have a name for it. The trick when you tap someone in front of you on the opposite shoulder than the one you intend to approach them from. A simple, yet effective way to humiliate your buddy.

 

Untranslatable Words: Tingo – Pascuense (Easter Island)

This one is my favorite. It means to continuously borrow stuff from a friend without returning it, until the friend is left with nothing. The fascinating thing about it is that it obviously happens so often there that they need a word for it.
You know what’s awful? Having to spend your money on things you want. Why not just find a friend and take their belongings? Profit.

 

There you go. A bunch of untranslatable words you will never use, apart from maybe saying ‘do you know there is a word in ___ meaning____’ in order to sound smarter. +100 Intelligence.

In every line of work, there are periods of time when there is too much work to do and little time to do it in. Stress levels tend to soar at such times, and they become much higher than those of everyday work-related stress. Here are a few tips that will help you avoid such situations if possible and, in case such situations come up anyway, manage stress levels to keep yourself from burning out.

Preventing Work Overload

In many cases, work overload does not come up due to inability to get the work done, but due to inability to organize the work in a way that it can be done efficiently. This is why it is important to make a schedule. If you are a freelance translator, evaluate the approximate time you believe will be necessary to complete a project, enter this project into a time slot of your schedule and then accept it. It is important to plan your work, otherwise it will make plans for you.

If you do not determine deadlines for yourself, you will most likely unnecessarily stretch out the task at hand to the deadline determined by the client, even though you could have completed the task sooner. Maybe you’ll work slower, double check terminology you had already researched, proofread several times, etc. All of this is fine if you have time, but it usually yields very little results.

The first terminology check was sufficient, the first proofreading removed all the errors and you just lost an additional hour or two correcting your own style. Make your own deadline, complete the translation and move on.

work overload-deadline

Translators tend to accept all the work they can get, mostly due to fear of not finding work in the upcoming period. This can make translators work from dawn ‘till dusk, and from dusk ‘till dawn again. It may have financial benefits, but it can be detrimental to your health in the long run. A good method for handling this is determining a maximum daily word count that will be your daily limit. Most translators set a number of 2000 to 3000 words a day, but you can decide on whatever you’re most comfortable with.

Stress Management

Modern technology is a double-edged sword. Having a small device that allows you to always keep in touch with other people is both a curse and a blessing. It makes you available at all times, and this is usually not a good thing, especially if you’re a freelancer.

Getting emails on new tasks can cause stress even though it’s obvious there’s more than enough time to meet your deadline. That’s why it’s good to complete your work and unplug. Plan your deadlines and arrange other activities later on; that way you’ll work efficiently, finish your work within the deadline you’ve set for yourself and engage in other activities you enjoy later on.

I’ve briefly touched on this already, however it seems important to emphasize it. Rechecking and checking your translation again often yields very little or no benefits. It is also a very strenuous activity that requires high levels of concentration and can occasionally be time consuming. If you’ve got a decent amount of experience, check as you translate, proofread your text once and move on. That being said, you’re bound to make mistakes at some point; decide to be humble at such times, apologize and fix the issue.

Although the work of a translator is stressful at times, it’s also quite rewarding. It encourages you to read, learn and adapt, enriches your vocabulary and expands your general knowledge. It teaches you to read between the lines and get at the heart of any matter.

When it comes to managing your workload, we recommend that you make your own schedule, work efficiently and refuse job offers when you are overwhelmed. When it comes to managing stress it’s best to work effectively, stop constantly doubting yourself and unplug after you complete your work.

If you enjoyed this blog, click here and find more interesting content.

Happy European Day of Languages! Thanks to the initiative of the European Council, this commemorative day has been celebrated since 2001. There are more than 200 languages in Europe alone, and today is meant to celebrate their diversity. Besides, knowing an additional language contributes to a better understanding of another's culture and, consequently, better intercultural communication.

We'll acknowledge the European Day of Languages with an interesting blog and get to know some of the strangest languages in the world.

 

ESPERANTO

Esperanto is a constructed international language created for easier communication. It originated in 1887, has a short and highly regular grammar, and is quite easy to learn. According to some sources, Esperanto is ten times easier to learn than some of the great European languages. It was created by Ludwik Lejzer Zmenhof, and with 2 million speakers it's the biggest international auxiliary language in today's world.

 

YUPIK

Yupik is used by less than 15,000 people, yet there are five different dialects within Yupik differing so much that the speakers cannot understand each other. These Eskimo languages ​​are spoken in the space between Siberia and Alaska and are polysynthetic, meaning their words consist of a large number of morphemes. One word can be an entire sentence. For example: Sikursuarsiurpugu. = We sail through the thick ice.

 

PAWNEE

The language used by American natives of the eponymous tribe, with about 3,000 of them living in Oklahoma. The Pawnee alphabet consist of only nine consonants and eight vowels. This language is slowly dying as there are fewer speakers each day. The reason behind it is that more and more young people learn English as their mother tongue. Pawnee can even be heard in the movie The Revenant.

 

BASQUE

A language isolate - cannot be related to any other known living language. It's spoken by Basques, people from parts of northern Spain and southwestern France. It has a vigesimal, or base-20, counting system also used by ancient Mayas. For example 40 = 2 x 20, 60 = 3 x 20, 80 = 4 x 20, 90 = 4 x 20 + 10.

 

LAAL

Laal is quite unknown and unexplored language. It's spoken by around 750 people in two villages on the banks of river Shari in Chad, Africa. A number of scientists places Laal in a small group of African isolates. It is also in danger of extinction because younger generations leave the villages in order to find a better life in the nearby cities.

 

PITJANTJATJARA

Pitjantjatjara is a dialect traditionally spoken in the central Australia and taught in schools, so it has young speakers. It's the best known by its fantastic name. One of the interesting facts about this language is that numbers look like this: 1, 2, 3, 2+2, 2+3, a lot. So, everything above number 5 is marked as a lot because if you can't count it using a single hand, there's no need to be precise.

 

 

It's never too late to learn a new language. Maybe not so exotic or unusual as the ones from our list, but the choice is yours! ?

Scroll through our blog posts and check out how knowing another language can change the way you see the world and/or what are some of the fictional languages from the world of books and movies.

Which language would you love to learn? How many foreign languages do you speak?

 

 

Not every translation can be approached in the same manner. Every topic has its own rules, and sometimes even the client has alternative instructions that must be complied with. The good thing about translating EU texts is that there are established rules for almost everything. There is an abundance of sources filled with instructions regarding language and style, making our job easier. Or maybe just the opposite.

The more rules there are, the more likely it is that you are going to make a mistake.

This is why today we will teach you some of the most basic instructions for translating EU texts and, hopefully, help you in creating the basic knowledge that you can then upgrade.

 

  1. Check all sources.

If you have received reference documents for the translation, you must use them. Also, if there is a provision, regulation, act or something similar mentioned in your text, make sure to find and open them, because there is a reason why they are mentioned. You will surely find something of use, and you cannot make up translations if there is an official translation to be found. EUR-Lex and Ctrl+F are your allies.

  1. No additions or omissions.

Your duty as a translator is to translate everything that is written. In legal texts there is no artistic freedom like there is in, for example, tourism or literature texts. Follow what is written in the original text, even if you encounter a mistake. You can possibly write a comment in the translation in which you explain the existing mistake in the original.

It is unacceptable to interpret the text in any way, invent new attitudes or insert additional explanations within the text. If the sentence in the original sounds ambiguous, try to keep that ambiguity in your translation. But this does not mean that you will translate everything literally. You will translate so that your text sounds as clear as possible in the target language, while simultaneously being as close to the original as possible.

  1. Find several examples of the text being translated.

Regardless of whether you are translating an act, regulation or a contract, try to find several similar acts/regulations/contracts so that you can see their format and the established expressions that must be used in the target language. As we said, such things are prescribed, and they must be followed.

  1. Find as many style guides as possible.

In order for you to get used to the style and manner of writing, you need to find as many reliable sources as possible. Translating texts for the EU is actually quite different from translating other types of texts. The majority can’t be improvised, and you will surely make mistakes in the beginning. This is why you firstly need to prepare well, and EU websites have got you covered! Read the Interinstitutional Style Guide, English Style Guide and every other piece of official literature you can find, write down the most important points and have them at hand in case you need to check something. That way you will learn something, or at the very least know where to find what you need.

  1. Read and understand.

After you have translated your text, go through it once again. Read everything you’ve written with understanding and additionally form the sentence so that it is clearer, if necessary. Be focused and aware of what you have translated. It is very easy to get lost in the verbiage that you don’t understand. But how can you expect anyone to understand what you have translated if you don’t understand it yourself? Therefore, study the relevant acts and try to understand individual terms, which will lead to a high-quality translation.

translating eu texts_info-min

 

As everything in life, you need practice if you want to create high-quality translations for the EU. You won’t know everything at once, nor should you expect it. Regardless of the experience you have in other types of translation, you will need additional preparation for this. Having in mind the fact that such translations will become a part of the law of a certain state, it is very important to pay attention to their quality.

Good luck!

Have you ever wondered how do places get their names? Who named them? What's the reason behind it? What do those city names mean? If you are as curious as we are, this is a blog post for you!

We bring you legends about the names of different cities around the world and interesting stories that will hopefully inspire you to do some more research or maybe even consider an impromptu trip to one of these places.

City Names: Paris, France

The capital of France was established in the 3rd century BC. It was founded by a Celtic tribe Parisii on a small island in the middle of the river Seine. The tribe named their new city Civitas Parisiorum or shortened - Paris. The first time Paris was ever mentioned in any written document was in 52 BC. Julius Caesar then wrote about the settlement Lutetia Parisiorum (meaning midwater dwelling) in his "Commentaries on the Gallic War".

Apart from being the City of Love, Paris is also known as the City of Light. That nickname comes from its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment and a great number of intellectuals living there, but also because Paris was one of the first large European cities to use gas street lighting on a grand scale.

If you would like to go to Paris and visit all its landmarks, including the Eiffel tower, consider doing some fitness preparations first. Why, you ask?

Because to climb to the top of the symbol of Paris, you'll need to take 1665 stairs! Of course, you can take the elevator but opting for the stairs would definitely contribute to the full Parisienne experience. ?

City Names: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Spanish conquistadors named this city by the Virgin Mary's sanctuary Santa María del Buen Aire in Sardinia (which was also colonized by Spain at the time). In English, Buenos Aires means “good airs” or “fair winds”.

And how did the sanctuary get its name?

There are a few different stories. One of the most common ones states that the reason behind it is the position of the sanctuary. It was on a hill from where the stench of the swampland in Cagliari (the capital of Sardinia) could not be smelled and therefore "on good air".

The other theory says the Virgin Mary helped sailors by assuaging a storm in the Mediterranean, earning it the fame of the “fair winds”.

Today, across Argentina, the people of Buenos Aires are largely called „porteños” (people from the port, port people) because of the enormous importance of the port not only for the city, but for the whole of Argentina as well.

City Names: Warsaw, Poland

The city situated on the banks of river Vistula has a very interesting legend about its name origin. Once upon a time while King Kazimierz the Restorer was coming from Krakow, he got hungry and smelled some freshly cooked fish. He and his entourage followed the smell of the food and came across a poor fisherman’s hut. The fisherman and his wife hosted the king but wouldn't accept payment for their hospitality. So, the king promised to organize the ceremony of baptism and asked for the honor of being godfather to their newborn twins  - a boy named Wars and a little girl named Sawa.

After the ceremony, the king told them to build a settlement and name it after the twins - Warszawa.

According to another legend, the mermaid Sawa is actually one of the two sisters who came from the Baltic Sea by the river Vistula. Unfortunately, she was stuck in a fishnet, but was saved by the fisherman Wars. As you can imagine, they fell in love and together founded the city of Warsaw. The mermaid promised she'll protect the city and that's why she's featured on Warsaw's coat of arms since the 14th century. Her sister is stationed at the Copenhagen's port entrance.

 

City Names: Tokyo

Tokyo, whose original name is Edo, is Japan's economic, cultural and political capital. In order to explain the meaning behind the name Tokyo, you should know that before it, the capital of the Land of the Rising Sun was Kyoto. In Japanese, Kyoto is written 京都, and the official name of Tokyo (which is extremely rarely used) is actually Tôkyôto or 東京都 in Japanese. Kyôto means Imperial Capital and tôkyôto means East (Imperial) Capital.

There are around 36 million people living in the metropolitan area of Tokyo today. Because of such a great number of people, Tokyo's rail network had to employ pushers (押し屋 - oshiya), people who literally push the citizens in trains during rush hour.

 

City Names: Bangkok

Saving the best for last! Believe it or not, the official name of Thailand's capital is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. Yes. Our thoughts exactly.

It translates to: “The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.” Uh, that was a mouthful.

Locals mostly call their metropolis Krung Thep, which is a shortened version of the full official name. The name Bangkok is commonly used by Westerners, meaning "village of wild plums".

 

EXTRA:

You thought we were done? Not yet! ? We have found some more interesting facts we'd like to share with you.

Did you know there's a city in Alaska named Chicken? The legend says that miners who lived and worked there wanted to name their city Ptarmigan by a bird inhabiting that area. But the problem was they didn't know how to spell the word ptarmigan so they decided to go with a bird whose name is much easier to spell - a chicken.

Batman fans probably already know about a village called  Gotham, situated in Nottinghamshire, England. Unfortunately, its name has nothing to do with Kane's superhero. The name of this small place with around 1500 inhabitants derives from Old English gāt "goat" and hām "home".

Names of numerous African cities were influenced by the natural characteristics of their surroundings. So, for your next trip you can visit Hotazhel, a place whose name means exactly what you think - that it's hot as hell. The population of this town is less than 600 households and often falls victim to blistering heatwaves.

That would be it for today! Do you know any more captivating stories about names of cities, states, rivers or some other geographic locations? Which one of our stories did you like the most?

We all know how much technology improved during the last decade. We can see any part of the world via Internet, talk with anyone, anywhere, anyhow. But is learning a foreign language without paying expensive classes or going to language schools also that simple? Today we bring you an overview of the five best rated apps for foreign language learning. We have tried to refresh our Italian, and you can tell us which languages you tried and if you were successful in them.

Best Free Apps for Learning a Foreign Language: Duolingo

Whenever we talk about learning a foreign language, Duolingo is probably the first app everyone mentions, which isn’t surprising as it is highly rated on Google Play Store. It provides the option of a Placement test and places you at a level based on your score. The number of skipped lessons depends on the level you have been placed.

Before you start, you can choose how much time you want to spend learning a language on a daily basis (5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes). The app contains ads and purchase offers (both are short enough not to interfere with your learning process, and it is also pointed out that the ads help to keep the education free).

To use this app, proficiency in English is key, because knowledge of spelling and grammar is highly important during the learning process, but also during the translation process from the language you are learning to English.

There is no daily limit of lessons you can complete. Also, all those questions you answered incorrectly will appear again at the end of the lesson. The lessons unlock gradually, in order to ensure you don’t skip too many lessons until you really learn the previous ones.

Every lesson has its levels arranged by their difficulty. Let’s take the FOOD lesson as an example. The first level contains the basics, the second is a bit harder and includes recognition, matching, identifying gender, etc., while the third level includes independent translation from Italian to English and writing of certain words, as well as use of the correct article (l/l'/le/i/gli in Italian). Also, the harder the levels, the more tasks they contain.

You can look up the meanings of underlined words in the sentence while you are in the middle of the task. Also, words appearing in Italian always contain the appropriate article, which is very important in the Italian language. You won’t see the word “la ragazza” written as only “ragazza”. The app also offers the option of pronouncing words on a microphone. The microphone can be turned off if you find yourself in an environment where you are unable to speak.

There are also some bonus levels unlocked with gems, which you get after completing lessons.

DUOLINGO PLUS is a feature that activates for a week if you invite one of your friends to Duolingo (they can choose any language, they are not obliged to learn the same language you are learning). If you invite two friends, the option will be active for two weeks. The feature works only if that person doesn’t have the app installed on their phone but installs it upon your invitation. This feature offers the option to download lessons for offline language learning, and automatic download when you are connected to Wi-Fi. While DUOLINGO PLUS is active, you get additional prizes without having to watch ads and you have the option to open two chests in order to get gems.

Another cool feature Duolingo offers is Discussion during learning, in case a certain task or answer is not clear enough. You can enter the Discussion by pressing the speech balloon icon, right next to the flag icon. The users can comment on a certain lesson in that Discussion so you can get additional explanations, which is extremely useful in less familiar languages, Japanese for example. The following screenshots show you how that looks like in the app itself.

Best Free Apps for Learning a Foreign Language: Tinycards

Tinycards by Duolingo is an app with a rating of 4.1 on Google Play Store. Knowing the English language is necessary for this app as well. It is designed in the form of flashcards containing an expression (and sometimes a picture) in English on the one side, and an expression in the language you are learning on the other side. You have the option to hear the foreign language expression on the side that contains it. You can see the example below.

After a certain number of pictures appear, a picture that needs to be matched with the correct expression comes up, while by the end of the lesson you have to independently translate expressions from English to the language you are learning and vice versa. So, the app doesn’t contain only flashcards, it also tests what you have learned right away.

The lessons are, just like in Duolingo, unlocked gradually. Additionally, they can be added into collections or shared via social networks.

Best Free Apps for Learning a Foreign Language: Mondly

Mondly is an app rated 4.7 on Google Play Store. It doesn’t contain ads like the previous ones, but it encourages users to purchase it. This is the only app for which the knowledge of English is not important.

As you are learning, new words are underlined, and you can see the translation. There is also the option to assemble a certain word with offered letters, which is extremely useful because it contributes to learning new words. If the unknown word is a verb, its whole conjugation will pop out in the past, the present, and the future.

The articles before foreign words are not shown, even though the articles in Italian are almost as important as those in German.

While translating, it’s necessary to connect the offered words into a meaningful sentence. Since the first word in a sentence is always written with a capital letter, and there is always a period after the last word, it is questionable how much you can learn using this method and if that kind of translation process is even demanding enough.

Mondly is the only app we tried that requires 15 minutes to pass between lessons. If you allow app notifications, it will remind you daily. This app offers Weekly and Monthly Challenges. You cannot participate in the Weekly Challenge if you don’t finish all seven Daily Lessons, and you cannot participate in the Monthly Challenge if you don’t complete all Weekly Challenges.

Except for Hi, Daily Lesson and Chatbox bubbles, all subsequent lessons are locked behind a Premium membership. Chatbox requires the use of a microphone, which should definitively be pointed out as a good feature.

Best Free Apps for Learning a Foreign Language: Busuu

Busuu is an app rated 4.5 on Google Play Store. It also encourages users to purchase it and it is essential to know English in order to use it.

Before you start learning, you have to complete the obligatory Placement test. The results said we belong on the A2 level and all previous lessons were unlocked.

As in other apps, all the questions you answer incorrectly are repeated at the end of the lesson.

The app doesn’t offer the option of speaking into a microphone, only the option of listening.

It is organized with flashcards, meaning that the first thing that appears are two or three pictures with audio recording and written text in Italian and English. After that, two out of those three expressions in Italian appear, and you need to decide whether the offered translation is correct or not. That cycle is repeated four times. Everything is followed by a short revision where you should choose the correct phrase, complete the sentence with a word that is missing or the one you hear on audio recording.

In the very next lesson, there is dialogue that requires listening and contains a lot of unknown words for which the translation is not offered. After that, the same dialogue appears, this time with empty lines for the expressions that are offered. You are learning the phrases, while the rest of the text is a bit too difficult for beginners.

In the entire fourth lesson of the A2 level, only five exercises were unlocked, while the other six remained locked because we don’t have Premium membership. So, we have managed to complete only 45% of that lesson.

Also, the lesson that is completely locked is the one concerning grammar, which deals with irregular nouns. Not even the lessons that were automatically completed because the A1 level was skipped are available. A Quiz after the lesson is not available without Premium membership.

ADDITIONAL APP THAT HAS BEEN TRIED OUT, BUT DOES NOT EXACTLY FIT INTO THE CATEGORY OF FREE APPS: Memrise

Memrise is an app with a 4.7 rating on Google Play Store. It also contains ads and purchase offers. This app also requires the knowledge of the English language.

Firstly, the app doesn’t provide a Placement test at the beginning of the course. Just like Duolingo, it repeats the questions you answer incorrectly at the end of the lesson. The introduction of grammar rules after the vocabulary practice is a nice novelty. Also, after you complete a grammar lesson, you are shown its summary.

As you solve your tasks, a small lamp in the bottom left corner shows the rule required to solve the current task.

Just like the previous ones, this app was listed in the top 10 best free apps. It is not clear why, since you cannot continue your learning process after lesson number two. The price of a membership is HRK 385 a year.

Have you tried some of these apps or any other apps for learning foreign languages? Were they useful and interesting? What features did they have? Is there an app that has everything you need to learn a foreign language?

Dating is difficult enough, but dating a translator additionally complicates things. Many translators at Sinonim are in committed relationships and they selflessly shared the things their partners most often complain about. Surprise! It’s almost always related to the translator’s job.

First of all, even getting a date with a translator is hard. Translators usually barely have a social life as it is, so if you got yourself a date with one: congratulations! Now prepare yourself for the remainder of your relationship to be equally demanding.

 

  1. Lack of time for you.

As we said, translators don’t really have a social life. The reason being that we are always busy looking at our screen, typing away, thinking about whether it’s a Contract or an Agreement, working…

Which leads us to:

 

  1. Always tired.

After spending our entire day constructing and creating sentences, our brains turn into mush after a day’s work. It’s extremely difficult to think of a response that doesn’t consist of monosyllabic words like “yes”, “no” or “scrounged” (It’s funny because scrounged is one of the longest monosyllabic words. We have fun around here.) We need to rest and shut our brains off for at least an hour or so after work, which is usually done by watching cat videos on YouTube.

 

  1. Coffee.

Let’s get one thing straight. Translators who don’t drink coffee are like zombies: scary, but no one has ever seen one in real life.

Our translator friends need their caffeine, and if you deny them the satisfaction of drinking a cup of this delicious nectar of the gods, you might lose a limb. Or a partner. This is not a joke.

dating a translator-coffee

 

  1. Have an excellent sense of humor.

Translators are notorious for their ability to make anyone laugh. We have a collection of jokes in our minds for every occasion, such as:

Oh, sorry. Did I say make anyone laugh? I meant ourselves and… yeah, that’s about it.

 

  1. Menus.

Have you ever noticed that translators take ages to order? Well, we are actually just looking over the entire menu to see if there are any mistakes in the translation. (Hint: there always are.)

dating a translator-menu

  1. What's the context?

Context is everything. Whether we are translating or giving you advice, we need context. If you need our help, you better prepare the entire backstory beforehand. With photos, strings of yarn, the whole nine yards.

 

  1. Expanding your knowledge.

Do you ever just want to learn random language facts? Doesn’t matter. You’ll get them either way.

A group of polar bears is called an aurora, you say? Interesting…

dating a translator-knowledge

 

  1. We fix your grammar.

Did you write “then” instead of “than”? Did you “drink you’re coffee”? No worries, a translator is there to correct your grammar and resent you a bit more every time you make another grammatical mistake. We will still love you, but from a faraway place where we don’t have to talk to you.

 

  1. They love kebabs.

Oh wait, that’s me. I’m describing myself.

 

Well, it’s what I was doing this entire time either way.

I’m hilarious.

You've probably found yourself in a situation when you are not sure which word to use in a certain context. Some of those words differ in only one letter, some in two, and some are exactly the same, with just a space somewhere in between. Learn which to choose in different contexts in today’s post about commonly misused words in the English language!

 

Commonly Misused Words:  Effect vs Affect

Effect is usually a noun, and the result or a consequence of an action.  Affect is usually a verb, and it means to have an effect on. Go figure. So, this must be the reason why they are mixed up so often. Let’s clear up the mix-up and look at them in a sentence:

Commonly Misused Words:  Explicit vs Implicit

commonly-misused-words-implicit-explicit

To say something explicitly is to spell it out clearly so that it isn’t ambiguous, but to say something implicitly means that the meaning is implied or not said clearly and directly.

 

Commonly Misused Words:  Compliment vs Complement

Even when you write the word “complement” in your Google search, you will get pictures that mean “compliment”. Let’s clarify the difference between these two meanings.

Compliment, with an “i”, is “an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration”. You give a compliment to your friend because she has impeccable eyeliner skills and her eyeliner is on point every single time or when her highlighter is on fleek. You can also give a compliment to someone due to their achievements. Complement, with an “e”, is something completely different. Okay, it’s not THAT different, but it’s different. Complement is “something that fills up, completes, or makes better or perfect” or “a thing that contributes extra features to something else in such a way as to improve or emphasize its quality”. In real life situation that means that her heels and purse match together perfectly or that those earrings complete her outfit and bring it to another level of dashing.

Let’s look at both words in one sentence:

 

Commonly Misused Words:  Onto vs On To

commonly-misused-words-particle-to

Onto is a preposition that means “on top of, to a position on.” On to, however, is used when on is a part of a verb phrase. For example:

A good trick is to mentally say “up” before “on” in a sentence. If the sentence still makes sense, then onto is the correct choice. (See the picture above.)

 

Commonly Misused Words:  Emigrate vs Immigrate

Emigrate means to exit a certain place, while immigrate means to enter or move to another country.

 

Commonly Misused Words:  Assume vs Presume

commonly-misused-words-assume

a) In common usage both assume and presume can mean ‘suppose’ and are often interchangeable. However, there is a subtle difference between the two where presume means ‘suppose to be the case based on probability’:

Assume on the other hand means ‘suppose to be the case without proof’:

b) Both words also share other meanings that can be summarized as ‘to take on oneself’. In this sense assume is generally used to describe taking on a role:

Whereas presume is generally used when taking on an attitude:

 

To sum this up, we could say that the English language has a lot of rules and subtle differences between certain words that are quite similar. If you’re not sure which word to use, look it up on the Internet (but be careful, not all information is correct!) or simply contact us, and we’ll help you with all your language dilemmas.

"I hate when people don't know the difference between your and you're. Their so stupid!", was one of our recent Facebook posts and many of you have agreed that English can be quite complicated, although we all think we know it perfectly. So today we are bringing you a few English language tips and tricks! This blog post is a friendly reminder of when to use who and whom, what’s the difference among this, that, these and those and some other English language nuances that can make a big difference.

 

English Language Tips and Tricks:  Who or whom?

jezični-savjeti-iz-engleskog-jezika-he_who

Let’s start with something easy, take a look at the table below:

jezični-savjeti-iz-engleskog-jezika-who-whom

 

Why does this table help you understand the difference immediately? If you can replace WHO with any of the subject pronouns underneath it, you have a correct sentence. The same applies to the use of WHOM. This is because WHO is one of the subject pronouns, and WHOM is one of the object pronouns. Here are a few examples:

jezični-savjeti-iz-engleskog-jezika-whom-primjeri

We have the exact same thing in Croatian. Here:

jezični-savjeti-iz-engleskog-jezika-hr-primjeri

You see, it’s actually quite simple in Croatian as well.

 

English Language Tips and Tricks:  This or these?

jezični-savjeti-iz-engleskog-jezika-etymology

The picture above will help you find your way around this and that, these and those. As soon as you imagine that THIS and THESE are for all objects that are near you, and THAT and THOSE for all objects farther away from you, everything will become crystal clear.

For example: If you want to say you like someone’s shirt, and that person is standing next to you, you will say:

And if that person is standing at the other end of the room, you will say:

We have the same thing in Croatian with pronouns “ovaj, taj, onaj”. We should use “ovaj” when something is near us, “taj” when something is next to the person we are talking to, and “onaj” when talking about something that is far away or out of sight. They are called proximal, medial and distal in Croatian language. Appropriate, isn’t it?

 

English Language Tips and Tricks:  Then or than?

jezični-savjeti-iz-engleskog-jezika-than-then

The difference between THAN and THEN is huge and it makes a significant difference in a sentence. THAN is used for making comparisons, while THEN is used as a time conjunction. This is something that is mostly familiar so here are only two examples:

There are some sentences we need to be careful about. In the examples above, even if the word is spelled incorrectly, we know what someone wanted to say. This is not the case with the phrase RATHER THAN / RATHER THEN. Let’s take a look:

The first sentence means that you prefer pizza to hamburger, and that you would rather eat the former. The second sentence, however, means that you have a good appetite, and that you would eat pizza first, and a hamburger after the pizza. Here is a little reminder:

jezični-savjeti-iz-engleskog-jezika-then-than

 

English Language Tips and Tricks: That or which?

Let’s try to explain this in the easiest way possible. THAT gives essential information and is used WITHOUT A COMMA. WHICH does not limit the meaning of the sentence. If we remove it, we lose details but not the meaning. It is separated WITH COMMAS. Check out the example bellow:

 

This means that he DID read the newspapers, just not the ones that came today. If we remove “that came today”, the sentence would have a completely different meaning. It would only state that he didn’t read the newspapers.

Check out the next sentence:

This means that he didn’t read the newspapers, and that those newspapers he didn’t read came today. If we remove “which came today”, the meaning of the sentence wouldn’t be changed. He didn’t read the newspapers either way, WHICH only explains what kind of papers they are à today’s / new newspapers.

We have the same thing in Croatian, even though we don’t express it with a different word, we express it only with commas. Look at the examples:

The first sentence means that he did read the newspapers, just not the ones that came today. Maybe he read those from yesterday or two days ago. The second sentence means that he didn’t read the newspapers, and what kind of newspapers were they. Meaning that, if we remove the part of the sentence after the comma, we would lose some details but not the meaning of the sentence.

To conclude, English and Croatian languages are not that different as it may appear at first glance. The most important thing is to UNDERSTAND these rules and question their use in sentences when you are not sure what to use. A few tricks have been listed but if you have a couple more, feel free to share your knowledge with us!

You’ve probably heard of languages like Klingon, Dothraki, Parseltongue or many other fictional languages created for a story in a book, movie or TV series. But do you know anything about them apart from where they are used? If you want to learn a bit more for the next time your friends talk about Game of Thrones or Harry Potter, you’ve come to the right place.

  1. Elvish — J.R.R. Tolkien novels

Elvish actually refers to all languages spoken by Elves, but only Quenya and Sindarin have enough grammar and vocabulary developed to be considered learnable. Tolkien started constructing his first Elvish language between 1910 and 1911, and the books came out in 1954. This puts into perspective the struggle of creating a language. During those 44 years, the language changed and evolved until it was ready for the book. He even took things a step further and created scripts for his Elvish languages. The complexity of the languages made them the benchmark in the world of fictional languages. Heck, even Tolkien himself said that Elvish is too complicated, and that he never intended for people to speak it.

fictional languages-ring

  1. Newspeak – 1984

George Orwell created this fictional language for his dystopian novel 1984. This fascinating novel paints an incredible picture of how the language we speak can affect the way we think. There can be no socially unacceptable thoughts if there are no words you can use to express such thoughts. In the language, there are no words with negative meaning. For example, the only way to say “bad” is through the word “ungood”, and something especially bad is called “doubleplusungood”. This fictional language was very simplified, which fits in with the purpose of the novel amazingly.

  1. Dothraki – Game of Thrones

Many believe that Dothraki was created by the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin. However, Martin actually only roughly described the language in his books and used some Dothraki words throughout his story (54 words to be exact, half being names). It was, in fact, David J. Peterson who was hired specifically to develop the language exclusively for the TV show from the small amount provided by Martin. He was a part of a competition that was held among language creators and after he won, it took him a month to come up with the language.

Peterson was also the one who developed High Valyrian, for which he only had four words and two sentences from the book to work with.

  1. Klingon – Star Trek

Klingon is the official language from the Star Trek franchise spoken by a warrior race. It was never intended for it to become a completely developed language, but it quickly took off and now there is an actual Klingon Language Institute which helps people learn Klingon. James Doohan, who played Scotty in Star Trek, was the one who created the first Klingon words for the first Star Trek movie, after which Marc Okrand was hired to create the language. He wanted it to be as complicated as possible, so that it sounds extraterrestrial. This led to the word order in a sentence feel backwards: object-verb-subject. This would make the English sentence “I see a dog” be translated as “A dog see I” in Klingon.

Even Shakespeare’s Hamlet was translated into Klingon.

  1. Parseltongue – Harry Potter

All who watched Harry Potter grow up throughout the movies and read about his adventures in the books are already familiar with Parseltongue. Those who speak it are called Parselmouths. It’s actually almost exclusively a hereditary trait, Harry being one of the exceptions. Since it is a language of serpents, it mostly consists of hissing sounds, similar to those of a snake. It doesn’t have a written form and J.K. Rowling only vaguely described it in the books. Parseltounge is not simple, but it’s very concise. Snakes are known for being shady and manipulative, and the language nicely represents those features. The language is built so that one can create only short sentences, consisting solely of the subject, object and verb. The complete meaning of a sentence must be interpreted by the listener based on their knowledge, context or clues.

  1. Minionese – Despicable Me

One of the main reasons for the global obsession with minions is the way they speak. They use simplified words from many languages, such as English, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Filipino, Russian, and French. The creators of the language, Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, who directed the Despicable Me movies and also voiced the minions, say they basically improvised the language by combining multiple languages from around the world. That is why we can hear words like la boda (wedding – Spanish), Terima Kasih (thank you – Indonesian) and, of course, banana.

  1. Groot – Guardians of the Galaxy

I am Groot.

Would you like to learn a fictional language or even make your own? What's your favorite fiction novel or movie?

Since the English language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, you would think that it’s extremely easy to learn. But no! There are countless things which can be so confusing if you are not a native speaker. Or even if you are. We have compiled a list of the most annoying things about the English language which just make our blood boil!

 

  1. Silent letters

From time to time, an English word will pop up which will have  a silent letter, like comb, knife or receipt. You might think that the only reason for it is so that English teachers can make our lives difficult. But there’s actually a better explanation for that. Way back when scholars were trying to standardize the English language, some people who were putting together dictionaries decided it would be best to remind people that some words evolved from the sophisticated Latin (because that’s a language that will never die, right?). Therefore, they thought that it would be an excellent idea that the word is spelled “receipt” instead of “receit”, so that people know it comes from Latin “recepta”. The same thing happened with debt or doubt. And then they probably laughed for decades at all the people having trouble with it.

Well-deserved place on our list of the most annoying things about the English language.

 

  1. Laugh, cough, dough

Some English words are spelled the way they are for no good reason. A particularly interesting problem arises when we encounter a word ending in -ugh. There are actually at least six ways of pronouncing that sound. An extremely short and simplified explanation is that words (spelling or pronunciation, or both) change. This is often the case with -ugh words; they originated from different languages and evolved over time. And today we have sentences like this: “Though the tough cough and hiccough plough him through…” where not one word rhymes, making our lives so easy. Not!

 

  1. Prepositions

Who would have thought that such small words can be so mischievous? And it’s funny how sometimes they make absolutely no sense. For example, we get on a bus, but get  in a car. Why?

We also say:
- He went home.

But:
- He went to  his home.

Simply saying “he went to home” is wrong. Go figure.

There is an actual explanation for this. In the first sentence, “home” is used as a direction (adverb), while the second “home” is a thing, a location (noun). The incorrect way of saying it uses “home” as a noun as well, which must have an article (a/the) or another determiner (my/hers/this). But where’s the fun in explaining everything? It’s much easier to complain.

Nevertheless, prepositions really are one of the most annoying things about the English language.

 

  1. The word “rural”

The person who invented the word “rural” is a horrible human being.

And the more you say it out loud, the more you sound like an idiot. Thanks, English!

 

  1. Wednesday

Do we even have to say it? What’s the deal with the spelling of “Wednesday”? We just can’t wrap our minds around it!

 

There you have it. Those are some of the most annoying things about the English language, but there are many other out there.  Feel free to share with us the things that irritate you the most about this language, we are more than happy to hear it.

map-markerphoneenvelope