From snow to jade, if you are struggling to describe a color or you just want to broaden your vocabulary.
(Although the blacks seem all the same to me.)
Interpreting is a most unusual, important, and misunderstood career. Providing a bridge for the language barriers that people find themselves at in our highly connected world is an important and valuable position, not to mention a job that requires hard work and years of training and practice.
In honour of the hard-working language translators and linguistic delegates of the world, here are ten things, situations, and problems that only interpreters would understand.
1. Speaking The Wrong Language At The Wrong Time
It happens all the time when you’re an interpreter — you’re in the middle of speaking to someone in one language, when you suddenly blurt out the right word, but in the wrong language, leading to confusion on all fronts. The problem with being such a major or minor polyglot, even if you only interpret one language, is that your brain is full of the same item or adjective, but with several different meanings attached to them, making it difficult at times, not to say the wrong one at the wrong time.
2. Having To Deal With Multiple Accents and Dialects At The Same Time
The job of an interpreter seems like an easy one — just listen to the language in which you happen to be versed and immediately translate into the other language. However, many people tend to forget about accents and dialects. There isn’t just a single way of speaking for every language, or even from every country. Everything varies from location to location, so it can be a supreme struggle to deal with people who are speaking in unusual dialects and accents, even if you’re fluent in the actual language that they are speaking in. There are a million different regional accents and dialects to deal with at any given time — so save a prayer for your poor, potentially frazzled interpreter.
3. Having To Translate ‘Everything’ Your Client Says
One of the least pleasant things an interpreter has to do, is translate everything that their clients are saying, and we’re not just talking about the nice stuff. You might find yourself scrambling to find a much nicer way of saying that pointed insult, or smoothing away additional barbs, all at the drop of a hat. You’re not just an interpreter — you’re a peacekeeper, too.
4. You Have A Go-To Party Trick
Admittedly, one of the highlights of being an interpreter is that you get to impress virtually everyone at party tricks. The vast majority of people (in the Western world) only know one language and the fact that you can speak another, maybe even more than two or three languages fluently, and get paid for it, is mind-blowing to many. Admittedly, this can also lead to some jealousy amongs party guests, but the joy is that you can say what you like, and chances are they won’t understand what you just called them.
5. Sitting Through World Cinema With Friends
World cinema can be a wonderful experience, but sitting through it with someone when you’re an interpreter can be an extremely tiresome exercise, not because you don’t like the film: inaccurate subtitles can cause you to comment and disrupt the film for those around you, or the person you’re with might comment on some un-translated moment and badger you into translating it for him or her at the moment when you’re trying to get lost in the movie.
6. Forgetting The Right Word At The Wrong Time
When your entire career centres around getting the right words out at the exact right time, you are often scrambling to accurately translate the right words, phrases, and idioms in order to keep up with the fast pace of everyone else in the room. However, there are times when you’re at work at eight o’clock, and your brain is still in bed at ten; times when you simply forget the word, or the sentence, or even the language that you’re speaking. Luckily, you normally pick it up moments later, but the look of wide-eyed panic is something you can see in everyone’s reflection, and something you endeavour not to see again anytime soon.
7. Keeping Your Accents Correct Is A Struggle
When you’re busy juggling a ton of different languages, keeping the right accents for the right tongues, can be a struggle for even the most seasoned interpreter. Sometimes the two languages are diverse and distinct, allowing for a minimal amount of crossover; however, when you have two very similar languages, keeping the accents appropriate and separate, so as to sidestep any accidental mocking, can be a hard task indeed.
8. Telling Jokes In A Different Language Is Awful
When it comes to telling jokes, apart from having a great ending to one, the key rule is to tell it in the language it was originally told in. Jokes and humour vary from country to country, region to region, and even village to village. Very few jokes are universal, and so, as interpreters will no doubt be aware, telling one country’s joke to someone who doesn’t speak the language can be a bit of a damp squib. You’re left with blank expressions, and the joke falls flat, which is never any fun.
9. Idioms Do Not Work In Other Languages
Here’s the thing about idioms — they’re fantastic, but only when they’re spoken in their native language to another person who speaks that language. When an interpreter has to translate them, this isn’t just a simple comparison job where you instinctually discover the corresponding idiom, nor is it appropriate to literally describe the idiom word-for-word which can lead to confusion and possible insults. Please, if you need a translator, try to veer away from the idioms.
10. People Think Your Job Is ‘Easy’
When you tell people that you’re an interpreter, they might actually consider that you’ve worked relentlessly hard to get where you’ve had to be. You’ve had to spend years learning a language, maybe two at the same time if you’ve really got the ability and time to; you might have visited the language’s country of origin a dozen or so times, or lived there. But people forget that their own language is honed after decades of daily, frequent use and practice. They might think it’s oh-so-easy to become an interpreter, but it’s not; and you should never let anyone disrespect or belittle your career because they think that you’re walking a Google Translate.
By: Alvina Lopez
Bringing multimedia into the classroom is a great way to engage students in learning. Supplementing lessons, opening up new interests, and offering inspiration, online videos make for an incredible teaching tool.
Educational Video Collections
Specifically designed for education, these collections make it easy to find video learning resources.
- TeacherTube: This YouTube for teachers is an amazing resource for finding educationally-focused videos to share with your classroom. You can find videos uploaded by other teachers or share your own.
- Edutopia: An awesome place to find learning ideas and resources, Edutopia has videos, blogs, and more, all sorted into grade levels.
- YouTube EDU: A YouTube channel just for education, you can find primary and secondary education, university-level videos, and even lifelong learning.
- Classroom Clips: Classroom Clips offers media for educators and students alike, including video and audio in a browseable format.
- neoK12: Find science videos and more for school kids in K-12 on neoK12.
- OV Guide: Find education videos on this site, featuring author readings and instructional videos.
- CosmoLearning: This free educational website has videos in 36 different academic subjects.
- Google Educational Videos: Cool Cat Teacher offers this excellent tutorial for finding the best of Google’s educational videos.
- Brightstorm: On Brightstorm, students can find homework help in math and science, even test prep, too.
- Explore.org: Explore.org shares live animal cams, films, educational channels, and more for your classroom to explore.
- UWTV: Offered by the University of Washington in Seattle, UWTV has videos in the arts, K-12, social sciences, health, and more.
- Videolectures.net: With Videolectures.net, you’ll get access to browseable lectures designed for the exchange of ideas and knowledge, offering videos in architecture, business, technology, and many more categories.
- TED-Ed: From a site that’s long been known for big ideas, you’ll find TED-Ed, videos specifically designed to act as highly engaging and fun lessons.
- Zane Education: Zane Education offers resources for visual learning, including the very popular on demand subtitled videos.
- Backpack TV: In this educational video library, you’ll find a special interest in math, science, and other academic subjects.
- MentorMob: Featuring learning playlists, MentorMob is a great place to find lessons you want to teach.
- Disney Educational Productions: This resource from Disney is a great place to find videos for students at the K-12 level.
General Video Collections
Network TV, inspiring talks, and more are all available in these collections. Check out special categories and searches to find videos that will work in your classroom.
- Hulu: A great place to find the latest TV shows, Hulu is also a source of educational videos. Documentaries, PBS, even Discovery videos are all available on the site.
- Internet Archive: Find so much more than videos in the Internet Archive. Images, live music, audio, texts, and yes, historical and educational videos are all available on Archive.org.
- TED: Share seemingly endless inspiration with your students through TED, a fountain of talks based on compelling ideas.
- MIT Video: Online education giant MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts has an incredible video collection, offering more than 10,000 videos for science, technology, and more.
- TVO: TVO is a really fun and useful online TV station, with great ways for kids, parents, and educators to learn about the world.
- Big Think: Much like TED, Big Think offers videos (and more) from some of the world’s top thinkers and learners.
- @Google Talks: On this YouTube channel, you’ll find talks from creators: authors, musicians, innovators, and speakers, all discussing their latest creations.
- Metacafe: Find free video clips from just about anywhere, offering educational videos, documentaries, and more.
- Link TV: On Link TV, you’ll find videos and broadcasts meant to connect you and your students to the greater world through documentaries and cultural programs.
Featuring higher-level learning, these video sites are great resources for finding education that’s fit for teachers.
- Academic Earth: Learn about science, justice, economics, and more from some of the world’s great universities. You can even earn a degree from this site!
- Teacher Training Videos: Specifically created to teach educators, Teacher Training Videos is a great place to find online tutorials for technology in education.
- Classroom 2.0: Check out Classroom 2.0′s videos to learn about Web 2.0, social media, and more.
- Atomic Learning: Visit Atomic Learning to find resources for K-12 professional development.
- iTunesU: Find university-level learning and more from iTunesU.
- Videos for Professional Development: An excellent collection of professional development videos, Wesley Fryer’s post shares some of the best teacher videos available.
- Learner.org: Annenberg Learner offers excellent teacher professional development and classroom resources for just about every curriculum available.
- MIT Open CourseWare: The leader in Open CourseWare, MIT has free lectures and videos in 2,100 courses.
Put together your lesson plans with the help of these useful video sites.
- Teachers’ Domain: Join the Teachers’ Domain, and you’ll get access to educational media from public broadcasting and its partners, featuring media from the arts, math, science, and more.
- Meet Me at the Corner: A great place for younger kids to visit, Meet Me At the Corner has educational videos, and kid-friendly episodes, including virtual field trips and video book reviews by kids, for kids.
- WatchKnowLearn: WatchKnowLearn is an incredible resource for finding educational videos in an organized repository. Sorted by age and category, it’s always easy to find what you’re looking for.
- BrainPOP: On this education site for kids, you’ll find animated educational videos, graphics, and more, plus a special section for BrainPOP educators.
- The KidsKnowIt Network: Education is fun and free on this children’s learning network full of free educational movies and video podcasts.
- Khan Academy: With more than 3,200 videos, Khan Academy is the place to learn almost anything. Whether you’re seeking physics, finance, or history, you’ll find a lesson on it through Khan Academy.
- Awesome Stories: Students can learn the stories of the world on this site, with videos explaining what it was like to break ranks within the Women’s Movement, the life of emperor penguins, and even Martin Luther King, Jr’s “We Shall Overcome” speech.
- Nobelprize: Cap off lessons about Nobel Prize winners with videos explaining their work and life, direct from the source on Nobelprize.org.
- JohnLocker: JohnLocker is full of educational videos and free documentaries, including Yogis of Tibet and Understanding the Universe.
Science, Math, and Technology
You’ll find special attention for STEM subjects on these video sites.
- Green Energy TV: On Green Energy TV, you’ll find learning resources and videos for the green movement, including a video version of the children’s book Living Green: A Turtle’s Quest for a Cleaner Planet.
- BioInteractive: Find free videos and other resources for teaching “ahead of the textbook” from BioInteractive, part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland.
- ARKive: Share images and videos of the world’s most endangered species with your students, thanks to ARKive. These wildlife films and photos are from some of the world’s best filmmakers and photographers, sharing stunning images that everyone can appreciate.
- MathTV: Students who need extra help with math can find support on MathTV. This site offers videos explaining everything from basic mathematics all the way to trigonometry and calculus.
- The Vega Science Trust: A project of Florida State University, FL, The Vega Science Trust shares lectures, documentaries, interviews, and more for students to enjoy and learn from.
- The Science Network: Check out The Science Network, where you’ll find the world’s leading scientists explaining concepts including viruses and the birth of neurons.
- PopTech: Bringing together a global community of innovators, PopTech has videos explaining economics, water, and plant-based fuels.
- PsychCentral: Students can learn about what makes people tick through PsychCentral’s brain and behavior videos.
- How Stuff Works: The video channel from How Stuff Works offers an in-depth look at adventure, animals, food, science, and much more.
- Science Stage: Find science videos, tutorials, courses, and more streaming knowledge on Science Stage.
- Exploratorium TV: Allow students to explore science and beyond with Exploratorium TV’s videos, webcasts, podcasts, and slideshows.
- SciVee: SciVee makes science visible, allowing searchable video content on health, biology, and more.
- The Futures Channel: Visit the Futures Channel to find educational videos and activities for hands-on, real world math and science in the classroom.
- All Things Science: For just about any science video you can imagine, All Things Science has it, whether it’s about life after death or space elevators.
- ATETV: Check out Advanced Technological Education Television (ATETV) to find videos exploring careers in the field of technology.
History, Arts, and Social Sciences
Explore history and more in these interesting video collections.
- The Kennedy Center: Find beautiful performances from The Kennedy Center’s Performance Archive.
- The Archaeology Channel: Students can explore human cultural heritage through streaming media on The Archaeology Channel.
- Web of Stories: On Web of Stories, people share their life stories, including Stan Lee, writer, Mike Bayon, WWII veteran, and Donald Knuth, computer scientist.
- Stephen Spielberg Film and Video Archive: In this archive, you’ll find films and videos relating to the Holocaust, including the Nuremberg Trials and Hitler speeches.
- Culture Catch: Students can tune into culture with Dusty Wright’s Culture Catch.
- Folkstreams: On Folkstream.net, a national preserve of documentary films about American roots cultures, you’ll find the best of American folklore films.
- Digital History: A project of the University of Houston, Digital History uses new technology, including video, to enhance teaching and research in history.
- History Matters: Another university project, this one is from George Mason University. Sharing primary documents, images, audio, and more, there’s plenty of historic multimedia to go around on this site.
- Social Studies Video Dictionary: Make definitions visual with this video dictionary for social studies.
- The Living Room Candidate: From the Museum of the Moving Image, The Living Room Candidate features presidential campaign commercials from 1952 to 2008.
- Video Active: Find Europe’s TV heritage through Video Active, a collection of TV programs and stills from European audiovisual archives.
- Media Education Foundation: The Media Education Foundation offers documentary films and other challenging media for teaching media literacy and media studies.
Make it easy to find, share, and view videos with these tools.
- DropShots: On DropShots, you’ll find free, private, and secure storage and sharing for video and photos.
- Muvee: Using Muvee, you can create your own photo and video “muvees” to share privately with your class.
- Tonido: Tonido makes it possible to run your own personal cloud, accessing video files on your computer from anywhere, even your phone.
- Vidique: On Vidique, you’ll find a video syndication system where you can create your own channel of curated content for the classroom.
- SchoolTube: On SchoolTube, you’ll find video sharing for both students and teachers, highlighting the best videos from schools everywhere.
Network and Program Videos
Check out these sites to find public broadcasting and other educational programs.
- PBS Video: Watch and share PBS videos online with this site.
- National Geographic: Find some of the world’s most amazing videos of natural life on National Geographic’s online video home.
- NOVA Teachers: NOVA shares highly organized videos for teachers, with 1-3 hour programs divided into chapters, plus short 5-15 minute segments from NOVA scienceNOW.
- Discovery Education: Use Discovery Education’s videos to inspire curiosity, bringing the Discovery channel into your classroom.
- C-SPAN Video Library: Find Congressional and other political programs and clips in this digital archive from C-SPAN.
- NBC Learn: Check out NBC Learn to find excellent resources for learning from NBC, including the science behind just about everything from the summer Olympics to hockey.
- History.com: Watch full episodes, clips, and videos from the History channel.
- Biography: Get the true story behind peoples’ lives from these videos from the Biography channel.
- BBC Learning: BBC offers an excellent learning site, including learning resources for schools, parents, and teachers. One of BBC’s most impressive resources is a live volcano conversation discussing the world’s most active volcano in Hawaii.
Free Movies and Clips
Documentaries and other educational movies and clips are available on these sites.
- Free Documentaries: On Free Documentaries, “the truth is free,” with a variety of documentary films available for streaming.
- SnagFilms: On SnagFilms, you can watch free movies and documentaries online, with more than 3,000 available right now.
- Top Documentary Films: Watch free documentaries online in this great collection of documentary movies.
- TV Documentaries: This Australian site has excellent documentaries about child growth, historic events, and even animations about classical Greek mythology.
Satisfy students’ desire for knowledge and hands-on learning by sharing how-to videos from these sites.
- 5min: If you’ve got five minutes, you can learn how to do something on this site. Check it out to find instructional videos and DIY projects.
- Wonder How To: Learn everything about anything from Wonder How To’s show and tell videos.
- Instructables: This community of doers shares instructions (often, video) for doing just about anything, from making secret doors to tiny origami.
- Howcast: Find some of the best how-to videos online with Howcast.
- MindBites: Check out MindBites to find thousands of video lessons, how-tos, and tutorials.
- W3Schools: Through W3Schools’ web tutorials (video and otherwise), you can learn how to create your own websites.
- Videojug: Videojug encourages users to “get good at life” by watching more than 60,000 available how-to videos and guides.
Government and Organizations
Offered as a service from government organizations and other groups, these are great places to find top-notch educational videos and often, historical treasures.
- US National Archives: Explore US history in this YouTube channel from the US National Archives.
- National Science Foundation: From the National Science Foundation, you’ll find a wealth of multimedia, including instructional and educational videos.
- NASA eClips: NASA offers a great way for students and educators to learn about space exploration, with clips divided by grade level.
- NASA TV: Tune in to NASA TV to watch launches, talks, even space station viewing.
- Library of Congress: Through the Library of Congress, you can find videos and other classroom materials for learning about American history.
- American Memory Collections: Search America’s collective memory to find videos and other multimedia from the American past, including film and sound recordings from the Edison Companies and 50 years of Coca-Cola TV ads.
- Canadian National Film Bureau: Check out the Canadian National Film bureau to find hundreds of documentaries and animated films available online.
3. Avoid “Dear Sir” or “Dear Sirs” as a greeting. It excludes the possibility of a woman as your reader. Instead, whenever possible, learn the reader’s name and use it. If you cannot discover your reader’s name, use a generic term such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Credit Representative,” or use “Dear Sir or Madam.”