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    Warning, watch your hand signals!


    Being understood with hand gestures can sometimes play out like an embarrassing game of charades. What may seem like an innocent gesture here could have a completely different and possibly obscene meaning in another country.

    Here are some of the gestures that you might want to steer clear of when visiting other countries.

    Thumbs up: “It’s all good”
    Thailand – It’s considered a serious side-eye. Some say it’s very offensive, while others believe it’s more childish than obscene, like sticking your tongue out.
    Arabic- a thumbs up in any Muslim country pretty much means, loosely translated, that you hope the person you’re gesturing at has a very pleasant trip to the proctologist.

    Fingers Crossed: “I hope everything turns out alright”
    Vietnam- people think crossed fingers look like lady parts, so flashing this at someone is the equivalent of calling them the C-word (very offensive word for the lady part that begins with a “C”).

    A “V” sign: “Peace Sign”
    In Great Britain and Australia, this is the equivalent of giving someone the middle finger.

    The “OK” sign: “Everything’s all good!”
    Greece and Turkey- You’re a man, and you’re attracted to other men.

    Hook ‘em Horns: “Rock on!”
    Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Colombia- you’re so dense, you don’t realize your wife is cheating on you.

    Beckoning arm wave: “Come here!”
    Singapore- death is coming. In the Philippines, however, it’s a gesture used only for dogs, and can actually land you in jail if you do it to a person.

    Pat on the head: “You’re so cute!”
    Buddhist- A fondle of the privates. Buddhists believe the top of the head is where the spirit lives, so patting the head is considered extremely inappropriate.

    An extended open palm: “Stop!” or “Talk to the hand!”
    Greece- I’d like to rub excrement in your face. The meaning behind this rude gesture reportedly dates back to the Byzantine Empire, when citizens were encouraged to rub dookie in the faces of shackled prisoners.

    These are just a couple of gestures we have suggested. Just remember to be mindful of your gestures while visiting other countries! You could be saying something completely opposite of what you had originally intended. Yikes!!!

    Imagine This…


    (IoT- Internet of Things)

    According to experts, this next revolution in digital technology is set to be the next “big thing.” The internet will be used to communicate through gadgets like never. These gadgets will have highly communicative skills that have never before been seen to this date. Meaning the fridge will communicate with your smart phone telling you that it’s out of milk, or the house will heat up/ cool down when it knows you’re nearby.

    The internet is set to cover many segments and many different types of devices including wearables and everything in between. According to CISCO, the worldwide leader in networking, connectivity and all things communication, IoT (IoT- Internet of Things) is going to connect 25 billion devices by the end of 2015, and 50 billion by 2020. Furthermore it is assumed that the IoT market is going to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020.

    This is going to make a big impact on things such as marketing, retail, automotive, gaming, manufacturing, communication and healthcare. Security sectors will be the first group of industries to really grasp the idea of IoT because they have historically promoted technical and digital changes in their sectors and have been at the forefront of adaptation when it comes to new technology.

    Worldwide communication already has a huge impact on various different languages through the use of mobile phones. Experts believe the coming of IoT can be mind boggling when you think of what will become of various languages when there are 50 billion interconnected objects.

    To ensure every device is properly set, language and translation solutions will need to be incorporated in all IoT devices. Other origination’s across the world are already working on ways to bring IoT to life to their customers so that they are able to mold devices where users will be able to interact with machines in near-native language and gesture. (e.i. Siri) The translation world has already begun moving to automation with the use of machine translation – a tool for smart interaction between people and machines. However, the requirements for machine translation will increase as the demand for IoT devices increase across the globe. This small idea will have a massive impact on our everyday lives. It makes you wonder how much of an impact it will really have.

    wait… what?


    While every language has idioms, these set phrases with figurative meanings can pose problems for non-native speakers. As native English speakers, we don’t hesitate to say phrases like “til the fat lady sings!”, but can you imagine being new to America and having a friend hear you say something like that? How many crazy answers or face expressions would you get? Understanding and using idioms is tricky because the actual meaning is different from that of the words that comprise it. Translating idioms can be hard, and translators are often challenged with this if they are not true native speakers of that particular language.

    Idioms exist in various parts of the world.

    Here are some examples:

    GERMAN — Idiom: Tomaten auf den Augen haben.
    Literal translation: “You have tomatoes on your eyes”
    Meaning: “You are not seeing what everyone else can see.” It refers to real objects.

    SWEDISH – Idiom: Det ar ingen ko pa isen
    Literal translation: “There’s no cow on the ice”’
    Meaning: “There’s no need to worry”

    FRENCH – Idiom: Avaler des couleuvres
    Literal translation: “To swallow grass snakes”
    Meaning: “being so insulted that you’re not able to reply.”

    RUSSIAN – Idioms: Хоть кол на голове теши
    Literal translations: “You can sharpen an ax on top of his head”
    Meaning: “He’s a very stubborn person”

    PORTUGUESE – Idioms: Empurrar com a bariiga
    Literal translation: “To push something with your belly”
    Meaning: “To keep postponing an important chore.”

    Father’s Day


    Countries all over the world have been officially celebrating Father’s Day for the last century, though it rumored to have started more than 4,000 years ago. Another theory is that Father’s Day originated from sun worship by the Pagans. All throughout the world, different countries celebrate Father’s Day in many different ways.

    Father’s Day is celebrated along with the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyade on December 5th. The king is very much beloved by Thai people and considered ‘The Father of the Nations.’ One of the traditions consists of everyone wearing yellow on Father’s Day, the “official color” of Monday; the day of the week the king was born. At the start of the day, fathers are given a Canna flower, which is considered to be a masculine plant.

    In Germany, Father’s Day, also called Vatertag or Manner tag (Man’s Day), began in the Middle Ages as a religious procession. The celebration in modern days usually begins with a male only hike accompanied by wagons filled with regional food, beer and wine, which are pulled by the men. In German cities, the gentleman party has taken on a more urban tone; men basically go to beer gardens and drink all day. Father’s day in Germany is celebrated on the Thursday about 40 days after Easter.

    South Africa:
    Similar to a typical celebration in the U.S., South African children present their fathers with gifts such as flowers, cards, neckties and other novelties. People in South Africa often enjoy picnics on Father’s Day, or spend the afternoon fishing in hopes of securing a catch for dinner. The emphasis of the day is on celebrating the role of fathers in the lives of their children.

    Flowers are an integral part of a Father’s Day celebration in Japan. Children give their dads handmade beer glasses and Japanese candies or a box of Japanese sweets. Lunch or dinner is almost always a dish of crab, prawns or other seafood. Personalized champagne and beer bottles are special treats for dads too. Japanese fathers enjoy gifts of cologne as well.

    Father’s Day in Mexico is celebrated much as it is in the U.S. with prepared meals and distribution of gifts to dads in appreciation of all that they do for their families. As in the U.S., there is a strong emphasis on family values. In Mexico City’s Bosque de Tlalpan, an area of open-space used for hiking, there is a city race that takes place especially for the Father’s Day celebration.

    But no matter how you celebrate, the importance is to make dads or the father figure in your life feel special!

    Are there really no words for this?


    Untranslatable…  or is it?

    Of course there is no such thing as untranslatable words; however despite the contrary, all languages are inherently translatable. It simply depends almost entirely on the individual. When we state that a word is untranslatable, we tend to mean that it lacks an exact or word-for-word equivalent in our own language. Words and their meaning is a fascinating one, and many people have spent countless years deconstructing it. Taking it apart letter by letter and figuring out why there are so many feelings and ideas that we cannot even put words to, and that our languages cannot identify. We desire to make everyone and everything understood; we sometimes forget that languages are living, writing beasts; they evolve and mutate at such a rate that their genetic make-up is by nature very different. If they originate from lands that are unfamiliar to us, they appear to unlock the secrets of other, distant cultures.

    “Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us: nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth “– Friedrich Nietzsche

    Here are some examples of just a couple of words found in other dictionaries around the world.

    1. Fernweh (German) – Feeling homesick for a place you have never been to.  


    2. Komorebi (Japanese) – the sort of scattered, dappled light effect that happens when sunlight 


    3. Tingo (Pascuense) – to gradually steal all the possessions out of a neighbor’s house by borrowing and not returning


    4. Pochemuchka (Russian) – a person who asks too many questions 


    5. Gökotta (Swedish) – to wake up early in the morning with the purpose of going outside to hear the first birds sing


    6. Bakku-shan (Japanese) – a beautiful girl… as long as she’s being viewed from behind


    7. Backpfeifengesicht (German) – A face badly in need of a fist


    8. Aware (Japanese) – the bitter sweetness of a brief and fading moment of transcendent beauty


    9. Tsundoku (Japanese) – the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.  


    10. Shlimazl (Yiddish) – A chronically unlucky person 


    11. Rire dans sa barbe (French) – to laugh in your beard quietly while thinking about something that happened in the past


    12. Waldeinsamkeit (German) – the feeling of being alone in the woods 


    The Blame Game!


    Linguistic structure of language can impact the way we think about and understand the world around us, based on how different languages express the same ideas in linguistically distinct ways. There are two common examples of how languages shape our vision of the world, specifically when it comes to blame and the future.

    Research over the past few years has increasingly found that languages themselves may affect the way that we think and understand the world around us. In other words, an English- speaking person may react differently to an event, or understand it differently than a Spanish-speaking one.

    A way in which language affects our way of thinking is the switching from English to Spanish… has to do with causality. For example, when describing an accident, English speakers often assign an agent who carries out the action (“Mary broke the glass”). As opposed to Spanish and Japanese, speakers would likely say “the glass broke”. These different structures have been proven to have important consequences when it comes to remembering events, and blaming others.

    A study performed at Stanford University studies that the expression of blame is expressed differently between English Spanish and Japanese speakers. The speakers were asked to describe actions, and English speakers proved to be much less forgiving. They repeatedly pointed out the person performing the action by saying things like “he popped the balloon,: while Spanish and Japanese speakers were much more likely to simply describe the action by saying “the balloon popped.” However, when asked about the videos later on, the Spanish and Japanese speakers were less likely to remember the person of the accidental actions than the English speakers.

    A concept that might be somewhat difficult to grasp for speakers of the majority of the worlds language is the idea that in some languages the future tense does not exist.  This is because speakers of languages in which the future is explicitly expressed by a future tense”, like English, tend to view the future as far-off and as something which doesn’t have much impact on our lives now.

    This research has many important implications in the fields of linguistics and language. Especially because this shows further evidence of the strong differences in the worlds languages, and the importance of using language experts for any translation need.

    Here at Professional Translations Inc. we understand the differences in the languages and how important it is to display meaning within the cultures from around the world.  Translating over 160 languages worldwide, don’t forget to give us a call or an email for all of your translation needs!


    Evolving Communications


    Being able to communicate information has always been extremely important. Throughout our history, some information has had value beyond measure. However, the lack of information has often cost huge amounts of money and sometimes lives.

    From the beginning of human history, information traveled only as fast as a person could walk. People began to experiment ways to send messages. Some tried birds to carry messages, which was then discovered it was not always the safest way to send and receive information.  For example, a famous battle took place in New Orleans between Britain and The United States. As in all large battles, hundreds of troops were killed or wounded. After the battle, the Americans and British learned there had been no need to fight. Negotiators from these two Countries had previously signed a peace treaty in Belgium, two weeks prior.  Yet news of such treaty had not reached the United States before the opposing troops met. Because the information traveled so slowly, hundreds of people died.

    Around the eighteen thirties a faster method finally arrived with the invention of the telegraph, developed by Britain and the United States. The telegraph opened enormous doors for the world. It was an instrument used to send information using wires and electricity. The telegraph sent messages between two places that were connected by telegraph wires. The person at one end would send the information and the other end would receive it. Letters of the alphabet and numbers had to be sent separately by a device called the telegraph key. By the eighteen fifties an expert with a telegraph key could send up to about thirty-five to forty words in a minute.

    Soon after a man was making his dreams come true. Alexander Bell was a perpetual curious individual who was always on the lookout to invent new and interesting things. Bell wanted to transmit information through the air, and received at the same pitch in another room. He wanted to transfer sound and pitch across a wire and clarify that this would be possible by reproducing sound waves in a continuous, undulating current.

    In the nineteen twenties the first radio broadcast emerged, KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Within a short few months this new iconic machine was able to broadcast valuable information to numerous amounts of people. Radio reporters began to speak to the public from cities where important events were taking place. Political leaders also discovered that radio was a valuable political tool. If you had a radio, you did not have to wait until your newspaper arrived, and could often hear about important events as they happened.

    Shortly after World War Two, a new invention appeared – television. This created a global impact. It was then seen as amusing, but unnecessary appliance and the radio continued to be the favored form of communication. Radios sky rocketed at the start of WWII as televisions were not yet equipped to provide accurate and timely news. All that changed in the late 40’s. Four million TV sets were produced that year but the cost of a small set cost over $200 making it an unattainable luxury for many families. Soon after televisions dropped and now the majority of homes have at least one TV. What was once a luxury item, is now an essential.

    Being able to speak to people through a wire was fascinating and being able to watch what was going on in the world was a great asset to everyone’s life. However; in the early 1970’s a brilliant man Dr. Martin Cooper is credited with inventing the first portable handset cell phone. Four years later cell phones go public. The growth of the cell phone has had an even greater impact than anyone could ever imagine.

    Communication has always been the greatest form of being able to inform and get close to people locally and globally. Giving credit to the people who challenged themselves to create things that would become some the greatest things in our everyday life.

    Communication is key to success. Here at Professional Translations Inc. we challenge ourselves to reach out in different languages. We translate over 160 languages worldwide. Give us a call and let us help you.

    El Cinco de Mayo!

    flamenco dancers

    What is it all about? How is it celebrated? What does it really mean? These are all questions often asked and here is a little more information on this oh so celebrated holiday. Did you know that this holiday is mostly only celebrated in America now?

    Cinco de Mayo is commonly known as a Mexican Holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla which took place on May 5, 1862. Around the eighteen sixties, the French sent a massive army to invade Mexico, as they wanted to collect war debts. The French army was much larger, better trained and equipped than the Mexicans struggling to defend the road to México City. Against all logic, they won a huge victory and were short-lived as the French army regrouped and continued the attacks eventually taking Mexico City, but the unlikely victory against the overwhelming odds is remembered every May.

    There is a common misconception that most people think Mexico celebrates their independence on this day.  However, that is not true. Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16, because it was on that day in 1810 that Father Miguel Hidalgo took to his pulpit in the church village of the town and invited his flock to take up arms and join him in overthrowing Spanish tyranny. It is a very important holiday in México and must not be confused with Cinco de Mayo.

    In the city of Puebla, where the famous battle took place, it is a very big deal. But it is not as big as Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States of America, by Mexicans and Americans alike, than it is in México. One theory for why it is more popular in the USA is that at one time, it was celebrated in all of México and by Mexicans living in former Mexican territories such as Texas and California. It was then ignored in México after awhile but still celebrated north of the border.

    Now in many places in the USA with large Mexican populations, there are parades, dancing and festivities. Things like traditional foods, Mariachi bands, traditional dances and lots of Dos Equis and Coronas are well welcomed. It’s a fun holiday, mostly celebrating the Mexican way of life than about remembering a battle which happened 150 years ago.


    Hope you learned something new about this festive holiday.  Here at Professional Translations, we love educating others on the cultures of different nationalities around the world.  And hey…if you ever need us to translate in into any particular dialect, just simply give us a call.  We’re here to serve you!

    Check before you engrave!


    Translations of tattoos is a service that has not been used much till a few years back, but now tattoos have become a popular fashion trend as many A-list celebrities sport them. We have a host of services that have been developed to support tattooing, including professional tattoo translation. Most people now have easy access to fairly good tattoo artists who can do a great job of creating finely designed tattoos. Tattoos can be in the form of symbols/images, as well as letters. Now it’s quite all right if you get the tattoo of a dragon or any other image or word whose meaning is clearly understood by you. The problem, however, is when you would like to get a tattoo in the form of a word or phrase in a language you don’t understand. In such cases you would need to make sure that the letters that are being engraved on your body mean exactly what you expect them to.
    Tattoos can be a lifelong commitment. Although a lot of people can afford to get them done, not many can get them removed as that requires laser surgery which is very expensive and can be painful. There are many people who found out late that their tattoo did not mean what they thought it meant. They also learned that it was offensive in translation. This is why if you intend to get a tattoo in a language you don’t understand, or symbols; remember it may carry specific meanings across different cultures. You should first consult a professional tattoo translation service provider to get the exact translation for it. This is the best solution to ensure that your tattoo conveys what you intend.

    Here are a few of our favorite tattoos and their surprisingly funny translations:

    1.  In this picture a man thought he was getting the word “loyalty”. After seeing a friend’s tattoo that meant “loyalty” he realized his was wrong. His actually meant “noodles”.
    2. A woman got a tattoo back in 1999 which was suppose to mean “Faith, Passion, Discipline”…. but much to her surprise, her Chinese friend was unable to read the second one. After looking further into the translation, she found that it actually reads: liver,record, anal, historical account, rash; addiction, craving, habit.
    3.  Below is a woman’s tattoo that is supposed to be both of her daughters’ initials (ESO and EGO in English). But what are we really looking at?  These characters  mean: place,  dog.

    4.What do you think this tattoo means? This tattoo actually means serious error; gross mistake!
    tattoo-55.  A man  got this tattoo a while ago; he initially thought it meant “freedom”.  After a trip overseas, he had a strange interaction with a tourist after he saw it- but he was unable to tell him what it meant… This tattoo actually means “free of charge” which is totally different than freedom!



    Here at Professional Translations, we offer proofreading to make sure all of your important documents get the proper translation.  We are happy to say that our team translates to and from over 160 languages worldwide. Teaching, translating, interpreting….well, that’s just some of what we do.  If you decide to get a tattoo and need our services to translate it, feel free to call us at anytime!


    Lets talk baby!

    happy mother with adorable baby

    A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania, psychologists there discovered that maybe the first signs of language recognition in infants occur earlier than has initially been believed. The study recruited infants 6 t o 9 months old, recruiting also caregivers to bring in the children to complete two experiments. In the first experiment, the infants were given two different pictures. The caregivers were blinded and were only allowed to state basic sentences like “Where is the baby?”, while the researchers monitored the infants gaze through eye-tracking software. In the second images, the infants were presented in context – for example, a number of different foods on a table or a human figure instead of just the body part.

    In both experiments, studying a total of 33 infants, researchers found that infants focused more on the image that was named than on the surrounding pictures. The experiment indicated that even before infants are able to form words, they can correctly associate certain sounds with their meanings. While they are able to grasp certain aural aspects of their native languages, 6 to 9-month old infants are typically referred to as a “pre-linguistic.” This study, however, implies that there is burgeoning understanding under the surface.

    Well, that’s our language educating moment for today. Here at Professional Translations, we always love to educate others on the importance and the effects of knowing other languages. We are happy to say that our team translates to and from over 160 languages worldwide. Teaching, translating, interpreting….well, that’s just some of what we do. If you ever need our services, feel free to call us at anytime!