How much do you know about Γλώσσες?

One of the many qualities of working at Verve is the multinationalism and how we all work together effortlessly on different projects. 

More than half of the Verve team speak more than one language (this doesn’t include our agency dog Evie, who has her own special one!). This rainbow of languages comes in especially handy when we work on multilingual projects. 

In the past year alone, we have been involved in over 150 different translation projects, working in 18 different languages*, both European and Asian.

This helped us improving our knowledge on languages. What about you? How much do you know about Γλώσσες? (“languages” in Greek!).

THE CHALLENGES OF TRANSLATION PROJECTS:

Of course, we use experienced translators, however having native speakers in the agency makes the whole process easier. And everyone, from account managers to creative artworkers, is always happy to share a little bit of their knowledge and skills.

We’re always happy to support our clients in projects which aren’t created for English speakers. More importantly, we thank them for allowing us to expand our horizons and for helping us discover a lot of interesting facts about different languages.

I thought I would share what I have discovered, and found fascinating, whilst working on different multi-lingual projects in my time so far at Verve. Hope you find it as interesting as I did, have a read below!

WHAT DOES PLACEBO LITERALLY MEAN?

In 13th century, the word “placebo” started to be used in the English vocabulary to describe “the vespers for the dead in the Roman Catholic Church”. 

We had to wait until 19th century to see the term associated with medicine. In 1811, Hooper defined placebo as “an epithet given to any medicine adapted more to please than benefit the patient“.

TOES OR FOOT FINGERS?

In the English vocabulary we have two different words to describe the jointed parts attached to hands and feet: fingers and toes.
However, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese only have the word “fingers”, therefore you have to specify whether you mean “hand fingers” or “foot fingers”.

In Italian, for example you say “dita delle mani” and “dita dei piedi”.

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT NON-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES:

We have also been working on campaigns for the AMERA region (Asia, Middle East, Russia, and Africa). Working with these markets brought more challenges since we had to become familiar with non-Latin alphabets like Arabic and Russian. And languages like Korean and Japanese don’t even use an actual alphabet, they use glyphs instead.

However, these challenges helped us expand our knowledge of Asian and Arabic languages and discover more interesting facts.

For example:

WORDS THAT CANNOT BE TRASLATED IN ENGLISH:

Despite having more than 750,000 words, English doesn’t always have a word to describe every single concept or feeling.

In fact, there are many beautiful words from different languages which don’t have a direct equivalent in English but can be explained using a short sentence.

Here are my favourite ones:

Do you want to see for yourself an example of interactive work we have translated for one of our clients? Have a look here. 

*Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish. Phew!

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