Archive Page 2

GIGO stands for “Garbage In, Garbage Out”. According to Wikipedia, the term was coined by George Fuechsel, an IBM technician/instructor in New York (but see also Michael Quinion’s version, at World Wide Words). Interestingly (well, it’s interesting if you’re a translator), Wikipedia’s definition of GIGO used to include the following: Non-computer-related use of the term The term […]

Product naming is an important part of branding and marketing, and one where international businesses can make costly mistakes if they fail to understand local language, slang, and all the connotations of a given word. Here are a couple of potential branding disasters in the car industry, courtesy of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting’s […]

Just enough time for one more gift idea for book lovers: “Spell It Out –The Singular Story of English Spelling”, by David Crystal. In the words of the publishers, Profile Books: Seventy-five per cent of English spelling is regular but twenty-five per cent is complicated, and in Spell It Out, our foremost linguistics expert David […]

“An object-lesson in how not to contract out a public service”. That’s how the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, described the centralised system for supplying interpreters to the justice system. (See also my previous post on Ministry of Justice language services). Headlines have included: “Court interpreter farce halts murder trial” […]

I’ve just discovered a “new” Scottish online newspaper that’s been around for nearly 3 years but which I hadn’t heard of until yesterday. It’s the Caledonian Mercury, which was launched in January 2010. Their Heritage pages include a section on Useful Scots Words that looks very tempting. I discovered the Caledonian Mercury itself (I wonder […]

I became an “empty-nester” when my daughter moved away in September to attend Leeds College of Music. Harry, our son, had left two years earlier. So lots of changes — emotional changes and practical ones too (for example, loading up the washing machine far less often and struggling to get to 30 items to qualify for […]

It’s been a while since I wrote about my (and your) favourite or least favourite words. But at Glasgow’s State of the City Economy Conference last week (9 Nov), some of the buzzwords and -phrases used by the speakers set my teeth on edge. And then I read a Macmillan Dictionary blog post on nouning and verbing, so […]

I attended Glasgow’s 15th State of the City Economy Conference today. There was a lot of talk about the importance of global marketing, exports, tourism, international financial services: international business, in short. There was talk too about education, training and skills, from school to college to university to apprenticeships. But not one word about the […]

Merriam-Webster’s “Trend Watch” reported a spike in lookups of the word “hunker” in the run-up to Hurricane (Superstorm?) Sandy. They give this CNN headline as an example: “From Maine to South Carolina, states hunker down for storm.” Here’s the definition of hunker, from the Online Etymology Dictionary: hunker (v.) “to squat, crouch,” 1720, Scottish, of uncertain […]

Interpreters in the UK have been up in arms over the Ministry of Justice’s 2011 language services framework agreement with a company formerly called Applied Language Solutions (ALS). The service in question was court interpreting. The National Audit Office has now published the results of its investigation into the contracting out of language services in […]