Category: Illegible Stamps & Untranslatables



administration architecture building 129112 1

Realpolitik - Translating U.S. Political Jargon

Yesterday the 116th Congress of the U.S. was sworn into office. This new congress may be one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse in history, but they will still be using the jargon of our time and the pundits will certainly still be using theirs. When global news outlets start reporting on U.S. politics, translators and interpreters alike need to do a great deal of linguistic acrobatics to convert American English into their target language. Because countries, like toilets, could use a car wash, right?

Read More



happy holidays

Happy Holidays - A Gift about Language from tone

Holidays are meaningful times of the year. Without the lens of human perspective, the days are just another rotation of the Earth’s 365 orbital revolutions around the sun. Join us as we help you define the reason of the season, or any season for that matter on this week's installment of Illegible Stamps & Unstranslatables! 

Read More



Karate tone

Most Honorable- Japanese Honorifics

On today's blog, our very own Derek Nekritz gives us a first person look at how he came to understand the intricacies of Japanese honorifics as part of our series leading up to the 59th annual American Translator's Association Conference (#ata59). If you are unfamiliar with honorifics, then you should definitely join in on today's article!

Read More



pexels photo 626165

Emphasis is Not Always Easy

You pick a word in your sentence, you make it louder than the rest of the words, and even stretch it out. Now your listener knows exactly what you meant, but how well does that technique translate exactly? Today in Tone's Illegible Stamps & Untranslatables column, we'll take a closer look at this linguistic phenomenon.

Read More




Here’s the Kicker- ‘Futbol’ or ‘Soccer’: How Sports Influence Language

It's a beautiful summer day, and you're kicking around a soccer ball... or is it a football? Whichever it is, it's hard to believe that such a simple object or word can come such with a complicated history, but it truly affects the way we use language, and even the way we look at and express our own culture. Join us for a whole new linguistic ball game in today's installment of Illegible Stamps & Untranslatables!

Read More



pexels photo 235985

Indescribable Feelings: Untranslatable Emotions

We spend a lot of time talking about our feelings on a day to day basis. Whether we are excited, stressed out, bored, happy, sad, annoyed, and more, we seem to always have the word to express the emotions we are experiencing. In this post, we will investigate why these emotional words are important for translation and how these words matter to the cultures the words belong to. 

Read More



Emoji Blog Picture

Modern Hieroglyphics: Deciphering Emojis

It's Valentine's Day! You can probably expect to see a barrage of emoji but, does anyone know what they mean or why bother to use them? Learn more about the history and purpose of emoji and how they fit into the grand scheme of communication in this week's installment of Illegible Stamps and Untranslatables!

Read More



Translating the Holidys

Translating the Holidays

Fa La La La...Ho! Ho! Ho!...”silver bells are ringing”...Tis the season for tone(s) of all kinds. We wanted to share one of our favorite stories about translating the holidays. We were recently asked by a company’s Human Resource department to translate a flyer telling employees about an “Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest” the organization would be having. This was a great gesture from the company to be inclusive of all employees...but cultural complications abound.

Read More



Meet the Burmese Language

Meet the Burmese Language

Since we specialize in the Burmese language we would like to tell you nearly everything we know about the Burmese language, but if we do, we will surely get lost on our way to “Mandalay”. Here is an introduction about the Burmese language for your day.

Read More




“Illegible Stamps & Untranslatables” - Introducing Our Recurring Subheader

Translation is not just converting one language to another language word for word, it’s actually convening the concept and meaning of a phrase, a sentence, a word from the culture whose language the source document is written in, to the culture that wants to understand that concept.

Read More