Language Translation Services

January 7, 2020 Samantha

Here at Transcription City, we offer a range of language translation services, multilingual transcription services, subtitling services in a range of languages, as well as note taking services and typing services. With that in mind, we thought we’d hear from one of our linguists.

Language Translation Services – Of Blizzards and Drizzle

When working in translation you are becoming much more aware of differences in languages. Beautiful differences sometimes, which means that the equivalent of the same word  in one language may be much nicer than in another. Or it may describe the actual thing in much more straightforward, or better, way than the original. Why, otherwise, would people that inhabit the cold regions have so many different words for snow? There you are, I told you!

Talking about the weather is something that the British people like doing a lot. But do they do it the same way as other nations? Are the words for the same conditions more or less the same than others? Is a blizzard really the same bustling, gurgling word in German, for example? In German a blizzard is a simple snow storm, “Schneesturm”. There is nothing simple about it, I know. But in regards to the word, it is typically matter-of-fact and straight to the point. No indication of how wild or how strong. The accompanying adjective would have to do that job. The word ‘blizzard’ in contrast however, seems already full of energy. The shape of the two ‘z’ letters right in the middle seem to imitate a whirlwind, the flurries of snow just being added to that mental picture. Looking up its history, one can learn that it used to mean ‘a sharp blow or knock’ in America in the 19th century, before later getting its contemporary meaning in the 1850s. So in reality, the zig-zag of letters have nothing to do with snow or a storm really. A little disappointing, I think. But which word do you prefer personally, blizzard or Schneesturm? Answers on a postcard please.

Another word related to weather that has the same two ‘z’ letters in it, is the word ‘drizzle’, which translates into the German word of ‘nieseln’. That is one of my favourite words, in both languages. Subjectively I have to say that the German word of ‘nieseln’ always makes me think of the word ‘näseln’, the German word for ‘nasal’. And from that, you come to sneeze really, in German ‘niesen’, which is almost exactly the same word, but obviously fundamentally different, I know. I did say subjectively.  And when it comes to drizzly grey November weather, who doesn’t think of colds and lots of sneezing? Which brings us back full circle really. Bless you and Gesundheit! 

Language Translation Services and Multilingual Transcription Services

If you would like a quote from us or would like to discuss a translation or transcription project, please get in touch. We offer language translation services, transcription services, subtitling services, typing services and note taking services and are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.



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