Far from being an exact science, the act of translating from language to another can be full of pitfalls, which is why it is considered such an art-form. As I have already highlighted here in a number of posts, the precise meaning or sentiment of a phrase can often go awry due in part to the limitations of the target or source language and so, only an experienced translator should be relied upon for an accurate translation. If you've ever tried using an online translation app such as Babel Fish, World Lingo or Google translate, you will probably already be aware that automated results are often far from perfect; and you would be forgiven for thinking that a reliable old bilingual dictionary might be a tad more dependable, however, I'm afraid to say that that's not always the case. On a recent excursion to a pleasant little auberge (hostel) in the Vosges for lunch a rather amusing translation became evident after a quick scan of the menu - upon which the waiting staff had helpfully provided both English and [...]
It is unfortunate that the odd gros mot must creep into my blog now and again. However, this is unavoidably the case when it comes to explaining certain cultural and linguistic observations in France. I apologise if you are easily offended. I must admit though my sense of humour is partly to blame. Of course swear words can have their up-sides, since posting this little piece about a student party group in town - the number of visitors to these pages has practically doubled. I am guessing that the new visitors don't stay terribly long though, for the lack of (in)appropriate visual stimulus probably has them hitting 'back' within a few milliseconds. Getting to the point. Yesterday I extended my understanding of French slang with one new word: bite. La bite (pronounced 'beet') is the non-medical way of referring to the male reproductive organ. Yes - cock or dick spring to mind as direct translations. Interestingly though it's feminine. Soon after learning this I, of course, started sniggering to myself at the thought of the inevitable double-entendres one might [...]
Our Christmas this year was dominated by the toy that has every French school-boy under the age of ten going nuts. They call it Toupie; and they play Toupie at breaktime, Toupie at lunchtime, Toupie after school and Toupie at home. It's like a perpetual conker season without the conkers (buck eyes) [...]
It's a remarkable feat. I've been in France for over six years and never once have I been tempted to look up the direct translation of brassiere (or 'bra' if you prefer). This was because I had assumed that 'brassiere' was itself a French word and therefore must mean the same thing. Not so. In paying attention to the audio track of a TV spot for said undergarment last night (for which I usually focus my visual senses) I heard [...]
Stumped as to what to get [insert name of loved one] for Christmas? Well, here's a suggestion: You call this a Nativity? A collection of rude, crude and downright blasphemous plays for Christmas by, er, me! You call this a Nativity? began life [...]
As an avid rugby fan I have naturally been following this year's Rugby World Cup finals in New Zealand with more than a passing interest. Although unhappy to see my home nation capitulate to the French last weekend, I was glad to see les Bleus overthrow the Welsh on Saturday morning. Not because they deserved to win, but because it will keep the atmosphere alive here in France for another week. Rumour has it that the Zenith, Strasbourg's largest concert venue, will be opening it's doors to fans early on Sunday morning to soak up the big show-down. The result of course is guaranteed - you can be fairly sure that, win or lose, there will be drunken Frenchmen a-plenty by midday. Media buzz and talk of the giant-killing games of 2007, 1999 and 1994 when French flair overcame the odds to send the All Blacks out of the competition is already saturating the airwaves ... partly in an effort to convince the public that anything is possible. Miracles even. Four years ago, I put the winning edge down [...]
The passing of my third full decade in existence has brought with it a few standard observations: Hair growth. While disappearing from my crown (as evident from recent high-angle photographs) my capacity for beard growth seems to have finally increased to the point whereby I actually need to consider shaving more than once a week. It seems that life not only begins at forty, but for some of us - beards also. Hair colour. To dye or not to dye, that is the question. Whether it is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous, but fair observation, by those younger than myself, or to wash-in as doth the stars of screen and stage, unshape me. Scrotum. A lower left testicle there maybe but the length of extension on both sides is now cause for concern. My knees now do not seem so far away. Well, maybe that last one's not standard?
Is it wrong to write a review for your own book? It's certainly not illegal. Arguably, if prepared to admit the conflict of interest up front, there's no reason why an author shouldn't at least have a go at convincing people to buy their own work. Ahem. In the most impartial and balanced way you understand?
I continue to be in a state of exasperation over the way the British media paint the Euro as a doomed currency, even though it is the world's largest and therefore most stable. As I have pointed out before it's future looks far more rosy than that of the pound. Today's hyperbole surrounds a slight slip in it's value following the Irish austerity cuts. This event in itself is hard to explain given that after Britain announced it's own cuts the pound actually strengthened. However this does not stop financial commentators spouting endless speculation in order to grab a few headlines. The fact is the Euro is still way, way above it's value of ten years ago against the dollar, and the pound has still not recovered to it's pre-VAT-cut 2008 levels. Which leads me to wonder whether the British financial media aren't taking back-handers from the US Federal Reserve? Stranger things have happened.
Not far from the Fischer brewery in Schiltigheim stands an unassuming building where great things are afoot in the world of architecture. It is here that I’ve had the privilege to be involved in the launch of a new product, which is set to take the 3D design world by storm. These are the headquarters of local company KA-RA Srl, which stands for Kinetic Arts and Research in Architecture. It’s headed by visionary architect Raphael Pierrat who, with the help of a team of talented software engineers, has created a software package that architects the world over have been waiting for. It’s called Twinmotion2 and is the result of ten years of field experience with firms like the famed Zaha Hadid Architects. In essence it is a 3D design and visualisation application that renders in real-time and is loaded with tools aimed at helping architects to visualise their ideas with incredible speed. What makes the product special is it foregoes the requirement for users to hit a ‘render’ button in order to see the final results. As any 3D [...]