Soap bubble

 

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I wonder how much it would take to buy a soap bubble,

if there were only one in the world.

(Mark Twain)

 

 

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Denglish

My colleagues and I often talk about the fact that speaking English has almost come to be expected from many European non-native speakers, especially from the Dutch and the Germans. Not sure why, though, since we don’t expect North Americans to speak fluent German, Dutch or Spanish. As a matter of fact, we don’t even count on every Canadian to speak French fluently, although French is one of two official languages in Canada (the other being English).

Coupled with the mistaken assumption that being (almost) fluent in two (or more) languages also means that you can translate (written) or interpret (spoken) from one language to the other, we regularly stumble across more or less awkward mistranslations.

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On the occasion of International Translation Day I just have to state the obvious: These minor and major errors could be avoided by hiring a qualified and experienced translator or (conference) interpreter. Professional language service providers are members of provincial/ state and/or national professional bodies. Each professional association has an online directory to easily find someone by language combination. In North America they usually have a designation like “Certified Translator” or “Certified Conference Interpreter.” They can help you communicate more effectively in the foreign language, because they “know their stuff.”

So to all my qualified colleagues out there: Happy translating and/or interpreting!

May all your clients value what you do!

 

Berlin… wall-less

What a difference a few decades make… The last time I was in Berlin, was before reunification. Back then it was unimaginable that the Wall would ever crumble, let alone disappear.

Now, at Potsdamer Platz marveling at the incredible architectural marriage of old and new, my friends (aka Berlin insiders) and I discover Panorama Café. The “fastest elevator in Europe” whisks you up, up, up to enjoy amazing views over today’s Berlin.

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Up here, you can also touch a small piece of the wall on display, and see photos of numerous ingenious contraptions used to escape oppressive East Berlin. This make-shift zip-line really caught my eye.

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Standing here, I remember walking along the wall in West Berlin and crossing a check-point into what was an oppressively dark East Berlin back then, only illuminated by the kindness and hospitality of the people living there.

 

Kindness and hospitality have endured, as evidenced by my friends.

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Roller Coaster

At Santa Monica Pier …

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The roller-coaster is my life; life is a fast, dizzying game; life is a parachute jump; it’s taking chances, falling over and getting up again; it’s mountaineering; it’s wanting to get to the very top of yourself and feeling angry and dissatisfied when you don’t manage it.
Paulo Coelho

 

Altitude

My recent trip to Denver, Colorado, took me from the transcendent architecture of the Denver Art Museum to Larimer Square. Okay, can I ooh and ahh enough about lunch at rioja..? Just a few doors down from where I’m standing here.

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Heads up:

They call Denver the “Mile High City” for a reason.

My accommodation was situated at an altitude of 1,600 m and it took me (my head to be precise) about a day and a half to adjust.

 

 

From there it was smooth sailing. I even had some time and the opportunity to enjoy the people, vistas, food and climate here.

Happy travels everyone!

Forest bathing…

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Hello, fellow friends and travelers,

A recent article in a German magazine has me thinking about great words that do not exist in the English language.

Here are a few of my favorites:

For the tree hugger:  Shinrin-yoku – Japanese, for “forest bathing,” the “practice of taking a short leisurely visit to a forest for health benefits” (Wikipedia: forest bathing)

For Santa and his helpers, a unit of measurement: Poronkusema – Finnish for “the distance a reindeer could travel before stopping to urinate” (Wikipedia: poronkusema)

For the currently stationary traveler: Fernweh – German for the ache / longing to travel or get far away.

For the budget-conscious: Prozvonit – Czech for initiating a cell phone call and only letting it ring once, so the other person has to call back and you can save on minutes. (See Wiktionary).

And finally, for the art lover: Duende -Spanish for “having soul, a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity” (Wikpedia: duende), i.e. the power that a work of art can have to deeply move a person.

Happy travels!