Recent Blog Posts

One day, when I was 8 years old and still spoke with a thick Russian accent, my mother and I sat in the lobby of a dentist’s office. While we waited our turn to have modern dentistry reverse the effects of Soviet toothpaste (no fluoride!), I picked up a magazine […]

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In today’s 7 Questions to a Linguist, we hear from one of the language field’s most intriguing cultural commentators: author, linguist, and Columbia professor Dr. John McWhorter. A staple of media discussions surrounding the changing face of race relations, McWhorter has appeared on CNN Tonight, Meet the Press, The O’Reilly […]

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In the latest entry of 7 Questions to a Linguist, ALTA Language Services caught up with psycholinguistics wunderkind Dr. Steven Pinker. The Harvard psychology professor, frequent TED speaker, and award-winning author staked his claim in contemporary discourse thanks to his user-friendly application of cognitive linguistics to society’s big questions. As […]

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In the second installment of 7 Questions to a Linguist, ALTA Language Services had the pleasure of catching up with language scholar, writer, lecturer, and broadcaster David Crystal. “Those linguistic experiences have long disappeared from my memory now, though I like to think that they might still be neurally lurking […]

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Welcome to the inaugural interview of our 7 Questions to a Linguist series! Over the next few months, we’ll be exploring some of the most fascinating, eye-opening, and unexpected insights from leading language professionals around the world. To kick things off, ALTA Language Services spoke with professor, journalist, newspaper columnist, […]

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Michael Kandel’s humility borders on self-deprecation. The leading English-language translator of Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem sees the translator’s lot as utilitarian, unromantic, invisible. His mantra is that failure is inevitable. And yet, the scope and significance of Kandel’s work would have a brasher personality gobbling up laurels – […]

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Recently a friend brought to my attention a delightful collection of William Safire’s articles from the New York Times Magazine. Many years ago, my friend wrote Safire regarding the origins of the word “trivia”, which the celebrated journalist had mistakenly attributed to the Latin tri via – the meeting point […]

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We’ve all had a good laugh reading translations gone disastrously wrong. Warning signs, disclaimers, and company slogans seem to be particularly susceptible to hilarious results. Because they often involve a play on words or a reference to culture-specific concepts, corporate catchphrases become especially treacherous for translators. To assist those who […]

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Not only does every September bring with it New York Fashion Week, but the month often marks a transition in the way we dress. As the season changes and we tuck away our summer clothes in favor of fall wear, we thought it would be a great time to turn […]

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Shadowy figures dart around corners and disappear into the fog. Hard-boiled detectives, commissioned by untrustworthy dames in expensive furs, toss cigarettes on the rain-slicked street and skulk into the night. Film noir is a genre of bad guys and worse guys, where soothing notions like justice, love, and family hold […]

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