Archives For ENGL 1301

ENGL 1301 Comp & Rhetoric I Honors

Speaking in front of an audience is one of the biggest fears among our society today. Such reluctance infects the speaker’s confidence and causes people to feel like calling in sick rather than keeping their commitment to speak in front of an audience. Not many people seem to be natural-born speakers. Are those who speak well in front of an audience gifted? Or, have they improved over time through practice and learned techniques? To find the answers to these questions, we researched Toastmasters International.

Toastmasters understands the common fear most people experience when it comes to public speaking and helps victims of anxiety find their voice. (Toastmasters Find). Enhancing communication skills and fostering communication effectiveness is the ultimate goal of Toastmasters (Toastmasters Find). To help its members overcome anxiety, Toastmasters builds confidence through a deliberate process of building upon strengths while eliminating weaknesses through practice. Continue Reading…

My Life in Language

Christopher Hurtado —  December 15, 2005

There is nothing I am more passionate about than languages and culture. My entire life revolves around words and their meaning. In fact, it always has; and my lifelong goal is that it always will. I grew up bilingual and bicultural. I began translating and teaching languages professionally at a young age. I have also become a published author and a public speaker.

From the time I was born, my parents spoke to me in English but to each other in Spanish. My mother was a Spanish teacher born in New York and raised in Baltimore. My father is a Venezuelan. When I was eight, my family moved to Venezuela. Although I’d heard Spanish all my life, I hadn’t learned to speak it. Now I had to. At first, I struggled to communicate, but I became fluent in less than six months. I lived in Venezuela for eight years. During those eight years, English was predominantly spoken in my home and Spanish outside of it. In school, ESL was a required subject. At age 12, I started tutoring my classmates in English after school. My parents divorced when I was 16, and I returned to the United States with my mother and sisters. At 18 I dropped out of school. Around the same time, I made a trip to Venezuela for a short visit with my father. While in Venezuela, I did my first paid translation job. My father accepted and delivered the job, but had me do it and paid me once he was paid. I’ll never forget that job. The topic of the translation was “the chemical composition of the Moore pecan leaf.” I still keep a copy of it to this day. I was thrilled.

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Marketing Bad translation has been the cause of many international marketing blunders. When Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John family brand in Canada, it was translated as “Gros Jos.” Unfortunately, this turned out to be French slang for a woman with large breasts. Fortunately, this actually helped the brand sell. Apparently, a number of Canadian men were interested in “Gros Jos.” A United States (U.S.) airline got lots of attention in Brazil when advertising its swank “rendezvous lounges” on its Boeing 747s. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the kind of attention that leads to increased revenues, since Brazilians didn’t want to be seen entering or leaving an airliner with rooms rented out for prostitution, which is what “rendez-vous” means to them. In Miami, where a number of Spanish dialects are spoken by Hispanics from all over Latin American, a company advertising a bug spray that kills all “bichos,” meaning bugs to Mexicans, didn’t fare so well among Puerto Ricans since, to them, “bichos” are men’s private parts (Ricks 87-88). The proliferation of the Web as a medium for international marketing and commerce underscores the importance of good translation to international marketing success.

Translating Web content is key to capturing global markets. According to Forrester Research, “shoppers are three times more likely to buy products from Web sites in their own language” and over 65% of Internet users shy away from Web sites in a foreign tongue (Heckman 1). However, it takes more than just translation to capture global markets. Translation means converting text into another language, taking into account its full meaning and paying special attention to cultural nuances and style (Esselink 4). According to James Heckman, director of publishing,, “the message and presentation must be tailored to the audience.” (Heckman 2). Tailoring the message to the audience is known as localization. The Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) defines localization as “taking a product and making it linguistically and culturally appropriate to the target locale (country/region and language) where it will be used and sold” (Esselink 3).

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