Sex vs. Gender

Posted Posted in Word Usage

Wikipedia’s entry on sex and gender distinction reads as follows: “The distinction between sex and gender differentiates a person’s biological sex (the anatomy of an individual’s reproductive system, and secondary sex characteristics) from that person’s gender, which can refer to either social roles based on the sex of the person (gender role) or personal identification of one’s own gender based on an internal awareness (gender identity). In this model, the idea of a “biological gender” is an oxymoron: the biological […]

Only vs. Alone

Posted Posted in Word Usage

Although only and alone have similar meanings, we cannot always use them interchangeably when translating into English. When we use alone to mean without including anything else, it comes right after the noun it modifies. Incorrect:   Minnesota only exports more than $2 billion in soybeans annually, with China as the state’s top export market. Correct:       Minnesota alone exports more than $2 billion in soybeans annually, with China as the state’s top export market. Incorrect:   The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for […]

Placing “Only” Correctly

Posted Posted in Word Usage

Only is often misplaced in a sentence. We must be careful about its usage to avoid confusing our readers. Learning propoer usage of grammatical modifiers is a hard work and it is worth all the effort. Only should go right before the word or phrase it modifies. “Only I said I cannot attend the party” means that I was the only one to decline the invitation. “I only said I cannot attend the party” means that I said nothing but […]

Invitation vs. Reception

Posted Posted in Word Usage

Turkish to English translators frequently confuse invitation (davet) with reception. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines invitation and reception as follows: Invitation:   A written or spoken request to someone, inviting them to go somewhere or do something or a card inviting someone to attend a party, wedding etc. Reception:  A large formal party to celebrate an event or to welcome someone. Dragoman prefers translating davet into English not as invitation but as reception. Depending on the context, we can […]

Over vs. Above to Mean More Than

Posted Posted in Word Usage

Dragoman prefers over, not above to talk about ages and to mean more than. I know this may sound like a minor detail but for us Dragomans, the beauty is right there in the details. Incorrect:  There are above 60,000 screaming fans in the stadium this afternoon. Correct:      There are over 60,000 screaming fans in the stadium this afternoon. Incorrect:   You have to be above 35 to run for president. Correct:       You have to be over 35 to run for […]

Definite Article in Country Names

Posted Posted in Translation_Tips, Word Usage

English writers and translators often confuse when and how to use a definite article. We have several tips for translators on our knowledge base and We precede any country with “the” whose name is plural or includes state, union, republic, and kingdom. Incorrect:   The Dutch famine of 1944–45 is known in Netherlands as the Hongerwinter (literal translation: hunger winter). Correct:       The Dutch famine of 1944–45 is known in the Netherlands as the Hongerwinter (literal translation: hunger winter). Incorrect:    Philippines is […]

Express Yourself in English

Posted Posted in Word Usage

This playlist is from a few years back. In our former Language School, we had launched an Express Yourself initiative to help Turkish professionals better express themselves in English. We had a lot of fun publishing books, articles, posters, videos and podcasts as part of this project. The intro recordings are partly Turkish -being Turks the target audience– but the rest is in English, as one would expect. Enjoy.

Continuous vs. Continual

Posted Posted in Word Usage

The difference between continual and continuous can be hard to notice. The Oxford English Dictionary defines continual and continuous as follows: Continual:      Forming a sequence in which the same action or event is repeated frequently. Continuous:  Forming an unbroken whole; without interruption. Interruption of time is key to understanding the difference between these two words. And one other key difference between the two is that continuous can be used to refer to both to space as well as time. Incorrect:         […]

Use Alliteration for Impact

Posted Posted in Sentences, Style, Word Usage

Transcreation or translating creative copy is one of Dragoman’s strong suits. We occasionally translate brochures, promotions, campaigns, slogans, hotel websites, and so on. Alliteration, or the use of several words together that begin with the same sound or letter in order to make a special effect, especially in poetry, is a literary device that comes handy when translating creative copy. Drive Your Dream Drive a Dream We offer you the solitude and stillness I had always craved. Freedom For Your Feet […]