Cross-section of curiosity

There was a time when listening to radio from another country could be alluring, clandestine – it could even get you into a lot of trouble. But it certainly let you know that there was a much larger and diverse world out there. Does the internet have the same allure?

For decades we’ve read newspapers, knowing that the paper’s owner usually has some sort of political axe to grind. But when it comes to websites we don’t always express the same concerns.

Happy Birds

Articles about people losing their jobs after making jokes in poor taste have been circulating for a while now, driven by social media. But a recent trend in US court judgements shows that hitherto private social networks are becoming a rich seam of evidence in court, too.

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We’ve written before on this blog about online translation tools online translation tools and Google has recently joined Skype in making available a real-time interpretation tool. Neither have changed the […]

We’re all familiar with the explosive growth of tablet computers over the past five or so years, but what’s happened to the more humble e-reader, a device which was supposed to revolutionise our reading experience?

Anyone with a smartphone these days has the option of using voice recognition, but typically these only support a subset of languages. Why can’t they simply be given a dictionary […]

Code smell

Why is it that software developers leave their code lying out for a few days when it smells bad?


Why do I find it almost impossible to use colleagues’ keyboards? Aren’t the locations of those letters and symbols universal?

You only get one chance to make a first impression. So why is it that no matter how truthful the spoken words are, we sometimes fake the way we speak?

Burns’ Night

The 25th of January marks a special event in the Scottish calendar: it is perhaps the only day of the year where we address our food with a poem and then ceremoniously stab it. On such a day I thought it would be helpful to provide a translation of the poem – as well as an explanation of why we show such reverence for the dish.


Following on from yesterday’s post, today we look at some examples of the Scots language in literature and lament its fading. Equating being English with being Educated After the Protestant […]


I stand Corrected

Well, there I was in my introductory blog post bemoaning my lack of language skills, when it turns out that not only am I diglossic, apparently I’m also able to code-switch. That came as a welcoming thought, though as I’ll explain it’s somewhat bittersweet.


When the thirteen original American colonies were founded by the United Kingdom, English became the lingua franca. As the colonies grew, their populations were fed with immigrants speaking a range of languages but English remained the administrative tongue. However, as English translators well know, differences have crept in over the centuries. So which side of the pond speaks ‘correct’ English? The truth is actually the converse of what you might think.