Will God Bless you when you sneeze? It depends in what Country you are sneezing

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sick snow white GIF by Disney

Before we discuss international treatment of “God bless you,” let’s discuss the origins of these three words. It seems that sneezing goes hand-in-hand with an old superstition that said sneezing happens when your body is trying to get rid of evil spirits. Saying, “God bless you,” is, in essence, the same as wishing a person good luck from those evil spirits.

Another superstition is that the evil spirits hurry into your body when you sneeze. Yet another popular superstition around the words, God bless you, has to do with Pope Gregory, the Great, who ruled during the black plague. He started saying God bless you to those that sneezed, since sneezing was a sign that they had the terminal disease. Most countries use similar words as God bless you. Some countries refer to good health. In some countries they don’t address the God bless you form, nor do they wish you good health.

In France, first sneeze gets you, “à tes souhaits,” which translates into “to your wishes.” The second sneeze gets you, “à tes amours,” which means “to your loves.” A third sneeze will get you, “qu’elles durent toujours,” which means, “that they last forever.”

In Korea, no one says anything after a sneeze. I guess no evil spirits in Korea.

In Portuguese two different versions are used: “santinho,” or “little saint,” and “Deus te,” which means, “May God smother you.” The Dutch, after a third sneeze, go on to say, “The weather will be nice tomorrow.” I guess they’re moving away from using satellite weather maps.

No matter what country you’re in, and what you’re told after, we can all agree a sense of relief is had after every sneeze.

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How Emotions and Silence can get you in or out of Jail

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Emotions and silence can get you in or out of jail or in trouble, depending on your Interpreter.

In court criminal proceedings, you have probably seen a witness speak for 30 seconds while the interpreter takes 10 seconds to translate what has been uttered by the witness.

The interpreter role is not only to interpret the words, but to create the same tone and emotion of the witness.

well let me translate that if i can hillary clinton GIF by Election 2016

Imagine in a criminal rape case if the witness is asked “have you ever raped anyone?”.

Scenario A: The witness quickly answers NO.

disagree no way GIF by VH1

Scenario B: The witness is silent for three seconds… thinks about it… utters a murmur and then answers NO.

not for me no GIF by Originals

These two answers say a lot about the state of mind of the witness and they should be “mimicked” as part of the interpretation. It is the role of the interpreter to step in the shoes of the witness and sound like him.

In scenario B, all utterances, and even “hums” need to be interpreted. Sometimes, the emotions of the witness will play an important role in the interpreters’ choice of words.

In 2007, Spain’s Prime Minister Zapatero was trying to speak. Hugo Chavez, ex-President of Venezuela, kept on interrupting him. The king of Spain, Juan Carlos, then asked Hugo “¿Porque no se calla?”. By his tone, you could see he was just asking him to be quiet. The interpreter for the US media interpreted it as “Shut up”. This is obviously a different message, one that did not allow for context and interpretation of the emotions.

Often times, emotions take on more meaning than words, especially when it comes to communication in high context cultures.

court GIF

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Happy Lexi Day

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April 25 is recognized as World Penguin Day to celebrate this amazing creature’s annual, northward migration. These black and white feathered animals are superbly adapted to aquatic life. Penguins are counter-shaded for camouflage. Their white belly, when looked at from below, looks like reflective water surface instead of a penguin. 

Many have asked, who is this cute guy behind the image of Local Concept?

In the event of World Penguin Day, we have the pleasure of introducing him. His name is Lexi. He is over 30 years old. He was born in San Diego, California, and has also lived in over 50 countries.

Some penguins love the cold, some love tempered weather. Lexi is adaptable to any weather, country, or language. He is the perfect representation of Local Concept: he fits in anywhere, and will go above and beyond to help our clients create a truly global product.

We love our penguin Lexi so much that we have developed our very own technology offering named after him!


When you work with Local Concept you can view all of your translation projects online, review schedules, budget, and pending issues. LexiPM can be accessed 24/7 by any of your team members as well as your Ad Agency.


With our online Glossary Management system, all you need is a browser and you can connect to your very own glossary and branding strategy.

Each client gets a customized account with login credentials. It is very easy to setup and to use – no software installation required.

It offers you one central location for all of your glossaries. 

and gives authorized users access to the same document, so no need to find out which version is the latest one.

For an in-penguin interview with Lexi, or to find out more about LexiPM or LexiTerm, reach out to our Client Strategies team today.

Email: info@localconcept.com

Phone: +1 (619) 295-2682

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Easter around the World

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Egg hunting, bunnies, and baskets full of candy – it’s that time of the year again. While these traditions are well known in North America, what does Easter mean for different countries around the world? And how do you say Happy Easter in five different languages?

Spain – Felices Pascuas

Easter is known as Semana Santa which means Holy Week in English. It is the biggest religious celebration of the year, and it includes a great deal of eating and drinking. Parades crowd the streets replicating the day of crucifixion, and Spaniards enjoy some time off work to spend with families and friends.

Indonesia – Selamat Hari Paskah

Portuguese missionaries brought Christianity to Indonesia, which is primarily a Muslim country. While Easter is celebrated mainly among Christians (10% of the population), Good Friday is a day-off for all. Re-enacting the crucifixion is a ceremony that mixes Filipino folk tradition with Christian devotion, and it is considered an honor to be tied to the cross like Jesus was.

Czech Republic – Veselé Velikonoce

On Easter Monday, a rather unusual tradition is carried out. Men playfully spank women with handmade, ribbon-decorated whips made of pussywillow twigs. Pomlázka means whip in English, and it has become the name of this tradition itself. It is believed that being spanked with a whip will bring health, beauty, and fertility during the next year.

Norway – God Påske

It is a holiday which many Norwegians look forward to after a long winter period of darkness. In fact, they have the longest Easter holiday in the world. Shops and work places are closed over Mandy Thursday (skjærtorsdag), Good Friday (langfredag), and the Monday following Easter Sunday, known as andre påskedag. Traditions unique to this country include heading out to the mountains enjoying sunshine, skiing, eating oranges and chocolate, as well as reading crime stories and detective novels.

Brazil – Feliz Páscoa

Easter eggs are an important part of the Brazilian celebrations, and can be found a month in advance strung across ceiling aisles inside supermarkets. Milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, with sprinkles, caramel, hazelnuts, raisins, cookies – Chocoholics of the world wouldn’t mind a trip to this country during Easter. They also create straw dolls to illustrate Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, then destroy them in the streets.


We would love to hear about your Easter traditions – leave a comment below!

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Is Neural Machine Translation (NMT) Here to Stay?

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Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is like politics: everyone talks about it, but few know what’s truly going on.

President of Local Concept, Michael R. Cárdenas, and President of Systran, Dennis Gachot, presented at this year’s LocWorld in Kuala Lumpur on the status of NMT. The discussion outlined an objective view on this technology.

What is Neural Machine Translation?

In short, it replaces traditional, statistical MT with a Neural Network model. NMT is known to create more accurate output than Statistical MT, however, it is not for everyone. You have to dive in and get your feet wet before concluding if it will work for you or not.

What is the difference between Neural Machine Translation and Statistical Machine Translation?

While MT uses algorithms purely based on statistical models, NMT learns linguistic patterns and applies them to translate text. In other words, the neural network can be trained to recognize data patterns and improve translation output over time, whereas Statistical MT uses the most probable output.

How do I know if MT is for me?

The standard statistical quality analysis methods, such as BlueScore, are a starting point for quality analysis, but you need to follow up with data analysis from a human-based quality metric.

While it works considerably well for technical text, creative material still sees very weak results. The quality is also different per language pair. To effectively rely on NMT for technical material, there needs to be a substantial investment of time and money to train the engine for your language pair(s).

Is NMT here to stay?

Yes, it definitely is. More and more research is being done each day and the advancements in the area are noticeable. If you want to remain ahead of the game, you need to get your feet wet now.

Any questions about NMT or MT? Leave a comment or contact us today!
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Pain-Free Client Reviews

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Pain-Free Client Reviews

By Michael R. Cárdenas

I lied when I created this title. Client reviews just like any other type of reviews are never easy but here are some strategies that can ease the pain.

Set Expectations

What kind of quality are you looking for? Did I hear you say you always expect perfection? That’s fine. However, some clients might have different quality standards. For instance, a high visibility project, such as a marketing or advertising campaign, needs to be just right. I would also strongly suggest instructions on how to launch a parachute be correct.

Some other types of projects like creating a service manual for a washing machine may have more flexible quality requirements. I would first agree on general quality terms such as “perfect,” “good,” “unacceptable” and “acceptable.”

Now comes the tricky part: How do you match these quality definitions with the actual translations? For a large part of my career, I’ve tried to come up with a formula to define these quality standards. I could write a book on this topic and let you read it, but I’d have to charge you.

I would suggest that you define errors as either objective or subjective. For example, a subjective preferential bias towards one way of translating when there are two equally correct ways to translate is subjective. Whereas, a mistranslation is objectively an error, no matter which translators you consult with.

Errors also should be weighed depending on the nature of the mistake. For instance, at Local Concept, we look at several determining factors:

  1. Accuracy of translation: Does the translation convey the intended message?
  2. Grammar and spelling mistakes
  3. Local differences: Are local requirements being taken into account? (i.e. local telephone numbers)
  4. Consistency: Is the glossary used throughout the translation?

Once you have identified all of the types of errors, you can provide a different penalty to each one.

I would also suggest a holistic approach to client reviews. By holistic, I mean each of the stakeholders in the project – the client, the client reviewer, and the agency – need to share a goal to work toward together to create the best translation possible. This is the most challenging part of client reviews.

Let me speak to each stakeholder and provide areas where each one tends to make things challenging and ways to ease the pain.

Understand the Basics

The job of a client reviewer is an important one. Most of the time clients look to anyone in their company who speaks a second language to handle this task. If such a candidate does not exist, some clients ask anyone who has visited the country, where they speak the language, or a restaurant from that same country.

Here are some basic requirements for a good reviewer. They must have:

  • excellent grammar skills;
  • subject matter expertise;
  • a working knowledge of translation memory, and lastly;
  • time to perform their work.

Clients need to understand that translations are not an exact science. Through a collaborative effort, clients will be able to create the proper tone, terminology, and branding no matter what locale or language.

Errors will undoubtedly be made. When issues arise, everyone should take note, and have a plan in place to make sure these same errors don’t resurface. The focus for the team, when difference of opinions or errors in a translation comes up, is not to place blame, but to look to executing the best strategy going forward.

Once this has been achieved, you can better recognize which process changes need to be improved upon, based on the root cause of the problem. Clients should be somewhat patient while the review process is being finely tuned. Once this has occurred, then clients need to be less forgiving to errors.

Before making a change to a translation, make sure it’s necessary. Since this change will have to be made in the entire database, (no, you can’t just do a simple search and replace) you need to review each sentence that contains that word.

Finally, client reviewers should be tested in a timed environment. This is not common practice in our industry, but you can only make sure your reviewer is good if they pass a test. The test should include three different skills. 1) Knowledge of the subject matter; 2) A marketing piece that tests creativity even though creativity may not be required. You want out-of- the-box thinkers and a marketing or advertising piece will pick up on this skill.; 3) Lastly, they should edit someone’s work so you can see whether they perform a rewrite.

Identify Client Reviewer Stereotypes

Now it’s time to go over the most popular reviewer stereotypes out there.

The “I need to earn my pay” reviewer

This reviewer feels he/she needs to make as many changes as they can in order to substantiate their role. Even when asked to focus on the errors, they end up delivering a rewrite. They’re more concerned with having their changes all over the document, than making only what’s required. These reviewers can’t usually be coached and end up costing clients time and money.

The “It’s my way or the highway” reviewer

This reviewer doesn’t want to hear anyone’s opinion. They have an ego that barely fits through a door. When challenged, they don’t bark, they bite. In translations, often times, there is no right or wrong strategy. For instance, for an eLearning course for Hispanics working at a fast food chain, where they’re taught food handling techniques, one can argue that the formal tone should be used out of respect. The opposite, informal approach can be just as likely to be used (since it levels itself to a more collaborative working environment). Client reviewers need to be flexible and allow ideas to be bounced back, instead of pushing their own agenda.

Client reviewers need to be flexible and open-minded about language and translation. When I first started out as a translator, I would try to reason with such authoritative types. What did this approach get me? A lost client.

Now, I document our translation choices and allow for the inevitable to happen for this type of reviewer; making a mistake that causes him/her a job. Our industry requires collaboration; without it, no one wins.

The “I know it all” reviewer (but knows nothing)

These reviewers are quick to criticize and make generalizations without proper foundation. When their grammar or translation is questioned, they get offended. From an agency’s perspective, these reviewers can cost you your client.

White gloves with these reviewers are strongly recommended. My strategy is to go through each client reviewer change and prepare an explanation detailing whether you are in agreement or not. Then, I would have a call between the client reviewer and the agency linguist to go over the changes. This is an opportunity for the agency to determine your standing with the client reviewer, the knowledge of the reviewer, and his/her impression about your quality.

If your client’s reviewer is making the wrong translation choices and you feel they’re not competent, you have two choices. First, diplomatically tell the client the truth. Before you do so, find out a little bit about the reviewer (i.e. Is he employed by your client? What is his role in the company?) You must assume your comments may get back to the reviewer and he/she might decide to change translation houses.

A second option is to explain to the client that you’re willing to make all of the changes the reviewer has suggested, even though you’re not in an agreement, but will keep a document that stores this information.

Then, there are times the error is so egregious you have no choice but to escalate the matter to higher authorities. I had a client reviewer who I agreed to make her changes, although most were wrong. It was a cosmetic company and they were coming up with a cream to be applied on the buttocks of women who wanted to lose weight. Unfortunately, the client reviewer changed the application to mean “please insert the cream” …you get the point. We sent a letter to the president of the company informing him of the nature of the translation. We got a new reviewer.

The “perfect” reviewer

I left the best for last. He/she:

  • has excellent command of both the source and target language;
  • is a subject matter expert for the material being translated;
  • makes only the necessary changes and is open to difference of opinions; and
  • works with translation memory.

Heck, I’m on a roll here, how about he/she tells your client to pay you more. I would say 20% of our reviewers fit this personality. Treat them well, send them Christmas cards, chocolates, and vote for them to be President.

All client edits need to be reviewed by the agency, to make sure nothing has been lost in translation. A question often asked is if clients need to perform a full review or just a spot check. My philosophy is: start reviewing everything and once the quality is good, perform random reviews.

Continue with What Works (and Leave Behind What Doesn’t)

When choosing a linguist, agencies should look for the same attributes as we mentioned when discussing the client reviewer. I would add one more requirement here; they must leave their ego/emotions at the door. We all understand how seriously linguists take language and culture. We need to not take it personally when we receive client feedback.

You might have noticed me alluding to the fact that often times we need to work with a difficult reviewer, clients, or agencies. Here are some helpful tips on how to deal with difficult colleagues.

First, choose your battles wisely. Stand your ground when the term or the translation will have some serious consequences when it goes out on the market. Remember the Spanish translation for “Got Milk?” It ended up asking consumers if they were lactating.

Second, state your position with the necessary backup. Google is a pool of information, but it is not always reliable. Dictionaries are helpful, but not always spot on. Use subject matter experts who ultimately should be the decision makers on the subject being translated. Also, stay positive during your communications. Try to resolve differences gracefully. Oh boy, I sound like a counselor.

A caveat I would like to share with you is to not make any assumptions. During editing, I find many translators prefer to translate without asking for clarification. This can only lead to errors. At a translation conference in Seville, where I presented on the topic of creating quality translations, I put what looks like a traveling bag on the top of the table where I was presenting. After speaking for 90 minutes, I asked the translators in the audience what was in the bag. They answered a computer, papers, clothing, and traveling items. I opened the bag, and took out my dog, “Toro,” who had been quietly sleeping.

Case in point: don’t make assumptions. With a closer look at the bag, they would have noticed there was a mesh net for an animal to breathe and would have identified it as a pet carrying bag.

I leave you with two last thoughts. Increase your tolerance to frustrations, which are inevitable and part of the review process. Secondly, translators who know their translations are being reviewed by the client will perform better than if no review is done.


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Entrega del Premio Cervantes en Alcalá de Henares

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Como cada 23 de abril, Alcalá de Henares y su Universidad Cisneriana se visten de gala para la entrega de uno de los premios culturales más importantes de España: el Premio de Literatura en Lengua Castellana Miguel de Cervantes.

¿Qué es el Premio Cervantes?

Tal y como explica la página del sitio web del Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte (MECD) dedicada a este galardón, el Premio Cervantes «es el máximo reconocimiento a la labor creadora de escritores españoles e hispanoamericanos cuya obra haya contribuido a enriquecer de forma notable el patrimonio literario en lengua española».

Toma su nombre del célebre autor complutense Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, escritor de la bien conocida obra El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, que se considera una de las obras más importantes no solo de la literatura en castellano sino de la literatura universal.

El Premio Cervantes se convoca desde 1975 y entre sus galardonados podemos encontrar grandes nombres de la literatura en español como Dámaso Alonso (1978), Jorge Luis Borges (1979), Rafael Alberti (1983), Gonzalo Torrente Ballester (1985), María Zambrano (1988), Mario Vargas Llosas (1994) o Camilo José Cela (1995), entre muchos otros.

En su historia, hasta el momento, solamente cuatro mujeres han recibido el galardón (la última en hacerlo fue Elena Poniatowska en 2013).

La dotación económica del premio son 125.000 euros.

¿Quién puede ser candidato y quién conforma el jurado?

Según el MECD, a este premio puede optar «cualquier escritor cuya obra literaria esté escrita, totalmente o en su parte esencial» en español. También señala que tanto las Academias de la Lengua Española como los autores premiados en anteriores convocatorias o las instituciones que estén vinculadas a la literatura en lengua castellana y los miembros del jurado del premio pueden presentar candidatos a recibir el galardón.

El jurado, desde 2008, lo conforman:

  • Los dos últimos galardonados con el Premio de Literatura en Lengua Castellana Miguel de Cervantes.
  • Un miembro de la Real Academia Española.
  • Un miembro de una de las Academias Iberoamericanas de la lengua española.
  • Cuatro personalidades del mundo académico, universitario y literario, de reconocido prestigio, propuestos, respectivamente, por la Conferencia de Rectores de las Universidades Españolas, la Unión de Universidades de América Latina, el Director del Instituto Cervantes y el Ministro de Cultura.
  • Dos miembros elegidos entre representantes de suplementos culturales de diarios, propuestos, respectivamente, por la Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas de España y una asociación de periodistas mayoritaria en Latinoamérica.
  • Uno a propuesta de la Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas, de nacionalidad no española ni iberoamericana.

La cuna de Cervantes, lugar de entrega para su premio

Tal y como señala el MECD, el Premio Cervantes se falla a finales de año y se entrega el 23 de abril, Día Internacional del Libro.

Dos datos curiosos sobre esta fecha: a pesar de que se dice que es el día del fallecimiento de Miguel de Cervantes, en realidad se trata de la fecha de su entierro porque el autor falleció el 22 de abril, tal y como se indica en el sitio web del 400 aniversario de la muerte del autor, que se celebró en 2016. Como segunda anécdota sobre esta fecha, cabe destacar que se ha dicho en numerosas ocasiones que Miguel de Cervantes comparte la fecha de su muerte con otro gran escritor de la literatura universal, William Shakespeare. Sin embargo, este artículo de la revista Muy Historia explica que las defunciones no sucedieron el mismo día porque existía por aquel entonces un desfase entre el calendario que se usaba en España y el que se usaba en Inglaterra.

El lugar elegido para la entrega del Premio de Cervantes no podía ser otro que la ciudad que lo vio nacer: Alcalá de Henares (Madrid).

Cada 23 de abril, en el Paraninfo de la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, SS. MM. los Reyes de España entregan el galardón.

El Paraninfo de la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (originalmente Universidad Complutense en referencia al nombre romano de la ciudad, Complutum) es la sala más emblemática del Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso. Fue edificado por Pedro de la Cotera y su construcción se inició en 1516. El Paraninfo tiene una larga historia como lugar de acogida para la celebración de actos ilustres, tal y como señala el sitio web de la actual Universidad de Alcalá en su página dedicada a esta sala. El Paraninfo puede visitarte en visitas guiadas (y explicadas) a la Universidad de Alcalá, a través de las que se puede conocer un poco más de su historia.

Otro dato curioso para terminar: en una de las paredes dentro del recinto de la Universidad Cisneriana, antes de llegar al Paraninfo, los visitantes podrán observar retratos de cada uno de los ganadores del Premio Cervantes hasta la fecha (con el año en el que lo ganaron). Sin embargo, no están colocados en orden cronológico. En la visita explican por qué… tendréis que hacerla para descubrirlo.

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竟然沒聽過 DTP?翻譯專案幕後大功臣

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DTP是什麼?DTP 的全名叫Desktop Publishing,是透過如Adobe Indesign、Framemaker等軟體,或Office相關文書程式,針對圖片和文章加以編排。經驗老道的DTP人員可獨立作業處理多國語言及數種不同格式的檔案,不僅能找出字裡行間的小錯誤,辨識內文中不應該出現的字句或亂碼,更能及時發現內容出現的常見錯誤包含漏譯、錯字、缺圖缺段落。所以DTP不僅對翻譯本身需要有深入了解,還須具備出版相關知識,才能完美呈現翻譯專案,畫龍點睛。也鑒於翻譯專案的多元性和複雜性,DTP在現今的外語本土化產業中已經是不可或缺一道關卡了。


你一定也會想,什麼樣的人能做 DTP。如果你無法忍受任何微小的錯誤,看到的可能會是翻譯錯誤,或是圖形不正常的翻轉變形,或是字型忽大忽小,或是在一段文字裡出現不同語言別的文字,又或是因為版面編排的問題讓一些小地方被壓到看不見,不管發生哪一種,當下會克制不住衝動想幫他修正,DTP 的工作非你莫屬。


曾經在一個國外的活動會場看到一個短期刺青 (7 days Tattoo) 看板,就放在店門口,現場人來人往的,當下很壞心的告訴了朋友,卻沒有給店家建議,於是,看到好多來自世界各地的人在手臂上刺了讓人啼笑皆非的文字,這也算是一種文化衝擊吧。下列圖中您能發現幾項錯誤呢?




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Hablar en público

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Siempre me ha resultado curioso el hecho de que una cultura tan abierta como la española haya tenido tantas dificultades al hablar un idioma en público. ¿Nunca te has parado a pensar por qué alguien que solo conoce 3 palabras de francés se desenvuelve como pez en el agua, mientras que tú tardas 3 minutos para poder pronunciar una única frase? ¿Por qué culturas tan similares a la nuestra como la italiana parecen más sueltas con el inglés? ¿Por qué en España alguien que fracasa queda marcado para el resto de su vida? ¿Es lógica esta visión del fracaso? Lo que en nuestro país parece lógico, en otros sitios no lo es. A priori, podemos pensar que son factores meramente personales los que influyen en este tipo de actitudes, pero también es cierto que se esconden otros tantos factores culturales. Veamos algunos de ellos.

  1. Miedo al fracaso

Por fracaso hacemos referencia a la segunda acepción de la definición dada por la Real Academia de la Lengua: 2. Suceso lastimoso, inopinado y funesto.

Como norma general, en España tenemos miedo a fracasar, en su más amplio sentido. Por ello, el simple hecho de imaginarnos que alguien nos pueda hablar en un idioma distinto al materno y que no lo entendamos supondría un suceso más que funesto, en alusión al calificativo de la RAE. En palabras algo más recientes y de estos últimos años: todo un drama del siglo XXI.

públicoEn un ámbito empresarial, el miedo al fracaso paraliza a la sociedad española en infinidad de ocasiones, ya que se asocia a la pérdida de oportunidades y se ve desde un punto de vista trágico. Incluso me atrevería a decir que esta acepción del término fracaso se puede hacer extensible a muchos países europeos. Sin embargo, en otras culturas, como la estadounidense, el fracaso se asocia a la apertura de nuevas oportunidades y se considera un motivo para generar cambios e innovar.

De este modo, el mismo fracaso en Nueva York o en Madrid nos supondría un impulso o un freno, según el modelo cultural en el que hayamos crecido. Es obvio que este freno –en el caso de España– afecta tanto a la faceta profesional como a la personal; y, por desgracia, la situación en el futuro no presagia nada positivo, ya que, según diversos estudios, ocho de cada diez mileniales tiene miedo al fracaso profesional.

  1. Educación

Es este un factor meramente nacional, y no europeo. Más allá de las modificaciones en legislación educativa que España viene sufriendo desde hace más de una década, la educación en nuestro país está basada en un modelo escrito, y no oral; un modelo más pasivo que activo.

[Aún recuerdo el shock de la primera clase de Filosofía en el instituto cuando tuvimos que debatir por grupos. Con el tiempo descubrí que no fue un drama personal, sino más bien generacional.]

Con un modelo educativo que se basa en pruebas y exámenes escritos, las destrezas orales no se desarrollan al ritmo que deberían, teniendo que recuperar el «tiempo perdido» a marchas forzadas en entidades de educación superior como la universidad. Por seguir con el parangón con Italia que ya usé anteriormente, en el país transalpino gran parte de los exámenes se realiza de forma oral. Sin duda alguna, esto les aporta a sus estudiantes unas destrezas a la hora de desenvolverse no solo en su idioma materno, sino también en otros.

  1. Factores personalespúblico

Inseguridad, falta de confianza o vergüenza son otros de las factores que nos aplastan mentalmente a la hora de hablar un idioma. Con el paso del tiempo, y en función de las necesidades de cada individuo, estas se irán paliando con más o menos rapidez. Aún recuerdo las palabras de un profesor de secundaria que me dijo: «Sabemos hablar inglés, aunque aún no lo sepamos. O en otras palabras, aún no hemos tenido la necesidad de hablarlo.»

A pesar de que nuestras destrezas orales no sean del todo excelentes, a nivel europeo somos reconocidos por nuestro amplio y detallado conocimiento de los aspectos gramaticales, por ejemplo. Así que, si formas parte de ese grupo que tiene miedo al fracaso, no esperes más y empieza a chapurrear todo lo que sabes. Al fin y al cabo, algún día tendremos que acabar con este miedo, ¿verdad?

*Fuente imagen:


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Celebración de St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Patrick’s Day (Día de San Patricio) se celebra cada año el 17 de marzo. Tradicionalmente, se conoce por ser la fiesta del patrón de Irlanda pero la celebración de St. Patrick’s Day es popular en muchos otros lugares, principalmente aquellos donde ha habido un volumen de inmigración irlandesa importante.

¿Cuál es el origen de St. Patrick’s Day?

La celebración tiene origen religioso y conmemora la muerte de San Patricio (el 17 de marzo del año 461 D.C.) y la llegada del cristianismo a Irlanda. Patrick introdujo esta religión en Irlanda, convirtiendo a miles de «paganos» que creían en los cultos de los druidas.Irish_clover

Sin embargo, con el tiempo se ha convertido en una celebración de toda la cultura y herencia de Irlanda. Tradicionalmente, en las celebraciones de St.Patrick’s Day se realizan desfiles en las calles y las personas que lo celebran suelen vestirse de verde en este día por influencia directa de otro de los símbolos más conocidos en torno a la celebración de St. Patrick’s Day: el trébol de tres hojas o shamrock.  Según la leyenda, Patrick empleaba los tréboles para explicar el misterio de la Santísima Trinidad a los «paganos» irlandeses.

Celebraciones de St. Patrick’s Day por el mundo

En Irlanda, es fiesta nacional y se considera el día nacional de manera similar a lo que podría ser el 12 de octubre en España y otros países de América Latina. Es un festival que dura varios días (actualmente, de 4 a 5 días) con diferentes actividades, entre las que destaca el desfile (St. Patrick’s Parade). Este año se celebra entre los días 16 y 19 de marzo (más información al hacer clic aquí).

En Reino Unido, es un día que también goza de gran popularidad, a pesar de no ser festivo nacional (solamente es festivo en Irlanda del Norte). Por ejemplo, Liverpool, ciudad que tradicionalmente ha recibido mucha inmigración irlandesa, tiene bien establecida la celebración de St. Patrick’s Day con actividades como música en directo o el desfile. Por otro lado, Birmingham organiza cada año un desfile con motivo de este día que es el tercero más grande del mundo, por detrás del de Dublín y el de Nueva York. También la capital británica celebra desde el año 2002 un desfile para celebrar este día.

St. Patrick’s DayEn los Estados Unidos, que recibieron mucha inmigración irlandesa en el pasado, es también una celebración muy popular. El desfile que se organiza en Nueva York con motivo de este día es actualmente el más grande del mundo.

En Argentina, otro país que acogió muchos inmigrantes irlandeses, también se celebran fiestas en las calles de ciudades como Buenos Aires, Rosario o Córdoba.

En la ciudad canadiense de Montreal se celebra también cada año uno de los desfiles del Día de San Patricio más grandes de América del Norte.

Algunas curiosidades sobre St.Patrick’s Day

  • San Patricio no era irlandés: en realidad, San Patricio pertenecía a una familia romano-británica y llegó a Irlanda con dieciséis años, secuestrado por invasores irlandeses.St_Patrick's _Day
  • Patricio no era su nombre: el nombre original del santo era en realidad Maewyn Succat. Cambió de nombre al convertirse en sacerdote a Patricius, que en latín significa «figura paterna».
  • El trébol de tres hojas (shamrock): según la leyenda, San Patricio utilizaba el trébol de tres hojas para explicar el misterio de la Santísima Trinidad a los «paganos» irlandeses.
  • Festivo nacional desde 1903: a pesar de que como festividad religiosa se celebraba desde mucho antes, hasta ese año no pasó a ser un festi
    vo nacional. El miembro del parlamento de origen irlandés, James O’Mara, promovió el Acto del Parlamento Británico que otorgó esa categoría a la celebración.
  • San Patricio echó de Irlanda a todas las serpientes: la leyenda en torno al santo dice que se encargó de desterrar de la isla a estos reptiles. Sin embargo, se cree que nunca hubo serpientes en Irlanda debido a las temperaturas demasiado frías para estos animales.
  • Excepción a la cuaresma: si la celebración de Patrick’s Day coincidía con la cuaresma, para el día, la restricción de beber alcohol se levantaba.
  • Primera celebración en EE.UU.: en la actualidad, el desfile de Nueva York es el más popular de los Estados Unidos pero la primera celebración que se realizó en el país para conmemorar este día tuvo lugar en Boston (Massachussets) en 1737.
  • Chicago tiñe el río de verde: cada año, la ciudad estadounidense tiñe de verde el río Kelly con motivo de las celebraciones por Patrick’s Day. Solamente dura unas cinco horas este color en el agua.

Chicago River Green

  • Más irlandeses en EE.UU. que en Irlanda: hay unos 34 millones de estadounidenses que descienden de irlandeses mientras que la población total de Irlanda está en torno a los 4 millones.
  • Doble de Guinness en un solo día: el consumo de la popular cerveza negra irlandesa, Guinness, supera los 13 millones de pintas en este día, cuando en un día normal se consumen en torno a 5, 5 millones de Guinness.

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