It’s all Greek to me

Speaking and understanding different languages means that you can uncover and analyze other cultures in the world. As to do so, it will take a lot of time. Because the older you get, the more difficult it is to learn another language and of course not all languages are equally easy to learn. In this post you will discover which languages are the most difficult to learn for English and Spanish natives. If you’re already able to speak one of these (without being bilingual), you’re doing a great job!

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Translation of proverbs

The translation of proverbs is one of the most peculiar aspects of translation, sharing certain similarities with the translation of poetry and with a large research component. My grandmother was illiterate, but she had an impressive store of proverbs in her head and was able to add a saying to nearly every sentence she spoke. She never ceased to surprise me and I learnt a lot from her. It’s possible that younger generations no longer resort to proverbs so much and therefore they are not used by a large percentage of the population. But they’ll never disappear and there must be a reason for that.

I’m not going to enter into a discussion on the differences between proverb, idiom and saying, when not even the dictionary can provide clear criteria to differentiate them. As I see it, their definition confuses the issue rather than clarifying it. The main thing is that, as regards translation, the problem we have to face is basically the same in the three cases.

The same proverb changes from one town to the next and even among groups of people. Significant variations of the same proverb occur in different countries, so that it is sometimes difficult to recognise the same proverb from two different sources. Their origin in the spoken language doubtlessly explains this apparent confusion, which is not really so great. The passing of time also influences this differentiation.

When working as a translator, I have come across the challenge of translating a proverb without the slightest idea of knowing how it is said in the target language. Sometimes, the equivalent proverb didn’t even exist in the other language, or at least that was what I found. Some readers might be thinking that all we need is a list of proverbs in one language and their translation in the other, or a simple table of equivalent sayings. A correctly trained machine translator would be able to use that list and with a few adjustments the problem would be solved relatively easily, wouldn’t it? Well, it isn’t that simple.

A few examples of what Google Translate proposes as translations of some of the most common Spanish proverbs will be enough for readers to get an idea of the problem. I’ve carried out the same test with DeepL, a next-generation translator based on deep learning, the technology currently most in fashion in the world of machine translation.

Proverb, saying, idiom Google Translate (Spanish-English) DeepL translation(Spanish-English)
Tomar el pelo Pull the wool over eyes Tease
Cuando el grajo vuela bajo, hace un frío del carajo When the rook flies low, it gets really cold When the rookie flies low, it’s fucking cold.
A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando To God begging and with the mallet giving To God praying and with the sledgehammer giving
A falta de pan, buenas son las tortas A lack of bread, cakes are good For lack of bread, good are cakes
Más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush Better bird in hand than a

hundred flying

Cada loco con su tema To each his own theme Every madman with his theme
No por mucho madrugar, amanece más temprano Not for long madrugar, dawn earlier Not for long to get up, it dawns earlier
Quien siembra vientos, recoge tempestades. He who sows winds gathers tempests. The one who sows winds, reaps storms.
Mucho ruido y pocas nueces Much ado About Nothing Lots of noise and few nuts

DeepL sometimes does a better job than Google Translate, but not always. DeepL is based on human translations included in Linguee, and has been created by the same people who started Linguee, which is more like a translation memory tool than classic machine translation. It’s obvious that if the proverb is not included in Linguee, we should not expect a good translation. The result will probably be the same or worse than the one in Google Translate, as the above table shows.

As we can see, the solution is still in the hands of human translators.

Language degeneration

Many people say that languages are degenerating, mainly because of the use of messaging apps and social networks, which encourage a rather lax and informal style of writing. However, the fact is that languages change over time. Today, we don’t use many of the expressions and words that people used a century ago, for example. Just as the clothes we wear today are different from those that people used to wear.
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Omnichannel in the retail industry

Consumers want to be able to make and pick up an order how, where and when they want it. They also want to be able to communicate with the brand in different ways (in-store, mobile, computer, …). This is the future of both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores.

So, what’s the best option to satisfy customers’ needs? Is it better to open up a store or just launch an e-commerce? The answer is; a combination of both.
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Differences between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning

When Google DeepMind’s program AlphaGo beat the South Korean expert Lee Sedol at the board game Go in early 2016, the terms artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) were used by the mass media to describe how it had won. All three of them are part of the reason why AlphaGo beat Lee, but they are not the same thing.

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AI Show Madrid

The Madrid AI-Show took place on October 25-26, within IFEMA Madrid. AI Show is the first conference and trade fair that focuses on applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and on analyzing the impact these technologies have on the industrial fabric. AI Show, as such, was part of the eShow Madrid, which was on its XX edition and pursued to bring together eCommerce and Digital Marketing leaders. The event was a fusion of AI applications and solutions for eCommerce. For this reason, wasn’t it the perfect place to showcase our company? This is what we thought, and hence we decided to go out of the office, pick up our roll-ups, and get a place at the event.
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A Brief Approach to Programming Paradigms

In the world of Computer Science, we can find programming languages to suit all tastes. Of course, the choice of one language or another does not depend on our taste, but on the context in which it is to be used. Implementing a facial recognition system is not the same as developing a RESTful API… However, there are not only different programming languages that we can choose depending on each situation, but also different programming paradigms. In this post we’ll take a brief look at what each of these paradigms consists of.

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