Translation-related know-how, examples and latest news.

The Czech Republic―The Beautiful City of Prague and Many Other Fascinating Features

March 13, 2017

Czech translation

Hi, I'm Yucchi. I just recently transferred to the translation industry from another business field. Since this is my first time working in translation, I'm constantly learning so many new things each day with the help of my senior co-workers.

Prague is famous for its lovely scenery, and always ranks high as one of the world's most beautiful cities. Although I was familiar with the name of this European city, I wasn't exactly sure in which country it was located. This time, I decided to do some research on the Czech Republic.

Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, it has a glorious history and once even was the center of the Holy Roman Empire. However, Prague's breathtaking scenery is only one of the many appealing features that the Czech Republic boasts. This small European country is also proud of its many museums, its deeply rooted history of fine music and, last but definitely not least, its savory beer! Today, I would like to share with you some of my findings on this fascinating country.

The History of the Czech Republic

A look at a map on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website told me that the Czech Republic was an inland country, bordered by Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria. It was originally the western half of Czechoslovakia, but won independence in 1993, following World WarⅡand a string of revolutionary movements. You can tell, even from a quick read, that the Czech Republic has a fairly dramatic history.

A Surprisingly Familiar Country―My Findings on Bulgaria's Language and Culture

March 6, 2017

Bulgarian translation

Hello, I'm Yosshi. I entered the translation business two years ago, dreaming of an international career. Since then, every day I keep discovering more about the ever-fascinating world of translation.

Arc Communications provides translation services in 44 different languages, including Bulgarian.

I'm ashamed to admit that the only things that came to mind when I thought about the country of Bulgaria was the Japanese yogurt brand and the famous sumo wrestler from this country, Koto-ohshu-zeki. Realizing how little I knew about Bulgaria, I decided to do some research on this country and its language. According to the Bulgarian Tourist Board, the number of Japanese companies expanding business to Bulgaria has been increasing in recent years in fields as varied as the environment-related sectors, automotive parts manufacturing and tourism.

The Past and Present of Bulgaria

Bulgaria and Japan have overall maintained a favorable relationship through the years. Even during times of conflict such as international wars and Bulgaria's breakup of diplomatic relations due to a national coup, Japan and Bulgaria have never been in direct confrontation with each other. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, during the Japan World Exposition, Osaka 1970 (Expo '70), the Chairman of the State Council (Head of State) Todor Zhivkov, came to Japan and was astounded by Japan's rapid development. Zhivkov was so inspired that, in the following years, he sent many leading figures of his country to Japan to learn from the successful nation. Also, the now well-known "Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt" product line was created as the result of a chance encounter at the Expo '70. When employees at Meiji Dairies Corporation tasted the yogurt samples at the Bulgaria pavilion, they were impressed by the delicious taste and decided to create a product just like it. In 1973, Meiji Dairies Corporation received an official permit from the Bulgarian government to use the name of their country as part of the new product's name. This product is now what is widely known as "Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt" in Japan.

Carnation: Spain's Floral Emblem

February 27, 2017

Spain's National Flower

Hello. I am Yucchi, a fledgling translator who transferred last autumn from a different field. After reading my colleague Naho's blog post on Ireland's floral emblem, the Shamrock, I started to develop an interest in national flowers.

The other day, I went to see my first opera, Carmen. I was very moved by how passionate and intense the performances were. The image of Carmen wearing a red flower behind her ear especially left a strong impression. After some research, I found out that it was a carnation, known as Spain's floral emblem.

The Flower Beloved by Spaniards

Freedom of belief is protected by the Spanish constitution, yet according to the official website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about 75% of Spain's population is Catholic. From what I read on Minnano Hana Zukan (Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Flowers for Everyone), carnations first appeared where Virgin Mary shed tears at Jesus' plight of carrying the Cross, and therefore the flower also symbolizes the great love of a mother. Todos los Santos is the Spanish equivalent of All Saints' Day and the Obon festival in Japan (お盆: celebrating the return of ancestral spirits). On that day, people often bring carnations to the graves of deceased relatives.

Cattleya: Costa Rica's Floral Emblem

February 20, 2017

The National Flower of Costa Rica

Hello again, I'm Naho, a girl who would love to spend this summer by the sea. If there is a country where it's summer throughout the year, a tropical paradise that's surrounded by the beautiful sea, it has to be Costa Rica, a well-known surfing destination located in Central America.

Just like the country itself, its national flower is also full of tropical charm. Today I would like to talk about Costa Rica's floral emblem, the cattleya, and explore more of the country's abundant nature.

The Origin of the Name "Cattleya"

Caught between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea is Costa Rica, a land of everlasting summer. The flower that was chosen to be its floral emblem is called cattleya, a species of orchid native to Central America. Cattleyas are famous for their large, showy flowers and their pleasant aroma, and are very popular as ornamental plants.

Amongst the various species within the orchid family, cattleyas are crowned "the Queen of orchids" - such is their popularity.

Shamrock: The Surprising Meaning of Ireland's Floral Emblem

February 13, 2017

The national flower of Ireland

Hello again, Naho here. Stuck at work, I sometimes just zone out and start asking myself random questions, such as "what is happiness?" Some say that finding a four-leaf clover promises good luck and happiness, I wonder if it's true...

A shamrock is a young sprig of clover, also considered a national symbol of Ireland. Like in many other countries, shamrocks represent good fortune in Ireland. However, there are some other aspects to the story that are not as well known.

The Hidden Meaning of Shamrocks' Three Leaves

Also familiar to Japanese people, shamrocks often refer to different types of clovers, a flower that many of us have looked for in our childhood.

The shamrock is widely appreciated within Ireland as the country's national emblem. What may seem a little surprising to people from other cultures, however, is the fact that the Irish would choose the three-leaved shamrock over the so-called "lucky" four-leaved clover any day of the week.

Peony: The Secrets behind China's Symbolic Flower

February 6, 2017

Chinese, English

Hello again, Naho here. Summer is finally here, and so is my queue to get on a diet. Every girl dreams about being beautiful, and I guess I'm no exception.

As an old Chinese and Japanese saying goes, "she stands and sits a peony and walks a lily". The flower of peony has long been a symbol of beauty in China. Considered one of the floral emblems of the country, the peony has a special status in the hearts of Chinese people, from emperors to artists. Today, I would like to explore the secrets behind the long-lasting popularity of the Chinese peony.

The "King of Flowers": Adored by Generations of Emperors

The peony is a beautiful flower with eye-catching petals that look like the frills of a skirt. With such dazzling appearance, it is difficult to imagine that the flower is also well-known as a medicinal herb. In traditional Chinese medicine, dried root bark of peonies is famous for being effective at reducing inflammation and pain.

In China, peony has been cultivated as a medicinal herb since the year 200, and for over a thousand years it has been adored by generations of emperors and people of China. Especially, the flower is widely known for being the favorite flower of Emperor Xuanzong and Empress Yang of the Tang Dynasty.

From "Gruziya" to "Georgia" - On Georgia and the Georgian Language

January 30, 2017

Georgian Translation

Hello, I'm Yosshi. I entered the translating business two years ago, dreaming of an international career. Since then, every day I keep discovering more about the ever-fascinating world of translation.

The other day on television, I saw a woman allegedly from Georgia, recount her experience of a recent internal conflict. I was puzzled, because for me, Georgia was a state in the U.S., so her Russian-like features and narrative of internal conflict seemed out of context. So I looked it up, and discovered that "Georgia" was the new name for the country referred to as "Gruziya" in Japanese. Upon doing some more research, I found that Georgia was a relay point between Asia and Europe, and is in the top ten of the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index. With my interest piqued, I decided to search more about Georgia and its language.

The Past and Present of Georgia - A Rapidly Improving Platform for Internal and External Business

Georgia is situated next to Russia, and also shares borders with Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, with its west coast facing the Black Sea. Making use of its advantageous location between Europe and Asia, it is developing as a relay point for cargo trade. It seems that in ancient times, silk from China passed through Georgia while being traded on the Silk Road, and was taken to various regions around the world.

Lavender: The Reasons Behind the Popularity of Portugal's Floral Emblem

January 23, 2017

Latin, English

Hello again, Naho here. Sometimes when I get tired from working, I'd just like to sink into an ocean of relaxation. Lavender essence oil comes very handy in this kind of situation, a few drops in the bathtub, or on a steamed towel for facial care , it makes the best cure for stress and fatigue.

Lavender is the floral emblem of Portugal, and, in fact, my personal favorite method of using lavender oil in the bath has been practiced in Portugal for a very long time.

Beloved by Roman People: the Pleasant Aroma of Lavender

The first encounter between lavender and the Portuguese traces back to Ancient Rome. Lavender was known as a type of medicinal herb at the time, and roman people, who enjoyed going to the thermae, loved to add lavenders to their baths to enjoy their pleasant, relaxing aroma. It is also said that the academic name for lavender, "lavandula," comes from "lavare" - Latin for "to wash."

Despite being tolerant of cold weather, lavenders are susceptible to high temperature and humidity. During the rainy season in Japan, constant ventilating is required. Compared to Japan, it is warmer in Portugal throughout the year, and therefore extra care has to be taken. I heard that particularly during the rainy season of March through May, lavenders are carefully cultivated in greenhouses in Portugal.

The Setting of the Movie "Persona Non Grata" - Lithuania and its Language

January 16, 2017

Lithuanian Translation

Hello. I am Yucchi, a fledgling translator who transferred last autumn from a different field. I've only just started in translation so I have much to learn, but I'm studying hard with the help of my seniors.

A movie titled "Persona Non Grata" ("Sugihara Chiune" in Japanese) was released in Japan in December 2015. Perhaps due to this, I feel that I hear this diplomat's name quite often recently. Looking him up, I found that he was a deputy consul in the Embassy of Japan in Lithuania during the Second World War. He is known for having issued visas for many Jewish people fleeing the Nazis, and is therefore also known as "Japan's Schindler." I found this relationship between the two countries interesting and did a little research on Lithuania.

Lithuania's Past and Present

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lithuania is situated to the east of the Baltic Sea, and is the southernmost of the Baltic states. Around it are countries like Russia, Belarus, and Poland. The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, the population is around 2.939 million, and the language spoken is Lithuanian. It was under occupation by countries such as Poland and Russia, but declared its independence in 1990. Lithuania has membership in the WTO, NATO, and the EU. It also caught the public eye when it adopted the Euro currency in 2015.

La Fleur de Lys: The Religious and Mythic Origins of France's Floral Emblem

January 9, 2017

France's floral emblem, Fleur de Lys

Hello. I am Yucchi, a fledgling translator who transferred last autumn from a different field. I've only just started in translation so I have much to learn, but I'm studying hard with the help of my seniors.

On a trip to a tropical botanic garden, a plant called Neomarica northiana immediately caught my attention. It has a unique feature of petals curling back towards the inside of the flower, and its shape reminded me of the Japanese Iris Sanguinea (ayame), even though the mere difference in color makes for a completely different impression. According to the plant label, there is a wide variety of iris flowers across the world. After some research, I also learned that the origin of its name traces back to Greek mythology and even the Bible. In today's blog post, I would like to write about irises - the floral emblem of France.

Irises in Western Symbolism

The Floral Emblem of France

Iris is a genus in the family of Iridaceae. It includes more than 200 species around the world, among which about a dozen are found in Japan. The six-lobed flower, with three spreading sepals embracing the three petals in the centre, appears to be a common feature among irises, although they vary in color and shape.

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