Category Archives: learn something

The Art of Translation

There are basically two different philosophies for translating one language into another: ‘word-for-word’ and ‘thought-for-thought’.

There really isn’t an advantage for one over the other — they are just different. ‘Word-for-word’ is more literal but can be difficult to understand (it usually doesn’t flow well). ‘Thought-for-thought’ is more of a para-phrase but can lose the nuisances that the original language communicates (flows well but possibly not as accurate).

There is also a difference between translation and interpretation. Did you know that translation is written while interpreting is spoken? Also, good interpreting follows a ‘word-for-word’ translation.

There are some great tools online that help translate another language. Currently, the most popular is Google Translate. It’s not bad, but it’s not perfect. It seems to rely more on ‘word-for-word’ translation.

In the past, people have asked me how good an Internet tool such as Google Translate is. I typically suggest to copy a familiar quote (from the US Constitution, The Bible, etc), translate it into another language, then take that translation and translate it back into English. The translation tool’s limitations will become quite obvious.

And that brings me to the following video. CDZA created a video using the lyrics to the opening of the hit 90’s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”. Hilarity happens, but you can also see how the meaning of a text gets lost in translation…

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a translator to communicate in another language. Just understand that the current tools will lose some context, but still be able to (mostly) get the message across. Try it for yourself!

And while we’re on the subject of translation, I feel that I must mention the Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta Stone is an actual rock that helped linguistics translate ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs into English. And, of course, it’s now the name of a company that focuses on learning a new language.

And the fun part? Sometimes you just have to reframe the original…

My Favorite YouTube Channels To Follow

Just thought I’d share a few YouTube channels that I think are worth following. I’m not going to comment on them – just go check them out and see what you think.


All-time Top 10’s




Getting Smarter Everyday

Household Hacker

Know Your Meme

Minute Physics


Star Talk with Neil deGrass Tyson

TED Talks

Tommy Edison



Axis Of Awesome

Brodie Smith


Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

Dude Perfect

Froggy Fresh Rap

How It Should Have Ended


Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Lindsey Stirling

Marquese AKA Nonstop

Rhett and Link

The Fine Brothers

The Piano Guys

Vlog Brothers

Walk Off The Earth


Bjorn Storm

CODA Brothers

Dirty Signs With Kristin

Every Day ASL

Keith Wann

Sean Forbes


Amazing Facts about Language

Alphabet Soup
I’ve always been interested in language and it’s history. However, I’ve always hated grammar. But this past semester I took a Linguistics class and I found it fascinating! Therefore, following are links to articles all about crazy, fascinating facts about our Language…

First lets back up to when the land that we now call England (or even the UK)…

Before the 5th Century BC, the land that is currently the UK was pretty much controlled by the Romans. When the Romans withdrew, it was the Anglo-Saxons (German) that ruled the land until 1066 when William the Conqueror (French) became King. From 1066 until 1707…let’s just say it was a bit messy. It was the 1700’s when the United Kingdom became a political and influential region.

But today? Well the UK is still kinda complicated…

Even with the merging of countries into a United Kingdom, the language (thought to be Germanic but also possibly Scandinavian) currently used still needed a lot of development since it was influenced by so many sources! For example, here are 12 Letters That Didn’t Make the Alphabet.

We adopted words reluctantly. We adopted rules (such as ‘d’ in ‘doubt’ from others.

Even with the pruning, English is still difficult to learn:

But what does English sound like to others (at least Italian Adriano celentano back in the early ’70’s)?

One strategy for building a language is to borrow words from other languages. Here’s a few words not in English that probably should exist (especially ‘Zeg’!)

With all this said, there should be only one take-away — Grammar Matters!

…Not The End

PSA: Don’t Spread Your Cold/Flu

I really love the TV show “Mythbusters”. The will tackle a commonly held belief from a scientific approach. Today we’re going to look at sneezing and the spread of your cold/flu.

First off, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that this year’s Flu outbreak is now an epidemic:

The common cold and the flu are typically spread by human contact. For many years, the CDC has said that one of the best things to do in order to combat the spread of the cold and the flu is to wash your hands.

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However, sometimes a sneeze sneaks up on us…so what then?

The Mythbusters covered the best way to sneeze. (sorry for the bootleg version of the show but it’s all I could find)

So stay safe, drink plenty of water, wash up, and sneeze/cough appropriately!

Let’s Make A Deal

Let’s Make A Deal and Monty Hall

You’ve seen the show, right? Well, maybe it’s been a while.

The Game Show ran in the 60’s and 70’s with host Monty Hall (the game show was revived with host Wayne Brady in 2009). People in the audience dressed up to get the attention of the host so they could become game contestants.

In many (most?) of the games, the contestant was presented three doors with a prize behind each. It was well known that behind one of the doors what a dud of a prize (like a live goat!). The contestant would pick one of the doors as their prize but there was a catch. The host would offer a counter-prize (such as cash) to switch their choice. Invariably, the contestant would either take the newly offered prize and/or switch their guess for the best door prize.

Well it turns out there is some solid math, probability, and psychology in this type of situation and it’s explained by AsapSCIENCE (The Monty Hall Problem – Explained):

Now you know.

12 Proposed States That Didn’t Make It.

I lived in Johnson City, TN for a brief stint. It was there that I drove on a major road named “State of Franklin Blvd”. I always thought it was a strange name for a road. Later I finally understood that the State of Franklin was a proposed name for part of East Tennessee.

Recently I’ve learned that the State of Franklin is not the only proposed state that was denied. In fact, here’s a dozen proposed US States!

  1. Franklin (Northeastern Tennessee) – 2 votes short of becoming an US State
  2. Jefferson (at different times Kansas, Texas, and Northern California/Southern Oregon)
  3. Superior (Northern Michigan) – you know that part of MI that is displaced by Lake Superior?
  4. Delmarva (parts of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia) – a peninsula made up of 3 states
  5.  Absaroka (parts of Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota)
  6. Scott (a county in Tennessee)  – was officially/unofficially a state for 125 years)
  7. Transylvania (parts of Tennessee and Kentucky) – bought illegally from the Cherokee and later rendered void
  8. Desert (parts of Utah and other surrounding states) – petitioned by the Mormons for their own state
  9. Westsylvania (most of West Virginia, parts of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh), and Kentucky)
  10. Nickajack (parts of Alabama and Tennessee)
  11. Sequoya (part of Oklahoma) – counties given to different Native American tribes
  12. Lincoln (part of Texas, later the panhandle of Idaho


Ways to Die Slowly

Did you know…

If you don’t take in oxygen for 8 minutes you’ll die.

If you are in 40 degree water for 2 hours you’ll die.

If you don’t drink water for 5 days you’ll die.

If you don’t sleep for 10 days you’ll die.

If you don’t eat food for 14 days you’ll die.

So please breathe in oxygen, drink water, sleep, and eat NOW!