How are you?

It’s a simple question, but can you ask and respond to it in Swahili? We recently had a man come to us for some help with this task. He was planning a trip to Kenya and wanted to speak the native language before he left. We set him up with Timothy, a native speaker of […]

Guest Post: Michael Felger

Michael Felger is one of Affordable Language Services’ medical interpreters. He shares with us one example of a time when his expertise came in especially helpful. I recently had the opportunity to provide interpretation services for St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Florence, Kentucky. The nursing and medical staffs had been using telephonic interpreting services, but […]

Why Learn a Foreign Language?

Lots of reasons. recently asked its users, “in how many languages could you call a restaurant and make a reservation?” If you’re thinking “just one,” you’re in the majority. Only 40% of 129,626 users felt comfortable saying they could perform the task in 2 or more languages. So why learn another language when machine […]

Guest Post: Nick Miller

Last weekend Affordable Language Services took part in one of our favorite events of the year, the Deaf Health Fair. We love working with the Deaf and hearing-impaired community! To make sure we could communicate effectively with the people in attendance, we contracted a nationally certified interpreter (who often does contract work for us) to […]

Colors Across Cultures

Ask an American to name off some colors and you’re likely to hear “Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple.” Perhaps substitute Indigo and Violet for Purple if the person really knows their rainbow, or add in White and Black as a sort of afterthought. Of course, this isn’t the rote response you’d get from everyone– […]

Interpreting the Arts

Linguistic anthropologists have always looked at the connection between language and culture. Some cultures can express concepts in a single word that would take other languages a full paragraph to approximate the full meaning. Similarly, exact translation doesn’t necessarily capture the feeling behind the word, or the connotation it carries within the cultural context. That’s […]

English: British or American?

Ever since British colonies started springing up in the Americas, we’ve been borrowing and building off their language. Now, there are marked differences between American English and British English, so much so that Facebook even differentiates between American, British, and Australian English when asking users what languages they speak. This, understandably has led to some […]

Éirinn go Brách!

If you’re seeing a lot of green today, there’s probably good reason. Irish Dancers, Credit:James Jordan   Right now there are only about 85,000 native speakers of Gaelic left in Ireland. There are massive efforts to raise this figure to 250,000 speakers, but reintegrating Gaelic into mainstream society will take time. The man in charge […]

Guest Post: Indira

Interpreting Case Study: In my experience as an interpreter, I have been a bearer of good news, bad news and I’ve played the role of a cultural broker one too many times. Although I have interpreted for patients with various medical needs in Spanish, my Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian appointments tend to steer me towards […]

Problems with Machine Translations

I know, I know, we just talked about this last week. But we found a really great graphic of the same sentence translated by a machine into seven different languages, and then back to English. Much like a game of “telephone,” the message gets garbled. Thanks to Erik Hansson for this one. We follow him […]