The Origin of Trick or Treat: Unveiling Halloween Traditions

October is the time of year when kids wear Halloween costumes and trail around the neighborhood, knocking the doors and asking for treats. This is an old Halloween tradition; however, very few people know the origin of the phrase ‘Trick or Treat.’ Let’s find out where did it come from?

Most traditions associated with Halloween are borrowed from four different festivals, namely:

–          The Roman Pomona festival

–          The Roman Feralia festival

–          The Celtic festival

–          All saints’ Day


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The practice of wearing masks and dressing up as evil spirits comes from the Celtic tradition. The Celts believed that dressing in white costumes and impersonating evil spirits will help the dead overlap and roam the earth again as they enter the new year. By dressing up like evil spirits, the people decided to fool actual spirits.

The tradition of ‘trick or treating,’ or ‘guising,’ began in the Middle Ages. At that time, children and poor adults used to dress-up in the aforementioned costumes and roam around the neighborhood during Hallowmas, begging for money or food in exchange for songs and prayers. It was believed that these kids and adults were doing so on behalf of dead.

An example of song from 19th century is as follows:

“A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!

Please good Missis, a soul-cake!

An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,

Any good thing to make us all merry.

One for Peter, two for Paul

Three for Him who made us all.”

Interestingly, this practice didn’t continue for a long time. It re-emerged after 1920 and paused for a while during WW II. However, it’s now back in full force. Now that you know a little more about the tradition, it is time to ‘trick or treat.’

Have any Halloween costume ideas? Share your ideas in the comments section. Need translation for Halloween messages? Contact us!

Counting the Differences: 3 Ways Spanish Language is Different from English

According to Census Bureau, over 5.5 million students in the US learn the English language. In all, students speak more than 400 different languages but around 80% of them speak Spanish at home. Considering the popularity of both the languages, we have decided to focus on the basic differences in order to help learners avoid confusion.


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Apart from a common difference that Spanish is close to Latin and English is a Germanic language, a few other variances separate both the languages. In this article, we will focus on top three.                                                 

Noun Gender

English language does not have a concept of noun genders, however, Spanish does. Spanish has masculine and feminine nouns that are used to differentiate between the genders. The alphabet ‘O’ is used for masculine nouns, and ‘A’ for feminine nouns.


Spanish native speakers make rolling ‘rr’ sound while speaking, a sound that English speakers aren’t required to produce. If you are a native English speaker, you might require some practice to produce the rolling ‘rr’ sound. The simplest way to learn the pronunciation quickly is to listen to native Spanish speakers and imitate them. You may also listen to audio(s) and practice.

Special Characters

Spanish has several special characters that English language does not. Some letters are used with an accent mark of some sort at the top.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of whether you are a student, or someone who likes to learn and read about different languages, learning basic differences between Spanish and English will help you speak both the languages fluently.

Do you want us create to another post stating the differences between two languages? Let us know in the comments section.

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Modern Day English: Keep Up-To-Date With New Word Additions in Oxford Dictionary


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The Z-gen has its own ways of living, learning and communicating. Unsurprisingly, social media enthusiasts and regular internet users have provided yet another list of new words. In this article, we have mentioned popular word/abbreviations additions in Oxford dictionary.



A ‘modest,’ or ‘humble’ word that is used to draw attention to something of which one is proud. Often used with a #hashtag, this word is popular on social media.

Example: All the clothes I plan to wear seem very big for me! #humblebrag



This one is for the people of Twitter world, by the people of Twitter world. On Twitter, if you want to refer to a particular user without mentioning them directly, that’s a Subtweet.

Example: Although, Jack didn’t include Peter’s tweet, that did not stop Peter from seeing the post and firing off his own subtweet.



A lot has been said about the word ‘YOLO.’ Some made it the mantra of their lives, while others think YOLO is for the people who do not take the words like ‘responsible’ and ‘discipline’ seriously. YOLO (You Only Live Once) is a way of expressing that one should make the most of the present moment.

Example: I purchased an iPhone from my one-year’s saving.  #YOLO



Another abbreviation, SMH means ‘shaking my head’ or ‘shake my head.’ The word is used in electronic communication to express frustration or disapproval. It is often used when the word ‘no’ is not enough.

Example: SMH at your stupid remarks.

These are just a few common words used by net-savvy enthusiasts on the World Wide Web. Oxford dictionary adds numerous words every year. We will keep updating you.

If you want to tell us about a new word, mention in the comment section.

Understand English the ‘Chinglish’ Way: Common Chinese-English Translation Errors

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George Steiner once said and I quote, “Every language is a world. Without translation, we would inhabit parishes bordering on silence.” A large number of English-speaking tourists travel to China every year, hence, it is only natural to create bilingual signs with English subtitles. Also, the people of China are known for their zeal to learn the English language. Irrespective of the fascination of travel enthusiasts to explore the country, the English-speaking guests often face many difficulties while finding their way around People’s Republic of China. Sadly, not all business owners in China are willing to invest in professional translation, and software solutions used for translation are not always reliable.

Due to incorrect translation, signs that are supposed to help the tourists find their way, end-up causing outbursts of inexorable laughter. Below are some pictures with funny Chinese to English translation that Wikipedia very creatively termed as ‘Chinglish.’


This is a warning sign written in Chinese and translated in English. It is created to warn people at the time of thunderstorms. The actual meaning is – Please do not climb the mountain; however, the complexity of translation makes it a ‘sign’ of laughter.


Now, this one is hilarious. It is a (mis)translation of the location of public washroom. The actual translation is ‘Public washroom is on the second floor.’


Want to do some calculations? This is a signboard in Shanghai’s ferry dock, which in correct English means ‘Mind the gap.’


Here, they have used an uncommon word to convey a simple message. The actual sign should be ‘Please close gently.’ However, the word ‘steek’ is used that means, ‘enclose, close, shut,’ instead of the common word.

Have more such images that you would like to share with us? Let us know in the comment section. Need Chinese-English translation? Contact us!

Lost in Translation? Find the Meaning in Subtitles


“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

                                          – The Godfather

If English is your first language, or you are among those who can read, write and understand the language, it won’t be difficult for you to read and understand the above mentioned quote from one of the legendary movies. However, if you are someone from Spain, or China, the possibility of understanding English language or any language other than your native language can be difficult. This difficulty started the trend of subtitles in movies. Today, the world has become a smaller place and movies contributed to this change in a lot of ways. Subtitles have made it easier for people to understand movies from different countries.

However, it is seen that a lot of people who understand a particular language criticize the subtitles while watching a movie, or find mistakes in the translation. Sometimes this happens due to the difficulty and limitations faced by the translators during the process of translation; however, it may also happen due to the lack of experience of a translator. Let’s talk about the difficulties faced by the translators at first.

The amount of characters allowed while translating a dialogue is among the most imperative factors that drastically influence the translator in the completion of their task. Let’s take an example of English and Spanish here. When a translator is required to translate an English video into Spanish, they might face many issues because Spanish requires more words to express a certain dialogue, or line. When a translator has to reduce the words to fit them in one line, the literal meaning may change.

Another difficulty could be time. While watching a movie, audience requires less time to listen than to read, which means that translation must be concise so that the audience has enough time to read subtitles. Further to the aforesaid, it is also important to keep the cultural differences in mind, while creating subtitles for a movie.

Now, let’s focus on the second issue. The accuracy and grammatical errors. While selecting a translation service provider, it is important to ensure that they have enough experience in the field and have created subtitles for many movies and TV series. Apart from that, you must also ask if their translators are native speakers. This will help you get accurate translation and reduce grammatical errors and cultural differences.

Want to add subtitles to your movies, video, or TV series? Contact us today!

Soccer Glossary: Do not Sound like a bonehead While Talking about the Game


There are soccer lovers and then there is rest of the world. If you have never cheered for your favorite team, played soccer, and followed the world cup religiously, you might not understand the fun element associated with soccer, also known as football.

Regardless of whether you want to join a club of soccer enthusiasts, flaunt your knowledge, better understand the game, or impress that soccer team captain in your school, this article will help you understand a few basic terms soccer lovers use. If you want to learn the terms used in the game, read on.

We have created a list of 5 some basic terms that every soccer enthusiast must know.

This word is used in its literal sense among soccer players. Ever wondered what is it called when a player passes the ball to another player of his team who then scores? It is exactly what you think it is. The term is called assist.

No, it is not a fancy item that players put on their head. In soccer, the term is used to describe the number of matches any player has partaken in. For example: Tim Howard, a famous soccer player of the USA team, played his 100th cap against Nigeria in June 2014.

Dead Ball
Well, this is the simplest. The term is used for a ball that is not in motion.

This is a measured, intricate, and sometimes funny act that a player puts on in order to draw a free kick.

If you want to be a pro soccer fan, never use the word ‘points’ to describe a team’s score. If the game is 4-3, it is four goals to three.

You must have understood a few basic terms about soccer by now; however, do not show your knowledge unless you have watched a game or two.

If you want language translation, or want us to cover basic terms of any other game? Mention in the comments section.

Dzongkha: Not Just A Woody Fragrance


Besides being one of the most relaxing woody fragrances that transport tourists to Buddhist monasteries, Dzongkha is also the national language of Bhutan. The word ‘Dzongkha’ means the language “Kha” is spoken in the Dzong “fortresses.”  Although, it is a national language of Bhutan, it is also spoken in the surrounding areas of Nepal and India.

Language Classification: Understanding Dzongkha Better
A South Tibetic language, Dzongkha is related closely to Sikkimese. The language also bears a close linguistic relationship to J’umowa (a language that is spoken in the Chumbi Valley of Southern Tibet and Sikkimese). Dzongkha is often written in Bhutanese forms of the Tibetan Script.

Mentioned below are some other interesting facts about the language:

  • The language belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family, and more specifically, the Tibeto-Burman branch that also includes Burmese and Nepalese.
  • The language is often written using Tibetan alphabet.
  • The Romanization* of Dzongkha also exists.
  • The writing direction is from left to right.
  • Like various other Tibeto-Burman languages, this language also follows a basic subject-object-verb order.

  • English


    –          Hello (formal)

    –          Hello (informal)

    –          Nice to meet you

    –          How are you?



    –          Kuzu zangpo la

    –          Kuzu zangpo

    –          Nga choe da choebay sem ga yi

    –          Gaday bay Zhu Ga?


     Basic Examples

    Need translation services? Call 888-670-3369 today.

    *Romanization is a phonetic transcription of a language, which means, that it is written the way it sounds.

    Movie Talks: Languages that Movie Makers Invented


    The world is an interesting place. On one hand, it appears that some languages are disappearing at a fast pace because there is hardly any native speaker left, on the other, movie makers are at the forefront of inventing new languages. This post showcases 5 popular movies with completely fictional languages, created exclusively for the story.

    Sindarin language, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)
    In this movie, the elves speak two languages. The author of the book J. R.R. Tolkien based Sindarin, the commonly spoken tongue, on the sounds of the Welsh language. The director of the movie hired a popular linguist named David Salo to translate movie’s dialogue from English to Elvish. For example: Saesa omentien lle: Pleasure meeting you

    Na’vi language, “Avatar” (2009)
    The director of the movie, James Cameron, featured an original language in the movie, constructed especially for the movie. For example: Tawtute: Human

    Newspeak, “1984″ (1984)
    The language Newspeak was created by George Orwell in his novel ‘1984.’ The book’s totalitarian was to replace English language completely with Newspeak. A lot of words from this language like ‘ungood’ have been picked up into English and used by the masses today. For example: Joycamp: Forced labor camp.

    Huttese, “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” (1983)
    One of the most quoted aliens in the movie world is Jabba the Hutt. An alien with its own language, Huttese is spoken in at least three Star Wars movies. For example: Choy?: What?

    Nadsat, “A Clockwork Orange” (1972)
    Nadsat is one language that appeared  in both Anthony Burgess’ dystopian morality tale of teenage delinquency and Stanley Kubrick’s horror show adaptation. However, it is not a proper language, instead, it is a Russian-influenced English argot. For example: Pretty polly: Money

    Have you ever invented a language or know of any other language that movie makers invented? Share with us in the comments section.

    8 Words Used Only in Hiberno‐English That Confuse Other English Speakers


    “I’m going to slap on me runners and leg it down to the chipper!”

    If you are familiar with the above-mentioned sentence, or understood what it meant, you must be a dialect scholar, or Irish. This Irish habit of English customization often confuses Americans and never fail to stump other native English speakers. Here is a list of 8 words used only in Hiberno-English (sometimes referred to as Irish English).

    1.      Give Out
    In Hiberto-English, give out means to complain or scold. You may give out to someone, which means get angry on someone.

    2.      Smacht
    Smacht is a noun, which means discipline, control, or order. You may put smacht on kids, or a sports team.

    3.      Going to the jacks
    Americans and those who are unfamiliar with Irish English often get confused whenever an Irish says, “I am going to the jacks.” In simple words, it means going to the bathroom.

    4.      Asthore (an Irish word)
    Another word that comes from Irish.  A stór is a simple term of endearment that literally means treasure.

    5.      Hames
    A word that literally means mess, Irish use Hames in phrases like make a hames of something.

    6.      Cat
    Cat for the people of Ireland is not their cute furry pet. It is an adjective, which means terrible or awful. Anything from bad weather to an annoying neighbor might be described as cat.

    7.      Thick
    For the people of Ireland, thick means angry. Anyone who is angry, stubborn, or belligerent is thick.

    8.      Jumper
    No, this is not used for the one who jumps. For the people of Ireland, it is simply a sweater, which shouldn’t be confused by a jumpsuit.

    In a nutshell, it won’t be wrong to say that the Irish way with words is a complicated one. Are you aware of any other popular word used in Hiberno-English? Share in the comments section.

    Can Translation Preserve Languages and Help Them from Going Extinct

    It is not inaccurate to say that when any language dies, a culture also dies with it. According to stats, there are roughly around 6, 500 languages in the world today, and more than 2, 000 of those languages are in danger of becoming extinct. Blame it on our unawareness or our inability to preserve the languages, the fact is that a language disappears the moment its last known native speaker dies.

    Ong uyan madongo?

    Can you provide an accurate answer to the above mentioned question? May be not, unless you happen to be among the 430 people in the world who understand and speak a language named Matukar Panau. The above-mentioned words mean ‘how are you?’ A simple question that very few can understand just because it is written in a different language. It is among the world’s rarest languages, which is spoken in two small villages in Papua New Guinea.

    Another example of a lesser known language is of Hazel Sampson, who was the last native speaker of the Klallam native American Tribe. She passed away at the age of 103 this year, and now there is no one who can speak, write or understand the language of the tribe.

    Linguistics today estimate that by the end of the century, those 2,000 languages that are in danger will be gone.  So, how important is it to fight for language preservation? Is there any way through which we can preserve the languages before they vanish? Thanks to the globalization, there is a way, and linguistics are using it to preserve the lesser known languages. They are now documenting these languages through translation so that they can preserve them for the future.

    In 2010, a woman named Boa Sr. passed away. She was the last native speaker of the Bo language, which is one of the great Andamanese languages. This language would have vanished, if in 2005, a professor at the University of Delhi, India, wouldn’t have preserved it. The professor not just documented the language but also Boa’s ecological, cultural and historical knowledge. Today, this extinct language is accessible for future generations to learn and understand through a comprehensive archive digitalized audio, text documents and visuals.

    Further to the aforesaid, in Mexico, linguists have also had success preserving indigenous languages through data transcription and analysis. Translation of these languages is a great way to preserve a culture and language.

    People, with the help of technology and translation, can amplify their voices. This is amazing because until we don’t hear and understand someone, we can’t know what they can teach us!

    Have a similar story to share? Mention in the comments section!