This December the Web-Translations team have been getting into the festive spirit by sharing their very own advent calendar on social media.
This advent calendar is full of lots of festive facts and it includes some of our favourite festive words as well as our favourite festive traditions. On social media, the team have been sharing short videos each day of the doors being opened. However, in case you’ve missed it, don’t fret! In this blog post we’ve collated all of our advent surprises and put together a complete Christmas countdown for you!
So, sit back and relax as we look back over our festive month! Also, don’t forget to check out our other festive blog post exploring all of our favourite international Christmas films!
First up, we started with stamps!
And for day two, we continued the postage theme…
After this, we moved to the advent theme on day three…
However, on day four we learnt about an unexpected tradition…
Subsequently, things got interesting as we talked about goats on day five! Yes … goats!
Equally on day six, we continued the interesting theme and spoke about radishes!
On day seven we returned to normality and looked to vocabulary…
Movies were our focus on day eight…
Next, on day nine, we chose to stay close to home…
Candles took our fancy on day ten…
And festive bops took to the scene on day eleven…
Following this, the nativity took centre stage…
We explored Christmas giving on day thirteen…
Then we explored food on day fourteen … YUM!
Another film took to the scene on day fifteen…
But we were enchanted by apples on day sixteen…
Music once more entertained us on day seventeen…
Then on day eighteen we spoke about a well-known holiday…
We returned to interesting traditions with marzipan on day nineteen…
Then we were fascinated by shoe-throwing on day twenty…
Another song came about on day twenty one…
And money was the focus on day twenty two…
Holidays were discussed on day twenty three…
And last but not least, we learnt about an epic roller skating tradition on day twenty four!
And that’s it! We hope you have enjoyed learning about festive traditions from all over the world! We’ve certainly loved it!
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We hope you have the most wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
See you in 2023! 🎉
The Web-Translations Team
What’s your favourite Christmas film of all time? Struggling to think of just one? Well, that’s understandable! There are so many classic Christmas films that we can’t blame you for not being able to pick just one. After all, at Web-Translations, we certainly can’t!
Have you ever thought however that it might be time to mix it up a bit and find a new film that warms the cockles of your heart and makes you feel all fuzzy inside? Obviously these new films will never replace the classics you grew up with, but you might still love them nevertheless. And you never know, they may just become the classics of your future!
To give you some inspiration on where to begin, we’ve collated some of our favourite Christmas films from across the globe. Hopefully some of these will jingle their way into your hearts!
Directed by Miguel Bardem, this 2001 Christmas comedy is pure, light-hearted entertainment. It’s perfect for those who like hilarious comedies in which chaos and unfortunate events make your stomach hurt from laughing. It centres upon the adventures of the Cuspineda family whose father is going to sign a very important contract on Twelfth Night. In order to reach this contract however, it seems that everything is going to stand in their way. It’s utterly ridiculous and utterly marvellous.
We’ve all heard of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s a classic, that’s a fact. Have you ever heard of Les bronzés font du ski however? If you’re not French, then you probably haven’t but you should certainly change that! This 1972 comedy directed by Patrice Leconte is the French equivalent of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and despite not being a hit when it was first released, it is now regarded as France’s eighth favourite film.
The film centres upon a group of friends who go on a skiing vacation in the French Alps. The film will make you laugh out loud as the protagonists run into a multitude of unfortunate mishaps. You are sure to soon regard it as one of your favourites!
The third festive film we’d like to share with you is a Japanese film called Until the Lights Come Back. Evocative of films such as Love Actually in which the stories of multiple characters weave in and out, our third film centres upon the premise of what happens when the lights go out in Tokyo on Christmas Eve. It is simple, heart-warming and magical, and you will be sure to feel all festive inside after watching it!
Our next festive pick is a Spanish-American animated family film directed by Sergio Pablos. The heart-warming tale offers an alternate origin story for Santa Claus and centres upon Jesper, a selfish postman who is forced to move to grey and gloomy town called Smeerensburg. Eventually teaming up with an isolated toy maker Klaus however, Jesper is able to spread joy to the faraway town, teaching that even the smallest act of kindness can spark another.
The final Christmas film we’d like to share with you is a Danish film directed by Claus Bjerre. The film centres upon a girl named Malou who, after living with several foster families ends up on the small island of Lunø with a family who loves Christmas. Malou is not so fond of the holiday however, so when she meets a grumpy elf who wants her to leave, they decide to cause as much trouble as possible to help her do so. Funny, magical and perfectly festive, you’re bound to love Malou’s Christmas.
These are just some of our favourite Christmas movies, we’d love to hear your favourites though! Be sure to get in touch on social media and share the festive cheer.
With the nights drawing in and the festive season nearly upon us, you’re probably craving some good TV shows to snuggle down to. Yes, whether it be a cheesy rom-com or a creepy thriller, we could all do with a little bit of escapism right now. That’s why, in this blog post, we’ve put together some of our favourite international TV shows perfect for bingeing this November! We hope one of these takes your fancy!
Fashion, romance, drama … that pretty much sums up our first recommendation. First released in 2014, this Spanish drama created by Ramón Campos and Gema R Neira follows an unlikely romance between a young seamstress and a fashion mogul’s son. It is set in 1950’s Madrid and it abounds in elegance, style and pure chic. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. And there are plenty of seasons to allow you to truly fall in love with the beauty of Velvet.
Our second recommendation is quite a contrast to our first as rather than exude a classic elegance, Ghoul would be better described as exuding pure terror. Created by Patrick Graham and set in a dystopian future, Ghoul is an Indian horror series which centres upon a folklore creature known as ‘Ghoul’. The show follows a young military officer named Nida Rahim. She is initially tasked with interrogating one of the most dangerous terrorists. However, all begins to unravel as she commences a battle for survival against supernatural forces one cannot begin to comprehend.
The third international TV show we’d like to recommend may sound familiar to you and that’s because it is the original French version of the English comedy, Call my Agent. It follows the agents of a top Parisian talent firm after an unexpected crisis. It explores personal rivalries, client egos and financial difficulties and will leave you howling at the show’s wit and comedic excellence.
Our fourth recommendation is a little more serious than the former as we’re talking about Pedro Aguilera’s 3 %. 3% is a Brazilian dystopian series which is set in a future world in which the elite inhabit an island paradise far away from the rest of society. To join the elite few, the rest of the population receive one opportunity to partake in ‘The Process’, a series of challenges in which only three percent will succeed. Evocative of films such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, this series will keep you on tenterhooks.
If you’re looking for a more topical and political drama, then our next pick is certainly for you. Created by Adam Price and starring actors such as Sidse Babett Knudsen, Borgen depicts the fictional tale of Birgitte Nyborg, a woman who finds herself as Denmark’s first female leader. Featuring strong female characters and receiving multiple awards and subsequent adaptations, Borgen is certainly one to watch.
The sixth series we’d like to recommend is certainly not for the faint of heart. Nonetheless it is perfect for those who like a good old, fast-paced thriller. Centring upon medical student Mia Akerlund, Biohackers will take you on a journey like no other as a family tragedy leads to an undercover mission that will grip you from the start. And of course, as with all of our recommendations, there’s plenty of twists and turns too!
If you’re a fan of Emily in Paris, then you’ll love Bindu De Stoppani’s An Astrological Guide to Broken Hearts. Adapted from the books of the same name, this series centres upon a woman named Alice who, heartbroken and single, befriends an astrological guru. Together they look to the stars to find her perfect match. Silly, heart-warming and a little bit gut-wrenching too, you’ll become addicted to this quirky rom-com.
We hope at least one of these picks has peaked your fancy! We’d love to hear your favourite international tv shows though! Why not let us know on social media?
This week is the 75th Cannes Film Festival, an annual event which previews new films of all genres. The festival’s purpose is to draw attention to film, celebrating cinema at an international level.
Composed of films from all over the world, it is a truly international festival which as a language agency, is something that we love!
In honour of such an occasion we wanted to help bring the Cannes Film Festival to you! That’s why we’ve collated a list of some of our favourite international films.
So, whack out your fanciest frock, bust out the popcorn and get ready to commence your very own Cannes Film Festival!
Released in 2014 and directed by Emilio Martínez-Lázaro, Ochos Apellidos Vascos is one of the best Spanish comedies out there. Within six weeks of its release, it became the second biggest box office hit ever in Spain. Pretty impressive don’t you think?
Known as ‘Spanish Affair’ in English, the story centres upon Rafa and Amaia. The former is a proud Andalucian who has never left his native Seville and the latter is an equally proud girl from the Basque Country. Having discovered that Amaia left her purse in Seville following a night out with her friends, Rafa decides to pursue Amaia to her native Basque Country to return her belongings.
However, as a series of misunderstandings unfurl, Rafa is forced to feign a Basque identity, concocting an elaborate series of eight Basque surnames – hence the film’s literal English title: ‘Eight Basque Surnames’. As he becomes more and more entangled in his lies, a film of comedic farce ensues which is thoroughly entertaining.
Funny, light-hearted, and endearing, you’re bound to laugh with this film.
Our second movie recommendation is the South Korean film Parasite. Not merely did this win the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, but it also won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It became the first non-English language film to win such an accolade.
Labelled as both a black comedy and psychological thriller, Parasite follows the poor Kim family who scheme to become employed by the wealthy Park family. Infiltrating their household by posing as highly qualified individuals, greed and class discrimination soon come to the fore and threaten the seemingly symbiotic relationship.
It’s perhaps a little darker than our previous pick. But if you’re looking for a film to sink your teeth into, this is certainly the one to watch!
It is unlikely that you’ve never heard of our next choice. Released in 2006 and directed by Guillermo del Toro, El laberinto del fauno (Pans Labyrinth in English) is a critically acclaimed Mexican film that premiered at the 59th Cannes Film Festival.
Exploring both a magical realist world as well as the horrors of Falangist Spain, El laberinto del fauno centres upon an 11-year-old girl named Ofelia. Ofelia travels with her pregnant mother to the countryside. Here she meets her new stepfather, a sadistic captain of the Spanish army.
Furthermore, upon arrival, she meets a faun in the centre of a labyrinth. A faun that informs her that she is a princess. Tasked to prove her royalty by performing three tasks, Ofelia enters a world of mythical beings that albeit frightening, bears little to the sadistic horrors taking place outside of the magical realm.
Del Toro’s work won a multitude of international awards including three Academy Awards. It is magical, distressing, and yet enticing. It is simply a film you must watch.
Known as The Choir in English, Les Choristes is a 2004 French musical drama directed by Christophe Barratier.
The film centres upon a French boarding school in the late 1940s. Although its students and teachers are constantly at odds, everything changes with the arrival of a music teacher, Clément Mathieu. Starting a choir, Clément attempts to change the school’s reactionary policies. He particularly impacts a young boy named Pierre, someone who shows great musical promise.
Full of whit, drama, and stunning original music, you are bound to be encaptivated by Barratier’s work.
La vita é bella (Life is Beautiful) is a 1997 Italian comedy drama directed by Roberto Benigni. The film is one of the highest grossing non-English language films of all time. It won the Grand Prix at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
The film centres upon Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian bookshop owner who utilises his prolific imagination to protect his son from the reality of internment within a concentration camp. Inspired by the novel, In the End, I Beat Hitler, the film wields elements typical of both soul-stirring romantic comedies and grittier historical genres.
It is truly stunning. Upon watching the masterpiece, you will laugh, and you will cry. You will hate and you will love. La vita é bella is a film which sticks with you and rightly so. Its origins in history make the film tug at your heart strings more so than most, but despite the sorrow, one cannot deny that it truly makes you believe that life is beautiful.
What is more it makes your heart forever warm upon hearing the infamous words ‘Buongiorno Principessa’. It may make it ache a little too, but it will warm, nonetheless.
These are just a few of our favourite international films. We’d love to hear your top picks, however! Get in touch via social media to share your favourite foreign language films!
Craving a fix of dramatic ballads and smashing bops? Well in you’re in luck because very shortly the Eurovision Song Contest will be gracing our screens once more!
Yes, bust out the flags and get your groove on because it’s our favourite time of year. To get us in the Eurovision spirit, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite Eurovision songs.
From heartfelt Spanish ballads to Danish bops, you’re bound to love these Eurovision hits!
Our first Eurovision throwback is Belarusia’s 2017 song entry by Naviband. After failing to qualify for the Grand Final in both 2015 and 2016, Naviband took to the stage to represent Belarus with this sweet and charismatic folk tune.
It only came seventeenth in the Grand Final, but we’re sure you’ll love hearing the story of their life.
We’ll hold our hands up here and admit that our second Eurovision throwback isn’t technically a throwback. Chosen to represent Croatia at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, Damir Kedžo never received the opportunity to perform his song as the contest was cancelled due to the pandemic. Despite this however, it is still a fantastic song and one that should very much be listened to on repeat.
Next up on our list of throwbacks is Denmark’s 2021 entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. Although it never made it to the Grand Final, only coming in 11th position in their semi-final, Fyr & Flamme’s song certainly is one that makes you want to bust your best moves. What is more, as the first song since 1997 to be sung entirely in Danish at the contest, it is equally a landmark song which should be praised.
Our fourth choice of song is another hit that never graced the stage of the Grand Final. Representing Finland in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, Kuunkuiskaajat performed their traditional folk song and captured the hearts of many, coming 6th in the televote at their semi-final.
Fun, traditional and simple, Työlki Ellää is a breath of fresh air amongst the extravagance of Eurovision and for this reason it should be celebrated.
As France’s most successful entry in Eurovision since 1991, Barbara Pravi’s performance of Voilà is certainly worth a throwback to. Coming in second place with 499 points, France’s entry in the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest explored the story of Pravi’s self acceptance. Minimalistic, elegant and emotionally charged, Voilà is stunning.
With an English title of ‘Oneself’, Slovenia’s entry to the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is a lo-fi tune all about staying true to yourself. Performed by the duo Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl, this throwback is certainly a chilled one and is bound to make you feel all nice and relaxed.
Our final Eurovision throwback is Spain’s 2012 entry, Quédate conmigo. Powerful, heart-breaking and breathtaking, Soler’s performance is typical of the dramatic love ballads you see being performed at Eurovision. However, with vocals of an unbelievable calibre and a melody that has the potential to wiggle its way into your brain, you are guaranteed to be singing this song on loop once you’ve listened to it!
These are just some of our favourite Eurovision songs. We’d love to hear your favourite tunes, though! Get in touch via our social media to keep this discussion going!
Whether it goes by the name of Semana Santa, Pasqua or Ostern, Easter is certainly a holiday that is celebrated by many across the world. Regardless of whether celebrations assume a religious character or simply favour the consumption of chocolate eggs, it is certainly fun for all.
However, besides religious gatherings and hunting for Easter eggs, did you know that there are a plethora of bizarre and wonderful activities that are held across the world in honour of Easter?
No? Well don’t fret. In this blog, we’re going to explore just a few of these traditions. Ranging from kite flying to crime novel reading, you’re certainly in for a treat!
Every Good Friday, Bermuda holds a KiteFest. Taking place on Horseshoe Bay Beach, many gather to exhibit and fly their homemade and brightly decorated kites.
Confused as to what this has to do with Easter? The story goes that a local Sunday school teacher taught pupils about Christ’s ascension by flying a kite which represented Jesus.
In preparation for the Good Friday procession, artists cover the streets with colourful carpets in Antigua, Southern Guatemala. Artists make the carpets out of flowers, sawdust, fruit, vegetables and sand. Normally, the scenes depict something which holds personal meaning to the artist.
It is tradition in Poland for women to bake a traditional Easter bread. Although men may wish to participate, the tradition states that if a man were to get involved, their moustache would turn grey, and the dough wouldn’t rise! It’s a strictly female activity, therefore.
Known as ‘Scoppio del Carro’, this tradition takes place in Florence, Italy on Easter Sunday. It translates to mean ‘Explosion of the cart’ and the tradition sees people dress in fifteenth century clothing, fill a cart with fireworks and lead it through the streets.
Once it reaches the Duomo, the cart stops and the Archbishop of Florence lights a fuse during the Easter mass. This creates a beautiful firework display. The tradition is said to bring a good harvest and it dates back to the First Crusade.
On Easter Monday, a giant omelette is served up in the main square of Haux, France. Feeding up to 1,000 people, the omelette uses more than 15,000 eggs!!!
The reason for this tradition is Napoleon. It is believed that when Napoleon travelled through the south of France, he stopped in a small town and ate omelettes. Given that he enjoyed the omelettes so greatly, he asked the village to gather all of their eggs and make a gigantic omelette for his entire army the next day. We’re not entirely sure why it had to be one gigantic omelette, but you can’t deny that it makes for a good tradition!
On Easter Sunday, many families in Scotland participate in an egg rolling contest. After decorating their hard-boiled eggs, the families roll their eggs down a hill. The egg that travels the furthest distance without breaking is the winner.
And finally, we have perhaps the most unique tradition yet: reading crime novels at Easter.
In Norway, Easter is an incredibly popular time to curl up and read a crime novel. ‘Why?’ you might rightly ask. Well, this tradition dates back to 1923 and to a remarkably successful publicity stunt. On the 24th of March, an Oslo newspaper printed the headline: ‘The train to Bergen was robbed last night’. Upon reading this title, the news of a supposed robbery spread like wildfire.
However, the headline wasn’t true. It was rather the title of a novel written by Nordahl Grieg and Nils Lie. Although no robbery had taken place, the novel received a large degree of publicity and thus acquired a large readership. The association between Easter and crime fiction was consequently born.
We hope you enjoyed reading about all of these Easter traditions! We’d love to hear some of your favourite traditions though! Get in touch via our social media channels to keep this discussion going!
Feeling sad that the festive season is over? Well, at Web-Translations we want to help you turn that frown upside down by exploring some of the festivities February has to offer!
Yes, don’t be fooled, February offers more than simply Valentines Day. All over the world, people are celebrating special days with loved ones and eating mountains of traditional food.
In this blog, we’re going to introduce you to a few of our favourite celebrations.
Most of you will have heard of Chinese New Year. Also known as the Lunar New Year, it is the festival that celebrates the beginning of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar.
Although the celebration traditionally lasts for 16 days, this year, the Chinese New Year will specifically fall on Tuesday 1st February, and it will welcome the year of the Tiger. (You can read more about the Year of the Tiger here: https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/tiger.htm)
There are lots of traditional activities that can take place during the New Year celebrations. For example:
Candlemas is a public holiday in Liechtenstein, held on the 2nd of February. Also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, the celebration is a Christian holiday that commemorates the presentation of Jesus Christ at the temple.
Although it is customary for Christians in some countries to remove their Christmas decorations on 12th Night, many choose to wait until Candlemas to remove their decorations. Furthermore, it is tradition to take a candle to church. This candle is then blessed and brings families luck throughout the rest of the year.
On the 2nd of February, France observes ‘La Chandeleur’. This is also known as Candlemas, but its origins are in an older pre-Christian holiday which celebrates harvest and marks the mid-point of Winter.
Nowadays, the day centres upon both of these traditions, but it also centres upon the crêpe! Yes, you heard right, the crêpe is the pièce de résistance! Embodying a circular shape, it represents the sun and the circle of life. The act of eating and sharing food also honours the pope giving out food to the poor every year.
Furthermore, one cannot forget that it’s a very superstitious day. To foresee financial luck, some believe that you should hold a coin in one hand and flip the crêpe in another without it falling.
This celebration is a Galician festival that occurs in the locality of Verín each year. The Pagan celebration dates back centuries and it bids farewell to the cold days of winter. With the arrival of Christianity, it was then mixed with saying farewell to meat before Lent.
This year, festivities will begin on the 17th of February (a day known as Xoves de Compadres) and end on the 1st of March (Martes de Entroido). Different days see different activities take place but some of the principal activities include flour fights, masked balls, and processions with fireworks.
It truly is one of the most vibrant and exciting festivals. From cigarrones (masked men who run through the town encouraging people to join the celebrations) to fariñadas (flour fights in the Plaza Mayor), you can’t help but be enticed by the celebrations.
Seven weeks before Easter are the week-long Maslenitsa festivities in Russia. Once again combining the Pagan tradition of marking the transition between winter and spring with the Christian tradition of feasting before Lent, Maslenitsa takes place between the 28th February and the 6th of March.
Also known as Butter Week and Pancake Week, Maslenitsa brings a range of activities. For example:
These are just five of the many, many festivities that occur across the globe in February. We’d love to hear what festivals are celebrated in your culture throughout February, though! Get in touch via our social media.
It’s difficult to argue that football is not a truly international sport. The conventions used around the world to name players, however, vary widely, and serve as a useful reminder that you can’t directly translate one word into its foreign equivalent. Different cultures express things in different ways – in fact they often express subtly different things full stop. In trying to explain the differences we come across a number of the social, cultural and economic factors that influence language.
When I was at primary school there was a persistent belief in the playground that Brazilian footballers only had one name. I understand where it came from – some of the greats have been known by one word: Pelé, Zico, Ronaldinho (Ronaldinho Gaúcho in Brazil). (more…)