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Standing out as I see it

  Depending on the culture, circumstances and stage of life, people who stand out can face a number of difficulties. In Japan, for example, the phrase drummed into children from a young age is ‘The nail that stands up will be hammered down.’ (deru kui wa utareru, ?????????) A stereotypical view perhaps, but one that’s reflected in many aspects of life here.   The loudspeakers used in kindergartens (which I have never seen overseas) to keep the kids disciplined, the love of homogeneity, ranging from a hundred people wearing similar suits of the same colour to a tour group of thirty people all ordering the same meal as the group leader to maintain harmony and avoid inconveniencing the restaurant and the (occasionally unquestioning) love of rules and regulations, to name but a few.   However, this national attitude, although admirable to some extent, may well be incompatible with the increasing need for entrepreneurial thinking and new dynamism required to revive the country, its economy and its population, which is shrinking faster than anywhere else.   Back in the UK, the home of punk and many other forms of self-expression, we have a tradition of embracing and even championing individuality. Many people would advocate the opposite of the Read More

My fascination with language

  Like most translators, I don’t just do this job to pay the bills… I simply love working with language. I’ve always been a “words person.” In fact, this plays out in my life in a number of distinct ways. I will always prefer e-mailing to phoning. Compliments or criticisms leave a far greater imprint on me in writing than when spoken.   Going back a little further, although tying shoelaces, naming colours and learning left from right were great childhood challenges, reading came very naturally. I am forever grateful that as a child, without the distraction of the Internet (feeling my age as I say that), each week saw me buried in numerous library books; whizzing through them cover to cover and absorbing vocabulary and expressive powers in the process.   Nowadays, like many of you with family and full-time work, despite being a regular Amazon customer, time to read new books is a real luxury. So it feels even better to have got a lot of books in early – I wasn’t a “Kindle Kid”!   When I started studying French and German, these new worlds of language captured my imagination, although I was a free spirit and often clashed with the stricter teachers. But Read More

Parallels and Positivity

  Greetings! A warm welcome to this relaunched NativeChecker site. As each year comes to a close, most people inevitably reflect on the 12 months having passed, the good, bad (and the ugly) and how to make the following year more successful from a personal and professional perspective. “Onwards and upwards” is a popular refrain.   After enduring a very challenging 2014, I would like to echo those sentiments - even in the middle of 2015 - and put them into action with my new online home.   My all-time favourite saying, courtesy of Helen Keller, is supremely relevant here:   "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."   As an optimist, I look around and enjoy my life and what I have, especially in the professional sphere. At the same time, I am clearly aware of the need to focus on and improve areas where I have less “natural talent.” But do we keep toiling away at them, despite everything, or turn to other professionals or software for help?   My talent for words, for example, is sadly not matched by a similar gift for numbers or art. I enjoy using and Read More

Why I always loved writing

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32. The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Read More

Richard Mort Native Checker © 2014