Nine hundred acres of natural beauty situated in the Bocas del Dragon (Dragon’s mouth), one of the Bocas islands nestled between Trinidad and Venezuela and washed by the Caribbean Sea, is home to a booming ecosystem and marine life. It is the convergent point of hundreds of years of history, of the passage of thousands of humans from across the globe. That one mainly uninhabited island, ripe with political history, the soils of which bear the essence of many a soul, now remains silent with the mere whispers of the departed among the haunted ruins, the shoreline and the trees.
Chacachacare, the Amerindian word for Cotton Island, was first inhabited by the indigenous people who migrated up the Caribbean chain from South America. Since the islet is located between both Trinidad and Venezuela, this allowed for easy access. Having been discovered and settled firstly by the Amerindians, the land bore witness to the primitive, but skilled and advanced in their own right, the lifestyle, culture, language and spirituality of the indigenous people.
However, just as time progressed, so too did their presence there fade with the re-discovery of the island by Christopher Columbus in the 1498 expedition commissioned by Spain. With the subsequent introduction of African enslavement, the land’s arability was advantaged by the cultivation of cotton which was in high demand in Europe in the 18th Century. In 1813, this Bocas isle provided a haven and an isolated ground for the hatching of a revolutionary plan by General Santiago Marino to liberate Venezuela from the rule of Spaniards, in conjunction with Simon Bolivar — a war that was won. Much later with emancipation in 1834 and the advent of indentureship in 1845, Chacachacare was used as a medical post for the examination of immigrants, to single out the weak and diseased, those of whom were treated on the island, and the strong and abled sent to mainland Trinidad.
Eighty acres were donated to the Catholic Church around 1842 where the Dominican Order established a church, school and presbytery. The nuns of this order cared for leprosy patients in the Cocorite hospital on the mainland and so the State (Trinidad was under British rule during this period) evicted all inhabitants of Chacachacare and constructed a hospital for all afflicted persons on the island, creating a major leper colony in the Caribbean circa 1920. It is believed that leprosy’s inception occurred in ancient Rome which then spread to the Orient via the voyages of Roman soldiers. Most of the victims on the island were the East Indian immigrants who were brought to work on the sugar cane fields, evidenced by the existence of a currently functioning Hindu temple built since 1945.
The nuns from Burgundy, France of the St. Catherine of Sienna Dominican Order were invited by the State in a desperate attempt to control the exponential outbreak of the disease among the islanders. These sisters, upon arrival, were sent to the Cocorite hospital and later relocated to Chacachacare with a resident doctor. They cared most diligently for these patients who suffered the sheer agony of the disease with deformed limbs and the horror of the punctures of daily injections, most of whom suffered until death, including the sisters, who died having contracted the disease or when their bodies surpassed their limit from their servitude.
Chacachacare’s waters were an ideal hideout during World War II, with the emergence of German submarines with Swastikas that frightened the local residents, as they wondered whether these forces would accost them or bring the war to home. In 1940, the United States of America (USA) military gained access to the island through an agreement between Britain and the USA to form political and economic relations between them. As such, a military (naval and air) base was commissioned in Chaguaramas, Trinidad on 1 June 1941.
Fascinating indeed to know that a mostly uninhabited expanse of land — the soil of which has borne the weight of the tribulations of many ethnicities — has such a rich history, stood witness to the tears, hopes, joys, spirituality of the dwellers and visitors; to know that a mainly ignored isle off Trinidad was the home of several languages and dialects, diverse cultures and faiths. Spain, France, Britain, India, Africa, America, Germany all had some sort of connection whether directly or indirectly with an island of only nine hundred acres, off the mainland of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Some stories go untold, some fall on deaf ears, but such is the fact that we take for granted — our “home” — in not fully understanding the depth of the secrets, mysteries and histories of the land and the ancestors.
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The Land of Smiles
This Southeast Asian country, is a geographical beauty, full of lovely people, delectable food and rich in culture and tradition. During my recent visit to the Kingdom of Thailand, a few things struck me. I would like to share some of these with you below and hope you enjoy reading this article.
1. Service is usually very good. Thais are generally happy and smile and laugh on the job in the service industry. They take pride in helping their customers and genuinely want to ensure customer satisfaction. Thailand is known as the "Land of Smiles" - people are very welcoming and pleasant and so, they really do live up to their name.
2. Greetings are important. You will be greeted and warmly welcomed on entering restaurants, hotels and other establishments, with Thais placing their hands in the prayer position and bowing their heads. This is known as the wai and it is a typical Thai greeting, since they do not shake hands by default. It is therefore polite to reciprocate with the wai. A standard Thai greeting used at any time of day or night is Sawasdee (pronounced sah-wah-dee) plus the appropriate ending: men say sah wah dee khrap, while women say sah wah dee khaa.
3. There is good shopping at markets and roadside stalls. You can negotiate when shopping, especially if you are purchasing multiple items or shopping with a group. If you start to negotiate however, it is expected that you are going to purchase. There are many day and night markets and shopping is great, from woven garments to handmade handbags, footwear and tailor-made suits, there are styles to suit most tastes and budgets. You can pack lightly and fill your suitcase with goodies for yourself and return with souvenirs for others, which carry the "Made in Thailand" label.
4. A Thai massage is a must. If you are tired from travelling, shopping or sightseeing, this is a great place to get a traditional Thai massage. Massages are available everywhere, they are cheap and very relaxing.
5. Thai food is fairly cheap also. Good Thai food can be bought from street vendors or in more expensive, fancy establishments. Regardless of where you eat, it tastes delicious.
6. Caution! Be very careful when crossing the street — even if using a zebra crossing — because drivers do not usually stop to let pedestrians cross, so you have to be alert.
7. There is a lot of traffic. For this reason, you should become acquainted with the BTS — the Bangkok Mass Transit System, an above-ground or sky train — and, if possible, the subway system. It will save you time and you can avoid the traffic which you must endure if you travel by taxi. Travel by motorcycle is a common means of getting from point A to point B. There are also river cruises and taxis which are enjoyable and a viable means of accessing some tourist sights and destinations.
What is your experience of Thailand? Let us know in the comments below.
There is a lot to be learned from spending time in countries that are quite different to your own. Each culture is unique, has its positives and negatives and I sometimes wish I could import some of the order, respect and group harmony from Japan into my own Trini culture. Here are eight things I learned about Japanese culture:
1. Stick to the rules. The Japanese have a sense of order and with large numbers of people travelling via Japan's railway network, it is important to be aware of the rules, where you should avoid eating and drinking and where to stand or pass others on the escalators - stand on the left, pass on the right. Eating, drinking and smoking are not allowed on the trains or in the train stations. Follow the clearly marked directional signs to avoid disrupting the flow of people.
2. Respect elders, the disabled, pregnant women, women with children and the physically challenged. There is special seating on trains for these persons. The front row in places of worship may also be specially marked for the elderly or physically challenged. Bathrooms are clearly marked for women with children and families. Although this seems to be the norm in restrooms internationally, it somehow stood out more in Japan. The signs are clear and it takes just a bit of awareness to avoid sitting or standing in the wrong place.
What do you know about Japanese culture? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
We at RMC help our clients to communicate, negotiate and transact business in foreign languages and we help them to understand and adopt culturally appropriate behaviour. We do this by translating documents and providing interpreting services at meetings, conferences, negotiations and court, and offer these services in Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian into and out of English.
We can be reached via the following online platforms:
Telephone or Whats App: 1-868-750-6315
How to book our services
Step 1: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of: a) the document to be translated (language pair, subject matter, preferred turnaround time); b) the meeting requiring interpreting (language pair, event date, number of attendees, etc.) or c) assignee who is relocating.
Step 2: With this information, we prepare a quotation and email it to you.
Step 3: We assign a translator, interpreter or cross-cultural coach to the project.
Step 4: Your service is delivered in an efficient manner.
We are committed to quality, accuracy and reliability and take pride providing excellent service in every job.
After a document is translated and edited, it is (or at least it should be) proofread. Proofreading is the final step in the completion or polishing of a document before delivery to the client. Proofreading is a monolingual task which involves reading and re-reading the text to ensure that it flows smoothly, sounds like it was written by a native speaker and which is rendered in a manner that is suited to the target audience (formal, informal, engaging, all depending on the field and subject matter). A well-translated (and proofread) document has the signs of a well-written document. In other words, translators, in addition to all the other skills they must possess, must be excellent writers.
In both academia and professional spaces, documents such as theses, dissertations, reports, depositions, legal certificates, product descriptions, email messages, contracts and legislation, are some types of documents that are translated. Such documents must be reviewed and edited before being proofread and submitted, since simple errors, such as the placement of a comma, misspelling, the use of ‘false friends’ or a poor rendering, can change the meaning, and in essence have more serious consequences. It can even mean the difference between life and death in the case of medical translations. As such, editing and finally proofreading, before delivery, are of paramount importance.
Many persons are not aware of the difference between editing and proofreading. Some even believe that these terms can be used interchangeably and that they are one and the same; however, they are different and require the respective techniques to correct and enhance a translation.
Proofreading refers to the re-reading of a text after it has been created to single out and correct mistakes. The text is read out loud to fully comprehend if the writing sounds organic or flows properly. It is very different to re-reading the script in one’s mind; since one is not physically hearing the phonetic expression and coherence, the text will appear as well-written. The first set of corrections concern the ideas expressed, and if the sentences flow well into each other, without obscuring the points to be discussed. The second type of corrections relate to grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalisations, sentence structure and more. Editing, on the other hand, in the case of a translation, is checking the source and target documents sentence by sentence, to ensure that there are no additions or omissions and that the translation is a true rendering of the meaning and intention of the author. It is a manual technique of rectifying errors or reformulating points and ensuring the correct use of terminology and country-specific jargon, in the case of regional language variants. The higher the standard of your language, the more you appear authoritative and believable.
For the writer, it is not advisable to proofread or edit immediately after writing, depending on the length of the text and time spent writing. Short texts can be corrected upon completion and before submission, such as email messages, SMS, etc. However, in the case of theses, contracts, reports, memos and other types of documents in academia and business, these require more time and effort to ensure quality work.
For this reason, the writer needs time to rest, so as to lessen the intense levels of brain activity before delivery; editing or proofreading while mentally exhausted may result in skipping over several errors or even creating new ones. Cognitively, at this point, it is not possible to function at optimum capacity to identify mistakes and correct them within a given timeframe.
Proofreading, in the case of foreign language translation, is imperative. A simple mistake, such as a spelling error, or wrong use of a term, could change the entire meaning of the sentence. It also makes a translator appear sloppy to the client. Within the world of translation, the stakes are higher due to the fact that major companies, government ministries, law firms and other organisations, in this age of technology, a booming global market and immigrant crises, turn to human translators throughout the world, to assist in achieving their goals. Though online machine translation applications are on the rise, only the human translator has the ability to understand subject matter context, regional language variants, register and cultural contextual meaning, and apply this knowledge and experience to their craft, which includes proofreading.
To summarise, why is it necessary to hire a professional proofreader?
In anticipation of International Women's Day 2019, Sweet Trinbago Living: http://sweettrinbagoliving.com/celebrating-women-in-business-rebecca-cockburn/ is featuring a number of women entrepreneurs and we were the first to be featured. The article follows:
In anticipation of International Women’s Day on March 8th, I am celebrating all month by featuring some wonderful women and their work in sweet Trinidad and Tobago!
First up, is Rebecca Cockburn, Managing Director of RMC Language Consultancy Limited. I first met Rebecca at the Women Innovators Network in the Caribbean (WINC) Trinidad and Tobago Acceleration Programme in 2016. She was my first official woman in business buddy!
I asked Rebecca about her entrepreneurial journey so far, the challenges she faced as a woman in business and any advice she has to offer to those wanting to follow her path.
Tell me about your business…
RMC Language Consultancy Limited was founded in March 2012. With over 18 years’ experience in our field, we help our clients to communicate, negotiate and transact business in foreign languages and we help them to understand and adopt culturally appropriate behaviour. We do this by
Why languages and translation?
Growing up, a curiosity about understanding foreign languages, cultures and people seemed natural. I remember learning to count from one to ten in Spanish at Montessori school but when I got home, mummy taught me a bit more. I was proud to have that edge as a young child. My mother studied languages and we practiced on family trips. Watching my mother being able to communicate with French speaking tourists, excited me and I wanted to learn more.
I did business and languages in secondary school and went on to study languages and economics at university and graduated with a BA in Spanish and a M.Sc. in International Relations. Exchange programmes during undergraduate and post graduate studies took me to Venezuela, Cuba and Colombia. Other personal and business travel trips saw me visiting other Latin American and Caribbean countries, Europe and Asia. My learning combined both studying and living the language so my career choice came naturally.
Working at the Embassy of Mexico in Trinidad and Tobago and later as a foreign language specialist for the Trinidad and Tobago Government was a great way to put my knowledge to work. Besides Spanish, I have expanded my foreign languages to include French, German, Portuguese and Italian.
What is the most fulfilling part of your career?
Helping others, whether my expatriate clients or a client who was just impressed and happy with the quality of our (translation and interpreting) work. At RMC Language Consultancy Limited, we pride ourselves on providing quality, accuracy and reliability. I also love the independence to choose how my time is spent and also the ability to manage my home and professional life that comes with being an entrepreneur.
My favourites are translation and cross-cultural coaching because it gives me the opportunity to balance time alone translating documents with other periods of engaging and helping my clients understand cultures and achieve success while on assignment abroad.
What message do you have for other women taking independent career paths and risks?
Listen to your gut and take the steps, no matter how small, towards living your dream life.
Fun fact about yourself.
I love everything chocolate :)
Thank you so much Rebecca for sharing with us! Happy International Women’s Day!
Once again we have come to the close of another year. In this joyous season of Christmas and as we look forward to all the promises and hopes that the new year brings, we at RMC would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our clients and partners, for collaborating with us during the course of 2018.
Together with our partners, we hope to continue helping our clients to communicate, negotiate and transact business in foreign languages and achieve success in interactions with foreign cultures throughout 2019.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and every success in the New Year!
“There are far better things ahead, than any we leave behind.”– C.S. Lewis
Interpreting: a well-orchestrated art
There is a popular belief that simultaneous interpreting can be easily performed by just anyone who speaks a foreign language. Indeed, this is not so. Interpreting can be considered an orchestrated art as a result of the many complex cognitive processes that occur within the mind of the interpreter during the session that allow him/her to deliver accurate information on the subject matter being discussed. Additionally, the interpreter must have a vast well of knowledge that allows him/her to be properly informed on any theme that is presented.
It is largely a matter of neuroscience. Firstly, memory plays an integral role in the delivery. The interpreter must first listen to what is being said, understand the message being conveyed, remember it, then convey it to the relevant audience.
Secondly, the interpreter must then provide a contextual oral translation of the message into the target language and articulate that message speedily, moving onto the following remarks made by the speaker without falling behind. Thus, repeating the process all over again.
Such functions can be underestimated and overlooked without fully comprehending the science, time and effort to make such lightning speed and precise deliveries. The BBC Future website referenced scholarly literature pertaining to scientific experiments that highlight two main areas of the brain that help fulfil such cognitive tasks. The caudate nucleus, responsible for controlling decision making which collaborates with the brain’s other networks that produce lightning-fast coordination, as well as the Broca’s area which is responsible for language production, memory and comprehension.
Apart from all these functions, interpreters can experience several stress levels from factors that can hinder their delivery such as external noise, very fast speakers and most importantly, fatigue. For this reason, it is highly recommended that an interpreter work for thirty (30) minutes before switching with another interpreter. This allows each interpreter to have a well needed rest before resuming duties. It is also recommended that they work in pairs, with each partner focusing on one direction in that language pair, e.g., French into English or English into French.
Why is this important?
It replenishes their psychological momentum and capacity. Significant stress applied can wear out the interpreter and cause production quality to deteriorate with passing minutes.
We at RMC provide trained and experienced interpreters to you, our customers, for conferences, negotiations, meetings and court hearings in order to ensure that your event and overall experience with our service delivery are of the best quality.
Connect with us by phone or send us an email or message on our social media pages:
M: (868) 750-6315
Are you considering a merger or acquisition? Are you investing in a foreign market and need legal and financial documents translated?