Culture Night 2016 KantanMT

A few of us from KantanMT went to the annual Culture Night in Ireland and ended up having an absolute blast. Since we are interested in everything to do with languages, we of course decided to go to the Dublin Language Garden and the Translation is Fun! events arranged by linguists at the Trinity Long Room Hub (TLR) in Dublin.

As a part of the Culture Night, TLR arranged these two language-related events, which saw a great turnout and were a huge success with the visitors. Seeing as all our readers are interested in language and translation, we decided to share some of the highlights from the evening with you.

The Language Garden

The Dublin Language Garden took a snapshot of the different varieties of language spoken around Dublin. Linguists from Trinity documented the languages by writing the words, phrases and submissions from all visitors to the garden on flowers and leaves, and then used them to build the Dublin Language Garden.

We also enjoyed the live interactive activity on Speech Synthesis, which anyone can try out at Their research on computer processing of language once again goes on show how technology assisted language can help the community.

Later in the evening, we learnt a few things about offensive and explicit languages from the likes of Prof. Adrian Tien and the Director of the Center of Deaf Studies Lorraine Leeson.

Cryptolects KantanMT Language
Cryptolects: Poster at the Language Garden

Translation is Fun!

This event was organised by the Trinity Centre for Literary Translations, and explored the creative challenges linked to translation – challenges that we are sure all translators are aware of! At the event, we attempted to translate a story, and experienced first-hand what a demanding yet fulfilling job translators have.

Here are some fun facts we learnt about translation on the evening:

  • When translators work on children’s books, they need to be extra vigilant, so that they don’t miss out on the meaning, humour, or the peculiar mannerism of characters that make them adorable.
  • Translators use phonetics or visual word play to translate the names of the characters in children’s books. These names are often meant to be funny and give information about the character’s appearance or personality.
  • Translating the names of invented characters also require quite a bit of lateral thinking. Often, these names are based on portmanteau words. Lewis Carroll’s writings abound in these ‘whi Jabberwocky KantanMTmsical’ words like frabjous (fair, fabulous, and joyous) or jabberwocky.
  • Translating children’s alphabet books can also be quite challenging because instead of keeping the meaning of the original intact, translators have to focus on creating attractive rhymes, humour and pictures, which will resonate with the readers.

The evening helped us understand why one source text can have numerous translation equivalents. In the event, we were presented with a row of covers made from different editions of the French author Charles Perrault’s fairy tales, and we had to guess the language of each. The exercise helped us understand how translations usually have a lot in common with the original, and yet are imbued with their own distinct personality, favour and style.

Charles Perrault’s fairy tales KantanMT

Just like literary translations for children’s books, all translators have a challenging task where they need to strike the right balance between retaining the meaning of the original text, and providing it with a relatable cultural context.

At KantanMT, we help translators, Language Service Providers and enterprises to localize faster with our high quality, customised KantanMT engines. Our new language review automation tool, KantanLQR, recognises the contribution that translators make towards improving and customising the MT engines. KantanLQR helps streamline the language quality review process to make it simpler, easier and faster to implement the translators’ feedback to improve the MT engine quality. If you would like to know more about us, mail us at