For the love of language! Leave a reply

5 examples of how the languages we speak can affect the way we think

SOURCE: – posted by Jessica Gross

Economist Keith Chen starts today’s talk with an observation: to say, “This is my uncle,” in Chinese, you have no choice but to encode more information about said uncle. The language requires that you denote the side the uncle is on, whether he’s related by marriage or birth and, if it’s your father’s brother, whether he’s older or younger.

“All of this information is obligatory. Chinese doesn’t let me ignore it,” says Chen. “In fact, if I want to speak correctly, Chinese forces me to constantly think about it.”

This got Chen wondering: Is there a connection between language and how we think and behave? In particular, Chen wanted to know: does our language affect our economic decisions?

Chen designed a study — which he describes in detail in this blog post — to look at how language might affect individual’s ability to save for the future. According to his results, it does — big time.

While “futured languages,” like English, distinguish between the past, present and future, “futureless languages,” like Chinese, use the same phrasing to describe the events of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Using vast inventories of data and meticulous analysis, Chen found that huge economic differences accompany this linguistic discrepancy. Futureless language speakers are 30 percent more likely to report having saved in any given year than futured language speakers. (This amounts to 25 percent more savings by retirement, if income is held constant.) Chen’s explanation: When we speak about the future as more distinct from the present, it feels more distant — and we’re less motivated to save money now in favor of monetary comfort years down the line.

But that’s only the beginning. There’s a wide field of research on the link between language and both psychology and behavior. Here, a few fascinating examples:

  1. Navigation and Pormpuraawans
    In Pormpuraaw, an Australian Aboriginal community, you wouldn’t refer to an object as on your “left” or “right,” but rather as “northeast” or “southwest,” writes Stanford psychology professor Lera Boroditsky (and an expert in linguistic-cultural connections) in the Wall Street Journal. About a third of the world’s languages discuss space in these kinds of absolute terms rather than the relative ones we use in English, according to Boroditsky. “As a result of this constant linguistic training,” she writes, “speakers of such languages are remarkably good at staying oriented and keeping track of where they are, even in unfamiliar landscapes.” On a research trip to Australia, Boroditsky and her colleague found that Pormpuraawans, who speak Kuuk Thaayorre, not only knew instinctively in which direction they were facing, but also always arranged pictures in a temporal progression from east to west.
  2. Blame and English Speakers
    In the same article, Boroditsky notes that in English, we’ll often say that someone broke a vase even if it was an accident, but Spanish and Japanese speakers tend to say that the vase broke itself. Boroditsky describes a study by her student Caitlin Fausey in which English speakers were much more likely to remember who accidentally popped balloons, broke eggs, or spilled drinks in a video than Spanish or Japanese speakers. (Guilt alert!) Not only that, but there’s a correlation between a focus on agents in English and our criminal-justice bent toward punishing transgressors rather than restituting victims, Boroditsky argues.
  3. Color among Zuñi and Russian Speakers
    Our ability to distinguish between colors follows the terms in which we describe them, as Chen notes in the academic paper in which he presents his research (forthcoming in the American Economic Review; PDF here). A 1954 study found that Zuñi speakers, who don’t differentiate between orange and yellow, have trouble telling them apart. Russian speakers, on the other hand, have separate words for light blue (goluboy) and dark blue (siniy). According to a 2007 study, they’re better than English speakers at picking out blues close to the goluboy/siniy threshold.
  4. Gender in Finnish and Hebrew
    In Hebrew, gender markers are all over the place, whereas Finnish doesn’t mark gender at all, Boroditsky writes in Scientific American (PDF). A study done in the 1980s found that, yup, thought follows suit: kids who spoke Hebrew knew their own genders a year earlier than those who grew up speaking Finnish. (Speakers of English, in which gender referents fall in the middle, were in between on that timeline, too.)
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AmCham Germany!

Qordoba GmbH is proud to annouce it´s Membership into the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham).

The AmCham are an important alliance in building our Business not just here in Germany, but also in other countires as we continue to grow.

For more Information about AmCham, check out their Website at:


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Join our enterprise sales team!

We are growing our sales team! You will be representing an emerging industry leader in a growing market with proven services and technologies. If you want to be a part of a company that thrills its customers, we invite you to take the next step in your career and join us in leading the future of content creation.

So, this job is for you if:

You are a hunter and experienced in selling high-end services and software to executives at large companies and government agencies. Creative, energetic and a self-starter, you understand the sales process, how to analyze needs and provide solutions-based sales, and can drive deals forward and compress decision cycles. You also love understanding a product in depth and then communicating that product to the marketplace.

Our sales team members are core to the company, focused on bringing in new accounts and growing current accounts. Typical translation accounts cover a broad swath of industries: consulting, PR, communications, legal, finance, government and start-ups. Geographically, our sales are currently concentrated in MENA + Europe, but we are expanding globally quickly.

We are looking for a track record of proven sales success with at least 4 years experience in service and software sales to leading MNCs, SMEs and government agencies. In this role you will enjoy a rewarding commission structure, opportunity for career growth, and the chance to represent “wow” products in a rapidly growing market. This position reports to the head of sales.


  • Develop and execute sales strategy as a resourceful, bootstrapping, entrepreneur
  • Identify & meet with stakeholders at target companies: CEOs, Sales Executives etc.
  • Use solutions-based selling to identify where Qordoba products can solve needs
  • Demonstrate Qordoba’s technologies via web demos, phone calls, and in person
  • Negotiate business terms and see new contracts through to execution
  • Meet or exceed activity, pipeline, and revenue targets
  • Ensure 100% satisfaction with all customers
  • Travel as needed (typically 1-2x per month regionally)
  • Near-native fluency in English and another language (Arabic strong plus)


Send your resume to In your email or cover letter, let us know why Qordoba interests you. Looking forward to hearing from you!

- May


What we do! Leave a reply

Spring has sprung!

At least according to the calendar it has.

Spring brings out the best of us. With the extra sunshine and warmer days, we all feel just that little bit better.

We also become more creative in Spring. Whether it be at home renovating, or in the garage getting the „fun car“ ready for Summer. At work, Marketing Departments worldwide also use Spring to get their teams brainstorming for the 12-18 months ahead.

International companies often devise a campaign to be used worldwide. This not only keeps costs down, but it also keeps the company´s branding and imaging streamlined.

What  these companies need to ensure is that cultural marketing be applied when using these campaigns across the globe. What might be exciting for clients in the USA, could prove offensive for clients in say, China.

That is why our linguistic teams at Qordoba don´t just translate – they evaluate. Telling your story.  

Sometimes an interpretation is more suitable than a direct translation. However sometimes, minor changes in the marketing idea might be needed to make it acceptable in the target country.

At Qordoba, we use linguists who live in the target country to work on these projects. That way, your idea, gist and company goals don´t get lost in translation.

For more information about how this might apply to your company, contact your consultant or send an enquiry via this site.

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BCCG members!

Qordoba Germany are excited to announce that we are now members of the British Chamber of Commerce – German fraction!

This is an important alliance and we look forward to the events and information that the BCCG will be able to provide us with.

You can find out more about the BCCG by visiting:

Friday Funnies, Words, Words, Words Leave a reply

It pays to pay…

I am sure many of you have seen some funny translations on your travels. Normally they have been done by „someone“ internally.

On the picture below however, are 7 stories of how multi-nationals have also had their own issues with questionable translations.

A translation is not just a translation.

Which is why we believe it is important to make sure that we use professional linguists who not only speak your target language, but also live in the target country of where your product is to be marketed. This ensures that cultural differences are also being localized.

Have a look at the cases below and remember: it pays to pay for good translations!


Picture Source: 9GAG

Words, Words, Words 1 Reply

Friday Funnies…

The general conception about German, is that it is an aggressive and harsh sounding language. Here is an example of the saying “I love you” in various languages… yes, in this case, the Germans sound a bit, hmmmm, shall we say angry… Enjoy!

Disclaimer: We do not own this picture and have shared it from the FaceBook Page “Differenze Linguistische”. Sharing is permitted by the publisher. Any Copyright infringements are entirely unintentional.