Ancient Indo-European language comes to light in Turkey

An excavation in Turkey has brought to light an unknown Indo-European language. The new language was discovered in north-central Turkey at Boğazköy-Hattusha. That site was the capital of the Hittite Empire, a great power in Western Asia inthe Late Bronze Age (1650 to 1200 BCE). Excavations in Boğazköy-Hattusha over more than 100 years have so far…… Continue reading Ancient Indo-European language comes to light in Turkey

International Translation Day

Today is International Translation Day, a day picked because 30 September is the feast day for St Jerome. The Catholic Church regards him as the patron saint of translators—and also of archaeologists, Biblical scholars, librarians and students. For more information about International Translation Day, please see the following information produced by the International Federation of…… Continue reading International Translation Day

A tricky legal translation problem: food packaging

I’ve written before about a court case which concluded that UK retailer Tesco mis-translated the phrase chocolate powder into Czech. Translation and food packaging – Language Miscellany The judgement of the EU Court of Justice was produced in French. When I wrote before on this case, the official English translation wasn’t yet available.  The English…… Continue reading A tricky legal translation problem: food packaging

ULEZ, uljez, izlaz

London has just extended the boundary of its Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Drivers of motor vehicles causing heavy emissions must pay to drive in the ULEZ. The word ULEZ has the shape and feel of some Croatian words. The common prefix u- means ‘in’ or ‘into’ and is derived from the preposition u. (In other…… Continue reading ULEZ, uljez, izlaz

Does training of AI models rely too much on input from other AI models?

Large Language Models (LLMs, like Chat GPT) use a large body of existing texts in training themselves so that they can answer questions by producing text that looks like the work of humans. The underlying texts used in training LLMs should be generated by humans—but are they? Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology…… Continue reading Does training of AI models rely too much on input from other AI models?

Happy birthday British Library

Today is the 50th anniversary of the British Library. It was created by the British Library Act 1972The Act came into force on 1 July 1973. For more information, please see History of the British Library – The British Library (

ISO on Plain Language

In June 2023, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published ISO 24495-1 Plain language — Part 1: Governing principles and guidelines. Scope of ISO 24495 ISO 24495: establishes governing principles and guidelines for developing plain language documents. The guidelines detail how the principles are interpreted and applied. is for anybody who creates or helps create…… Continue reading ISO on Plain Language

Do you have to be French to get into the Académie Française?

Surprisingly, the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa is a member of the Académie Française. He was elected in 2021, but he didn’t take up his seat in person until 9 February 2023, presumably because of travel disruption caused by covid. Réception de M. Mario Vargas Llosa (F18) | Académie française ( It seems odd for…… Continue reading Do you have to be French to get into the Académie Française?

Aux Champs-Élysées

An attempt will be made on 4 June to break the world record for the world’s largest dictation event. It will be held on the Champs-Élysées in Paris for 1,700 participants. The existing record-holder is an event for 1,473 participants at the French national stadium (Stade de France) in 2018. As I’ve said before,…… Continue reading Aux Champs-Élysées