Apostrophe Hell – Part 3: Is it all Greek?


Apostrophe Hell
Dumichka was nearly finished for the day when the phone rang. It was DC Dash from the local police station.

“I was wondering if you can help us with this one, it’s not a straightforward request” started DC Dash, and Dumichka braced herself for another late finish.

Providing translation and interpreting services for the police was an exciting and challenging job, and even though she knew she won’t get to leave work on time today, she couldn’t wait to hear what the request was – to her it was like taking part in one of those detective stories that she liked reading. Besides, if she was late enough, she might just miss all the trick-or-treaters at home…

“What it is, we’ve had two shops vandalised tonight”, DC Dash started explaining. “Both done by what looks like people wearing costumes. Very different costumes – one dressed like a banana, and the other one – like some kind of two-headed monster. What is similar is that in both places, they’ve left the same note, kind of like a graffiti sprayed on the wall. It looks like a word but we can’t make anything out of it, looks like another language, so I was wondering if you can take a look at it for us and see if you can work out what language it is, and what it means.”

“Sure, can you send us a picture of it?”

“Yup, just give me 5 minutes”.

Dumichka waited with growing curiosity for the email to arrive. A few minutes later it flashed in her inbox, and she opened the attachment to have a look at the word.


She could tell immediately that it was Greek, and was beginning to guess what it means, but had to check with one of the qualified translators first.


Apostrophe”, she told DC Dash on the phone a few minutes later, “It’s the Greek word for Apostrophe”.


Later that evening, Dumichka watched the news with a sense of achievement as the reported talked about the swift arrest made after two shops were vandalised this evening. The perpetrators were a group of grammar vigilantes who explained that they couldn’t stand it when they saw the sign “Banana’s 20p each”, with an apostrophe in it.

“Bananas are not in possession in 20p each! They are just plural!!!

“And then that department store with their ‘Womens clothing’ – ‘women’ is already in plural, you can’t make it even more plural!!!”

They had then decided to give the shop owners a grammar lesson they will never forget…

Tanabata, a Japanese festival of love and wishes

Tonight, as the stars shine bright above us in the dark sky, two forlorn lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi shall finally meet again.

They can only be together once a year – on the seventh night of the seventh month – as Orihime’s father, the King of the Skies himself, Tentei forbade them to meet and so the lovers spend their days separated by a deep river, the Amanogawa.

On this magical night magpies gather and spread their wings wide to form a bridge across the river, the two lovers can cross the river, and finally they are reunited. Continue reading Tanabata, a Japanese festival of love and wishes

The most economical language – Musings about Bulgarian, information rate and Marcel Duchamp

Marcel DuchampA couple of days ago I had an interesting conversation with Svetlana, from our sister company Cintra, about her mother tongue, Bulgarian. As it turns out it is rather economical. For example, the consonant cluster “sht” often appears in various words, so Bulgarians invented a single letter that represents this string of sounds: “щ”. Clever, ha?

This conversation lead to another one, about the economy of languages and various strategies speakers employ to convey the most amount of information with the least effort. Continue reading The most economical language – Musings about Bulgarian, information rate and Marcel Duchamp


As you might have seen on our Facebook page and Twitter, we have recently moved offices! You can now find us at 8 Wellington Mews, Wellington Street, Cambridge, CB1 1HW, together in the same building with our sister company, Cintra.

Cintra specialises in providing high quality interpreting services to clients from both the public and business sectors. They cover over 100 languages with the help of their highly trained professional interpreters. As Cintra focuses on interpreting services and First Edition’s forte lies in translation, our services complement each other very well.

We are really excited about our move and settling into our lovely new office.

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You can now find us here:

“Let’s talk!” – Upcoming trade shows

Exhibition NewmarketThe power of personal communication is not to be underrated even in today’s world of smart phones and fast internet connection. This is why trade shows are a great opportunity to meet and have a chat with representatives of other businesses. We can exchange ideas, find out what others do and how we can help each other.

In the coming months we will be exhibiting at various trade shows, including the “Two Counties Business Exhibition” at Newmarket Racecourse on Wednesday, from 11 am to 3 pm. If you are in the area, pop in and visit us at our stand where I will be answering all your language-related questions together with Anthony from our sister company, Cintra. (Entry is free for all visitors.)

If you’d like some more info about tomorrow’s event and other trade shows where you might catch us, have a look at Anthony’s blog here or the event programme here.

Translation musings: The 5Ws of interpreting


Requesting the services of an interpreter is slightly different from requesting a translation. Your project manager will need information about the event, the attendees and the schedule in order to find the best interpreter for you. If you don’t know where to start, have a look at this list below. If you need any further guidance or advice, give us a ring at 01223 356 733 or write to us through our Contact Form. Continue reading Translation musings: The 5Ws of interpreting

Translation musings: Sisu, the embodiment of Finnishness

If you ask a Finnish person (for example my colleague Tytti), they’ll tell you that there are three things that are “most Finnish”: sisu, sauna and Sibelius.

Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius in his early twenties (1890)

Well, everyone is familiar with sauna where one can relax both physically and mentally, and you might also know Sibelius, the great Finnish composer who lived in the 19th century. But have you ever heard about sisu? Continue reading Translation musings: Sisu, the embodiment of Finnishness

Translation musings: Cat ears on the menu

Translating restaurant menus is not as straightforward as it might seem at first. All countries have unique, local dishes, so translating the names of those can be tough and a bad translation can actually lose some money for the business!

Well, now, would you try this intriguing Chinese dish?

Chinese food

Continue reading Translation musings: Cat ears on the menu