Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Exploring languages and cultures
Exploring languages and cultures

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.


Argument by analogy:
an argument which involves comparing two different things in order to highlight a perceived similarity. For example, ‘Raising children is like training horses: you only succeed if you strike the right balance between trust and discipline’.
concerned with hearing. Speaking and listening both use the auditory channel.
the process by which a translated text is translated back into its original language. Comparing the retranslated text with the original is one means of assessing the quality of the initial translation.
the mode of transmission – visual, auditory or tactile – through which a message is communicated. Different media may belong to the same channel. For example, books may be available in different media (print or ebook), but in both cases information is conveyed through the visual channel.
Community of practice:
a group of people who form in pursuit of a mutual endeavour. Communities of practice ‘are focused on a domain of knowledge and over time accumulate expertise in this domain. They develop their shared practice by interacting around problems, solutions, and insights, and building a common store of knowledge’ (Wenger, 2001, p. 1).
Computer-assisted translation/computer-aided translation (CAT):
translation that is carried out by a human with the help of tools such as terminology managers, corpora and translation memory tools.
Consecutive interpreting
a method of interpreting where the speaker stops speaking to allow the interpreter to relay the message in part or in full.
Corpus (pl. corpora):
an online collection of texts, which may include printed books, newspapers and transcriptions of recordings from spoken interactions. The technology allows these to be searched through in a matter of seconds, for example to find patterns in the usage of words.
an argument which involves basing general propositions on the observation of particular details. For example, ‘In a sample of 1000 US residents, 59% had blue or green eyes and 41% had brown eyes. Therefore, over half of the American population have blue or green eyes.’
Intercultural competence:
a person’s ability to communicate with people from other cultures in a manner that is both effective and appropriate.
Intercultural competencies:
the ‘knowledge, skills and attitudes that comprise a person’s ability to get along with, work and learn with people from diverse cultures.’ (The Higher Education Academy, 2014.)
Intercultural competence:
a person’s ability to communicate with people from other cultures in a manner that is both effective and appropriate.
in a multilingual context, the action of turning speech from one language into another. Interpreting may also be used between a sign language and a spoken language.
Liaison interpreting:
interpreting where a single interpreter renders both sides of a two-way conversation, switching language as speakers take their turns.
‘applied contemptuously to any mode of speech abounding in unfamiliar terms, or peculiar to a particular set of persons’ (Oxford University Press, 1989).
the vocabulary of a language.
Lingua franca:
A language used by speakers of different languages as a common medium of communication; a common language.
the process of acting as a link between two people or things. In the context of multilingual and intercultural communication, the term ‘mediation’ generally refers to translation, interpreting, or any other intervention aimed at facilitating communication between people from different linguistic or cultural backgrounds.
the grammatical process by which actions, events, qualities of events and qualities of objects are represented, not as verbs, adjectives and adverbs, but as nouns (things, concepts). This process in its simplest form involves using a verb as a noun. For example, ‘when you arrive’ becomes ‘on your arrival’. Sometimes a structural transformation of the verb is involved, often with the addition of a suffix, e.g. ‘precipitate’ becomes ‘precipitation’.
a generalisation, based on little evidence, that is applied more widely than it should be. For example, ‘I know two blue-eyed men and they are both very poor dancers: blue-eyed men are poor dancers.’
Relay interpreting:
the relaying of a message from a particular source language into a language common to all interpreters, who then render the content into their own target language.
Remote interpreting:
interpreting performed at a distance, when participants are in different physical locations.
Sight interpreting:
a method of interpreting where a written text in the source language is rendered orally into the target language.
Simultaneous interpreting:
a method of interpreting where the interpreter relays the message without the speaker stopping speaking.
a ‘type of language consisting of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people: “grass is slang for marijuana”’ (Oxford University Press, 1989). Slang is often used by the underworld or by particular subcultures in order to assert their group identity and make their speech incomprehensible to outsiders.
a ‘variety of a language used by a particular social group or class’ (Oxford University Press, 2013).
an ‘identifiable subgroup within a society or group of people, especially one characterized by beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger group; the distinctive ideas, practices, or way of life of such a subgroup’ (Oxford University Press, 2013).
concerned with touch. The Braille system uses a tactile channel to enable blind and partially sighted people to read and write.
‘the system of terms belonging to any science or subject’ (Oxford University Press, 1989).
‘the action or process of turning one language into another; also, the product of this; a version in a different language’ (Oxford University Press, 1989). (In that sense, interpreters and translators both produce translations. However, the term translation normally refers to written translation, whereas spoken translation is referred to as interpreting.)
concerned with seeing. Writing, reading and sign language all use the visual channel.
Whispered interpreting:
a form of simultaneous interpreting where interpreters whisper into the ear of the listener instead of using interpreting equipment.