Posted tagged ‘English’

Translation 51. Arvind Kumar’s Word Power: English-Hindi

27 March 2015

Two and a half years ago, I celebrated my belated discovery of Dr Arvind Kumar’s highly acclaimed 3-volume Penguin English-Hindi / Hindi-English Thesaurus and Dictionary.

Now Arvind Kumar (and his supporting family team) have published the first of a new series of reference works.
Arvind Kumar, Arvind Word Power. ENGLISH-HINDI. (A Dictionary with a Difference),
New Delhi, Arvind Linguistics Private, 2015. ISBN 978-81-924966-2-7 [1350 pages]

Based on the eminent lexicographer’s Thesaurus, this lengthy new work is the first of an innovative series of reference works for those interested in English, or Hindi, or both (in relation to one another). Forthcoming volumes of Arvind Word Power will deal with Hindi-English, English-English, and Hindi-Hindi versions.

In the online introduction to this new work, Kumar states:
” Meanings in English & Hindi
Synonyms in English & Hindi
Linkages to similar & opposite concepts
670,000 words
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi is a tailor-made tool for all who use English and Hindi. It combines the usefulness of a dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia. It helps users to express their ideas, emotions and thoughts – correctly, completely and comfortably.
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi is useful for those who are well-versed in English but are stuck, at times, for the correct Hindi equivalent of an English word.
It is equally useful for those who are not so well-versed in English and are often unable to understand the meaning or implication of a given English word.”

The following excerpt from the Introduction to this new volume (recently purchased) adds a further clarification for prospective readers:
Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi seamlessly juxtaposes English and Hindi vocabularies and helps the user find the correct Hindi equivalent for English words [… providing] synonyms as well as links to similar and opposite concepts in both English and Hindi side by side[…].”

” The scope of Arvind Word Power: English-Hindi goes beyond any existing bilingual dictionary […] [It] is totally India-centric. Our customs, ceremonies, rites and rituals as well as philosophies, doctrines, legends and folklore are all included to provide a complete understanding of Indian culture […] [It] also includes people, incidents and happenings important to India and Indians. For example: Indian freedom movement agitation […] ”
That heading is followed by 3 lines of 20 associated terms (boycott, hunger strike, khadi, nonviolent movement, etc.) and immediately below that the same heading in Hindi accompanied by 3 lines of equivalent terms in Hindi.

There are no less than 1350 pages of such encyclopedic material to consult. The topics are in English alphabetical order. The next volume, Arvind Word Power: Hindi- English will obviously be in the usual Devanagari order. (I can’t wait!)

Having only had time to skim through this huge book, I am both impressed and excited at its wide coverage and the benefit it will bring to my research on Hindi lexicography and Hindi to English translation. I simply wished to announce its arrival and availability to fellow students and lovers of the Hindi and English languages. I may add further comments in a few months.

A pertinent financial observation.
Indian commodity prices are quite low for people from many other economies (West, East, as well as North and South – in Australasia).
Indian book prices are especially low for us. On the other hand, because of the distance involved, Airmail postage (or, more likely, Courier service) from India is fairly high. However, IMHO, the combined low Indian book price plus the Courier price – for a 2-kilogram blockbuster – still makes it an attractive proposition. 1350 pages of knowledge for about $35.

Practical ESL-EFL Topics. 1

12 May 2008

For students of English as a Second Language.

(Dutch, German, Scandinavian and Danish students are not likely to need these examples but they may still derive some amusement from the material.)

As you know, English is not an easy Second Language. Some of its more difficult aspects are its figurative uses and its (non-literal) humour, greatly facilitated by its large store of ‘punnable’ homonyms. The challenge of both of the short exercises below is for ESL students to fully understand the meaning and origin of a number of idiosyncratic language samples. Some of you may have to look up one or two words in a (reliable?) dictionary, but that is always an enlightening experience for all of us.


What is wrong (and possibly amusing) with the following examples of mistranslations of tourist notices from European languages into English?

(Merci de votre visite) Tank for your visit.

Your opinion is a great to us.

For any problems, decomposition or disturb, call desk immediately. (Mexican hotel)

Ring the Bell. Is open. (Shop in Granada, Spain)

Fallow the arrow. (Mexico – mainly for Americans?)

It is prohibited to bring the alcoholics beverages. (Mexican beach)

You have to do it walking. It is necessary to follow the signs road. (Spain)

Listen to the singing of the famous Escolanía, a children’s choir, considered to be the eldest in Europe.

Laundry returned in the 24 hours will be extracharged.

We are not responsibles of discolouring or shinkage.


Lobster per kg (to ask before please).

Eggs caramel cream (maked the house)

Srambelt eggs (?Peru)

Fried pork’s legs

Spanish brochures some years ago:

… church of the Holy Family (master piece of the brilliant archited Gaudí)

Passed Nerja and near Maro, these formations run into the sea very roughly, in high steepy rocks.

In the ten years that these famous performances have been passing, the fame of the Cave has run alongside with that of the artists.

Freeway/Motorway travel in Spain:

Do never change the sense of your driving.

Please do not screw or tear up your transit ticket.

Tarragona: Stretching out on a hill and leaning over the sea, the above Mediterranean town is standing up.

Cambrils: It is a picturesque town of a strong fishing flavour.

Oropesa: All this shall help us get into the sober and rustic beauty of such internal villages as Morella, …

Valencia: The fruit-tree orchards which are so affectionately and meticulously cared of, actually compete with the authentic flower gardens which are so prodigue …

Alicante: A coastal stretchline …


Separate the notices, signs, advertisements (ads) and slogans below into two groups: a) clever or b) clumsy.

An optional extra is for you to account for the deliberate cleverness or the inadvertent clumsiness which has produced these statements. A suggestion: look especially for puns, double entendres, homonyms, paradoxes and ambiguity, as well as errors in English vocabulary choice, expression, spelling, pronunciation, or even punctuation. The simplest element can often make a big semantic difference.

(The first group of examples below are selected from one long page of a huge collection of excellent English material available at:

At a car dealership: The best way to get back on your feet? Miss a car payment.

At a Music Store: Out to lunch. Bach at 12:30. Offenbach sooner.

On the door of a Music Library: Bach in a min-u-et.

At a pizza shop: 7 days without pizza makes one weak.

At a U.S. tire (UK: tyre) shop: Invite us to your next blowout.
At an optometrist’s office:

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.
Billboard on the side of the road:

Keep your eyes on the road and stop reading these signs.

Church sign: To remove worry wrinkles, get your faith lifted.
In a counselor’s [UK: counsellor’s] office:

Growing old is mandatory, growing wise is optional.

In a department store: Bargain Basement Upstairs.
In a Los Angeles clothing store:

Wonderful bargains for men with 16 and 17 necks.
In a New York restaurant:

Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.
In a Pennsylvania cemetery:

Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.
In a restaurant window:

Don’t stand there and be hungry, come in and get fed up.

In a safari park: Elephants please stay in your car
In an office:

After the tea break, staff should empty the teapot and stand upside down on the draining board.
In an office:

Would the person who took the step ladder yesterday kindly bring it back or further steps will be taken.
In the window of a Kentucky appliance store:

Don’t kill your wife. Let our washing machine do the dirty work.
Notice in a field:

The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but the bull charges.

On a fence: Salesmen welcome. Dog food is expensive.
On the wall of a Baltimore estate:

Trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. – (Sisters of Mercy)
In a Maine shop:

Our motto is to give our customers the lowest possible prices and workmanship.
On a repair shop door:

We can repair anything. (Please knock hard — bell out of order.)
On a Tennessee highway:

Take notice: when this sign is under water, this road is impassable.

Sign on a psychic’s Hotline: Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

Others from UK and Australia:

Caption to a picture of a smiling fishmonger: If you ask him nicely he’ll cut your head off.

A brand of lemonade: Every bubble’s passed its fizzical.

Car sticker: Jesus Saves. He couldn’t manage it on my salary.

Pub notice:

Our bank has promised not to serve BEER if we don’t cash cheques.

Bank: Losing interest in your current account?

Transport ad with exotic photograph: You can see the Rhine Valley [or Paris] from Victoria Station (London).

You can have anything you like with just a little application. [Lloyds Bank, Access Card]

Duty-Free shop: It’s enough to make you leave the country.

Automatic Teller Machine – ATM: Pop into the Bank when it’s shut.

Caption on a gory but effective road safety sign for cyclists: Dont hit the road without a bike helmet.