When different cultures mean ideas don’t translate

I was never an interpretation and translation guy, but when I taught linguistics in the College of English at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, I ran into lots of students and teachers from the Interpretation Department. One of the most interesting lectures I saw came from a group of students talking about Korean phrases that don’t translate well into English and English phrases that don’t translate well into Korean.

So I wanted to share some experience and start a discussion based on words that get lost in translation when traveling abroad. There are some good ones in the article I link to here, like feeling L’appel du vide when waiting for a cruise ship to dock. That’s a French idea for feeling something like homesickness only for a place you have never been.

For a personal example, living in Korea I often heard the word jung. It took a few years for me to get the concept. Jung is sort of a feeling of camaraderie and building jung is important in Korea. It’s still a somewhat foreign concept to me, but from my perspective, jung often involves getting together for drinks. Office workers go out drinking together, college students go out drinking together, professors go out drinking together. Sometimes students and professors take an overnight trip and drink together. We take the bus to some cabin in the country and hang out overnight. That’s called MT (Membership Training) but it’s about drinking and creating jung – not about training.

I’ve seen all sorts of things during MT. There is always a barbecue and there are always drinking games. Students stay up drinking all night, I think. I’m not sure because professors always go to bed before students. Professors might have a 2 room cabin with all the male professors sleeping in one room and all the female professors sleeping in the other room. Everyone gets a thick blanket / thin mattress thing to throw on the floor and sleep on. I have never seen a western style bed (box spring and mattress) at an MT. I assume the students have a similar set up, just two bigger rooms, if they sleep at all.

You might be wondering about privacy, but this is a concept that doesn’t translate so well from English into Korean. For example if you say in English that you prefer to yoga in the privacy of your own home, that privacy seems like a good thing. However it’s hard to translate “in the privacy of my home” into Korean and maintain the same positive connotation. I don’t mean to say that there is no privacy in Korea, but the concept of privacy and the expectation for privacy is a bit different in Korean culture than in American (and I assume other Western countries’) culture. The different cultural concepts of privacy can definitely impact your travel experience.

Here’s another cool article that talks about “hygge” a term that they say doesn’t translate well into English. Hygge kind of reminds me of jung except instead of building camaraderie with colleagues, hygge is more for family and friends:

“Hygge is a deep sense of cosy that can originate from many different sources. Here is a good example from my life: a cloudy winter Sunday morning at the country house, fire in the stove and 20 candles lit to dispel the gloom. My husband, puppy and I curled up on our sheepskins wearing felt slippers, warm snuggly clothes and hands clasped around hot mugs of tea. A full day ahead with long walks on the cold beach, back for pancake lunch, reading, more snuggling, etc. This is a very hyggligt day.”

So what phrases do you know like hygge and jung? What words or phrases have you encountered in your travels that don’t translate well into English?

Bicycle on vacation? Be careful out there!

I recently learned a new word, when a good friend of mine announced that he got “doored” while riding his bike in New York City. He’s OK now but he did end up in the back of an ambulance and the ER. So this guest post seemed especially relevant. Like any other vehicle, there are a number of hazards cyclists should be aware of when on the roadway. By being aware of hazards, bike riders can avoid accidents, collisions and injuries that may otherwise require enlisting legal help from a service such as Motor Accident Legal Service. Here are four more things that bike riders must be careful of.

1. Potholes

Potholes are a risk for any vehicle but especially for cyclists with narrow wheels. Depending on their depth, hitting a pothole can cause damage to bike frames, wheels and a loss of control, potentially resulting in an accident. Cyclists should always look ahead to the horizon to give themselves enough time to identify approaching potholes and ride around them when safe to do so.

2. Glass and Other Sharp Objects

Punctures are the bane of any cyclist’s existence so riding over sharp objects is something to be avoided at all costs. Sharp gravel, road rubble from broken tar, and uneven, unsealed roads can all cause punctures. Despite the fact that a puncture may not mean loss of control, a flat tyre is always inconvenient. For cyclists that do happen to ride over glass, pulling over as soon as possible and inspecting the tyres for sharp fragments and removing these from the tread will minimise the chance of a puncture.

3. Slick Spots

Oil, painted lines, leaves and wet sewer grates on the roadway are all slippery to cyclists, especially when turning. To avoid being flung from the bike and becoming one with the pavement, bike riders should lean against a turn, shifting their weight to the outside pedal. Roads are the most slippery after the first few minutes of rain, when the oil residue accumulated on the road turns into a slick film. It may be worth waiting for these deposits to be run in and distributed by other cars before continuing riding, especially if it’s been a long period since the roads have been wet.

4. Other Vehicles

It goes without saying that vehicles, including cars, trucks and other bikes, represent a potential hazard for cyclists. It’s important that riders wear high-visibility clothing, especially in low light conditions, and also use reflectors and headlights so they can be more easily seen. Riders should avoid riding too closely behind other cyclists to avoid collisions from overlapping wheels. When riding along roads where cars are parked, cyclists need to be observant of motorists who may be leaving their cars, since car doors opening into the paths of cyclists is another major hazard. Motorists who are parked parallel to the curb also have a responsibility to check for cyclists before opening their doors. A cyclist can’t always trust people to do so though, so always be on alert.

What other hazards and risks make cycling potentially dangerous and how can these be avoided? Let others know by leaving a comment below.

Alternative ski destinations and culture shock on the slopes

So the other day Sharon wrote about some ski chalets, including catered ski chalets in la Rosiere. I’ve only been to ski resorts in Korea, but I hear they can be pretty different from ski resorts in Europe or North America.

First, artificial snow is the norm in Korea. It’s normal to go to a ski resort and find only artificial snow. Many skiers prefer natural powder snow to crunchy and damp man-made snow. I’m not sure if that’s because skiers are used to natural powder or if there really is a significant difference.

Second, the mountains in South Korea are relatively low. The four resorts hosting events for the 2018 Winter Olympics are 700-1500 meters above sea level. The terrain is not as steep as many Americans would expect.

Third, even though the terrain is not above the tree line, tree skiing is not an option. Chain fences line all the slopes

Fourth, much attention was paid to entertaining non-skiers. Typical attractions include water parks and shopping centers. The government owned High 1 Resort has a casino (the only casino in Korea in which Koreans are allowed to play – all other casinos are for foreigners only).

I’m not sure these cultural differences will last forever. Korea may try to westernize in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics to Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang and three other resorts all within half an hour (including the High 1 Resort mentioned above). Although I don’t think they’ll be importing natural snow or changing the incline of their mountains.

So given the many possible cultural differences, I searched the web for ski culture shock and similar terms. I found a few interesting things I’d like to share with you now.

Japan

Unlike Korea, Japan is known for natural powder. Also, if you check out the video below around 2:30, you’ll see trees, which would be off limits in Korea.

Kashmir India

This video seems to show untouched snow, white and powdery. Skiing through forest looks amazing. Then around 2 minutes in, very close to the end of the video, there’s a shot where the skiers are on a road. They pass a truck going the other way. Maybe that’s where the culture shock mentioned in the video title comes from. I can’t imagine skiers and vehicles sharing the road.

China

Long slopes and slow lifts. They interview tourists who say the skiing in this Chinese resort is comparable to America, Canada, and Swedish skiing.

And I believe the Atlai Mountains are also in China. If someone wanted a really different ski experience, they might try skiing uphill (or down) with a single pole.

In conclusion, it seems there are a lot of different ski experiences to be had in Asia. From resorts to country skiing, lots of culture awaits skiers willing to travel. Where would you go for a ski holiday?

Travel idea: Ski resort in the French Alps

High above the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps, La Rosière at 6,000 feet features over 90 miles of ski trails, beautiful alpine views with Mont Blanc in the distance, and easy access to Espace San Bernardo on the border between France and Italy. Skiers, from beginners to experts, come here every season to enjoy the sunshine, generous snowfall, uncrowded slopes, and the pleasant camaraderie of this family-friendly ‘Famille Plus Montagne’ resort. There is a special small village “The Gallopins” for the kids in the center of the resort, a “Baby-Club” (18 months-3 year olds), and “Club-Loisirs” for ages 4-12. The clubs provide full or part-time care with or without meals and interesting programs for the different age groups. Three and four year olds can take ski lessons sponsored by the ESF (French Ski School). La Rosiere offers wonderful piste and off-piste skiing, equipment rental, ice skating, snow shoeing, and snow kiting, as well as the fun of apres-ski dining, bowling, and nightlife at the Les Eucherts center. A unique attraction at the resort is the opportunity to legally heli-ski into Italy as far as La Thuile. No vacation at La Rosiere would be complete without indulging in the pleasure and convenience of the catered ski chalets in la Rosiere.

Chalet Aimee – Located in the Les Eucherts area, it has 4 en-suite bedrooms, 3 double and 1 twin, with one extra toilet. Two bedrooms have bath and shower, and two with shower only. In addition to a full breakfast and afternoon tea, guests are served a sumptuous evening meal with wine and aperitifs before dinner. The menu features a variety of appetizers and gourmet entrees such as beef bourguignon and roast loin of pork. For dessert, the choices include chocolate mousse, winter berry crumble, and vanilla pannacotta. Enjoy coffee or tea in the spacious living area, which opens onto the balcony for magnificent views of the evening sky and the snow-covered valley below. Chalet Aimee offers the same amenities as the other La Rosiere chalets including airport/train ski-lift transfers, equipment rental, and early suppers at 6pm for children. Special menus on request.

Weekly Rates: $594-$1,498 p/p.

Chalet Christophe – This is a large chalet for up to 10 people, perfect for a group of friends or family, with 5 bedrooms, 3 double and 2 twin. Two en-suite doubles, one double shares the connecting bathroom with a twin, and the 5th bedroom is a twin. The open living and dining area (table seats 12) serves as a lounge area, and there’s a small kitchen off the dining area, typical of the catered chalet floor plans. Balconies on two sides of the chalet offer incredible views. Cots and high chairs, if needed, are free. Special diets and meal plans for children can be requested at time of booking. Everything you might need on your holiday are included in the chalet price including discounted rental equipment, satellite TV, private parking, and transfers. Three meals, breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner are freshly prepared by the chalet staff on 6 of the 7 days. They have one day off when you’re on your own to self serve or dine out locally.

Weekly Rates: $594 – $1,488 p/p.

Chalet Thomas – Another charming chalet in the La Rosiere complex, it has plenty of room for 10 people, with 5 bedrooms, 3 doubles, 1 twin, and one bunkroom with its own bathroom. It is fully furnished and equipped with bed linens and towels, complimentary toiletries, Wi-Fi, and lots of other amenities. The chalet has ample living and dining room space with picture windows on two sides for panoramic views of the mountains and valley below. The chalet hosts prepare breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner on six days, except for one day a week when they’re off duty and everything is self serve. This might be a good time to have lunch or dinner at one of the many fine restaurants at La Rosiere.

Weekly Rates: $594 – $1,498 p/p.

Chalet Valerie – This cozy, fully equipped chalet has 3 en-suite bedrooms and a loft type area upstairs with 2 single beds and hallway bathroom. The children would love their own special place away from the grownups. Although the chalet is somewhat smaller than others in the complex, it will comfortably accommodate up to 8 people. Balconies on two sides of the chalet provide wonderful views of the surrounding area. Great location in Les Eucherts, with shops, restaurants, bars, and an express chair lift. La Rosiere is a nice short walk or free bus ride from the center of Les Eucherts. The chalet staff prepares breakfast, afternoon tea, and a 3-course evening meal accompanied by before-dinner drinks and unlimited wine. Children can be served with an early dinner if you choose. Relax in the quiet luxury of the chalet and enjoy free Wi-Fi, DVD, and satellite TV, or pamper yourself with the mobile massage service after a day on the slopes.

Weekly Rates: $594 – $1,488 p/p.

Penthouse Chalet – The ultimate choice for a wedding or anniversary skiing party, families, or groups of friends for up to 14 people. Situated on the top floor of the complex, the luxurious ski-in ski-out penthouse is huge with 6 bedrooms, all with mountain or valley views. The bedrooms downstairs, 2 doubles and 2 twins, have full bathrooms. The master bedroom has a private balcony, as well. Upstairs there is a suite-type floor plan with a double and a separate bedroom. The 6th bedroom is a twin with a view of the mountains. A very large living and dining room arrangement features comfortable chairs and sofas, floor to ceiling windows facing the outdoor balcony, and a fireplace which adds a warm ambiance to a gathering place. Meals are served 6 days a week by the chalet staff, who live in a separate area on the premises. The Penthouse Chalet has a jacuzzi and hot tub in addition to the same amenities as the other chalets.

Weekly Rates: $796 – $1,794 p/p.

(Notes: Avg ski pass prices for 6 days, Adult – $256, Child 5-12 – $179, Youth 13+ – $224, Senior 65-74 – $205.

Chalet rates will vary depending on week and month. Packages and discounts available. Chalets are non-smoking, and no shoes can be worn inside. The resort staff provides helpful information and assistance.)

La Rosiere is easily accessible by plane from four airports (Geneva is just 2 hours away), by train from Bourg-St Maurice, or by car (a long, somewhat challenging drive.) It is an ideal, affordable destination with lots of great skiing for everyone, the opportunity for spectacular photography, and many other fun and exciting things to do for families or groups on a skiing holiday.

Sharon L Slayton

Are fun flight safety videos the answer?

In my performance systems analysis class we talked about a problem: Airline passengers don’t know what to do in an emergency. It seems that when it’s time to evacuate a plane, many passengers perform poorly. This may be caused by passengers not watching safety videos. Maybe.

I haven’t seen any evidence that the safety videos are actually effective training tools. Will passengers who pay attention tot he videos perform well during emergencies?

Airlines think so and are working hard to make sure people watch their safety videos:

Virgin America:

Air New Zealand:

What do you think? Are fun safety videos going to improve passenger performance in an emergency?

London Sets the Standard in Luxury Hotels

London is one of the most visited capitals in the world and for good reason. England as an Empire ruled almost half the world and so its capital London has a history that can equate to most of the world. Perhaps London’s history is as interesting as anywhere else. The city’s full history dating back to before even the Roman times, can be seen at the Museum of London. Then there is the Tower of London with its own 900 year history and which today, is the home to the British Monarchy’s Crown jewels. Add to that the legendary changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace which is still the primary home to the world’s longest ruling Monarch, the beautiful Trafalgar Square with its magnificent Nelson’s Column and you have plenty of reasons to visit. But where to stay for that visit is a question that many ask. Luckily, part of this city’s history includes setting the standard for luxury hotels. If it is luxury that you want whilst on your visit, you have wide range of choices to book five star hotels.

Perhaps of special note is The Ritz Hotel, whose name alone is often used to replace the word luxury and elegance. Located in Piccadilly it has one of the finest addresses in the city and it is ideally situated for visiting London’s Royal Parks or the famous Piccadilly Circus. Decorated in France’s Louis XV1 style throughout, this is a prime example of how London’s hotels have set the standard in luxury for the last 100 years. For at least 50 years a hotel that has always been attached to London when there is talk of luxury, is the Dorchester with its views over-looking Hyde Park. Located between the notable Hyde’s Park Corner and Marble Arch, this hotel is ideally situated for shopping at Harrods.

Of course though, these are not the only luxury hotels in London. Among the others is one noted in a personal travel blog, The Trafalgar Hilton. This luxury hotel with its pendulum lamps and walnut furniture offers luxury at its best. The Trafalgar Hilton also provides excellent views of the popular Trafalgar Square.

Yes, London is well worth a visit even without its history. A stay in one of these famous luxurious hotels is alone worth a journey. And for those that are not so keen on history, London also offers other attractions if you wish to pry yourself loose from your hotel’s luxurious elegance. Among these other attractions is the Coca Cola London Eye which offers visitors 32 capsules which can hold up to 25 people each. The Eye raises you above the city so you can see as many as 55 of London’s famous landmarks, including of course Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge. Another London attraction, one which has recently been given a new look, is the legendary Wembley Stadium where, by taking a tour, you can learn of some of sports most famous moments.

Visiting England without the Hype

Most people that visit England want to visit the attractions that London has to offer. Although these are plenty, the city like most other capitals in the world, can be a busy and hassling place to stay. In order to see the city attractions yet stay out of the city as much as possible, a growing number of people are opting to stay outside of London where they can enjoy sights of the beautiful English countryside on their way to each particular London attraction. One of the ideal places to stay for this purpose is Basingstoke in Hampshire. Although Basingstoke is located off both the M3 and M4 motorways, both of which can take you to London, it also has a station on one of the railway’s main lines to London, allowing passengers to reach the heart of London in just 45 minutes. Then they can get the famous underground or one of London’s equally famous taxis to any of the city’s attractions. You can get to know the exact locations and travelling distance on Travelodge Nottingham. This means that you can enjoy watching some of England’s beautiful scenery whilst on your way to visit Coca Cola’s London Eye from which you can get some magnificent panoramas of the city or, visit the Tower of London with its 900 year history. Of course you could enjoy that same scenery on your way to visit the legendary changing of the guards at Buckingham palace or perhaps go shopping on Bond or oxford streets, perhaps even in Harrods.

In Basingstoke though, especially if you stay at a luxury hotel, you can spend the odd day relaxing without a trip to the city. The right hotel will have comfortable rooms and offer guests a wide choice of culinary delights like a combination of fish or a Rump of English roasted lamb off the bone in their Vespers dining room or choices like an 8oz Gammon steak or Salmon Fillet from their Brasserie. If you prefer something lighter, the Tea Room offers a variety of sandwiches and pastries accompanied by your favourite cup of tea or if you prefer, a glass of champagne. The delightful Library bar also offers food in the form of 8oz burgers or London pride battered fish and chips. If you think that this is too much food, you can always burn off some of the calories in the hotel gymnasium or just let the meal digest whilst enjoying a massage in the hotel’s spa.

The town of Basingstoke is not without its own attractions which a luxury travel blog recently noted. Among the town’s attractions is the Milestones Museum. This is a museum that displays over 20,000 objects from Hampshire’s history, uniquely placed in historic replicas of streets from the 1800 and 1900s. Another attraction for those that may not be feint hearted, is the Airkix Indoor Skydiving complex which, apart from offering visitors a chance to experience indoor skydiving, also gives them the opportunity to try a choice of 2 indoor Ski slopes, surfing without water and the challenges of a climbing wall.

Where would you go on solo holiday?

A while back Sharon wrote a travel plan for visiting Anguilla alone. Rereading that plan got me thinking and now I’ve been thinking about solo travel for the past few days. Mainly because I am jealous. I’ll be home with the dogs while my wife visits family in Korea about a month from now. She takes lots of vacations from me (admittedly she deserves them for putting up with me). She took that trip to Hawaii, she has been to Beijing, she has been to Hong Kong (that one is even since I went to Hong Kong without her).

My wife is usually meeting friends or family. I also want to meet some old friends that I don’t see often. But when it’s my turn to take a trip without wifey, I think I might do something by myself. Visiting friends and family is good too, but so is alone time and meeting new people. There are certainly places for it in Europe. They have tour operators specializing in singles holidays for solo travelers where they give you more structure or more free time depending on what you want. Some people take these holidays year after year, and each time they meet some new people an see some familiar faces from previous trips.

It may be a result of too much studying, but I might try to start off by writing objectives for a solo vacation. Then I would plan activities that align with those objectives. Just like I would while writing training materials to make sure trainees achieve their goals. Although I certainly realize it may be a little sad that I am trying to plan a vacation based on the instructional design process I am studying in school.

I will meet new people.
I will meet a friend I haven’t seen in a while.
I will move and shake and exercise and be active.
I will see something new and beautiful.
I will spend some time alone.

I think my solo vacation will be a European one. I have a friend who promised to take me swimming in the Danube in Vienna. She would probably introduce me to some locals. That takes care of objective 1 and objective 2. And the swimming helps with objective 3. Plus I have never been to Vienna so there is objective 4. After a few days in Vienna, Rothenburg is next.

Rothenburg is a walled medieval city. All the stone buildings here should also be beautiful and I’ve never been to Rothenburg. I like medieval towns and I think I could walk around for a few days and relax while taking in the sights. This would achieve the fifth objective, spending some time alone. I probably have to avoid certain times because Rothenburg is a tourist destination. I have nothing against tourists, but I don’t like crowds.

Riding a bike around Anguilla sounds good too, but I don’t know anyone there and it would be fun to meet at least one old friend and one new friend during a solo holiday. Where would you go on a solo holiday? Would you try to meet new people, old friends, or be by yourself? Would you see something new or see something again? How much physical activity would you aim for?

Road trip that covers all 50 states

Here’s a short story with a big map.

Randy Olson first used his algorithm to develop a Where’s Waldo search. In the story I link, Olson uses his algorithm to route a road trip that hits all 48 continental United States. In each state you get a national natural landmark, national historic site, national park or national monument. They estimate under 10 days with no stops, 2-3 months with stops.

Fun with Google Flights

I like this article on Google Flights. I learned that you can search througha region to see how much flights cost to the different ariports in the area. For example, say I want to go to Vienna (which I do). Then, say I can go to Vienna (which I can’t). Looking at the Google Flights Europe map, I can fly from Atlanta to Paris for $700 while flying to Vienna would be over $1,100. Good to know – maybe I would fly to Paris and take a train to Vienna.

Despite the nice features, I did not find Google Flights to be as simple to use as I thought it would be. For example, if I type in Europe as a destination I see hundreds of red dots for the various airports. For some reason the big airports (like Paris and Vienna) do not stand out. But little ones (like Satu Mare – price unknown) get emphasis. Meanwhile I have to use my geography skills to find the Paris dot, mouse over, and get the price.

Still, check out Google Flights when you have some time to play around. Click expand map and start searching.