which translates to…


The way of the words: ANACARDI


Dear word lovers,

Have you ever been confused and at the same time intrigued by a word?

If yes, you might find this post interesting. It’s about a word, a fruit, a type of food, a nut and oh much, much more as it eventually turned out while writing this!

To tell you the truth, there are a few Italian and Greek words I wanted to talk to you about (at the moment, 4 or 5) but while I was writing I realised I didn’t want a post of more than 1000 words so I said. I will split it. I will write one single post for each peculiar and amazing word that I want to share.

This idea of telling the story of a word on this blog goes far. I have always loved etymology and have always wondered how, where and with whom to share this penchant I have. What do you do with your etymological concerns? If you have a blog, you write about it but imagine if you don’t. You will try to have an educational and hopefully fun conversation with someone (anyone!). Which translates to… people wondering what the heck it is you do in life.

The word in question today is ANACARDI.

Anacardi is the Italian word for cashew nuts. One of my favourite types of nuts along with walnuts. Oh and maybe almonds too. Yes, you got it. I love nuts. Hm, that could explain a few things…

As a bit of an introduction, as if the above weren’t boring enough, this word, along with the other ones I have in store, has an interesting etymology, meaning and usage in both Italian and Greek. In this “anacardi” case, there’s a somewhat unexpected use of the Latin term in the English language.

So, what’s so special about ANACARDI?

“Anacardi” derives from Greek καρδιά (cardia = heart) due to the shape of the fruit which in fact looks like a small pear. Interestingly enough, while googling to find information about its Latin term, I came across….a mental illness! Yes, there’s a disease called the Anacardium Orientale (Making Nut). I didn’t know if I should be surprised, laugh or feel satisfied with this discovery….

Thing is, in Greece today the word anacardi is definitely not used for cashew nuts. Greeks use the English term! They call them “κάσιους” (kàsious). So what we have here is: Italians using a Greek word, Greeks using an English word and English speakers….using the Latin term for a mental illness!

Ανακάρδιο (anacardio) in Greek is mainly used on a scientific level and it refers to the plant and to the Anacardiaceae family plants! Besides this, I came across a second meaning for anacardio in Greek: Reddish wood for making furniture also called μαονί (maonì) or ακαζού (akazoù), colours used for hair products. And this triggered more research! I wanted to see what I could find for anacardio as a colour or type of wood and this is what I found:

Acagiù (in Greek, akazoù) is the commercial name of a plant which belongs to the Anacardium occidentale family and its fruit.

Though I already knew about acajou as a colour, I had no idea of its association with cashew nuts.

If you google “acajou color”, you will find hair dyes, Luis Vuitton leather bags and wood.

These are the four meanings of acajou as per Wikipedia.

acajou (plural acajous)

  1. The cashew tree. [From the late 16th century.][3]
  2. A cashew nut. [From the late 16th century.][3]
  3. The wood from the mahogany tree or other trees from the family Meliaceae.
  4. A moderate reddish brown that is slightly yellower and stronger than mahogany
  5. Acajou colour

It would be interesting to know if in other languages is as interesting (confusing) as this!

And before I stop writing (nothing else to add!) I shall remind myself that I still need to dye my hair.

Have a great week .


A few thoughts about the fear of the unknown

Dear all,

Deadline of big favourite translation is approaching but I wanted to stop and reflect on one thing I encountered in this project. It’s about fava beans. In Greek they are called κουκιά, in Italian fave and the Latin term is Faba vulgaris or Vicia faba. Haaa. Now I know the reason behind the baaad and vicious attributes of this plant! Or maybe not.

Which translates to some digging into wikipedia soil before it’s too (trans)late.

Let’s not be too quick to judge. Fava beans. A vicious plant. Hm. Now how vicious?

As kids we were told not to eat fava beans but we had no idea why. At least nobody told me. It was about time to discover the truth.

This is what I found out about the risks associated with fava beans: There’s a deficiency falled favism or G9PD (Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency) which is causing the problem. Favism may be formally defined as a haemolytic response to the consumption of broad beans. So, if I understand well, don’t eat fava beans IN CASE you have favism or don’t eat them if eating them causes reactions, irritation and so forth.

I have read somewhere that the consumption of fava beans, to those who have this deficiency, could lead to death.

This explains why parents don’t want their kids to eat them and as a parent I wholeheartedly understand.

But fava beans beans provide an interesting paradigm.

In terms real life we could say that it’s good to try out something but if you know it’s bad for you, don’t do it. Don’t be tempted to say yes all the time.

- Did someone ask you to translate a geological text? Don’t accept it if you know you can’t cope. Find someone who can.

- Did a translation agency say they want a job done by Thursday 12.00 but you know you won’t make it? Ask for an extension. Don’t be afraid.

- Are you afraid of failure if you tried to do something different? Take it slow. Talk to people, ask for advice. Or wait.

Fava beans can be your favourite food if that’s what gives you energy. But if it’s bad for you, there’s lots of food to choose from. Find your perfect recipe, get the ingredients you need and start cooking!

Now, that was quick (and hopefully not too bad!)


15 slogans inspired by freelance translation

translators rewrite the world_dark_2

Dear all,

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before but I think it’s time to share some of my slogans with you. These phrases are inspired by translation and everyday life as a translator, freelancer and mom. Which translates to things you can’t exactly predict as some of these popped out of nowhere!

As you will see, a few of these phrases are inspired by titles of movies and other famous sayings but still they are mine so please bear in mind that if you need to use them in anyway please kindly indicate the source. Commercial or marketing use of these slogans isn’t allowed without permission.

1. It’s never too (trans) late.

2. When the cat’s away, the mice will translate.

3. Natural born translators will always try to translate silence.

4. Translate your emotions.

5. Translation is embedded into life. The things we say or do often get translated, mistranslated or completely lost in translation.

6. Freelance translator: Owner of a life between deadlines, coffee cups and hopes for a better pay.

7. Some women wish they could afford diamonds. Others wish they could afford a baby-sitter.

8. Coffee is a translator’s best friend.

9. Having trouble with a foreign text? Hiring a professional translator is what you should do first!

10. Translators rewrite the world so you can have a better life in it.

11. Freelancing and raising kids on a budget isn’t as hard as you think. It’s actually a lot harder.

12. Nobody is going to wait until you are ready so forget about not being ready and follow your dreams now.

13. There are two ways to achieve work life balance when you have kids: Hire a baby-sitter or a cleaning lady or both.

14. A shy translator meets deadlines. An extrovert one also meets direct clients.

15. The text is yet to come.

Those are the 15 slogans I have right now. Let me know which one you like best and if you are interested (or know someone who is) in hiring me to write catchy phrases for, let’s say, a marketing campaign, I will be delighted to do it. It would be fun! Just email me at mgdp05 (at) gmail (dot) com.


Palissandro Vivace or…how translation work reminds you not to “forget” the little details

Yesterday was one of those days. Precisely for that reason, I’m “pampering” myself with a quick post this morning before I continue working. I woke up at 7.45 which isn’t good enough. I was actually hoping to post this yesterday but it was impossible. So this is a somewhat vivace post that serves as a break from translation. Oh, and talking about breaks I know that a real break is away from the computer screen.

Palissandro vivace – the inspiration for this post – is ..a hair colour I was translating yesterday and I must admit it wasn’t easy to translate it into Greek. Palissandro is rosewood in English.

Now, what did this lively rosewood reminded me of?

That I bought a hair colour in Greece – the brand is KORRES, a Greek brand, and I completely forgot about it. I did look at it before putting it on the shelf when I unpacked but I fear that if I don’t use it now, I will forget about it and it will go out of date (like I did with another hair colour product) which translates to dedicating no time for the nice, little details of everyday life.

Perhaps this post might serve as a reminder?!

A presto.

Coffee drinking trick for better productivity. Excellent for mompreneurs and freelancers on some serious deadlines



A quick tip!

Make your day longer by doing this: After lunch, wash your dishes. A clean sink is good for your health especially when your kid comes back from school and before you prepare dinner. Before you finish cleaning up, start making coffee. Pour it in your favourite cup. Drink it. Go take a nap for at least 20 minutes. You can sleep longer (try not to overdo it the way I sometimes do) but the point of doing this is to sleep for the duration of the time caffeine starts having effect.

Read this article here for more info (I have known about this technique for a few years, quickly googled it and this article cropped up – it’s from 4 days ago, so go read it).




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