IELTS Listening – Test Tips

download (50)It is time for the listening component of the test. You have got the booklet and the answer sheet and you are clutching that pencil as if your life depended on it. Suddenly, the invigilator hits the Play button of the CD player. For the first five to ten minutes you concentrate to the maximum and write down the answers. But at some point, maybe around half-way through the recordings or just after, your mind seems to drift away. By the time you come back to reality you have missed a couple of answers, at which point your brain goes into overdrive and you have no idea what you have to write and you miss one or two more answers.

This happened to me while taking the test and to a lot of people. Sometimes it is hard to concentrate for long periods in that kind of artificial environment.

There are other reasons for missing answers:

– The testing venue is near a road and traffic noises are suddenly louder than the recording. The test organisers will usually do their best to ensure this does not happen but they cannot stop ambulances or fire trucks from rushing to an emergency.

– Other test takers around you are coughing or sneezing or making noise.

– You have heard a word you are not familiar with and your brain is suddenly struggling to make sense of it, even though it may not be connected to any question.

These are things we cannot control, so you should not let them get to you. Becoming angry or upset on the test day is not going to help you get a good score.

What can you do before the test to prepare?

– Do some practice listening tests and listen without headphones to get used to ambient noises. You can find a lot online these days if you have not got the practice books with CDs.

– Watch the news or documentaries on TV (without captions) or listen to the radio, but not while you are doing something else. Set aside some time for this activity only to see how long you can concentrate to get the gist. You need to be able to do it for 20 minutes or more.

What can you do during the test?

If you have missed some answers, read the text or question again and try to guess them. Most times they will be everyday words and in some cases alternate answers can be accepted as correct. You will not lose any points if you give an incorrect answer.

If you need more help with the IELTS exam, you can find more information about its format and types of questions in Adriana Mucea’s eBooks on this topic, The IELTS for Beginners and The IELTS for Beginners Second Edition. They were written for first time test takers and draw on her experiences as a test taker and a teacher.


How Language Translation Services Are Supporting Public Sector Work

download (47)The United States of America has been the most diverse nation; it has actually thrived on its diversity. It is a synthesis of varied races, religions, and cultures.

In other words, the US is the home of many world languages; whether it is Spanish, Italian, Hindi, Mandarin, Chinese, or Arabic, you can find inhabitants conversing in these languages in your surroundings.

This diversity though warrants public sectors-government hospitals, public schools, police, army, local government-to be equipped with language translation and interpretation services, so that they can serve people, effectively. Apparently, there is a gap between the need and number of professionals required to fill the gap. Therefore, the United States public sector has increased the hiring of translation service providers, which is easing communication to non-English speakers.

There are numbers of fields where specialist translators are helping in the public sectors, let us discuss about them one by one.


Hospitals see people from all walk of life, many of whom are not able to communicate efficiently for caregivers to help them, given the high risk of miscommunication. It is at this stages, translation service providers help patients and health professional, alike. A medical interpreter helps patients to explain the problem fully to doctors as well as makes sure that the doctor understands patient’s problem. At medical facilities, translators are crucial to render appropriate medical help.

Security Establishments

For law and order to be followed and applied, it is necessary that the citizens are aware of the law and procedures first. Interpreting and translation services are helping the police forces all over the country to convey these procedures to the general public. Moreover, translators and interpreters come handy during investigations where the subjects cannot understand or speak English properly, as single miscommunication can have great implications. The arrangement of language services to prisons is essential; it is central to the safety and well-being of prisoners, serving a jail sentence, as well as for staff of prison.

Legal department

Access to legal aid by non-English speakers needs professional translation services. During depositions, translators play major roles, where he/she relays information, which if not understood completely, can lead to perjury and could have other consequences. Translators are now commonly available in various offices.

Evidently, professional language translation services are playing a big role in supporting public sector work. Without these translation and interpretation services, public sector will be in a chaos.


Useful Translation Tips

download (49)Oral translation

Let’s start with oral translation, or interpreting. It is considered as one of the most difficult types of translation and mastering. It can take years. In order to be good at interpreting, first of all, the interpreter is expected to be competent with the language, quickly understand and analyze the received information and translate it accordingly, quickly figure out the key of the conversation and also they’re expected to constantly improve themselves.

1. The interpreter must know what he’s going to translate.

Without paying attention to the topic at hand and learning at least the basics of it, you might miss crucial information and end up turning a well-said sentence into an incomprehensible mess, full of kludges and mistakes.

2. Keep notes.

If you tend to forget something or there is too much information to learn over the short period of time, then don’t test your luck and note down the most important parts. It’ll help you a lot and get you out of a problematic situation if something slips out of your mind. Same goes for special terms and words – forgetting one can cause more problems than it’s worth.

3. Talk things over with your client.

The last thing you want to do is to be unprepared in any way, so talking things over with your client (or the speaker) is better than thinking again and again what exactly is going to happen. Don’t worry about it and don’t be afraid to run down through the details and talk about it. Plan everything out together; after all, you are on friendly terms during this job.

4. React quickly.

There is nothing more embarrassing for an interpreter than taking too long to start talking. You’re already under pressure, and uneasy silence will only make things worse. At most, take only a few seconds – it’ll be easier for you as you gain experience in the field.

5. Be clear and informative at the same time.

Interpreting requires careful consideration and at the same time it requires you to be quick and informative. Speak slowly, clearly, be confident in your skills, make it sound natural and deliver the necessary information to another person or audience.

Written translation

When it comes to written translation, it’s completely different. You don’t need to react quickly and be under a lot of pressure. You can take your time to evaluate the material, try different approaches, think everything over, choose the variant that suits you most, get consulting on the matter, and anything else that will help you to make an accurate and faithful translation.

1. Translate the meaning.

Just replacing the words with words in another language will only result in unintelligible gibberish, so pay more attention to the meaning and context rather than words themselves. This is especially important if you translate some kind of documentation, because one mistake could result in big problems for other people.

2. Be creative.

Sometimes you might encounter a challenging sentence or paragraph, but you can get past them unharmed if you use some creativity. Perhaps you can rearrange them without losing much of the information, and make it work a lot better in the language of choice.

3. Your abilities are your limit.

Don’t take a project that you know you can’t handle. It’ll only make you feel nervous and the final result won’t worth the extra effort you have to put in. Instead, start with simpler projects, but slowly move up as you go to keep it challenging, yet doable.

4. Ask a native speaker to read through your work.

Sometimes even the best professionals make mistakes in their mother tongue, and what can be said if the language you’re translating to is not your first language. Ask someone you know to proofread your work and tell you what should be modified and how you can improve the final result.

5. Stick to the original style.

One the most important things in the translation process is keeping the style intact no matter what. Especially if you’re translating literature or poetry, you need to deliver the final result as closer to original as possible. And if there is no such style in the language of choice, or it’s different, then you’ll have to get even more creative and rewrite it using that style in order to deliver best possible quality. You probably haven’t thought you’ll get to be on par with the author?

The Horse in Ancient Rock Art

images (23)Marriage to the sun is the dream identified in ancient sites as archaeologists uncover their many mysteries. Correctly interpreting them, however, is impossible without a deeper knowledge of what drives men to imagine gods and to posit the forces of nature as evil. My understanding is derived from memory of reincarnation and knowledge that the Spirit of the Universe is in control and it has directed man’s thinking along these lines.

The purpose was to invoke a system that led to control and disciplines that brought order and structure to humanity. It took our ancestors out of the jungles and turned them from their nomadic life into ‘civilised’ beings that formed structures, laws, and religions.

The sun was the most desirable god of all and it created images that were copied into rock art and other records that are now available for study. During the Ice Age and beyond the ‘horse’ is depicted along with the ‘bull’, auroch, and deer in remarkable scenes in caves in Europe and elsewhere.

The images in the Chauvet Cave in France, discovered in 1994, and the Coliboaia Cave in Romania both appear to date to something like 40,000 years ago. So far these are the oldest known with rock art in Indonesia and Australia dating to some 35,000 years.

The main subjects are animals and stencils of hands and this raises several issues. Why would human ancestors be so obsessed with these animals that they crawled into caves, and into out-of-the-way areas within them that were only accessible through tiny crevices and sometimes huge drops, to paint them? Their source of light were tiny oil lamps that were hard on the eyes while the detail of their work is amazing.

The other puzzle is the replication of animals without models to go by. That infers a familiarity with the shape, colour, and features of the beasts that required nothing more than their imagination to reproduce them. The question remains why?

Prominent in the works is the horse and this is the subject of this discussion because its name derives from ‘o-r-s’ which means ‘circle-power-light’. This is known because of my study of ancient sounds and symbols and because of a vision given to me by the Spirit. It showed light passing through a perforated stone as the rays of the rising sun produced circles of coloured rings.

Watching on was a group of observers who fell to their knees in awe. ‘Awe’ is from ‘o-r’ and it means ‘sun’ in ancient language. ‘Or-s’ is, therefore, sunlight and the beams of light that form in conjunction with the image was how men dreamed they could rise upwards to heaven by riding on them.

We still hear stories of riding on sunbeams and when men took to riding on the beast it was called ‘ors’ and with the letter [h] added from the Greek it became ‘horse’. The marriage of the sun with the ‘bull’ or ‘ox’ is called ‘equin-ox’ where ‘equine’ is horse. In ancient times it was ‘I-quin’ or ‘eye-queen’ and the sun was the ‘queen of heaven.’