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Smileys – there are some things we just don’t have words for!The use of smileys – there are some things we just don’t have words for!

The World Wide Web was released to the public in the 1990s, and since then the internet has been used more and more for emailing and chatting. Gone are the days when we put pen to paper to write a letter or picked up the phone to chat to our friends, nowadays the quicker option seems to be typing emails, using online chat applications and sending text messages.

These methods of communication have become so popular that a whole new language has evolved, which includes the universally understood ‘smileys’, or ‘emoticons’ as they are more formally known. They started out with faces which could be made from symbols on a keyboard, for example : ) or : -), but have developed in recent years following the introduction of applications which enable you to insert various images and faces into text messages and online chats. These emoticons have developed so much that you can now send a message solely using smileys, and still be understood!

Here in the Lingua Translations office, we’re all language geeks who pride ourselves on using correct grammar and spelling… but we’ve all succumbed to the world of smileys, and find ourselves using them regularly when talking amongst ourselves on Skype. If you’re in the situation where you’ve made a mistake and you need to ‘fess up, why say “I’ve made a mistake!” when you can simply use the ‘facepalm’ emoticon and be understood perfectly?

One of the worst things about instant messaging is that comments can often be taken the wrong way. If you say “Why have you done that?” to someone’s face whilst smiling, the question will most likely be taken in a light hearted manner, however if you type this question and send it to someone, it comes across accusatively and will probably be taken very seriously. Add a smiley on the end and you have “Why have you done that? :)” – Suddenly the question has been transformed and will be conveyed in the intended way. It’s almost as if they add body language to a sentence.

Love them or hate them, they’ve entered our multimedia shorthand and seem to be here to stay! Of course, just like ‘text language’ there are certain situations in which smileys should never be used, mainly in professional environments, but there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of fun to informal chats!

Could smileys be the world’s first universal language? I don’t think we’re at that stage yet, but watch this space!

For information about some of the (real) languages we work with, click here.

🙂

The World Wide Web was released to the public in the 1990s, and since then the internet has been used more and more for emailing and chatting. Gone are the days when we put pen to paper to write a letter or picked up the phone to chat to our friends, nowadays the quicker option seems to be typing emails, using online chat applications and sending text messages.

These methods of communication have become so popular that a whole new language has evolved, which includes the universally understood ‘smileys’, or ‘emoticons’ as they are more formally known. They started out with faces which could be made from symbols on a keyboard, for example : ) or : -), but have developed in recent years following the introduction of applications which enable you to insert various images and faces into text messages and online chats. These emoticons have developed so much that you can now send a message solely using smileys, and still be understood!

Here in the Lingua Translations office, we’re all language geeks who pride ourselves on using correct grammar and spelling… but we’ve all succumbed to the world of smileys, and find ourselves using them regularly when talking amongst ourselves on Skype. If you’re in the situation where you’ve made a mistake and you need to ‘fess up, why say “I’ve made a mistake!” when you can simply use the ‘facepalm’ emoticon and be understood perfectly?

One of the worst things about instant messaging is that comments can often be taken the wrong way. If you say “Why have you done that?” to someone’s face whilst smiling, the question will most likely be taken in a light hearted manner, however if you type this question and send it to someone, it comes across accusatively and will probably be taken very seriously. Add a smiley on the end and you have “Why have you done that? :)” – Suddenly the question has been transformed and will be conveyed in the intended way. It’s almost as if they add body language to a sentence.

Love them or hate them, they’ve entered our multimedia shorthand and seem to be here to stay! Of course, just like ‘text language’ there are certain situations in which smileys should never be used, mainly in professional environments, but there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of fun to informal chats!

Could smileys be the world’s first universal language? I don’t think we’re at that stage yet, but watch this space!

For information about some of the (real) languages we work with, click here.

🙂

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About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

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