Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tips on Translation from Vietnamese into English

1. Vietnamese grammar

Vietnamese grammar revision training is essential as it will help the student gain better insight of different structures in the Vietnamese language. Students can become more confident when choosing a suitable structure when translating Vitnamese into English.

2. Different ways to practise translation

Studies suggested that instead of being given a 200-word text, teachers should give 10 sentences of the same syntactic structure in Vietnamese. By doing this, a student can certainly master the way of handling subjects in a given structure. This is a particularly effective way for a limited competency English learner.

3. The lack of knowledge of both Vietnamese and English.

If students cannot master the characteristics of Vietnamese and understand the difference between the two languages, they will end up producing sentence forms that are very unnatural and awkward.

4. Tense and Aspect in Vietnamese

The tenses and aspects in Vietnamese and English are expressed differently. This can be understood easily from the example below:

Lan ăn cơm

“Lan” can be translated into English as “is eating rice”,  “ate rice”, “eats rice” or “has eaten”, depending on the context.

5. The markers đã and đang do not accurately specify past and present tenses.

Đã in sentences (a) and (b) does not indicate actions happening in the past. As we can see, Đã in (a) expresses a truth in the present, and in (b) it expresses an action happening in the future.

(a) Bây giờ tôi đã có nhà.

I have enough houses now

(b) Nếu ba tháng nữa em mới về thì anh đã đi Mỹ rồi

If you go back in three more months, I’ve been to America already

6. Adverb of time

In (a) “Tuần trước” (last week) in Vietnamese is the adverb of time implying the past. No tense marker is needed in this sentence but the verb “go to work” has to be changed into “went to work” in English.  “Sẽ” in sentence (b) is used to state uncertainty of an event; it is appropriate to talk about the future. However, “sẽ” is not a tense marker but an aspect marker. Therefore “sẽ” can indicate a future time frame but not in all cases.

(a) Tuần trước Hoa đi làm.

Last week Hoa went to work

(b) Hoa sẽ nở

A Flower will blossom

7. Verb “to be”

In English, the verb to be has many forms: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, and been. There is only one word for verb to be- là. Therefore, when translating from Vietnamese to English,  a student should be very careful with the subject in order to decide the appropriate verb form.

(a) Tôi là học sinh

I am a student

(b) Anh ấy là người yêu của tôi

He is my lover

 8. Phrasal Structures in Vietnamese

There is a difference between Vietnamese and English adjective phrases. The general rule is the adverb of manner precedes the adjective. For example:

rất đẹp

very beautiful‟

hơi đẹp

bit beautiful

9. Some students know the translation rule very well; however, they don’t have sufficient practice of all kinds of linguistic structures and patterns. As a result they may make grammar mistakes when translate into English.

10. Topic-Comment structure of Vietnamese

As Vietnamese speakers like to mention a topic first and then elaborate on that topic later, it is common that the majority of students admit the complexity of the Topic-Comment structure of Vietnamese. Students have a tendency to be more correct in translating Vietnamese sentences whose subjects are apparently recognizable through a clear semantic.

11. The identification of dropped subjects from Vietnamese into English

Vietnamese people in general have the habit of speaking without a subject whenever it can be inferred from the context. Many students are incapable of locating the subject and often translate incorrectly. Therefore, it is a great burden for students to translate a subject in English with an obligatory constituent in order for people to understand thoroughly.

12. Passive voice

Vietnamese people prefer the active voice to the passive voice. Therefore, students should not translate two languages word by word but understand the whole idea and start to translate.

13. The omission of pronouns in Vietnamese:

Students should be aware that the subject in Vietnamese spoken language is often omitted but not in English. Consequently, they must analyse the source text to find the missing subjects, direct objects or indirect objects in order to avoid mistranslation

14. “Double subject” constructions of Vietnamese:

This means the topic is not identical to the subject. The relationship between the topic and the subject can be possessive or inclusive. The strategy is to recognize the link between the subject and the topic.

Mandarin Chinese and its characters

Mandarin Chinese, which is also known as pútónghùa, zhōngwén, hànyǔ, and guǒyǔ, is spoken in China and Taiwan as a native language. Due to its popularity, Mandarin is also used in different countries all over the world such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines…….In fact, Mandarin is one of the most broadly spoken languages in the world together with English and Spanish.

People in different areas of China speak different dialects as Min Nan, Hakka, Fujian, Cantonese, etc, which may sound very different to standard Mandarin. Fortunately, the meaning and the written language is the same for all kinds of Chinese dialects.

Generally speaking, students prefer to write simplified instead of traditional Chinese characters as they are much more simple. One of the ways to master the characters, to understand the two, they are in fact interconnected with each other. Taiwanese uses traditional characters only while Chinese uses simplified characters. However, not every Chinese character has both simplified and traditional versions, so sometimes you may have no option but to write the complicated form.

How to count from 1 to 10 in Chinese

Chinese character

Pin Yin

English meaning
















Australian Slang and Colloquialisms and the difference from British Colloquialisms

Even though Australia was settled by the British, the country has developed it’s own slang language. There are many reasons why the differences have emerged however here the differences will be shown and the reasons are another story and may come later.

British police are colloquially called “plods, bobbies, coppers”. In Australia the word “copper” is used.

When the police, principal, boss or superior officer will punish you, or when someone may get revenge on you a British person would say “They’re going to do you now,” while an Australian person wold say “They’re going to get you” and “They’re going to make you pay”.

A posh person is normally called a “toff” by British speakers, while Australians would use the word “ponce”.

The currency is always called by its proper name. In the UK, “quid” is slang for pounds while in Australia “bucks” is used instead of dollars. The reason for this difference is American influence. In America, “buck” as a slang word for money was influenced by colonial times where Europeans and American Indians used goats, deer, and antelopes as a form of currency.

In Australia if you want to call someone “crazy”, idiotic, unreasonable, blind to danger, short tempered, you normally use the word “nuts” or maybe “nutso”, and for people who are extreme examples; “mad as a cut snake”. In the UK you would normally hear the description “mental”.

Other people are seen as rude, dishonest, neglectful, unpleasant, selfish, lazy or you may dislike them for any number of reasons. In Australia, that type of person is a “jerk”, “rat bag” or “scum bag”. In Britain, the word is “twat”. The British also use the word “twat” to mean “to beat up”, while in Australia people might say “bash” and “pummel”.

These are just some Australian slang word, but watch these blogs because more info about Australian slang just might “pop up” (appear :)).

How to Improve Your Pronunciation When You are Aware of Your Accent and Want to Improve It

An IELTS trainer may have told you your pronunciation has problems, people may have told you your accent makes you hard to understand, or maybe you’ve heard your own voice and think it needs to be better. One way or another, you may feel you want to improve your accent. There are several ways to do this. Learn how the words are properly pronounced, search the shop or library, or join a pronunciation class.

To learn how the words are properly pronounced, go onto the internet and find websites which feature clips and transcripts in the archives. This is best done on websites for regular TV programmes. These sites feature past episodes and a matching transcript. You can find these on the ABC website in particular. Examples of programmes featured there are Four Corners, Media Watch & Good Game, and (Margaret and David) At The Movies. Lateline and the 7:30 Report also feature transcripts and related clips. While some clips and/or transcripts may be unavailable due to age, there is normally a good selection to choose from. The more recent the story the more likely you will find film clips and scripts. Simply listen to the clip and follow the transcript as it moves.

A number of shops or libraries cater for language students. Their shelves contain books on pronunciation of Australian or even British English. If not, they will help you adjust your accent and if successful your pronunciation may not be a problem. Another option is to join a pronunciation class at a language college. This is where you will receive the training and corrections you need. It will be a specialised class where the teacher focuses strictly on your accent and does not have to help correct people on their grammar, fluency or speed. Another option is to record yourself speak and listen to how you sound and if you are not happy with the accent you hear, try again. It’s been talked about, but no strong story exists.

Love IELTS Speaking exams?

1. Listen carefully and answer the question correctly

Don’t be nervous in the IELTS Speaking exam, the examiner will know it obviously. Be yourself, don’t memorise any answers from any sources, it will result in a bad score.  Pay attention to the verb tense, noun forms, conjunctions and intonation.

2. Practice is a habit

Genius is trained; therefore, you need to be trained for any kind of exam. You should definitely not sit for an exam which you don’t know anything about. Understand the structures and know the strategies.

3. Long answer

It is highly recommend that you extend your answer properly. Give an explanation for your answer with demonstrations and examples. Not only yes or no answers, please!

4. Maintain good eye contact

Don’t look down at the floor or stare at the table, it may be considered as disrespectful to the examiner. Remember, good eye contact and body gesture will be highly appreciated.

5. Can’t understand the question clearly?

In the speaking test, candidates are asked to be interactive, not just answer all the questions and leave. Therefore, do not hesitate to ask the examiner if you are not sure about the question. Trying to answer a  question you do not understand thoroughly may lead you to answer it incorrectly and therefore lose marks!

How To Improve Your Vocabulary for IELTS Speaking

Vocabulary, to state the obvious, vocabulary simply means words. To state the obvious about IELTS, vocabulary is an important part. IELTS is more about how you use the words than the words themselves, however relevant vocabulary is important. The choice of your words will depend on the subject you are asked about.

You’ll receive questions on entertainment, relationships (your family, your friends), clothing, food, colour, hobbies, interests, leisure, time, fitness, health, your “home” (either where you are from or where you are now, famous people (not necessarily world famous but as long as you state they are well known you are answering the question), songs, music and dance, travel, history, historic sites, general scientific questions and your favourite place (practically any location is a place).

To find the relevant vocabulary, do some light research on the subjects and related items. Practically all information on the listed subjects can be found on the internet, in books (reference books, non-fiction, even fiction), dictionaries (online and printed). It’s all just a matter of knowing your preferences, experiences, opinions, ideas on these subjects. To prepare for questions on your favourite film or TV programme read a web page about it, maybe two, and consult dictionaries if you’re unsure on what the words mean and when to use them. To answer questions on relationships, consult look at articles, books, websites on families and friendships in general. If you want to talk about your favourite clothes, read books, magazines, catalogues, internet sites.

Winning the IELTS Listening Test

1. Write what they are looking for

Whether they want a number, True, False, one word or no more than three words” in the answer, follow the instructions exactly, otherwise your answer will be 100% wrong.

2. Timing is extremely important!

The listening part is only played once; there is no excuse or chance to repeat it. Therefore, stay awake and concentrate. Don’t go to sleep late the night before because you can never imagine the consequence of it. Within the set time limits, students need to finish all answers correctly and completely in order to achieve a high mark.

3. Before the audio track starts

Have a read of all the questions and the printed answer on the exam papers in the very first 90 seconds. Make the most of these times; be ready, set, and go!

4. Don’t be distracted

The confusing part is when you may see all the answers on the answer sheet. However, there is only one correct answer. Therefore students need to understand the whole conversation, don’t be distracted!

5. Spelling

Pay a great deal of attention to your writing, try to make it easy for the examiner to read. You will lose marks even if you miss a single letter in a word. Check all the words you have problems with and practise them.


Ocean Park Hong Kong

Opened in 1977, Ocean Park Hong Kong is a marine-life theme park featuring animal exhibits, thrill rides and shows. In 2012, its impressive ability to offer guests a world-class experience that blends entertainment with education and conservation was confirmed when it became the first Asian winner of the biannual Applause Award, the most prestigious award in the amusement and theme park industry.

The park is located on the southern side of Hong Kong Island, covering more than 870,000 square metres. The Waterfront and The Summit areas are connected by the Cable Car and Ocean Express funicular train.

Polar Adventure – Explore the North and South poles in one day
Ocean Park’s newest attraction, Polar adventure lets you explore the North and South poles from the exhilaration of a bob sled ride, to the wonder of meeting king penguins up close. You’ll also see long-tusked Pacific walruses, spotted seals, arctic foxes, snowy owls and other extraordinary animals. And when you need a break, Tuxedos Restaurant serves refreshments with a view of more than 70 penguins frolicking on the ice.

Old Hong Kong – Relive fond memories of times gone by!
Old Hong Kong, brings the unique culture of Hong Kong in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s back to life. Savour the sights and sounds of yesteryear aboard the Heritage Tram! Be mesmerised by the colour and buzz of life in accurate recreations of old streets and scenes. Take a trip into nostalgia and take home some antique souvenirs to keep the memories alive!

Thrill Mountain
In this zone, guests can dangle off a cliff on the floorless roller coaster, Hair Raiser, or hang upside down while swinging on The Flash.  Soar with The Aviator to feel the sensation of flight, before knocking around on bumper cars.  Don’t leave without a ride on Rev Rooster, a high speed and energetic classic.

Hop aboard a raft and become immersed in the exotic sounds of a tropical rainforest.  On this journey, you’ll encounter some of the most fascinating animals in the world!  Catch the antics of the world’s smallest monkey, the Pygmy Marmoset; or see weirdly wonderful critters, including the Capybara, the world’s largest rodent, and Kinkajou; as well as the Green Aracari, the world’s smallest toucan.

Aqua City
Aqua City is a world-class marine themed area that will redefine your underwater experience. Here you can watch Symbio, a multi-sensory show featuring the world’s first 360-degree water screen. You can also embark on a journey of exploration into the Grand Aquarium featuring 5000 fish from over 400 species and other aquatic wonders. View them from the world’s largest aquarium dome, which has a diameter of 5.5 metres, or through an 8×13 metres giant viewing panel. Make sure you drop by Neptune’s Restaurant for Hong Kong’s first aquarium dining experience!

Amazing Asian Animals
At the Amazing Asian Animals exhibit you can visit some of Asia’s rarest animals. Take an interactive journey of discovery at the Giant Panda Adventure where you’ll get to know some of Asia’s most precious native animals, including giant pandas, red pandas, Chinese giant salamanders and Chinese alligators.  Admire the spectacular display of goldfish at the Goldfish Treasures exhibit, or visit the colourful birds and playful Asian small-clawed otters at Panda Village.

Other popular attractions include Sea Jelly Spectacular, The Abyss turbo drop, Mine Train roller coaster and the show at Ocean Theatre are also not to be missed.

During festive seasons, Ocean Park Hong Kong will organize special events, such as Halloween Bash, Asia’s biggest Halloween party, and Summer Splash water play activities.

How to get there

Bus 629 from Central Pier 7 or from MTR Admiralty Station, Exit B and alight at the park.



Lucy, Cantonese teacher

LanKwai Fong

LanKwai Fong is one of Hong Kong’s most popular nightlife hot spots and home to over 90 restaurants and bars. The atmosphere ranges from stylish wine pairings to raucous jelly shots and the food on offer is as diverse as the clientele.

Thanks to Hong Kong’s dominance in Asian cinema, this centre of late-night revelry is so renowned that its official street sign is more photographed than many of the celebrities who haunt its clubs. Mostly, the area is crowded with people from the surrounding offices of Central, eager to shake off the working day or week. Get in the thick of it with a street side perch, or watch the antics on the road below from one of the upper floors.

LanKwai Fong usually hosts carnivals and other celebrations during major festivals, such as Halloween, Christmas and New Year and has its own beer festival.

How to get there

MTR Central Station Exit D2, walk along Theatre Lane, and up D’Aguilar Street.



Lucy, Cantonese teacher

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April 2013
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