Unbabel’s Weekly Reads #2

Hello, esteemed reader.

We meet again.

Another week came and (almost) went, and we find ourselves again scrolling through Slack, looking for gems to fuel the sequel of our new favourite Friday feature, “Unbabel’s Weekly Reads”.

If you’re new here: Unbabel is made up of scientists, engineers and business professionals, but we’re also rebellious academics, failed philosophers, restless souls, frustrated artists, and all-round geeks – and we think the collective curation of what we share in our #worth_reading Slack channel throughout the week is worth sharing with you as well.

Need extra topics for your weekend dinners? Go ahead and check out issue #1 


Translation science or art? 

Our translation pipeline bets heavily on the former, but stories like this one show that it can be very much the latter, too. 

At the G20 summit in Hamburg last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel used the word bedauerlicherweise (“regretfully” or unfortunately”) when summing up her reaction to the United States pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Only, that’s not what the official interpreter went for when translating live from German into English for the world’s news media. And it turns out that I deplore this” has a lot of other connotations going back to last year’s American election campaign.

People Thought Merkel Was Shading Trump, But She Actually Got Mistranslated


The devil’s in the demonyms 

You might think that people from Barbados are Barbadians, but you’d be wrong (it’s Bajan). And if you’ve ever spent time in the UK you’ll know that there’s no such thing as a Leedsian or Liverpoolian or a Manchesterian. 

Here’s the story behind some of the most unusual demonyms the words that describe people from a certain place and the messy rules that define them. 

Why People From Manchester Are Mancunians, Not Manchesterians


Le Web en 1983  

A decade before the Internet went mainstream, French citizens were interacting via Minitel, a computer network open to anyone with a telephone. 

There’s a misconception that it was a closed, centralised system encumbered by government bureaucracy, but the truth is, back in 1983, it was lightyears ahead of what would be come the World Wide Web, growing to have more than 20,000 online services and a huge impact in day to day offline life.

Minitel: The Online World France Built Before the Web


“How might we…?” 

Ever been in a corporate brainstorming session that makes you feel like you’d rather be holding a steel rod in a thunderstorm?  Well, it turns out that you can use three simple words to eliminate the fear, stress and anxiety that often accompany poorly-run ideation sessions. 

The three words that make brainstorming sessions at Google, Facebook, and IDEO more productive


How do I love thee? Let me count the days 

Present You is constantly stealing from Future You. 

Stop that. How? By counting in days, not weeks, months or years.  

Or if you’ve got a lot to do in the next year, you could start counting down the 525,600 minutes you’ve got left. 

The Mechanics of Preventing Procrastination


European tech en marche! 

With [insert obvious references to Anglophone world’s sociopolitical instability], there’s been a noticeable shift of attention to what’s happening in tech across the European continent. 

And it turns out there’s an increasingly compelling story there to be told, with world-class IP and stable, world-class talent increasing the quality of European companies by leaps and bounds. 

Forget SoundCloud, European Tech Has More $100m+ M&A Deals Than Ever Before


Stripe it down to basics 

We’re huge fans of pretty much every single piece that First Round Review publishes, and this one is no different. 

Stripe’s Chief Operating Officer, Claire Hughes Johnson, details how the biggest challenge to growing the company isn’t about bringing new people on board but integrating them effectively.

Here are the six questions companies should ask themselves as they head into rapid growth. 

To Grow Faster, Hit Pause and Ask These Questions from Stripe’s COO


We do things a little differently around here…

Out favourite piece of satire” this week.

Welcome to Our Startup Where Everyone is 23 Years Old Because We Believe Old People Are Visually Displeasing and Out of Ideas


Stop being so frickin’ nice 

slightly smiling face

At your place of work, do people not openly disagree with each other? Do colleagues politely bite their tongues when they disagree with others? Are people hesitant to be confrontational”? 

That kind of company culture not only dilutes the truth of your current reality, but it means that you’ll only hear the bad news when it’s really bad. 

Kill the culture of nice”


Oh God, deep learning + cats 

Deep neural networks are now automatically generating pictures of cats. 

Game over. 

Deep learning with cats (^..^)


How bout this for an icebreaker? 

Want to get focused fast? Then we can highly recommend this 10 hour video capturing the white noise of a polar icebreaker ship idling in the frozen arctic ocean. 

Go on, write that novel you’ve got in you. 


And it wears me out

Closing out this week with this beautiful side-by-side compilation of Radiohead playing Fake Plastic Trees at Glastonbury in 1997, 2003 and 2017. 



Director of Brand and Communication. Born in New York, raised in Lisbon, forged in the fires of London. Often found being walked by Moses the Dog, drinking coffee, in the cinema, following Radiohead on tour, on his racing bike (sometimes all at once). Eternally curious, tells a good story.

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