Common word choice differences between English of the US and Malaysia

I’ve been traveling to Malaysia frequently for the past few years and have compiled a short list of some of the most common differences in words and phrases between that of non-native speakers of English (mostly ethnic Chinese) and native speakers of the United States. I recently read the list off to a Malaysian friend of mine. He and I had a good laugh about it, and he seemed to think they were accurate.

I will point out that I have noticed many (or all) of these differences in other countries of the ASEAN community (Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, for example) – also predominantly from ethnic Chinese. However, as I have spent more time in Malaysia than the others, I will say that I can’t confirm if the differences in the list below are true for all countries outside Malaysia (even among ethnic Chinese).

Lastly, the reason I mention that I’ve noticed these word differences among primarily ethnic Chinese is that had I spent the majority of my time with the ethnic Malays instead, for example, I would likely be hearing different word choices in their spoken English. In other words, the Bahasa Malaysia language is structured one way, and Chinese dialects are structured in their own respective ways. This affects how foreign languages (English, in this case) are spoken and the common mistakes that are made.

I asked Nick Cogan of The Chirco Group to provide some insight on the various Chinese dialects and how this affects how English is spoken as a foreign language. Nick is an old friend of mine. He holds an MA in linguistics, is fluent in Mandarin and has spent more than 6 years in China. This was his reply:

Some [Chinese] dialects are actually different languages; some are just dialects but different enough that each group can, in fact, have different difficulties in English language pronunciation. For example, F and H sounds are understood as interchangeable in one dialect and L and N are interchangeable in another.

Now I will explain how the first language affects which mistakes are made in foreign languages by using Spanish and Portuguese. When native speakers of Spanish are speaking English, they often say things like, “Would you like to take a coffee?”. By contrast, native speakers of English say “have” or “drink” in lieu of “take.” The reason for this common mistake is that for drinking coffee and alcohol, Spanish uses the verb “tomar” (to take) instead of “beber” (to drink). So the verb “take” is often used since the Spanish speaker is doing a literal interpretation from Spanish to English. To throw in yet another twist, Brazilian Portuguese uses tomar and beber more loosely than Spanish does. So a Brazilian would likely ask someone in Portuguese “Você bebe?” (instead of “Você toma?”) to ask someone if they drink alcohol. So when a Brazilian is speaking English and asks someone the same question, s/he might correctly say “Do you drink?” (instead of “Do you take?”) since the literal interpretation from Brazilian Portuguese is closer to English than Spanish.

Much of Peninsular Malaysia was a part of British Malaya so it can only be expected that many of the words would be closer to British than to American English. I showed the table below to Dr. Richard Rhodes, a University of California, Berkeley professor of linguistics, and he confirmed this. He pointed out that

some of these usages are straight British, like petrol, lift, car park, holiday, and, of course, napkin means something quite different, too. The rest are the kinds of things that arise in language contact situations.

I hope you enjoy the list. I enjoyed compiling them through my many conversations in Malaysia.

Malaysia United States
Petrol Gas
I need to put petrol in the car. I need to put gas in the car.
Lift Elevator
Take the lift to the second floor. Take the elevator to the second floor.
(In American English, the word “lift” is perfectly acceptable in place of elevator. The point I intend to stress here is that “elevator” doesn’t appear to be used at all, but everyone understands it).
Car park Parking lot
The car is in the car park. The car is in the parking lot.
Take Eat/drink
Did you take your breakfast?
Did you take your coffee?
Did you eat your breakfast?
Did you drink your coffee?
Is it? Oh yeah? / Really? 
(This is usually used to confirm that something that the other speaker has said is true).
Can. Yes / No problem / It’s OK. / [I/you/we, etc.] can/may. 
[In response to a request for permission, for example…]
Can.
[In response to a request for permission, for example…]
Yes, we can. No problem.
…for holiday …on/for vacation
Did you go to Japan for holiday? Did you go to Japan on/for vacation?
 Meat Beef 
(Meat in this sense refers specifically to beef. In American English, chicken can be meat; pork can be meat, etc. I have also noticed that native speakers of various languages of the Middle East refer to beef as “meat”).
Last time Before
Last time I sell you these goods, I need your signature. Before I sell you these goods, I need your signature.
Tissue Napkin 
(Even at the dinner table in Malaysia, napkins are referred to as “tissues”). (In American English, “tissues” usually refer to something you blow your nose with).
Never mind It’s alright / It’s OK / That’s OK, etc.
[In response to a “thank you,” for example…] Never mind. You’re welcome! [In response to a “thank you,” for example..] It’s alright. You’re welcome!
Name card Business card
Here is my name card. Here is my business card.
Intercom  Phone
I called you on the intercom. I called you on the phone.
Aircon Air conditioning
We can turn on the aircon if you are hot. We can turn on the air conditioning if you are hot.
Specs Glasses
You need specs to help you see.
(This borrows from the word “spectacles.”)
You need glasses to help you see.
Because why… Because… / And that’s why…
We decided not to buy because why the price is too high.
The price is too high because why we decided not to buy.
We decided not to buy because the price is too high.
The price is too high, and that’s why we decided not to buy.
I don’t think so… I don’t think…
I don’t think so the mailman came today I don’t think the mailman came today.

 

See also:

How to acquire fluency in a foreign language as an adult

I have been asked many times, “What is the best way for me to learn a foreign language?” Or sometimes the question is presented in another manner: “Will Rosetta Stone software help me become fluent in Spanish/Mandarin/Tagalog, etc.?” I’ve answered these questions so many times that I will just write my answer here. I am by no means a linguist with expertise in foreign language acquisition. My answer, therefore, is more personal and practical than it is theoretical. I also focus on adult learning in this article because children generally have the wonderful advantage of learning foreign languages by simply growing up in a home in which at least one of the parents speaks the foreign language, growing up abroad where the parents are employed, or attending an international school with classes taught in the foreign language from a very early age. Few children tell themselves “I am going to learn Language X” without parental guidance and actually go through with the necessary steps to achieve fluency.

Note: The manner in which I’ve written this article assumes that your first language is English – only because I’ve written the article in English. If your first language is something other than English, just simply replace the word “English” throughout this article for your first language, and the learning methods described here will apply to you equally.

So what’s my key recommendation for learning a foreign language? Do the best with what you have based on your goal. Simple – right? I address both aspects of this answer (1. Doing the best with what you have, and 2. Orienting your learning toward achieving your particular goal) in the next two sections.

Doing the best with what you have

There is by no means one single way to learn a foreign language, and the method you choose to learn a language is obviously limited to the resources you have. For example, you may not have $300+ for Rosetta Stone software or $20,000+ for a yearlong study abroad or $600+ for a semester of learning at a local college or university. Or maybe you have the money but are married with children that are still living in the home, and moving to another country is out of the question.

But let’s say that you do have sufficient resources. Let’s say you can take a year off from life and participate in a study abroad program recognized by your home university, or you can just move away and teach English in the country where the language you want to learn is spoken. My approach is full immersion.

Party practicing
When I determined almost a decade ago that I was going to learn Spanish I went all out. I was a 22-year old kid, fresh out of the Air Force and on my way to college. I knew I was going to study abroad somewhere in South America, but I was required by my home university to actually attend classes at the local institution before studying abroad. How to begin? I signed up for Spanish classes immediately. I asked around and found a local female salsa instructor; I began lessons right away and attended weekly. (For the record, I can impress non-Hispanics, but Hispanics quickly identify me as “just another gringo.” Dancing is not my thing, and that’s just fine with me).

I also frequented the Mexican restaurants in the area and forced myself to converse in Spanish with everyone. As my university had a large Bolivian student body, I made friends with the Bolivians. And by the way, college parties – when consisting of primarily native speakers of the language you want to learn – are the best way to practice foreign languages when you’re stuck in an English-speaking country. When you drink alcohol, you don’t mind making mistakes. When others drink, they’re even friendlier than they might be otherwise and are more tolerant of your mistakes.

If you get tired of speaking with a particular person or the person gets tired of speaking with you, you can just strike up another conversation with someone else! If you attend parties that are comprised of exclusively native speakers of the foreign language you want to learn and you are unable to converse in the beginning, stick with it! I can’t tell you how many times I stood around looking like a damn fool until I finally got my Spanish up to a working level. When they called me “gringo” I just laughed, stayed friendly and kept speaking (bad) Spanish. As a happily-married man, I don’t do college parties anymore (thank goodness), but having subjected myself to so many situations that were so far outside my element in so many countries since that time, I can do formal business dinners throughout East Asia, or negotiate a deal in the Middle East or attend a funeral in Ethiopia (all real examples), and feel at ease – whether or not I speak any of the local languages. So get out of your comfort zone! Comfort comes from either: 1. keeping yourself closed off from new experiences, or 2. constantly forcing yourself to adapt to new experiences. I find the latter to be so much more rewarding.

Walking dictionaries
Even better still than “party practicing” is obtaining a walking dictionary. My academic advisor in college told me that when he was studying abroad in Paris during the early days of the Vietnam War, a US Army officer who had been granted leave to study in Paris referred to local girlfriends (and native French speakers) as “walking dictionaries.” So I have named this section after that. The best walking dictionaries are native speakers of the language that you want to learn. It is not enough that the person speaks the language fluently. If they are not a native speaker and the dominant common language between the two of you is not the language you want to learn, you will find yourself speaking the dominant common language almost exclusively. For example, let’s say that you want to learn Spanish. If English is your first language and you are dating a Brazilian – a native Portuguese speaker – that happens to also be fluent in Spanish and English, and the dominant common language between the two of you is English, then you both are probably going to find yourself speaking English the majority of the time – not Spanish.

Maybe you can’t control who you fall in love with, but you can at least control who you surround yourself with. So if you surround yourself with native speakers of the language you want to learn, you just might find love within that pool of people and better your foreign language ability simultaneously. Nothing wrong with that!

Watching movies
Foreign language students often have the debate: Which is better for learning? Watching foreign films (spoken in the foreign language) with English subtitles, subtitles of the same foreign language, or no subtitles at all? My answer: They’re all great for different reasons!

Here is what watching movies in each of the following ways does for your learning:

  • Spoken in the foreign language and English subtitles – Helps you practice your listening but with a little assistance. This is like starting to ride a bike in the beginning with training wheels. No problem. It’s still great learning!
  • Spoken in the foreign language and subtitles in that same foreign language – Helps you practice listening while reinforcing grammar, vocabulary and spelling.
  • Spoken in the foreign language and no subtitles at all – Helps you practice your listening. This gives you the most realistic learning environment, since obviously people don’t have subtitles when they speak in real life.

Of course there are other ways to learn foreign languages by watching movies:

  • Spoken in one foreign language and subtitles in another foreign language – As an English speaker, watching a Brazilian movies spoken in Portuguese but with Spanish subtitles can also help you learn Spanish. The practice is great, but if you want to focus on learning Portuguese, for example, it can be distracting.
  • Spoken in English and subtitles in the foreign language – This is fine! Assuming the subtitles are translated well, this reinforces grammar, vocabulary and spelling. It obviously lacks listening practice but is still good as long as you don’t ignore the subtitles.

Living abroad
Let me be perfectly clear: There is no substitute to living in the country of the language you want to learn; period. Living abroad gives you constant intense practice in all categories of learning. If you can live (or at least travel) abroad, you want to make sure that you do as many different kinds of things as possible. The wider the variety of activities you participate in, the wider variety of vocabulary you will acquire.

If you don’t accept a friend’s invitation to go fishing, necessity is unlikely to force you to learn words and phrases like: to catch a fish, bait, worm, hook, fishing pole, and codfish. Similarly, if you don’t study at a school of some sort, necessity is unlikely to force you to learn words and phrases like: to enroll in a class, to do homework, classmate, chalkboard, and notebook. And if you pass up the opportunity to watch a sports game, necessity is unlikely to force you to learn words and phrases like: to score a goal, stadium, ball, foul, and so on. You get the point. To maximize your experience, do as wide a variety of things as possible. Simply going to the foreign country without engaging in many activities will only limit your learning.

If you have the opportunity to take classes while abroad, know that taking classes helps you learn to speak on an educated level. You are forced to learn grammar rules and verb conjugations, keep up with a classroom pace, do homework and pass exams, etc. Plus a teacher corrects your mistakes. If you live in an English-speaking country and you are taking Russian classes, that’s great. But obviously, taking Russian classes in Russia is unbeatable.

Immersing yourself without living abroad
If you can’t move abroad for a season of your life (or permanently), you can do the next best thing. In addition to frequenting ethnic restaurants, obtaining a walking dictionary, participating in cultural events (like salsa lessons), you can do some of the following:

  • Set your Gmail/Yahoo!/Hotmail email and Facebook user interface to the language you want to learn. Each of these online services offers the option to change to all major languages and more.
  • Download your internet browsers (Google Chrome, MS Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, etc.) in the language.
  • Set your cellphone to the desired foreign language. If the language you wish to learn is not available, consider setting it to a similar language. For example, if Slovak isn’t available, set it to Czech. If Dutch isn’t available, set it to German, and so on.

At this point in my life, I no longer actively study Spanish, but my cellphone bill still arrives every month in Spanish – something that I arranged with my cellphone carrier when I was a college student. When I need to review my bill, I catch myself thinking in Spanish.

The point is to surround yourself with the language as much as possible so that you are forced to think in the language as much as possible. If you don’t force yourself to think in the foreign language by an exhaustive full immersion approach, you will never acquire fluency.

Orienting your learning toward achieving the goal

Obviously not every person has the goal of becoming fluent in a foreign language for a whole host of reasons. Maybe you live in an English-speaking country but travel on business to China from time to time, or maybe you work with Arabic speakers from different countries and just want to learn to be able to converse on a basic level. That’s fine indeed! In this case, moving to another country to study abroad or teach English is far too much effort than what it is worth. Consider some of the other things I suggested: take a class or two at a local university; make friends with international students; get Rosetta Stone; buy a phrasebook and dictionary. You get the point.

Taking formal foreign language classes is important for learning the rules and to speak properly. Attending social parties, dating someone that natively speaks the foreign language, etc. is important for learning the vernacular (spoken language) – including slang. Computer programs like Rosetta Stone compliment all of these.

Personal confessions
When I conducted a yearlong study abroad in São Paulo in 2007, all my university classes (since day 1) were taught in Portuguese – for Brazilians, not for gringos like me, so I was forced to study intensely. In addition to university classes I had Portuguese language classes with other American gringos. I had never studied Portuguese before moving to Brazil, but luckily, I had three years of university Spanish classes behind me, which met the requirements for the study abroad program I participated in because of the similarities between the two languages.

But my first semester was less than an ideal learning environment. I lived with a well-educated gentleman that preferred to speak English all the time. As part of my study abroad program I also had many activities with other Americans. Remember what I said earlier about defaulting back to the dominant common language? Not surprisingly, the Americans, including me, spoke almost exclusively English with one another. Since I had moved to Brazil with one primary goal – to acquire fluency in the Portuguese language – before my second semester began I requested to be moved into another home. Luckily, my study abroad organization was able to accommodate me. I quickly moved in with an elderly woman. She couldn’t speak any English; she was an amazing, kind woman, and she could cook so well! So finally I was speaking Portuguese in the home. Secondly, I also determined that when the American students from my first semester had returned to the USA and the new ones came in, I was going to attend the Portuguese classes with them but not allow myself to make friends with them. This was a hard decision! I’m social! I like people! But I didn’t go to Brazil to make friends with Americans as much as I did to learn to acquire fluency in the Portuguese language. I knew if I simply explained to them that we could be friends but would have to only speak Portuguese, I would enjoy their company, accept invitations to hang out, and would be stuck in the same English-speaking trap as I was in my first semester. At the end of the first day of Portuguese class with them I just left. No introduction. I felt like a real asshole. But I wasn’t mean to anyone; I just didn’t socialize. Every day after class for the rest of the semester I did exactly the same thing. I almost exclusively surrounded myself with Brazilians, which is exactly what my mind needed to consistently think in Portuguese. I noted a couple of times that some of my American classmates viewed me as a snob for my behavior. It was tough to not explain myself, but doing so – I believed then and still do now – would have led to normal conversations, to great conversations, to friendship, then English speaking. So I held firm.

After finishing my year abroad I spoke with one of the fellow American study abroad students from my second semester over Facebook. He also stayed one year (and finished one semester after me). I was pleased to learn from him that he did exactly the same thing as I did for his second semester; he avoided the gringos! That’s what it takes to acquire fluency in a foreign language! I’m proud of him!

Another author’s perspective
Tim Ferriss correctly points out in his book The 4-Hour Workweek that it is possible to become conversationally fluent in three months. He suggests first looking at the most commonly spoken words of a foreign language and beginning with that. Tim’s list of the most commonly spoken and written words in the English language has been cached here.

Although I have never approached foreign language learning exactly in this manner per se, his point stands. When living in Japan during my days in the US Air Force, I quickly became able to speak Japanese on an upper-basic or lower-intermediate level by always asking the Japanese nationals that I worked with “How do you say ____ in Japanese.” I didn’t work off of a list of the most commonly spoken or written words and memorize those. Instead, I asked how to say words that I needed to say in order to survive in Japanese society. My goal was never to achieve fluency but rather to be enabled to go anywhere in Japan or do anything I needed to do without having the language barrier as a personal crutch. I did take one elementary-level Japanese class at a university; bought a Katakana workbook, Japanese dictionaries and phrasebook, and surrounded myself with Japanese speakers (including a “walking dictionary”). I could have achieved fluency in the language by doing all of this plus taking more university classes, but that wasn’t my goal. At that time the Air Force was keeping me busy enough.

Concluding remarks
So to conclude, there’s nothing that says that you have to study a language for the purpose of acquiring fluency. My suggested approach for you is to do as many of these things as you can – based on your particular goal.

Learning foreign languages develops your mind in so many ways. It helps you understand your own language better. And when combined with living abroad it helps you to challenge the world around you in ways that you never would otherwise. Just for the record, each language that you learn makes learning new languages even easier. After a while, you just get good at learning languages.

As for relearning forgotten languages – that’s fairly easy. Just go through your old notes, go back to the country where the language is spoken, and it comes back to you quickly. Case in point, my father never spoke French or any other language but English. His parents, however, used to speak French to each other in his presence when he was a young child. To this day, when I ask him “How do you say ____ in French?,” he replies “I don’t know!” But a couple of minutes later he comes back and says, “I really don’t know why I remember this, but I’m pretty sure you say ____. Why do I know that?!”

If you are young enough in life to enjoy many years of benefits from all the hard work required to learn new languages, I would highly suggest becoming fluent in at least 2-3 languages and beginning as soon as possible. Don’t become one of those nerds that try to impress people by learning dying or dead languages. Old Aramaic and Latin are about as worthless as Elvish and Klingon in my opinion. The modern, spoken break off languages from Aramaic and Latin, by contrast, can be highly useful as long as you put yourself into situations in which you can actually use them. It is no use spending thousands of hours of your life learning a valuable social skill if it never helps you make new friends that you would not otherwise be able to have, travel to new places that you would not otherwise been able to go, or live a life that you would not otherwise be able to live.

 

See also:
Why audiobooks can make your whole life better

Essential iPhone apps for international road warriors

“Work smarter, not harder.”
-Author unkown

For the very fortunate breed of travelers that finds him or herself in one country after another on a regular basis, it is essential to make the best use of technology in order to maximize efficiency. I have spent the past couple of years exploring the best iPhone apps to automate my life. For me, the apps listed here below are the bare minimum to keep my life as an international traveler moving smoothly.

 

Priority Pass

This app is only useful for paying customers of Priority Pass. Priority Pass is a company that allows its customers to use airport lounges around the world – no matter which airline they are flying on. If you fly to the same places all the time using the same airline, you might be better off paying the airline for access to its own lounges. However, if you find yourself flying on a multitude of airlines around the world and do not wish to spend your 8-hour layovers waiting at the gate or in a food court somewhere, you will want Priority Pass. Trust me; it’s beautiful.

With the Priority Pass app, you can push the “Find Nearest Lounge” button, and the app uses your iPhone’s GPS to find the lounges that you have access to at the particular airport that you are at. I’ve been in situations in which I found myself at smaller regional airports in countries like Brazil and China. It didn’t matter! Priority Pass still had lounges for me to use in those airports!

Here is a link to 10% off your first year of Priority Pass – no matter which membership plan you choose.

 

CultureGPS Professional

If you are among the rare breed of culture warriors out there, you should already be aware of Professor Geert Hofstede’s work on the dimensions of national cultures. For international businessmen and businesswomen, the Hofstede index is an indispensable resource. It breaks down cultures of many countries around the world into the following dimensions: Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV), Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS), Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) and Long-Term Avoidance (LTO). Newer dimensions added to the Hofstede index (not in this app, unfortunately) are: Pragmatic versus Normative (PRA) and Indulgence versus Restraint (IND).

Let’s say, for example, that you are an account manager for the company your work for and will be meeting with a new buyer of your company’s product in Country-X for the first time. The purpose of the meeting is to negotiate future terms between both companies. If Country-X happens to score high on Hofstede’s Power Distance Index (PDI) dimension, you can expect that it is less likely that you will have access to the owner or other high-level decision-makers of the foreign company (since you are an account manager – a lower position than an owner in corporate hierarchy). This is cultural intelligence at its finest. If you frequently travel to a diverse range of countries (geographically, linguistically, ethnically, religiously) I highly recommend this app!

There are many books that I could also recommend here that have been instrumental in my personal development in cultural intelligence, but if I had to recommend only three they would be the three below. In some ways they overlap with information, however, the countries they cover vary. So if you travel just about everywhere you will find it beneficial to keep all three in your library. The first two books below dedicate each individual chapter to the cultural and business practices of specific countries (every chapter is a different country). The latter concentrates more on cultural and business practices of geographical clusters (Middle East and North Africa, for example) as well as provides specific information for a few key countries.

  1. Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands by Terri Morrison
  2. Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands, Sales and Marketing: The Essential Cultural Guide—From Presentations and Promotions to Communicating and Closing by Terri Morrison
  3. How to Negotiate Anything with Anyone Anywhere Around the World by Frank Acuff

 

The World Clock

I tried at least three of the world clock apps before falling in love with this one by Orlin Kolev. The World Clock is able to not only track the time zones in the individual cities of your choosing, but it even works with your Google Calendar.

Let’s say that on a particular date and time you have scheduled a conference call with a customer in Ghana, but on that date you will be in Bangkok, Thailand. With The World Clock you can enter the date and time that you told your customer in Ghana you would call him, and the app shows you what date and time the appointment will be in Bangkok. You can then choose to setup a Google Calendar event right from the app along with alert reminders so you don’t forget to actually make the call!

Note: While gathering the necessary links and information to produce this blog post I ran into a competing app that looks quite good called World Clock Pro.

 

Documents

Documents can open all of your Microsoft Word and Excel documents and allows you to edit them, organize them in folders, send them as email attachments, back them up on Dropbox and more. It can also open other major file formats, such as PDF. It’s simple. Without it, an iPhone is limited to the Notes app, which is as plain as Microsoft Notepad.

With this app I am able to work on the go.

 

 

 

Currency Converter HD

I experimented with two or three competing apps before choosing this one. The first one I tried was by XE, only because XE is popular in FOREX. Unfortunately, the XE app bombards the user with ads and does not have some of the other options I appreciate from Currency Converter HD.

Currency Converter HD’s nifty calculator also saves you from having to open the iPhone’s Calculator app in order to do a calculation after converting the currency. Like other competing currency exchange apps, this one updates the latest conversions frequently and automatically as long as your phone is connected to the internet and the app is running.

 

American Airlines

When I am flying with American Airlines or other member airlines of the oneworld alliance, I often open this app as soon as the plane lands to see if my next flight’s departing time or gate number has changed. (The app can notify you if there are flight changes!)

Using airline apps like this one saves you the time and hassle of having to locate the monitors in the airport with all the flight schedules listed.

 

 

 

Delta Airlines

When I am flying with Delta Airlines or other member airlines of the SkyTeam alliance, I sometimes open this app as soon as the plane lands to see if my next flight’s departing time or gate number has changed. (The app can notify you if there are flight changes!)

Using airline apps like this one saves you the time and hassle of having to locate the monitors in the airport with all the flight schedules listed.

 

 

 

United Airlines

When I am flying with United Airlines or other member airlines of StarAlliance, I sometimes open this app as soon as the plane lands to see if my next flight’s departing time or gate number has changed. (The app can notify you if there are flight changes!)

Using airline apps like this one saves you the time and hassle of having to locate the monitors in the airport with all the flight schedules listed.

 

 

 

Frequent Flyer Miles Tracker

This is the app I use to store my frequent flyer mileage numbers for each airline that I have an account with. If you are at the check-in counter at the airport and for whatever reason do not have your airline priority membership card readily available, just open this app so that the airline official can check you in with your frequent flyer mileage number.

 

 

 

National Geographic World Atlas

I discovered this app while researching for this blog post and was looking for a better app to recommend than the world factbook that I had been using. I am impressed with this one.

When connected to the internet the apps can zoom in even closer. Other than maps, it has information on each country such as: languages spoken, economic and government data, major holidays, religions practiced, information on major cities within each country and more. It even has a currency converter tool (but no calculator built in). I’m sold!

 

 

Audiobooks from Audible

If I had to choose only one app it would be this one. How else am I supposed to pass the time?

Read more here for my thoughts on audiobooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Athan Pro – Prayer Timings and Tracking

If you do business in the Muslim World, you’ll want this app. It is always helpful to know when the prayer times are in each country so that you can setup appointments without interruption. I once had an international guest from Morocco visit me in the USA. He told me that on Friday of that week he wanted to go to the local mosque and pray. I opened the Athan Pro app, typed in the local zip code, and I instantly had all the prayer times at my fingertips. Later I called the mosque to verify that the time was correct. It was spot on.

 

 

Skype WiFi

Sometimes you’re in an international airport, and all the available WIFI signals are either blocked, or to use them, you would have to go through the annoying hassle of entering your credit card number and personal information. Skype WiFi bypasses all of that. If you have a Skype account (which you should!) you can simply use your Skype credit to connect to connect to the WIFI networks that require payment. Connection times are in 30-minute intervals.

 

 

 

Google Translate

If you’re an international road warrior or at least speak a foreign language you are probably already aware of this one. Google Translate is able to translate from any one language to another with more than sixty to choose from. The app requires a connection to the internet.

 

 

 

 

Michaelis Moderno Dicionário de Português e Inglês

I realize that not everyone speaks a combination of Portuguese and English. This dictionary app represents whatever advanced dictionary app you would need. If you find yourself often conversing between German and Japanese and you do not speak both at a native level, then I suggest keeping an advanced dictionary around such as this one.

I recommend the Michaelis Moderno dictionary apps. They are very complete and even come with other features, such as being able to see a full breakdown of conjugations for any verb. For that reason, this particular app is sold for $29.99. It was well worth what I paid. Michaelis Moderno dictionary apps require no connection to the internet and give all possible alternative translations for each word; Google Translate, by contrast, only gives a single, best guess translation.

 

Skype

This is the #1 app that you should have for all communication while abroad. You can call anywhere in the world for free (if the person you’re calling has a Skype account) and can call telephones for only a few cents per minute.

But you’ve probably been using Skype for years already, so keep reading…

 

 

 

 

Viber

To me, Viber is just another app for chatting since it has all the same major features as Skype and WhatsApp. But if you have business partners and customers around the world, at least some of them will be using it, so it is very useful to have.

 

 

 

 

 

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp is just like Viber. If you’ve got a wide range of friends and business contacts, you should probably have this app too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SoundHound

No doubt you’ll hear music while abroad, and you’ll want to identify the artist and song title. SoundHound is a free app that can listen to the music in the background wherever you are and then look up the artist and song title for you. If you have no connection to the internet where you are, no worries… SoundHound can temporarily store the recorded audio clip and try to locate the song for you later once you’ve reestablished an internet connection.

Full disclosure: Although SoundHound has access to a giant database of all sorts of music, I’ve noticed the app is better at identifying more mainstream music. Don’t be surprised if it cannot recognize, let’s say, a Turkish song that hasn’t yet made it to international radio stations.

 

I also refer frequently to the following resources:

  1. Airline alliance Wiki page – Since I generally purchase flights from budget travel websites, I fly a wide range of airlines from all three major alliances and some others that do not belong to any alliance. When purchasing my flights, it is important to enter in the frequent flyer number of the airline that 1) is a common member airline of the same alliance of the particular flight in question, and 2) is the airline that I track my frequent flyer miles with for that alliance. To maximize your frequent flyer miles (assuming you want free upgrades, flights, etc.) you are going to want to try to make sure that as many of your flights as possible are on member airlines of one of the three major alliances: Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and oneworld. This Wiki article is the only single place on the WWW that I’ve found that keeps them so well-organized. I’ve noticed that the article also gets updated often when airlines move from one alliance to another.
  2. Air Miles Calculator – Enter in just about any two or more airports, and this website will tell you how many frequent flyer miles you should accrue. The website does not account for multipliers, so if you have elite status on a particular airline, you might earn something like 1.25 or 1.5 frequent flyer miles per actual “butt in seat” mile that the Air Miles Calculator website tries to calculate for.

 

*If you know of an app that deserves to be on this list you may leave a comment below or email me at emileaphaneuf (at) gmail.com. I am also looking to produce an equivalent post to this one for Android and Blackberry. If you have international travel experience and a number of favorite apps for smooth travel for either the Android or Blackberry platforms you may also contact me. 

 

See also:

International Relations vocabulary in Portuguese and Spanish

Updates:

  1. This resource has also been published at MyPoliSciLab.com (a paid website for political science students) and at InternationalRelations.com by Professor Joshua S. Goldstein. (5 July, 2013).
  2. I have learned that somebody took this list and improved upon it using Google’s Fusion Tables. With these Fusion Tables, the data can be manipulated in various ways using filters to suit the convenience of the user. Nice tool, and thanks to whomever did that! Here is the link. (7 July, 2015).

If you study Portuguese or Spanish and international relations (or related fields) this list could be of great use – especially if you are studying abroad and the host language is not your own. My methodology consisted of taking the glossary of terms from a slightly older version of this textbook and translating the terms one-by-one from English to Portuguese and Spanish using online dictionaries and Wiki. A huge thanks to Dr. Sergio Villalobos (native speaker from Chile) for checking/correcting the Spanish translations and to Ana Lúcia da Silva Kfouri (native speaker from Brazil) for checking/correcting the Portuguese translations and for setting them to the “reforma ortográfica” standard. And lastly, thank you to Joshua S. Goldstein and Jon C. Pevehouse for writing the book that made this list possible.

# English Português Español
1 acid rain chuva ácida lluvia ácida
2 airspace espaço aéreo espacio aéreo
3 Al-Qaeda Al-Qaeda Al-Qaeda
4 Amnesty International Anistia Internacional Amnistía Internacional
5 anarchy anarquia anarquía
6 Antarctic Treaty (1959) Tratado da Antártida Tratado Antártico
7 arms race corrida armamentista carrera armamentista
8 autarky (self-reliance) autarquia autarquía
9 authoritarian(ism) (government) autoritarismo autoritarismo
10 balance of payments balanço de pagamentos balanza de pagos
11 balance of power equilíbrio de poder equilibrio de poder
12 balance of trade balança comercial balanza comercial
13 ballistic missiles míssil balístico misil balístico
14 bargaining negociação regateo
15 basic human needs necessidades básicas do ser humano necesidades básicas del ser humano
16 bilateral aid ajuda bilateral ayuda bilateral
17 biodiversity biodiversidade biodiversidad
18 Biological Weapons Convention (1972) Convenção sobre Armas Biológicas Convención sobre Armas Biológicas (BWC)
19 bipolar system, bipolar world, bipolarity sistema bipolar, mundo bipolar, bipolaridade sistema bipolar, mundo bipolar, bipolaridad
20 blue helmets (UN peacekeeping) Forças de manutenção da paz das Nações Unidas Fuerzas de paz de las Naciones Unidas, cascos azules
21 brain drain fuga de cérebros / fluxo de talentos fuga de cerebros
22 Bretton Woods system Acordos de Bretton Woods Acuerdos de Bretton Woods
23 burden sharing repartição de encargos reparto de la carga
24 capital accumulation acúmulo de capital acumulación del capital
25 capitalism capitalismo capitalismo
26 carrying capacity capacidade de transporte capacidad de carga
27 cartel cartel cartel/cártel
28 central bank banco central banco central
29 centrally planned (command) economy economia planificada economía centralizada, economía planificada
30 chain of command cadeia de comando cadena de mando
31 Chemical Weapons Convention (1992) Convenção sobre Armas Químicas Convención sobre Armas Químicas
32 Chernobyl Chernobyl Chernóbil
33 civil war guerra civil guerra civil
34 Cold War Guerra Fria Guerra Fría
35 Commission on Sustainable Development Comissão para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável Comisión para el Desarrollo Sustentable (CSD)
36 Common Agricultural Policy Política Agrícola Comum da União Europeia Política agrícola común de la Unión Europea
37 common market mercado comum mercado común
38 Commonwealth of Independent States Comunidade dos Estados Independentes Comunidad de Estados Independientes
39 comparative advantage vantagens comparativas ventaja comparativa
40 Comprehensive (Nuclear) Test Ban Treaty (1996) Tratado de Interdição Completa de Ensaios Nucleares Tratado de Prohibición Completa de los Ensayos Nucleares
41 conditionality condicionalidade condicionalidad
42 conflict conflito conflicto
43 conflict and cooperation conflito e cooperação conflicto y cooperación
44 conflict resolution resolução de conflitos resolución de conflictos (o conflictología)
45 constructivism construtivismo constructivismo
46 consumption goods bens de consumo bienes de consumo
47 containment contenção contención
48 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty (1990) Tratado das Forças Armadas Convencionais da Europa (FACE) Tratado de las Fuerzas Armadas Convencionales en Europa
49 convertible (currency) moeda convertível moneda convertible
50 cost-benefit analysis análise de custo-benefício análisis de costo-beneficio
51 Council of Ministers (or Council of the European Union) Conselho da União Europeia, Conselho Consejo de la Unión Europea (CUE)
52 counterinsurgency contrainsurgência contrainsurgencia
53 coup d’état golpe de estado golpe de estado
54 crimes against humanity crimes contra a humanidade crímenes contra la humanidad
55 cruise missile míssil de cruzeiro misil de cruzero
56 Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) Crise dos mísseis de Cuba Crisis de los misiles en Cuba
57 cultural imperialism imperialismo cultural imperialismo cultural
58 customs union união aduaneira unión aduanera
59 default inadimplência suspención de pagos
60 dehumanization desumanização deshumanización
61 democracy democracia democracia
62 democratic peace (theory) teoria da paz democrática teoría de la paz democrática
63 demographic transition transição demográfica transición demográfica
64 dependency theory teoria da dependência teoría de la dependencia
65 deterrence (theory) teoria da intimidação teoría de la disuasión
66 devaluation desvalorização devaluación
67 developing country País em desenvolvimento, país emergente país en desarrollo
68 Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Comitê de Ajuda ao Desenvolvimento Comité de Ayuda al Desarrollo
69 diplomatic immunity imunidade diplomática inmunidad diplomática
70 diplomatic recognition reconhecimento diplomático reconocimiento diplomático
71 direct foreign investment: See foreign direct investment investimento estrangeiro direto inversión extranjera directa
72 disaster relief auxílio em desastres administración de desastres
73 discount rate taxa de desconto tasa de descuento
74 Doha Development Round Rodada Doha Ronda de Doha
75 dumping dumping dumping
76 economic development desenvolvimento econômico desarrollo económico
77 economic surplus excedente econômico excedente económico
78 electronic warfare guerra electrônica guerra electrónica
79 empowerment (in development) empowerment, delegação de autoridade empoderamiento
80 enclosure (of the commons) encercamento cercamiento
81 ethnic cleansing limpeza étnica limpieza étnica
82 ethnic groups grupo étnicos grupo étnicos
83 ethnocentrism (in-group bias) etnocentrismo etnocentrismo
84 Euratom (European Atomic Energy Community, EAEC) Comunidade Europeia da Energia Atômica Comunidad Europea de la Energía Atómica
85 euro (currency) euro euro
86 European Commission Comissão Europeia Comisión Europea
87 European Court of Justice (ECJ) Tribunal de Justiça da União Europeia Tribunal de Justicia de las Comunidades Europeas, Tribunal de Justicia Europeo
88 European Parliament (or Europarl, EP) Parlamento Europeu Parlamento Europeo
89 European Union (EU) União Europeia Unión Europea
90 exchange rate taxa de câmbio tasa de cambio, tipo de cambio
91 (European) Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) Exchange Rate Mechanism (same as English) / Mecanismo de Taxa de Câmbio Mecanismo de tasa de cambio, Mecanismo de Tipos de Cambio (MTC)
92 export-led growth crescimento liderado pela exportação crecimiento impulsado por exportaciones
93 fiscal policy política fiscal política fiscal
94 fixed exchange rate taxa de câmbio fixa tipo de cambio fijo
95 floating exchange rate taxa de câmbio flutuante tipos de cambio flotantes
96 foreign assistance ajuda externa ayuda extranjera, ayuda exterior
97 foreign direct investment investimento estrangeiro direto (IED) inversión extranjera directa
98 foreign policy process processo de política externa proceso de política exterior
99 fossil fuel combustível fóssil combustible fósil
100 “four [Asian] tigers”/”four dragons” quatro tigres asiáticos cuatro tigres asiáticos
101 free economic zones zona franca zona franca
102 free rider problem problema free rider (taken from English) problema del polizón
103 free trade livre cambismo librecambismo
104 free trade area área de livre comércio, zona de livre comércio área de libre comercio, tratado de libre comercio (TLC)
105 game theory teoria dos jogos teoría de juegos
106 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Acordo Geral de Tarifas e Comércio Acuerdo General sobre Aranceles Aduaneros y Comercio
107 Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Sistema Geral de Preferências (SGP) Sistema Generalizado de Preferencias (SGP)
108 genocide genocídio genocidio
109 geopolitics geopolítica geopolítica
110 global culture cultura global cultura global
111 globalization globalização globalización
112 global warming aquecimento global calentamiento global
113 gold standard padrão-ouro patrón oro
114 great powers grande potências grandes potencias
115 greenhouse gases gases do efeito estufa (GEE), gases estufa gases de efecto invernadero (GEI), gases de invernadero
116 green revolution revolução verde revolución verde
117 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) produto interno bruto (PIB) producto interno bruto
118 groupthink pensamento de grupo pensamiento grupal, pensamiento de grupo
119 guerrilla war guerrilha guerra de guerrillas, guerrila, guevarismo
120 hard currency moeda forte moneda fuerte
121 hegemonic stability theory teoria da estabilidade hegemônica teoría de estabilidad hegemónica
122 hegemonic war guerra mundial/hegemônica guerra mundial
123 hegemony hegemonia hegemonía
124 high seas alto mar alta mar
125 home country país de origem país de origen
126 host country país hóspede país de acogida
127 human rights direitos humanos derechos humanos
128 humanitarian intervention intervenção humanitária injerencia humanitaria
129 hyperinflation hiperinflação hiperinflación
130 idealism idealismo idealismo
131 IMF conditionality condicionalidade do FMI condicionalidad del FMI
132 immigration law lei de imigração ley de inmigración
133 imperialism imperialismo imperialismo
134 import substitution substituição de importações sustitución de importaciones
135 industrialization industrialização industrialización
136 industrial policy política industrial política industrial
137 infant mortality rate taxa de mortalidade infantil tasa de mortalidad infantil
138 infantry infantaria infantería
139 intellectual property rights direitos de propriedade intelectual derechos de propiedad intelectual
140 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) míssil balístico intercontinental (ICBM) misil balístico intercontinental (ICBM)
141 interdependence interdependência interdependencia
142 interest groups grupos de interesse grupos de interés
143 intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) organização internacional, organização intergovernamental organismo internacional, organización intergubernamental (OIG)
144 International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Comitê Internacional da Cruz Vermelha (CICV) Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja (CICR)
145 International Court of Justice Corte Internacional de Justiça, Tribunal Internacional de Justiça Corte Internacional de Justicia, Tribunal Internacional de Justicia
146 international integration integração internacional integración internacional
147 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Fundo Monetário Internacional (FMI) Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI)
148 international norms normas internacionais normas internacionales
149 international organizations (IOs) organizações internacionais organizaciones internacionales
150 international political economy (IPE) economia política internacional economía política internacional
151 international regime regime internacional régimen internacional
152 international relations (IR) relações internacionais (RI) relaciones internacionales
153 international security segurança internacional seguridad internacional
154 international system sistema internacional sistema internacional
155 International Whaling Commission Comissão Internacional da Baleia (Brasil), Comissão Baleeira Internacional (Portugal) Comisión Ballenera Internacional (CBI)
156 investment investimento inversión
157 Iran-Contra scandal/affair (escândalo/caso) Irã-Contras (escándalo) Irán-Contra(s), Irangate
158 irredentism irredentismo irredentismo
159 Islam Islã (Brasil), Islão (Portugal) Islam
160 Islamic fundamentalism fundamentalismo islâmico fundamentalismo islámico
161 just war doctrine teoria da guerra justa teoría de la guerra justa
162 Keynesian economics economia keynesiana, escola keynesiana economía keynesiana, Keynesianismo
163 land mines mina terrestre mina terrestre
164 land reform reforma agrária reforma agraria
165 lateral pressure (theory of) (Teoria da) pressão lateral (teoría de la) presión lateral
166 League of Nations Sociedade das Nações, Liga das Nações Sociedad de Naciones (SDN)
167 less-developed countries países menos desenvolvidos países menos desarrollados
168 liberal feminism feminismo liberal feminismo liberal
169 liberalism (economic liberalism) liberalismo econômico liberalismo económico
170 lobby lóbi, lobby, grupo de pressão lobby, grupo de presión
171 Maastricht Treaty Tratado de Maastricht Tratado de Maastricht, Tratado de la Unión Europea
172 malnutrition, undernourishment desnutrição malnutrición, desnutrición
173 Maoism, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism maoísmo, Pensamento de Mao Tse Tung, Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoísmo (MLM) maoísmo, Pensamiento Mao Tse Tung, Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoísmo (MLM)
174 Marxism Marxismo Marxismo
175 mediation mediação mediación
176 mercantilism mercantilismo mercantilismo
177 microcredit microcrédito microcrédito
178 middle powers média potência, potência média potencia intermedia, potencia mediana, potencia media
179 migration migração migración
180 militarism militarismo militarismo
181 military governments governos militares gobiernos militares
182 military-industrial complex complexo militar-industrial complejo industrial-militar
183 Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Regime de Controle de Tecnologia de Mísseis Régimen de Control de la Tecnología de Misiles
184 mixed economy economia mista economía mixta
185 monetary policy política monetária política monetaria
186 Montreal Protocol (1987) Protoloco Montreal Protoloco de Montreal
187 most-favored nation (MFN) nação mais favorecida nación más favorecida
188 multinational corporation (MNC) multinacional, empresa multinacional multinacional, empresa multinacional
189 multipolar system, multipolar world, multipolarity sistema multipolar, mundo multipolar, multipolaridade sistema multipolar, mundo multipolar, multipolaridad
190 Munich Agreement (1938) Acordo de Munique Acuerdo de Múnich
191 mutually assured destruction (MAD) Destruição Mútua Assegurada Destrucción Mutua Asegurada
192 Nash equilibrium Equilíbrio de Nash equilibrio de Nash
193 national debt, government debt, public debt dívida governamental, dívida pública deuda nacional, deuda pública
194 national interest interesse nacional razón de Estado, interés nacional
195 nationalism nacionalismo nacionalismo
196 nation-states Estado-nação Estado-nación
197 NATO: See North Atlantic Treaty Organization Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte (OTAN, NATO) Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte (OTAN)
198 negotiation negociação negociación
199 neocolonialism neocolonialismo neocolonialismo
200 neofunctionalism neofuncionalismo neofuncionalismo
201 neoliberalism neoliberalismo neoliberalismo
202 neorealism neo-realismo, neorrealismo neorrealismo
203 New International Economic Order (NIEO) Nova Ordem Econômica Internacional Nuevo Orden Económico Internacional (NOEI)
204 new world order nova ordem mundial nuevo orden mundial
205 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) organizações não governamentais (ONG), organizações não governamentais sem fins lucrativos organización no gubernamental (ONG)
206 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) Tratado de Não-Proliferação Nuclear Tratado de No Proliferación Nuclear
207 nonstate actors atores não-estatais actores no estatales
208 nontariff barriers barreiras não-tarifárias barreras no arancelarias
209 nonviolence/pacifism não-violência/pacifismo no violencia, no-violencia/pacifismo
210 norms (of behavior) normas de comportamento normas de comportamiento
211 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Tratado Norte-Americano de Livre Comércio Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN, TLC, NAFTA)
212 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte (OTAN, NATO) Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte (OTAN)
213 oil shock, oil crisis crise do petróleo crisis del petróleo
214 Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Organização dos Países Exportadores de Petróleo (OPEP, OPEC) Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo (OPEP)
215 ozone layer ozonosfera, camada de ozônio ozonosfera, capa de ozono
216 Paris Club Clube de Paris Club de París
217 Peace Corps Corpo da Paz Cuerpo de Paz
218 peace movements movimentos pacifistas movimientos pacifistas, movimientos de paz
219 political asylum, right of asylum asilo político, direito de asilo asilo político, derecho de asilo
220 postmodernism, postmodernity pós-modernismo, pós-modernidade postmodernismo, postmodernidad
221 power poder poder
222 prisoner of war (POW) prisioneiro de guerra prisionero de guerra (PDG)
223 prisoners’ dilemma dilema do prisioneiro dilema del prisionero
224 proliferation proliferação proliferación
225 pronatalist policy política pró-natalista, política pró-natalidade políticas pronatalistas, política pro-natalidad
226 prospect theory teoria do prospecto teoría de perspectivas
227 protectionism protecionismo proteccionismo
228 proxy wars guerra proxy guerra por proxy, guerra subsidiaria
229 Qur’an, Koran Alcorão, Corão Alcorán, Corán
230 rational actor theory, rational choice theory Teoria do ator racional, teoria a escolha racional teoría de la elección racional
231 realism, political realism realismo, realismo político realismo, realismo político
232 reciprocity reciprocidade reciprocidad
233 refugee refugiado refugiado
234 reserve currency moeda de reserva moneda de reserva
235 retaliation retaliação, talião retaliación, revancha
236 risk assessment avaliação de risco evaluación de riesgo
237 secular state estado laico, estado secular estado laico
238 service sector, service industry, tertiary sector setor terciário sector de servicios, sector terciario
239 Single European Act (SEA) (1957) Ato Único Europeu (AUE) Acta Única Europea (AUE)
240 Sino-Soviet split Ruptura Sino-Soviética Ruptura Sino-Soviética
241 socialism socialismo socialismo
242 sovereignty soberania soberanía
243 Special Drawing Right (SDR) Direito de Saque Especial (DSE) Derechos Especiales de Giros (DEG)
244 state Estado Estado
245 state-sponsored terrorism terrorismo patrocinado pelo Estado terrorismo patrocinado por el Estado
246 stealth technology tecnologia stealth, tecnologia furtiva tecnología furtiva, tecnología stealth
247 Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) Iniciativa Estratégica de Defesa Iniciativa de Defensa Estratégica (IDE)
248 subsistence farming agricultura de subsistência agricultura de subsistencia
249 subtext subtexto subtexto
250 summit meeting cimeira / reunião de cúpula cumbre
251 supranationalism supranacionalidade supranacionalidad
252 Taliban Talibã Talibán
253 tariff tarifa arancel
254 technology transfer transferência de tecnologia transferencia de tecnología
255 territorial waters mar territorial mar territorial
256 third world terceiro mundo tercer mundo
257 tit for tat olho por olho, lei de talião ojo por ojo, ley del talión
258 total war guerra total guerra total
259 tragedy of the commons tragédia dos comuns tragedia de los comunes
260 Treaty/Treaties of Rome (1957) Tratado(s) de Roma Tratado(s) de Roma
261 United Nations (UN), United Nations Organization (UNO) Nações Unidas (NU), Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU) Naciones Unidas (NU), Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU)
262 UN Charter Carta das Nações Unidas Carta de las Naciones Unidas
263 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Convenção das Nações Unidas sobre o Direito do Mar Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Derecho del Mar (CNUDM), Convención sobre el Derecho del Mar, Convención del Mar
264 UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Conferência das Nações Unidas sobre Comércio e Desenvolvimento (UNCTAD) Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre Comercio y Desarrollo (CNUCYD, UNCTAD)
265 UN Development Programme (UNDP) Programa das Nações Unidas para o Desenvolvimento (PNUD) Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD)
266 UN Environment Program (UNEP) Programa das Nações Unidas para o Meio Ambiente (PNUMA) Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA)
267 UN General Assembly (UNGA/GA) Assembleia Geral das Nações Unidas (AGNU) Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas
268 UN Secretariat secretário geral/secretariado das Nações Unidas secretario general/secretaría general de Naciones Unidas
269 UN Security Council (UNSC) Conselho de Segurança das Nações Unidas Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas
270 undernourishment: See malnutrition
271 urbanization urbanização urbanización
272 Uruguay Round Rodada do Uruguai Ronda de Uruguay
273 war crime crime de guerra crimen de guerra
274 Warsaw Pact, Warsaw Treaty Pacto de Varsóvia, Tratado de Varsóvia Pacto de Varsovia
275 weapon of mass destruction (WMD) arma de destruição em massa (ADM) armas de destrucción masiva (ADM)
276 World Bank Banco Mundial Banco Mundial (BM)
277 World Court: See International Court of Justice
278 world government governo mundial gobierno mundial
279 World Health Organization (WHO) Organização Mundial da Saúde (OMS) Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS)
280 world-system theory Teoria do Sistema-Mundo, teoria de sistemas mundiais sistemas mundiales, teoría del sistema mundial
281 World Trade Organization (WTO) Organização Mundial do Comércio (OMC) Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC)
282 zero-sum games jogo de soma zero juego de suma cero

Resources:

1. The university Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro holds a blog in which they provide international relations terms and definitions. The site is entirely in Portuguese and no cross-language translations are given.

2. Thomson Wadsworth publishing offers a list of translations of political science terms from English to Spanish. Very few of these are specifically related to international relations (IR), but they are related nonetheless.

See also:

potencia mediana

Ordinal numerals in Portuguese and Spanish

When we typically think of numbers and counting, we think in terms of cardinal numerals (one, two, three, etc). Ordinal numerals, however, are numbers used to express a level of degree or quality (first, second third).

After searching the internet for some time time for one good list of ordinal numberals in English, Portuguese and Spanish I came up short. I was able to find numeral lists for each on many websites, but I didn’t come across an all-inclusive list that could be used for quick reference. I’ve compiled them together here for anyone that may find this useful.

English Português Español
1st / first 1º / primeiro, ra 1.º / primero, ra
2nd / second 2º / segundo, da 2.º / segundo, da
3rd / third 3º / terceiro, ra 3.º / tercero, ra
4th / fourth 4º / quarto, ta 4.º / cuarto, ta
5th / fifth 5º / quinto, ta 5.º / quinto, ta
6th / sixth 6º / sexto, ta 6.º / sexto, ta
7th / seventh 7º / sétimo, ma 7.º / séptimo, ma
8th / eighth 8º / oitavo, va 8.º / octavo, va
9th / ninth 9º / nono, na 9.º / noveno, na
10th / tenth 10º / décimo, ma 10.º / décimo, ma
11th / eleventh 11º / undécimo, ma (ou décimo primeiro, ra) 11.º / undécimo, ma (o decimoprimero, ra; onceno, na)
12th / twelth 12º / duodécimo, ma (ou décimo segundo, da) 12º / duodécimo, ma (o decimosegundo, na; doceno, na)
13th / thirteenth 13º / tredécimo, ma (ou décimo terceiro, ra) 13.º / decimotercero, ra; (decimotercio, cia)
14th / fourteenth 14º / décimo quarto, ta 14.º / decimocuarto, ta
15th / fifteenth 15º / décimo quinto, ta 15.º / decimoquinto, ta
16th / sixteenth 16º / décimo sexto, ta 16.º / decimosexto, ta
17th / seventeenth 17º / décimo sétimo, ma 17.º / decimoséptimo, ma
18th / eighteenth 18º / décimo oitavo, va 18.º / decimoctavo, va
19th / nineteenth 19º / décimo nono, na 19.º / decimonoveno, na
20th / twentieth 20º / vigésimo, ma 20.º / vigésimo, ma
21st / twenty-first 21º / vigésimo primeiro, ra 21.º / vigésimo primero, ra
22nd / twenty-second 22º / vigésimo segundo, da 22.º / vigésimo segundo, da
23rd / twenty-third 23º / vigésimo terceiro, ra 23.º / vigésimo tercero, ra
30th / thirtieth 30º / trigésimo, ma 30.º / trigésimo, ma
31st / thirty-first 31º / trigésimo primeiro, ra 31.º / trigésimo primero, ra
32nd / thirty-second 32º / trigésimo segundo, da 32.º / trigésimo segundo, da
33rd / thirty-third 33º / trigésimo terceiro, ra 33.º / trigésimo tercero, ra
40th / fortieth 40º / quadragésimo, ma 40.º / cuadragésimo, ma
41st / forty-first 41º / quadragésimo primeiro, ra 41.º / cuadragésimo primero, ra
42nd / forty-second 42º / quadragésimo segundo, da 42.º / cuadragésimo segundo, da
43rd / forty-third 43º / quadragésimo terceiro, ra 43.º / cuadragésimo tercero, ra
50th / fiftieth 50º / quinquagésimo, ma 50.º / quincuagésimo, ma
51st / fifty-first 51º / quinquagésimo primeiro, ra 51.º / quincuagésimo primero, ra
52nd / fifty-second 52º / quinquagésimo segundo, da 52.º / quincuagésimo segundo, da
53rd / fifty-third 53º / quinquagésimo terceiro, ra 53.º / quincuagésimo tercero, ra
60th / sixtieth 60º / sexagésimo, ma 60.º / sexagésimo, ma
61st / sixty-first 61º / sexagésimo primeiro, ra 61.º / sexagésimo primero, ra
62nd / sixty-second 62º / sexagésimo segundo, da 62.º / sexagésimo segundo, da
63rd / sixty-third 63º / sexagésimo terceiro, ra 63.º / sexagésimo tercero, ra
70th / seventieth 70º / septuagésimo, ma 70.º / septuagésimo, ma
71st / seventy-first 71º / septuagésimo primeiro, ra 71.º / septuagésimo primero, ra
72nd / seventy-second 72º / septuagésimo segundo, da 72.º / septuagésimo segundo, da
73rd / seventy-third 73º / septuagésimo terceiro, ra 73.º / septuagésimo tercero, ra
80th / eightieth 80º / octogésimo, ma 80.º / octogésimo, ma
81st / eighty-first 81º / octogésimo primeiro, ra 81.º / octogésimo primero, ra
82nd / eighty-second 82º / octogésimo segundo, da 82.º / octogésimo segundo, da
83th / eighty-third 83º / octogésimo terceiro, ra 83.º / octogésimo tercero, ra
90th / ninetieth 90º / nonagésimo, ma 90.º / nonagésimo, ma
91st / ninety-first 91º / nonagésimo primeiro, ra 90.º / nonagésimo primero, ra
92nd / ninety-second 92º / nonagésimo segundo, da 90.º / nonagésimo segundo, da
93rd / ninety-third 93º / nonagésimo terceiro, ra 90.º / nonagésimo tercero, ra
100th / one-hundredth 100º / centésimo, ma 100.º / centésimo, ma
200th / two-hundredth 200º / ducentésimo, ma 200.º / ducentésimo, ma
300th / three-hundredth 300º / tricentésimo, ma (ou trecentésimo) 300.º / tricentésimo, ma
400th / four-hundredth 400º / quadringentésimo, ma 400.º / cuadringentésimo, ma
500th / five-hundredth 500º / quingentésimo, ma 500.º / quingentésimo, ma
600th / six-hundredth 600º / sexcentésimo, ma (ou seiscentésimo) 600.º / sexagentésimo, ma
700th / seven-hundredth 700º /  septingentésimo, ma 700.º / septingentésimo, ma
800th / eight-hundredth 800º / octingentésimo, ma 800.º / octingentésimo, ma
900th / nine-hundredth 900º / noningentésimo, ma (ou nongentésimo) 900.º / noningentésimo, ma
1000th / (one) thousandth 1000º / milésimo, ma 1000.º / milésimo, ma
2000th / two-thousandth 2000º / dois milésimo, ma
3000th / three-thousandth 3000º / três milésimo, ma
1,000,000th / millionth 1.000.000º / milionésimo, ma 1.000.000.º / millonésimo, ma
1,000,000,000th / billionth 1.000.000.000º / bilionésimo, ma 1.000.000.000.º / bilionésimo, ma

See also:

Using Wikipedia as a foreign language dictionary for subject-specific vocabulary

When I studied at a Brazilian university in São Paulo back in 2007, I many times found myself having to lookup very subject-specific vocabulary over the Internet. Many times I had an English word that I wanted to express in Portuguese. Other times I learned a new Portuguese word at school that I wanted to translate to English. No matter the situation, I almost always found that Wikipedia could accommodate me better than a general translation dictionary.

Say for example that I would like to translate the term General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to Portuguese. Without an English-Portuguese dictionary that was made specifically to include a large amount of business, economics, or Political Science terms, more than likely this term would not be included. Luckily, Wikipedia can usually help.

GATT (English Wiki article)

GATT (English Wiki article)

As you see in the above image, you can translate words or terms that have a Wikipedia article designated to them to a variety of languages. If your term has a version of the article in the target language, click the language on the left side of the page. When you arrive at the next page, you will see that the title of that page is the vocabulary word(s) you’re looking for in the target language.

As you see below, we’ve been able to conclude that General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in Portuguese is Acordo Geral de Tarifas e Comércio.

GATT (Portuguese Wiki article)

GATT (Portuguese Wiki article)

Q) Is this a guaranteed technique?
A) No. On very rare occasion you will notice that Wikipedia articles in one language have been linked to a related vocab word in another language that is not the correct translation. This occurs when Wiki users who create the articles sometimes mistakenly link two articles from two different languages together thinking that they are proper translations of each other. If you have some experience in the language, then you should be able to notice when these mistakes occur.

To aid you in your quest for the ideal translation, try using Google Translation Tools. This online tool has developed a lot in recent years and thankfully is not limited to strictly literal translations of words. This is because the tool allows users to suggest better translations. After time this method of integrating the human element is guaranteed to make translations more and more precise. To test a Google translation simply copy and paste your translated text from Google’s translation tool to the Wikipedia page in the proper language (http://pt.wikipedia.org for Portuguese, http://es.wikipedia.org for Spanish, and so on). Next browse a bit in the search results for related or exact text of your search query. If you find articles in your search results are using your translated text in the proper context, it is most likely that your translation is correct.

The main thing I wish to stress is that although Wikipedia can, at times, give you an inaccurate translation of the word or term in question, it is generally much more powerful than a simple foreign language dictionary. The reason is that Wikipedia is built from a global community. Invalid information in an article gets noticed by Wiki readers and is many times replaced with the correct information and usually given a footnote to support claims, etc. Dictionaries rarely give you much context around the word you wish to translate. Wikipedia always gives you context – as long as an article exists for the vocabulary term you wish to translate. If you have a basic understanding of the target language, you should be able to read a few sentences of the definition to find out if your term has been translated correctly.

I hope this technique can be useful to those out there, like me, who have spent a large amount of time looking up very specific vocabulary in foreign languages.