Bilingual and Even Multilingual Does Not Always Equate to Professional Translation or Proofreading Services– A Guest Post by  Ofer Tirosh 

The new business is up and running, the website is up and running, and now it is time to expand and move into a more diverse market with a larger potential customer base. Should you find a professional translation company to hire certified and professional proofreaders or is someone who grew up in a bilingual or multilingual environment going to be sufficient to meet all of your translation and proofreading requirements? It may even be possible that you yourself would like to learn how to become a proofreader.

The new shop is finally open, and the neighborhood you have invested in has a large Hispanic population. This is a very common occurrence as Spanish is prevalent in many parts of the United States and is one of the most common languages globally. Advertising and marketing materials need to be adjusted accordingly so you want to find someone to translate into Spanish, all of the requisite materials. That kid from Spain working in the store can probably do all that right?

That new financial business is finally up and running online, advertising heavily in the Hong Kong markets, and that programmer from China speaks Chinese right? What could it possibly hurt to have friends, neighbors or others whose “extensive qualifications” extend no further than having grown up in a bilingual household, to provide cheap translating and proofreading services?

Some people will not trust translators with no work experience to translate such documents. Oddly however, these are also the people who will sometimes use basic machine translations and hire these unqualified translators and proofreaders to proofread all of the document translations. What could possibly go wrong? Besides everything?

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Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Leave a comment

English Classes Online

In my last post,  I recommended my colleague Leonie Bywater for those of you who were enquiring about learning English online, particularly for learners wanting private lessons and /or tutoring for English exams.

For Elementary and Pre-intermediate level students who are interested in being part of an Online English Class,  I’m excited to announce that the school at which I teach, Langports International English College, will be starting a New Online Course – Survival English next month. Check out the flyer below and click on the links for more information.

Click to access langports-online-courses-1.pdf

Posted in Elementary (Level 2), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Speaking & Pronunciation | 1 Comment

Online English Lessons

Hello Everyone! I’ve received enquiries recently about online lessons. Evidently, many of you have decided to pursue online lessons while you are spending more time at home.

Leonie Bywater

Online interactive lessons suit many language learners and if this style of learning suits you, you will benefit a great deal. 

Alas, I cannot provide online lessons at the moment as I am working full-time at my school teaching, you guessed it – English online!

However, I can highly recommend Leonie Bywater, a colleague of mine. I worked with Leonie for over ten years. She is a fantastic English teacher and her students love her. She is highly qualified and experienced at teaching all levels from Elementary to TOEIC and IELTS to Cambridge.  You can contact Leonie on Facebook: or by email: 

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Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Keep Fit in Isolation & Improve your English!

Dua Lipa has a new song called PHYSICAL and she has made a Let’s Get Physical Work Out Video which is the perfect workout class for all of you who are stuck at home feeling bored. While you watch and follow the instructions, your English will improve. Here’s a challenge for you:

How long will it take you to sing along with Dua Lipa while doing the workout? One week? One month?

Click on the picture below to watch the YouTube video (and start your new fitness class!) The lyrics are listed under the video,


Physical by Dua Lipa

Common love isn’t for us.
We created something phenomenal.
Don’t you agree?
Don’t you agree?
You got me feeling diamond rich.
Nothing on this planet compares to it.
Don’t you agree?
Don’t you agree?

Who needs to go to sleep, when I got you next to me?

All night, I’ll riot with you.

I know you got my back and you know I got you.
So come on, come on, come on.
Let’s get physical.
Lights out and follow the noise.
Baby keep on dancing like you *ain’t got a choice. (*ain’t = don’t have)
So come on, come on, come on.
Let’s get physical.

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Posted in Dua Lipa, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Videos | 1 Comment

Artist Niki Daly talks about IMAGINATION

I have found a heart-warming video to cheer you up in these uncertain times. It features artist Niki Daly who says inspiring things like, ‘Children have an imagination that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary’. 

The video is a short film produced by Green Renaissance. Who is Green Renaissance? “We are a tiny collective of 4 passionate filmmakers (Warren, Jacky, Michael and Justine). We live off-grid and dedicate our time to making films that we hope will inspire and share ideas.”

The subtitles provide excellent English.

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Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Speaking & Pronunciation, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Videos | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

English Words that are often Confused #4

First, read English Words that are often Confused #1, #2, & #3.

Today, I’m continuing with English Words that are often Confused: words starting with ‘E’. If you would like to receive all my future posts explaining confusing words, just click on ‘Follow’.


Let’s have a look at some confusing words:

a) edible, eatable
     b) effect, affect
c) eminent, imminent
     d) endure, tolerate
e) enormity,  enormous
     f) especially, specially

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a) edible, eatable

♦ edible – adjective

♦ eatable – adjective

 Avocado are edible and this one will remain eatable for perhaps two more days.

I always thought that avocados were vegetables.  In Australia, they are served in salads, on toast, with seafood, and in dips like guacamole. I was surprised to hear my Brazilian students call them fruit! They eat them as a sweet and in drinks. They concluded that Australians were strange!

We all agree that avocados are edible: they can normally be eaten. (The stone in the centre is not edible. It is inedible.) However, that now decaying avocado you put in the fridge a month ago is not eatable! ‘Eatable’ refers to the condition of food.

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Posted in Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary | 1 Comment

Conversations with Aussies # 1

I talk with Christopher and Rachel about living at Bondi Beach, Australia.


How long have you lived in Bondi?

Rachel – I’ve lived here for about two years,

Christopher – And I’ve been here for five years, in a few different spots.

And what do you enjoy about living in Bondi?

R – I just feel like the relaxing lifestyle … so, get to go for a swim at the beach after work and we get to enjoy the beach on the weekends.

C – And we also like going out for food and drinks. There’s plenty of places within walking distance for all that.

R – And it’s really nice to be able to look out your window and see some whales and dolphins in the water. We’ve got a pair of binoculars and we get to have a close-up look at these animals in the water.

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Posted in Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Videos | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How to Give Your Vocabulary a Boost as You Prep for Your IELTS Exam

How to Give Your Vocabulary a Boost as You Prep for Your IELTS Exam
– A Guest Post by  Ofer Tirosh 

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is a standardized test of the English language used to measure the proficiency of non-native speakers. Recognized by employers and universities all over the world, it remains one of the most popular and trusted tests for determining one’s overall ability to communicate in English.

There are four components to the exam – listening, speaking, reading and writing – and each individual will find that the difficulty of each section depends on their own skills and strengths.

While it is often said that the IELTS is difficult, preparing well can make it seem much  less so. This article aims to offer you some fun and practical ideas to help you get ready for the exam. Because not everyone learns the same way, we have provided a variety of approaches to help you boost your vocabulary.

Post-It Blitz

It may look a little funny to visitors and guests, but one of the easiest ways to learn new words is through labeling everything within eyesight.  

Get yourself a pack of post-it notes and cover your entire house from top to bottom with the name of each object. Then, as you learn them, remove the ones you are sure you know and focus on the more difficult ones that you have left. 

Look at Lemmas

Lemmas are units of meaning or root words. Around 75% of daily conversation in English can be understood through the learning of approximately 800 root words. When you learn a new word, try to learn all of its inflections in just one go – e.g. swim, swam, swimming, swum.

Hum a Tune

Your kindergarten teacher was right all along: setting things to music helps you learn. Set tough words to the tune of simple nursery rhymes and hum them to yourself over and again to make them stick in your memory (I can personally attest to this working – I can still reel off which words in German take the dative, thanks to them being set to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by my German teacher nearly 30 years ago!).

If you are a creative type, you can write your own lyrics and music. If not, why not choose your favorite rock and roll song to set the words to? As long as it is something memorable to you it should work very well. 

Flash Cards

Use flashcards with your own language on one side and the English translation on the other. Set yourself a target of 10 words per day (in addition to your other learning methods) then test yourself regularly throughout the day.

You can also customize your flashcards by cutting colorful pictures out of magazines and sticking them to one side. Some people find this visual approach makes learning easier.  Experiment with various methods to see what works best for you.

Record Yourself

Reel off a list of words you need to learn while videoing it on your phone, then play the video back whenever you’re doing a task like washing up where your hands are busy, but your brain isn’t fully occupied.

Download an App

If you find learning with apps to be helpful, the British Council has developed an IELTS practice app that may be useful to you. It contains free exercises, practice tests, quizzes, grammar tips, sample questions, and more to help you succeed.

Watch Films and Listen to Music

Why not immerse yourself in English films?  This can be especially helpful if you turn on closed-captioning. That way you are hearing and seeing the words all at once. Make a pact with yourself that you will only watch English films or listen to English music until you have passed your exam.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Many social media language groups and pages can be helpful. Finding a couple of online buddies for whom English is their first language can be an invaluable experience. Synergy happens during real conversation and connection and making friends with someone who you can converse with about ordinary topics is sure to improve your vocabulary.

Take Advantage of YouTube

There are many Youtube channels devoted to learning English. One channel in particular – Learn English With Mr. Duncan – is not only helpful, it is entertaining as well. The best part is that Mr. Duncan provides these vocabulary lessons free of charge.

There are so many more ways to prepare yourself for the IELTS exam than just studying pages in a book. This article should have provided you with some inspiration to get you started. As you put some of these methods into practice, you will probably come up with even more ways to improve your vocabulary as you go about your everyday life.

Remember that positive experiences tend to stick in the memory better than negative ones, so try to make learning as relaxed, fun and stress-free as possible. By following these tips, you will be well on your way to passing the IELTS exam with flying colors!

Ofer Tirosh is CEO of Tomedes, a translation agency providing language and interpretation services. Tomedes has been supporting clients around the world with their translation needs for more than a decade.


Posted in IELTS | 1 Comment

A Song with First Conditional, Imperatives, and Collocations

Image result for dua lipa don't start now album cover

Dua Lipa – Don’t Start Now

Dua Lipa sings a song, Don’t Start Now, in which she tells an ex boyfriend very clearly that their relationship is finished and she is not interested in seeing him again. Her life is so much better without him. Her message to him is clear: If you don’t want to see me with another man, don’t look!

Click on the above picture for the official YouTube video. For the YouTube video with lyrics, click here.

Sentences starting with ‘If” are usually conditional sentences, and Dua Lipa is telling her ex what not to do in the future if he doesn’t want to see her with another man. Because she is referring to possible future situations, the sentence structure is First Conditional. Because she is warning him about possible future actions, she uses Imperatives:

Walk away!

Don’t show up;

Don’t come out;

Don’t start caring about me now.

Walk away;

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You may have studied First Conditional with WILL + Base Infinitive. If you would like to revise the rules for First Conditional with WILL, click here. Today, however,  I’m focusing on First Conditional with Imperative Verbs.


♥ The chorus is one long First Conditional sentence:

If you don’t *wanna see me dancing with somebody;            *want to
If you *wanna believe that anything could stop me,
Don’t show up;
Don’t come out;
Don’t start caring about me now;
Walk away; you know how;
Don’t start caring about me now.

Conditional Sentences are Complex Sentences, which means that they include at least one Dependent Clause (blue print) and at least one Independent Clause (green print). The chorus includes two Dependent Clauses and five Independent Clauses.


                                            ♥ Note the Imperative Verbs


Don’t show up

 Don’t come out

 Don’t start

 Walk away


♥ The song provides numerous Collocations, here in bold:

Did a full one-eighty …
But look at where I ended up.
I’m all good already;

So moved on, it’s scary.
I’m not where you left me at all,
Don’t show up;
Don’t come out;
I’m better on the other side.
Walk away.

Can you work out the meanings of the above collocations? Look at what you can understand. She is telling someone: ‘Don’t … Don’t … Don’t … Don’t … I’m all good … I’m better …”   When Collocations are idioms, you can often work out the meaning if you know the context.     

Did a full one-eighty … 

To do a one-eighty (180°) is to change your thinking and/or actions completely: to think or do the opposite. The singer thinks about the way she was before and the way she is now – from heartbroken (maybe) to ‘all good’.

But look at where I ended up.

To end up is to eventually finish, to end a situation. The singer was possibly heartbroken but at the end, she was ‘all good’. For more examples of ended up, click here.

I’m all good!   I’ve moved on!

I’m all good already

She is not just ‘good’; she is great, completely okay. Don’t worry! (‘Already’ means ‘sooner than expected’.)

 ♦ So moved on

To move on from a relationship means to accept that the relationship is over, finished, and to be ready for a new relationship, a new life.

So … , it’s scary.

So + adjective/adverb, it’s scary, means that something (or someone) is so bad / wonderful / clever etc. that it is hard to believe. The singer has moved on and recovered so quickly and easily from the relationship that it is impressive and hard to believe – it’s scary.

I’m not where you left me at all

Literally, where you left me, means the last place you saw me. However, here it means that she is not the sad, rejected person he said ‘goodbye’ to. She has moved on.


     ♦ Don’t show up

To show up means to arrive. For example, All the employees were expected at the Christmas party but fewer than half showed up.

      ♦ Don’t come out

Meaning: Don’t leave your house. Stay at home. If you don’t want to see me with another man, don’t leave your house!

 the other side

I’m better on the other side. Her life is better now after the end of the relationship. The experience has been like a journey and she has come through to the other side. She is no longer in the journey or experience. She is at a distance from it: the other side.

Walk away.

To walk away from someone or something means to leave or abandon the person or situation. She tells him to walk away, leave her. She reminds him that he knows how to walk away because he had abandoned her more than once. 

For more examples of walk away, click here.

Click here for a free idioms and phrases dictionary. 

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Posted in Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

English Idioms in Pictures #9

Click on the picture below to find out the meaning of the idiom PULL YOUR SOCKS UP.

Once on the site, you can click on Follow at the bottom of the page to receive more pictures and explanations of idioms FREE.


Iddy pulls his socks up

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Posted in Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Reading, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , , | 1 Comment