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Hurricane warnings and advice can get lost in translation

18 Aug 2022 6:18 AM | Anonymous

What forecasters call a “hurricane” in the U.S. might be called a “cyclone” or “typhoon” in other countries. But they are all the same natural phenomenon.

The word “typhoon” has an Arabic origin, “tawaphan,” but the word in Arabic means “flooding.” The word also can be found in Persian as “tophan,” where it means a “rainstorm.” The word exists in Hindi as well, “toophan,” and simply means a “storm.”

The two words “tornado” and “hurricane” are translated into the same word in Arabic, “iiesar.” But this word describes only a circular movement of wind. The term used in Arabic to describe a hurricane is “iiesar bahri,” which is translated back to English as “sea cyclone.”

In the U.S., the words “tornado” and “twister” are used interchangeably in English, but in Spanish, they are not. In Spanish, “tornado” is translated to “tornado,” while “twister” is translated to “torbellino” or “tromba,” which is translated back to English as “whirlwind.”

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