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Gina Williams on why every Australian should know some Indigenous words

Source: The Guardian
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The Noongar musician had to take Tafe classes to learn the language of her people, but now she’s spreading its popularity – one song at a time

Singer-songwriter Gina Williams’ creative life hit a high point in 2014 when, along with musical partner, Guy Ghouse, she released their debut album Kalyakoorl – sung entirely in Noongar, the Indigenous language of south-western Australia.

No mean feat considering it was just five years ago that Williams, then 40, signed up for a Noongar language course. “In my first class I remember feeling a bit sick from embarrassment and shame; I’m a Noongar and I have to come to a Tafe course to learn my own language! I was the only Noongar in the class,” she says on the phone.

To commiserate, I share my own humiliating tale of sitting in a beginners Mandarin class, the only student with a Chinese heritage. This much we have in common. But unlike Mandarin, alive and kicking with over one billion speakers, there are just 250 native speakers of Noongar left on the planet – the devastating result of Australia’s historical policy of forced assimilation. More.

See: The Guardian

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Book Review of “How to manage your Translation Projects”

Story flagged by: Nancy Matis

How to manage your Translation Projects is the English digital version (PDF) of the French book ‘Comment gérer vos projets de traduction’. It details the life cycle of a translation project and provides the reader the knowledge of how such a project should be managed at each stage. The book also identifies the different persons, teams and organizations that are involved in a typical project, such as the end client, the project manager and the freelance translator. It also provides analysis of the different management work and multiple tasks carried out by the participants for different types and complexities of translation projects.

Read the full review in here:

This book is available in the books section:

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Yiddish production of ‘Death of a Salesman’ coming to Off-Broadway

Source: The New York Times
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

New Yiddish Rep will bring an updated Yiddish production of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” to New York this October. The production play at the Castillo Theater for seven weeks and aims to uncover the play’s cultural foundations.

The Jewish cultural influences on “Death of a Salesman” have been widely discussed and analyzed. An earlier version of Mr. Miller’s story centered on a salesman named not Loman, but Schoenzeit. An actor, Joseph Buloff, translated the play into Yiddish and put on a small production of his translation in Brooklyn in 1951, titled “Toyt fun a Salesman.”

This new production hopes to draw and expand on Mr. Buloff’s. “The language of the play reveals its roots,” said David Mandelbaum, the artistic director of New Yiddish Rep. “I hope people will become more aware of that when they hear the intonations and rhythms of Yiddish as applied to the play.”

Although the play will be entirely in Yiddish, it is aimed at a general audience; supertitles will accompany the production. More.

See: The New York Times

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Sweden will make a gender-neutral pronoun official by adding it to the dictionary

Source: Quartz
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Sweden has long been progressive on gender egalitarianism, and now its language is officially catching up. A gender-neutral pronoun, hen will join its binary counterparts han (he) and hon (she) in the new edition of Sweden’s official dictionary, helping Swedish speakers avoid the sort of linguistic gymnastics common in languages without a gender-neutral alternative.

Efficient in a variety of situations, henas AFP notes, can be used when you don’t know the gender identity of the person in question, when the person is transgender, when you don’t want to reveal a gender identity, or when gender identity simply seems irrelevant in context. It is one of 13,000 new words chosen by the Swedish Academy for inclusion in its updated dictionary, which will be made available on April 15. (Founded in 1786, the Swedish Academy is an independent cultural institution that works to uphold the “purity, vigor and majesty” of the Swedish language.) More.

See: Quartz

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Bangladeshis race against time to add 400,000 Bangla words to Google Translate

Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Several thousand volunteers are racing against time to add 400,000 Bangla words to Google Translate to commemorate Bangladesh’s Independence Day.

The initiative, co-organised by the ICT Division, Google Developers Group and Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), kicked off on Thursday morning at Agargaon.

It will continue until 6am Friday.

Organisers say adding so many words in a single day will be a record.

State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak visited the BCC in the afternoon to egg the participants on.

He said Bangla was not rich enough on Google’s Translate app although it is the seventh most spoken language in the world.

“We hope to achieve twice our target by morning at the pace we’re working,” the youngest member of Sheikh Hasina’s cabinet told reporters.

The Google server had crashed twice after 11am on Thursday after about 10,000 users logged in simultaneously, he said. More.


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Princeton University Language Project transcends borders

Source: The Daily Princetonian
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Every Thursday afternoon, students interested in translation and language enrichment in a variety of languages such as Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Arabic gather in Butler’s 1915 Room. The Princeton University Language Project, affectionately known as PULP, is a student-run group whose primary focus is serving as a free translation service for NGOs. PULP has provided services for organizations such as The Red Cross, the Smithsonian Institution, UNICEF, the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination and the Association to Benefit Children; current projects include work for EarthRights International, Azuero Earth Project and the Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum of Art.

A typical translation session lasts about an hour and a half. The members break off into groups based on language, and projects vary from more individual to more collaborative work. For the most difficult work, PULP encourages collaborative translation with discussion of the best possibilities. Depending on the project, a translation can take the length of one meeting, or sometimes an entire semester for longer projects of nearly one hundred pages.

PULP also hopes to enrich their members’ language and translation with the Translation Speaker Series, where a professor or invited guest speaks about linguistics or translation over dinner. The group offers a Language Fellows Program where undergraduate and graduate students are paired to practice their foreign language skills, with each partner having native competency in the other’s acquired language. PULP also organizes group trips to support their goals of language and translation enhancement. Last year they traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York. More.

See: The Daily Princetonian

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Writing style: Use good words, not bad ones

Source: The Economist
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

“WRITE with nouns and verbs, not adjectives and adverbs” is a traditional bit of style advice. The aim is to get young writers picking a few words that tell, rather than bulking out their prose in the hopes of convincing by sheer mass.

But does good writing really prefer nouns and verbs over adjectives and adverbs? Mark Liberman of the Language Log blog and the University of Pennsylvania tried a brief experiment, choosing several pieces of “good” writing (both fiction and non-fiction) and “bad” writing (such as two winners of the “Bad Writing Contest” competition and an archetypally purple novel of 1830, “Paul Clifford”, which begins with “It was a dark and stormy night”). The surprising result was that the “good” selection had relatively more verbs and adverbs, and the “bad” writing, relatively more nouns and adjectives.

How can usage-book writers have failed to notice that good writers use plenty of adverbs? One guess is that they are overlooking many: much, quite, rather and very are common adverbs, but they do not jump out as adverbs in the way that words ending with –ly do. A better piece of advice than “Don’t use adverbs” would be to consider replacing verbs that are combined with the likes of quickly, quietly, excitedly by verbs that include those meanings (race, tiptoe, rush) instead.

Why would good writers use more verbs? One reason is that if unnecessary words are reduced, the verb-percentage goes up as a mathematical necessity. Ordinary sentences require a verb, whereas they do not require any other part of speech. Imperatives need no subject (Run!), and sentence fragments can make sense without explicit subjects: Woke up. Got out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head. By contrast, it is hard to write without verbs. So “use verbs” is not really good advice either, since writers have to use verbs, and trying to add extra ones would not turn out well. More.

See: The Economist

See also: Moar Verbs in the Language Log blog

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Are we, like, literally ruining the English language? (podcast)

Source: MPR News
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

If there ever was a perfect person to dissect modern language, it’s Ammon Shea. The man has read the dictionary, cover to cover. (The Oxford English Dictionary, if you’re wondering.)

He wrote about the experience in“Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages.”

Now he’s back with “Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation.”

The book breaks down some of our most common grammatical transgressions, like the war between “that” and “which,” and the fact that people still say “irregardless.”

Shea joined MPR News’ Kerri Miller to discuss what is and what isn’t “Bad English.” More.

Read the article and listen to the podcast in MPR News here:

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AIIC announces changes to language classification procedure

Source: AIIC
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Specific language pairs to be listed in applications for admission and language reclassification.

The 2015 AIIC Assembly approved an amendment to the association’s regulation on admissions and language classification. According to the new provisions, applications are to take into account specificlanguage pairs, with each pair defined as “a discrete unit composed of one source and one target language.” The target language is to be qualified as either A or B, and any language not listed as a target language will automatically be classified as C. More.


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Is the translator responsible for political problem texts?

Source: Asymptote
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Yardenne Greenspan and Marcia Lynx Qualey on the choices we translators can make

M. Lynx Qualey: The most important decision a translator must make is: Will I translate this text?

Being an essentially freelance profession, translation has a mountain of drawbacks, but it does make a bit more allowance for choice. The injunction to “translate only what you love” works—as long as you have a stable income outside of translating. I prefer Samah Selim’s version: “Never translate a book you don’t like unless you have to.” Or my own: “Never translate a text you think you’ll regret (unless creditors are outside the window).”

Yet what makes for a “politically problematic” text may have less to do with the text itself and more to do with context. Propagandists thrive on selective translation. The MEMRI “media monitoring organization,” described by Guardian reporter Brian Whitaker, is perhaps the largest ongoing Arabic-English translation project. Some of the individual news and cultural texts that MEMRI translates might be innocuous, but the project as a whole furthers a political agenda. More.

See: Asymptote

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A loss for words: Can a dying language be saved?

Source: The New Yorker
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

[...] There are approximately seven billion inhabitants of earth. They conduct their lives in one or several of about seven thousand languages—multilingualism is a global norm. Linguists acknowledge that the data are inexact, but by the end of this century perhaps as many as fifty per cent of the world’s languages will, at best, exist only in archives and on recordings. According to the calculations of the Catalogue of Endangered Languages (ELCat)—a joint effort of linguists at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and at the University of Eastern Michigan—nearly thirty language families have disappeared since 1960. If the historical rate of loss is averaged, a language dies about every four months.

The mother tongue of more than three billion people is one of twenty, which are, in order of their current predominance: Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, Javanese, German, Wu Chinese, Korean, French, Telugu, Marathi, Turkish, Tamil, Vietnamese, and Urdu. English is the lingua franca of the digital age, and those who use it as a second language may outnumber its native speakers by hundreds of millions. On every continent, people are forsaking their ancestral tongues for the dominant language of their region’s majority. Assimilation confers inarguable benefits, especially as Internet use proliferates and rural youth gravitate to cities. But the loss of languages passed down for millennia, along with their unique arts and cosmologies, may have consequences that won’t be understood until it is too late to reverse them. More.

See: The New Yorker

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“Translation is more than just replacing one word with another”: The story of Elena Renard

Source: SmartCAT Blog
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Hi, my name is Elena Renard. I’m 38 years old, have an Associate Degree in Administration, and have over 15 years of experience in assisting high-level managers of multinational businesses and diplomatic institutions (including Oracle, ADP, UNICEF, and the French School in Bucharest). Today I will tell you my story.

How did you create your own job and become a pro translator?

As for being a pro translator, I usually work 15 to 20 hours per week but when I have the chance to take part in a big project, I can spend more than 35 hours per week serving my clients. My working hours are flexible – sometimes I start early in the morning and finish late at night. Working during weekends is also a possibility. Client satisfaction is my top priority!

Everything began 15 years ago, when my family and I decided to come back to France, in a small town one hour south of Paris. Life is nice here but there are no job opportunities. That is when I decided that I would need to create my own job. Something that I can enjoy and master. Something that I can do online without committing to full-time availability.

Translating from English into French was the best option. I have translated content on many different topics, but I specialize in localizing websites, legal texts, and business agreements.

Technology and the future of translation

I use cloud tools and technologies to improve my productivity on an everyday basis. Cloud tools are just great, because I don’t need to carry my computer with me when travelling. I can access my files from anywhere! This also saves space on my hard drive and helps to keep separation between my private and professional documents.

Some people say that automatic translation will soon displace human translation, putting us human translators at risk of “extinction”. Although I agree that MT will continue getting better and better, a human mind and common sense will always be needed for creating truly accurate translations. Translation is more than just replacing one word with another, it also involves localization: adapting the content to the local culture and the context. More.

Read the full interview with Elena Renard in the SmartCAT Blog here:

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MadCap partners with Metaio

Source: MultiLingual
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

MadCap Software, Inc., a multichannel content authoring company, has partnered with Metaio GmbH, a provider of augmented reality research and technology. The combined solution enables writers to create content elements that users can scan with mobile devices to access other content sources such as audio, video, 3D models and animations.

See: MultiLingual

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Man Booker International Prize 2015 Finalists

Source: Three Percent
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded every two years to “a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.”

According to their website, the goal of the award is to honor “one writer’s overall contribution to fiction on the world stage” and as such, they consider the writer’s entire body of work and not just a single book. Furthermore, there are no submissions from publishers, so the judges decide who to consider and who gets the £60,000 cash prize.

OK, so today, they announced the finalists for this year’s awards, and the ten authors are:

César Aira (Argentina)
Hoda Barakat (Lebanon)
Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe)
Mia Couto (Mozambique)
Amitav Ghosh (India)
Fanny Howe (United States of America)
Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya)
László Krasznahorkai (Hungary)
Alain Mabanckou (Republic of Congo)
Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa)

For once, I’m familiar with all of the authors on the list, and have read books from more than half! It’s an interesting list of finalists, and impressive that there are writers from a number of countries that aren’t always represented on lists like this. More.

See: Three Percent

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Getting Started as a Freelance Translator: starts April 1

Source: Thoughts On Translation
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

The next session of my online course for beginning translators, Getting Started as a Freelance Translator, starts on April 1, and registration is open on my website; I currently have three spots left in this session. This is a four-week course for translators who want to launch and run a successful freelance business, and a participant in the course commented that:

Neither in my undergraduate classes in education nor in some of the more practical classes I took as part of my MA in English (including the course connected to my assistantship as a writing consultant) did I ever experience one course that delivered as much precise and helpful information as this course.

Translators in any language combination are welcome, and every student gets individual feedback from me on four targeted assignments: your resume and cover letter, marketing plan, rates and billable hours sheet and online presence. We also do a one-hour question and answer conference call every week, and everyone receives copies of my books How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator and Thoughts on Translation. More.

See: Thoughts On Translation

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Why reading translated kids’ books makes a difference

Source: Publishing Perspectives
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

“Writing translated from other languages makes you see things differently,” says UK translator Daniel Hahn who will mine the Bologna Book Fair for gems to present to UK publishers for possible translation.

[...] “We have some bad habits in the English-speaking world. We may be better than anyone at cultural export, but where import is concerned we are a disgrace. In the world of children’s books, despite the great work of many in this room, things remain worse even than in the world of adult publishing…. Writing translated from other languages makes you see things differently…It isn’t less important for children, but more. How could it not be vital for readers who are uniquely open to explorations of their own language; how can it not be essential for readers who, just now, are beginning to define the horizons of their experiences of the world.”

Then, last fall, he explained to a live audience why, as a society, the UK would benefit from having more children’s books translated into English. For a young reader, stories should be as varied as possible and offer unexpected discoveries, stretching the mind and sympathies. He pointed out that many people have read The Swiss Family Robinson, Tintin, Pippi Longstocking, Asterix, or The Moomins, but that these books were written 100, 80, 60 or 40 years ago. Where are the books that have been happening since Hergé or Astrid Lindgren he asked?

“I am thinking about how we can make translating books for children something mainstream. I don’t think anyone has to get used to reading books in translation. There’s a strong sense when you get books in translation that people will be scared to read them. We have to get past this thing that other people are worried on our behalf. Children are certainly not afraid. What we need is to make it completely obvious to publishers and others that people don’t care whether a book is translated or not. I read lots of books in translation when I was a child and had no idea they were translated.”

We were all brought up on translated books, says Hahn—there used to be many more. More.

See: Publishing Perspectives

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There’s no direct translation for Target’s latest effort aimed at Hispanics

Source: Ad Age
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The effort depicts terms and moments unique to Spanish cultures

Target aims to deepen its relationship with Hispanic consumers through a new ad campaign launching on March 8. Called “Sin Traducción,” or “without translation,” the push highlights Spanish terms and moments that have no direct English translation and are unique to Hispanic consumers.

For example, the first of two launch spots is named “Arrullo,” which means “lullaby,” and is often used to describe the right ambiance and setting to put a baby to sleep. The second, called “Sobremesa,” is about the period of time right after dinner in which family and friends linger at the dinner table to catch up or spend quality time together. “There will always be a part of you that simply doesn’t translate,” the ads point out. More.

See: Ad Age

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Ros Schwartz and her authors

Source: Authors & Translators
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

“I love the fact that every book is a new challenge, that every day I learn something new. I love being able to spend time really delving deeply into a book, in a way you don’t do when you are just a reader.”

Ros Schwartz is a British literary translator. She speaks French, Italian and Spanish. She decided to answer our questions in English.

Read the full interview in Authors & Translators here:

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Humid locales foster more languages with complex tones

Source: Scientific American
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Opera singers and dry air don’t get along. In fact, the best professional singers require humid settings to help them achieve the right pitch. “When your vocal cords are really dry, they’re a little less elastic,” says Caleb Everett, an anthropological linguist at the University of Miami. As a result, singers experience tiny variations in pitch, called jitter, as well as wavering volume—both of which contribute to rougher refrains.

If the amount of moisture in the air influences musical pitch, Everett wondered, has that translated into the development of fewer tonal languages in arid locations? Tonal languages, such as Mandarin Chinese and Cherokee, rely on variations in pitch to differentiate meaning: the same syllable spoken at a higher pitch can specify a different word if spoken at a lower pitch or in a rising or falling tone.

In a survey of more than 3,700 languages, Everett and his collaborators found that those with complex tones do indeed occur less frequently in dry areas than they do in humid ones, even after accounting for the clustering of related languages. For instance, more than half of the hundreds of languages spoken in tropical sub-Saharan locations feature complex tones, whereas none of the two dozen languages in the Sahara do. Overall, only one in 30 complex tonal languages flourished in dry areas; one in three nontonal languages cropped up in those same regions. The results appeared in February in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. More.

See: Scientific American

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MadCap Flare 11

Source: MultiLingual
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

MadCap Software, Inc., a multichannel content authoring company, has released MadCap Flare 11. Updates include the ability to merge multiple multilingual PDF files into a single document, dictionary and spell check enhancements, and frameless HTML5 responsive web output.

See: MultiLingual

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