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The challenges and rewards of raising bilingual children

Source: 1843magazine
Story flagged by: Alejandro Cavalitto

Everyone who has learned a language in adulthood knows how hard it is, with the grammar books and the flash cards, the pronunciation problems and the awkward rhythm, never quite getting to fluency. How much better to raise a genuine bilingual.

A century ago, bilingualism was blamed for lower IQ scores among the children of non-English-speaking parents. The culprit was poverty, not bilingualism. Today, the prevailing wisdom has been flipped on its head: researchers now propose a “bilingual advantage”.

The research is contested. Some studies have proved hard to replicate and researchers have, in one study, found bilinguals actually performing worse on a single task. But in today’s distracted world, parents are inclined to latch onto anything that might keep the child focused on that calculus problem and ignoring the nearby smartphone.

See: https://www.1843magazine.com/features/bringing-up-babel

Woman found her passion as sign language interpreter

Source: The Hutchinson News
Story flagged by: Alejandro Cavalitto

For more than 25 years, Teresa Schoch has immersed herself in American Sign Language as an interpreter. “I sleep, eat and breathe it,” Schoch said.

Schoch works as a community interpreter, serving wherever the service is needed, while the other main variety of interpreter works in education, in the same classroom with the same people day after day. She said she prefers community interpreting, because of the great variety of experiences it provides.

Being a community interpreter has its occasional downsides, though. Interpreters aren’t only needed in happy and stress-free situations. Medical settings, mental health crises, jails and courtrooms are all situations that sometimes call for an American Sign Language interpreter.

See: http://www.hutchnews.com/news/local_state_news/video-teresa-schoch-sign-language-interpreter/article_8fec4951-5109-51b4-9880-77f320b696b6.html

Volkswagen is changing its official language from German to English

Source: Quartz
Story flagged by: Balasubramaniam L.

Volkswagen announced last month that English, not German, would be the official language spoken at the company. VW has instructed bosses to begin exchanging in English, whatever their native language, although factory staff may speak in whatever tongue they choose among themselves.

The move away from German is fitting in that the company really isn’t just German anymore. It owns controlling shares of automakers in France, England, Italy, Czech Republic, Spain, and Sweden; its manufacturing reach is even broader. Realistically, any gathering of workers from these disparate nations would take place in English anyway, whatever the company’s official language, so the shift is sensible from a practical perspective.

Volkswagen is not the first major automaker to make the switch to English. For example, last year Honda announced that it would abandon Japanese as its official language by 2020, replacing it with English.

See: http://qz.com/875425/volkswagen-is-changing-its-official-language-from-german-to-english/

The machine translation year in review and outlook for 2017

Source: eMpTy Pages
Story flagged by:

[...] 2016 was actually a really good year for machine translation technology, as MT had a lot more buzz than it has had in the past 10 years and some breakthrough advances in the basic technology. It was also the year I left Asia Online, and got to engage with the vibrant and much more exciting and rapidly moving world of MT outside of Thailand. As you can see from this blog, I had a lot more to say after my departure. The following statements are mostly just opinions (with some factual basis) and I stand ready to be corrected and challenged on every statement I have made here. Hopefully some of you who read this may have differing opinions that you may be willing to share in the comments.

MT Dominates Global Translation Activity

For those who have any doubt about how pervasive MT is today, (whatever you may think of the output quality), the following graphic makes it clear. To put this in context, Lionbridge reported about 2B words translated in the year, and SDL just informed us earlier this month that they do 100M words a month (TEP) and over 20B+ words/month with MT. The MT vendor translated words, together with the large public engines around the world would probably easily make over 500B MT words a day! Google even provided us some sense of what the biggest languages if you look closely below. My rough estimation tells me that this means that the traditional translation industry does about 0.016% of the total words translated every day or that computers do ~99.84% of all language translation done today.

See the full post in eMpTy Pages here: http://kv-emptypages.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-machine-translation-year-in-review.html

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SDL announces the release of Trados Studio 2017

Source: SDL blog
Story flagged by: RominaZ

In a recent blog post Executive VP of Translation Productivity for SDL Language Solutions, announced the release  of Trados Studio 2017. Below are some highlights of the announcement:

“SDL Trados Studio 2017 is here! I am extremely pleased to be writing this blog announcing the launch of the latest version of the industry’s most popular translation software.

In the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to show the beta version of SDL Trados Studio 2017 to many people at events around the world, and the feedback has been incredibly positive.

Like our customers, the people attending these events were very diverse. From the ATA which is predominantly a freelance translator conference to our very own LSP Partner event which is unsurprisingly attended by… Language Service Providers and finally Tekom, which I see as pretty much an event for large corporations. Attending these events was a great reminder of how many different people rely on our software and how different their requirements are.

The innovation we are bringing with Studio 2017 is designed to make the difference. It will make the difference for all these people, no matter what role they play within the industry, for increasing translation productivity.” Read the full post here

Source: SDL blog

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Why a hospital is taking farm workers out of the field and training them as medical interpreters

By: Paula Durrosier

[...] Natividad Hospital, in the town of Salinas on California’s Central Coast, is ground zero. This hospital, surrounded by fields, serves many farm workers in the valley.

Several years ago, you would’ve been lucky to find even a certified Spanish-language interpreter at Natividad. This was a problem — a problem that became clear to Linda Ford when she became the CEO of the hospital’s foundation nearly a decade ago.
“I first went into the emergency department and asked one of the doctor’s ‘is there anything you need in this emergency department.’ And he was so frustrated and just said, ‘I can’t talk to my patients, I cannot talk to my patients.’”

After doing a language assesment, Ford found that four of the language most commonly spoken by patients coming to the hospital were Native Mexican languages. And within those four Native Mexican languages, there were dozens of variants.

Yet finding indigenous interpreters proved to be a challenge. More.

See: PRI

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Native English speakers are the world’s worst communicators

By: Eva Stoppa

[...] When such misunderstandings happen, it’s usually the native speakers who are to blame. Ironically, they are worse at delivering their message than people who speak English as a second or third language, according to Chong.
“A lot of native speakers are happy that English has become the world’s global language. They feel they don’t have to spend time learning another language,” says Chong. “But… often you have a boardroom full of people from different countries communicating in English and all understanding each other and then suddenly the American or Brit walks into the room and nobody can understand them.” More.

See: BBC

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Not just Spanish and French: NJ schools teaching more foreign languages

By: Paula Durrosier

New Jersey’s schools are undergoing a shift in the types of language courses being offered.
The new courses are being added thanks in part to federal grants promoting “critical need” foreign languages. The state, meanwhile, now awards dual-language students with a unique designation on their transcripts. More.

See: New Jersey News Radio

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How do you revive a language if tribal elders don’t want you to?

By: Paula Durrosier

[...] Indigenous languages were disappearing. Tribes started noticing there were fewer fluent speakers in their communities. There was a real push across Indian Country to try and preserve these languages — even among my friends. I grew inspired to do something, too.
I went to tribal linguist Stan Lucero with the idea of doing an oral history project together. He knew my grandmother. They were neighbors for years. He liked my project and agreed to work with me. And for a month or so, we saw some progress. But when Lucero pitched the idea to the tribal council, they got spooked — by, of all things, a bunch of boy scouts. More.

See: PRI

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Interpreters, translators call for warrants to regulate profession

By: Paula Durrosier

Providing interpreters and translators with warrants would introduce a proper system, bringing the profession in line with EU member states.
Postgraduate students and Faculty members of the Department of Translation, Terminology & Interpreting Studies at the University of Malta expressed their concern regarding the widely reported lack of a professional interpreter during the Paqpaqli case hearing of 28 October 2016.
This, they said, struck a sensitive chord in the light of twelve years of qualified translators and interpreters trained to high levels at the University, many of whom now work in EU institutions. More.

See: MaltaToday

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Startup helps Japanese seniors becomelanguage teachers for foreigners

By: Paula Durrosier

With the help of an IT company’s initiative, some Japanese seniors are given a worthwhile and productive role in the community as language teachers for foreigners.

Kashiwa-based IT company Helte Co. recently began employing elderly people living in nursing homes to teach the Japanese language to overseas learners through video-to-video communication.

Instead of just being isolated, the elderly citizens are given a chance to connect with others, while fulfilling the need of foreigners who are in need of learning Japanese with a native speaker. More.

See: NextShark

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WIPO develops AI translation tool for patent documents

By: Paula Durrosier

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has developed a new “artificial intelligence”(AI) based translation tool for patent documents.

WIPO announced yesterday, October 31, that it has developed the tool, called WIPO Translate.

WIPO Translate incorporates “cutting edge” neural machine translation technology to convert “highly technical patent documents” into a second language in a style and syntax that closely mirrors common usage. More.

See: World IP Review

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DePaul researchers are working on a translation app for the deaf

By: Paula Durrosier

Dr. Rosalee Wolfe and her team are seeking to bridge this deaf-hearing gap through the American Sign Language Avatar Project, technology that acts as a sort of Google Translate for the Deaf: People speak into the program and an animated avatar signs the translation in American Sign Language.

The project, which has been in the works since 1998, has to combine high-level, hyper-precise animation (any incorrect movement could entirely change the meaning of a sign) with speech and language recognition technology, all areas that have seen rapid development and changes over the last decade. Wolfe recently presented the technology at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. More.

See: Chicago Inno

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NPO offers online Japanese-language classes for resident children from abroad

Source: The Japan Times
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

A Tokyo-based nonprofit organization will begin offering online Japanese-language classes this month to children from abroad who need help to keep up in class at Japanese elementary and junior high schools.

Youth Support Center’s YSC Global School in Fussa, western Tokyo, is set to offer instruction provided by language education experts via personal computers or tablets to young foreign nationals living anywhere in Japan. The NPO will cooperate with municipalities and schools without sufficient resources to teach Japanese to such children. More.

See: The Japan Times

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Is it actually harder to learn a language when you’re older?

Source: The Huffington Post Australia
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Whether you are relocating, heading overseas for work — or, hey, maybe you’re just looking to immerse yourself on your next holiday — picking up a new language is both a useful and appealing tool.

But does it get harder as we get older?

“This is not necessarily a fact. If you set your mind to learning a new language as an adult, there is no reason why you can’t be extremely proficient,” Dr Ahmar Mahboob, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Sydney, told the Huffington Post Australia. More.

See: The Huffington Post Australia

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Small girl who speaks seven languages stuns TV audience

Source: The Telegraph
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Four-year-old Bella Devyatkina has won fans all over the world this week following an appearance on a Russian TV show.

Bella, who lives with her family in Moscow, was a guest on Udivitelniye Lyudi – ‘Incredible People’ – where she showed off her incredible talent for languages.

After speaking to the show’s host in her native Russian, the clip shows her responding confidently to questions posed by adults in English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic. More.

See: The Telegraph

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Very basic SEO for your freelance website

Source: Thoughts on Translation
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

SEO for freelancers: how important is it? Many freelancers wonder how important search engine optimization (SEO) is, when it comes to your business website and how much traffic you can expect it to attract. Very important? Not at all important? Somewhere in between? More.

See: Thoughts on Translation

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All phones to have one regional language by 2017; original content is the need of the hour

Source: Tech2
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

This year in India, more feature phone units were shipped to consumers than smartphones, despite analyst expectations that 2016 would finally be the year smartphone sales would exceed those of feature phones. There is low perceived utility for these devices, and one of the reasons is the lack of anything to do on the phone.

Access to critical services such as healthcare, banking, education and governance is restricted because of low availability of content and services in regional languages. To bridge this gap, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has mandated that all smartphones are to have support for one official Indian language apart from English and Hindi by July 2017, according to a report in VCCircle. More.

See: Tech2

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Embracing language rights

Source: IOL
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Amid the current turmoil about student dissatisfaction with the Higher Education system in South Africa, the question of language choice for instruction continues to swelter. The need to construct a national multilingual identity has never been more critical than at present, where there appears to be increasing tensions about implementing multilingual language policies. More.

See: IOL

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Wisconsin courts face interpreter shortage

Source: The Badger Herald
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Looking to address a statewide shortage of interpreters, Wisconsin’s Court System is pushing for more people to join its court interpreter program to ensure that everyone has a voice in the judicial process.

The program, which has been in place since 2003, employs interpreters speaking over 60 languages, Carmel Capati, attorney and manager of theWisconsin Court Interpreter Program, said. But recently, the program has experienced a shortage in languages like Spanish and Arabic among others, Capati said. This has made it difficult for cases to progress through the judicial process. More.

See: The Badger Herald

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