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China Academy of Translation

Source: MultiLingual
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The China International Publishing Group (CIPG) has founded the China Academy of Translation in Beijing, China. Zhou Mingwei, the president of the CIPG, was appointed the first president of the academy. Zhou said the academy aims to become China’s top research platform for translation scholars and practitioners both at home and abroad, focusing on opening Chinese culture to the world through translation.

See: MultiLingual

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6+ top-notch translation picks from The New Yorker archive

Source: Asymptote
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Hot tips for translation fiends—from The New Yorker’s just-launched online archive

About a week ago, The New Yorker delighted droves of readers by opening a great deal of its archives to inaugurate its website redesign. But a summer spent sifting through thousands of back articles, essays, fiction, and poems sounds nice only until you realize time is limited. Not to worry: Eva and Patty, brave Asymptote blog editors, have combed the magazine’s darkest depths to select some of The New Yorker’s best pieces—in translation.

  1. “By Fire” (from French), Tahar Ben Jelloun, translated by Rita S. Nezami
  2. “The Heron” (from Danish), Dorthe Nors, translated by Martin Aitken
  3. “The Stolen Pigeons” (from French), Marguerite Duras, translated by Deborah Treisman
  4. “So It Is In Life” (from Russian), Daniil Kharms, translated by Matvei Yankelevich, with Simona Schneider and Eugene Ostashevsky
  5. “Samsa in Love” (from Japanese), Haruki Murakami, translated by Ted Goossen
  6. “Clara” (from Spanish), Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews

See: Asymptote

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Something Understood: a radio programme about translation

Source: Words to good effect
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

I’ve been very busy recently, with not much time to post here. But today I came across a radio programme that I can share (quickly!) with you. It’s from BBC Radio 4 and is called “Something Understood“. In the programme,

Mark Tully negotiates the challenges, pitfalls and delights of translating ideas, emotions and even music, into different languages, cultures and forms of expression.

“Something Understood” lasts 30 minutes and discusses the translation of literature, poetry and music (in the form of “variations on, or musical translations of, Paganini’s Caprice 24″). It’s available for another 4 weeks on the Radio 4 website.

See: Words to good effect

See also: BBC: Something Understood

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Color localization infographics

Source: Multilizer Translation Blog
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Localization involves not only translating words from other language to another but also adopting other local elements. For example images, colors, names, dates, prices and currencies are elements that may be changed during the localization process. People are visual creatures, and colors are important to us. They are filled with cultural meanings that should be taken into account when localizing material to other markets.

Here we have collected some of the most valuable color related infographics for all localization project participants. We hope that these are valuable and help you to make successful localization decisions. More.

See: Multilizer Translation Blog

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Gender neutral ‘hen’ enters dictionary

Source: The Local
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The ever-controversial pronoun ‘hen’ has won its battle and is set to officially become part of the Swedish language.

In April 2015 the Swedish Academy will release its dictionary, Svenska Akademiens ordlista, or SAOL. And ‘hen’, a pronoun with no gender, will be in it.

Sven-Göran Malmgren, editor in chief of the SAOL, admitted that the Academy was hesitant to add ‘hen’ to the list, and the debate took several years.

“We wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a fad,” Malmgren told Sveriges Radio. “But now it’s quite simple. It is a word which is in use and it is a word which without a doubt fills a function.”

The pronoun sparked massive debate when a publisher decided to use it in a children’s book where ‘hen’ replaced ‘hon’ (she) and ‘han’ (he).

But others have argued that ‘hen’ is not meant to replace gendered pronouns. Instead, it allows speakers to refer to a person without having to mention the gender if they don’t know it, if the person is transgender, or if the information is considered irrelevant.

The word as presented in the Academy’s dictionary will have two uses: First, for instances when gender is unknown or irrelevant, and second, as a third gender. More.

See: The Local

See also: “Hen” is official now

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Lesson 100: Why translation downtime is a good thing and how to make the most of it?

Source: WantWords
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

You’ll find this post interesting because unlike my usual ‘how to find more work’, I’m going to advocate for finding time off work. This year I worked flat out until the 15th of July and I planned a longer period of downtime right through until the end of September to concentrate on writing the book, developing a new course (stay tuned!) and finishing off my cloud computing research project (you’ll hear more about it, too). Not even two weeks in this downtime, I’m already experiencing the benefits, so I thought you’d like to hear how to make the most from a ‘break’.


I kid you not, take a few days off and just rest. I thought making sure you take weekends off regularly is enough to keep your brain rested, but I only realised how tired I was when I went to the mountains for a few days and I just switched off.

Learn, study, read

As translators, we are privileged already and we’re learning almost with every project. But when was the last time you learned something for yourself, something that sparked interest? I’m enjoying that a lot today, it feels almost like a study break.

Work on a personal project

I’m sure you have this idea, this project you wanted to work on since forever but you never had enough time to do it. I’ve just started working on a little personal project with my family that we’ve been putting off for years, and I can tell you it’s very rewarding.

Update CV, portfolio, marketing collateral

Downtime periods are great for all sorts of reflections and updates. In August, I’ll be going through my marketing materials and tweaking little bits. The best approach is to first carry out an audit (analyse your current situation) and then decide what and how to improve. More.

See: WantWords

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Translator resurrects work of slain poet

Source: NJJN
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Dr. Gabor Barabas has loved poetry since he was a child, growing up in post-Holocaust Hungary. He listened to his elderly relatives read grand, resounding verses, and he dreamed of becoming a poet himself.

He did just that, writing his own poetry, but he also pursued another dream — to become a doctor.

It wasn’t until Barabas, who lives in Long Branch, retired from his career as a pediatric neurologist that he turned that passion for poetry into the most challenging writing task of his life — translating the complete works of the revered Hungarian poet Miklos Radnoti. It took him seven years.

The book, Miklos Radnoti: The Complete Poetry in Hungarian and English, has just been published (by McFarland and Company, Inc.), with a foreword by Gyozo Ferencz. More.


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The PEN Ten With Michael F. Moore

Source: The Huffington Post
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The PEN Ten is PEN America’s biweekly interview series curated by Lauren Cerand. This week, Lauren talks with Michael F. Moore, the chair of the PEN/Heim Translation Fund and an interpreter/translator from Italian. He has interpreted for popes, presidents, but no crowned heads. He puts his versatility on display this month with the publication of two translations, the wildly funny contemporary novel Live Bait by Fabio Genovesi (Other Press) and the moody masterpiece of sexual awakening, Agostino by Alberto Moravia (NYRB Classics).

When did being a translator begin to inform your sense of purpose?

More like my sense of survival! I lived in Italy for eight years, on my own, enrolled at the Brera Fine Arts Academy in Milan. Already shy in English, I worried that every time I opened my mouth the whole world would burst into laughter. Ordering at a restaurant was a harrowing experience. When I did summon the courage to speak, I had no idea what I was ordering, and quickly learned the names of things I didn’t like: fegato (liver), animelle (sweetbreads), insalata russa (don’t ask).

Once I’d found my footing, I started to help my fellow international students, interpreting for them at the oral exams given at the close of the school year. “Say anything,” I instructed them, “and I’ll make it sound good in Italian.” One professor caught on and asked, “How can her four words in English become your forty in Italian?” “English is very concise,” I replied, concisely. More.

See: The Huffington Post

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Welsh language theatre launches translation app for English speaking audiences

Source: The Telegraph
Story flagged by: Susana E. Cano Méndez

A Welsh theatre company is launching an app which will allow audiences to enjoy its plays in other languages.

Sibrwd, which means Whisper in Welsh, will offer theatre-goers the chance to listen to key lines and explanations of certain scenes in English through their headphones.

Developed by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the Welsh language national theatre, the app could be adapted for performances in other languages all over the world.

The Welsh theatre company hopes the app will provide a more “fulfilling experience” than subtitles projected onto a screen, which have been used in the past.

Carys Ifan, executive producer of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru described the smartphone app as “much more creative and more involved as part of the production”. More.

See: The Telegraph

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The Translation and Localization Conference 2015 – save the date and call for papers

Source: The Translation and Localization Conference 2015
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Dear Colleague,

It’s our great pleasure to invite you to the 4th Translation and Localization Conference which will take place on 27-28 March 2015 in Warsaw. Encouraged by the feedback received in previous years, we’re planning even a wider array of English-language presentations, networking opportunities and panel debates. The main theme of the conference, pulling together translation, technical and business expertise, is “Experts at Work”. We’re aiming to cover practical aspects of many topics, underlining the importance of advice and solutions shared by industry experts. We’re pleased to welcome freelance translators and interpreters, translation agencies and direct clients.


Registration for the conference will open later in 2014, but we right now we’re inviting you to save the date and plan your visit Warsaw for a few days around 27-28 March 2015. Later on, we’ll be able to provide you with information on visiting Warsaw, as well as networking opportunities connected with the conference itself. More.

See: The Translation and Localization Conference 2015

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Google sets up a community site to help improve Google Translate

Source: TNW
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Google today launched a new community site to help improve Google Translate, its free online language translation service.

Aimed at language connoisseurs and professional translators, it can be used to rate and compare existing translations, as well as create new ones and match words to their correct counterparts. Over time, Google said it will give contributors more ways to pitch in and offer better “visibility” regarding how the submissions are being used to improve its translation tools.

“We will also localize Community pages to support your preferred display language,” Google added in a blog post. More.

See: TNW

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Ron Kaplan on Intelligent Linguistic Architectures

Source: h+
Story flagged by: Hege Jakobsen Lepri

I recently got together with Ron Kaplan who is a well known artificial intelligence researcher in the area of natural language processing. Ron is a Distinguished Scientist at Nuance Communications. The conversation is about 1 hour long and the main theme was the recent comments about dangers from artificial intelligence made by Professor Stephen Hawking and also Elon Musk, as well as Eugene Goostman the chatbot that supposedly passed the Turing Test.  Beyond this, the conversation ranges near and far covering whether it is ridiculous to suggest that Siri is a conscious being, reflective computing, NL interfaces and access to knowledge, communicating with wives, the effects of my diet, and the future of human languages when universal translation becomes widely available.

Read the full post and watch the video in h+ here:

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Embracing the language of versatility: Shift in attitude towards English in Quebec

Source: The Montreal Gazette
Story flagged by: Hege Jakobsen Lepri

The versatility — and power — of English is rooted in multilingual history. In English, you can ask for help (Anglo-Saxon), aid (French) or assistance (Latin).

As The Gazette’s Catherine Solyom reported, the school year ended last month with many francophone parents increasingly eager to send their children to schools like École Beau-Séjour in St-Laurent that offer intensive English courses to Grade 6ers (“Taking a deep dive into English,” Gazette, June 23).

In fact, this is evidence of a major shift in attitudes in Quebec. It also gives credence to the assertion made by Liberal Leader and now Premier Philippe Couillard during this past spring’s election campaign that bilingualism is an asset, that there is no parent in Quebec who does not want his or her child to be bilingual, and that it’s an advantage to speak English in a globalized world — a bold point of view to hold publicly in Quebec.

But English is the dominant global language. That’s not an opinion, it’s just a fact. Unfortunately, it’s a fact that escapes, or is intentionally overlooked by, those in positions of power who would deny young people the opportunity to speak English fluently, part of a flawed strategy to elevate the status of the French language in Quebec society. More.

See: The Montreal Gazette

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A word in your ear: the interpreters who speak for world leaders

Source: The Guardian
Story flagged by: J. Gardiner

What’s it like to interpret for Gorbachev, Ahmadinejad or Deng Xiaoping? Luke Harding hears about rows, headphone malfunctions – and which US president always carried notes

There are few professions that offer a front-row seat to history, or a chance to rub shoulders with world leaders, as well as the odd tyrant. Interpreting is one of them, and it is interpreters who have given us some of the 20th century’s best phrases. The Soviet interpreter Viktor Sukhodrev, who died in May, aged 81, famously rendered Nikita Khrushchev’s threat to the west, made during his first visit to the US in 1959, as “We will bury you”. (What Khrushchev actually said was, “Communism will outlast capitalism,” but it was the more brutal, and not entirely accurate, phrase that stuck.)

Typically interpreters spend their days “in the booth”. This means sitting in a soundproof cubicle, wearing a headset, listening to their own voice, one ear covered and the other ear slightly covered. They work in same-language pairs. Each does a stint of 30 minutes because “after an hour your brain explodes,” one says. That simultaneous interpreting should be possible seems something of a human miracle. “I still don’t know how I can listen and speak at the same time. There is something happening in my brain I can’t understand,” I was told.

Like acting, the best interpreters capture the personality of the person who is speaking: the emotion of Ahmadinejad, or the sardonic deadpan of Putin. (This doesn’t signify approval, merely a fidelity of rendition.) Interpreters strive for the idiomatic rather than the literal; as one puts it, “You have your favourite synonyms and idioms, like pocket change.” More.

See: The Guardian

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Rare Runic inscription discovered

Source: Past Horizons
Story flagged by: Hege Jakobsen Lepri

Anewly uncovered runic stone-carving was brought to light by Jane Harrison working as part of a project team for the ‘Languages, Myths and Finds’ programme at the University of Oxford.

The fragment of inscribed runestone was found in the Tees Valley at Sockburn (north east England), in the grounds of a ruined church, having been used as building stone. The inscription on it reads: Line A … (ept)ir molmu; Line B… (re)isti krus …

Jane said, ‘We compared this inscription with a formula used in many Scandinavian runes from the Isle of Man: ‘X raised this cross in memory of Y’. The inscription on our stone therefore translates as (line B, then line A) ‘…raised cross… in memory of Máel-Muire/Máel-Maire’. Sadly, the name of the patron is lost.’

Insular Celtic language

Máel-Muire or Máel-Maire is a personal name from the Goidelic – which is an Insular Celtic language from the dialect continuum stretching from Ireland through the Isle of Man to Scotland. The name is linked to the place-name Melmerby (found in Cumbria and in North Yorkshire) and also seen in a runic inscription from the Isle of Man.

The runestone is relatively small, measuring approximately 22 cm long, 16 cm wide and 9cm deep,’ said Jane. ‘But it’s a very exciting find, despite its small size: Scandinavian runic inscriptions in England are rare – there are fewer than 20 known.’

The character of the runestone suggests links with the west from the north-east. The Tees Valley has been relatively neglected in studies of the period but that’s likely to change. For “Vikingologists”, this runestone is a great find and one that makes a fascinating contribution to understanding the Viking settlement of the North-East.’

Also remarkable is the fact that the stone was found in an area with a high concentration of Norse place names, but little in the way of archaeological and historical evidence – apart from unique hogback sculptures (large stone-carved Anglo-Scandinavian sculptures from 10th-12th century England and Scotland usually found in churchyards). More.

See: Past Horizons

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California pharmacies resist push to translate drug labels

Source: The Fresno Bee
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

When Chek Lun Wong picks up his prescription medication for hepatitis B at his local Walmart, he doesn’t understand a word.

“I give them the prescription and my license and they give it to me. I don’t read the bottle,” said Wong. “I usually just ignore it if I don’t understand it.”

The 63-year-old Wong, who told his story with the help of a Chinese translator at the Paul Hom Asian Clinic in East Sacramento last weekend, is one of thousands in the capital region and the state who struggle to take their medication correctly because of a language barrier – an issue that some health advocates want rectified at a California State Board of Pharmacy meeting later this month.

On Saturday at the free medical clinic on Folsom Boulevard, Wong waited among a steady stream of Chinese and Vietnamese patients, most of whom spoke little to no English, to get the prescription for his next refill and to listen to instructions on their use from a Chinese-speaking volunteer. Kai Ming Tan, one of the many UC Davis students who staff the clinic, often writes out directions for Wong in Chinese characters.

When Wong goes to the pharmacy to pick up his prescription bottle, labeled in English, he will rely on this information to take the drug.

“Patients need things written down,” said Tan. “If a medical student is presenting, (the patients) can’t keep it in their head. They need something written down so they have something if they go home and forget what I said.”

Currently, the California State Board of Pharmacy requires pharmacies to provide an interpreter for non-English speakers free of charge, either in person or by phone, when requested at the pharmacy counter. The board itself is required to provide written translations of basic instructions in Spanish, Korean, Russian, Chinese and Vietnamese, in addition to English, on its website. But most pharmacists will not – and are not required to – print translated labels on the bottles themselves. More.

See:  The Fresno Bee

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Understanding the drivers of success with the business use of machine translation

Source: eMpTy Pages
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

We have reached a phase where there is a relatively high level of acceptance of the idea that machine translation can deliver value in professional translation settings. But as we all know the idea and the reality can often be far apart. It would be more accurate to say this acceptance of the idea that MT can be valuable, is limited to a select few among large enterprise users and LSPs (the TAUS community) and has yet to reach the broad translator community who continue to point out fundamental deficiencies in the technology or share negative experiences with MT. So while we see growth in the number of attempts to use MT, as it has gotten mechanically easier to do, there is also more evidence that many MT initiatives fail in achieving sustainable efficiencies in terms of real translation production value.

It is useful to take a look at what factors underlie success and failure in the business use setting, and thus I present my (somewhat biased) opinions on this as a long-time observer of this technology (largely from a vendor perspective). I think that to a great extent we can already conclude that MT is very useful to the casual internet user, and we see that millions use it on a regular basis to get the gist of multilingual content they run into while traveling across websites and social platforms. (e.g. I use it regularly in Facebook.) More.

See: eMpTy Pages

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One of Marvel’s Avengers turns to sign language

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

The fight for justice can wear on the body. That is something that Clint Barton, the member of Marvel’s Avengers known as the archer Hawkeye, is going to have to learn to cope with. In issue No. 19 of “Hawkeye,” which arrives in stores on July 30, the writer Matt Fraction and the artist David Aja show the aftereffects of a battle that has left their hero with profound ear damage.

The story strives to connect readers with what he is experiencing: when he can’t hear, the word balloons on the page are blank. The comic also makes extensive use of sign language, but provides no key to interpreting them. “If nothing else, it’s an opportunity for hearing people to get a taste of what it might be like to be deaf,” Mr. Fraction said.

Drawing the issue was “very difficult,” Mr. Aja said. Without the traditional dialogue, his ability to convey gestures was even more critical. Mr. Aja also had to devise ways to depict certain signs that required multiple movements in a clear way. “There’s so much subtlety and expression on the page,” said Sana Amanat, the book’s editor. “You can understand what’s going on even without the balloons.”

The story builds on past adventures, including one where Hawkeye inflicted ear damage on himself to defeat a foe. (The hero’s reluctance to let on that he relied on a hearing aid once led him to demand interview questions in advance of an appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman.”) More.

See: The New York Times

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Iceland Reads: The country of 320,000 punches well above its literary weight class

Source: National Post
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

When it comes to mail delivery service in Iceland, two days stand out from the rest. The first is when the IKEA catalogue arrives. The second is when the bókatíðindi shows up in the mailbox.

“This is the Christmas catalogue,” says Bryndís Loftsdóttir of the Icelandic Publishers Association, handing over a copy of last year’s glossy, 208-page tome. “It’s always the same,” she continues in an amused tone. “Weeks before this is published we anxiously get phone calls from people asking, ‘When is it coming? Can I get it now?’”

A copy of the bókatíðindi, which lists approximately 90% of the books published in Iceland each year, is mailed to every household in the country, free of charge. While in most countries the presents under the Christmas tree come in all shapes and sizes, Loftsdóttir jokes that in Iceland one finds a row of neatly wrapped books. “The book is still the most popular Christmas present in Iceland,” she says. There’s even a name for the phenomenon: the “jólabókaflóð,” which means Christmas book flood.

There may not be another country on the planet where books enjoy such prominence. For a country that boasts a population of approximately 320,000 people — that’s less than Belize, Brunei, and the Bahamas — Iceland is punching above its weight class. Its publishing industry cranks out roughly 1,000 titles each year (including works in translation) and the country produces more published authors than anywhere else on the planet, Brooklyn be damned. According to a report produced by a consortium of Nordic publishers, in 2012 there were 3.5 published titles for every 1,000 of the country’s inhabitants — a number double that of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The average print run for a book is 1,000 copies, the equivalent of one million copies in the United States. More.

See: National Post

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Stratus Video Interpreting predicts $1 billion market shift to video remote interpreting by 2016 as court and healthcare systems heed cost-effectiveness

Source: mHealth News
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

(Clearwater, FL)  July 24, 2014—While healthcare facilities and U.S. courts have each reported finding difficulty in providing quality interpretation services to non-English speakers within their systems, that demand doesn’t appear to be slowing down.  According to Common Sense Advisory, the language service market will grow from $2 billion in 2014 to $2.3 billion in 2016 (1); additionally, officials at Stratus Video Interpreting expect $1 billion of this market to shift over to video remote interpreting ( ) (VRI) in lieu of face-to-face and over-the-phone interpreting (OPI).  Stratus maintains that the growing limited English proficiency (LEP) population within the U.S. is signaling a need for more efficient, cost-effective and advanced technology with regard to language services—and with such technology available, Stratus is calling for nationwide standardization in an effort to maintain equal access to language services for every U.S. citizen.

Currently, courts and hospitals nationwide are finding themselves facing substantial delays and costs due to an increasing LEP population combined with a lack of timely access to qualified interpreters.  As of 2011, the U.S. LEP population sits at 25 million—an increase of 81% since 1980—and 94% of those individuals reside in core urban areas or surrounding counties. (2)  According to Stratus CEO Sean Belanger, healthcare facilities and courts located within these urban areas must often hire an interpreter from another county, and as a result, they are left facing the cost of gas/mileage, in addition to the interpreter’s hourly rate—which, with overtime, can reach upwards of $55 per hour for certified and professionally qualified court interpreters. (3)  As costs and demand have steadily increased, a more affordable and effective solution is being sought by healthcare and court systems alike—a solution which some say has been found in VRI, which combines the benefits of both OPI and face-to-face interpreting by offering the same personal one-on-one feel of face-to-face interpreting, but with the cost structure and speed of answer equal to that of OPI.

“VRI is much more economical and efficient than either face-to-face or OPI interpreting,” said Belanger.  “With VRI, you’re getting high quality face-to-face interpreting, combined with the affordability of on demand interpreting—you only pay for what you use, when you use it.  VRI gets interpreters in front of patients faster, is available 24 hours a day, and accomplishes all of this at lower cost.” More.

See: mHealth News

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