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Singapore embraces multilingualism five decades after independence

Source: South China Morning Post
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

New campaign promoting diversity is a major shift from Lee Kuan Yew’s hard-line policies when Chinese dialects other than Mandarin were discouraged.

Singapore, which marked its 51st National Day on Tuesday, has evolved remarkably in its stance towards multilingualism over the five decades since independence.

Early policies, initiated by Lee Kuan Yew, took a hard line: supporting “standard”, official languages and suppressing all others. From 1979, the annual Speak Mandarin Campaign promoted the use of Singapore’s official Chinese language and discouraged all other Chinese varieties.

[...] Fast-forward to 2015 and a more compromising, inclusive attitude prevails. More.

See: South China Morning Post

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As emoji grow more popular, the “language” also risks fragmentation

Source: Ars Technica
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Emoji have become important. They’ve permeated our conversations and our messaging apps and our popular culture to a degree that no one could have anticipated just a few years ago, and when your phone or computer gets an update, new emoji are often featured prominently in the release notes or even announced in their own press releases.

That the “language” is so universal and recognizable is due in large part to the Unicode Consortium, the group of major tech companies in charge of defining and approving new emoji (and dozens of other character sets, besides). Every year, it proposes, discusses, and approves new additions to the language, and that heavyweights like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have become so diligent about supporting new versions is a rare victory for standards in an age where every tech company on Earth is trying to lock you into its own proprietary silo.

But the Unicode Consortium can only do so much to influence the way any given emoji looks and is interpreted. Every new version of the Unicode spec includes a description of each character, a sample image, and other broad recommendations for implementation, but companies implementing the spec are free to represent the emoji pretty much however they want. And as the language’s range of expression continues to grow, so do the opportunities for misunderstanding. More.

See: Ars Technica

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The tree of languages illustrated in a big, beautiful infographic

Source: Open Culture
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

“When linguists talk about the historical relationship between languages, they use a tree metaphor,” writes Mental Floss’ Arika Okrent. “An ancient source (say, Indo-European) has various branches (e.g., Romance, Germanic), which themselves have branches (West Germanic, North Germanic), which feed into specific languages (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian).”

Minna Sundberg takes this tree metaphor to a delightfully lavish extreme, tracing, say, how Indo-European linguistic roots sprouted a variety of modern-day living languages including Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Italian — and, of course, our Language of the Future. The size of the branches and bunches of leaves represent the number of speakers of each language at different times: the likes of English and Spanish have sprouted into mighty vegetative clusters, while others, like, Swedish, Dutch, and Punjabi, assert a more local dominance over their own, separately grown regional branches. More.

See: Open Culture

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How to deal with questions during a translation project

Source: Translators Family
Story flagged by: Nancy Matis

It is never easy to ask questions. As professionals, we might fear that people reading our questions think we should have known, or found, the answer ourselves. Many of us have also experienced translation project managers (TPMs) or clients ignoring the questions we asked, or at least not paying attention to all of them. It also takes time to write questions, check the answers, discuss some of the options and/or implement any subsequent changes.

Clients are sometimes swamped with work, do not have time to reply to questions, are not able to provide answers themselves or simply underestimate the value of this exchange process.

When translation projects go through translation agencies, project managers are sometimes completely inundated by the mountain of jobs they have to oversee simultaneously and could get annoyed by a high number of questions to sort out. They might overlook some or simply not invest enough time in dealing with them or even not relay them to the various project stakeholders. More.

See: Translators Family

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How bad translation by court interpreters can turn misunderstanding into injustice

Source: PBS NewsHour
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] Such misunderstandings are surprisingly common in state and local courts. Because many states and localities don’t use tested court interpreters and ignore federal rules for when interpreters are required, many criminal defendants and civil litigants with limited English skills are not equipped to navigate the complex legal system, jeopardizing their constitutional rights.

“There is ample experience and anecdotal evidence to substantiate that many [people with limited English proficiency] regularly come before the courts and are unable, without language access services, to protect or enforce their legal rights, with devastating consequences to life, liberty, family, and property interests,” the American Bar Association (ABA) said in a resolution four years ago urging courts at all levels to adopt standards for interpreter services and calling for adequate funding. More.

See: PBS NewsHour

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ATA Annual Conference: Advanced skills and training day

Source: Translation Times
Story flagged by:
[...] We are talking about the annual conference of the American Translators Association (ATA). This will be the 57th conference (amazing, huh?) held in gorgeous San Francisco, and as the organization is constantly striving to improve the conference, there’s something somewhat new this year.
What used to be the pre-conference is now a full day of three-hour courses taught by the most popular ATA speakers and it’s called Advanced Skills & Training Day. This year it will be held on November 2. More.

See: Translation Times

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Welsh economy is losing millions of pounds because of poor language skills

Source: ITV
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

The British Council in Wales says poor language skills are costing the Welsh economy millions of pounds a year.

The organisation aims to promote Wales internationally and are worried by the number of students learning modern foreign languages.

This year saw a “substantial” reduction in students taking French and Spanish A Levels, whilst a recent report on languages in Wales found that more than two thirds of schools have less than 25% of pupils studying modern foreign languages at GCSE. More.

See: ITV

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Palisades Park residents want Korean-language interpreters at town meetings

Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Language interpreters can be found in municipal courts and in hospitals. And law enforcement officers in North Jersey have access to language interpreter services via telephone when doing their work.

He is not alone. The borough is home to more than 10,000 residents of Korean heritage, representing more than half the town’s population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Many are owners of businesses along Broad Avenue.

“I strongly believe that Palisades Park has a duty and responsibility to provide translators so I can fully participate,” said Julian Han, a Korean-speaking community member. “I feel my right is limited and I feel marginalized.”

Now some residents in Palisades Park want Korean-language interpreters at town meetings, saying they have not been able to fully understand and take part at those sessions. More.


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Foreign language test system comes to China

Source: Shanghai Daily
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

A foreign language test system was introduced in Shanghai yesterday to help people seeking employment with international companies demonstrate their proficiency.

The Oral Proficient Interview computer system (OPIc), developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), currently covers 13 languages and five of them, English, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish, are now available in China.

“The system was introduced to China because it contains evaluation tests for multiple languages, rather than a single language like other tests,” said Li Peize, president of the Beijing-based Chinese Testing International of the Confucius Institute. “It was designed by more than 10,000 language experts around the world.” More.

See: Shanghai Daily

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French and English are great. What about all the other languages of Canada?

Source: TVO
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Toronto is home to over 140 languages and dialects, with just over 30 per cent of the city’s residents able to speak something other than the two official languages, French and English. However, within that linguistic diversity are languages that might be spoken by as many as 10 people or as few as one.

Sri Lankan Malay, Scots Gaelic and Harari are some of the many smaller languages  spoken in the Greater Toronto Area that have been documented by Endangered Language Alliance Toronto, a small group of linguists, researchers, and community members . Founded in 2012,  the group work to preserve these languages through video and audio recordings of community members from across the GTA speaking in their native tongue. spoke with Anastasia Riehl, director of Endangered Language Alliance Toronto and director of the Strathy Language Unit at Queen’s University, about the importance of preserving endangered languages. More.

See: TVO

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Chinese language teachers being transferred to meet shortage

Source: The Star Online
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

KUALA LUMPUR: A nationwide reshuffle programme involving Chinese language teachers is under way to fill vacancies at schools where there is a shortage of these teachers.

Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon said most of the teachers were from conforming schools.

“The transfer of teachers will be carried out in stages.

“This is the first step towards the ministry’s vision to incorporate Chinese subjects into the timetable.” More.

See: The Star Online

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Keep yourself from losing your memory to the Internet

Source: a translator thinking outside the box
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

The development of the Internet may have been the most significant technological innovation since the invention of the printing press. It has simplified and speeded up the search for information in ways that were unimaginable until a few decades ago. However, itsharmful effects on the attention, concentration and memory capacity of those who make an intensive use of Internet search tools are starting to become evident. In this respect, we, translators, are not the exception— Both for those who were born in the digital era and for the ones, like me, who have followed information technology advancements in awe, the use of the Internet in our profession is a bare necessity, and we can no longer picture ourselves doing without it. What is more, we cannot imagine ourselves doing without the Internet in our personal lives either. But we will need to find ways to prevent this from interfering with basic functions of our brains. More.

See: a translator thinking outside the box

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How a headmaster is trying to save an ancient language

Source: The Christian Science Monitor
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] Tsakonian is considered the only descendant of Doric Greek, a classical Hellenic language last spoken more than 2,000 years ago around the military city-state of Sparta. Tsakonian managed to survive in this corner of southern Greece, whose hilly and rocky paths discouraged foreign occupiers and hindered contact with other regions. UNESCO has labeled Tsakonian a “critically endangered” language spoken by about 300 people.

Now, Panagiotis Tsagouris, headmaster of Leonidio’s public primary school, has taken on the task of, if not making Tsakonian widely spoken, at least preserving it in the computer era. He has launched a project that will expand and update a 90-year-old Tsakonian dictionary. The words, pronunciation, and usage that his students record will make up the body of a digital lexicon. More.

See: The Christian Science Monitor

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A new generation of Canadians are learning this language, and not all of them are tribal members

Source: PRI
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] Ktunaxa — among many other languages — was pushed to the brink of extinction by Canada’s boarding schools for indigenous children. When Jimmie returned home from St. Eugene’s, she refused to speak her mother tongue.

“I remember telling my grandfather, the very person that told me and excited me about going to school, ‘Speak English, I don’t know what you’re saying,’” she says. “I was so brainwashed. And I know he was hurt by that.”

Years went by. Jimmie grew up, had children — and never spoke Ktunaxa with them.

“I still was suffering from all the strappings I got. If I want to say what happened, it was that my language was beaten out of me.”

It’s a painful chapter of Canadian history the government has grown to regret. In 2008, Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, issued an official apology to the First Nation people. The government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and paid reparations to people like Jimmie, who suffered years of abuse at the boarding schools. More.

Read the full story and listen to the podcast in PRI here:

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Words Without Borders’s Women in translation month recommended reads

Source: Translationista
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Words Without Borders is the oldest major online journal out there devoted exclusively to literature in translation, and still one of the very best. And now WWB’s Liz Cettina has provided a list of recommended books for Women in Translation Month, most of them by authors who have previously been published in WWB’s virtual pages. More.

See: Translationista

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Welocalize achieves International Standard ISO 17100:2015 for translation service providers

Source: Marketwired
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Welocalize, global leader in translation and localization solutions, has successfully achieved certification to the International Standard specific to translation service providers, ISO 17100:2015, for global operations across North America, Asia and Europe.

Read more about this press release here.

See: Marketwired

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Shortlist for Read Russia Translation Prize announced

Source: Russia Beyond The Headlines
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

A total of 14 translators from nine countries have been provisionally nominated, with the winner to be announced in September.

The organizers of the Read Russia Prize, the biennial award aimed at popularizing Russian literature and encouraging foreign translators and publishers of Russian literature, announced the shortlist for the 2014-2016 season on Aug. 16.

The prize is given to a translator or a group of translators for the best translation of a prose or poetic work from Russian into a foreign language and published within the last two years. More.

See: Russia Beyond The Headlines

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Rajya Sabha Secretariat invites applications for 143 vacancies

Source: Business Standard
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat recently announced 143 vacancies for recruitment to junior parliamentary interpreter, senior legislative and assistant posts. Last date of submission of application in prescribed format is August 28, 2016, and to pay qualifying examination fees is September 5, 2016.

Interested candidates for the posts of Junior parliamentary interpreter (English/Hindi), Junior parliamentary interpreter (Assamese), Junior parliamentary interpreter (Marathi), Junior parliamentary interpreter (Urdu), Translator and Junior proof reader must not be more than 30 years of age. More.

See: Business Standard

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Last fluent Sto:lo speaker’s language ‘lives within her’

Source: Vancouver Sun
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Since birth, she has known Halq’emeylem, the language of the Sto:lo people.

As a young child, she picked up English, the language of the priests who sometimes came to the door of her parents’ home on the Seabird Island Reserve near Agassiz. She was asked to translate their words for her father and mother, who only spoke Halq’emeylem.

Now 77, Phillips is the last fluent speaker of Upriver Halkomelem (the anglicized term).

Her knowledge of the language, the word meanings, syntax and pronunciation, is incomparable — “it lives within her,” says one linguist.

At the Cheam Band office, Phillips spends hours working with linguists who are recording Halkomelem in various ways, from taping her in everyday conversation to making ultrasound images of her tongue movements.

“I would like for the language to be truly known before my time is up,” she says. More.

See: Vancouver Sun

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For the love of languages

Source: The Navhind Times
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Half Norwegian translator Astri Ghosh translates literary works in Hindi, English, Norwegian and even Bengali. She recently edited ‘Guru Nanak, the Thinker and the Poet’, and is also involved in the translation of 12 plays by Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. In conversation with NT BUZZ she speaks about the process of translation, her love for languages and how it binds us.

Translation is always considered secondary when it comes to writing a piece of literature. Many a times, people may assume that the work of a translator is mere translation of a word, but in reality it is more than that. First of all, it starts with understanding the writer and what he/she is trying to say with his/her writing and it also involves a lot of ground work and research. More.

See: The Navhind Times

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