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Pan-Arctic summit recommends Roman orthography for the Inuit language

Source: Nunatsiaq News
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The Atausiq Inuktut Titirausiq group will recommend a shift to Roman orthography for all written Inuktut, following the Aug. 26 conclusion of a summit in Iqaluit that brought together numerous representatives from the Inuktut-speaking world.

They’ll present the draft to the National Committee on Inuit Education Sept 9.

“Existing writing systems have been imposed on us. Canadian Inuit now have an opportunity to choose and create our own unified writing system,” the draft said.

“The recommendation from this summit is for jurisdictions to formally explore the implementation of an Inuit writing system rooted in a standardized form of Roman orthography that is developed by Inuit, for Inuit, and introduced through the education system…” More.

See: Nunatsiaq News

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Language Families: finding relevance among languages

Source: TermCoord
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

According to Ethnologue, 7102 living languages exist throughout the world. These languages can be categorized into several language families such as Indo-European, Niger-Congo and Afro-Asiatic. In Europe, as most languages belong to the Indo-European language family, people can often find similarities and differences in other languages that they speak.

These similarities can be seen with examples from Romance languages, which is one of the language groups of the Indo-European language family. For instance, French, Catalan and Spanish are quite similar because they come from the same branch. If someone wants to learn Catalan and if s/he already knows French and Spanish, s/he can take benefit from the same root of the languages. Consequently, for such a person it is much easier to learn Catalan compared to those who do not understand any Romance languages.

Thanks to the same language group or language family, people often find it easy to learn another language. We can find similarities in grammatical rules, vocabulary as well as pronunciation. For instance, the number “six” in each language varies as six (FR) – sis (CA) – seis (ES), but they are still similar. In four Romance languages, for instance before you start eating you would say, bon appétit (FR) – buon apetito (IT) – que aproveche (ES) – bom apetite (PT). More.

See: TermCoord

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How to define your target clients and land your first translation assignments

Source: Translator Thoughts
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky


The biggest mistake companies make is to try and sell to everyone. The biggest mistake freelancers can make is to do the same. “Everyone is not a demographic,” says an e-book that I downloaded recently from As freelancers, or small business owners, you need to define your target clients. But what is a target client?

Our target clients are the specific group of people you have decided to target with your products or services. These people are the ones you want to pitch your services to. You need to know them very well, and I’ll explain why. More.

See: Translator Thoughts

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Court orders feuding biz partners to sell their profitable translation firm

Source: Crain's New York Business
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

About the only time a judge ordinarily orders the sale of a company is when the enterprise has filed for bankruptcy or is in some serious kind of financial trouble. TransPerfect, a Manhattan-based translations firm, is the picture of vitality, last year posting record revenue of $470 million and $80 million in profits. Yet co-founders Philip Shawe and Liz Elting, who once planned to get married, are locked in such a vicious commercial divorce that a Delaware judge has demanded an outsider sell their thriving company. More.

See: Crain’s New York Business

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American Sign Language is a language, researchers prove

Source: The Chronicle Herald
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

American Sign Language or even simple gestures are processed by deaf people in the part of the brain that is used for spoken language, says international research headed up by a Dalhousie University neuroscientist.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Dr. Aaron Newman, an associate professor with the Halifax university’s department of psychology and neuroscience, and collaborators, Dr. Ted Supalla and Dr. Elissa Newport from Georgetown University, student Nina Fernandez and Dr. Daphne Bavelier from the universities of Geneva and Rochester, were able to show those who are congenitally deaf process signs and gestures in the left hemisphere of the brain.

Those test subjects who were not deaf and not users of sign language processed the information in the portion of the brain used to process human movement.

“It is a basic science study, with no immediate implications for people in the area of health,” Newman said in an interview Wednesday.

However, it does give credence and stature to the importance of American Sign Language and proves it is a language. More.

See: The Chronicle Herald

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Loss of Navajo language reveals cultural shift

Source: Arizona Public Media
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Navajo Nation voters passed a referendum last month that allows for the first time for a non-Navajo speaker to be president.

The move, while political, sparked a dialogue among people who see their language threatened as never before. Some Navajos say the approval of the referendum represents a paradigm shift.

Beginning in the 1870s, the federal government tried to wipe out Native American culture and force tribes to assimilate to white civilization. Generations were relocated or forced to attend federally run boarding schools. Despite these efforts, many Navajos have held onto their language and culture.

“It’s a matter of self-identity and it’s a matter of having pride in ourselves as native people,” said Theresa Hatathlie who works with Dine Youth.

Hatathlie is passionate about the Navajo language. But she says not everyone feels that way. And – out of perceived economic need – many have replaced Navajo with English. More.

See: Arizona Public Media

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A million bucks to save vanishing languages

Source: The Washington Post
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage this week received the largest gift in its history — $1.24 million — to support research into sustaining and revitalizing endangered languages in Europe.

The five-year project will evaluate different approaches to keeping languages healthy, taking into account social, cultural, political and economic influences, said Michael Atwood Mason, director of the center, which is best known for putting on the annual Folklife Festival on the National Mall.

“There’s an enormous amount of excitement about developing well-researched and well-documented evidence about what’s working and what’s not,” Mason said.

The money is coming from Ferring Pharmaceuticals, a manufacturer of drugs for reproductive health, urology and gastroenterology, headquartered in Switzerland. The very name of the company is derived from an endangered language: Fering, spelled with one r, is a dialect of North Frisian, spoken on the German island of Föhr in the North Sea. More.

See: The Washington Post

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Publishing Scotland launches translation grants

Source: The Bookseller
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Publishing Scotland has launched a new fund to encourage international publishers to translate work by Scottish writers.

The fund, which will be officially launched today (25th August) at Edinburgh International Book Festival, is being run by Publishing Scotland on behalf of Creative Scotland.

The funding, offered in the form of a grant, is to support publishers based outside the UK in buying rights from Scottish and UK publishers and agents by offering assistance with the cost of translation of Scottish writers.

Priority will be given to the translation of contemporary literature, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, writing for children and graphic novels.

Assessment criteria will also include the merit of the work to be translated, financial need of the publisher, track record of publisher and translator, and the proposed marketing plan.

A panel of experts will meet twice a year to assess applications to the Translation Fund. More.

See: The Bookseller

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New Brunswick translation services may be privatized as result of program review

Source: CBC News
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The province’s official languages commissioner is cautioning the province to tread carefully

The Gallant government is asking private industry if it has any interest in taking over French-English translation for the provincial government.

Employees at the provincial translation bureau in Fredericton learned in an email earlier this month the provincial government wants to see if it could save money by farming out their responsibilities to private companies.

So far, the provincial government is only looking for expressions of interest, but the decision is causing concern among the civil servants working at the bureau.

Donald Arseneault, the minister responsible for official languages, is not giving interviews on the subject.

When asked what was happening, Arseneault released a statement saying the translation request is part of his government’s strategic program review. More.

See: CBC News

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For the first time ever, a translated novel wins the Hugo Award

Source: About Translation
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The Three Body Problem” has won the 2015 Hugo Award for best novel.

This is the first time that the prize has been given to a translated work. Congratulations to Cixin Liu, the novel’s author, and to Ken Liu, its translator. Congratulations also to the publisher, for doing the right thing and prominently displaying the translator’s name alongside the author’s, on the cover of the book:

See: About Translation

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Why Gibraltar’s Llanito dialect is rapidly dying out

Source: EL PAÍS
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Youngsters are turning their backs on the Spanish-English blend spoken on the Rock

Piperíachingacorba… these and hundreds of other words used by speakers of the Gibraltarian dialect of Llanito could soon disappear. Younger generations are increasingly turning away from this rich blend of Spanish and English, along with bits of Portuguese, Genoese and Moroccan Arabic, traditionally spoken in the British overseas territory.

Many of the words and expressions in Llanito are literal translations from English into Spanish, often with deep roots in Gibraltarian culture. For example, to call somebody back – volver a llamar in Spanish (literally, to return to call) – is llamar para atrás (atrás being Spanish for back). Chingle means shingle, the stones found on the nearby beaches.

“We’re going to lose all this very quickly,” says Tito Vallejo Smith, a retired member of the armed forces who now spends his time researching the history of Gibraltar and its rich linguistic traditions. “Parents and teachers only speak to children in English now.” More.


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Communication and negotiation skills for freelance translators

Source: Marketing Tips for Translators
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Did you know that just by focusing more on your communication and negotiation skills with your potential and existing clients, you can become more profitable and in demand? When I first started out, I was focusing solely on the actual translation part, on doing my job. Producing high quality translations is of course the cornerstone of our business, but if we pay attention to the following communication tips, we can create more profitable relationships with our clients and colleagues.

It is not only how we communicate in emails or on the phone, but everything we post online matters. I have heard many agencies and direct clients say that before they hire someone, they google them, and check out their presence on social media, and only use translators that give a positive impression online. That is why I wanted to create a special webinar with tips for good communication both directly and indirectly with clients and colleagues, plus talk about how to improve and protect your image online.

Have you ever experienced problems with a client? The cause is often poor communication, either from the client, from you, or from both. Here are some symptoms of poor communication. More.

See: Marketing Tips for Translators

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Susan Bernofsky: A word from the translator

Source: English PEN's World Bookshelf
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

On Thursday 27 August, author Jenny Erpenbeck will appear at Edinburgh International Book Festival. Ahead of the event, English PEN talks to Susan Bernofsky, whose double PEN award-winning translation of Erpenbeck’s The End of Days is a story of the twentieth century traced through the various possible lives of one woman.

Read the interview in English PEN’s World Bookshelf here:

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Sophie Lewis and her authors

Source: Authors & Translators
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

“I love the visionary sensations I sometimes get as I work between languages, seeing how they tessellate or shadow each other, or how they diverge.”

Sophie Lewis is a British (& also Australian) literary translator. She speaks English, French and Brazilian Portuguese. She decided to answer our questions in English.

Read the full interview in Authors & Translators here:

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The hidden bias of science’s universal language

Source: The Atlantic
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The vast majority of scientific papers today are published in English. What gets lost when other languages get left out?

Newton’s Principia Mathematica was written in Latin; Einstein’s first influential papers were written in German; Marie Curie’s work was published in French. Yet today, most scientific research around the world is published in a single language, English.

Since the middle of the last century, things have shifted in the global scientific community. English is now so prevalent that in some non-English speaking countries, like Germany, France, and Spain, English-language academic papers outnumber publications in the country’s own language several times over. In the Netherlands, one of the more extreme examples, this ratio is an astonishing 40 to 1.

A 2012 study from the scientific-research publication Research Trends examined articles collected by SCOPUS, the world’s largest database for peer-reviewed journals. To qualify for inclusion in SCOPUS, a journal published in a language other than English must at the very least include English abstracts; of the more than 21,000 articles from 239 countries currently in the database, the study found that 80 percent were written entirely in English. Zeroing in on eight countries that produce a high number of scientific journals, the study also found that the ratio of English to non-English articles in the past few years had increased or remained stable in all but one. More.

See: The Atlantic

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Bai Li wins award for Irish novel translation

Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Beating other three Chinese translators, Bai Li won the Irish Literature Translation Prize 2015 for her translation of Irish writer Colm Toibin’s novel The Empty House, announced Lu Li’an, English professor of Fudan University and one of the judges of the prize, at an award ceremony held at Sinan Mansions in Shanghai on Aug 20.

Bai is praised for her “faithful, elegant and expressive translation that presents us a work that cuts cross the barrier of time and language, bringing us back to James Joyce’s The Dubliners”, said Lu.

The translated edition of The Empty House was co-published by Shanghai 99 and the People’s Literature Publishing House in 2012.

The Irish Literature translation award is organized by the consulate-general of Ireland in association with the Shanghai Book Fair, the Shanghai Review of Books (book review supplement of Oriental Morning Post) and the Ireland Literature Exchange. It is the second year for the prize taking place in China. More.


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Translation challenges: From gang slang to poetic rabbits

Source: BBC
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Brazilian author Paulo Coelho’s novel The Alchemist has spent almost seven years on the New York Times bestseller list.

The novel about a Spanish shepherd’s voyage to Egypt gained immediate popularity in the author’s native Brazil.

But Coelho himself has credited the translation into English in 1994 for his novel’s international success.

“In the publishing world outside of the United States, nobody reads Spanish, much less Portuguese,” he told the New York Times in a 1999 interview.

“Translation into English made it possible for other editors to read me.”

Now The Alchemist is available in 67 languages.

‘No equivalent’

But translating Brazilian Portuguese for an English-speaking audience is no easy task.

From words that have no equivalent to cultural references and concepts, translators must find a balance between being faithful to the original work while giving the reader the most accurate understanding of Brazilianisms. More.

See: BBC

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To break out of the low-rate market, change these three things

Source: Thoughts On Translation
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

[...] Breaking out of the low-rate market is absolutely possible; I’ve helped lots of students do it, and not one of them has come back and said Boy, I really miss the low-rate market and I’m planning to dive back into it as soon as I find the time to send out some resumes. Also, let’s clarify that higher-paying clients could be direct clients or could be high-quality agencies. When I work for my agency clients, I generally earn the same hourly rate as I do when I work for direct clients (the agencies pay less per word, but the work takes less time since they’re handling the editing and the back-and-forth with the client, and they found the client in the first place).

But in order to break out of the low-rate market, you have to change three things:

  1. Your business skills
  2. Your translation skills
  3. Your mindset

Read the full post in Thoughts On Translation here:

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Racing to record Indigenous languages under attack from ‘onslaught of English’

Source: The Guardian
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

About 10 languages will be painstakingly recorded as part of a major Australian research project but many more are on the brink of extinction, warns academic

Comprehensive documentation of several Indigenous Australian languages, some of which are highly endangered and at risk of extinction, has begun.

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language is building a library of audio and video recordings, grammar lists and dictionaries for at least 10 languages.

Professor Jane Simpson from the Australian National University said Australia’s Indigenous languages remain “inherently fragile under the onslaught of English and government policies which make it hard to keep [them] going.”

A 2014 National Indigenous Languages Survey found that of 250 Indigenous languages only 120 are still spoken, with 13 of these considered “strong” – five fewer than when the survey was first conducted in 2005. Around 100 languages are described as “severely or critically endangered”. More.

See: The Guardian

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Video fix: Does bilingualism make us smarter?

Source: TermCoord
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Is language competency directly correlated to intelligence? More specifically, does knowing two or more languages have a positive impact on “being smarter”?

When we first hear the word bilingualism, different questions immediately come to mind, such as, “What language level should we have to be considered bilingual?”, “Do we need to speak at the same level as native speakers?”. It is not surprising that there are different theories being derived from such questions which contrast traditional and contemporary views on bilingualism. However, in the 21st century, the concept of bilingualism has become much more practice-oriented, where it is argued that all languages have the potential to be activated. Studies conducted at the University of Griffith have shown that one does not need to speak both languages with equal proficiency and fluency to be considered bilingual and that it is, in fact, common to have a so-called dominant language.  Several findings demonstrate that there are varying degrees of bilingualism: passive bilingualism, which refers to the ability to understand a second language but there is no ability to reply in that language; basic bilingualism, having speaking ability with family members and other adults and; native-like, which equates to native language competency. More.

Read the full article and watch the video in TermCoord here:

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