Opinion & features

Radio interpretation aids Canton’s Spanish-speaking families

Source: The Independent
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] Canton City, like some other Stark school districts, has had an increase of students with limited English proficiency, according to enrollment data from the Ohio Department of Education. Between the 2011-12 and 2015-16 school years, Canton’s student population with limited English skills rose from 0.8 percent to 1.8 percent. There were 156 English-learning students enrolled in Canton City Schools this past school year.

Mejia-Compton is the only interpreter and translates written material that the district sends home. She said using the radio system to interpret makes it easier on her, students and families.

“We can assist up to 50 different families at a time, instead of doing two at a time,” she said.

It’s the first translation system of its kind in Stark County, according to the Stark County Educational Service Center. Dana Weber, an English language learner consultant for the ESC, said in an email that bilingual staff typically interpret for families in Stark school districts. They use staff or outside agencies to translate written material. More.

See: The Independent

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The language debate

Source: My Republica
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

The government of Nepal made a decision to change the rules of writing in Devanagari script in which the Nepali language is based. This decision was taken five years ago without consensus among linguists to reportedly maintain uniformity in the written and phonetic forms of the Nepali language. According to the new rules, the practice of writing the ‘half alphabet’ and ‘joint alphabet’ would come to an end and school curricula needed to be revised accordingly.

Today as debates over the issue continue, many confess to being confused and disappointed by these forcefully implemented changes. Padam Prasad Siwakoti, director of Pairavi Prakashan, says that given the changes that are being made, everyone will have to start from the basics again and relearn the language. According to Siwakoti, the changes are completely unnecessary and it would be in everyone’s best interest to revoke the decision. More.

See: My Republica

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‘Th’ sound to vanish from English language by 2066 because of multiculturalism

Source: The Telegraph
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

By 2066, linguists are predicting that the “th” sound will vanish completely in the capital because there are so many foreigners who struggle to pronounce interdental consonants – the term for a sound created by pushing the tongue against the upper teeth.

Already Estuary English – a hybrid of Cockney and received pronunciation (RP) which is prevalent in the South East – is being replaced by Multicultural London English (MLE) which is heavily influenced by Caribbean, West African and Asian Communities.

But within the next few decades immigration will have fundamentally altered the language, according to experts at the University of York. More.

See: The Telegraph

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Access to interpretation provisions in the health care system helps integration, research finds

Source: Medical Xpress
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Access to interpreter and translation services is an essential requirement to ensure integration – according to a new study carried out by a team from The University of Manchester’s Multilingual Manchester project, in collaboration with the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups for Manchester.

The team, led by Professor Yaron Matras, tracked all requests for interpreter and translation services across both Manchester’s GP surgeries and the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT). Additionally, interviews with medical practitioners, interpreters, and users of  from a variety of backgrounds including the city’s Pakistani, Somali, Arab and Roma communities were carried out.

The pilot research was undertaken in order to establish whether there are any barriers to the use of language provisions that potentially affect access to health care. More.

See: Medical Xpress

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Refugees face language barrier at health visits

Source: Wigan Today
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

A report has highlighted some of the difficulties refugees and asylum-seekers are having accessing health services in the borough.

Produced by Healthwatch Wigan with the help of the Support for Wigan Arrivals Project (SWAP) and TS4SE, a not-for-profit organisation which supports refugees, the report outlines how language is proving to be the biggest barrier for refugees accessing health and social care services in the borough.

It raises concerns about interpreters rarely being on hand to help refugees and asylum-seekers register and book appointments or during consultations with a GP.

It goes on to say that this has led to some refugees’ struggling to communicate their health problems. More.

See: Wigan Today

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Why this Arctic language doesn’t use an alphabet

Source: Sploid
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Inuktitut does have a written language, but it’s just not an alphabet. Instead, as Tom Scott explains, it uses a related system of symbols to express sounds called an abugida.

This writing system is in use in the far north of Canada and was originally invented by Christian missionaries. Inuktitut—which can use one compound word to say the equivalent of an English sentence—is built on consonant/vowel pairs. In order to accommodate the language’s sounds and structure, a new set of symbols was developed. More.

See: Sploid

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Playing Scrabble in Chipewyan: New game helps teach language

Source: CBC News
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

If you think using the letter Q to nab a triple-word score is tough enough in English, try playing Scrabble in Chipewyan.

That’s now possible, thanks to Paul Boucher, a Chipewyan language teacher from Fort Smith, N.W.T.

Over the past year, he’s developed “Scramble” or Ɂëk’éch’a Helá, a Chipewyan version of the popular word game. And he’s bringing it into his classroom at Paul William Kaeser High School as a teaching tool.

“This is an opportunity for us to take a game and translate it into a language so the kids can learn the language,” says Boucher.

“We’ve been playing it already. It’s part of my activities during my lessons, I do that with the Grade 12s and I’m going to be starting to do that with my Grade 10s.” More.

See: CBC News

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Natural language: The future of automated writing

Source: The Network
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Can you tell the difference between what is written by a human and by algorithmic artificial intelligence?

You wouldn’t know it, but over the last few years, computers have increasingly (and quietly) written many of the sporting news, financial reporting, and weather forecasts you already read daily.

[...] The technology works like this. Rules for data are paired with pre-canned words and phrases to say different things. For example, if a movie has a five star rating, a machine might say the movie is “great,” “not to be missed,” or something similar. If the movie receives one star, the machine could say, “Not worth your time,” or “should be avoided.”

“Writing contains two distinct phases,” explains Nikhil Ninan, senior data scientist at Arria NLG. “The first phase is when the writer makes decisions about what content to include. The second phase simply executes the organizational, narrative, and syntactic decisions to output the surface text.” More.

See: The Network

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Why more international students are choosing Canada as an English language hub

Source: Latin Correspondent
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

For Latin American students looking to refine their English language skills and continue to further education or employment, Canada is becoming an increasingly attractive option.

Canada ranks as the world’s seventh most popular destination for international students and has one of the fastest growing tertiary education sectors in the world. In 2008, more than 184,000 international students were studying in Canada. By 2014, this figure had almost doubled to more than 336,000.

International students are attracted to Canada for a number of reasons. The quality of education is extremely high, the population is diverse and welcoming, and it is one of the safest places to live. In fact, international students in Canada are so satisfied with their experience that 51 percent plan to apply for permanent residence and 37 percent plan to remain in the country to pursue further study. More.

See: Latin Correspondent

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Only seven people in the world speak this Kenyan language—and now they are trying to save it

Source: Quartz
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

The Yaaku people, of Kenya’s Rift Valley, number only around 4,000. And only seven people, all over the age of 70, can speak the ethnic group’s native language, Yakunte, fluently.

As the number of Yakunte speakers has dwindled, various efforts have been made to save the language. Yakunte speakers and a Dutch researcher wrote a Yakunte dictionary in 2004. Advocates of the people established the Yaaku People Association in 2003, dedicated to preserving its culture. Recently, according to a BBC report, a local school funded by the French Cultural Group is holding language classes twice a month for young Yaaku. More.

See: Quartz

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The translation center powered by ProZ.com offers new features to ProZ.com Business members

Source: Translator T.O.
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

New features and tools have been added to the translation center powered by ProZ.com and made available to ProZ.com Business members. More.

See: Translator T.O.

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Local linguist translates books in Hawaiian, Pidgin

Source: West Hawaii Today
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

KOHALA COAST — For linguist Keao NeSmith, translating literature isn’t just about going line-by-line through a book and translating the words.

“It’s the thought in the (author’s) head that needs to be translated,” he said. “It’s not a matter of translating the words; it’s an issue of translating the culture.”

NeSmith presented a panel Saturday at the HawaiiCon Science Fiction Convention about his efforts to translate popular literature into Hawaiian as well as a recent effort to translate Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic French novella “Le Petit Prince” (The Little Prince) into Hawaiian Pidgin. More.

See: West Hawaii Today

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More than a cúpla focail: How to learn a language in just three months

Source: The Irish Times
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

A Cavan man who speaks 11 languages and is known as ‘the Irish polyglot’ has devised a new way of becoming multilingual.

His message is simple, if somewhat startling. “Languages cannot be learned,” he says. “They can only be lived.”

[...] But how does his “hacking” method differ from those we’ve all seen – and many of us have tried – before?

“Language learning would be where you study grammar and you study tables of vocab,” Lewis says. “You do an exam, and maybe after a few years you might be able to get by in the language. Language hacking, on the other hand, gets you speaking from day one. You take the handful of words you have, and you squeeze the most you possibly can out of them.” More.

See: The Irish Times

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The challenges of translating in the environmental field

Source: TraductaNet
Story flagged by: Carolina Pedrulho

The environment is one of the most demanding and specialised areas of translationinterpreting and localisationservices. It is the translator’s responsibility to ensure the translation maintains the correct technical terms, and also that the language used is accessible to the general public.

Despite the need to make this topic intelligible and the fact it is frequently addressed by government agencies and institutions, the level of difficulty concerning the translation of environmental topics and the work of translators is not always duly valued and given the deserved credit.

What level of specialisation does this area require and what challenges are faced by all those involved in translations to different languages? More.

See: TraductaNet

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How adaptation is used in cross-cultural testing

Source: Responsive Translation
Story flagged by:

Fair and balanced. A test that serves both test takers and test administrators contains a careful combination of properties for adequate balance and validity. Making sure that translations do the same is not always possible. However, when it comes to cross-cultural testing and the need to effectively express an instrument in another language for another culture, adaptation is often the most valuable course of action.

Adaptation is a tool that helps maintain a test’s psychometric properties when assessing different linguistic and cultural populations. More.

See: Responsive Translation

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Lack of local-language content limits Africa’s internet adoption

Source: How We Made It In Africa
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Africa is the region with the lowest percentage of internet users in the world. According to recent data by Internet World Stats, only 28.6% of people are online, compared to 44.2% in Asia, 73.9% in Europe and 89% in North America.

This has historically been credited to Africa’s infrastructure deficit and consequential high costs of connectivity. However, a new report suggests that the internet’s lack of locally-relevant content is also a significant hurdle to adoption.

[...] “Much of the international content and services are relevant in many countries worldwide – this is true of social-networking services, educational access, and, of course, entertainment. However, we also note the importance of locally created content, given the relevance of the content in the local context.”

Internet Society’s research shows that Africa generally lacks locally relevant online content – with African languages being vastly under-represented. As it stands, over half of all websites globally are in English despite it being a native language for about 5% of the world’s population. More.

See: How We Made It In Africa

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How morality changes in a foreign language

Source: Scientific American
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

What defines who we are? Our habits? Our aesthetic tastes? Our memories? If pressed, I would answer that if there is any part of me that sits at my core, that is an essential part of who I am, then surely it must be my moral center, my deep-seated sense of right and wrong.

And yet, like many other people who speak more than one language, I often have the sense that I’m a slightly different person in each of my languages—more assertive in English, more relaxed in French, more sentimental in Czech. Is it possible that, along with these differences, my moral compass also points in somewhat different directions depending on the language I’m using at the time?

Psychologists who study moral judgments have become very interested in this question. Several recent studies have focused on how people think about ethics in a non-native language—as might take place, for example, among a group of delegates at the United Nations using a lingua franca to hash out a resolution. The findings suggest that when people are confronted with moral dilemmas, they do indeed respond differently when considering them in a foreign language than when using their native tongue. More.

See: Scientific American

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New American Sign Language class draws significant interest

Source: The Harvard Crimson
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

American Sign Language instructor Andrew R. Bottoms was concerned that he would not have enough students to fill Linguistics 73a: “Beginning American Sign Language 1,” the first ASL class Harvard has offered in more than 20 years.

To his surprise, Bottoms estimated at least 70 students showed up on the first day to vie for the 15 spots available.

“I can’t even explain that feeling,” he said, through an interpreter, of having students overflowing the classroom and sitting on the floor and on top of desks. “I certainly knew American Sign Language was a class that was in high demand, but I was not expecting this.”

Various student and faculty efforts, including a 2014 Undergraduate Council referendum to support the campaign for ASL courses, culminated in Harvard’s announcement this summer that it would reintroduce ASL into its course offerings. More.

See: The Harvard Crimson

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China says more people can speak national language

Source: Reuters
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

China has managed to raise the proportion of the population which can speak the national language, Mandarin, but still faces difficulty in remote areas and places where ethnic minorities live, state media said on Tuesday.

As of the end of last year, more than 70 percent of the population could speak Mandarin, compared with 53 percent at the end of the last century, the official China News Service said, citing the education ministry.

The ministry believes that with greater urbanization and more young people moving into cities, areas that are weak in Mandarin abilities, mostly remote places and areas with lots of ethnic minorities, the level will continue to rise, the news agency said.

It hopes to have “basic” national coverage for the language by 2020, it added.

Some officials have previously said that the country was too large and had too few resources to get all of its 1.3 billion people to speak Mandarin. More.

See: Reuters

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Humans may speak a universal language, say scientists

Source: The Telegraph
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Humans across the globe may be actually speaking the samelanguage after scientists found that the sounds used to make the words of common objects and ideas are strikingly similar.

The discovery challenges the fundamental principles of linguistics, which state that languages grow up independently of each other, with no intrinsic meaning in the noises which form words.

But research which looked into several thousand languages showed that for basic concepts, such as body parts, family relationships or aspects of the natural world, there are common sounds – as if concepts that are important to the human experience somehow trigger universal verbalisations. More.

See: The Telegraph

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