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Waking our sleeping Indigenous languages: ‘we’re in the midst of a resurgence’

Source: The Guardian
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] Less than half of the estimated 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages which have existed on this continent are still in some form of use. The vast majority are considered endangered.

“There are probably only 20, 30, 40 which are looking like they’ve got a good chance of survival across next generations,” [linguist Murray] Garde tells Guardian Australia.

“But we’re trying to address that,” he adds. Indeed in the past couple of decades non-Indigenous Australia have cottoned on to the importance of preserving and rescuing the languages of first nations people, and we are in the midst of a resurgence in appreciation, he says.

“There’s a whole range of reasons why we think it’s important Australia’s Indigenous languages are supported, maintained and revived,” says Garde.

Aside from historical or academic reasons, aside from the basic right of Indigenous peoples – enshrined in international agreements – to have their traditional language preserved, there are socially pragmatic reasons to keep these languages alive. More.

See: The Guardian

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Children’s publishers urged to translate more international works

Source: The Bookseller
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

BookTrust is launching a new children’s books in translation initiative called In Other Words, to encourage UK publishers to release more works from around the world.

The charity has pledged to pay for sample translations from 10 works for the scheme and present them to the UK publishing community in an event at the Bologna Book Fair next year.

Foreign publishers, agents and scouts have been invited to submit “outstanding” works of fiction for 6-12 year-olds to a panel of expert judges who will select 10 titles for translation.

Chaired by literary critic, Nicolette Jones, the panel includes translators Sarah Ardizzone and Daniel Hahn, Waterstones’ children’s book buyer Florentyna Martin, Emma Langley from Arts Council England and BookTrust’s director of children’s books Jill Coleman. The judges will select 10 entries, with up to four declared BookTrust In Other Words Honour Titles. A special event will be held at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair on 4th April 2017 showcasing the Honour Titles, with information about all 10 extracts included in a rights guide.

Any UK publisher acquiring rights to publish one of the texts will be given a £1,500 grant per book from BookTrust to promote the author and translator with UK marketing, publicity and touring in the UK. More.

See: The Bookseller

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Women and translation

Source: TraductaNet
Story flagged by: Carolina Pedrulho

Literature gives voice to different people, beliefs and ideas, while translation helps it reach new languages, places and interested audiences. But will the literary world be open to all who want to be part of it?

The discussion about the place of women in translated literature is not new and it starts well beyond literarytranslation: in the publishers, in the publishing or not of the works of female authors and their dissemination in other languages.

But it also includes the translation (or not) of books written by women. So, August is the month to reflect on the role of women in literature and their presence in the literary world, as authors and translators. More.

See: TraductaNet

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Translation on tap in NYC, September 1 – 30, 2016

Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

Here were are, temperatures are dropping back to normal, school’s starting up again, and so are the translation events we’ve been missing all summer. I know you’ll be happy to see the first robust events calendar in months, so enjoy! More.


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RBC bridges language barriers with new in-branch video interpretation app

Source: Yahoo Finance
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

RBC introduced a new language app for branches that provides clients with real-time video access to qualified interpreters to conduct their banking.

Communication can sometimes be challenging, especially when there is a language barrier. For many immigrants to Canada whose first language isn’t English, it can be a real struggle to understand complicated topics or learn a new banking system. RBC is also the first financial institution in North America to offer American Sign Language to its clients through this video app.

“It’s important that our clients can communicate with us in the most convenient way they choose. With a touch of a button, we can now bridge language barriers in branches from coast to coast — just one of the ways that RBC helps clients thrive every day,” said Kirk Dudtschak, executive vice-president, personal & commercial banking, RBC. “We’re proud to continue to lead the way in providing accessible banking for our clients.”

Available now, this on-demand video service currently offers 13 languages, with more to follow. This ‘video chat’ format provides the added benefit of visual cues. The app also supports 200 languages through audio conferencing, a service RBC has offered over the telephone since 2009. More.

See: Yahoo Finance

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Putting an accent on regional pronunciation

Source: Terminology Coordination Unit
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

According to sociolinguistics, an accent is a manner of pronunciation which is peculiar to an individual, location or nation. Accents can be markers of residence, ethnicity, social or socio-economic class, or can be a residue of one’s mother tongue – as is the case with foreign languages.

Quite like Darwin’s finches, whose appearance and behaviour adapted to the different Galápagos Islands, accents developed over time, as human beings spread out to isolated communities and were influenced by different environmental factors. However, the similarity between the two ends there. We don’t quite know what the ‘functional advantages’ of a particular accent are, unfortunately accents cannot contribute to the theory of evolution. Yet they make an incredibly interesting case when considering the ease of being understood, prestige, or discrimination. More.

See: Terminology Coordination Unit

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Top 10 upcoming translations events in Europe

Source: Translator Thoughts
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

If you want to network with fellow translators and learn more about the translation industry, it might be a good idea to attend one of these events happening throughout Europe in the last few months of 2016.

3rd-4th September – Stockholm, Sweden international conference: A noble profession: The human face of translation

A conference regarding the “human” side of the noble profession of translation and how to best incorporate and adapt technologies to individual goals and practices. More.

See: Translator Thoughts

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Multilingual Writing (Podcast)

Source: Asymptote
Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] In this latest installment of the podcast, Omar Berrada and Klara du Plessis allow us a deeper understanding of how their linguistic backgrounds and travels shaped their current writing; while Greg Nissanuncovers other origins for his multilingual creations. So how does a translator go about translating a text already leaping across languages? And what does it take to write in the multilingual mode; does it create its own form, its own genre? What makes a writer feel driven and compelled to step outside the bounds of one language without leaving it entirely? More.

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

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Apply now for the Helen Hammer Translation Prize

Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

[...] The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute has been giving out yearly grants to support the translation of books having to do in a substantial way with both Jews and gender.

[...] If you’re contemplating a translation project that fits these in fact fairly broad guidelines, why not send in an application? The deadline this year is Nov. 15, 2016, and the winner will be announced on April 3, 2017. More.


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2016 PEN Center USA Translation Award announced

Story flagged by: Paula Durrosier

The West-Coast-based PEN Center USA has just announced its 2016 literary award winners, including in the category of literary translation. This year’s prize goes to Stephen Kessler for his translation of Forbidden Pleasures by Luis Cernuda (Black Widow Press). More.


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Comparing MT based translation errors with human translation errors

Source: eMpTy Pages
Story flagged by:
[...] In my observation of MT output over time, I have seen that MT produces a greater number of actual errors, but the types of errors most often generated by MT are easy to spot and clean up, unlike the incorrect or inconsistent terminology and sometimes misunderstood source errors, that may often be hidden in the clear grammar and flow of a human translation. These human errors are much harder to find, and not as easy to correct without multiple stages of review by independent reviewers. More.
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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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