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Vacancies in this network: Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.
The Washington County Free Library will host a free workshop titled “Introduction to Proposal Writing” for nonprofit organizations at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 7, at the Fletcher branch, 100 S. Potomac St. in downtown Hagerstown.
The workshop will be led by Harry Sachs, business and government librarian, and is an overview of the basic skills needed for writing a proposal, especially for new proposal writers in nonprofit organizations. Jeanette Norton, regional training specialist at the Foundation Center’s Washington Office, will offer tips on how to write a standard project proposal to a foundation, including the basic elements of a proposal; the do’s and don’ts of writing and submitting a proposal; and how to follow up, whether the answer is “yes” or “no.”
Registration is required.
To register or for more information, contact Sachs at 301-739-3250, ext. 310, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who are these Maes and Macs of whom you speak?
The mortgage industry is no different from the rest of the financial or tech world: It's fraught with odd terminology, tons of acronyms and other confusing jargon.
While it appears to be a great deal of inaccessible blather, learning what these terms really mean can save homeowners thousands of dollars as they are negotiating the terms of their mortgage.
Unpacking the lingo is the first step as you sink your hard-earned money into a house for the next 30 years. Pretty soon you can banter about points and closings just like the rest of the experts.
Here are 10 terms that we demystify as you prepare to embark on one of the largest commitments in your lifetime.
Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae: Is There a Family Connection?
Just who exactly are Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? What about Ginnie Mae? This trio was created by the federal government to support a national market for mortgage credit, said David Reiss, a law professor at Brooklyn Law School in New York. None of these entities interacts directly with homebuyers. Instead, all have the goal to make it easier for mortgage lenders to sell mortgages to investors by promising “those in mortgage-backed securities that they will receive their payments of interest and principal in a timely manner in case borrowers default on their payments,” he said.
After a wave of foreclosures following the Great Depression, Ginnie Mae was created by the government to support affordable housing in the U.S. Now it provides funding for all government-insured or government-guaranteed mortgage loans.
The down payment is the amount you pay upfront towards the purchase of your house. A typical amount is 20% although there are loans which allow for 5% or 10%. The down payment represents the buyer’s “skin in the game,” or his personal risk, said Ray Brousseau, executive vice president of Carrington Mortgage Services in Santa Ana, Calif. If you are a first-time homebuyer, you should be aware that lenders examine the “seasoning” of the down payment or show that the funds have been in your bank account for 60 to 90 days, he said.
Real estate brokers and mortgage lenders discuss points quite often, especially as you get closer to finalizing the terms of your mortgage, since they are negotiable. This refers to the percentage points of the loan amount that a lender charges to a borrower for a loan, Reiss said. For instance, if a lender charges 1 point on a $200,000 loan, the borrower will owe an additional $2,000 to the lender at the time the loan is closed.
This is the annual percentage rate. Many homeowners focus only on the interest rate or the monthly payment. The APR gives you a better idea of the true cost of how much you are borrowing, which includes all the fees and points for the loan.
This will give you the total cost, said Jason van den Brand, CEO of Lenda, the San Francisco-based online mortgage company. If you have two loans to choose from and both of them have a 4% interest rate, but loan 'A' has a 4.10% APR and loan 'B' has a 4.25% APR, the better one is loan 'A,' which provides the lowest cost of borrowing the money.
This is a fee that is charged by a lender to process a loan. This fee shows up on your good faith estimate (GFE) as one item called the origination charge. However, the origination fee can be made up of a few different fees such as: processing fees, underwriting fees and an origination charge, van den Brand said. The average origination fee is 1% or 1 point, but it is a negotiable fee since “it's well understood that this fee is mainly used to pay commissions to sales people,” he said.
The origination fees can also be referred to as origination points. It is possible that you can get a mortgage with no origination fee. This means that the broker will get paid by the bank, but the catch is you often end up paying a higher interest rate for the mortgage.
“If you can save thousands of dollars on your loan, that is money that can be better invested in other areas,” van den Brand said. “For example, a 0.25% difference can amount to tens of thousands of dollars saved over the life of the loan.”
This is the prepaid interest you pay to buy down your interest rate, and one point equals 1% of the loan value, van den Brand said. Buying down your interest rate can have a big impact on your monthly payment and the amount of interest you pay over the life of a loan.
“If you're able to buy down your rate so you can lower your monthly mortgage payment, it might be a good thing to do,” van den Brand said. “If you are paying discount points to get a lower rate which in turn lowers your monthly payment by $25 a month, but it costs $2,500 to do that, it will take 100 months to break even. Usually, the longer you stay in your home, the more time you have to recoup the costs associated with paying points and fees.”
These are all of the costs incurred for the loan and include everything from origination fees, title fees, appraisal fees, attorney's fees and underwriting fees. The typical closing costs are usually 2% to 5% of the loan value.
Since most people finance their closing costs, it adds to the loan amount and can increase the monthly payment. In some instances, the seller of the property may contribute to the closing costs on the transaction.
A closing is the last step and occurs when you are ready to sign the mortgage documents, and it typically takes place at a title company. This is when the title to the property changes hands. The title company will act as an escrow agent for all the parties, said Sam Shiel, director of title operations and underwriting counsel at Proper Title, a title insurance agency in Northbrook, Ill. The parties present are likely to be you, the title company’s escrow officer or “closer,” the seller and real estate agents. Be prepared to sign dozens of pages of documents before you are handed a key to your new home.
A handy guide that explains many of the points of the industry is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Your Home Loan Toolkit" (PDF).
A Roman Catholic priest named Johann Martin Schleyer had a dream. In it God told him to create an international language. Why? Maybe it had something to do with the Bible’s tale of the Tower of Babel. It presents multilingualism as a divine curse meant to hinder our understanding.
So, in 1879-1880, the good priest went to work and created “Volapuk”.
Father Schleyer intended Volapuk for use as the only international language. Its vocabulary is based on English and the Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian). Apparently, in his thinking, this language would eventually replace all others.
An example of Volapuk: “Fino dalabobs resodaspadi, kel pededieton lölöfiko Volapüke. Binädon me nüdug brefik püke.” In translation: “Finally, we have a website which is dedicated entirely to Volapük.” (Volapuk.com)
Linguists say it is difficult to learn because of the unfamiliar appearance of the words and because it has a grammar nearly as complex as that of Latin. Despite its difficulties, hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts have studied Volapük.
By the end of the 1880s there were more than 200 Volapük societies and clubs around the world and 25 Volapük journals. Over 1500 diplomas in Volapük had been awarded. In 1889, when the third international Volapük congress was held in Paris, the proceedings were entirely in Volapük. Worldwide, everyone had at least heard of it. President Grover Cleveland’s wife even named her dog Volapük. (Public Domain Review)
Not to be outdone, Dr. L.L. Zamenhof, a Polish eye doctor, constructed an international language between 1877 and 1887 that he called “Esperanto”. Unlike Father Schleyer’s Volapuk, Esperanto was designed simply to serve as a common second language. Like Volapuk, the majority of Esperanto’s roots are based on Latin, and some vocabulary is taken from modern Romance languages, and from English, German, Polish and Russian. For instance: “Mia denaska lingvo estas la angla. Mi lernas Esperanton. Mi ankaŭ parolas la francan:” Or, “My native language is English. I learn Esperanto. I also speak French.”(Esperanto.com)
Esperanto too has a wide reach. Its World Esperanto Association has members in 121 countries. In addition to individuals, 70 national Esperanto organizations are affiliated with the Universal Esperanto Association, which was founded in 1908 with headquarters in Rotterdam and an office at the United Nations in New York City.
Today, Volapuk is still alive and well. Esperanto is particularly popular in Eastern Europe and China.
Google: The voice search service of the Google in your smartphone devices now also supports 3rd party applications. So from the next time when you want to use this feature just say ‘Ok Google’ even though you are accessing the applications that are developed by the other platform developers.
THIRD-PARTY APPS ARE NOW SUPPORTED BY ‘OK GOOGLE’ VOICE COMMANDS
“Today, we introduced Google’s 1st set of companions for the custom feature on Android to perform actions with the Google voice.”
“This feature will help the users somewhat like this or show some attractions which are near on the TripAdvisor or something like ‘Ok Google, just listen to NPR,” announced by Google in a meet for a Google Plus account for the Android Developers.
As for now, Google is been testing its features with few limited partners which includes, Zillow, TuneIn, NPR One, TripAdvisor and Flixster.
The voice administration perceives around nine dialects including English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. The highlight accompanies a solitary API key that backings various gadgets, for example, tablets, smart devices, and the Android Wear-based wearables.
This new highlight doesn’t comes as a shock given Google has been attempting to push its ‘alright Google’ voice orders, much the same as Apple has been coordinating Siri into the majority of its items. With backing for outsider applications, Google just makes a stride forward in making things a little less demanding for its clients.
Previously it used to work on only Google platforms but with the latest advancement in their voice orders, it is used much more by the users, which is the thing wanted by the Google.
One can easily access any app with this voice order of Google which make the things very easier and simpler.
So, this a good move from the Google towards its users comfort.
Language barriers have long been an issue in many industries, and with the increase of various language speaking citizens in the US, this problem is felt even more strongly within the Healthcare field. More than 46 million people in the United States do not speak English as their primary language, yet everyone needs medical care at one point or another. This language-gap can cause serious issues with miscommunication between the doctor and the patient, causing a lack of proper treatment and can even lead to potentially fatal medical-related errors.
This being the case, currently most health care organizations can only provide limited interpreting services, or even no services at all, relying solely on the patient’s family members, friends or non-fluent bilingual staff members to help communicate with the patient. Even when there are people available to help as much as they can, there are no guarantees they are fluent enough to translate the medical jargon accurately. So why aren’t interpreting services more prevalent? Many healthcare facilities do not want to shoulder the financial burden of keeping language interpreters on hand. Since there is no way of knowing what native-language patient will be arriving and when, there would have to be multiple language interpreters standing by at all times. This, of course, would result in a massive expenditure that may or may not even be utilized.
For these reasons, many healthcare facilities are looking toward more cost-effective and efficient solutions. Translation Cloud has met this need head on (figuratively and literally), by offering face to face interpreting solutions via live-streaming video remote interpretation (VRI). Through Translation Cloud’s services, healthcare facilities will be set up with custom iPads that come installed with an easy to use app which connects the user directly to Translation Cloud’s interpreting service at the tap of their finger.
“We wanted to offer healthcare providers interpreting services that were all inclusive and easy to use right off the bat. That’s why we decided on VRI utilizing the iPad platform as a base. This way, doctors can easily carry the device around from room to room, and have immediate interpreting services available should they need it,” says Alex Buran, CEO of Translation Cloud. “Doctors have hard enough jobs as it is, they shouldn’t have to worry about language barriers and miscommunications.”
Unlike other industries where a mistranslation might lead to a relatively small misunderstanding, or at the worst, a small financial cost to re-print the documents, healthcare mistranslations could lead to more serious medical issues. Having language gaps are not just problematic. They are a major cause for concern to both patients and the healthcare facilities. That is why translation companies with proven track-records like Translation Cloud are stepping up to the plate. “We take what we do very seriously, and that is why all of our interpreters not only sign strict confidentiality agreements, but we also only utilize interpreters with pre-screened medical backgrounds to ensure the highest quality translations for this field,” Alex went on to state. “We know what’s at stake and we put our reputations on the line, so rest assured we only use the best qualified translators in the field.”
With over ten years of experience in the translation industry, Alex and Translation Cloud are eager to take on the important and much needed task of healthcare interpretation. As more and more facilities adopt this practice, Translation Cloud aims to be at the forefront of the industry.
Everybody knows Jackie Chan. He’s a martial artist, an actor, a filmmaker, a singer and more. What he is not is a bus stop in Sichuan, China.
As noted by Austin Ramzy (via Eric Jou) on Twitter, the bus stop named “The University Jackie Chan Campus Station” is apparently a computerised translation fail.
The institution is Sichuan Normal University, which is the oldest teacher college (aka normal university) in the region.
So, instead of “The University Jackie Chan Campus Station”, which is a great bus stop name and which is totally wrong, it should mirror the correct Chinese written on the sign and read, “The Sichuan Normal University Duang Campus Station”.
While you might think the sign looks Photoshopped, Chengdu Daily confirmed that it’s a real mistake and reports that the goof will be replaced.
I hope the new sign reads “The University Sammo Hung Campus Station.” As it should.
DHARWAD: In the wake of the Supreme Court's verdict against making the mother tongue the compulsory medium of instruction in primary schools, several organizations have come together to chalk out a strategy to save regional languages and ensure that children are taught in their mother tongue at the primary level.
Karnataka Jana Sahitya Sanghatane, the Kannada Development Authority, the University of Agricultural Sciences and the Karnataka State Primary School Teachers' Association, along with other pro-Kannada organizations, will conduct a two-day brainstorming session at the Karnataka Vidyavardhaka Sangha, beginning Saturday.
Anil Sadgopal from Bhopal will inaugurate the session at 10.30am. Writer Devanur Mahadev, Prasanna and Gurulinga Kapse will speak. There will be special sessions on 'Mother Tongue as Medium of Instruction: Myth and Reality', 'Policies of the Government', and 'Market Policy'. On Sunday, the experts will discuss legal issues, political issues and people's movements.
Jogasingh from Patiala, Hargopal from Hyderabad, Gajendra Babu from Chennai, writers MS Ashadevi, advocate general Ravivarma Kumar, MLC YSV Datta and others will participate in the discussions. A 'Dharwad Declaration' on the outcome of the seminar will be announced on Saturday evening.
CANANDAIGUA — The Farmington man who admitted to stabbing his roommate in the abdomen in November 2014 has requested that his guilty plea be taken off the table.
Robert Tucker, the attorney representing 32-year-old Cristobal Xocol-Tzep, submitted an application withdrawing his client's February guilty plea that carried with it a seven-year prison sentence.
According to the defense attorney, the crux of the withdrawal application centers on his client's lack of understanding of the judicial process due to a language barrier.
Xocol-Tzep was slated to be sentenced Monday afternoon in Ontario County Court. In February, Xocol-Tzep pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted assault, a class C felony, in exchange for the prison sentence offered by the Ontario County District Attorney's Office.
After Monday's hearing, Tucker noted that throughout the case, Xocol-Tzep — a Guatemala citizen who does not know English —has had a Spanish interpreter accompany him during hearings.
According to Tucker, Xocol-Tzep's native language isn't Spanish, but Quiche — a Mayan Indian dialect. Xocol-Tzep didn't begin to learn Spanish until he was an adult.
"Even though he speaks some Spanish, and can be conversed to in that way, there is some question on if he can really understand everything that was going on during the proceedings and during his guilty plea," Tucker said.
Xocol-Tzep has a fifth-grade education that he received in Guatemala, the country where he spent the majority of his life, Tucker added. Xocol-Tzep, who came to the U.S. to work, is not a U.S. citizen, nor has he taken any classes toward naturalization.
"To presume that he understands the United States judicial system is a bit of a stretch," the attorney added. "We're not really sure it was adequately explained to him to the point where he understood that unlike in Guatemala, he has the right to a jury, the right to a trial, the right to defenses — everything that the Constitution provides."
The defense attorney added that, from the beginning, his client has told police that he stabbed his 27-year-old roommate in self-defense.
According to court documents, through an interpreter, Xocol-Tzep explained the incident, which took place at approximately 6 a.m. Nov. 10, 2014, to a member of the Ontario County Sheriff's Office.
In the statement, Xocol-Tzep said he and his roommate were playing a game of cards when the victim became angry. According to the statement, the defendant said that his roommate then began hitting him.
The translation of what happened next is ambiguous, as Xocol-Tzep allegedly said that he didn't know where the knife was, or how it got into his possession, but regardless, the knife ended up in his hand. Xocol-Tzep said that he then "struck the man once with the knife."
"I defended myself," Xocol-Tzep said through the translator. "He attacked me first."
The victim has since recovered from the wound.
Tucker said in court documents that when Xocol-Tzep entered the guilty plea, he was unaware that it included a prison sentence, and that his client assumed that it mean he would be deported.
Tucker noted that he intends to slow down discussions with him regarding the case moving forward to ensure that Xocol-Tzep understands the process.
Monday afternoon's adjournment was the third time Xocol-Tzep's sentencing has been adjourned. In the past it was due to a lack of a translator, and then a switch in representation.
The withdrawal application will be addressed during a hearing at 10 a.m. April 27.
As mobile continues to grow, as more smartphones are bought, and as more apps are developed, we have also seen the growth of businesses like “app store optimization” and other services around optimizing for mobile.
But what exactly are users doing on their phones? Is mobile SEO just going to be about “chasing the algorithm” and using the signals we learn through testing like traditional SEO? Or is there something bigger out there that we are missing?
As I write this, I have to remind myself that I am the minority and that most users are not as “technically minded” as myself or my internet-obsessed peers. I tend to search through the app stores to see what’s new. I scour tech sites, my RSS feeds, and other tech reporters on social media to see what’s changing in the market.
The average user in society does not behave this way, despite what some reports might say. The average user is looking for simplicity and wants information spoon-fed to them. They don’t want to search at all; in fact, the data suggest that they aren’t searching all that much on their phones to begin with:
The average person with an Android smartphone is using it to search the web, from a browser, only 1.25 times per day.
Roi Carthy, head of special projects at Everything.Me
Kind of makes you wonder what people are actually doing on their phones, right?
What People Do (And Don’t Do) On Smartphones
Almost all users, if not all users, use their phones with apps. They are highly engaged in social media, playing games, and communicating. But what most users are not doing regularly is conducting searches in a browser, let alone within the app store. The data suggest that users are more interested in the usefulness of the apps they have– they don’t necessarily search to find new ones that solve a need.
Context Will Solve The App Discovery Problem
Contextual understanding is about giving people the information they want when they need it the most. Remove the hard work for them and deliver what they will likely want at that exact moment.
As an example: I am a frequent user of Uber and GetTaxi, but what if I land in a city where neither of those apps work? I can either call a taxi or find a comparable app, though it’s unlikely that I am going to take out my phone right then and start searching the app store.
Bridging that gap with a contextual app discovery engine would solve for that by algorithmically recommending relevant apps to me based on my behavior, location, and/or other factors.
But this contextual understanding can span far beyond apps.
Adding Context To Search
Google has been personalizing search results for a years now using our search history and social activity. This is, however, limited to activity within Google products.
Imagine for a moment you are on a strict workout regimen, tracking the calories eaten on a phone app. Google may find this information useful when you perform a search for recipes. The results could be impacted by the calorie limit you set. Or better yet, Google could strive to understand your general eating habits and show different recipes at different times of days to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Thinking Beyond Search
When the industry talks about context, limiting this to search and apps alone is a mistake. It needs to incorporate other parts of our daily activities for it to truly work. Just look at your Amazon recommendations after you search for “bachelor party favors,” or the Netflix history when there is trouble in paradise. The results can be terrifying, inaccurate, and not a true reflection of your interests. There needs to be more context behind it.
Google Now Is Contextual, But Not Necessarily Integrated
Google has been headed into the world of context more and more. Sometimes, the integration can be so incredibly seamless it’s frightening. Take, for example, how Google scans your email for various information like flights.
When my mother was visiting us from abroad, I was supposed to drive her to the airport around 6:30 p.m. for her 11:00 p.m. flight — that is, until I got a notification on my phone that her flight was delayed.
So, I casually said to her, “Mom, your flight is delayed.”
“How do you know?”
“My phone just told me,” I responded. It was so natural.
A part of me thought, “Google, stay out of my life!” But the more technically savvy part thought that it was truly a magical experience.
Contextual Understanding Moves To Everything
Take that example a step further. What if my phone had found a way to provide discounts to the airport bar — or, in the event of a flight cancellation, a possible hotel recommendation using HotelTonight or a similar app?
The possibilities are endless. It’s just about mixing and matching permissions across apps and having one program smart enough to do that.
Permit me some examples:
Navigation & Travel
When I turn my phone on, Waze understands (or predicts) where I will be traveling based on numerous factors.
Waze does use predictive technology to some extent with ads they show when you stop, but there is still room for a significant amount of personalization to occur. The opportunities are limitless to guess what I will do next and connect me with my friends across the network.
Wearable Technology Serving Ads In Context
The Fitbit I own tracks how far I am walking, my speed, calories burned, sleep, and other various components. That is an incredible amount of data that could significantly enhance my mobile experience.
Using this data, my phone can start making predictions based on how fast I am moving or where I am geographically located. If the data tells Google I had a bad night sleep, and missed my bus, a nearby local coffee shop may decide to serve me a coupon for a free cup of coffee to get me in the door. Or, based on my eating habits (which come from the food app I am using), and depending on the time of day and the direction I am driving, it could suggest a nearby restaurant that fits that category but is new to me.
Facebook understands who my wife is based on my relationship status. My phone also has the capability to “always listen” (cue “OK Google”).
Imagine for a second I am out, and a certain song comes on: the song that played at our wedding. SoundHound, which is a song recognition app, could pick that signal up and remind me to send my wife flowers, just because.
A Rainy Day Solution
Lets say I have a family outing planned at the county fair. As fate would have it, storms start rolling in. Understanding this, I might get a recommendations for alternative indoor plans, keeping me one step ahead of the crowd. Perhaps Lazer Tag.
The Future Is Around the Corner
We see this happening in silos right now so I don’t think this is so far off. Some apps are getting smarter, Google Now is providing additional context around our lives. But this fusion hasn’t entirely happened yet. It will only be a matter of time before someone decides to utilize this data to effectively make “a decision engine” for us, the end users. This contextual understanding is the future, and it’s only a matter of time.
The dynamic search engine we know today will be significantly altered in the future. The future is about understanding user behavior online and offline. Perhaps the future of optimization has nothing to do with the internet at all, but everything to do with optimizing the user’s experience, helping shape their behavior, which will ultimately affect everything.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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Still enjoying that leftover Easter chocolate? You might be less enthusiastic about it if you knew more about the questionable labor practices behind much of what’s in the candy aisle, or if you realized that a lot of your favorite bars might not technically be chocolate at all.
But let’s assume that you want to eat something that is actually chocolate, and that you care about quality. You’re looking beyond those candy-aisle bars of your youth to find something made with higher-quality beans, or with more ethical labor standards, or that’s simply more interesting—and more delicious. Where do you kick off the search?
You might not begin with the fancy seals increasingly seen on chocolate-bar labels, for starters. “We look for chocolate made by thoughtful makers that represent a good understanding of the equipment, the raw materials, and the marketplace for fine chocolate.” said Aubrey Lindley of Cacao in Portland, Oregon. “The stamps and certifications labels are simply not useful to us. There are almost no regulations controlling the information that people put on the label other than the definition of chocolate, and the weight, and the ingredients.”
The chocolate that Cacao seeks out includes bars made by manufacturers like Rogue and Venezuela’s Kakao. Before you do your own shopping—because chocolate-eating season doesn’t end when the Easter Bunny’s work is done—here are seven key terms to become familiar with.
Cacao (or Cocoa) Percentage
“The percentage indicates the amount of cacao—cacao mass, cacao butter—in the bar,” Lindley said. “The rest of the percentage is going to be sugar and whatever else the maker wants to add—vanilla, emulsifiers, nuts, caramel, et cetera.” So the cacao percentage you see on the label refers to the total mass of the ingredients that comes from the cacao bean, which includes the mass (ground-up cacao beans) and the butter (the isolated fat of the cacao bean that’s sometimes added back to the chocolate for a smoother mouth feel). Generally, the higher the cacao percentage, the more intense chocolatey-ness (and less sweetness) you can expect. A higher percentage doesn’t necessarily mean a better-quality bar, or vice versa; it’s just a hint of the kind of flavor you’ll get.
Lindley said his job would be a lot easier if there were words on the ingredient label to immediately indicate that a chocolate is high quality. Plain dark chocolate needs only cacao and sugar, he said, but quality chocolate can have extra ingredients. “Additional ingredients that are common are added cocoa butter, vanilla, and lecithin,” he explained. “None of these ingredients would disqualify a bar from being good quality.” And some bars mix in ingredients like nuts, fruit, and spices to vary the flavor and texture.
“Generally I find there is an inverse relationship between label modifiers and quality—the more stamps and seals and qualifiers it has, the poorer that quality.” Lindley said. “I suspect this typically is a result of larger companies having more money to pay for various certifications and stickers.” Labeling terms that send up red flags for him include all-natural, vegan, non-GMO, gluten free, and fair trade—and he notes that many of the high-end chocolate products he carries do in fact fit those terms, but just don’t have the official seals and labels saying so.
Fair trade certification generally means the base commodity price for cacao was at least $200, Lindley said—a higher selling price for the cacao beans should mean a better price for the farmer, which in turn means the farmer makes a better living. But fair trade isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be, Lindley explained. “This is an extreme simplification of the issues, but generally the conclusion is that fair-trade certification has a very questionable benefit to either the consumer or the farmer,” he said. “High-quality cacao is usually purchased at prices many times over the fair-trade minimum standard. This requires a short communication chain. Truly, the only way to know what is going on is to know the maker, and for them to know the farmer.”
Lindley referred to knowing the maker and the farmer—and this is where direct trade comes in. Direct trade is what it sounds like: a direct relationship between the manufacturer and the farmer, where the beans are purchased directly from the farms where they are produced. This allows the manufacturer to not only ensure the quality of the beans, but also to provide the farmer with a better price for his crop by cutting out the middleman and to have first-hand information about the wages and working conditions for the farm’s employees. Taza Chocolate was an early leader in direct trade for the chocolate industry, and developed its own direct-trade certification program in 2010.
Single source (or single origin) is a selling point for some fans of high-quality coffee—it refers to beans that come from a single source, which can be defined as broadly as a single country or region or as specifically as a single farm. The same is true for chocolate, where single source refers to where the cacao beans were produced and not where the chocolate itself was made. Focusing on beans from a particular region allows for the creation of chocolate that has unique qualities and flavor profiles, thanks to the ways that different growing conditions and techniques can influence the taste of the beans.
However, a chocolate maker’s art and skill of blending cacao beans from several origins to create a consistent flavor profile in a signature chocolate is not to be underestimated. Single-source chocolate isn’t by definition superior to blended chocolate; it’s just a better way to showcase the distinctive qualities of exquisite beans that can stand on their own.
In the United States, a product must meet the FDA’s standards for organic certification to carry the certified organic labeling. However, there are many reasons why a chocolate may fit most—or even all—of the standards but still not have that label. The product could meet nearly all of the standards, for example. Or it could meet them all, but not have the financial means to get the certification. So a product with the FDA-approved organic labeling definitely meets a particular set of standards—but that doesn’t mean a product without that labeling doesn’t.
While there’s a lot of gray area in chocolate terminology, don’t let it overwhelm you. Think of it as an opportunity. If you have a chocolate shop in your area with a passionate, knowledgeable staff, they’ll gladly fill you in on the background of any bar they carry, and help you find chocolates with the flavor profiles you find most pleasing.
Terri Coles is a freelance writer living in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She’s a recovering picky eater.
Pierre J. Mejlak's Dak li l-lejl ihallik tghid translated into 'Having Said Goodnight' by Clare Vassallo and Antoine Cassar thanks to EU Prize.
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Each of his literary outings has been a huge hit, both with critics but also – especially – with readers who even when not fans of Maltese literature flocked to his inimitable style of evocative, sensual and haunting writing. Pierre J. Mejlak is possibly one of the most unique writers on the contemporary Maltese scene.
His 2011 success Dak li l-lejl iħallik tgħid went on to win Malta’s National Book Award, and last year received the highest European honour for a work of literature: the European Union Prize for Literature, only the second time this prestigious prize has been awarded to a Maltese author.
And now, to make this oeuvre available to a much wider audience, Merlin Publishers have just released the book in English translation. Having said goodnight has been translated by Antoine Cassar and Clare Vassallo. It contains all the short stories of the original, together with a surprise for all Mejlak fans: three previously unpublished stories: The ironing board, The crow and The parrot’s cry.
In trademark Mejlak style, the stories move between past and future, centre and periphery, real and imaginary. A woman is overjoyed at the news her husband has been found dead. A crow breaks into a young couple’s flat, smashing perceptions and assumptions, and a dying father sends his son on a journey to meet an old flame. A young boy builds friendships with burnt matchsticks and a widow makes her husband’s manuscript her own.
The rights to Having said goodnight have been bought by publishers in various European countries, where translations of the book will be published in 2016. And, truly making this one of the most international of Maltese books ever, Having said goodnight is being launched at Waterstones in Brussels, on World Book Day, as well as being celebrated at a dedicated event in London. Meanwhile, the Department of Translation Studies within the Faculty of Arts of the University of Malta is hosting Mejlak and celebrating the English translation of his work during an event on campus.
In the words of the jury of the European Union Prize for Literature: “This is a book about storytelling, not only as a form of pleasure that is shared between writer and reader but more importantly as a gift that’s given with love and needs love to be appreciated.”
Having said goodnight is available from all bookshops, and online directly from www.merlinpublishers.com
Got your hair terminology in a tangle? We don't blame you, the last year alone has seen the world of hair styling, colour and cutting add at least a dozen words to its lingo. So, from 'balayage' to 'Brazilian blow-dries', argan oil to 'wobs' we give you the 2015 hair dictionary. Now your best tressed intentions won't get lost in translation.
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Argan oil: As hair experts at Hairtrade.com explained, "argan oil is extracted from the argan tree's fruit, which only grows in a small area of the south-west of Morocco. The extraction process is very labour intensive, hence the high price tags." With the kernel's oil yielding powerful anti-oxidants, as well as tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols and fatty acids, the oil has moisturising benefits both on the skin and hair, which is why you'll find it working its way into mainstream smoothing, hydrating hair products (L'Oreal Paris has just launched its own) and also why the Moroccan government is hoping to increase annual production to 4,000 tonnes by 2020.
Balayage: Meaning to 'sweep' or 'paint' in French, balayage is a colour application method used in-salon to mimic the way the sun would naturally lighten your hair - in streaks. Applied using freehand, the idea is that the stylist can also be more creative, and the look is more natural - while roots and regrowth is almost invisible. There's also the added benefit that hair colour, or bleach, should only saturate the ends and merely coat the lengths, which means extra damage limitation.
Lily Aldridge, models balayage, beautifully.
Brazilian blow-dry: This isn't a straightening treatment, it's a hair smoothing, or even relaxing, treatment. The treatment works by building the keratin (protein) in your hair back up again, so that the hair shaft is smooth, and your hair transforms into a glossy, silky barnet - which is why it's ideal for unruly, wiry, curly hair, and also why it knocks time off your DIY blow-dry. But be warned, there are the good, the bad and the ugly, so make sure that the formaldehyde levels are under 0.02 per cent, and that your stylist has previous experience with the treatment.
Buzzcut: The super short, Marine style 'do created by clippers (we're talking grade number one or two max here) or a razor. Its female celebrity pin-up? Demi Moore in her hit 1997 movie, GI Jane.
IN PICTURES - Celebrities with buzz cuts
Chignon: Don't confuse chignons with 'bouffants,' ("that being big, voluminous hair that stands out from the head in a rounded shape, a la Bardot," says Hairtrade.com). The clue is in the name, which comes from the French phrase "chignon du cou," which translates as nape of the neck, to give you an idea. A chignon therefore refers to any up-'do where hair is twisted or tied at the nape of the neck.
Chignon's at Marchesa's 2013 autumn/winter show.
Cuticle: Highlighted by Hairtrade.com as something we need to know about, hair cuticles are the protective layer which covers the shaft of the hair, and which can become compromised by the sun, styling and colour. Get your hands on products to smooth the cuticle (see Brazilian blow-dry and argan oil) if you care about the health of your hair.
Digital curl: Developed in Japan the digital curl treatment, of which the Momoko brand is most popular, this is 2015's version of a perm. Using different sized hot rods attached to a digitally controlled machine which sets the temperature and curl, this semi-permanent treatment creates soft waves from the mid-sections to ends for a natural looking curl, rather than tight coils. It lasts three to six months, hair condition pending.
READ - 10 Best: hair styling products
Dry shampoo: Chances are, if you're reading this, you probably know what dry shampoo is already. But as one of the UK's best selling products, it's made it into our mane dictionary. Usually in spray or powder form, these miracles workers, originally made from arrowroot or cornstarch, use fine powder to dry out any excess oil to leave hair feeling and looking fresh and dry again - and eke out an extra day between washes. They also work wonders if you want to add volume, so should actually be categorised under 'styling products.'
Batiste Dry Shampoo, from £2.99 at Boots.com
Gringe: Take the 'g' and 'r' from 'grown out', and the 'f' from fringe and you get 'gringe,' the grown-out fringe, as seen on Alexa Chung.
Alexa Chung demos the 'gringe' and she does it well. Photo: Rex
Ionic hairdryers: As bionic as they sound, this clever new generation of hairdryers emit negative ions which break down water moleclues into much smaller particles. What does that mean? Less drying and frying time, and say the whizzkids behind this technology much shinier, healthier hair.
Babyliss Pro GT Ionic II Dryer (2000W), £30
Lob/Wob/Pob: All reworkings of the classic shoulder-length bob, the lob, wob and pob are named after their own new lengths, or in fact the celebrity who inspired it. The Lob is the long bob (as worn on Taylor Swift), the Wob is the wavy bob (as worn on Jennifer Lawrence), and finally, the Pob, is the asymmetric bob as seen on Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, circa 2006. (If you're not sure which of the 'obs' to go for, head to George Northwood's Bob Bar. Each booking includes a bob consultation, using wigs to work out what best stlye suits you.)
Victoria Beckham and her POB. Photo: Rex.
Lowlights : Unlike highlights, which add lightness by way of paler colours worked into your hair, lowlights add darker shades, again in strands and streaks. It works well on anyone with a great base colour, but not at all on anyone with super-dark hair already.
Ombre: Meaning 'shadow', this is essentially dip-dyed hair, which characteristically starts with one colour at the roots and ends on another completely at the ends. The most popular two-tone choice is brunette going through to blonde at the tips, but extreme versions also include crazy coloured purple, blue and pink tipped hair.
Rita Ora with her crazy dip-dyped ombre. Forehead snake not included. Photo: Instagram/ritaora
IN PICTURES - Celebrities with crazy coloured hair in pictures
Winge: A fringe, by way of a mini-wig. We kid you not. Clip in fringes can be found at Hersheson's for £30, www.hershesons.com.
This is how the Hersheson Clip in Fringe will look, in Hersheson theory.
Undercut: Possibly named after its geographical namesake, the cut away under a cliff, in hair terms this refers to a much shorter, shaved even, length on the sides compared to that on top. In its extreme reinventions you will see shaved sides, often hidden by much, much longer lengths on top - Rihanna's a fan.
Rihanna and her old friend, the undercut. Photo: Rex
In a move that could trigger a row, the Maharashtra government has decided to make it mandatory for multiplexes to show at least one Marathi film during prime time hours in the evening.
“One hall in every multiplex in the state would have to screen a Marathi language film in an evening show,” Vinod Tawde, state’s minister for Cultural Affairs who also heads the Marathi language department, said on Tuesday.
Tawde said that theatres would also be asked to air a minute-long documentary on Dadasaheb Phalke’s contribution to the film industry before the start of the Marathi film.
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“Multiplexes give step-sisterly treatment to Marathi films. They are denied prime slots and hence this kind of a norm needs to be brought in,” the minister said, adding that the state law and judiciary department had already given its consent to the new norm.
Speaking to reporters outside the state legislature building, Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said: “It is not right for the government to impose a condition on what time the Marathi language film should be screened”.
Marathi filmmaker Ravi Jadhav welcomed the move. “I have been waiting for this decision for two years. The Marathi film audience is family oriented and the earlier show timings would be odd. Marathi films will now be on a level playing field with Hindi films. On the other hand, it is a big responsibility for the Marathi film industry to stand out in the prime time slot,” he said.
Business head of Fun Cinemas Anand Vishal said: “There is already a rule that we have to keep 210 shows for Marathi films through the day in one year. No one exactly knows the nitty-gritties of the new rule and whether it is inclusive of the existing norm. We are waiting for clarity on that front. Even if the new rule is exclusive of that, we are fine with it since films will have to work on merit. People will watch Marathi films over Hindi films if the content is good”.
HOTELbeat adds a translation module which allows hotel employees to instantly change the language being displayed to the language selected by the user: Spanish or Tagalog for example. This feature allows hotel staff to better communicate by removing language barriers, and eliminates the unintentional havoc that misinterpreted messages can potentially wreak on hotel operations and guest service.
HOTELbeat's multi-lingual functionality provides much more than just the conversion of text on a page. Instead, it acts as an instantaneous translation tool between employees who speak different languages, with customization for key hospitality-centric phrases and terminology, a unique feature that makes it even more effective. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, English proficiency is a key challenge in the hospitality industry, since a large percentage of the workforce does not speak English as their primary language. With this added functionality, all HOTELbeat clients will now be able to choose languages other than English to best suit their employees' needs.
Using the updated HOTELbeat platform, employees can change their language of choice on the “my settings" page. Everything in HOTELbeat will be instantly translated to the selected language. Moving forward, any entry typed will also appear in the user's selected language. Once the translation is activated on the desktop software, HOTELbeat's mobile application will also reflect the staff member's language of choice. While the interactive language will change, HOTELbeat's core functional areas, such as clean, repair, and lost and found, will remain consistent, eliminating any confusion related to navigation.
Yeah ...nah - getting a grip on Kiwis jibber-jabber can be hard slog.
But author Noel Kelly isn't one to shy away from doing the hard yards and has taken a tiki tour into the wop wops of slang.
The Auckland resident's Dictionary of Slang in New Zealand contains more than 32,000 informal words and expressions.
The book has taken five years to produce and Kelly reckons it's the first time anyone has attempted to comprehensively explain or record Kiwi jargon.
Kelly, who spent 15 years working in England, began collecting slang while he was attempting to write a novel.
"I was looking at developing the character through the language so I started putting together a list of Kiwi expressions which were different to the English ones," he says.
"But the list-making took over and the novel went into the bottom drawer and the next five years was spent doing this."
The former bookshop owner says he spent a lot of time researching the meanings of different expressions.
"Like all dictionaries and including slang you go back to other sources," he says.
"I haven't got a lot of knowledge so I created lists and then gave them to friends and acquaintances that have better knowledge."
Kelly, now a fulltime writer, says the dictionary was based on Sidney Baker's, New Zealand slang: A Dictionary of Colloquialisms which was published in the 1940s.
But his modern work also focuses on contemporary terms and includes slang he has seen used in New Zealand, regardless of its origin.
Deciding whether an entry has true Kiwi heritage is often impossible, Kelly says.
"A lot of slang starts on the edge with young people, with drugs and in prisons interesting enough, but a lot of that doesn't survive because it's very localised and very specialised," he says.
"When you're doing something like this there is always the problem of what to leave out as much as what you put in.
"It's really the editing which is the most difficult part of it."
He says researching slang is a never-ending exercise and he plans to release a second edition of the dictionary.
"As soon as it went to print I'd already got a list of 40 expressions that I've heard since that New Zealanders are using."
- Auckland City Harbour News
ABU DHABI // You’ve taken Arabic classes and consider yourself almost fluent … but how well do you speak Emirati?
Probably not well at all, but help is at hand.
A pocket dictionary of the UAE’s unique brand of Arabic has been published for visitors and expats.
Spoken Emirati Phrasebook contains English translations for 1,500 words and phrases that are uniquely Emirati.
The book was written by Hanan Al Fardan and Abdulla Al Kaabi of Al Ramsa Institute, which provides training in local Arabic and gives students a chance to interact with Emiratis.
Mr Al Kaabi said the book would provide readers with accurate pronunciation to make reading and learning the local dialect easier.
Sultan Al Ameemi, the book’s editor, said: “The Emirati language is very loved and beautiful. People want to learn it.”
The book includes tips on learning the dialect and simplified translations of greetings, colours, numbers, emotions, professions and many other categories.
Mr Al Kaabi, 31, said the team began working on it about 18 months ago, collecting the information, then going through the auditing process to have it approved by its publisher, The Poetry Academy at the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee.
“The book has approximately 120 pages with 1,500 terms and phrases that an expatriate would need on a daily basis. We include the term in the Emirati dialect, plus its English translation, and how to enunciate it,” he said.
The book includes words that are likely to be used every day in most situations. Mr Al Kaabi said the first few pages included greetings and responses, along with many of the most common words.
“We have questions, numbers, family members, and, more importantly, words used on occasions – for example when someone is travelling, or how to congratulate when someone gives birth,” he said. The book also advises on differences in addressing men and women.
The authors asked expatriates to read the words to ensure the book was teaching them the correct enunciations.
“The purpose was to fix the pronunciation. So we changed the characters of the terms, like the ‘i’ or ‘e’ in certain words, to aid in the correct pronunciation,” Mr Al Kaabi said.
He said the book could also help Emiratis to learn basic English.
It also has a page dedicated to “Arabizy”, a style of informal writing where Arabic words are written with English letters and numbers.
Mr Al Ameemi, who is also manager of The Poetry Academy, said the book was especially handy given the UAE’s multinational population.
“Many people come to the UAE for tourism, to live or to work, for short and long periods of time,” he said. “It is with no doubt that many wish to learn the language to be able to communicate with Emiratis and identify the culture, and that rises from the good image of the UAE and its people.”
The book will be sold at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair next month.
The Global Machine Translation market to grow at a CAGR of 23.53% over the period 2014-2019
Machine translation (MT) is the translation of words by a computer from one language to another. It is one of the major sub-fields of computational linguistics, and deals with statistical or rule-based modeling of natural language. It enables speedy translation of documents and content. It is a cost-effective method employed by several companies to create multilingual content for a global website.
This report covers the present scenario and the growth prospects of the Global Machine Translation market during the period 2015-2019. For ascertaining the market size and vendor share, the report considers revenue obtained from the sales of machine translation services nd products.
One of the major trends emerging in the market is the integration of the translation process in the project plan. Many companies with a global presence do not have a dedicated multilingual website to reach out to every region. This might hinder their growth as several users worldwide might be proficient only in their native languages.
According to the report, the volume of business content that needs to be translated has increased to a great extent because of rapidly growing industries. Hence, machine translation has become imperative to make content available in regional languages for users worldwide.
Further, the report states that the dominance of human translators worldwide is a major challenge to the growth of the market. End-users still prefer human translation over machine translation, and this trend is expected to continue during the forecast period of 2015-2019.
By Bahk Eun-ji
Professor Hwang Seung-won at the Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) has been working to make Internet search engines more intelligent with the use of big data.
When Internet users try to search for someone or something popular, the results come flying back instantly.
However, queries with vague terms are often automatically reformulated into complicated ones that take longer to provide results.
Hwang and her team have sought to use big data to come up with solutions to respond more effectively and more quickly to various types of users' queries.
Achieving a consistently fast response time, regardless of the obscurity of the search term, is a challenging goal for her.
To tackle this challenge, she has joined with Microsoft Research.
Microsoft Research has been running a talent training platform over the last 10 years to support joint research between business and academia in Korea.
It has been running more than 200 research projects to support the program at schools for students in the engineering and IT fields.
Hwang's research is to make Microsoft's search engine Bing smarter.
"The goal of the collaborative project is to improve Bing search results," Hwang said in an interview.
She said that even a few queries that take too long to process can undermine user satisfaction. It can also have a negative impact on the revenue of search engine operators.
Hwang graduated from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 1998, and began to teach computer science at POSTECH in 2005.
Hwang said her interest in big data led her to dig into the project.
In their research on how to reduce the latency in returning results, researchers in the team must predict whether a query takes a long time to process and needs extra resources, such as selective parallelization.
Hwang's team has developed techniques that first identify and then quicken the time needed to answer queries that take more time to reply, thereby improving server throughput by more than 70 percent in experimental trials.
For example, by using past query logs, the team has developed a predictor that spots tail queries with a rate of accuracy of more than 98 percent.
Those time-consuming queries are then handled by a resource manager that the team has perfected, which allocates additional hardware resources to the troublesome queries.
These new techniques have been presented at top-tier conferences, including SIGIR 2014 and WSDM 2015, where the work received a runner-up award.
Hwang said the research project with the Microsoft Research team has allowed them to solve important problems involving search functions for Microsoft and the entire IT industry.
"This technology will eventually provide optimized search results whatever the individual needs, especially in the forthcoming Internet of Things (IoT) era," Hwang said.
In a recent study, the scientists at the University of Durham have recorded the sounds made by Asian gibbons to study the evolution of the human speech. The study has revealed that the apes are sophisticated communicators who use a variety of calls to communicate with their counterparts.
The researchers suspect that the study of the gibbon speech and their soft “hoo-calls” can provide clues to how the human speech evolved. Durham scientists claim that the Asian apes use more than 450 types of calls to communicate with their companions, including the melodic “song-like” calls. To transfer a message with secretive information, including those related to predation and foraging, gibbons tend to use whispering technique to talk to other organism from the same species.
“These animals are extraordinarily vocal creatures and give us the rare opportunity to study the evolution of complex vocal communication in a non-human primate,” said the lead researcher, Dr Esther Clarke, reported The Independent.
“In the future, gibbon vocalisations may reveal much about the processes that shape vocal communication, and because they are an ape species, they may be one of our best hopes at tracing the evolution of human communication,” she continued.
The researchers conducted their study on the group of lar gibbons in a forest of northeast Thailand. From morning to evening, the team went on to record any specific sounds that the gibbons made, noting down the events that elicit their calls.
The researchers analysed a total of 450 sounds to establish a link between the audio pattern and the purpose on which the call was recorded. The female hoo-calls were similar to the ones by males, however, they were lower in frequency.
The research has been published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.
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I say prove it.
Today. Barton told co-host Rick Green that he was once fluent in Russian and translated for the Russian National Gymnastics Team in 1976. His fluency has left him now he says, but at one time he was called on to translate for Russian gymnasts.
Color me skeptical.
David Barton told Charis Bible College students that he played Division One basketball for Oral Roberts University. Oral Roberts University said no he didn’t. He has said many outrageous things and this adds to the list.
I hope some of his supporters will start to get a little nervous and call for some evidence. His claim to be a Division One basketball player was not contested by any of his allies or by anyone in the mainstream Christian press. However, ORU said it wasn’t true.
Barton graduated from Oral Roberts University in 1976. The Russian team was in Montreal from mid-July to early August for the Olympics.
Maybe this will be the one that will turn out to be accurate; we’ll see if Barton offers any evidence.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Working in pairs, the fourth-year German students at Belleville East High School had different approaches to the challenging task at hand — translating an obituary from an old-time German newspaper in Belleville into English.
Seniors Colin Creedon and Daniel Jackson chose to translate the old German dialect, known as Fraktur, into German first and then translate the German text they were more familiar with into English.
"We have to translate it and then rearrange it so it makes sense in English," Colin explained.
In contrast, seniors Meghan Gingrich and Peyton Kaercher chose to translate the old German dialect directly into English.
"Once you know what the words say, it's really easy," Peyton said.
The class assignment overseen by teacher Andrew Gaa isn't just for a grade. It serves a larger purpose and has helped at least one family from California learn more about their ancestry.
Once translated by the German students and proofed by Gaa, obituaries are then posted online by the St. Clair County Genealogical Society.
That's where Craig Eberhard of San Diego, Calf., found the obituary of his great,-great-grandfather.
Eberhard recently sent an email to Belleville District 201 officials and Gaa thanking them and specifically the two students who translated the obituary — Sam Marek and Scott Williams, Class of 2013.
Eberhard said the "practical project" Gaa has his German students complete is "one to be appreciated and admired. Without that I never would have known that history of my great-great grandfather," he said.
The obituary of his great-great-grandfather, Eberhard said, allowed him to "connect some of the dots" of his family's history.
"There was so much information in there," he said of the obituary. "It gave a little bit of color to my great-great grandfather."
Eberhard's great-great-grandfather, Friedrich Pannier, 1832-1893, was a farmer, who came to Belleville in 1866 by way of the German sailing skiff, the Undine. He brought his wife and five children including Eberhard's great grandfather William was 6 years old at the time. William moved from Belleville to Orange County, California.
Gaa said the German students are providing "a service to people," who can't read German and don't live locally and can't access the old newspapers on microfilm at the Belleville Public Library.
The in-class assignment to translate the obituaries is challenging for the 19 fourth year students, according to Gaa.
"Old German script is hard to read," he said.
The students agree.
"The letters that they used are not what they would look like now," said senior Thomas Carter. "The letters they used back then are obscure."
Meghan said some of the letters in Fraktur look exactly the same.
"Once you get into the flow of it, it becomes easier," said senior Madelyne Knipp. "A lot of times I just use the context clues to figure it out."
The students don't have to tackle it alone. They work in partners, and Gaa is available to help as well.
"The challenge is translating it and making it sound like good English," Gaa said. "There's definitely an art to it."
Meghan said it's "really neat" to be involved in a project that could potentially help someone find out more about their ancestors.
"I would like to trace my own ancestry sometime," she said.
Madelyne said it's "really cool" to translate the old German obituaries into English. "I like translating this stuff knowing it's going to help people," she said.
Senior Adam Lanter said, "I think it's really cool we are able to help people find their heritage."
Once the obituaries are translated into English by the students, they type them up and submit them to Gaa for review.
Gaa must ensure the obituaries are entirely accurate since they will be placed online and used to research family history.
"I'm interested in Belleville history so it's worthwhile for me," Gaa said.
The German students translate obituaries as an in-class assignment twice a year — one time each semester. "By the second time, it's much easier for them to do," Gaa said.
Gaa actually learned about his own family history through this project, which started in fall of 2012.
Thus far, the students are almost through obituaries published in 1898 and will move onto 1899 next.
Diane Walsh with the St. Clair County Genealogical Society said she appreciates the work Gaa and his students put into the project.
"It takes a great deal of effort on their part, particularity his (Gaa), to end up with a final product," Walsh said. "It's invaluable to get some of that information out there."
The most important thing about the German obituaries is they will mention the particular town the immigrant came from, according to Walsh.
"I know people in the genealogical community are very grateful for work people do to bring ancestors to life," Walsh said, "and that's what this project is about."
The Skype team takes two more whacks at the Tower of Babel
The latest release of Skype Translator, Microsoft’s live-translation service, can now translate spoken conversations in Mandarin and Italian. The update doubles the program’s spoken languages since December, when the service first launched with service in English and Spanish.
Mandarin, in particular, posed a knotty challenge for the team. “With approximately 10,000 characters and multiple tones, this is one of the most difficult languages for a native English speaker to master,” wrote Microsoft’s Yasmin Khan in an announcement of the update.
English speakers who want to bypass Mandarin and Italian lessons can download a preview version of Skype Translator for free.
The program itself is still in training mode, but breakthroughs in machine learning have dramatically improved its conversation skills in recent years. It’s a learning curve Microsoft’s professional translators have witnessed first hand.
“There were things not translated,” said one translator in an early demonstration of the program for TIME, “but now he’s a teenager and knows a lot of words.”
Read More: Microsoft Is Getting Close to Perfecting a Universal Communicator
My dad has a story he likes to tell about one of his friends, a scientist. The scientist was giving a lecture in Japan, and opened with a joke that lasted a couple minutes. After delivering the joke in English, he waited for his translator to relay it to the audience. The translator spoke for only a few seconds, and then the crowd burst out laughing.
After the presentation was over, the scientist asked the translator how she managed to distill the humor of his joke down into such a concise form. She shrugged and said, “I said that the American visitor just told a very funny joke, and that they should all laugh now.”
The scientist's story illustrates the subjective, human quality of translation. Moving between languages is rarely a matter of transposing literal meaning; it requires the constant triage of unexpected inputs, endless judgment calls, and some social awareness. In other words, it’s something that humans are cut out for, and that computers are not.
With enough coaching, could a computer become as good as a human? At Microsoft, hundreds of humans are trying to train a machine to listen, translate, and then speak. Last December, the company announced the limited release of Skype Translator, which can translate a conversation between two people videochatting in different languages, in real time. The software, which is still invite-only, can handle English, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin. Google, too, has a smartphone app—free and available to the public—that can transcribe spoken text in one language, translate it, and then speak the result aloud in another. It’s not hard to imagine Google embedding this technology into its own videochat platform to a similar end.
Earlier this week, I had the good fortune to test out Microsoft’s new software. The company paired me with Ignacio Horcada, a translator who, as Skype Translator had it, had previously worked “in a context of the species specialized in nuggets”—or, as humans would say, he used to translate web pages. Now, he helps correct Skype's translation errors.
I went into the call expecting a normal conversation, but soon realized that it was an entirely different mode of communication with its own set of constraints: Once I started speaking, the software waited until I stopped to transcribe my words in a sidebar and then speak them to Ignacio in a computerized voice. This meant that we couldn’t interrupt each other. It also meant that thoughts were best expressed in one- or two-sentence bursts, not paragraph-long rambles—a lesson Ignacio had clearly picked up from using the software so frequently, and that I was slower to catch on to.
Small annoyances piled up in the form of mangled meanings and misheard words, but I hung up on the call with a sense of Skype Translator’s promise. In light of its amazing premise—we were speaking different languages but making sense to each other!—those mishaps were easy to forgive. (After all, humans make mistakes too: A few weeks ago, Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov answered an English-speaking reporter’s question with 15 seconds of rapid-fire Russian, and didn’t realize his mistake until after the reporter’s intrepid follow-up.) Skype Translator will only get better; it depends on machine learning, a process that evaluates its own outputs and makes adjustments accordingly. It's what has enabled mapping apps and Google searches to improve as more people use them, and the same will likely happen to live translation.
For now, Microsoft’s focus is on how this technology would fit into the lives of consumers. On its website, in its promotional videos, and at live events, the company has been dwelling on what the technology offers average people: Students can talk to peers in classrooms around the world and travelers can sync up with locals before trips abroad. It’s not hard to imagine other everyday functions—as a journalist, technology like this drastically widens my pool of potential sources—but one gets the sense that there’s a bigger push into the business world being planned.
“Of course, the day our CEO showed it on stage, we've been flooded with a lot of interest from many of our enterprise partners asking about the business implications of this technology,” says Vikram Dendi, the strategy director at Microsoft Research. Dendi has been helping oversee the development of Skype Translator, and is not hesitant to note its current limits. “I would want to make sure that if we develop into a more mission-critical type of scenario, there is that level of capability and maturity [first],” he says.
Distributing instant-translation software to Skype’s 300 million monthly connected users makes sense not just because lay people have more tolerance than executives for imperfect translations, but also because it’s a way of putting it (as well as videochatting itself) on their radars for potential use in business. “As the habit develops, they will ask their organizations to empower them to do the same, or even better when needed with high-end video conferencing systems. It will increasingly be a bottom-up push as people adopt it in their private life,” says Nicolas de Benoist, a design researcher at the office-furniture manufacturer Steelcase.
Skype Translator, if perfected, would likely be of use to large multinational corporations that depend on the presence of accurate translators for sensitive transactions. But perhaps even more potential lies in applying it to developing economies—places where businesses are smaller, people can’t afford professional translators, and, most important, English hasn’t taken hold as the default language of commerce.
“As markets expand into areas where English [is less common], in other words newly developing markets like Africa, parts of Asia, and critically in Latin America … I think this will have a really profound effect,” says Dean Foster, the founder and president of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions, a consultancy that educates businesspeople about foreign cultures. For example, even in economically mature China, 400 million of the country’s 1.3 billion people had learned English, as of 2006, the most recent year with dependable data. But of those 400 million, more than half said they “seldom” spoke it and only between 5 and 15 percent said they spoke it “often”—which leaves a lot of people who are likely more comfortable doing international business in their native tongue.
As useful as this technology will be to businesses both small and massive, though, it has yet to translate one complex component of global interaction: culture. “Even if they got [the language] 90 percent right, they're not dealing with the issue of culture … For us, what we call cultural fluency as opposed to language fluency is probably the more critical determinant of business success,” says Foster.
Foster might be biased, as the head of an intercultural consultancy with a degree in sociology, but stressing international understanding is not just a touchy-feely sticking point. Missing cultural cues can lead to material losses: In Brazil, for example, touching the thumb to the index finger—the American sign for “OK”—is a profane gesture. “There are stories when American businesspeople go down there after negotiating a deal for months—a major, major business deal—and then they sign the contract and flash the ‘OK’ sign, and they've just insulted the CEO of the Brazilian company in public with cameras flashing and everything on the media the next day,” says Foster.
The reason real-time translation might get blindsided by cross-cultural hiccups is that it can give the illusion of understanding. “It's easy to get your head around, ‘If I don't speak the language, I'm obviously not communicating.’ It's harder to get your head around the fact that, ‘If I don't understand the culture I'm not communicating,’” says Foster. As an example, he points to Americans and Britons, who expect to get along in business scenarios because of their shared language, but often exhibit very different management cultures. (Plus, England has its own offensive hand gesture that Americans might unwittingly throw out.)
And one thing that might be lost in a world where translations become sufficiently smooth is the conscientiousness (or perhaps flattery) involved with learning a client’s native tongue. Yui Kong Heung, who worked as a translator in Hong Kong for a major Japanese electronics manufacturer, found that he was more likely to win over his bosses when they knew he spoke their native tongue deftly. “The Japanese are very open-minded and easygoing once they know that you speak the language,” he says.
As Skype’s instant-translation software gets fine-tuned in the coming years, bigger questions might actually be asked of its medium, videochatting. Chris Congdon, a colleague of Nicolas de Benoist at Steelcase, told me that while the idea of videoconferencing polls highly among businesses, its adoption rate has been lower than expected. “What I'm interested in with these technologies is whether they can get to a place where they become so transparent that it doesn't feel like there's a layer of something happening between you and the other person who you're trying to build a relationship with,” she says.
There are other obstacles to videochat's adoption as well, says de Benoist. Cohesiveness arises when people are sharing a space, from the layout of the room to what the weather’s like outside. That’s hard to replicate with video. Also, meetings themselves might not be when some of the most important information is exchanged. “It's actually when people leave the room … that they're sharing informal content, and the people who are more introverted are saying, ‘I had this that I wanted to say, but I didn't feel like it because it was too formal for me,’” de Benoist says.
Real-time translation in videochat might seem as distantly futuristic as some of the other ideas I heard about the future of business meetings—Congdon spoke of cameras that capture participants' body and gestures, and Dendi mentioned a possible down-the-road integration with HoloLens, Microsoft’s augmented reality goggles. And it's safe to say real-time translation is far off. But then again, there's a time when every mode of communication seems far off—Slack, email, and the telephone included.
London, United Kingdom (PRWEB UK) 10 April 2015
Customer satisfaction scores are higher for three-way calls with a language interpreter than with bilingual customer service agents.
CyraCom, an international interpreter company, presented this data from the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) at the recent Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) conference in Seville, Spain. Many European, customer support operations rely on centralized contact centres where in-house staff are recruited in multiple languages to serve various countries. The ICMI data indicates that for customer service managers, limited availability of staff with language skills is amongst their biggest challenges for multilingual support.
The presentation, given by Ivan Venzin of CyraCom, highlighted the advantages of telephonic interpretation, and explored ways in which telephonic interpretation can complement existing European multilingual customer service programs.
There is a tipping point in terms of cost effectiveness between phone interpretation and in-house customer service representatives, said Venzin. Phone interpretation is paid by the minute without any fixed fees. To hire, train, and monitor agents in multiple languages, it takes significant volume for the cost equation to tilt toward that model.
CyraCom has been introducing telephone interpreting to organizations across Europe as a solution for supplementing or even replacing multilingual staff. CyraComs European offices are in London, UK and Berne, Switzerland.
CyraCom International is the 2nd largest provider of language interpreting services. Whether in-person or via phone, video, mobile app, or written text, CyraCom bridges communication gaps for organizations that need rapid access to language assistance. The Company supports hundreds of languages and operates 24/7.
CyraComs ten offices across the United States and Europe include the biggest network of large-scale interpreter contact centres. More full-time interpreters work in CyraComs US contact centres than in the United Nations.
In business for 20 years, CyraCom supports over 3,000 clients that operate in Europe, North America, or other parts of the world. 95% of CyraComs customers say they would recommend CyraComs interpreting services to others.
CyraComs revenue has increased by five times since 2007. The companys nearly 25% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over that time period has resulted in a total of eight Inc. 5000 placements an exceptional feat in the language service industry.
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/04/prweb12642388.htm.
The book Suleiman Charitra written by Kalyana Malla was in news because on 9 April 2015 the translated version of it Sueiman Charitra of Kalyan Malla was released. The book has been translated from Sanskrit to English by diplomat-writer A.N.D. Haskar.
The translated version was released by Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, the National Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in New Delhi.
The original book Suleiman Charitra was written by Kalyan Malla who was an esteemed poet at the court of Lodhi prince Lad Khan in eastern Uttar Pradesh at the beginning of 16th Century.
The book is a collection of stories drawn from Islamic and Biblical narratives.
Malla is known to have also composed Ananga Ranga which along with Suleiman Charitra were dedicated to his princely patron.