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Anne Frank translator: Past remains important | Culture | DW.DE | 03.03.2013

Anne Frank translator: Past remains important | Culture | DW.DE | 03.03.2013 | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Author Mirjam Pressler, known for her work on Anne Frank's diaries, tells DW why books about difficult childhoods need to be read and why she became a translator.
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Mara Ofengender's curator insight, July 16, 2013 12:28 PM

Here we see author Mirjam Pressler looking back on reading Anne Frank's Diary and her opinions on how important it is to continue reading her story. Anne's book inspired her in amazing ways even leading her to write her own book and become a translator.  Keep an open mind and see where Anne's story cn lead you.  

Metaglossia: The Translation World
News about translation, interpreting, intercultural communication, terminology and lexicography - as it happens
Curated by Charles Tiayon
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UN Careers - jobs in this network (Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.)

UN Careers -  jobs in this network (Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.) | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it

Vacancies in this network: Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.

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Language important in all phases of education - Clovis News Journal

Language important in all phases of education - Clovis News Journal | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Language important in all phases of education
December 17, 2014
The importance of learning a second language cannot be underestimated.
Numerous research studies have proven the cognitive benefits from studying a second language.
One article in the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) maintains, “Foreign language learning is much more a cognitive problem solving activity than a linguistic activity. Studies have shown repeatedly that foreign language learning increases critical thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility of mind…”

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy
This news likely comes as no surprise, this being the reason why most high schools offer foreign language electives to better prepare students for university language requirements.
Clovis High School has offered Spanish and French for many years, and at one time we offered German. What you might not know, however, is that CHS also offers Japanese, now in its third year.
This unique class is taught by Hisano Richeson, native Japanese speaker, born in Nagoya, Japan. Married to an American, Richeson has resided in the U.S. more than 20 years, in various parts of the country, coming to Clovis several years ago when her husband took a teaching position in higher education.
Dropping by Richeson’s Japanese classroom was a remarkable experience. The 23 students were interactively speaking Japanese; singing and writing Japanese; even writing Japanese symbols in the air in response to Richeson’s questions and prompts.
These students were totally immersed in the lesson and, obviously, eager participants. They were having fun in the classroom.
Toward the end of the period, the entire class headed for the computer lab in the library. Tagging along, it was fascinating to watch them arrive and settle in quickly to the language website they were working with.
As students neared completion of their tasks, I sat next to sophomore Arianna Jackson and junior Anna Weimer and asked them about their Japanese class.
Arianna immediately began explaining the three character systems in detail, simultaneously pulling up various web pages to illustrate her descriptions.
Anna chimed in with additional information, but before long, I had to stop them because they had lost me in the process.
To my amazement, l later learned this was a first-year Japanese class.
As we walked back to class, students chattered among themselves about various points in Japanese, discussing correct usage, or other grammatical concerns.
“Sensei” (the manner of address for “teacher”) shared other classroom projects they’d been doing. Richeson’s pen-pal project was popular; in fact, she’d just mailed her students’ hand-written letters to Japan.
As class finished, many of the students lingered, joined by others for the after-school Japanese club, called their “Anime Club.” One newcomer arriving for the meeting — senior Allyson Holdridge — explained some of the plans as she generously shared snacks she’d brought with arriving students.
How gratifying to see students so thoroughly enjoying learning, particularly with such a difficult subject. Albert Einstein had the right idea: “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools. Contact her at:
cindy.kleyn-kennedy@clovis-schools.org
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Master in Intercultural Studies

Since NLA started with intercultural studies in the 1990s, intercultural studies have become an increasingly important topic. Today, NLA has the largest academic environment for intercultural studies in the country and holds two professorships within the
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Researching Identity and Interculturality - Research - Roskilde University

Karen Risager (Editor)
Fred Dervin (Editor)
Interkulturelle studier
The Department of Culture and Identity
Language and Society in Late Modernity
Original language English
Publication date 2015
Place of publication New York
Publisher Routledge
Number of pages 245
ISBN (print) 978-0-415-73912-2
ISBN (electronic) 978-1-315-81688-3
State Published
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Microsoft to launch preview of simultaneous translation service Skype Translator next year

Microsoft to launch preview of simultaneous translation service Skype Translator next year | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Sign ups begin to be included in tfirst group of beta testers; Spanish and English are the first two languages for simultaneous translation, more than 40 more for instant messaging

Thanks to a tweet from Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) I learned of a YouTube video posted by Microsoft for their Skype Translator (see video below).

Translation has been a topic here at TNM since the site launched and digital publications began to be released into the Apple App Store. The need for good translation mechanisms for publishers is instantly obvious the minute one tries to look at a new app such as that from the Quebec newspaper Le Devoir, or the digital magazine Sobre São Paulo_Entrevistas. My French is poor, but my Portuguese…

In his tweet, Gillmor thought it would be amazing if Microsoft beat Google to simultaneous translation. He is right. Google has been offering translation online and built into its Chrome browser for quite some time. Google, probably unfairly, has been the butt of jokes for some of the results to come out of Google Translate – but it is also true that the service has not progressed much recently.

Most importantly, I’ve always believed that Google missed out on a huge opportunity to build translation into a digital publishing platform for Android. If Android offered this service to publishers, one would see native Android digital editions become the develop-for-first platform over night.

Microsoft’s service is tied to Skype and will begin with Spanish and English for spoken language, and more than 40 for instant messaging through Skype.

“Skype Translator relies on machine learning, which means that the more the technology is used, the smarter it gets,” Gurdeep Pall wrote on the Skype blog. “We are starting with English and Spanish, and as more people use the Skype Translator preview with these languages, the quality will continually improve. We also need your help to expedite new language releases.”

The service was previewed at Re/code’s inaugural Code Conference earlier this year, but the question was whether it would go anywhere – tech companies are notorious for previewing things that never happen, or happen far into the future (Apple was good at avoiding this until its Apple Watch). But in the past two weeks the service has been tested by more than 50,000 volunteers, Microsoft said, so now it is one to the next step.

Microsoft is letting people sign up to preview the solution. You’ll only get an invitation if you are using Windows 8.1, meaning Mac users can go pound sand, but I signed up anyways.
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Skype se met à la traduction en direct | www.directmatin.fr

Skype se met à la traduction en direct | www.directmatin.fr | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
La barrière de la langue n’existera bientôt plus sur Internet. Un nouveau pas a été franchi par Skype, qui a lancé cette semaine une version d...
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Microsoft Previews New Translation Feature Of Skype

Microsoft Previews New Translation Feature Of Skype | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Microsoft unveiled on Monday the translator feature for its instant messaging application Skype.
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Skype app to offer simultaneous translation during video calls

Skype app to offer simultaneous translation during video calls | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Can two people understand each other without speaking the same language, and without the aid of an interpreter? Telecommunications app Skype is putting the technology in motion to make that possible. The next update to the service – still without an official release date – will allow you to speak in English to someone else speaking in Spanish, and vice versa. It does so by translating what you say into another language in “near real-time,” according to the company. You then hear a translation of what the person on the other end of the call says back, with an on-screen transcript of the conversation displayed on the screen as the conversation continues.

Skype Translator has been tested on more than 50,000 volunteers in the last two weeks. The company plans to roll the technology out gradually to other users, though it believes it could be available to everyone within eight months. According to Skype Vice President Gurdeep Pall, those with PCs or tablets running Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 or Surface operating systems will receive it first, followed by users with earlier versions of Windows and other operating systems.

The company believes the technology could be available to all users within eight months
After that, the next step is to get the service going in up to 40 languages. “It’s very important to be the first to make this step, in making communication between people who don’t speak the same language simple,” Pall explains.

Owned by Microsoft since 2011, Skype is not planning on charging for using the service but rather wants to encourage people to adopt it for both professional and personal use.

Pall stresses the importance of innovation: “It has never been done before. The advances in processing natural speech have made it possible. The more it’s used, the better it will work. Putting it more simply, you could say the system ‘learns.’ It uses what is called machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence that analyzes the data and creates patterns out of the best choices. This also allows it to distinguish and be able to translate when different accents are spoken. […] We’ve even included Klingon.”

Skype says the translations will be more accurate when the sentences are long
The service lets you choose between a female and a male voice that, at the moment at least, do not sound especially natural – rather like those used on GPS navigation systems.

EL PAÍS has tried out the new technology and the feeling is a little strange. If you speak a bit of the language the other person is using, there’s a big temptation to answer some questions in their language. But that’s where trouble starts. During our half-hour test, there were a few, almost comical mix-ups: when the English speaker said it was 50ºF in Seattle, the system translated it as a reference to the 1950s.

Skype says the translations are more accurate with longer sentences, which makes sense since, that way, the system has more references to match against each other. Likewise the firm stresses that many mistakes are the result of people stopping in the middle of a sentence.
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A language for Europe. Part 3

A language for Europe. Part 3 | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Can the profound connections between European languages help us to catch a glimpse of a solution to the Union’s problem – and, may we hope, for Europe as a whole? Will the adoption of a common language, English, used widely across all social layers and in all countries, and suggested by the German president, Joachim Gauck, mean the adoption of an idiom that has no cultural depth and that the continent’s many languages will come to lose their value?
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St Anne's College, Oxford > About the College > The Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2015 now open for submissions

St Anne's College, Oxford > About the College > The Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2015 now open for submissions | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
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Media With an Endangered Language Message

Media With an Endangered Language Message | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
A light bulb, said media theorist Marshall McLuhan, "creates an environment by its own presence." It enables people to see during times that would otherwise be enveloped by darkness. So, too, does media shape society by its very presence. The extent to which an endangered language community has a substantial, and ideally, a digital media presence, is a good indicator of a language's currently vitality and its likelihood of surviving - and perhaps flourishing - going forward.

In this posting, the third in a series on initiatives that can energize endangered languages (note: the first was on school policies, the second on technology), we specifically look at the impact of media on endangered languages and how endangered languages can impact the media. Here are some examples, feel free to add others in the comments below.

Newspapers
Newspapers published in endangered languages are expensive to produce, require literacy, and in some cases, are limited or outright banned by governments concerned with promoting national languages or competing in the global arena. Yet when minority newspapers thrive, whether online or in print, whether as one column per week in a majority-language paper or as a full daily, their presence signals that a language is viable, relevant, and has a certain staying power. This signal is important not only to the speakers of the minority language but to the majority as well. MIDAS, the European Association of Daily Newspapers in Minority and Regional Languages serving 50 million minority speaking people in the European Union, explains that minority language papers "protect and promote marginalized cultures which in turn help to maintain and extend the scope of their written languages." And it's not just the reporting that matters: advertising space in minority papers can provide opportunities to make more connections within and between language communities.

Books and Storytelling
Balinese musician Agung Alit recently developed a series of gorgeous picture books of Balinese folktales written in Balinese but intended for Japanese children to learn about the language and the culture of Bali. Back in Bali, there is a strong tradition of oral storytelling but not of parents reading to children, even with rising literacy rates. A reading and writing cultural is slowly developing in Bali and in other traditionally oral societies - and with it, the need for books written in minority tongues - but meanwhile, storytelling thrives, providing a easy vehicle for the passing on of languages. It's not just parents telling stories to their own children: parents, grandparents, local leaders, shopkeepers, coaches, friends, and children themselves tell stories which suggests the need for multiple touch points when considering how to foster languages within the course of everyday communication. Linguist Leanne Hinton recommends that parents develop language plans to consciously promote minority languages in home and community communication just as schools develop educational language curriculum.

Comic books and Cartoons
Comic books and cartoons can entertain, inform, mock, educate, and "encourage new behaviors." Comic books and cartoons can merely be translated into multiple languages, or like International Digital Emmy award winning Shujaaz, a multimedia cartoon in Sheng (a Kenyan slang that combines Swahili, English, and Kikuyu), cartoons can do more than make Batman multilingual. Comic books and cartoons can make minority languages part of pop culture, turn mythological champions of local folklore into captivating superheroes, address daily concerns of local youth, create a commercially viable new platform for local artists and give visual credibility to languages which otherwise might be considered obscure, out of date, or unimportant. By engaging children in helping Shujaaz's protagonist, DJB, solve problems on the comic's Facebook page, Shujaaz takes comic books and cartoons to even a higher level by providing space for children to actively discuss values and navigate through social issues.

Television
In addition to teaching the language, computer games and television in minority languages - and commercials, like that for an Australian insurance company which features a whirlwind romance between Australian Rhonda and Indonesian speaking Ketut - normalize minority languages "as part of the everyday experience" of majority cultures. Typically, though, the drive for minority language programming comes not from mainstream insurance companies but from the advocates of the minority languages who, absent strong backers, have to underwrite and fight for prime television timeslots.

Whether in print or online, whether in home, schools, or community, media can provide a vehicle to communicate in endangered and threatened languages while shining attention on the need to fortify them. In these days when so much media focuses on what's wrong with the world, there are some strong lights on the minority language front that media is helping to brighten.
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Était-ce bien raisonnable de traduire Luke Skywalker en Luc Courleciel?

Était-ce bien raisonnable de traduire Luke Skywalker en Luc Courleciel? | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
La traduction au cinéma est un art délicat. Mais quand il s'agit d'univers-mondes comme Star Wars, Le Seigneur des Anneaux ou Battlestar Galactica, la tâche est encore plus ardue. BiTS, la websérie geek d'Arte, fait le point.


"Vas-y, Chicco, mets la gomme!" © LucasFilm

Dark Vador. Yan Solo. Z6PO. D2-R2. Chicco, diminutif de Chictaba. Millenium Condor. Luc Courleciel. Si vous vous êtes farci la saga Star Wars (La Guerre des étoiles, pardon) en français dans le texte, ces patronymes vous sont certainement familiers. Mais comment et pourquoi l'étape de traduction a-t-elle transformé le Millenium Falcon à Millenium Condor? Chewbacca en Chictaba et Luke Skywalker en Luc Courleciel (véridique)? Pareil pour Darth Vader, Han Solo, C3PO et R2-D2...

Comme Arte se plait à le mettre en évidence dans le dernier épisode de sa websérie BiTS, quand il s'agit de traduire des univers-monde, en perpétuelle construction et dont le traducteur n'a pas forcément toutes les clés, la traduction peut s'avérer être un véritable casse-tête. "Le métier du traducteur n'est plus seulement de servir d'interprète mais de surveiller la cohérence d'une saga en construction", explique-t-on dans la vidéo à voir ci-dessous.

Ainsi, les versions traduites du Seigneur des Anneaux ou encore de Battlestar Galactica ont pu évoluer avec le temps, à la lumière d'éléments révélés a posteriori. Ou, comme en témoigne Sylvestre Meininger, traducteur, les communautés de fans en lignes peuvent venir au secours: "pour Battlestar Galactica, il arrivait que sur les sites en anglais, il y ait quelques épisodes d'avance. Ça nous a sauvé la mise une ou deux fois. C'était, là encore, les seules sources possibles."
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Which languages the UK needs and why | British Council

Which languages the UK needs and why | British Council | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Researchers Teresa Tinsley and Kathryn Board give us a summary of ‘Languages for the Future’, a report – published yesterday – on which languages the UK needs to learn now.
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If ‘Selfie’ Was The Word Of The Year In 2013, Selfie Stick Is Top Christmas Gift In 2014

If ‘Selfie’ Was The Word Of The Year In 2013, Selfie Stick Is Top Christmas Gift In 2014 | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
It's not really a very high-tech product, but the selfie stick is tipped to become the top-selling Christmas gift of 2014 in Australia, retail experts said, beating other electronic gadgets such as fitness wristbands, cameras and game consoles.
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Postdoctoral Fellow In Corpus Development For Lesser Described Languages - The Conversation Job Board

Postdoctoral Fellow In Corpus Development For Lesser Described Languages - The Conversation Job Board | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
The Conversation Job Board is Australia's premier site for university, research, policy and government related jobs; it's where experts find jobs.
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Skype y su novedoso servicio de traducción (VIDEO)

Skype y su novedoso servicio de traducción (VIDEO) | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Skype lanzó su traductor simultáneo para usuarios que mantengan una conversación en inglés y español
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DOUGLAS NTIWANE WINS PAN AFRICAN LANGUAGES AWARD

DOUGLAS NTIWANE WINS PAN AFRICAN LANGUAGES AWARD | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
MBABANE – Douglas Ntiwane has a lot of achievements under his belt, but to win the Pan African Languages Award during the legacy celebration of Nelson Mandela last week is a major landmark.


The celebration was held in South Africa.
Ntiwane is former Arts and Culture board member and a former Swaziland ambassador in England to mention a few achievements. Most Swazis know him by the once popular poem he wrote titled ‘Ngibut’imincele’.


The Pan African association is a forum where individuals across the continent that have contributed immensely in language preservation and art are recognised and awarded.


He unveiled his award during the Lujikeleto Prize Presentation where all the sibhaca teams that were competing under the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture league participated.


In his remarks he thanked SNCAC for the achievement as they even provided transport when he went to collect the award.
“I have been working with SNCAC since 1970 under the siSwati language board and what is important is that we have worked for all these years without pay and it was only last year when we began to receive allowances. I thank the current SNCAC leadership for this as a lot of parliamentarians have failed.”


He then thanked Prince Zolani (in South Africa) who is the brainchild of this organisation as he was trying to reward all Africans who were working hard to preserve the siSwati language and art.

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Le lycée Maxence Van Der Meersch participe au concours de traduction Juvenes Translatores - Académie de Lille

Le lycée Maxence Van Der Meersch participe au concours de traduction Juvenes Translatores - Académie de Lille | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Le 27 novembre 2014 a eu lieu le concours de traduction Juvenes Translatores. Lancé en 2007 par la Commission Européenne de Bruxelles, il a pour but de sensibiliser les jeunes de 17 ans à la traduction professionnelle.
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Skype Introduces Free Phone Calls to Landlines & Mobiles In US / Canada for Indian users

Skype Introduces Free Phone Calls to Landlines & Mobiles In US / Canada for Indian users | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Realizing that India is one of the most rapidly growing and biggest markets, Skype is paying a lot more attention to this region. Shortly after introducing real time translation in Hindi, they have announced a new promotion plan which allows free calling to any landline or mobile in the U.S. or Canada totally free of cost till March 1.

Free Calling to Phones in U.S. and Canada
All existing and new Skype users in India can make free calls to landline and mobile phones to United States and Canada till March 1, 2015 (00:01 IST).
“Yes, that’s right – for a limited time only, all calls from India to mobiles and landlines in the United States and Canada are completely free. And you don’t even need to do anything other than start calling,” states the Skype India home page.
Though the free calling will be available to both personal and business users, it does come with certain imitations to prevent a possible misuse of the facility.
Skype terms and conditions which are listed here, however, make it clear that their free calling cannot be used for telemarketing or spamming. The following have been listed as unfair practices by the company:
Making calls for telemarketing or call centre operations
Re-selling minutes
Sharing minutes between users whether via a PBX, call centre, computer or any other means
Calling numbers (whether singly, sequentially or automatically) to generate income for yourself or others as a result of placing the call, other than for your individual business communications (and subject to Section 4.1 of the Terms of Use); and
Unusual calling patterns inconsistent with normal use, for example, regular calls of short duration or calls to multiple numbers in a short period of time.
Goes without saying, the offer will see many more users in the country creating a Skype account to talk to their acquaintances over these two countries without having to pay for that.
Skype’s Real Time Translator For Hindi
While Real Time translator is not a recent launch, we thought we will let you know about this Skype feature that many will find quite useful.
The inability to converse in English is seen as a big handicap for most people across this country. Though those who can speak, write and express themselves in the language are denounced by some as ‘suffering from a colonial hangover’, one cannot but deny that it is one language which is spoken and understood by a majority of the world’s population.
The new Skype Translator by Microsoft can help overcome this language barrier and allow real time conversations between spoken English and Spanish to begin with though the software giant plans to add more languages also later. Since they plan to extend the facility to include languages like Klingon and Drunkspeak later, it will not be wrong tom assume that Hindi translation will also be made available soon.
Imagine being able to talk to your vendor in China or your online friend from Germany fluently, without the language being a handicap!
While announcing the feature in May, Microsoft had said “it fulfils a vision of the “universal translator” in the Star Trek science fiction series.” Let us hope the translation will not be as pathetic as that on Google. And that the translator will be able to pick up strong regional undertones effectively.
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Breve diccionario político del año 2014

Breve diccionario político del año 2014 | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
I.Asamblea Nacional. Poder independiente, que de manera autónoma y libre redacta las leyes que le exige el Presidente. Bolívar. Mantuano criollo ...
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Layers of a Word’s Import Enrich Language Culture

Layers of a Word’s Import Enrich Language Culture | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Whether popular, corporate or entitled, “culture” was named word of the year by United States dictionary Merriam-Webster on Tuesday as a flexible catch-all that can easily identify a subject, idea or issue. British rival, the Oxford English Dictionary, chose “vape”—the act of drawing on an electronic cigarette—as its word of 2014. The dictionary tends to choose neologisms that gain mass usage. Merriam-Webster defines culture as the beliefs, customs and arts of a “society, group, place or time”. The word was buoyed by media coverage about “celebrity culture,” “company culture” and “rape culture” dominating media and public conversations, the dictionary publisher said. It was chosen for its large amount of online lookups and significant increase in lookups from last year.

Culture beat nostalgia, insidious and legacy for word of the year, as all received significant media references in relation to politics, film, sports and the deadly Ebola virus outbreak. Of more than 100 million lookups on the website each month and a similar number on the company’s app, culture enjoyed a 15 per cent year-over-year increase. The word has got a cultural story. But traffic throughout the year indicates that culture is a chameleon. When you put it next to another word—for example, “consumer” or “rape”—it means something very different. There’s the “culture of transparency” in government and business, and “celebrity culture,” and the “culture of winning” in sports. It’s a word that can be very specific, like “test prep culture” or it can be very broad, like “coffee culture”.

Taken together with a word like “vulture”, it can denote with a hint of sarcasm and disapproval of someone who makes a great show of his interest in art, music and literature although he may prefer the word, connoisseur, for himself. Similarly, “culture shock” has a suggestion of conflict and dissent one may feel in an alien environment. Culture, therefore, casts a net much wider than “vape”.
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Nuevo director de la RAE ve «un milagro» que el diccionario conserve su éxito - Noticiaspress.es

Nuevo director de la RAE ve «un milagro» que el diccionario conserve su éxito - Noticiaspress.es | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
El filólogo (Vilalba, Lugo, 1950) ha indicado que este triunfo se debe a que continúa siendo obra de los académicos, como en su origen, apoyados por un grupo de trabajadores que permiten tomar decisiones «fundamentadas y no arbitrarias». Especialista en escritores como Valle-Inclán, Azorín o Torrente Ballester, Villanueva ha visitado Santiago para la presentación de …
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SpeechTrans Bluetooth Wristband offers translation for 44 languages | ITProPortal.com

SpeechTrans Bluetooth Wristband offers translation for 44 languages | ITProPortal.com | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
The SpeechTrans wristband can be used to answer your phone without removing it from your pocket, and provides translation services via an app.
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Skype (Microsoft) commence à tester la traduction automatique

Skype (Microsoft) commence à tester la traduction automatique | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Washington, Etats-Unis | AFP | lundi 15/12/2014 - Le groupe informatique américain Microsoft a lancé lundi un nouveau programme test permettant d'ajouter à sa messagerie vidéo par internet Skype une traduction automatique simultanée. Ce programme, que Microsoft avait annoncé fin mai, "démarrera...
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“The Strangest Setting is South Africa”: SJ Naude and Ivan Vladislavic Exchange Letters | Books LIVE

“The Strangest Setting is South Africa”: SJ Naude and Ivan Vladislavic Exchange Letters | Books LIVE | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
SJ Naudé and Ivan Vladislavić recently exchanged letters in a piece for Granta, discussing translation, writing, and the looming presence of setting in South African writing.
Naudé published his debut collection of short stories, Alfabet van die voëls, in 2011, winning the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize and the Jan Rabie Rapport Prize. The English version, The Alphabet of Birds, which Naudé translated himself, was recently launched at the The Book Lounge, with Michiel Heyns calling it “wonderful”.
The latest issue of Granta includes work by Naudé for the first time – an excerpt from the title story of The Alphabet of Birds – and in her introduction to the issue, Granta owner Sigrid Rausing compares Naudé to JM Coetzee, “in his language, and in the vision of the fate of South Africa, hanging in the balance”.
In his opening letter to Naudé, Vladislavić ponders on how The Alphabet of Birds was tailored for the UK and South African markets, a concept he calls “quite new”: “When I began to work as an editor thirty years ago, we sometimes debated whether a book needed a glossary or not, but the idea of rewriting a text to make it more accessible to a foreign readership never arose.”
Vladislavić mentions a piece written by Leon de Kock a few months ago, “The SA Lit issue won’t go away”, which was in turn inspired by an article written by Fiona Snyckers entitled “Should local writers always set their books in South Africa?”
De Kock mentions the glut of South African authors who have “gone global” and wonders “what might be lost in this veritable rush for the emergency exit”. He also surmises that the question of “where to set one’s stories” must come across for Afrikaans writers as “strange”.
For many scholars, the explosion of the category now rather quaintly remembered as SA Lit is a genuinely liberating development, a deliverance from Ashraf Jamal’s sense (borrowed from Samuel Beckett) of local English letters being like a “dog chained to its own vomit”.
For Jamal, the transnational success of writers such as Sarah Lotz and Lauren Beukes, not to mention Deon Meyer, is cause for celebration. And indeed it is, isn’t it? We’re out of the province, at last! Boykie Sidley can set his stories in Ohio or California and sell his books in Jo’burg, Durban and Cape Town. Who would begrudge any “local” writer this kind of range?
At the time of Snyckers’ article, Books LIVE spoke to Lauren Beukes, Steven Boykey Sidley and Penny Busetto, who have all set work overseas. The consensus seemed to be that a South African setting was too constrictive.
In his conversation with Naudé, Vladislavić wonders whether “the question of locality is more interesting to my generation than yours”.
A few months ago, Leon de Kock published a piece in the Mail & Guardian about the tension between the local and the global in South African fiction. More and more writers are ‘going global’, he says, and setting their books in other places. They are also using a more generic English, I think, which doesn’t smack too strongly of one culture and won’t offend a sensitive palate. According to De Kock, these decisions threaten to dissolve the category of ‘SA Lit’ entirely. Interestingly, he views Afrikaans writers as a special case: ‘Consider, for a moment, how strange the question of where to set one’s stories comes across to most Afrikaans writers.’ The implication is that most Afrikaans writers, whose readership is largely confined to South Africa, don’t even think about setting their stories elsewhere.
Someone reading your Granta extract might assume you are one of those writers. The setting and language are pungently local. In fact, your book presents a strikingly wide range of settings, moving with ease from Berlin to Tokyo to Milan to Cape Town.
In his reply, Naudé clarifies that the changes made for each edition of his book were “quite superficial”, and introduced purely to avoid confusion.
He also disagrees with De Kock on the subject of setting quite strongly:
Leon de Kock, in the article you mention, sets up a dichotomy between serious South African literature and genre-literature – the former having a local focus, while the latter is now often set in exotic locales in the pursuit of ‘royalties’ and ‘big glam fame’. I would argue for a different kind of serious South African writing, which is neither necessarily predominantly concerned with South Africa, nor primarily set (t)here, but still driven by the urgency and deep necessity that fuel good writing. And which is not ‘everywhere and nowhere’ either. The notion that Afrikaans authors are somehow uniquely and inseparably tied to South African locales is a relic from a different era. I certainly don’t find the question of where to set my stories strange. For me, the strangest setting, the one that requires the greatest imaginative effort, is in fact South Africa.
Read the full conversation on Granta
Book details
The Alphabet of Birds by SJ Naudé
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EAN: 9781415207130
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EAN: 9781415201459
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Explore this: Language diversity map of King County

Explore this: Language diversity map of King County | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
What language do you speak when you're at home? For one out of five Americans, it's not English, according to the latest census data. Our interactive map below ranks every census tract in King County by the percentage of residents who don't speak English at home. The areas in white are below the national average of 20 percent, while areas in blue are...
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