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Paying for alcohol with cognition: separating the good from the bad

Alcohol is a pleiotropic substance with multiple effects. Alcohol is one of the most frequently used drugs in the world. Alcohol misuse may affect all systems of an organism, but the nervous system remains one of the most vulnerable. A wide range of literature data suggests that the nervous system is one of the most susceptible systems to alcohol misuse. However, it is not exactly clear how alcohol affects different aspects of brain functions in various groups of people. The paucity of information on the mechanisms and processes of how this psychotic substance affects cognition is one contributing factor. Cognitive functions represent an integral part of higher integrative brain functions that enable an organism to carry out higher-level activities. 
Although there have been reports on some positive effects of alcohol, other reports show huge negative effects. These controversies have lingered for decades. While some authors have described these controversies in the light of individual, population, gender, genetic, age, and physiological differences, alternatively there could be more complex interactions among these indices such as intra-cellular, intra-genetic. We hope to gather articles from a wide range of authors throughout the world as regards to the effects of alcohol use on cognitive functions and the recent developments in this area of research.

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Metaglossia: The Translation World
News about translation, interpreting, intercultural communication, terminology and lexicography - as it happens
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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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Kelowna Author Up for Prize Against World's Biggest Writers

Kelowna Author Up for Prize Against World's Biggest Writers | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
An author from UBC Okanagan is on the longlist for a prize against some of the world's biggest names in literature.

Ashley Little, an MFA student at UBC's Okanagan campus, has been named on the longlist for the 2015 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award, one of the world's largest literary prizes for a work of fiction in English. She is one of nine Canadian authors nominated for this €100,000 (or CAD $140,000) prize in a prestigious list that includes Margaret Atwood and Joseph Boyden, who wrote last year's Canada Reads Winner, The Orenda.

Other prominent authors on the list include the 2014 Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan, 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner Donna Tartt, and 2013 National Book Award winner James McBride.

Little says she was “overjoyed” to see her book, Anatomy of a Girl Gang, on the list of nominations. “It's just incredible. I could hardly believe it when I saw the longlist last night. It's really exciting and a really big moment in my writing career.” When asked whom she was most excited to be on the list with, given all the prestigious authors, her answer was pretty prompt. “Atwood and Boyden, obviously. They're the two biggest names in Canada right now.”



Little's book, published by Arsenal Pulp Press, has enjoyed great success. (Photo Credit: Ashley Little)

This nomination marks an important point in Little's career. “Up to a certain point, a lot of people in my life that were close to me, like my family, partner, and friends, were thinking that I was foolish for pursuing writing and thinking, when is she going to give it up and get a real job?” said Little. “I think something like this means that I've reach a tipping point where now it would be more foolish to stop writing and get a 'real job'. It's a real marker.”

Anatomy of a Girl Gang is Little's third novel. Not only has it been nominated for this prestigious prize, but it also won the Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction at the BC Book Awards, was shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award, sold translation rights in Italy, and was optioned for television.

Make sure to check out Little's book, which tells the story of five girls who have been cast outside of society into Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. For more information on Anatomy of a Girl Gang, click here.
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Tv5 entend mieux couvrir l’Afrique à l’occasion du Sommet de la Francophonie à Dakar - Agence Ecofin

Tv5 entend mieux couvrir l’Afrique à l’occasion du Sommet de la Francophonie à Dakar - Agence Ecofin | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
(Agence Ecofin) - Cette semaine, Tv5 Monde, la chaîne francophone, délocalise plusieurs de ses programmes à Dakar, la capitale du Sénégal, qui abrite le Sommet de la Francophonie prévu samedi et dimanche prochains, les 29 et 30 novembre 2014. C’est donc in situ que Tv5 Monde produit son « Journal Afrique », mais aussi trois de ses magazines, à savoir « L’invité », « Afrique Presse » et « Internationale ».

Le Sommet de Dakar est particulier pour deux enjeux majeurs : « la volonté de Tv5 Monde d'augmenter le volume de productions africaines et la succession d'Abdou Diouf (le secrétaire général de l’Organisation internationale de la francophonie) », déclaré le directeur général du média francophone, Yves Bigot (photo). Le directeur adjoint de l'information, Pierre Benoit, promet des émissions au contenu spécial, avec « la parole donnée aux acteurs de la scène politique ».

« On veut faire une plus grande place à l'Afrique sur nos antennes et pas uniquement sur l'antenne Tv5 Monde Afrique, mais sur l'ensemble de nos chaines », explique M. Bigot. « Aujourd'hui, le français est une langue africaine et nous sommes une chaine francophone. Donc Tv5 Monde est africain aussi », ajoute-t-il.

Yves Bigot a rappelé que Tv5 Monde est « l'opérateur direct de l'Oif ». « Donc c'est notre responsabilité, tous les 2 ans, de couvrir de manière extrêmement intensive et expansive ce sommet. Et on ne l'a jamais fait de manière aussi complète qu'on le fait là à Dakar », explique-t-il.
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Team develops cognitive test battery for spaceflight

Team develops cognitive test battery for spaceflight | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Space is one of the most demanding and unforgiving environments. Human exploration of space requires astronauts to maintain consistently high levels of cognitive performance to ensure mission safety and success, and prevent potential errors and accidents. Despite the importance of cognitive performance for mission success, little is known about how cognition is affected by prolonged spaceflight, and what aspects of cognition are primarily affected.


Now, Penn Medicine researchers are poised to help the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) close this knowledge gap. They have developed a cognitive test battery, known as Cognition, for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) to measure the impact of typical spaceflight stressors (like microgravity, radiation, confinement and isolation, exposure to elevated levels of CO2, and sleep loss) on cognitive performance. This computer-based test has already been tested by astronauts on Earth. It will be performed for the first time in a pilot study on the International Space Station (ISS) on November 28.
The Penn team, led by Mathias Basner, MD, PhD, MSc, assistant professor of sleep and chronobiology in Psychiatry, David F. Dinges, PhD, professor and chief, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Department of Psychiatry, and Ruben C. Gur, PhD, professor of Psychology, Director of Neuropsychology, the Brain Behavior Laboratory, and the Center for Neuroimaging in Psychiatry, developed Cognition as a brief and sensitive computerized neurocognitive test battery for spaceflight. With its 10 tests, it is more comprehensive than NASA's current test battery.
"Cognition addresses, among other areas, spatial orientation, emotion recognition, and risk decision making, which we believe are essential for the success of exploration-type space missions," said Basner.
The team chose tests with well-validated testing principles and whose link to cerebral networks has already been established with functional neuroimaging, such as MRI. The tests were then optimized for astronauts.
"We know that astronauts are highly motivated and usually outperform the general population," said Basner. "The difficulty of the tests therefore had to be tailored to astronauts, to avoid both boredom and frustration."
The team generated 15 unique versions of the 10 tests to allow for repeated administration in spaceflight.
Cognition is currently administered through a series of tasks via laptops and tablets. Penn researchers were recently tasked to generate a Standardized Behavioral Measures Tool for NASA's Behavioral Health and Performance program that will include Cognition.
The three Penn study authors are also participating with Cognition in a NASA effort reported earlier this year to study the molecular, physiological and psychological effects of spaceflight on the human body by comparing identical twins, evidencing the need for a comprehensive cognitive test battery for spaceflight.
The other Penn researchers involved in the effort include Raquel E. Gur, MD, PhD, Allison Port, Sarah McGuire, PhD, Jad Nasrini, Adam Savitt, and Tyler Moore, PhD.
Graham Scott, Ph.D., NSBRI's Chief Scientist, noted that "long duration, deep space missions will undoubtedly challenge astronaut crew members in unexpected ways - including testing their emotional and psychosocial resilience and unconditional teamwork. Neurobehavioral risks to the crew and mission can be mitigated by developing, testing and deploying highly sensitive and specific tools, such as Cognition."
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Réforme territoriale. L'inquiétude des régionalistes réunis à Rennes

Réforme territoriale. L'inquiétude des régionalistes réunis à Rennes | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
La Bretagne accueille, durant trois jours, à Rennes et Saint-Malo, les 24e Rencontres interrégionales des langues et cultures régionales.


Depuis 1990, l'Association des Rencontres Interrégionales des langues et cultures régionales (RILCR) organise une réunion annuelle de délégations des régions françaises, métropolitaines et ultramarines. Objectif : échanger sur les politiques menées en matière de langues et cultures régionales et conduire des actions communes ;

C'est la Bretagne, à Rennes et Saint-Malo, qui accueille durant trois jours (ce mercredi 26 novembre, jeudi 27 et vendredi 28) les 24e rencontres.

L'actualité a imposé le thème de cette édition : "Réforme territoriale, identités culturelles et linguistiques et développement des territoires".

"L'Alsace le vit très mal"

Après le vote du Parlement validant le redécoupage des régions, ce sont des congressistes partagés entre "la consternation et la colère" qui se sont retrouvés hier, à l'Hôtel de Courcy, siège du conseil régional de Bretagne. Comme Monique Matter, secrétaire du Conseil fédéral pour la culture en Alsace et Moselle germanophone, drapée dans un châle aux couleurs de sa région. "On nous noie dans un vaste ensemble, au motif qu'il faudrait "rompre l'isolement de l'Alsace" ! Alors que nous sommes l'une des régions les plus ouverte sur l'Europe" s'indigne Mme Matter, particulièrement ulcérée par "l'attitude des sénateurs socialistes alsaciens" qui ont entériné la création d'une région Grand Est : "L'Alsace le vit très mal et nous pouvons nous attendre à un raz-de-marée de sanctions anti-PS aux prochaines cantonales." 

"Rendez-vous manqué"

"Une nouvelle fois dans son histoire, la France a confié au seul lieu central du pouvoir le soin de repenser son organisation territoriale. Une nouvelle fois dans son histoire, elle risque fort de manquer un rendez-vous avec la décentralisation" craint pour sa part Jean-Bernard Vighetti, président du Conseil culturel de Bretagne qui accueille ces 24e rencontres.

"Périmètres-machins"

Un sentiment partagé par Jean-Marie Woehrling, juriste, président de Culture et bilinguisme, pour qui la réforme en cours, "loin de corriger les faiblesses de la décentralisation, est au contraire une dégradation, une recentralisation." A ses yeux, "le découpage du territoire en périmètres-machins niant les spécificités régionales est une manière de délégitimer à l'avance ces institutions."

"Assignés à résidence du passé"

Représentant Pierrick Massiot, président (PS) du Conseil régional de Bretagne, Jean-Michel Le Boulanger, vice-président en charge de la culture, s'est lui aussi vigoureusement élevé contre "Une France qui ne s'engage pas dans une véritable décentralisation", fustigeant "ceux pour qui la diversité est un outrage à leur propre grandeur et la décentralisation une atteinte à leur pouvoir."

"Nous sommes Bretons, Français, Européens, en fraternité avec tous les peuples du Monde. Voilà notre réponse à tous les Eric Zemmour de la Terre ! Nous ne supportons plus cette France, notre France, centralisatrice et jacobine qui nous assigne à résidence du passé et voudrait nous figer dans une carte postale au ton sépia !" a encore dit Jean-Michel Le Boulanger, longuement applaudi par les délégations d'Alsace, de Catalogne, de Guadeloupe, Guyane, La Réunion, Martinique, Mayotte, Nouvelle-Calédonie, Occitanie et Pays basque.
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Image Recognition Technology is a Goldmine for Marketers

Image Recognition Technology is a Goldmine for Marketers | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
I am admiring a stranger’s purse. I surreptiously take a photo of it on my phone and instantly get a “buy now” option from my favorite store.

My family is enjoying some pizza around the dinner table. I post our happy moment on Instagram. Moments later I get a tweet from the national pizza chain thanking me for buying their pizza and offering a coupon for a future purchase.

My son tries on an Angry Birds baseball cap. He looks so cute and I post a photo on Facebook. I notice that Facebook starts to show me ads for Angry Birds games and merchandise.

Sound a little far-out? This type of contextual marketing is happening now and image recognition technology promises to be a goldmine for smart marketers.

Related Resource from B2C
Webcast: PR Hacking: How Ideas Spread And What Marketers Need to Know
Image recognition and marketing

People upload nearly 2 billion photos per day to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, WhatsApp and Snapchat. From that vast sea of images, marketers can glean nuanced data about social influence, brand sentiment, purchase behavior, and much more.

Using sophisticated application programming interfaces (APIs), developers have made it possible for users to take a picture of an object or person, and immediately learn where to buy the object shown, or where to connect with the person photographed.

Consider how the hospitality industry could improve customer service if they knew who was checking in—knew them from their online presence, as opposed to just their photo ID. Some hotels are already experimenting with facial recognition in an effort to provide faster check-in.

Image recognition and big data

Image recognition eliminates barriers between you and your target market, enabling frictionless mobile commerce and greater engagement.

The overlay of geographic and demographic information, combined with the rich insights offered by the social graph, offers marketers a valuable mix of data. They can use it all to create marketing communications that target the right people at the right time (and in the right place) to convert.

Brands can use image recognition to create a seamless shopping experience for consumers: just take a photo of something you’re interested in, and land immediately on a mobile optimized landing page where you can buy it.

Macy’s launched an app in September of this year that enables shoppers to take photos of outfits they like. The app then searches Macy’s inventory for a match.

Less than two months after Macy’s launched its image search app, Neiman Marcus debuted a similar app, through a partnership with Slyce. “Snap. Find. Shop.” enables users to take pictures of shoes or handbags that catch their eye. The app then compares the pictures with Neiman Marcus’ inventory of shoes and handbags, and returns a list of offerings that present the closest match.

Image recognition enables engagement

Image recognition can do more than facilitate frictionless commerce: it also has the potential to drive consumer engagement with brands. People can upload pictures of themselves with the product in a store, then share using a hashtag or mentioning the brand on various social networks.

Logo recognition—a more targeted use of image recognition technology—can help brands better understand how their products live in the world, how consumers use them, view them, integrate them into their everyday experiences.

For the first time, brands can gain insight into why people like certain items more than others, and how they’re using them, without having to conduct expensive psychographic research using surveys, focus groups, or interviews.

But what about privacy?

There’s no such thing anymore. At best, privacy is a cherished illusion, and it’s fallen by the wayside as people volunteer more personal data in the interest of greater personalization and convenience.

But seamlessly integrating facial recognition with mobile technology, especially wearables like Google Glass, has hit a few speed bumps.

Facebook slapped Nametag with a cease and desist letter after the company launched CreepShield, an app that enables users to scan the profile photos of potential dates so they can say no to the creeps in advance.

Lest you think Facebook has your privacy interests at heart, I should point out that Facebook’s own facial recognition technology is already well developed, but I digress.

However creepy the instantaneous nature of facial recognition technology might seem, the reality is that your information is already public, available for analysis.

Being smart about image recognition

Much like mortgage records and bankruptcy filings, information about your comings and goings in public areas is public information. And like mortgage records and bankruptcy filings, it’s easy to index and search with modern technology.

Consequently, if you’re out for a run and someone’s interested in knowing more about you, they can take a picture of you on their phone, run it through an app like NameTag and immediately gain access to your public social profiles and online photos.

Suddenly, taking the time to tighten up your privacy settings becomes a higher priority.

But even setting all of your social profiles to private won’t entirely insulate you from the prying eyes of strangers: your friends can always upload and photos of you online, too. So, the modern digital consumer is like the boy with his fingers stuck in the dam: information will burst forth one way or another.

Proceed With Caution

For marketers who manage to avoid coming across as creepy, this data goldmine can help to inform product development, channel selection, content marketing, mobile behavior, and more.

The key to using image recognition for marketing is not to creep people out. Just because you have and use information doesn’t mean you have to advertise it, so to speak.

Marketers, image recognition is here. How will you use it?
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Où en est le français dans le monde ?

Où en est le français dans le monde ? | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Elle est la deuxième langue la plus apprise au monde, la 2e langue, aussi, de travail dans la plupart des organisations internationales, la 4e c’est un « géant aux pieds d’argile », la qualifie un membre de l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). À la veille du XVe Sommet de la Francophonie à Dakar, Louis-Jean Calvet, professeur à l’Université de Provence et spécialiste de politologie linguistique, nous donne le pouls du français. sur internet... Pourtant,
On a tendance à croire que le nombre de locuteurs détermine le poids d'une langue. Fait-on fausse route? 
 Oui et non. Le nombre de locuteurs d’une langue n’est pas un indicateur suffisant pour juger de la vitalité d’une langue, cette approche est incomplète : c’est par rapport aux autres langues qu’il faut l’évaluer. Je vais prendre une exemple simple. Au Mexique, entre 1930 et 1990, le nombre de locuteurs des langues indiennes est passé de deux à cinq millions, soit une augmentation importante : il a été multiplié par 2,5. Croissance ? Cela dépend du point de vue adopté car, dans le même temps, la population du pays est passée de 14 à 70 millions, et la proportion de ces locuteurs a donc été divisée par deux, passant de 15% à 7%. Il est vrai que le nombre de locuteurs est un facteur important, mais il y en a beaucoup d’autres. Pour être concrets, prenons encore des exemples réels. Le nombre des locuteurs peut nous donner un classement des langues. Le mandarin est ainsi la langue la plus parlée dans le monde, suivi de l’espagnol, de l’anglais, du bengali, du hindi, et le français est en quatorzième position, ce qui devrait nous rendre modestes. Mais si nous prenons un autre facteur, celui du nombre de pays dans lesquels les langues sont officielles, l’anglais prend la tête, suivi par le français, l’espagnol, l’arabe, et le mandarin se retrouve en neuvième ou dixième place. Ces deux facteurs sont importants. Près de quarante pays ont le français pour langue officielle et s’ils avaient des positions politiques communes, ils pourraient jouer un rôle non négligeable à l’ONU par exemple. Dans notre « baromètre des langues du monde », nous avons pris onze facteurs, les uns économiques, comme l’Indice de développement humain (IDH), les autres démographiques comme le nombre de locuteurs, le taux de véhicularité ou le taux de natalité, d’autres culturels, etc. Et le traitement statistique du comportement des langues face à ces facteurs nous donne un classement qui nous montre que les premières langues, anglais, espagnol, français, sont d’origine européenne mais sont parlées dans le monde entier, en Amérique latine pour l’espagnol, en Afrique et en Amérique du nord pour le français, un peu partout pour l’anglais... Le français n’est pas, ou n’est plus, uniquement, la langue de la France, il est la langue de la francophonie.

Justement, à propos de ce baromètre que vous avez créé avec votre frère Alain Calvet, comment se porte le français dans le monde ?
Comme les langues indiennes du Mexique, le français voit le nombre de ses locuteurs augmenter sans cesse. Mais moins, proportionnellement, que certaines autres langues. Il est cependant dans les toutes premières langues face à des facteurs comme sa fonction de langue officielle, les flux de traduction (il est la deuxième langue source de traduction, derrière l’anglais, la deuxième langue cible, derrière l’allemand), les prix littéraires internationaux (il est à la deuxième place, derrière l’anglais), il est la troisième place sur Wikipedia, derrière l’anglais et l’allemand, etc. Par ailleurs le français est la principale langue du Tribunal pénal international, une des six langues de l’ONU, etc. Il faut en finir avec les discours de pleureuses : le français est une des grandes langues du monde, même s’il n’est pas la seule, bien sûr. 

 Pourquoi le mot « francophonie » sonne-t-il toujours un peu néocolonial ? 
Il y a une réalité indiscutable : l’importance mondiale de l’anglais, du français, de l’espagnol, du portugais ou de l’arabe repose sur le passé colonial des pays dans lesquels ces langues étaient parlées. Si l’on parle arabe du Liban ou de l’Irak au Soudan ou à la Mauritanie c’est parce que, il y a treize siècles, des guerriers venus de la péninsule arabique ont envahi ces régions. Si l’on parle espagnol au Pérou ou portugais au Brésil, c’est parce que l’Espagne et le Portugal ont été des pays impérialistes, et il en va de même pour le français. Cela relève de l’histoire. Et si nous parlons français en Belgique, en France et en Suisse, c’est aussi le résultat d’une invasion venue de l’est, celle des indo-européens, puis, ensuite, le résultat de l’expansion de l’empire romain. Cela fait-il aujourd’hui de la francophonie un fait colonial ou néocolonial ? Distinguons d’abord entre deux sens de ce terme. Avec un f minuscule, la francophonie est un fait sociolinguistique : l’ensemble des pays dans lesquels le français joue un rôle dans la communication quotidienne. Avec un F majuscule, la Francophonie est une réalité géopolitique, l’ensemble des pays adhérant à l’Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF). Et ces deux ensembles ne se recoupent pas toujours : l’Algérie, qui n’est pas membre de la Francophonie géopolitique, est évidemment un pays important de la francophonie sociolinguistique. Mais les instances de l’OIF appartiennent à ses pays membres, c’est à eux à d’en définir la politique. Bien sûr les pays du Nord, la France, la Belgique, le Canada, y ont une grande influence, mais le Sénégal ou l’Ile Maurice y ont également leur poids, proportionnel à leur importance internationale.

 L'espace francophone semble dominé par le français estampillé Académie française... et parisienne. Or, à la veille du Sommet à Dakar, beaucoup voient l'avenir de la francophonie en Afrique... 
 Non, ce n’est pas le français de l’Académie française qui domine le monde francophone. Le film qui a remporté le grand prix du jury à Cannes en 2014, Mommy, de Xavier Dolan, est un film québécois dans lequel on entend un éventail linguistique intéressant. Un peu, très peu, de français standard, du français québécois ensuite, mâtiné d’emprunts à l’anglais, et enfin le joual, ce parler populaire québécois qu’un Parisien ou un Bruxellois ont du mal à comprendre. Il y a là plusieurs directions de variation : une direction géographique (le français québécois n’est pas le même que le français marseillais par exemple), une direction identitaire (en parlant la forme locale de la langue on dit qui l’on est) et une direction sociale (un homme politique ou un avocat ne parlent pas la même langue qu’un ouvrier). Et cette variation se retrouve dans l’ensemble de la francophonie : il existe un français sénégalais, un français congolais, un français mauricien... Il y a en ce moment sur la chaîne de radio France Inter deux émissions phares, l’une quotidienne (Si tu écoutes j’annule tout) dont les deux animateurs sont belges et parlent un français typiquement belge, leur français, et l’autre hebdomadaire (L’Afrique enchantée), dont l’un des deux animateurs parle un français typiquement ivoirien. C’est aussi cela, la francophonie, et une radio nationale française lui donne ainsi un large écho. Mais les représentants des différents pays de la francophonie parlent bien sûr entre eux une forme standard de la langue. Cela dit, vous avez raison, l’avenir démographique de la langue française se trouve en Afrique. Pour une raison simple : la natalité des pays africains francophones est très supérieure à celle des pays francophones du nord. C’est pourquoi, dans notre baromètre, le taux de natalité des populations parlant telle ou telle langue a été pris comme l’un des facteurs. Mais ce qui fait le poids du français en Afrique c’est surtout sa fonction officielle dans une quinzaine de pays. Et cette fonction relève de la politique linguistique de ces différents pays. C’est eux qui décident de leur langue officielle, et ils pourraient en changer. 

 Le dernier rapport OIF témoigne d'une régression rapide de la langue française dans les institutions internationales. Est-ce un signal particulièrement alarmant ? 
Faut-il intensifier la guerre contre l'anglais ? Comme je viens de le dire, elle est la langue officielle de nombreux pays et, sur ce point, elle n’est pas menacée ! Le rapport de l’OIF auquel vous faites allusion compte 574 pages , et c’est à la toute fin du livre qu’il souligne la tendance au monolinguisme dans la vie internationale. Il y a des règlements linguistiques dans les organisations internationales, et il faut les faire respecter. Par exemple, le secrétariat général de l’ONU est officiellement bilingue, français et anglais, mais les Américains renâclent à respecter ce point du règlement. Il faudrait les y forcer. Cela ne constitue pas une guerre contre l’anglais, mais une défense de la diversité linguistique, une défense de toutes les langues. Je viens de participer à un grand colloque organisé à Bruxelles par l’Union européenne, j’y ai donné une conférence en français, qui était traduite en 23 langues. En anglais comme en lituanien. C’est cela la diversité linguistique et la défense de la place du français est aussi une défense des autres langues. Quels sont, selon vous, les vrais enjeux de la francophonie? Que pensez-vous du rapport Attali préconisant une union francophone économique ? Attali a raison sur un point fondamental : si l’avenir du français se joue bien en Afrique, il demeure que c’est l’avenir économique de l’Afrique qui doit être au centre de nos préoccupations. Je me sens concerné par l’avenir de la langue française, comme d’ailleurs de celui des autres langues, mais mon projet n’est pas que des Africains meurent de faim en parlant français. Ce n’est pas cela la Francophonie. Le problème central est un problème de développement, et le développement passe aussi par des choix de politique linguistique. L’OIF développe par exemple de nombreuses opérations d’introduction de langues africaines dans l’enseignement primaire, à côté du français, parfois avant lui. Et l’on peut imaginer que certaines opérations de développement se passent en langues africaines, que certaines formations professionnelles aient lieu en langues africaines. Cela dépend du choix des pays concernés, la Francophonie est là pour les aider mais pas pour décider à leur place. 

Quels dangers majeurs va devoir affronter la langue française à l'avenir ? 
 Je ne parlerais pas de « dangers », plutôt de défis. Essentiellement le défi du plurilinguisme, de la diversité linguistique. La tendance au monolinguisme anglophone est une menace pour la diversité en général, la diversité culturelle en particulier. Pour lutter contre cette tendance au monolinguisme à l’échelle mondiale, il faut aussi balayer devant notre porte. Et pas seulement en Afrique. On parle en France d’autres langues que le français, des langues de migrants, comme le berbère, le chinois ou l’arabe, des langues régionales, comme le basque, le breton, le provençal ou le languedocien. Pour être crédibles, les défenseurs de la langue française devraient se préoccuper aussi de ces langues. 

Propos recueillis par Florence Chédotal 
 florence.chedotal@centrefarance.com
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Deaf children have better reading skills if hearing loss is identified early

Deaf children have better reading skills if hearing loss is identified early | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
DEAF children have better reading skills if their hearing loss is identified by nine months old, a Southampton study has found.
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40 letras; dos líneas máximo para subtitular el Certamen de Cortos de Soria

40 letras; dos líneas máximo para subtitular el Certamen de Cortos de Soria | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Poner orden en la ‘Babel’ de lenguas que es este Certamen Internacional de Cortometrajes Ciudad de Soria es la misión que, un año más, han vuelto a desempeñar los alumnos de la Facultad de Traducción e Interpretación de la Universidad de Valladolid en el Campus Duques de Soria. En total, 12 estudiantes, principalmente de últimos cursos, aunque con algunas excepciones, han participado en el subtitulado de las obras extranjeras a concurso, un programa que coordina la profesora Verónica Arnáiz desde que el Ciudad de Soria pasó a ser de categoría internacional, hace siete ediciones.

Cuatro han sido las lenguas principales en las que se ha trabajado este año, aunque el número de idiomas distintos traducidos se ha elevado a siete dentro de las 21 producciones extranjeras que compiten en el Ciudad de Soria.

No es una labor tan sencilla como parece a simple vista. Los alumnos deben enfrentarse a una serie de obstáculos. El primero, la limitación del espacio. Los subtítulos no pueden rebasar los 40 caracteres o letras y, como máximo, deben aparecer en sólo dos líneas. Pero, ésta no es la única dificultad. Éstos deben coordinarse con cada toma, acompasándose al diálogo de los intérpretes y, dejando tiempo suficiente para que pueda facilitarse la lectura rápida del espectador. Todo un ejercicio de ‘ingeniería’ de la traducción a 24 fotogramas por segundo.

Y, ya puestos a ‘vencer’ retos, los alumnos deben adecuarse también al espacio físico de la propia filmación para ubicar los subtítulos en un lugar donde no estorben y puedan seguirse con cierta continuidad. Y a esto se suma, la mayor parte de las veces, trabajar a ‘contrarreloj’. Este año su labor comenzó el 30 de octubre. El 3 de noviembre se proyectaron en la prisión de Soria las primeras obras subtituladas, dentro del programa ‘Cortos en la sombra’. Pese a todo, se ha ido bien de tiempo. El trabajo se concluyó el día 14 de noviembre. "Pero ha habido años de entregar el subtitulado la misma mañana de la proyección", recuerda.

A las limitaciones espaciales y temporales que marca cada cortometraje, se suman, por si no fueran bastantes, otros retos lingüísticos. Como no disponer del material necesario (el guión original, por ejemplo). No ha sido el caso este año, aunque sí recuerdan otras ediciones en las que sólo contaban con un subtitulado en un idioma matriz, mayoritario. En esos casos, apunta Arnáiz, "es difícil comprobar que la traducción en el idioma de rodaje es correcta". De hecho, ya les pasó el año pasado. Ocurrió con un cortometrajes rumano, pero, gracias a un alumno de ese país, se pudo constatar que el subtitulado no era demasiado fiel al diálogo original.

En otros casos, los acentos pueden dificultar la labor de los alumnos de Traducción e Interpretación que suelen dominar dos lenguas, inglés y francés, y ‘defenderse’ en otras.

De hecho, una de las anécdotas más curiosas que recuerdan estuvo relacionada con un cortometraje estadounidense. "Llamanos a nuestro compañero Larry, que es americano... pero él tampoco entendía nada", recuerda entre risas la coordinadora de este programa que supone para los alumnos una práctica laboral muy interesante.

Los estudiantes que participan en este programa realizan previamente un curso de formación en el que aprenden, sobre todo, las herramientas técnicas para proceder al subtitulado. "Solemos hacerlo a principios de octubre", comenta Arnáiz. En realidad, los alumnos de Traducción realizan sólo los textos del subtitulado.

Lucas Fernández, coordinador de las proyecciones, se encarga después de insertarlos en las proyecciones. "En realidad, cuando hacemos los subtítulos elaboramos un archivo de texto que no se incrusta en la filmación original, sino que se proyecta a la vez que la película". De ahí que sea vital hacer repasos, ya sobre la proyección, para que los subtítulos encajen a la perfección.

Ya con las pautas que marca Lucas Fernández, una vez revisado el trabajo, deben hacerse algunos retoques en caso necesario. Después, todo queda listo para la proyección.

Los alumnos suelen acudir a ellas. Buscan ver el resultado final en pantalla y, en cierta manera, se sienten orgullosos de que su trabajo haya sido útil y tenga una proyección pública en el Certamen Internacional de Cortometrajes. Incluso se emocionan con el palmarés. "Mi corto ha ganado", suelen comentan con humor y mucho orgullo.
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Word Watch New Books For The Linguists On Your List

Word Watch New Books For The Linguists On Your List | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Wondering what to give your favorite geniuses this holiday season?


These new books about language will delight your professorial posse, even Rudolph, the well-read, knows-all brain, dear.

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Speaking of brains, Steven Pinker, a cognitive scientist at Harvard, argues for a common-sense approach to grammar and usage in "The Sense of Style — The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century" (Viking, $27.95). His acceptance of usages such as "very unique" and "between you and I" will ruffle the feathers of linguistic purists.

But his eloquent celebration of literary clarity, originality and concision will lift the wings of every writer. Begin a paragraph, he advises, not with cliché ("Since the dawn of time . . .), but with clout: "We are all going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones."

Perhaps you've heard the notion that people using different languages experience the world differently; for example, that people who use the same word for "green" and "blue" actually see those colors as identical.


This linguistic theory, formulated by Benjamin Lee Whorf during the 1930s, is deftly debunked by linguist John McWhorter in "The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language" (Oxford, $19.95). It's Whorf vs. McWhorter — Star Wors! — in this mano-a-manifesto, as McWhorter labels Whorf's ideas "utterly incoherent, and even dangerous."

And for that plucky friend who's trying to master a new language, pick up "Fluent Forever — How To Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It" by Gabriel Wyner (Harmony Books, $16).

Wyner opens a toolbox full of nifty techniques: visual mnemonics and stories (picture Bruce Lee eating a hot dog); linguistic apps for your cellphone; exercises for your tongue; designs for your flashcards. And don't forget playing the party game Taboo in your target language.

And for those Americans who want to comprehend the "foreign" language used by the Brits, there's Christopher Moore's "How To Speak Brit — The Quintessential Guide to the King's English, Cockney Slang and Flummoxing British Phrases" (Gotham Books, $20).

You'll learn that "wags" are the wives and girlfriends of millionaire soccer players, "dog and bone" is Cockney rhyming slang for "telephone," "naff" means "uncool, lacking in style," and the "gob" in "gobsmacked" (left speechless) comes from the Celtic slang for "mouth."

These are books that even Rudolph knows should be read!
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New Pebble update features support for 80 languages, app notifications

New Pebble update features support for 80 languages, app notifications | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Pebble smartwatch, considered as one of the best wearable devices today, is made even better after it rolled out the newest version 2.8 firmware that can now support 80 different languages as well as an Android notification support that is compatible with all apps. 

Based on the statement posted on Pebble's official blog, "Over 98% of Pebblers in the world can now fully receive messages and alerts in their native language. Today's update paves the way for more languages to come in the future, as Pebble steadily lands in more countries around the world." 

The new firmware update reportedly supports majority of the languages worldwide, including those with special alphabet characters. There will be no more "unknown character" boxes when using different languages. Additional languages will also be added in the coming days. 

Aside from the updated firmware, the company also rolled out an update for the app that works well for both iOS and Android platforms. Pebble smartwatches can now receive notifications from any app from devices powered by Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or higher through the latest Notifications > All Apps menu featured in the new Android App 2.1. The users can simply choose Select All, Select None, or pick apps that they want to receive notifications from individually. The devices that use earlier versions of Android operating systems can also experience the new Pebble feature once a future update had been released. 

On the other hand, the update for iOS powered devices features a few changes, such as the addition of JavaScript Pebble apps that can be found in the Pebble appstore. 

Pebble became popular after the company released a Kickstarter-funded wearable device known simply as Pebble. The device received good reception from the public because of its highly practical and functional features, which ignited the clamor for its second-generation product line called Pebble Steel. 

Pebble smartwatches can be purchased for only $99, while the Pebble Steel has a tag price of $199.
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Foreign languages in higher demand at city estate agents

Foreign languages in higher demand at city estate agents | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
by Chris Papadopoullos November 27, 2014, 1:36am
A LONDON estate agent is having to place foreign languages near the top of its skills requirements as the capital continues to attract talent from the struggling Eurozone.

Estate agent Greene & Co said today that one quarter of its residential clients now came from overseas. To meet demand, they need staff to speak a host of differ­ent languages – 13 per cent of the firm’s staff are fluent in a foreign language.

In Kentish Town, Greene & Co have boosted the number of agents fluent in French as buyers from across the channel flock to the area because of two French schools.

Another French school – the Lycee International de Londres – due to open in Wembley in September 2015 – is attracting French migrants to the area.

Meanwhile, the branch based at Maida Vale is seeing an influx of Italians and Greeks.

“Having an agent who can negotiate in your own language can make the process much easier and less stressful,” said David Pollock, managing director of Greene & Co.

“We actively recruit agents who are multi-lingual, and this is a trend I see growing.”
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If I Wrote a Novel in 15 Minutes a Day, Then You Probably Can Too

If I Wrote a Novel in 15 Minutes a Day, Then You Probably Can Too | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Hearing other writers talk about their writing process is kind of like listening to someone else talk about a dream they had that you were not in. (To paraphrase Built to Spill, other people are less into that than you might think.) But in the interest of contributing my humble part to the world's store of potentially useful writing advice, I thought it might be helpful to explain how I wrote a novel, my first novel, in fifteen minutes a day.

I am not an especially fast writer, nor am I some kind of life-hack-obsessed productivity genius, nor am I any kind of genius at all -- although this one time I did the Times Sunday crossword in like 20 minutes. I started my first novel when I was working full-time at a demanding job and had a 7 month-old baby. I work, I have a family and I write -- I'm not a special case.

So it stands to reason that if I can write a novel in 15 minutes a day, other people probably can too. Probably even you. Here's how.

Step 1: Commit to writing for 15 minutes a day.
"Anybody can do anything for 15 minutes," as the indomitable Kate Winslet once said of exercise. But as even she would probably admit, it's all a Jedi mind trick. Kate Winslet probably doesn't really exercise for only 15 minutes a day (I mean, look at her). But she commits herself to exercising for only 15 minutes. And because 15 minutes sounds reasonable and doable and not like it's going to kill her, it gets her to the gym.

The same Jedi mind trick works for establishing a daily writing habit. If you tell yourself you have to write for an hour every day, you might never make it. An hour? Every day? I have a newborn, I have a job, I have knitting, I have baseball, I have an entire season of Homeland to catch up on.

But if you tell yourself you only have to write for 15 minutes every day...it starts to sound feasible.

Step 2: Understand that the important thing isn't the 15 minutes.
The important thing is that you do it every day, or as close to every day as you can. The point is to make writing a daily habit.

I know writers with busy lives who arrange marathon writing sessions at coffee shops on the weekends to make up for all the writing they're not doing every day during the week. My hat is off to these people, but that's a very high standard to hold yourself to if you're not some kind of super writing ninja. I've tried the weekend-coffee shop-writing thing. You know what happens to me? I spend the entire time re-reading what I wrote last weekend just to remind myself what the hell I was talking about.

Whenever you store up your writing minutes for "later," that magical later when everything else is out of the way and all the cows are in the barn, the writing never happens. Because "later" never happens. "Later" is always going to recede infinitely into later still. So don't write later. Write every day. All you've committed to, after all, is 15 minutes.

Step 3: Ignore anyone who tells you to set a timer.
So, I told myself I only needed to write for 15 minutes, and I made myself do it every day. How did I enforce it?

Some people will tell you to set a timer for 15 minutes. That is terrible, counter-productive advice. The point is to lose track of how long you've actually been writing, not set a timer that reminds you when you can stop.

You know how to read a clock. When you sit down every day to write for fifteen minutes, make a mental note of what time it will be when fifteen minutes have elapsed. Then start writing. If you're like me, for the first ten minutes or so you'll check the time every 90 seconds: Uuuuuuugh this is not going well holy crap it's only been three minutes how is that possible uuuuuuuuuugh.

But by retraining yourself to keep focusing on your writing, even when it feels boring and hideous and self-esteem-stripping and physically painful to do so, you retrain your writing instinct to keep kicking in and turning over. And around minute twelve, if you're having a good night, you'll forget how long you've been going. There's a saying among distance runners that the first two miles are the hardest--once you beat past that invisible mental and physical barrier, the rest is gravy. So why would you set a timer to remind yourself that you've been swimming in gravy?

For me, a daily commitment to writing retrained mental muscles I didn't know I had. Some nights, every one of those fifteen minutes was a struggle, and I closed the laptop after minute fifteen and walked away -- and I had still kept my promise to myself, so even a bad night was a good night.

On many more nights, however, because I didn't set a timer, I lost track of when the fifteen minutes was up. I wrote for 22 minutes and walked away. I wrote for 37 minutes and walked away. And on several memorably painful occasions, I got so into what I was doing that I wrote for a couple of hours, after everyone else in my house was in bed and I got three hours of sleep and was a zombie the next day but I had cranked out a big scene. Worth it.

Step 4. If you're not using your 15 minutes writing, then use them to develop a plan to write tomorrow.
Say you're having a bad night. Nothing's coming. The minutes are ticking by, and you're not progressing in the actual narrative or writing any dialogue or making a scene come along. What then?

I happen to be a plotter, and not a pantser. Because I'm such a dyed-in-the-wool plotter, I believe pantsers must face a certain challenge in getting from point A to point B in a long narrative (and therefore I salute them, with my pants). Because one advantage of being a plotter is, even when the writing isn't going well, the plotting can be.

It took me some time to forgive myself for using writing time to plan my writing -- to see brainstorming as anything other than glorified journaling. But planning isn't cheating, and it isn't wasting time. Planning and thinking and brainstorming are all well and truly part of the writing process, and an allowable use of your fifteen minutes.

Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, it can help to have two documents going at the same time during your 15 minute daily writing commitment: One document is for writing whatever you're writing, and one document is for not writing whatever you're writing -- but for planning what you will write, when you do get back into writing whatever you're writing.

If you do nothing else with your fifteen minutes of daily writing, work on your outline. Work on your scene flow. Write a character description. Do some story-world building. Or just write yourself a note about what you wish you were writing tonight, and what you want to write tomorrow.

Step 5. Feel bitter, get better.
You might have noticed, observant writerly reader that you are, that I invariably refer to writing at night, as if writing only happens at night. That's because for me it does. Like a lot of writers, I used to have a cherished morning writing ritual, waking before the sunrise to sit at my desk and make sweet love to my coffee cup and think glorious creative thoughts. That all went to hell when I had a kid. So now I write at night, usually after my child and husband are both in bed. I get less sleep than everybody else in my house. Oh, and also, I live in a tiny apartment and I don't have a desk, or any dedicated space of any kind for writing. And the Mets suck and there aren't enough New Girl episodes about Winston and I have to make dinner more often than I want to even though otherwise my husband is pretty cool. Does all this sometimes make me feel bitter and angry? Yes. But a little bit of bitterness, a little bit of struggle, won't kill me. Nor does it need to stop me, necessarily.

All I'm saying is that there are probably going to be things about a daily 15 minute writing commitment that are going to suck for you, too -- it might not be easy. But neither will it be as hard as, say, delivering vital medical supplies into a war zone. (Unless you are actually also writing in a war zone where your day job is delivering vital medical supplies.) What doesn't kill you and eat you makes you stronger. You may pat yourself on the back now.

And the payoff, I really think, is worth it. A daily writing habit did all the things for me that every writing expert on Earth says it will: When I wrote my novel every day, I got better at writing. I got faster. You know those hold-on-this-changes-everything moments that go off while you're working, where a solution to a problem comes to you, or an idea for how to fix a scene or an insight that turns your story around? I had more of those, more often, when I wrote every day -- even if I was only writing every day for the laughably short duration of 15 minutes. When I wrote every day, even for just 15 minutes, part of my brain was always writing the novel.

Step 6. Schedule a public writing staycation to work through some hard parts.
On a couple of occasions while writing my novel in 15 minutes a day, I realized that I was approaching a part of the story that was going to need some additional time to work out.

It's kind of like driving in a car in the general direction of the mountains -- you'll see them in the distance for a while, and then suddenly, boom, there are the mountains, right there in front of you, and you have to go over them. You face a moment of decision then: Are you going to climb the mountain in small doable stages but possibly get stuck in a snowy pass where you'll have to eat your own arm to survive, or are you going to gas up the wagons and tear your way up and over?

In my case, I found it really helpful to schedule a couple of two- or three-day "staycations," where I stayed home from my day job and went to write at a coffee shop. For me, it was helpful, and sort of hilarious, to perform the act of being a Full Time Serious Writerly Novelist Person, right out there in the open, in a coffee shop of all places. Shhh don't bother me, I am writing my novel and it's super duper hard and important.

A public writing staycation was, in every way, the opposite of my 15-minute-a-day commitment -- that small-scale promise that I found I could keep precisely because it seemed so small, so doable. A public writing staycation, by contrast, was an investment: I took precious vacation days to write my novel. I took time off of important projects at work to write my novel. I went out in public and acted like a person who was writing a novel. I put myself out there.

And that was a big lesson to learn too, about what writing a novel might really take: The doable, 15-minute daily writing commitment will get you most of the way there, because all writing requires is an investment of time and creativity. And one day, you will be surprised to learn the truth: You're already rich.
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Figure King 202 Interviews Hironori Kobayashi - Now With English Translation Transformers News Reviews Movies Comics and Toys

Figure King 202 Interviews Hironori Kobayashi - Now With English Translation Transformers News Reviews Movies Comics and Toys | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
TFW member SydneyY has taken time to give us a translation of Figure King Magazine's recent interview with TakaraTomy designer Hironori Kobayashi. The interview has some general coverage, but focuses specially on the development of Generations (or "Legends") Arcee and Kobayashi's unique background in design for the character, which we've written about previously. Keep reading to check out the translated interview!
Hironori Kobayashi on LG-10 Arcee
who is he? - Joined Takara in 1999. The first Transformer figure he developed was Speedbreaker from Car Robot (Sideburn from Robots in Disguise). Since then, he has worked on the products such as Binaltech and earlier Masterpiece figures as well as modifying overseas products for domestic market. He has returned to Masterpiece series with Ultra Magnus, which is to be released in December. Currently he is working on Masterpiece series and the new items "for the future".

- How did Arcee become a part of the "Legends" (Generations) lineup?
K: I recall she was picked as a matter of course. The characters that hadn't been featured before were chosen (for the series). The fembots were not thought to be a strong sell before, but it seems that Hasbro is willing to try new ideas since their staff went through a change of generation. As soon as I heard Arcee would be in the lineup, I insisted on taking on the job.

- Can you often nominate yourself for the figure you want to work on?
K: Usually our product development schedules are taken into consideration when new jobs are allocated, however in this case my request was granted because there was plenty of time until the development was to start.

- Which details of Legends Arcee do you recommend us to take notice?
K: I was very particular about re-creating her figure as seen in the cartoon. Hasbro prefers a change from the original in this kind of situation, and convincing them not to was the first difficulty I faced. Actually, her initial design was done with a view to remoulding it into Blurr, but that would have made the re-creation of the cartoon impossible. Hasbro accepts our suggestion as long as we have convincing reasons, so at the very early stage I asked Mr.Yuki Oshima to draw a sketch and showed it to them - "Doesn't she look cooler like this? Let's make this one". Also, I wanted her to be like a dramatised version of the character drawing from the cartoon, not a mere copy of it, and Mr.Oshima's drawing represented those exquisite lines. I think the lines of the hips are noteworthy. Her vehicle mode was decided as I had discussed it over with Mr.Oshima.

- The re-creation of the cartoon is indeed the ideal Arcee.
K: Yes. The fans would have been disappointed if the design was different even though it looked nice. I wanted to pursue what the staff of "2010" (G1 season 3) were aiming for.

- How are the paint applications different from the overseas version?
K: For the domestic version, the focus is on the cartoon. An extra nylon resin mould was produced to achieve the pale pink on the arms. To me, the Transformers "skin" tone is an important detail. The colour around her Cybertron (Autobot) faction symbol has been changed to silver as well, and it is based on the stickers from the era the cartoon was aired. The overseas version has black nylon resin parts and looks firm overall, and Hasbro's decision is fine as well in order to make the product stand out.

- You have been known as an Arcee fan.
K: Not Arcee in particular, but I am rather a fan of "the Movie" and "2010". Though from a toy fan's point of view, only Arcee was missing when the toys were lined up. Neutral colours were used for the cast of the movie/show, and they were all different. So when colours such as green, purple and red are lined up, the hues appear ill-balanced without pink. Their colourfulness becomes complimentary only when Arcee is added to the mix.

- In the show, her vehicle mode and robot mode are quite unlike each other.
K: Even among the fans, I think people who were familiar with the morphing transformations of the 70's (cartoons) just accepted that Arcee wouldn't actually transform. But I'm part of the generation that grew up with the toys which could transform and combine like we saw on TV, and I was convinced she too could transform.

- Arcee has been special for you since you joined the company.
K: As I was unhappy there was no three dimensional Arcee, I made the first scratch-built model for the job interview at Takara. The applicants for the design section are expected to bring some project they worked on at school and such, and I showed my Arcee on top of that to make a straightforward appeal that I was capable of developing Transformers. That was how I joined Takara. The interviewer was Yoke (Hideaki Yoke, former general manager of TF design team), and his reaction was something like, "Oh, you made this yourself? Good for you." (*laugh) I modified the Arcee model to submit to Botcon Japan '98 and won the first prize. Though no one at work believes me that I entered the Arcee and won. (*laugh) This Legends version has kept the basic structure of the Arcee model with improvements I thought needed.

- Indeed it seems you joined Takara to create Arcee.
K: That is not the whole reason (*laugh), but it took me 15 years. It is true that I feel as if I have reached the end of one chapter.

- I hope we'll see the Headmasters version from the Rebirth...
K: I would love to challenge that one as Version 2. (*laugh) I think there might be an opportunity in the future now that her main form is realised.

- What is your goal for the next 15 years?
K: As a "2010" fan, I hope Sharktrons (Sharkticons) and other mechanical beasts will be featured. Also, I'd like to have Cha (Kup) that transforms to the futuristic car as seen in "2010". While working on Arcee I re-discovered the designs of those days have really nice lines. With appreciations for those designs, I want to give it a go at creating Cha as a cool futuristic pick-up truck and other casts in "2010" style.
We are dedicated to being to be the best resource for all your Transformers news and reviews every day. Keep your browser dialed to Tformers.com for updates as they happen.
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Skype Translator: How it will change communication forever

Skype Translator: How it will change communication forever | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Skype Translator Preview coming in late-2014
Despite playing catch-up in the mobile market, when it comes to real-time speech-to-speech translation, Microsoft is well ahead of its competitors.

When the Skype Translator Preview launches at the end of 2014, it's expected to provide an insight into how communication will be revolutionised.

Below we look at what you can expect from the automated translation service.

What will it do?

Skype Translator will work by providing voice translation in near real-time along with an onscreen transcription of what you have said, with Microsoft revealing that it's been working on 40+ languages for the service.



Does it work?

Yes. Microsoft has been working on speech-to-speech translation for 10+ years. To deliver the service, the firm has worked with specialists in the language and translation fields, and leveraged technology from core departments including Skype, Microsoft Research and Bing.

With the technology close to being rolled out in beta form, Microsoft has provided demonstrations at various events this year.

The first public demonstration of Skype Translator occurred in May 2014 at the inaugural Code conference. Skype was used to translate a conversation from English-to-German and visa versa during a video call.

A similar demonstration was carried out on-stage at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July.


As it's still in beta form, translation isn't always perfect. However, as the system uses machine learning, the more conversations it translates, the better it will become.

What are the benefits?

Skype Translator has the potential to make a positive impact in many areas of our lives. It will give people who may not have the means to learn a new language the chance to communicate. The service will no doubt be used for educational purposes and could even help worldwide leaders to communicate effectively.

Businesses are also expected to receive a huge benefit. Having a real-time translator will increase transatlantic communication between colleagues, and potentially help businesses build contacts and break into foreign markets as it lowers the cost of communication.

When is it coming?

The Skype Translator Preview will arrive before the end of 2014, but there’s still time to register if you want to be selected to test drive the service.

Initially only “a few” languages will be available but Microsoft hasn't confirmed which will be rolled out during the beta. During the registration process, Microsoft asks whether you are interested in languages including Arabic, English, Chinese, French, German and Spanish.

You’ll need a machine running Windows 8.1 or the Windows 10 Technical Preview to try the beta version. Support for various platforms including Android, iOS and Mac is expected to be rolled out when the service is officially launched.

To find the best business apps for your needs, visit the GetApp store.
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Some People May Be Pre-Wired to Be Bilingual

Some People May Be Pre-Wired to Be Bilingual | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Some people's brains seem pre-wired to acquire a second language, new research suggests. But anyone who tries to move beyond their mother tongue will likely gain a brain boost, the small study finds.

The brain "becomes more connected and integrated after learning," said study co-author Ping Li, co-director of the Center for Brain, Behavior and Cognition at Pennsylvania State University. But it's even more interesting, Li said, that "the brain networks of the more successful learners are better connected even before learning takes place."

Li's team is studying how brain wiring relates to the development of second-language skills. "We know that if the learning of a new language is successful, key brain regions responsible for handling languages will become activated. But we don't know how these different regions are connected with each other as a network," Li said.

In the new study, recently published in the Journal of Neurolinguistics, the researchers hoped to identify the changes that occur in the brain network after learning. They also wanted "to make predictions as to what network changes might or might not occur so as to predict individual differences," Li explained.

To find the answers, they recruited 39 native English speakers and asked 23 of them to study Chinese vocabulary over six weeks. The researchers scanned their brains with MRI machines before and after the language course.

Participants who were the most successful at learning Chinese also had the best-connected brains in terms of links between brain regions that handle certain thinking and language skills, the researchers said.

It's not clear how many people are pre-wired to do better at learning a second language, Li said, and it's not known if training can improve this kind of brain wiring. Nor is it clear how these brain connections fit in with factors such as stress and motivation that may also affect the ability to master a second language, Li said.

Still, these connections could be helpful in the long run. Researchers do know that bilingual speakers seem to take longer to reach dementia, on average, than people who speak just one language, Li noted.

"This could be due to the constant everyday uses of multiple languages, which involves efforts from a lot of brain regions and their connections," Li said.

The research suggests that studying a new language even for a brief period of time can have benefits, said Kara Morgan-Short, director of the Cognition of Second Language Acquisition Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"The results reviewed in this article are seen across groups of learners, so even learners who are not particularly talented may show these benefits as well," said Morgan-Short, who wasn't involved with the study.

Not everyone who'd like to improve their brain has the time to pick up Spanish, French or Chinese. Fortunately, there are alternatives. "If you can't learn a new language, doing other cognitively challenging activities could be equally useful to the brain," Li said, "although they may train only one or a few parts of your brain, unlike language learning." Specialists often point to board games, card games, puzzles and educational classes as examples of brain-stretching activities.

As for the idea of priming your brain to acquire a new language, Morgan-Short said that's not possible at this time.

"However, there is some research that suggests that bilinguals are better than monolinguals at learning subsequent languages," she said. So learning a second language "in the first place may prepare one's brain to learn language better. Also, there is some evidence that people with a significant amount of music experience are able to learn aspects of language more easily."

More information

For more about how the brain works, see Harvard Medical School's Whole Brain Atlas.

SOURCES: Ping Li, Ph.D., professor, psychology, linguistics, information sciences and technology, and co-director, Center for Brain, Behavior, and Cognition, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Penn., and editor-in-chief, Journal of Neurolinguistics; Kara Morgan-Short, Ph.D., associate professor, Spanish linguistics and psychology, and director, Cognition of Second Language Acquisition Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago; May 2014, Journal of Neurolinguistics, online

Last Updated: Nov 26, 2014
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The future of meetings, key technologies and trends according to Azavista

The future of meetings, key technologies and trends according to Azavista



Category: EIBTM preview Created on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 12:30
Azavista, a leader in corporate event technology, participated in the EIBTM conference last week, in Barcelona. Cassandra Michael, Sales and Marketing Manager at Azavista, gave a presentation about the future of events as the company envisions it.
The presentation contained a melange of smart gadgets, virtual reality and wearable technology, and analyzed how these technologies might be applied in the meeting and events industry in the years to come.

Here are some of the key technologies and trends presented:
Augmented Reality Supplier Sourcing:
Various augmented reality headsets like Oculus Rift are being launched. The current focus is on gaming, but Azavista predicts that in the near future hotels will allow planners to view meeting and event facilities virtually, just from the comfort of their desk or home.

Setting up your venue interactively
Azavista presented “Leap Motion”, a device that allows you to control a computer in three dimensions with your natural hand and finger movements. Azavista predicts that this technology will be used side by side with AR head-sets and allow planners to create their meeting or event set-up in an interactive and virtual way.

The end of translation booths
Microsoft's Skype Translator automatically translates your voice and video calls with real-time translation. Its still in beta version and there is vast room for improvement,especially regarding the contextualization of conversations. Nevertheless, according to Azavista, in the near future we might see this technology replacing translation booths; Delegates will be able to follow any presentation in any language just from their smartphones.

Your future contingency plan for rain
A new kickstarter campaign presented the “air umbrella” - a literally invisible umbrella which takes advantage of airflow and creates shelter from the rain. Azavista estimates that we might see this technology expanding and possibly being using for big outdoor events.

Your personal event chauffeur
Google, Audi, Mercedes, GM and more are all working on self driving technology. By 2020 these vehicles will probably be on the road. Azavista predicts that self driving cars will be notified automatically when a delegate lands and be at the pick-up point right on time.

Post Event questionnaires with...robots
Social robotics will also find its place in the meeting industry. According to Azavista, post event questionnaires and evaluations might be substituted by robots that will collect participant feedback on the spot! Blabdroids are a good example of this trend. According to a study endorsed by the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, people are more likely to engage emotionally with artificial intelligence than others. The robots are intended to be comforting and non-judgmental.

A Wearable Thermostat
Wristify is a bracelet that controls your body temperature using thermo-electric material and sensors. As a future scenario, Azavista can see these bracelets being handed out to event attendees, thus ensuring everyone is 100% comfortable and the temperature is according to their own personal preferences.
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Finding an image with an image and other feats of computer vision

Finding an image with an image and other feats of computer vision | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
SAN FRANCISCO—“We found that people were searching for squirrels just to favorite them, just to click 'like.' And the same with buses."

That's what David Amyan Shamma, senior research manager at Yahoo Labs, told a small group of journalists at the company's local headquarters on Friday. It's a bit of trivia that pretty accurately reflects our obsession with images in the digital age.

But given our apparent love for pictures, searching for the right photos online remains inconvenient. While text search is effective enough that we tend to take it for granted, image search has traditionally been a more difficult problem. Searching the image itself requires hefty computer vision resources, and searching the metadata of a photo is not always effective.

That's why Shamma and his colleagues are taking aim at the issue, with Yahoo Labs leveraging its photo-sharing property Flickr to make image search better.

A social call

In particular, Yahoo has two immediate goals for improving its image search capabilities: First, it's looking to use its wealth of Flickr photos to drive engagement on the photo-sharing platform. Second, it wants to be able to use photos in products like Yahoo Weather and on e-commerce sites. Better search helps the people searching for "cactus" find more cacti and fewer dogs named Cactus. And making Yahoo's Weather product more visually appealing needed a similar hammer for a similar nail. Yahoo wanted local images of weather patterns to present to a user when he or she searched for the weather in that particular place, but to do that the company had to surface hundreds of thousands of high-quality weather photos taken from various locations around the world.

Part of this problem was initially solved by the community: users voluntarily added photos to Flickr's Project Weather group and real, human editors went through the photos and selected the best and most interesting ones. But at a certain point the editors needed to search outside Project Weather, and they wanted to find the weather photos most interesting to the Flickr community out of the 10 billion-or-so images uploaded to the platform.

Instead of turning immediately to computer vision or geo-location, the people at Yahoo Labs posited that people who like weather images on Flickr tend to view more of them. They looked at which users liked which photos and then drew implied connections from users who clicked the same photos without the users being socially connected. Flickr grouped those people with implied connections using what researchers have called “Clique Percolation,” allowing Yahoo to find the photos favorited by the resulting groups of unrelated users with similar interests.


aymanshamma
That method surfaced over six million “reasonably high-quality” images of weather on Flickr, Shamma said, at which point computer vision was used to eliminate photos with faces in them and other undesirable image artifacts. Editors at Yahoo contacted the owners of the photos and asked if they would agree to having their photo displayed by Yahoo Weather. Next, Yahoo used a method known as “Deep Convolutional Neural Networks,” which was able to assign each photo a “daytime/nighttime” classification as well as a designation for various weather patterns like sunny, rainy, cloudy, snowy, etc. (Shamma noted that the photo's metatdata showing time and location was often not enough to determine night or day correctly because of inaccuracies caused by individual devices.)

A team led by Pierre Garrigues, a senior research engineer for Flickr, publicly demonstrated the "Deep Convolutional Neural Networks" method in October of this year with a tool called "Flickr PARK or BIRD," which automatically checks if a photo contains a park or a bird. The project was inspired by an XKCD comic poking fun at how difficult image identification is, saying that it's easy to find out if an image is of a National Park (just check the location data) but its much harder to figure out if the image has a bird in it. Flickr managed that feat by training an algorithm, feeding it "millions of images" of birds and then asking it to analyze each image in layers from the most basic features to simple shapes to bird heads and wings.

Find me a blouse with cats on it

Yahoo's Jia Li, a senior research scientist who specializes in visual computing, talked about another initiative that the company has tested on its Taiwan e-commerce site: letting users search for other products based on images of the first product. The example in this case was blouses. A user types “blouses” into Yahoo's search engine and is presented with a number of different blouses from different clothiers with different patterns. If you see a blouse you like but don't know how to describe it in order to find more of that kind of shirt, Yahoo presents a button you can click to find images of shirts that are similar to the blouse you liked based on a computer analysis of the patterns and colors in it.

“I’m searching not with a set of terms, I’m searching with an image,” Li told the group. “The brand of the blouse could be very different and the language description could be very different for this blouse. The way we could describe the visual similarity is by using an advanced visual detection system… and advanced machine learning technique like deep learning.”

Of course, deep learning techniques often require training, and humans are still best at weeding out false positives returned by computers. So for refining Flickr's search at least, human input is still necessary. “By combining computer vision and humans in the loop we can reinforce learning and…people can have a better experience as well,” Li said.

A personal product

Yahoo's efforts to make photo search better has a simple mantra: “more relevant photos for users, not just the most popular photos,” as Li put it. To that extent, Flickr tries to improve general search while also improving search relevance within a person's likely-massive online photo album.

Shamma noted that batch upload and the gigabytes and terabytes of storage offered to customers at relatively cheap prices have changed how we photograph things. Accordingly, storage and recall of photographs has to adapt to fit the morphing definition of photography. “The practice of photography is changing very quickly, using photos for communication has been growing,” Shamma said.

Garrigues added that Yahoo is “developing technologies to help people handle their increasingly large photo collections; image recognition is not enough in itself to handle the increasingly large corpus of photography.”
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Translation is not enough: What you need is localization

Translation is not enough: What you need is localization | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
While using the eLearning process to train your workforce, proper localization is a very important factor. You must effectively translate every part and also localize it according to the regional context. The course must remain lively and not be made too dry as well. So, translation is not enough. You need to go for eLearning localization.
What is translation?
Translation simply refers to changing the language from the source language to any given language. The words are just changed. The end product need not necessarily convey the same meaning as the original piece.
What is localization?
A linguistic translation is achieved from localization. The piece is translated, and also all other aspects of the language are taken in to account. Slangs, metaphors, ad colloquialisms, are all incorporated in the process. Translators who effectively localize must know each and every part of the language along with the contexts.
Why prefer localization?
Enough knowledge about the local culture and dialects is most important. The linguistics chosen for the eLearning translation must be able to localize the sentences so that the users get the exact meaning of the course.  Just translating the language will not be enough it needs to be put in the correct localized manner to fit in to the context.
The localization Process
Neutralizing the source language is the first step for localization. All cultural slangs and metaphors are all removed in this process. Only the basics of the language remain. After that, this is translated to the required target language. In the neutralizing process, all kinds of phrasing and interesting stories are taken out from the piece. This makes the course too boring and dry. So, it is important to add them after you finish the translation process. It makes the course quite interesting, and keeps the end users hooked on.
Different phrases and expressions are misunderstood when you translate. So, you must look for a local equivalent that conveys the correct message. Puns, exaggerations, and colloquialisms are things that you may not get the exact translation for. In such cases, use a contextual middle ground to effectively pass the message.
There are certain clients who specify the use of some marketing terms to be used in the course content as they are. They must not be altered, and used exactly as given. Proper explanation is a must in such cases. It is necessary to convey the exact meaning to the users. A good translation company must be able to do this effectively. The main idea is to pass the message to the users as effectively as possible.
Turnkey solution
An eLearning translation memory is helpful in making your process faster. Keep a translation memory for all your projects. Efficiency is increased, and costs are reduced. For language translation, use this translation glossary in your project and achieve consistency all throughout your project. You can either create one for your new project, or use an existing one for all the projects you undertake. 
26 Nov 2014
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Página/12 :: Cartas de lectores :: La tarea del traductor

Página/12 :: Cartas de lectores :: La tarea del traductor | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
¿Alguien podría siquiera imaginar que Borges no conserve los derechos de autor sobre sus traducciones de Las palmeras salvajes, de William Faulkner, u Orlando de Virginia Woolf? ¿O que a Cortázar le ocurra otro tanto con sus versiones de Memorias de Adriano, de Marguerite Yourcenar, o las obras completas de Poe? Pues bien, esos nombres y títulos son sólo el atisbo de un elenco tan amplio que resulta legión.

En el mismo país donde nacieron las primeras traducciones a nuestro idioma de El Capital de Marx (Juan B. Justo), de las obras completas de Freud (Ludovico Rosenthal), del Ulises de Joyce (J. Salas Subirats) o de los heterónimos de Fernando Pessoa, por citar sólo algunas, se persiste en redoblar una flagrante injusticia: los traductores argentinos no pueden mantener ni ejercer sus más que legítimos derechos de autor. Y sin embargo es en gran medida merced a la exigente, esforzada y modesta labor de sus traductores que la cultura (y en consecuencia la entera vida social) argentina ha logrado forjarse, sostenerse –incluso en las peores circunstancias–, consolidarse y trascender, no sólo más allá de sus fronteras sino en los dominios y alcances más inesperados.

El 16 de septiembre del año pasado un grupo de ellos logró dar comienzo a una gesta: varios diputados presentaron al Parlamento un digno proyecto de ley de Traducción Autoral en Argentina (exp. 6534-D-2013). Un proyecto que llevó un largo trabajo en equipo. Y que de inmediato conquistó, como era de esperar, la más amplia adhesión: local, regional e internacional. Desde los iniciales Juan Gelman o Ricardo Piglia hasta las intervenciones concretas de Teresa Parodi y Horacio González.

Ahora sólo faltan ocho meses para que se repare o se reitere tan grave anomalía. Es el plazo para que las comisiones de Legislación General y de Cultura de la Cámara de Diputados se decidan a avanzar por fin en el tratamiento del valioso proyecto, que de otro modo pierde estado parlamentario.

Me parece muy justo que aquí se reconozcan también, como ya ocurre en casi todo el ámbito del idioma, los innegables derechos de autor que corresponden a los traductores, hasta hoy burdamente ignorados. La traducción de la gran literatura, de la literatura entendida como arte, constituye sin duda una creación literaria. Y una forma de creación quizá más ardua y arriesgada que la propia creación personal. Porque le agrega, si se es honrado, una nueva exigencia: respetar al otro.

Nada menos que Walter Benjamin, con su tocante inteligencia, dedicó al tema un texto clave: La tarea del traductor. Y George Steiner por lo menos dos amplios, fecundos, bellos libros: Después de Babel y Antígonas. Sin olvidar que fue el brasileñísimo Haroldo de Campos quien supo percibir que, en lugar de denominarla “transcripción”, deberíamos llamarla “transcreación”.

Cuando cedimos ciegamente el control de nuestras legendarias grandes editoriales, los argentinos no sólo sufrimos una lesión económica. Perdimos también nuestro derecho a ejercer, difundir y consumir nuestra propia tonalidad de la lengua, nuestra propia densidad, nuestro propio timbre. Con el cual se habían formado generaciones y generaciones de escritores españoles y latinoamericanos, como bien lo hizo notar Juan José Saer al rendir merecido homenaje, en su último libro: Trabajos (2005), titulando todo un capítulo “J. Salas Subirats”, autor de la primera versión del Ulises. Y fue justamente recordando a Borges, quien una tarde de 1967 en Santa Fe la consideró “muy mala”, que el joven Saer se animó a replicarle: “Puede ser, pero si es así, entonces el señor Salas Subirats es el más grande escritor de lengua castellana”. Lo que implica claramente, con su habitual limpidez, que un buen traductor es sin duda un autor.

* Poeta, traductor, ensayista.
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Difundirán dramaturgia mexicana con traductores de teatro - Agencia Imagen del Golfo

Difundirán dramaturgia mexicana con traductores de teatro - Agencia Imagen del Golfo | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
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Traducirán el Himno Nacional al totonaco | Veracruzanos.info

Traducirán el Himno Nacional al totonaco | Veracruzanos.info | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Papantla, Ver., 25 de Noviembre.- Cecilio Morales Vázquez, jefe de Educación Indígena en el norte de Veracruz, dio a conocer que ha tramitado ante las
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The Myth of Multitasking And What It Means For Learning

The Myth of Multitasking And What It Means For Learning | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Multitasking is pretty much seen as a necessity in the modern world. The ability to do several things at once – even if it’s something as apparently simple as emailing and talking at the same time – is taken for granted.

But the belief that engaging in several tasks at once means we are more productive is a myth. Instead of saving time, multitasking not only takes longer but also makes mistakes more likely. It also does something to our brains that

That was the thesis of one of the keynote speakers at a conference I attended this week. The speaker was Dr JoAnn Deak, a noted educator and psychologist whose books include Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. The conference was the annual get-together of the Girls’ Schools Association, which represents many of the all-girls’ private schools in the U.K.

And even though the talk was specific to education and learning, it has implications not just for schools and teachers, but for employers and employees as well as parents and just about anybody who thinks doing more than one thing at a time is a good idea.

The myth of multitasking may not be a surprise to some. A quick turn around the streets of a busy town will soon tell you that some people find simultaneous texting and walking, let alone texting and driving, a bit of a challenge.

But even if you’ve always known that multitasking is a chimera, Dr Deak provides the science to back up your belief.

Supported by research into how the brain functions, Dr Deak argues that the brain is only able to focus deeply on one task at a time. And not only that, trying to do too many things at once causes the brain to lose the capacity for deep thinking altogether.

“When you try to multitask, in the short-term it doubles the amount of time it takes to do a task and it usually at least doubles the number of mistakes,” she told the conference.
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Brain's reaction to virtual reality should prompt further study, suggests new research

Brain's reaction to virtual reality should prompt further study, suggests new research | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
UCLA neurophysicists have found that space-mapping neurons in the brain react differently to virtual reality than they do to real-world environments. Their findings could be significant for people who use virtual reality for gaming, military, commercial, scientific or other purposes.


"The pattern of activity in a brain region involved in spatial learning in the virtual world is completely different than when it processes activity in the real world," said Mayank Mehta, a UCLA professor of physics, neurology and neurobiology in the UCLA College and the study's senior author. "Since so many people are using virtual reality, it is important to understand why there are such big differences."
The study was published today in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
The scientists were studying the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in diseases such as Alzheimer's, stroke, depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder. The hippocampus also plays an important role in forming new memories and creating mental maps of space. For example, when a person explores a room, hippocampal neurons become selectively active, providing a "cognitive map" of the environment.
The mechanisms by which the brain makes those cognitive maps remains a mystery, but neuroscientists have surmised that the hippocampus computes distances between the subject and surrounding landmarks, such as buildings and mountains. But in a real maze, other cues, such as smells and sounds, can also help the brain determine spaces and distances.
To test whether the hippocampus could actually form spatial maps using only visual landmarks, Mehta's team devised a noninvasive virtual reality environment and studied how the hippocampal neurons in the brains of rats reacted in the virtual world without the ability to use smells and sounds as cues.
Researchers placed a small harness around rats and put them on a treadmill surrounded by a "virtual world" on large video screens—a virtual environment they describe as even more immersive than IMAX—in an otherwise dark, quiet room. The scientists measured the rats' behavior and the activity of hundreds of neurons in their hippocampi, said UCLA graduate student Lavanya Acharya, a lead author on the research.


The researchers also measured the rats' behavior and neural activity when they walked in a real room designed to look exactly like the virtual reality room.
The scientists were surprised to find that the results from the virtual and real environments were entirely different. In the virtual world, the rats' hippocampal neurons seemed to fire completely randomly, as if the neurons had no idea where the rat was—even though the rats seemed to behave perfectly normally in the real and virtual worlds.
"The 'map' disappeared completely," said Mehta, director of a W.M. Keck Foundation Neurophysics center and a member of UCLA's Brain Research Institute. "Nobody expected this. The neuron activity was a random function of the rat's position in the virtual world."
Explained Zahra Aghajan, a UCLA graduate student and another of the study's lead authors: "In fact, careful mathematical analysis showed that neurons in the virtual world were calculating the amount of distance the rat had walked, regardless of where he was in the virtual space."
They also were shocked to find that although the rats' hippocampal neurons were highly active in the real-world environment, more than half of those neurons shut down in the virtual space.
The virtual world used in the study was very similar to virtual reality environments used by humans, and neurons in a rat's brain would be very hard to distinguish from neurons in the human brain, Mehta said.
His conclusion: "The neural pattern in virtual reality is substantially different from the activity pattern in the real world. We need to fully understand how virtual reality affects the brain."
Neurons Bach would appreciate
In addition to analyzing the activity of individual neurons, Mehta's team studied larger groups of the brain cells. Previous research, including studies by his group, have revealed that groups of neurons create a complex pattern using brain rhythms.
"These complex rhythms are crucial for learning and memory, but we can't hear or feel these rhythms in our brain. They are hidden under the hood from us," Mehta said. "The complex pattern they make defies human imagination. The neurons in this memory-making region talk to each other using two entirely different languages at the same time. One of those languages is based on rhythm; the other is based on intensity."
Every neuron in the hippocampus speaks the two languages simultaneously, Mehta said, comparing the phenomenon to the multiple concurrent melodies of a Bach fugue.
Mehta's group reports that in the virtual world, the language based on rhythm has a similar structure to that in the real world, even though it says something entirely different in the two worlds. The language based on intensity, however, is entirely disrupted.
When people walk or try to remember something, the activity in the hippocampus becomes very rhythmic and these complex, rhythmic patterns appear, Mehta said. Those rhythms facilitate the formation of memories and our ability to recall them. Mehta hypothesizes that in some people with learning and memory disorders, these rhythms are impaired.
"Neurons involved in memory interact with other parts of the hippocampus like an orchestra," Mehta said. "It's not enough for every violinist and every trumpet player to play their music flawlessly. They also have to be perfectly synchronized."
Mehta believes that by retuning and synchronizing these rhythms, doctors will be able to repair damaged memory, but said doing so remains a huge challenge.
"The need to repair memories is enormous," noted Mehta, who said neurons and synapses—the connections between neurons—are amazingly complex machines.
Previous research by Mehta showed that the hippocampal circuit rapidly evolves with learning and that brain rhythms are crucial for this process. Mehta conducts his research with rats because analyzing complex brain circuits and neural activity with high precision currently is not possible in humans.
Explore further: Activity in dendrites is critical in memory formation
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When is a goat not a goat? When it’s a linguistic confusion | Russia Beyond The Headlines

When is a goat not a goat? When it’s a linguistic confusion | Russia Beyond The Headlines | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Scientist, professor, TV host, interpreter for Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin: Russia’s most famous polyglot Dmitri Petrov talks about political stereotypes, big markets, Tony Blair, learning Russian – and the character of horned animals.

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Dmitri Petrov hosts the Russian television reality show Polyglot, shown on the Kultura (Culture) channel. Source: From personal archive
He says of his talent: “I am familiar with 50 languages; I can speak 30 to various degrees; I teach eight.” But he adds: “It’s impossible to know a language perfectly, even if you are a native speaker.” Dmitri Petrov, however, has the necessary knowledge to teach languages all over the country. The Polyglot reality show, which he hosted on the state Kultura (Culture) channel, had incredible ratings for an educational program. Teaching millions of viewers the tricks of English, German, Italian, French, Spanish and Hindi, Mr. Petrov did not peek into a dictionary and parried the cunning questions of studio participants with ease.

Why study Russian? It’s not all politics
Teaching is just one of his talents. He has been an interpreter for heads of state and is an entrepreneur, having opened his own language centre. Mr Petrov also has his own publishing house, which this year published a textbook for foreigners wishing to learn Russian.
We didn’t start speaking about this immediately. “First, I would like to say that I have never been a public official,” says Mr. Petrov. “I interpreted for Gorbachev and Putin during international events. I sat in a cabin and they didn’t even see me.”
Russia Beyond the Headlines: There was no visual contact between you, but there was verbal contact. You, probably, like no one else, know the way the top officials speak, the particularities of their speech. Did you ‘tune into the wave’ of each official beforehand?
Dmitri Petrov: It is not difficult to translate politicians because as a rule their statements, let alone their speeches, are well calculated and verified. There is hardly any improvisation. However, it is obviously very important to translate certain nuances correctly. Because a situation or political event can be interpreted from various angles, it is very important to translate the correct angle. For example, when Gorbachev spoke about the collapse of the Soviet Union he spoke about it differently than, let’s say,  Yeltsin did. Gorbachev spoke with bitterness, describing the dissolution of the union as a lost opportunity to preserve a big country. He used words that in English would be translated as “disintegration” or “collapse”, while his opponents spoke of a peaceful separation. It was vital not to put the word “collapse” into Yeltsin’s speech, and vice versa, because the emotional aspect would have changed.
RBTH: How do interpreters prepare for these meetings? Did you, for example, reread the history of Gorbachev’s presidency on the eve of interpreting for him?
D.P.: I teach interpreting at the university and I always tell my students that it’s not enough to know and understand the language. It is also very important to have general knowledge, to know about world events. Because three-quarters of the translation’s correctness comes from knowledge of political events happening in the world. This helps avoid imprecision.

Is Russian as difficult to learn as they say?
Familiarity with political realities, as I understand, is only the tip of the iceberg. If Putin, for example, uses an obscure term or a Russian proverb, knowing politics won’t help. Have you ever been in such situations?
If you remember, there was an episode in Switzerland, a conference in which Putin spoke. He was asked a question about Islamist groups and Russia’s relationship with Islam. But the interpreter couldn’t translate the word “circumcision”. He made a mistake and instead of circumcision said excision.
There was a similar case, when someone from Putin’s entourage was speaking about terrorists and said: “They consider us goats,” (in Russian, this is kozlami). In English, as you know, the word goat does not have any offensive overtones; it just signifies an animal. While in Russian kozel (goat) is a rather offensive term. Tony Blair, who was British Prime Minister at the time and taking part in the discussion, did not understand the meaning of the phrase because it had been translated literally.
RBTH: Were there any similar embarrassing moments in your professional experience?
D.P.: If there had been any, I don’t think I would have been invited to collaborate with such important international organisations as the European Union and the European Commission. I always tried to translate the meaning, not the words. When you feel someone wants to praise or offend someone else, you must never repeat the words that are driven by the emotion or judgment. It’s important to convey the sense. That is the principal art of an interpreter.
Is you interest in foreign languages something that you’ve inherited? If I’m not mistaken, your parents also knew several languages.

Language lessons from Dmitri Petrov. Source: PhotoXpress
First, at home we always had many books in many different languages. My grandmother, who had finished the Gymnasium in 1917, having received her education before the October Revolution, absorbed the zeitgeist of the era. It was forever preserved within her, even during the communist period. She instilled an interest in languages in me, just an interest, without the aim of learning them. It was just part of everyday life: reading fairy tales to children in the original language. She would read the Brothers Grimm in German and Charles Perrault in French. I grew up in a little town in the Moscow Region, though, where there wasn’t even a sign of a foreigner. But I felt the need to be surrounded by foreign languages. I felt that it was my natural habitat.
RBTH: In the USSR, English, not to mention other languages, was not used very much. There was basically no one to speak English with and there was no one who could be heard speaking it. But everyone spoke Russian – in the Baltics, in Georgia, in Ukraine. Today everyone knows English. How is the situation with Russian in today’s world?
D.P.: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, some former Soviet Republics stopped using the educational system in which Russian was a mandatory subject. But then interesting things happened. First, western companies that opened their branches and established themselves in the former Soviet republics, such as the Baltics, and also Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, hired local experts. Later, knowing Russian became a requirement for landing a job with the companies in many of these countries. For example, the western company that came to Lithuania was not satisfied with a local collaborator who just spoke Lithuanian.

Russian Language Blog: Russificate
The aim of every business is to enter a big market, which means Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, that is, countries where Russian is the predominant language. The second factor is tourism. There was the birth of mass tourism from Russian-speaking countries, and not only to eastern European countries, but also to resort countries such as Turkey, India, Thailand and so on. And today we see the urge to learn at least the fundamentals of Russian in many of these countries.
Finally, there is another factor. Native Russian speakers actively started doing business and acquiring real estate in various parts of the world, including western Europe. A new market emerged, one related to bilateral economic ties, one that required the knowledge of Russian from a big number of people.
And that is why in the past few years we’ve seen an increase in the number of students who wish to learn Russian not only in the countries where Russian tourists come to “bask in the sun”, but also in eastern European countries, such as Poland. Therefore, even if we exclude the simple interest in the Russian language as the language of Russia and Russian culture, we will still see that its popularity is growing. No wonder last year Russian was rated second after English among languages used on the internet.

Russian in 16 Lessons for Anglophones was launched during the London Book Fair in July. Although it is not currently available in the UK, it can be purchased through the Dmitri Petrov language centre.
Email: info@centerpetrova.ru
RBTH: This year you published a textbook for foreigners wishing to learn Russian. Is this your attempt at conquering the ‘big market’?
D.P.: Since I am connected to the education system, I know that there has always been a problem in assisting foreigners in their study of Russian. There are certain academic difficulties related precisely to the teaching of Russian. Since I have my own education centre, which has a publishing structure, I decided to assist those studying Russian in a print and electronic form.
RBTH: What kind of a textbook is it?
D.P.: We have already published Russian for Anglophones and Russian for German-speakers. We are preparing Russian for Francophones and for speakers of other languages. In April, I visited the London Book Fair and presented the textbook, explaining why it is different. It is not good to frighten students with complicated charts. I emphasise combinatorics, that is, I try from the very beginning to get students to develop the skill of combining. Create as many combinations as possible even from a small quantity of elements, that is, words. After the London Book Fair this textbook sold many copies in Moscow and we are now looking for a distributor in the UK. We will try to promote it for those who would be interested.
RBTH: Why do you publish Russian for Anglophones and Russian for German-speakers separately? Why not create a common textbook for everyone who doesn’t know Russian?
D.P.: I try to explain the theoretical part of Russian as clearly as possible. This must be done in accordance with each individual language. Each language – English, French, German and so on – has its own explanation of, let’s say, a Russian verb. For example, in German there is the category of gender, which can be useful for creating interesting examples for German-speakers, examples that are similar in their language. If the explanation is for the English, who don’t have a grammatical case, or a gender, then the explanation must be more precise: what is a gender and a grammatical case? Why do they exist? What function do they have in Russian? and so on.
RBTH: Many people say that Russian is extremely difficult to learn. Do you agree?
D.P.: It depends. Russian has declensions but there are no articles; Russian has conjugation, but there are fewer tenses than in English; Russian is based on the Cyrillic alphabet, yet the spelling is less different from the phonetic side of the language in respect to other European languages. For every minus there is a plus.
RBTH: If you were to compare Russian with English, what conclusions would you make?
D.P.: These are two great languages, which each have similar patterns of evolution. English has become a universal language, though at a cost: it is becoming more and more technical. The same fate awaits the Russian language. According to statistics, English is used about 90pc of the time when people socialise. But this happens mostly among non-native speakers. English can be spoken between a Spaniard and a Chinese, a Frenchman and an Arab. English has become a universal and a very pragmatic way to communicate among people of very different nationalities.

The Russian picture dictionary
But pragmatism inevitably leads to simplification, even to a certain impoverishment of forms when a language stops being the weapon of culture and becomes a weapon of business. This is what is happening to English, unfortunately or not. We are seeing a similar process, though to a lesser degree, in the Russian language. It is important to understand that Russian, just like English, is not a property of the nation. In the modern world, Russian is not an attribute of the Russian Federation or of ethnic Russians.
As with the mobile phone system, which is valued for the quality of the signal and the quantity of callers, language is an instrument of communication that helps us communicate with millions. We have stopped perceiving language as cultural heritage, as a way to read Dostoevsky in the original or watch a Russian-language film. For most of us who study the language, it is a way to obtain an edge on the labour market or get access to information resources. Whether this is good or not, it is so.
RBTH: If Barack Obama or David Cameron asked you to teach them Russian, what would you say to them?
D.P.: I would support their initiative, since even the basic knowledge of a foreign language helps us understand the mindset of the natives who use it. And this is extremely important for politicians. I can remind them of Ronald Reagan, who always had a book of Russian proverbs on his desk.
 
Read more: Interest in Russian will only grow due to tension, says U.S.-based linguist
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10 Great Books for a Writer's Wish List

10 Great Books for a Writer's Wish List | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
Whether you're a teacher, an author, a budding writer, or someone who writes in secret for personal reasons, you've got writing wishes.

Here are 10 great books for your wish list, to stir your writing dreams or help make them a reality. (Bonus: includes suggestions for how to best approach reading each title!)



1. On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. This brand-new book is a must-have for career writers, whether seasoned or just starting out. Two editors with long-time careers have teamed up to share their wise, witty stories that will help you craft a lasting writing life--one that feels sustainable, while potentially putting money in your pocket (or discovery in your soul).

How to Read: Straight through, for the inspiring and helpful stories. Then use the prompts and discussion questions to teach a workshop (the book actually grew out of a writing workshop setting), guide a writing group, or embark on your own 12-week experience. Expect to find yourself and your best writing rhythms and approaches.



2. Several short sentences about writing, by Verlyn Klinkenborg. Here is a book that understands the ways we come to write poorly and encourages us to transcend this outcome through nitty-gritty ways of thinking, being, and acting. Structured as short sentences, it reads almost like a poem. (I am partial to poetry, so this is a plus, to my mind!)

How to Read: Daily, as a kind of meditative experience that can deliver short helpings of wisdom. Or, for a take-me-away poetic kind of experience, read in longer stretches when you're looking for some space.



3. Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction, by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd. For writers who've got their sights set on producing for outlets like The Atlantic, this is a must-read. First, it will set the standard you'll realize you need to reach, in terms of writing-complexity. Then it will help you understand the way such publications work (through giving you the mindset and process as told by Kidder and Todd).

How to Read: The book bogs down at about the halfway point, but this is not a problem. It is completely worth your time to read it halfway through, to get the viewpoint and stories of two top editors with long-time careers. Teachers can surely use the opening stories as part of a writing class.



4. The Novelist: A Novella, by L.L. Barkat. This book is a literary experience that delves into the issue of voice and volition in the writer. The opening scene finds the main character on the floor, sure that she might die of writer's block. Of course, as with most writers, the "block" is not her real problem, just a symptom of it. Layered with other writing stories like Mary Shelley's (through the lens of Frankenstein), Murasaki's (through The Tale of Genji) and Vargas Llosa's (through Letters to a Young Novelist), the main character is propelled to a journey of self-discovery that is accompanied by tea, travels into her past, and poetry.

How to Read: Straight through on a weekend when you're looking for a thoughtful diversion. Then go back and consider the many layers of myth, literary wit, and story wisdom. (One reviewer notes: "I have marked this book more than any other I have ever read. I have underlined, questioned, re-read and come back to certain paragraphs so many times over that I have actually broken the spine attempting to connect the dots between chapters. I eventually gave up and purchased magnetic page holders that allow me to mark two different sections at once.")



5. The Right to Write, by Julia Cameron. This writer is a veteran across genres, from fiction, to nonfiction, to screenwriting. Passionate, poetic, and persistent, Cameron will not stop until she helps you free your voice. Pulling from concepts she introduced in The Artist's Way, the book promises a path of disentanglement from the forces that sometimes keep us down as writers and artists. Includes simple, emotion-laden poetry and questions to ponder.

How to Read: Excellent for use in a writer's group that's looking for life-type inspiration as much as it's searching for writing advice. Use the guiding questions, or just discuss. There's plenty to engage, for those interested in taking a personal journey.



6. Spin: Taking Your Creativity to the Nth Degree, by Claire Burge. Not strictly a writing title, one teacher-reviewer swears she will never teach a writing class again without this book on board. Based on stories of South African life and later an entrepreneurial career seated in Dublin, this book is a lively writing of surprising creativity stories that are both poignant and sometimes quite amusing. Also, fully illustrated.

How to Read: Dip in to the stories day by day, for quick spurts of delight and vision. Do the writing prompts, or don't. The real take-away from this book is the vitality it will make you long for and then give you practical ways to pursue. (Includes organizers and intriguing productivity tips you probably haven't seen elsewhere.)



7. The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard. Now approaching the status of "classic," this book is worth re-reading and giving away. The deep insights, charged images, and strangely witty stories will challenge you to take your writing to the next level (or despair of ever getting there, but that is certainly not the intent). From wood-chopping to spontaneously-combusting typewriters, Dillard gives a picture of the writing life that you cannot easily forget, especially if you're interested in being a literary writer.

How to Read: With a fire extinguisher by your side.



8. The Faraway Nearby, by Rebecca Solnit. Memoir-based, this book will take you on a writer's journey through the life of Solnit, who struggles to come to terms with her mother's personality and progressive dementia. Images that will stay with you: the apricots on the bedroom floor, the maze, mirrors of all kinds. This is a hard book, but beautiful, that taps into primal feelings about stories and delves into their purposes, both communal and intensely personal.

How to Read: You cannot read this book quickly, due to the poetic complexity of the prose, the depth of thought, and the struggle embedded in its themes. Take it slowly, and don't worry about your pace. Bring it along on a retreat, or create a retreat of your own over a series of weekend reads. If you are not in the mood for rumination, exchange it for another title, without guilt.



9. The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien. Love a good war story? I don't. But this is one of my all-time favorite books. Poetic and dramatic (in the best sense of the word), this weaving and re-weaving of a war experience through ever-changing (but oddly converging) stories will uncover the true nature of Story and ask you to reconsider your own approaches to both reading and writing a tale. Because the book plays with the nature of truth, it's also an interesting companion to Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude or Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate.

How to Read: A quick read, this book can benefit from being retraced and highlighted--especially the passages on truth and story. Gather these passages into a journal and ponder, or use them to jump start a class or writing group discussion.



10. The Poetry Home Repair Manual, by Ted Kooser. Designed for poets, this is absolutely one of the best books on how to write accessible poems that work. From thoughts about crafting better poem titles, to usable tips on how to choose the best details, to thoughts on rule-breaking, and much more, Kooser's advice is something you can immediately put into practice. Beyond that, his quiet humor will make you smile and his poem choices will help you see exactly what your task is if you're interested in making better poems of your own.

How to Read: With a pen in hand. (You're sure to almost immediately want to try his advice on for size.) Writer's groups could tackle a section together, as could classrooms, though you'll have to make your own way. (No specific prompts included.)

Oky, that's my list of great writer's books, amidst a market of many. What's your favorite writing title? Share with us in the comments.
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