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Vacancies in this network: Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.
In the 1980s there was a TV show called “Not Necessarily The News” on HBO that featured something called “sniglets.” Although it’s probably a hate-crime to say the word “sniglet” out loud now and will get you accused of homophone-a-phobia, a sniglet is a word that should appear in the dictionary but doesn’t. Sniglets have all but disappeared, but the dictionary itself might as well be thrown out too. Words that had unambiguous meanings for decades or even centuries have seen those definitions changed by progressives in the name of political correctness.
To make sure you are up to date on which words and phrases are now permissible, I’ve assembled a few here that have seen their definitions change so you don’t get accused of being an “Ist-a-phobe” at the water cooler come Monday.
Old meaning: a violent criminal.
New meaning: a racial slur; the same as the “n-word.”
Source: Tonight Show band leader Questlove in a tweet this week and pretty much everyone on MSNBC.
Suggested replacements for your vocabulary: upriser, revolutionary, victim, misguided young people, Democratic Party voter.
Acceptable uses: When referencing the bad guys in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and when talking about white hockey players Food Stamps: noun.
Old meaning: a small document that is given by the government to poor people and that can be used to buy food.
New meaning: a racial slur; “code” for black people.
Source: Democrats in the 2012 election deemed pointing out the fact there are more people on food stamps under President Obama than at any point in American history to be “racial code.” It being a fact was deemed irrelevant.
Suggested replacements for your vocabulary: economically challenged, differently fed, Democratic Party voter.
Acceptable uses: When calling for greater funding for the program or when accusing a Republican of wanting to “gut” the program.
Budget cut: noun.
Old meaning: the act of reducing budgeted expenditures.
New meaning: a reduction in the rate of increase in spending where more money is spent than the prior year but slightly less than previously projected; draconian gutting of vital programs, particularly for poor and minority people.
Source: The Democratic Party and the mainstream media.
Suggested replacements for your vocabulary: There is no alternative; reducing, or even proposing a reduction in the rate of increase of government spending, is racist.
Acceptable uses: The term is not only allowed to be used when talking about spending on national defense, it is required.
Old meaning: of or relating to cities and the people who live in them.
New meaning: racist code for “black people.”
Source: Every progressive everywhere.
Suggested replacements for your vocabulary: Underrepresented communities, victims.
Acceptable uses: Only when giving the full name of a country singer or talking about an awful store selling clothes for white suburban hipsters.
Old meaning: Political philosophy based on the belief that some people are intellectually and genetically superior to others and should, therefore, be able to exercise power over everyone else, up to and including who can live or reproduce.
New meaning: tolerant, loving, smart, caring.
Source: The Democratic Party (which also was the source of the original definition but now chooses to pretend otherwise) and pretty much everyone on MSNBC.
Suggested replacements for your vocabulary
: None. Even though the philosophy was created by those who literally advocated for the extermination of “undesirable” people (minorities and poor, uneducated whites), people proudly call themselves progressive without consequence.
Old meaning: willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.
New meaning: Conformity; the belief that the only acceptable thoughts are those that adhere to a progressive philosophy.
Source: The Democratic Party, College professors, pretty much everyone on MSNBC.
Suggested replacements for your vocabulary: None. There is no need to remove this word from your vocabulary, but it is important to remember it means only the new definition. Any deviation from the new meaning to the old one will be met with protests, boycotts and potential massive fines from government.
Old meaning: the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.
New meaning: different colored, like-minded drones. It no longer applies to the ideas or thoughts, only skin color. This word particularly does not apply to black or Hispanic conservatives.
Source: The Democratic Party, the mainstream media and pretty much everyone on (the mostly white) MSNBC.
Suggested replacements for your vocabulary: None. You must not question this concept, only blindly accept it. To point out the hypocrisy of rich, white liberal progressives living in gated communities extolling the virtues of diversity is a near hate-crime.
I hope this small but important list helps you navigate our brave new world. Should you find yourself violating these suggestions by saying something like, “Well, progressive Democrats and their policies have pretty much had unfettered reign in the most violent and economically depressed areas of the country for generations and things have only gotten worse,” the only hope for redemption is a donation to a progressive organization that sells “indulgences.”
The most popular indulgence sellers are the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Donations are tax deducible and you can rest assured that your money will be put to good use, not wasted on frivolities like accurate record keeping or paying taxes.
Sign Language Week a chance to celebrate
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner encourages people from all walks of life to celebrate, communicate and connect with New Zealand’s Deaf Community during the upcoming New Zealand Sign Language Week.
“New Zealand Sign Language Week is a chance to celebrate one of our three official languages, and one that is used by over 20,000 New Zealanders every day,” Ms Wagner says.
“Hundreds of events have been arranged across New Zealand, including tours of art galleries and museums, comedy festival shows, and talk shows – all of which will be facilitated by a NZSL interpreter.
“There will also be over 800 free NZSL taster classes run in schools, businesses and healthcare facilities.
“I am looking forward to attending the NZSL In Action Awards on Saturday night, where businesses, schools, community leaders and individuals will be recognised for their contribution to NZSL over the past 12 months.
“I would like to congratulate Deaf Aotearoa and the many community groups, businesses, schools and individuals who are making this week possible,” Ms Wagner says.
New Zealand Sign Language Week runs from 4-10 May. Further information about New Zealand Sign Language events can be found here:www.deaf.org.nz/nzslw-2015-events
Depending on the website, this may translate to fewer visitors, an apocalyptic scenario that has been dubbed “mobile-geddon”.
Being ranked highly on Google search results is important for most organisations with websites, especially small businesses.
A high Google rank means your website is easier for people to find, as many people don’t read beyond one or two pages of search results.
In other words, if your site is not in the top 20 search results returned by Google, chances are people won’t be finding your website quickly, if at all.
How Google works
When you type some words into Google and click the search button, Google checks an index it has created of the web, and finds all the pages that contain the words you searched for. Once Google has the list of webpages that match your search, it organises them in order of relevance.
The precise method that Google uses to order its search results is a closely guarded secret, and with good reason. If Google’s page ranking method (or algorithm, in computer science terms) was well known, then people would engineer their web pages to improve their search rank.
Very soon unscrupulous individuals would use this knowledge to promote their web pages, even if they were unrelated to the search term you had entered. Relevant search results would be buried under a mountain of spam.
Despite the secrecy, web developers have deduced a number of well known things that can be done to improve the search rank of a web page. The art and science of this is called search engine optimisation, or SEO for short.
Google’s decision to improve the search ranking of mobile friendly sites reflects the rapid growth in mobile browsing.
Around 30% of all web traffic now originates on a mobile device rather than a desktop machine, with many sources predicting that mobile internet use will eventually overtake desktop use.
As mobile browsing becomes more common, Google is trying to ensure that its search engine continues to find sites that are relevant to its users. So this change is essentially about maintaining the quality of Google’s search results.
But because the mobile test is design related rather than content related, it also means that one site can potentially be ranked more highly than another even if its content is less relevant.
Designing for the mobile
A mobile-friendly website is one that is designed to be used on mobile devices. Generally speaking, this means larger text, simpler layouts (single column, like a book, rather than multi-column, like a newspaper), and larger buttons and links which are easier for fingers to click.
From a web design perspective, creating websites that work equally well on desktop and mobile devices presents an interesting design challenge.
A site that works well on a desktop often does not work well on a mobile device, and vice-versa. This means that designers often have to come up with more than one design for a web site.
In general, designers attack this problem in one of two ways: either, they create two separate web sites (a mobile one, and a desktop one), or they come up with a single “responsive” design that automatically modifies itself based upon the device that is looking at it.
Most web designers are already adopting a mobile-first approach to design, where web sites are designed around mobile use, and then adapted to desktop, rather than the other way around.
Google’s decision to change its page ranking algorithm raises some important issues, not the least of which is how reliant some organisations have become on a single company to direct traffic to their websites.
Although Google is not the only search engine (Microsoft’s Bing is its main competitor), it dominates its competitors, getting around two in every three searches in the US. By comparison, Bing gets only one in six searches.
Organisations with older websites, or those which have not been designed to be mobile friendly, may find that making their web sites mobile friendly is not a trivial undertaking.
For many, this will mean making a decision between spending money on upgrading the web site, or suffering a lower page rank on Google.
Google has provided an on-line tool that can be used by web site owners to check whether web pages are mobile-friendly. It has also provided information for web developers on updating their websites.
But organisations should consider the impact of the changes on their web site before rushing to update, as not all websites will be equally affected.
The biggest impact will be on organisations who rely on people discovering their site through Google search and whose customers are more likely to use mobile devices to find their websites.
Although predictions range from the benign to the calamitous, it’s not clear how much of an impact Google’s new algorithm will have.
Organisations that are concerned about these changes should monitor their web traffic closely over the next week to ensure that they are not seeing a significant reduction in web traffic.
If the number of visits on a site start to fall, it may signal that the site is succumbing to the mobile-geddon, and it’s probably time to think seriously about an upgrade.
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
KARACHI: Writers from across the country should put forward a resolution to the federal government seeking national status for all the regional languages, agreed speakers on the second day of a three-day conference organised by the Pakistan Academy of Letters.
The conference comprises sessions with connoisseurs, writers and poets, expressing their views on the role that literature and writers can play in moulding a peaceful society.
Speaking about the Urdu language, poet Aksi Mufi said that the treatment of the language in the federal capital is such that it is considered a shame to be ‘Urdu-medium’.
He spoke about the imprtance of recognising regional languages as national ones. “It is high time that we rectify the mistakes we made in the past and give all the regional languages the status of national languages,” he said.
He disagreed with the view of poet and writer Mobeen Mirza that political vision is restricted to politicians as the role of writers is solely conscience-awakening and guidance. “Literature tends to look at things from a holistic view,” said Mufi. “Though power lies with the leaders, peace belongs to culture.”
Mirza, on the other hand, stressed that the role of a writer is to awaken the conscience of the people and be a source of guidance. He believed that a writer is limited as he cannot compel people to follow him. “At the end of the day, it depends on the political vision of those in power how well they adapt to what a writer has envisioned,” he said. Blaming writers for not performing their duties, he said, “It is not literature that is on a back foot; in fact it is the writers who are lagging behind with their roles.”
According to Hyderabad-based writer Dr Ishaq Samijo, a writer should be the means of extinguishing the fire and not a contributor in igniting the fire in society. Citing art, poetry and theatre as the strongest of weapons, he said that education should be prioritised in favour of madrassas. “We should focus more on Baba Fareed Ganjshakar and his message of peace than Iqbal’s conflict-oriented poetry.”
The dean of Islamabad’s Air University humanities department, Dr Wasima Shehzad, highlighted how children’s literature can contribute towards the sound growth of children. Shehzad said that literature is often used to invoke tears as war creates a more engaging drama than peace. “Peace literature creates unity in diversity.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2015.
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner encourages people from all walks of life to celebrate, communicate and connect with New Zealand’s Deaf Community during the upcoming New Zealand Sign Language Week.
"New Zealand Sign Language Week is a chance to celebrate one of our three official languages, and one that is used by over 20,000 New Zealanders every day," Ms Wagner says.
"Hundreds of events have been arranged across New Zealand, including tours of art galleries and museums, comedy festival shows, and talk shows - all of which will be facilitated by a NZSL interpreter.
"There will also be over 800 free NZSL taster classes run in schools, businesses and healthcare facilities.
"I am looking forward to attending the NZSL In Action Awards on Saturday night, where businesses, schools, community leaders and individuals will be recognised for their contribution to NZSL over the past 12 months.
"I would like to congratulate Deaf Aotearoa and the many community groups, businesses, schools and individuals who are making this week possible," Ms Wagner says.
New Zealand Sign Language Week runs from 4-10 May. Further information about New Zealand Sign Language events can be found here: www.deaf.org.nz/nzslw-2015-events
Today's headliner, Crowds, dwarfed the tiny Acura Stage and its headliner, Elton John, hours before he was set to perform. Sweeping camera shots of the stage showed lines, chairs and people — lots and lots of people — gathered around the surrounding racetrack behind the stage and in the many yards in front of it. Chairs blocked the tracks reserved for walking, turning Jazz Fest 2015's second Saturday into one of its most people-packed days of this year's event. The crowds were there for Sir Elton — bridges around the moat to his castle were in a constant traffic jam.
But across from the Fairgrounds at the Lagniappe stage, cellist Helen Gillet held a massive Saturday crowd at attention with her impressively looped, experimental baroque-inspired pop. As percussive loops (built by her tapping her instrument) built around her melodies, she hopped around the stage (in gold glittery boots) and in front of dozens of dancing, enraptured fans. Lagniappe this year knew how to pick 'em. Many (or most) of its artists from both weekends are in a career or creative sweet spot. Gillet just released two tremendous albums. Cardinal Sons — the up-and-coming New Orleans rock 'n' roll trio that followed Gillet — are on the heels of a well-crafted EP and are getting well-earned recognition for their knack at writing a hook. Last weekend, performers included The Deslondes, about to release an anticipated full-length album this summer, and Brass Bed, who, despite playing in front of a slim crowd (the band played at the same time as Tony Bennett & Lady Gasa, Jimmy Buffett and Pitbull), ripped up the stage like they were in a packed venue. (In fact, after Brass Bed played, a group of 20-something bros blew their own minds when they not only discovered the band but a short line for beer and oysters.)
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Gillet wrapped up her set with a cover of "I Live Off You" by X-Ray Spex. "I played drums in a punk band," she said, "before I realized I could play cello."
Jerry Lee Lewis, a few months shy of 80 years old, strolled onto the Acura Stage wearing a white jacket, tie and loafers with a maroon shirt and gold-tipped cane, which he waved to the crowd to say hello. "We got a flock of people here!"
Lewis removed a big ring and shoved it into his pocket before ripping into his grand piano for "Move on Down the Line," "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" and "Before The Night Is Over" (which he concluded by slamming his hand on the piano and exclaiming, "Mercy!"). He suggested he'd rather have a solid gold monument than a headstone and wrapped a brief set with "C.C. Rider," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" and "Great Balls of Fire" before exiting 15 minutes before the advertised closing time.
Lewis, born in Feriday, Louisiana, seemed frail as he walked but was comfortable as ever wailing and rolling into the ivories, including his signature stacatto shredding into the high notes. Though his voice has withered, he still smiled, joked and tossed in his goofy stutters and lyrical nonsense while sending lightning bolts into his fast-fingered playing.
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Huge crowds overwhelmed the Fairgrounds.
Between the mass of people separating Lewis and Elton John was Big Freedia and a small army of dance all-stars from Freedia's dance crew. Freedia said her reality TV hit Queen of Bounce was on its way to its fourth season and paused for a moment of sincere gratitude to the crowd and her homebase in New Orleans: "I've been rocking around the world representing for y'all," Freedia said. "If you think it's easy, stand up here and try my shoes."
After Freedia's set, someone from the crowd had hrown out their "Release your wiggle!" and "yaya" signs, only for a man to excitedly pick them up and triumphantly carry them to Big Sam's Funky Nation.
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Signs from Big Freedia's crowd.
Atlanta rapper T.I. — today's Congo Square Stage headliner — executed his set with a simple, often-repeated mantra: "I got hits." The Atlanta rapper packed most of them (mostly abbreviated versions) into his hourlong set, which spanned "Rubber Band Man" from his breakout 2004 album Trap Muzik to his 2008 hit factory Paper Trail, with songs like "Live Your Life" and "Whatever You Like," the latter of which ended a raunchy mini-set dedicated to the women in the audience.
Which brings me to the real star (and MVP of Saturday): sign language interpreters. The duo at stage right went blow-for-blow with T.I. as he rapped detailed thoughts on a woman's anatomy, types of guns and what they do, and T.I.'s metaphorical gift of gab, which the interpreters were gamely illustrating.
T.I. ended his set with a shoutout to Lil Wayne, a request to free former Cash Money rapper B.G., who was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2012, and a "rest in piece" to slain New Orleans rapper Solja Slim. Apart from his set breaks for a requisite "follow your dreams" and sweet talking, T.I. thanked New Orleans for its years of support, coming in second only to his Georgia hometown.
Tags: Jazz Fest 2015, Jerry Lee Lewis, T.I., Big Freedia, Helen Gillet, Cardinal Sons, Image
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TRFW News) In the United States deaf community, American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary language of communication that includes a complex and complete language structure with the hands, facial expressions, and body postures. (1) When teaching babies sign language for communication, some of the basics of ASL is used and can benefit the bond between a parent and their child.
Some research on baby sign language has been found to improve a baby’s cognitive and emotional development at a very early age. (2) This method has become increasingly popular over the last couple of decades and experts believe that baby tantrums can be avoided when there is a clearer communication flow between the parent and child.
Studies reveal that baby signers proved to be ahead of non-signers
One significant research conducted in 2000, published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, compared two groups of 11-month-old babies. One group was taught using baby sign language and the other group was given verbal training. Researchers discovered that the signing group of babies became more advanced talkers than the verbal training group. In addition, the baby signing group demonstrated verbal skills 3 months ahead of the non-signers at 2 years old and continued to be ahead developmentally. (2,3)
The authors of the study followed up with another study when the children were 8 years old. To their surprise, there was still a difference in language development. Signers displayed a 12-point higher score in their IQ levels than the non-signers, even though they had not signed for years. The signers were found to be in the top 25% of 8 year olds, whereas non-signers were considered close to average. (2,4)
Teaching your baby basic sign language
Research has found many benefits of baby sign language, such as “making mothers feel better about themselves by being more ‘tuned in’ to their baby, reducing baby distress, and improving communication between parent and child.” (2,5)
Psychologist Dr. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon of the University of Stirling, UK, conducted some research on baby sign language and contends that, “Communication is at the heart of child development, be it cognitive, social, emotional or behavioral.” (6)
As early as six months of age, infants can begin learning basic signs such as “thirsty,” “milk,” “water,” “hungry,” “sleepy,” “pacifier,” “more,” “hot,” “cold,” “play,” “bath,” and “teddy bear.” Josephy Garcia, an ASL interpreter explains that when babies are “regularly and consistently” exposed to these signs as early as six months of age, they can begin to effectively use them by their 8th month. (6)
Visual example from Handspeak: Sign Language Online
Here are some tips when considering baby sign language:
Begin when babies can hold your gaze for a couple of seconds, typically between six and eight months old.
Start with a few words (3 to 5 words) and build your way up, use plenty of eye contact, and verbalize the word out loud. Try linking signs to objects, such as “ball.”
Consistently repeat signs and suggest other caregivers, family, and friends to utilize the communication.
Take notice of your baby’s development. As soon as they begin to mimic signs (usually after about two months), gradually add more new vocabulary words. (6)
Sources for this article include:
Image source: www.youtube.com
ABU DHABI, 3rd May, 2015 (WAM) -- The Abu Dhabi Fourth Conference for Translation, set to launch in conjunction with the 25th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair from 10th ? 13th May at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, ADNEC, will offer four specialised workshops on translating literary texts from English, Spanish and Japanese into Arabic and from Arabic into English. The workshops, for intern students from national and international universities, will be administered by a group of highly experienced Arab translation scholars.
The Abu Dhabi Conference for Translation is one of the pivotal cultural initiatives of the Kalima Project, run by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, which was able to establish solid strategies to enhance the translation into Arabic movement over the past three years.
This year, the conference will be themed, ?Translation of Novels: Difficulties and Challenges? and, in addition to the workshops, will host general sessions that review translation theories and problematic issues, with a special focus on novels.
Accredited translator at the Spanish Ministry of Justice, Zainab Benyayah, Ph.D., University of Granada, Spain, will be leading the Spanish-into-Arabic translation workshop. Explaining the structure of her sessions, Dr. Benyayah said, "The workshops will be held over two days. First, we will probe into literary translation theory while we review examples from Spanish novels which are selected based on the factors of diversity and literary impact. The following step will focus on practical translation exercises highlighting the problematic issues that translation of novel raises, which is a two-fold process that helps develop translators? abilities by allowing them to discuss the complications of rendering literary texts into another language and provide them with the available techniques or strategies to overcome these obstacles. Every exercise will wrap up with recommending the most proper solutions for each case." Chair of the English Literature Department at the UAE University, Dr. Siddiq Jawhar, who supervised several Masters and Ph.D. theses at Arabic and regional universities, will supervise the Arabic-into-English translation workshop, which, as Dr. Jawhar describes, will tackle both theory and application, as well as intensive practical exercises with the help of the latest educational tools.
"The opening session will be dedicated to a comprehensive analysis of literary translation?s fundamental definitions and terms. The second session will discuss the theories, dynamics and methodologies of literary translation and the difficulties associated with adapting prose, poetry and drama into English, offering possible solutions on how to wield them.
The third session will approach the linguistic, rhetorical, stylistic and cultural challenges that originate from the multiple variations and vast differences between the source language and the target language. The workshop continues on the second day with the translating of various texts from Emirati literature with illustrations from the most popular authors and genres," added Jawhar.
Specialising in 19th Century literature, Professor Mohammed Asfour, Chairman of the English Department and Director of the Language Centre at Philadelphia University, Jordan, will run the English-to-Arabic workshop.
"Translating novels involves a number of dilemmas related to the disparity of discourse that may scintillate between philosophical contemplation and emotional influx, proclamation and allusion or the lofty formal language of narration and the dialogue that can vary between the language of intellectuals and that of the less educated, in addition to the difficulties that result from transferring the characteristically cultural expressions to another language," said Professor Asfour.
The Japanese-to-Arabic translation workshop will be prepared by Dr. Al Mu?men Abdullah, who is one of the few Arab specialists in Japanese linguistics and literature. Associate Professor of Japanese linguistics at Tokyo University, Abdullah has a Ph.D. degree from Gakushuin University, Japan, and has been working across the fields of academia, translation and international co-operation for 15 years. Dr. Abdullah explained that discussions will examine ?The Feasible and the Unfeasible in Translation from Japanese into Arabic? and the issue of ?How to Translate the Cultural Dimension?. Translation examples will be offered and a study of translation?s technical problems will be conducted by rendering a number of excerpts from modern Japanese literature to Arabic, before wrapping up the workshop with the topic of ?Translating Japanese Vocabulary: Theory and Practice?.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2015.
Syed Mujtaba Ali’s ‘Deshe Bideshe’ is the only published eyewitness account of Afghanistan’s tumultuous days in the 1920s by any non-Afghan.
The legendary Bengali writer, also an intrepid traveller, had spent a year and a half teaching in Kabul from 1927 to 1929.
Drawing on this experience, he later wrote ‘Deshe Bideshe’ which was published in 1948.
Nazes Afroz, a former BBC Executive Editor of South and Central Asia, has translated the book for the readers outside Bengal.
The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) on Sunday said they would organise the launch of the translation, titled ‘In A Land Far From Home’, at 6pm on Monday.
Afsan Chowdhury, a senior journalist, writer and researcher, will discuss the book at the launch in IGCC’s Gulshan auditorium.
‘Deshe Bideshe’ provides a fascinating first-hand account into events at a critical point in Afghanistan’s history, when the reformist King Amanullah tried to steer his country towards modernity by encouraging education for girls.
Mujtaba Ali explored the Afghan society of the Time.
With his language skills, he had access to a cross-section of Kabul’s population, whose ideas and experiences he chronicled in the book with a keen eye and a delightful sense of humour.
The Washington County Free Library will host a free workshop titled “Introduction to Proposal Writing” for nonprofit organizations at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 7, at the Fletcher branch, 100 S. Potomac St. in downtown Hagerstown.
The workshop will be led by Harry Sachs, business and government librarian, and is an overview of the basic skills needed for writing a proposal, especially for new proposal writers in nonprofit organizations. Jeanette Norton, regional training specialist at the Foundation Center’s Washington Office, will offer tips on how to write a standard project proposal to a foundation, including the basic elements of a proposal; the do’s and don’ts of writing and submitting a proposal; and how to follow up, whether the answer is “yes” or “no.”
Registration is required.
To register or for more information, contact Sachs at 301-739-3250, ext. 310, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who are these Maes and Macs of whom you speak?
The mortgage industry is no different from the rest of the financial or tech world: It's fraught with odd terminology, tons of acronyms and other confusing jargon.
While it appears to be a great deal of inaccessible blather, learning what these terms really mean can save homeowners thousands of dollars as they are negotiating the terms of their mortgage.
Unpacking the lingo is the first step as you sink your hard-earned money into a house for the next 30 years. Pretty soon you can banter about points and closings just like the rest of the experts.
Here are 10 terms that we demystify as you prepare to embark on one of the largest commitments in your lifetime.
Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae: Is There a Family Connection?
Just who exactly are Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? What about Ginnie Mae? This trio was created by the federal government to support a national market for mortgage credit, said David Reiss, a law professor at Brooklyn Law School in New York. None of these entities interacts directly with homebuyers. Instead, all have the goal to make it easier for mortgage lenders to sell mortgages to investors by promising “those in mortgage-backed securities that they will receive their payments of interest and principal in a timely manner in case borrowers default on their payments,” he said.
After a wave of foreclosures following the Great Depression, Ginnie Mae was created by the government to support affordable housing in the U.S. Now it provides funding for all government-insured or government-guaranteed mortgage loans.
The down payment is the amount you pay upfront towards the purchase of your house. A typical amount is 20% although there are loans which allow for 5% or 10%. The down payment represents the buyer’s “skin in the game,” or his personal risk, said Ray Brousseau, executive vice president of Carrington Mortgage Services in Santa Ana, Calif. If you are a first-time homebuyer, you should be aware that lenders examine the “seasoning” of the down payment or show that the funds have been in your bank account for 60 to 90 days, he said.
Real estate brokers and mortgage lenders discuss points quite often, especially as you get closer to finalizing the terms of your mortgage, since they are negotiable. This refers to the percentage points of the loan amount that a lender charges to a borrower for a loan, Reiss said. For instance, if a lender charges 1 point on a $200,000 loan, the borrower will owe an additional $2,000 to the lender at the time the loan is closed.
This is the annual percentage rate. Many homeowners focus only on the interest rate or the monthly payment. The APR gives you a better idea of the true cost of how much you are borrowing, which includes all the fees and points for the loan.
This will give you the total cost, said Jason van den Brand, CEO of Lenda, the San Francisco-based online mortgage company. If you have two loans to choose from and both of them have a 4% interest rate, but loan 'A' has a 4.10% APR and loan 'B' has a 4.25% APR, the better one is loan 'A,' which provides the lowest cost of borrowing the money.
This is a fee that is charged by a lender to process a loan. This fee shows up on your good faith estimate (GFE) as one item called the origination charge. However, the origination fee can be made up of a few different fees such as: processing fees, underwriting fees and an origination charge, van den Brand said. The average origination fee is 1% or 1 point, but it is a negotiable fee since “it's well understood that this fee is mainly used to pay commissions to sales people,” he said.
The origination fees can also be referred to as origination points. It is possible that you can get a mortgage with no origination fee. This means that the broker will get paid by the bank, but the catch is you often end up paying a higher interest rate for the mortgage.
“If you can save thousands of dollars on your loan, that is money that can be better invested in other areas,” van den Brand said. “For example, a 0.25% difference can amount to tens of thousands of dollars saved over the life of the loan.”
This is the prepaid interest you pay to buy down your interest rate, and one point equals 1% of the loan value, van den Brand said. Buying down your interest rate can have a big impact on your monthly payment and the amount of interest you pay over the life of a loan.
“If you're able to buy down your rate so you can lower your monthly mortgage payment, it might be a good thing to do,” van den Brand said. “If you are paying discount points to get a lower rate which in turn lowers your monthly payment by $25 a month, but it costs $2,500 to do that, it will take 100 months to break even. Usually, the longer you stay in your home, the more time you have to recoup the costs associated with paying points and fees.”
These are all of the costs incurred for the loan and include everything from origination fees, title fees, appraisal fees, attorney's fees and underwriting fees. The typical closing costs are usually 2% to 5% of the loan value.
Since most people finance their closing costs, it adds to the loan amount and can increase the monthly payment. In some instances, the seller of the property may contribute to the closing costs on the transaction.
A closing is the last step and occurs when you are ready to sign the mortgage documents, and it typically takes place at a title company. This is when the title to the property changes hands. The title company will act as an escrow agent for all the parties, said Sam Shiel, director of title operations and underwriting counsel at Proper Title, a title insurance agency in Northbrook, Ill. The parties present are likely to be you, the title company’s escrow officer or “closer,” the seller and real estate agents. Be prepared to sign dozens of pages of documents before you are handed a key to your new home.
A handy guide that explains many of the points of the industry is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Your Home Loan Toolkit" (PDF).
A Roman Catholic priest named Johann Martin Schleyer had a dream. In it God told him to create an international language. Why? Maybe it had something to do with the Bible’s tale of the Tower of Babel. It presents multilingualism as a divine curse meant to hinder our understanding.
So, in 1879-1880, the good priest went to work and created “Volapuk”.
Father Schleyer intended Volapuk for use as the only international language. Its vocabulary is based on English and the Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian). Apparently, in his thinking, this language would eventually replace all others.
An example of Volapuk: “Fino dalabobs resodaspadi, kel pededieton lölöfiko Volapüke. Binädon me nüdug brefik püke.” In translation: “Finally, we have a website which is dedicated entirely to Volapük.” (Volapuk.com)
Linguists say it is difficult to learn because of the unfamiliar appearance of the words and because it has a grammar nearly as complex as that of Latin. Despite its difficulties, hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts have studied Volapük.
By the end of the 1880s there were more than 200 Volapük societies and clubs around the world and 25 Volapük journals. Over 1500 diplomas in Volapük had been awarded. In 1889, when the third international Volapük congress was held in Paris, the proceedings were entirely in Volapük. Worldwide, everyone had at least heard of it. President Grover Cleveland’s wife even named her dog Volapük. (Public Domain Review)
Not to be outdone, Dr. L.L. Zamenhof, a Polish eye doctor, constructed an international language between 1877 and 1887 that he called “Esperanto”. Unlike Father Schleyer’s Volapuk, Esperanto was designed simply to serve as a common second language. Like Volapuk, the majority of Esperanto’s roots are based on Latin, and some vocabulary is taken from modern Romance languages, and from English, German, Polish and Russian. For instance: “Mia denaska lingvo estas la angla. Mi lernas Esperanton. Mi ankaŭ parolas la francan:” Or, “My native language is English. I learn Esperanto. I also speak French.”(Esperanto.com)
Esperanto too has a wide reach. Its World Esperanto Association has members in 121 countries. In addition to individuals, 70 national Esperanto organizations are affiliated with the Universal Esperanto Association, which was founded in 1908 with headquarters in Rotterdam and an office at the United Nations in New York City.
Today, Volapuk is still alive and well. Esperanto is particularly popular in Eastern Europe and China.
Google: The voice search service of the Google in your smartphone devices now also supports 3rd party applications. So from the next time when you want to use this feature just say ‘Ok Google’ even though you are accessing the applications that are developed by the other platform developers.
THIRD-PARTY APPS ARE NOW SUPPORTED BY ‘OK GOOGLE’ VOICE COMMANDS
“Today, we introduced Google’s 1st set of companions for the custom feature on Android to perform actions with the Google voice.”
“This feature will help the users somewhat like this or show some attractions which are near on the TripAdvisor or something like ‘Ok Google, just listen to NPR,” announced by Google in a meet for a Google Plus account for the Android Developers.
As for now, Google is been testing its features with few limited partners which includes, Zillow, TuneIn, NPR One, TripAdvisor and Flixster.
The voice administration perceives around nine dialects including English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. The highlight accompanies a solitary API key that backings various gadgets, for example, tablets, smart devices, and the Android Wear-based wearables.
This new highlight doesn’t comes as a shock given Google has been attempting to push its ‘alright Google’ voice orders, much the same as Apple has been coordinating Siri into the majority of its items. With backing for outsider applications, Google just makes a stride forward in making things a little less demanding for its clients.
Previously it used to work on only Google platforms but with the latest advancement in their voice orders, it is used much more by the users, which is the thing wanted by the Google.
One can easily access any app with this voice order of Google which make the things very easier and simpler.
So, this a good move from the Google towards its users comfort.
Language barriers have long been an issue in many industries, and with the increase of various language speaking citizens in the US, this problem is felt even more strongly within the Healthcare field. More than 46 million people in the United States do not speak English as their primary language, yet everyone needs medical care at one point or another. This language-gap can cause serious issues with miscommunication between the doctor and the patient, causing a lack of proper treatment and can even lead to potentially fatal medical-related errors.
This being the case, currently most health care organizations can only provide limited interpreting services, or even no services at all, relying solely on the patient’s family members, friends or non-fluent bilingual staff members to help communicate with the patient. Even when there are people available to help as much as they can, there are no guarantees they are fluent enough to translate the medical jargon accurately. So why aren’t interpreting services more prevalent? Many healthcare facilities do not want to shoulder the financial burden of keeping language interpreters on hand. Since there is no way of knowing what native-language patient will be arriving and when, there would have to be multiple language interpreters standing by at all times. This, of course, would result in a massive expenditure that may or may not even be utilized.
For these reasons, many healthcare facilities are looking toward more cost-effective and efficient solutions. Translation Cloud has met this need head on (figuratively and literally), by offering face to face interpreting solutions via live-streaming video remote interpretation (VRI). Through Translation Cloud’s services, healthcare facilities will be set up with custom iPads that come installed with an easy to use app which connects the user directly to Translation Cloud’s interpreting service at the tap of their finger.
“We wanted to offer healthcare providers interpreting services that were all inclusive and easy to use right off the bat. That’s why we decided on VRI utilizing the iPad platform as a base. This way, doctors can easily carry the device around from room to room, and have immediate interpreting services available should they need it,” says Alex Buran, CEO of Translation Cloud. “Doctors have hard enough jobs as it is, they shouldn’t have to worry about language barriers and miscommunications.”
Unlike other industries where a mistranslation might lead to a relatively small misunderstanding, or at the worst, a small financial cost to re-print the documents, healthcare mistranslations could lead to more serious medical issues. Having language gaps are not just problematic. They are a major cause for concern to both patients and the healthcare facilities. That is why translation companies with proven track-records like Translation Cloud are stepping up to the plate. “We take what we do very seriously, and that is why all of our interpreters not only sign strict confidentiality agreements, but we also only utilize interpreters with pre-screened medical backgrounds to ensure the highest quality translations for this field,” Alex went on to state. “We know what’s at stake and we put our reputations on the line, so rest assured we only use the best qualified translators in the field.”
With over ten years of experience in the translation industry, Alex and Translation Cloud are eager to take on the important and much needed task of healthcare interpretation. As more and more facilities adopt this practice, Translation Cloud aims to be at the forefront of the industry.
Everybody knows Jackie Chan. He’s a martial artist, an actor, a filmmaker, a singer and more. What he is not is a bus stop in Sichuan, China.
As noted by Austin Ramzy (via Eric Jou) on Twitter, the bus stop named “The University Jackie Chan Campus Station” is apparently a computerised translation fail.
The institution is Sichuan Normal University, which is the oldest teacher college (aka normal university) in the region.
So, instead of “The University Jackie Chan Campus Station”, which is a great bus stop name and which is totally wrong, it should mirror the correct Chinese written on the sign and read, “The Sichuan Normal University Duang Campus Station”.
While you might think the sign looks Photoshopped, Chengdu Daily confirmed that it’s a real mistake and reports that the goof will be replaced.
I hope the new sign reads “The University Sammo Hung Campus Station.” As it should.
DHARWAD: In the wake of the Supreme Court's verdict against making the mother tongue the compulsory medium of instruction in primary schools, several organizations have come together to chalk out a strategy to save regional languages and ensure that children are taught in their mother tongue at the primary level.
Karnataka Jana Sahitya Sanghatane, the Kannada Development Authority, the University of Agricultural Sciences and the Karnataka State Primary School Teachers' Association, along with other pro-Kannada organizations, will conduct a two-day brainstorming session at the Karnataka Vidyavardhaka Sangha, beginning Saturday.
Anil Sadgopal from Bhopal will inaugurate the session at 10.30am. Writer Devanur Mahadev, Prasanna and Gurulinga Kapse will speak. There will be special sessions on 'Mother Tongue as Medium of Instruction: Myth and Reality', 'Policies of the Government', and 'Market Policy'. On Sunday, the experts will discuss legal issues, political issues and people's movements.
Jogasingh from Patiala, Hargopal from Hyderabad, Gajendra Babu from Chennai, writers MS Ashadevi, advocate general Ravivarma Kumar, MLC YSV Datta and others will participate in the discussions. A 'Dharwad Declaration' on the outcome of the seminar will be announced on Saturday evening.
CANANDAIGUA — The Farmington man who admitted to stabbing his roommate in the abdomen in November 2014 has requested that his guilty plea be taken off the table.
Robert Tucker, the attorney representing 32-year-old Cristobal Xocol-Tzep, submitted an application withdrawing his client's February guilty plea that carried with it a seven-year prison sentence.
According to the defense attorney, the crux of the withdrawal application centers on his client's lack of understanding of the judicial process due to a language barrier.
Xocol-Tzep was slated to be sentenced Monday afternoon in Ontario County Court. In February, Xocol-Tzep pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted assault, a class C felony, in exchange for the prison sentence offered by the Ontario County District Attorney's Office.
After Monday's hearing, Tucker noted that throughout the case, Xocol-Tzep — a Guatemala citizen who does not know English —has had a Spanish interpreter accompany him during hearings.
According to Tucker, Xocol-Tzep's native language isn't Spanish, but Quiche — a Mayan Indian dialect. Xocol-Tzep didn't begin to learn Spanish until he was an adult.
"Even though he speaks some Spanish, and can be conversed to in that way, there is some question on if he can really understand everything that was going on during the proceedings and during his guilty plea," Tucker said.
Xocol-Tzep has a fifth-grade education that he received in Guatemala, the country where he spent the majority of his life, Tucker added. Xocol-Tzep, who came to the U.S. to work, is not a U.S. citizen, nor has he taken any classes toward naturalization.
"To presume that he understands the United States judicial system is a bit of a stretch," the attorney added. "We're not really sure it was adequately explained to him to the point where he understood that unlike in Guatemala, he has the right to a jury, the right to a trial, the right to defenses — everything that the Constitution provides."
The defense attorney added that, from the beginning, his client has told police that he stabbed his 27-year-old roommate in self-defense.
According to court documents, through an interpreter, Xocol-Tzep explained the incident, which took place at approximately 6 a.m. Nov. 10, 2014, to a member of the Ontario County Sheriff's Office.
In the statement, Xocol-Tzep said he and his roommate were playing a game of cards when the victim became angry. According to the statement, the defendant said that his roommate then began hitting him.
The translation of what happened next is ambiguous, as Xocol-Tzep allegedly said that he didn't know where the knife was, or how it got into his possession, but regardless, the knife ended up in his hand. Xocol-Tzep said that he then "struck the man once with the knife."
"I defended myself," Xocol-Tzep said through the translator. "He attacked me first."
The victim has since recovered from the wound.
Tucker said in court documents that when Xocol-Tzep entered the guilty plea, he was unaware that it included a prison sentence, and that his client assumed that it mean he would be deported.
Tucker noted that he intends to slow down discussions with him regarding the case moving forward to ensure that Xocol-Tzep understands the process.
Monday afternoon's adjournment was the third time Xocol-Tzep's sentencing has been adjourned. In the past it was due to a lack of a translator, and then a switch in representation.
The withdrawal application will be addressed during a hearing at 10 a.m. April 27.
As mobile continues to grow, as more smartphones are bought, and as more apps are developed, we have also seen the growth of businesses like “app store optimization” and other services around optimizing for mobile.
But what exactly are users doing on their phones? Is mobile SEO just going to be about “chasing the algorithm” and using the signals we learn through testing like traditional SEO? Or is there something bigger out there that we are missing?
As I write this, I have to remind myself that I am the minority and that most users are not as “technically minded” as myself or my internet-obsessed peers. I tend to search through the app stores to see what’s new. I scour tech sites, my RSS feeds, and other tech reporters on social media to see what’s changing in the market.
The average user in society does not behave this way, despite what some reports might say. The average user is looking for simplicity and wants information spoon-fed to them. They don’t want to search at all; in fact, the data suggest that they aren’t searching all that much on their phones to begin with:
The average person with an Android smartphone is using it to search the web, from a browser, only 1.25 times per day.
Roi Carthy, head of special projects at Everything.Me
Kind of makes you wonder what people are actually doing on their phones, right?
What People Do (And Don’t Do) On Smartphones
Almost all users, if not all users, use their phones with apps. They are highly engaged in social media, playing games, and communicating. But what most users are not doing regularly is conducting searches in a browser, let alone within the app store. The data suggest that users are more interested in the usefulness of the apps they have– they don’t necessarily search to find new ones that solve a need.
Context Will Solve The App Discovery Problem
Contextual understanding is about giving people the information they want when they need it the most. Remove the hard work for them and deliver what they will likely want at that exact moment.
As an example: I am a frequent user of Uber and GetTaxi, but what if I land in a city where neither of those apps work? I can either call a taxi or find a comparable app, though it’s unlikely that I am going to take out my phone right then and start searching the app store.
Bridging that gap with a contextual app discovery engine would solve for that by algorithmically recommending relevant apps to me based on my behavior, location, and/or other factors.
But this contextual understanding can span far beyond apps.
Adding Context To Search
Google has been personalizing search results for a years now using our search history and social activity. This is, however, limited to activity within Google products.
Imagine for a moment you are on a strict workout regimen, tracking the calories eaten on a phone app. Google may find this information useful when you perform a search for recipes. The results could be impacted by the calorie limit you set. Or better yet, Google could strive to understand your general eating habits and show different recipes at different times of days to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Thinking Beyond Search
When the industry talks about context, limiting this to search and apps alone is a mistake. It needs to incorporate other parts of our daily activities for it to truly work. Just look at your Amazon recommendations after you search for “bachelor party favors,” or the Netflix history when there is trouble in paradise. The results can be terrifying, inaccurate, and not a true reflection of your interests. There needs to be more context behind it.
Google Now Is Contextual, But Not Necessarily Integrated
Google has been headed into the world of context more and more. Sometimes, the integration can be so incredibly seamless it’s frightening. Take, for example, how Google scans your email for various information like flights.
When my mother was visiting us from abroad, I was supposed to drive her to the airport around 6:30 p.m. for her 11:00 p.m. flight — that is, until I got a notification on my phone that her flight was delayed.
So, I casually said to her, “Mom, your flight is delayed.”
“How do you know?”
“My phone just told me,” I responded. It was so natural.
A part of me thought, “Google, stay out of my life!” But the more technically savvy part thought that it was truly a magical experience.
Contextual Understanding Moves To Everything
Take that example a step further. What if my phone had found a way to provide discounts to the airport bar — or, in the event of a flight cancellation, a possible hotel recommendation using HotelTonight or a similar app?
The possibilities are endless. It’s just about mixing and matching permissions across apps and having one program smart enough to do that.
Permit me some examples:
Navigation & Travel
When I turn my phone on, Waze understands (or predicts) where I will be traveling based on numerous factors.
Waze does use predictive technology to some extent with ads they show when you stop, but there is still room for a significant amount of personalization to occur. The opportunities are limitless to guess what I will do next and connect me with my friends across the network.
Wearable Technology Serving Ads In Context
The Fitbit I own tracks how far I am walking, my speed, calories burned, sleep, and other various components. That is an incredible amount of data that could significantly enhance my mobile experience.
Using this data, my phone can start making predictions based on how fast I am moving or where I am geographically located. If the data tells Google I had a bad night sleep, and missed my bus, a nearby local coffee shop may decide to serve me a coupon for a free cup of coffee to get me in the door. Or, based on my eating habits (which come from the food app I am using), and depending on the time of day and the direction I am driving, it could suggest a nearby restaurant that fits that category but is new to me.
Facebook understands who my wife is based on my relationship status. My phone also has the capability to “always listen” (cue “OK Google”).
Imagine for a second I am out, and a certain song comes on: the song that played at our wedding. SoundHound, which is a song recognition app, could pick that signal up and remind me to send my wife flowers, just because.
A Rainy Day Solution
Lets say I have a family outing planned at the county fair. As fate would have it, storms start rolling in. Understanding this, I might get a recommendations for alternative indoor plans, keeping me one step ahead of the crowd. Perhaps Lazer Tag.
The Future Is Around the Corner
We see this happening in silos right now so I don’t think this is so far off. Some apps are getting smarter, Google Now is providing additional context around our lives. But this fusion hasn’t entirely happened yet. It will only be a matter of time before someone decides to utilize this data to effectively make “a decision engine” for us, the end users. This contextual understanding is the future, and it’s only a matter of time.
The dynamic search engine we know today will be significantly altered in the future. The future is about understanding user behavior online and offline. Perhaps the future of optimization has nothing to do with the internet at all, but everything to do with optimizing the user’s experience, helping shape their behavior, which will ultimately affect everything.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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Still enjoying that leftover Easter chocolate? You might be less enthusiastic about it if you knew more about the questionable labor practices behind much of what’s in the candy aisle, or if you realized that a lot of your favorite bars might not technically be chocolate at all.
But let’s assume that you want to eat something that is actually chocolate, and that you care about quality. You’re looking beyond those candy-aisle bars of your youth to find something made with higher-quality beans, or with more ethical labor standards, or that’s simply more interesting—and more delicious. Where do you kick off the search?
You might not begin with the fancy seals increasingly seen on chocolate-bar labels, for starters. “We look for chocolate made by thoughtful makers that represent a good understanding of the equipment, the raw materials, and the marketplace for fine chocolate.” said Aubrey Lindley of Cacao in Portland, Oregon. “The stamps and certifications labels are simply not useful to us. There are almost no regulations controlling the information that people put on the label other than the definition of chocolate, and the weight, and the ingredients.”
The chocolate that Cacao seeks out includes bars made by manufacturers like Rogue and Venezuela’s Kakao. Before you do your own shopping—because chocolate-eating season doesn’t end when the Easter Bunny’s work is done—here are seven key terms to become familiar with.
Cacao (or Cocoa) Percentage
“The percentage indicates the amount of cacao—cacao mass, cacao butter—in the bar,” Lindley said. “The rest of the percentage is going to be sugar and whatever else the maker wants to add—vanilla, emulsifiers, nuts, caramel, et cetera.” So the cacao percentage you see on the label refers to the total mass of the ingredients that comes from the cacao bean, which includes the mass (ground-up cacao beans) and the butter (the isolated fat of the cacao bean that’s sometimes added back to the chocolate for a smoother mouth feel). Generally, the higher the cacao percentage, the more intense chocolatey-ness (and less sweetness) you can expect. A higher percentage doesn’t necessarily mean a better-quality bar, or vice versa; it’s just a hint of the kind of flavor you’ll get.
Lindley said his job would be a lot easier if there were words on the ingredient label to immediately indicate that a chocolate is high quality. Plain dark chocolate needs only cacao and sugar, he said, but quality chocolate can have extra ingredients. “Additional ingredients that are common are added cocoa butter, vanilla, and lecithin,” he explained. “None of these ingredients would disqualify a bar from being good quality.” And some bars mix in ingredients like nuts, fruit, and spices to vary the flavor and texture.
“Generally I find there is an inverse relationship between label modifiers and quality—the more stamps and seals and qualifiers it has, the poorer that quality.” Lindley said. “I suspect this typically is a result of larger companies having more money to pay for various certifications and stickers.” Labeling terms that send up red flags for him include all-natural, vegan, non-GMO, gluten free, and fair trade—and he notes that many of the high-end chocolate products he carries do in fact fit those terms, but just don’t have the official seals and labels saying so.
Fair trade certification generally means the base commodity price for cacao was at least $200, Lindley said—a higher selling price for the cacao beans should mean a better price for the farmer, which in turn means the farmer makes a better living. But fair trade isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be, Lindley explained. “This is an extreme simplification of the issues, but generally the conclusion is that fair-trade certification has a very questionable benefit to either the consumer or the farmer,” he said. “High-quality cacao is usually purchased at prices many times over the fair-trade minimum standard. This requires a short communication chain. Truly, the only way to know what is going on is to know the maker, and for them to know the farmer.”
Lindley referred to knowing the maker and the farmer—and this is where direct trade comes in. Direct trade is what it sounds like: a direct relationship between the manufacturer and the farmer, where the beans are purchased directly from the farms where they are produced. This allows the manufacturer to not only ensure the quality of the beans, but also to provide the farmer with a better price for his crop by cutting out the middleman and to have first-hand information about the wages and working conditions for the farm’s employees. Taza Chocolate was an early leader in direct trade for the chocolate industry, and developed its own direct-trade certification program in 2010.
Single source (or single origin) is a selling point for some fans of high-quality coffee—it refers to beans that come from a single source, which can be defined as broadly as a single country or region or as specifically as a single farm. The same is true for chocolate, where single source refers to where the cacao beans were produced and not where the chocolate itself was made. Focusing on beans from a particular region allows for the creation of chocolate that has unique qualities and flavor profiles, thanks to the ways that different growing conditions and techniques can influence the taste of the beans.
However, a chocolate maker’s art and skill of blending cacao beans from several origins to create a consistent flavor profile in a signature chocolate is not to be underestimated. Single-source chocolate isn’t by definition superior to blended chocolate; it’s just a better way to showcase the distinctive qualities of exquisite beans that can stand on their own.
In the United States, a product must meet the FDA’s standards for organic certification to carry the certified organic labeling. However, there are many reasons why a chocolate may fit most—or even all—of the standards but still not have that label. The product could meet nearly all of the standards, for example. Or it could meet them all, but not have the financial means to get the certification. So a product with the FDA-approved organic labeling definitely meets a particular set of standards—but that doesn’t mean a product without that labeling doesn’t.
While there’s a lot of gray area in chocolate terminology, don’t let it overwhelm you. Think of it as an opportunity. If you have a chocolate shop in your area with a passionate, knowledgeable staff, they’ll gladly fill you in on the background of any bar they carry, and help you find chocolates with the flavor profiles you find most pleasing.
Terri Coles is a freelance writer living in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She’s a recovering picky eater.
Pierre J. Mejlak's Dak li l-lejl ihallik tghid translated into 'Having Said Goodnight' by Clare Vassallo and Antoine Cassar thanks to EU Prize.
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Each of his literary outings has been a huge hit, both with critics but also – especially – with readers who even when not fans of Maltese literature flocked to his inimitable style of evocative, sensual and haunting writing. Pierre J. Mejlak is possibly one of the most unique writers on the contemporary Maltese scene.
His 2011 success Dak li l-lejl iħallik tgħid went on to win Malta’s National Book Award, and last year received the highest European honour for a work of literature: the European Union Prize for Literature, only the second time this prestigious prize has been awarded to a Maltese author.
And now, to make this oeuvre available to a much wider audience, Merlin Publishers have just released the book in English translation. Having said goodnight has been translated by Antoine Cassar and Clare Vassallo. It contains all the short stories of the original, together with a surprise for all Mejlak fans: three previously unpublished stories: The ironing board, The crow and The parrot’s cry.
In trademark Mejlak style, the stories move between past and future, centre and periphery, real and imaginary. A woman is overjoyed at the news her husband has been found dead. A crow breaks into a young couple’s flat, smashing perceptions and assumptions, and a dying father sends his son on a journey to meet an old flame. A young boy builds friendships with burnt matchsticks and a widow makes her husband’s manuscript her own.
The rights to Having said goodnight have been bought by publishers in various European countries, where translations of the book will be published in 2016. And, truly making this one of the most international of Maltese books ever, Having said goodnight is being launched at Waterstones in Brussels, on World Book Day, as well as being celebrated at a dedicated event in London. Meanwhile, the Department of Translation Studies within the Faculty of Arts of the University of Malta is hosting Mejlak and celebrating the English translation of his work during an event on campus.
In the words of the jury of the European Union Prize for Literature: “This is a book about storytelling, not only as a form of pleasure that is shared between writer and reader but more importantly as a gift that’s given with love and needs love to be appreciated.”
Having said goodnight is available from all bookshops, and online directly from www.merlinpublishers.com
Got your hair terminology in a tangle? We don't blame you, the last year alone has seen the world of hair styling, colour and cutting add at least a dozen words to its lingo. So, from 'balayage' to 'Brazilian blow-dries', argan oil to 'wobs' we give you the 2015 hair dictionary. Now your best tressed intentions won't get lost in translation.
The Testing Panel: hair masks for long hair
The Testing Panel: hair masks for frizzy hair
It's not natural! Stars whose hair colour had us fooled
Argan oil: As hair experts at Hairtrade.com explained, "argan oil is extracted from the argan tree's fruit, which only grows in a small area of the south-west of Morocco. The extraction process is very labour intensive, hence the high price tags." With the kernel's oil yielding powerful anti-oxidants, as well as tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols and fatty acids, the oil has moisturising benefits both on the skin and hair, which is why you'll find it working its way into mainstream smoothing, hydrating hair products (L'Oreal Paris has just launched its own) and also why the Moroccan government is hoping to increase annual production to 4,000 tonnes by 2020.
Balayage: Meaning to 'sweep' or 'paint' in French, balayage is a colour application method used in-salon to mimic the way the sun would naturally lighten your hair - in streaks. Applied using freehand, the idea is that the stylist can also be more creative, and the look is more natural - while roots and regrowth is almost invisible. There's also the added benefit that hair colour, or bleach, should only saturate the ends and merely coat the lengths, which means extra damage limitation.
Lily Aldridge, models balayage, beautifully.
Brazilian blow-dry: This isn't a straightening treatment, it's a hair smoothing, or even relaxing, treatment. The treatment works by building the keratin (protein) in your hair back up again, so that the hair shaft is smooth, and your hair transforms into a glossy, silky barnet - which is why it's ideal for unruly, wiry, curly hair, and also why it knocks time off your DIY blow-dry. But be warned, there are the good, the bad and the ugly, so make sure that the formaldehyde levels are under 0.02 per cent, and that your stylist has previous experience with the treatment.
Buzzcut: The super short, Marine style 'do created by clippers (we're talking grade number one or two max here) or a razor. Its female celebrity pin-up? Demi Moore in her hit 1997 movie, GI Jane.
IN PICTURES - Celebrities with buzz cuts
Chignon: Don't confuse chignons with 'bouffants,' ("that being big, voluminous hair that stands out from the head in a rounded shape, a la Bardot," says Hairtrade.com). The clue is in the name, which comes from the French phrase "chignon du cou," which translates as nape of the neck, to give you an idea. A chignon therefore refers to any up-'do where hair is twisted or tied at the nape of the neck.
Chignon's at Marchesa's 2013 autumn/winter show.
Cuticle: Highlighted by Hairtrade.com as something we need to know about, hair cuticles are the protective layer which covers the shaft of the hair, and which can become compromised by the sun, styling and colour. Get your hands on products to smooth the cuticle (see Brazilian blow-dry and argan oil) if you care about the health of your hair.
Digital curl: Developed in Japan the digital curl treatment, of which the Momoko brand is most popular, this is 2015's version of a perm. Using different sized hot rods attached to a digitally controlled machine which sets the temperature and curl, this semi-permanent treatment creates soft waves from the mid-sections to ends for a natural looking curl, rather than tight coils. It lasts three to six months, hair condition pending.
READ - 10 Best: hair styling products
Dry shampoo: Chances are, if you're reading this, you probably know what dry shampoo is already. But as one of the UK's best selling products, it's made it into our mane dictionary. Usually in spray or powder form, these miracles workers, originally made from arrowroot or cornstarch, use fine powder to dry out any excess oil to leave hair feeling and looking fresh and dry again - and eke out an extra day between washes. They also work wonders if you want to add volume, so should actually be categorised under 'styling products.'
Batiste Dry Shampoo, from £2.99 at Boots.com
Gringe: Take the 'g' and 'r' from 'grown out', and the 'f' from fringe and you get 'gringe,' the grown-out fringe, as seen on Alexa Chung.
Alexa Chung demos the 'gringe' and she does it well. Photo: Rex
Ionic hairdryers: As bionic as they sound, this clever new generation of hairdryers emit negative ions which break down water moleclues into much smaller particles. What does that mean? Less drying and frying time, and say the whizzkids behind this technology much shinier, healthier hair.
Babyliss Pro GT Ionic II Dryer (2000W), £30
Lob/Wob/Pob: All reworkings of the classic shoulder-length bob, the lob, wob and pob are named after their own new lengths, or in fact the celebrity who inspired it. The Lob is the long bob (as worn on Taylor Swift), the Wob is the wavy bob (as worn on Jennifer Lawrence), and finally, the Pob, is the asymmetric bob as seen on Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, circa 2006. (If you're not sure which of the 'obs' to go for, head to George Northwood's Bob Bar. Each booking includes a bob consultation, using wigs to work out what best stlye suits you.)
Victoria Beckham and her POB. Photo: Rex.
Lowlights : Unlike highlights, which add lightness by way of paler colours worked into your hair, lowlights add darker shades, again in strands and streaks. It works well on anyone with a great base colour, but not at all on anyone with super-dark hair already.
Ombre: Meaning 'shadow', this is essentially dip-dyed hair, which characteristically starts with one colour at the roots and ends on another completely at the ends. The most popular two-tone choice is brunette going through to blonde at the tips, but extreme versions also include crazy coloured purple, blue and pink tipped hair.
Rita Ora with her crazy dip-dyped ombre. Forehead snake not included. Photo: Instagram/ritaora
IN PICTURES - Celebrities with crazy coloured hair in pictures
Winge: A fringe, by way of a mini-wig. We kid you not. Clip in fringes can be found at Hersheson's for £30, www.hershesons.com.
This is how the Hersheson Clip in Fringe will look, in Hersheson theory.
Undercut: Possibly named after its geographical namesake, the cut away under a cliff, in hair terms this refers to a much shorter, shaved even, length on the sides compared to that on top. In its extreme reinventions you will see shaved sides, often hidden by much, much longer lengths on top - Rihanna's a fan.
Rihanna and her old friend, the undercut. Photo: Rex
In a move that could trigger a row, the Maharashtra government has decided to make it mandatory for multiplexes to show at least one Marathi film during prime time hours in the evening.
“One hall in every multiplex in the state would have to screen a Marathi language film in an evening show,” Vinod Tawde, state’s minister for Cultural Affairs who also heads the Marathi language department, said on Tuesday.
Tawde said that theatres would also be asked to air a minute-long documentary on Dadasaheb Phalke’s contribution to the film industry before the start of the Marathi film.
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“Multiplexes give step-sisterly treatment to Marathi films. They are denied prime slots and hence this kind of a norm needs to be brought in,” the minister said, adding that the state law and judiciary department had already given its consent to the new norm.
Speaking to reporters outside the state legislature building, Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said: “It is not right for the government to impose a condition on what time the Marathi language film should be screened”.
Marathi filmmaker Ravi Jadhav welcomed the move. “I have been waiting for this decision for two years. The Marathi film audience is family oriented and the earlier show timings would be odd. Marathi films will now be on a level playing field with Hindi films. On the other hand, it is a big responsibility for the Marathi film industry to stand out in the prime time slot,” he said.
Business head of Fun Cinemas Anand Vishal said: “There is already a rule that we have to keep 210 shows for Marathi films through the day in one year. No one exactly knows the nitty-gritties of the new rule and whether it is inclusive of the existing norm. We are waiting for clarity on that front. Even if the new rule is exclusive of that, we are fine with it since films will have to work on merit. People will watch Marathi films over Hindi films if the content is good”.
HOTELbeat adds a translation module which allows hotel employees to instantly change the language being displayed to the language selected by the user: Spanish or Tagalog for example. This feature allows hotel staff to better communicate by removing language barriers, and eliminates the unintentional havoc that misinterpreted messages can potentially wreak on hotel operations and guest service.
HOTELbeat's multi-lingual functionality provides much more than just the conversion of text on a page. Instead, it acts as an instantaneous translation tool between employees who speak different languages, with customization for key hospitality-centric phrases and terminology, a unique feature that makes it even more effective. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, English proficiency is a key challenge in the hospitality industry, since a large percentage of the workforce does not speak English as their primary language. With this added functionality, all HOTELbeat clients will now be able to choose languages other than English to best suit their employees' needs.
Using the updated HOTELbeat platform, employees can change their language of choice on the “my settings" page. Everything in HOTELbeat will be instantly translated to the selected language. Moving forward, any entry typed will also appear in the user's selected language. Once the translation is activated on the desktop software, HOTELbeat's mobile application will also reflect the staff member's language of choice. While the interactive language will change, HOTELbeat's core functional areas, such as clean, repair, and lost and found, will remain consistent, eliminating any confusion related to navigation.
Yeah ...nah - getting a grip on Kiwis jibber-jabber can be hard slog.
But author Noel Kelly isn't one to shy away from doing the hard yards and has taken a tiki tour into the wop wops of slang.
The Auckland resident's Dictionary of Slang in New Zealand contains more than 32,000 informal words and expressions.
The book has taken five years to produce and Kelly reckons it's the first time anyone has attempted to comprehensively explain or record Kiwi jargon.
Kelly, who spent 15 years working in England, began collecting slang while he was attempting to write a novel.
"I was looking at developing the character through the language so I started putting together a list of Kiwi expressions which were different to the English ones," he says.
"But the list-making took over and the novel went into the bottom drawer and the next five years was spent doing this."
The former bookshop owner says he spent a lot of time researching the meanings of different expressions.
"Like all dictionaries and including slang you go back to other sources," he says.
"I haven't got a lot of knowledge so I created lists and then gave them to friends and acquaintances that have better knowledge."
Kelly, now a fulltime writer, says the dictionary was based on Sidney Baker's, New Zealand slang: A Dictionary of Colloquialisms which was published in the 1940s.
But his modern work also focuses on contemporary terms and includes slang he has seen used in New Zealand, regardless of its origin.
Deciding whether an entry has true Kiwi heritage is often impossible, Kelly says.
"A lot of slang starts on the edge with young people, with drugs and in prisons interesting enough, but a lot of that doesn't survive because it's very localised and very specialised," he says.
"When you're doing something like this there is always the problem of what to leave out as much as what you put in.
"It's really the editing which is the most difficult part of it."
He says researching slang is a never-ending exercise and he plans to release a second edition of the dictionary.
"As soon as it went to print I'd already got a list of 40 expressions that I've heard since that New Zealanders are using."
- Auckland City Harbour News
ABU DHABI // You’ve taken Arabic classes and consider yourself almost fluent … but how well do you speak Emirati?
Probably not well at all, but help is at hand.
A pocket dictionary of the UAE’s unique brand of Arabic has been published for visitors and expats.
Spoken Emirati Phrasebook contains English translations for 1,500 words and phrases that are uniquely Emirati.
The book was written by Hanan Al Fardan and Abdulla Al Kaabi of Al Ramsa Institute, which provides training in local Arabic and gives students a chance to interact with Emiratis.
Mr Al Kaabi said the book would provide readers with accurate pronunciation to make reading and learning the local dialect easier.
Sultan Al Ameemi, the book’s editor, said: “The Emirati language is very loved and beautiful. People want to learn it.”
The book includes tips on learning the dialect and simplified translations of greetings, colours, numbers, emotions, professions and many other categories.
Mr Al Kaabi, 31, said the team began working on it about 18 months ago, collecting the information, then going through the auditing process to have it approved by its publisher, The Poetry Academy at the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee.
“The book has approximately 120 pages with 1,500 terms and phrases that an expatriate would need on a daily basis. We include the term in the Emirati dialect, plus its English translation, and how to enunciate it,” he said.
The book includes words that are likely to be used every day in most situations. Mr Al Kaabi said the first few pages included greetings and responses, along with many of the most common words.
“We have questions, numbers, family members, and, more importantly, words used on occasions – for example when someone is travelling, or how to congratulate when someone gives birth,” he said. The book also advises on differences in addressing men and women.
The authors asked expatriates to read the words to ensure the book was teaching them the correct enunciations.
“The purpose was to fix the pronunciation. So we changed the characters of the terms, like the ‘i’ or ‘e’ in certain words, to aid in the correct pronunciation,” Mr Al Kaabi said.
He said the book could also help Emiratis to learn basic English.
It also has a page dedicated to “Arabizy”, a style of informal writing where Arabic words are written with English letters and numbers.
Mr Al Ameemi, who is also manager of The Poetry Academy, said the book was especially handy given the UAE’s multinational population.
“Many people come to the UAE for tourism, to live or to work, for short and long periods of time,” he said. “It is with no doubt that many wish to learn the language to be able to communicate with Emiratis and identify the culture, and that rises from the good image of the UAE and its people.”
The book will be sold at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair next month.