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El error de traducción que casi desata la tercera Guerra Mundial

El error de traducción que casi desata la tercera Guerra Mundial | Metaglossia: The Translation World |

Durante los años de la Guerra Fría, desde el final de la II Guerra Mundial hasta la caída del Muro de Berlín, cualquier hecho puntual era susceptible de malinterpretarse y generar un nuevo conflicto bélico a nivel mundial. Uno de esos hechos fue un error de traducción de las palabras del dirigente soviético Nikita Khrushchev.

En junio de 1956, y tras un golpe de estado, Nasser era elegido presidente de Egipto. Sus primeras medidas cambiaban el rumbo de Egipto: reemplazó las políticas pro-occidentales de la monarquía por una nueva política panarabista cercana al socialismo y nacionalizó el Canal de Suez. Las consecuencias fueron inmediatas… la Guerra del Sinaí que implicó militarmente a Reino Unido, Francia e Israel contra Egipto....

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

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

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

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Foundation producing translated Quran denies distributing copies to non-Muslims - The Malaysian Insider

Foundation producing translated Quran denies distributing copies to non-Muslims - The Malaysian Insider | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
A foundation that is translating the Quran in four languages has denied distributing the texts to non-Muslims in Klang as reported in several social media…
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Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on Feb 26, 2015: Best Practices for Translating Technical Content for Multiple Uses and Audiences | Virtual-Strategy Magazine

Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on Feb 26, 2015: Best Practices for Translating Technical Content for Multiple Uses and Audiences | Virtual-Strategy Magazine | Metaglossia: The Translation World | -- Choosing the right translation partner is critical to ensuring high quality technical content translations. The right partner will have the expertise and the resources to assign the right types of translators for each type of technical project you assign to them. | Virtual Strategy Magazine is an online publication devoted entirely to virtualization technologies.
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Salesforce's steps up its global focus

Salesforce's steps up its global focus | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Targeting SMBs, the customer-support app now speaks more than 50 languages
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Hitler's "Mein Kampf" to hit German bookstores again

Hitler's "Mein Kampf" to hit German bookstores again | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
For the first time since World War II, new prints of what was essentially the Nazi bible will be released inside Germany
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Après Bruxelles et Metz, l’anglais et l’italien ont mené Daphné Deron à Abancourt

Après Bruxelles et Metz, l’anglais et l’italien ont mené Daphné Deron à Abancourt | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Avec Tr, qui veut dire traduire, et Adagio, en référence au terme musical signifiant «à l’aise», la traductrice abancourtoise Daphné Deron [...] - Abancourt - La Voix du Nord
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Les Franglaises : une bande de potaches dynamite les tubes anglo-saxons

Les Franglaises : une bande de potaches dynamite les tubes anglo-saxons | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
"Savez-vous vraiment ce que vous chantez ?" c'est le sous titre d'un spectacle à l'affiche actuellement à Paris à Bobino. Un troupe de 12 jeunes chanteurs acteurs musiciens qui s'amusent à traduire en français les grands tubes anglo-saxons.
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Feds Spend $12,500 Translating Spanish Novel on ‘Heterosexual Privilege’

Feds Spend $12,500 Translating Spanish Novel on ‘Heterosexual Privilege’ | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) spent $12,500 to translate a Spanish novel on “homophobia,” which “examines heterosexual privilege and queer resilience.” El gato de si mismo, or T
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6 overused real estate phrases it's time to retire | Inman

6 overused real estate phrases it's time to retire | Inman | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Alternatives can help your property descriptions shine
As an agent, you have HUGE potential. With a little tender loving care, you’ll be turnkey. You’re a motivated seller and an exquisite, gourmet, breathtaking, premier real estate maven one would have to see to believe!!!

Do you see the problem? When consumers are presented with hollow language like this, they don’t really understand what you do and why you’re the best at it.

This lesson also applies to property descriptions. All too often they’re laden with jargon that’s heavy on rhetorical real estate fluff but anemic when it comes to actual substance. The result?

Descriptions with the potential to engage emotions and increase perceived value either fall flat or are entirely overlooked. The good news is that even if you’re not a natural wordsmith, there are ways to ensure your listing description draws crowds, not crickets. First order of business? Get rid of these six trite phrases forever:

1. “This home has it all!”

Exaggerated statements like this do nothing for the potential buyer. And let’s face it, no home can really “have it all” because “it all” means something very different to everybody.

The alternative: In lieu of requiring your home be everything to everyone (how exhausting!), focus on its best attributes. What makes the home unique? What type of buyer would be interested in some of the home’s most prominent features? Honesty and specificity beat hyperbole every time.

2. “Gives new meaning to ‘turnkey.'”

The word “turnkey” has been employed across industries to describe anything and everything ready for immediate use. The result? In a word, overuse. Also, unless you represent Webster’s or the “Oxford Dictionary” (and maybe even then), be careful about stating that anything “gives new meaning” to a word. That’s the evolution of the English language you’re messing with, my friend.

The alternative: We use it a lot, but that’s OK; “move-in ready” is still a buzzworthy phrase. Or, just state the facts: “With upgraded appliances and every surface finished, there’s nothing left to improve.”

3. “This home boasts …”

A home is an inanimate thing, so it can’t boast. Plus, the word makes us all feel like we should be uttering it in voice-over while taping an episode of “Lifestyles Of the Rich and Famous,” circa 1985.

The alternative: Focus on the buyer’s relationship with the home. Consider describing the emotions and senses the space may evoke. What if you painted the picture of how refreshing it would be to sip your morning coffee in the light-flooded kitchen or wake up to the fragrant jasmine breezes off the master balcony? Suddenly, the buyer is there, imagining everyday life in a new home.

4. “Gourmet kitchen, chef’s dream!”

Most kitchens designated as “gourmet” actually aren’t. They’re nice, to be sure, but not the stuff a chef’s dreams are made of. (Come to think of it, we should probably stop pigeonholing chefs by presuming to know what they dream about in the first place.)

The alternative: Describe the kitchen in value-building detail. How many burners does the stove have? Is it laid out in a particular way that makes ease of use a priority? What sort of bells and whistles, such as soft-close cabinetry and undercabinet task lighting, does the kitchen feature?

5. “HUGE ______!!!!”

Huge is conversational, but there are better, more refined words to use when describing something large. Unless you’re 8 years old, and you live in a place with a mild climate where palmetto bugs reach gigantic proportions, and you saw one crawl up your wall and your older sister screeched when she saw it and you want to tell all your friends at school about it, and how crazy big it was, then, by all means, use the word “huge.”

The alternative: Several synonyms will work, and they’re all available online. (Trade secret: Professional copywriters use online thesauruses to find creative words to replace not-so-exciting ones all the time. Make the interwebs your very own idea generator. We won’t tell anyone.) Oh, and make a commitment to remove “shouty” capitals and multiple exclamation points from your repertoire forever.

6. “Must see to believe.”

The purpose of a creative, vivid, well-written property description is to complement the photos and describe the home in such a way that it doesn’t have to be seen in person to be believed. You know that phrase, “You had to be there?” People use it when situational stories fall flat.

The alternative: Tell a story people care about. If you lack ideas, think sight, smell, taste, touch or sound. What memories could be built here? What feelings emerge as you walk through the space? Emotionally engage the buyer, and they’re dreaming with you.

So that’s it! Go forth, real estate maven. Turn up that smart-sounding music, queue up and let that cute little literary smirk of yours out of hiding. Each time you write a property description, just ask yourself, “Have I seen this phrase before?” If the answer is yes, try something new. Take some word risks, and the results are sure to pay off. You’ll be on your way to property-description excellence in no time.

Bonus: Worried about wordiness? It’s easy to get wound up in complicated sentences. Plus, most of us don’t have staff editors to help us out of the mess. For these intricate moments, we love the Hemingway app. Paste your copy into the app, and it’ll unpack your jam-packed prose, passive voice and lackluster wordage to help you turn your message into something much simpler and clearer.

And you shouldn’t feel bad about using this shortcut. After all, as Papa himself once said, “The first draft of anything is [a word that rhymes with grit].”

As founder and CEO of RUHM Inc., a luxury marketing firm based in Irvine, California, Mark Fitzpatrick seeks to revolutionize the way properties are branded, bought and sold.
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An Island of Normalization in the Mideast? - Commentary Magazine

An Island of Normalization in the Mideast? - Commentary Magazine | Metaglossia: The Translation World |

After all, this is a country where a leading author was expelled from the writers’ union and saw his books banned for the “crime” of traveling to Israel and writing about his experiences. It’s a country where translated Israeli books sparked such outrage that the culture minister had to defend himself from accusations of “normalization” by saying the translations were intended only to enable Egyptians to “know their enemy” and promising that the project would involve no contact with Israeli publishers, but only with the Israeli authors’ foreign publishers. It’s a country where every candidate in the 2012 presidential election vowed to either scrap or “renegotiate” the peace treaty with Israel. And none of this was long ago.

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A dark political crime novel from Egypt

A dark political crime novel from Egypt | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
A dark political crime novel from Egypt
Ahmed Mourad's new novel asks whether evil is an unavoidable route to good, and how much violence is necessary in the fight against the corrupt and the unscrupulous. Sonja Hegasy on a literary slice of Egyptian life before the revolution
Egypt too has its super-cool police inspectors with unorthodox investigation methods, best friends in the red-light district and rivals removed via promotion to Upper Egypt.
But this one has a certain something on top: whenever Walid Sultan arrives at the police station, he leaps out of his car, responds to the salutes from his cordon of subordinates with a brief wave, and dives into his office, "where a recruit, hearing that the Pasha was on his way, had sprayed air freshener five minutes previously." Air freshener?? What would Inspector Columbo have had to say about that?
German readers are now familiar with the subversive scenarios outlined in Egyptian literature in the years before Mubarak was toppled in 2011. Be it Khaled Alkhamissi's "Taxi", Alaa Al Aswany's books "Friendly Fire" or "The Yakoubian Building" or "Cairo Swan Song" by Mekkawi Said, all of them are read primarily from the perspective that literature can herald radical social change, and that writers can put inner turmoil and decay into words sooner than others (e.g. academics).
Since then, the West has been increasingly discovering this writing and has been astonished at what it reads. While not all of it is of outstanding literary quality, German readers are fortunate enough to now have access to the highlights of modern Egyptian literature in the form of very good translations.
A portrait of Egypt's darker side

"Diamond Dust" was recently published in German translation. It has not yet been translated into English
Although Ahmed Mourad's novel "Diamond Dust", which was published in Arabic six months before the end of Mubarak's rule, has just as much to say about the decline of Egyptian society as about subversion, the focus here is on the book's other merits. The novel draws its tension from the dark atmosphere between a father and son and the outcasts outside their front door. Mourad's hefty descriptions, paired with Egyptian lightness of being are two of the delightful features of this novel. Nothing is impossible in the land on the Nile.
The plot evolves in a restricted setting. The main locations are the home of the wheelchair-bound suspect and his son Taha, the villa opposite, which belongs to the legendary millionaire Machrus Berga, and the pharmacy where Taha, a qualified pharmacist, has a night job to earn some extra cash. By day, he visits local doctors' surgeries as a pharmaceutical sales rep.
Taha is a classic antihero. His profession as a pharmacist brings him in contact with criminals (be they doctors or addicts), and he loses his voice and unfortunately also his mind at the sight of his beautiful neighbour Sara, who once saves his life. Hashish and Tramadol rid him of the last vestiges of common sense. Sara is a journalist, blogger and protester. Taha plays the drums in his free time, but that doesn't impress Sara much – at least not at first. His mother left her husband and son for reasons that emerge in the course of the novel.
It is this very presentation of the five key characters in their small cosmos in Cairo's Dokki district that makes Mourad's book an exciting drama about Egypt as it was and is. In the end, it turns out that nothing is the way it seems. Moreover, it seems as if the perfect murder is indeed possible.
Evil for good purposes
Ahmed Mourad, born in Cairo in 1978, began working on the novel by researching murders by poisoning. Diamond dust is said to be the "queen of the poisons". The book turns on the questions of whether evil is an unavoidable route to good, how much violence is necessary in the fight against the corrupt and the unscrupulous, and what this violence does to individuals. How much disparagement can a person take and what happens when they set themselves up as avengers? Between the lines, readers find out a lot about popular culture in Egypt, from the Free Officers' military coup in 1952 to the present day.
This is the first of Mourad's novels to come out in German, although his 2007 "Vertigo" was much more successful in Egypt and was adapted into a TV series in 2012. "Vertigo" and "The Blue Elephant" are set for German publication soon. Thus far, only "Vertigo" has been translated into English.
"Diamond Dust" is a taut crime novel, which turns slightly bloodthirsty towards the end. Its outstanding feature is the author's very precise eye for detail. In his previous life, Ahmed Mourad was Hosni Mubarak's personal photographer.
Sonja Hegasy
© 2015
Translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire
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Russian Cultural Center tries to re-attract Egyptian audience - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online

Russian Cultural Center tries to re-attract Egyptian audience - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
On Sunday the Russian Cultural Centre, on Tahrir Street in Dokki, saw the inauguration of an exhibition for the artwork of two Russian painters Oxoksana Prokhenova and Nadedje Val.
The paintings, said Sherif Gad, Director of Cultural Activities at the Russian Cultural Centre (RCC), reflect on life in today’s Russia. The exhibition was opened on the eve of the two-day visit of Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, and is designed to introduce the Egyptian public to modern Russian art and life trends.
“This has been the key mission of the RCC since it was established in the 1956 – to build bridges inspired by culture but essentially reflecting on life,” Gad said.
It was during the heyday of Egyptian relations with the then Soviet Union in the 1950s that the Soviet Cultural Centre was established in 1956 in its first headquarters at Al-Alfi Street, at the heart of downtown Cairo.
Then as now, the centre was rich with diverse cultural offers to the Egyptian audience – providing a range of Russian education, ballet, piano and drawing classes. Along with the large library and punctual film showing, the centre today is also providing computer and art designing classes.
“In any given day, we have no less than 1000 people who frequently visit the library, film theatre, music salon or any of the many classes of the RCC,” Gad said.
Effectively, many of those who subscribe to the activities of the RCC are there essentially to acquire or improve linguistic skills at a time when the Russian contribution to Egypt’s annual share of world tourists is significant.
“But it would be wrong to try and portray the RCC as simply a place where people go to learn Russian because we do have a much wider audience that frequent, for example, the film theatre to watch modern and classic productions of the Russian, and previously Soviet, cinema production," Gad said.

"In fact we have subscribers who attend other foreign language classes, including English and French, or people who simply come to enjoy reading the many fascinating Russian titles that are translated into Arabic or listen to the full recordings of the Russian composers."
Himself a graduate of Moscow University where he studied media and film-making, Gad was once a subscriber to the activities of the very centre where he now assumes a responsibility for designing and promoting cultural activities.

“Prominent writer Youssef Idris once said that he spent great times in the halls of the Soviet Cultural Centre and like him I have always enjoyed my presence around the corridors of the place whose staff I joined in 1988,” he said.
Nineteen eighty-eight was the first year for the centre, then still the Soviet Cultural Centre, to resume its activities following a decade of closure that was imposed by late President Anwar Sadat, who unlike his predecessor Gamal Abdel-Nasser, was not in favour of any close rapprochement with the Soviets, especially after he warmed up towards the US following the end of the October War in the autumn of 1973.
During the 10-year closure, the centre was prohibited from almost all its cultural activities but was always allowed to help those who wish to learn the language that was widely used across what used to be called the ‘eastern bloc’.
Upon its comeback, the challenge was not insignificant in regards to re-attracting an Egyptian audience especially as the image of the Soviet Union was considerably damaged during the years of Sadat.

What helped to rebuild bridges without too much hesitation was what Gad rightly qualifies as the ‘considerable affinity that Egyptian public has in general to Russian art – be it literature or music or the prominent ballet."
The fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s did not dispel people's interest in frequenting the centre which had to go through a name change and budget reduction as the ‘new born’ Russia was faced with considerable economic challenges.
An immediate influence, Gad recalled, was the shortage in the budget for translation of literature from Arabic into Russian and vice versa. “This is perhaps one reason why we are lagging behind in keeping apace with the modern production of Russian literature in a way that is clearly contrasting with the considerable knowledge of the classics of Russian literature which actually influence our cinema production a great deal,” he said.
Also negatively influenced was the Russian cinema production after it was no longer subject to the support of the state as it was during the years of the Soviet Union. And it influenced the sub-titling of Egyptian films into Russian that left the audience, who used to be quite familiar with the classics of Egyptian cinema, with the modern cinematographic production.
“There was also a moment of overwhelming supremacy of Western culture – actually both in Egypt and Russia; so yes, there has been a drop in the cultural communication but the bridges were never broken if you wish,” Gad said.
“We kept a minimum, one could say; that there was at least always a Russian Section in the International Cairo Book Fair that is perhaps not as diverse and as accessible in terms of prices as it once was but it is still there,” Gad said.
He added that there might be new production that may not be very diverse but that is significantly interesting. Those included an Arabic translation of a children’s story book “Stories of the Pillow” whose original Russian text written by Natalia Kortog and was translated by Samiyah Tawfik and “Egypt in the eyes of Russian” by the prominent Russian orientalist Vladimir Belyakov.
There were two seminars for the launch and signing of both books, in the presence of their authors, that attracted a considerable audience. “It was very interesting with Kortog explaining to a large audience of children how to write small stories and with Belyakov reviewing what he said was a history of about 1000 years,” Gad said.
The history of Egyptian-Russian relations has been a key subject to documentaries that the RCC has been showing for the past few weeks ahead of the Tuesday evening showing of a Russian film.
The visit of the Russian President Putin would probably send the right signals to give a push to joint cultural activities, Gad said.
Also, the chair of the Association of the Egyptian Graduates of Russian Universities, which is based at the heart of the RCC, said that his association is going to propose an increase of cultural, educational and scientific cooperation.
“There are so many avenues for our cooperation that range from the cultural, the historic, scientific- especially the nuclear sciences which Egypt is now eyeing as part of expanding its electricity generation options,” Gad said. “We have a good base to build on whether it was in relation to teaching little ballerinas or to update the training that nuclear scientists acquired in the  Soviet Union,” he added.
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AICA :: La Iglesia en China dedicará el 2015 a la pastoral bíblica

AICA :: La Iglesia en China dedicará el 2015 a la pastoral bíblica | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Una nueva traducción al chino de la “Evangelii gaudium” y el compromiso de dedicar el 2015 como un año dedicado a la pastoral bíblica. Son “los humildes dones” que la Asociación bíblica católica china quiso presentar al papa Francisco como conclusión del encuentro: “Testimoniar al mundo la nueva evangelización” que se desarrolló en Taiwan con la presencia de 300 delegados de 18 naciones que, junto...
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Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on Feb 26, 2015: Best Practices for Translating Technical Content for Multiple Uses and Audiences | Virtual-Strategy Magazine

Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on Feb 26, 2015: Best Practices for Translating Technical Content for Multiple Uses and Audiences | Virtual-Strategy Magazine | Metaglossia: The Translation World | -- Choosing the right translation partner is critical to ensuring high quality technical content translations. The right partner will have the expertise and the resources to assign the right types of translators for each type of technical project you assign to them. | Virtual Strategy Magazine is an online publication devoted entirely to virtualization technologies.
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Re L (A Child: Translation and Court Bundle Size) [2015] EWFC 15

Re L (A Child: Translation and Court Bundle Size) [2015] EWFC 15 | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
In relation to care proceedings involving a non-English-speaking Slovenian father not being provided with any files in the court bundle in his own language, the President of the Family Division made comments about public funding of translated court bundle documents, and the failure to comply with the Practice Direction on the size of court bundles.
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Germans Brace for the Re-Release of ‘Mein Kampf’

Germans Brace for the Re-Release of ‘Mein Kampf’ | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Is Hitler’s 90-year-old manifesto too dangerous to be on bookshelves?
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El diccionario de la corrupción

El diccionario de la corrupción | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Junto a crisis y selfie hay otras palabras que se han añadido al vocabulario del día a día. Se leen y se escuchan en todas partes, desde los medios informativos más rectos hasta las revistas sensacionalistas, del autobús al argumentario del cine.
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Traduction littéraire au Salon du livre de l’Outaouais

Traduction littéraire au Salon du livre de l’Outaouais | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Le Département d’études langagières de l’Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) participe à une soirée littéraire qui se tiendra le 27 février prochain au Salon du livre de l’Outaouais (SLO) de 18 h à 20 h, à la salle Coulonge A.
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New tool simplifies translating apps into different languages

New tool simplifies translating apps into different languages | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Developers put a lot of time and resources into the technical aspects of their apps. But when it comes to selling them in other markets there's often little left for localization.
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Commonwealth Books of Virginia is pleased to announce that the translation of Daniel Vaugelade's Comments On Le Rochefoucauld's North American Travels has begun.

Commonwealth Books of Virginia is pleased to announce that the translation of Daniel Vaugelade's Comments On Le Rochefoucauld's North American Travels has begun. | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
(PRWEB) February 26, 2015 -- Carolyn Yohn of Untangled Translations in Granite Bay, California and Dr. Ivy Dykman, Adjunct Professor of French at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, will work together on the English translation, which is expected to be finished in August.
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Democracy and cultural expression

Democracy and cultural expression | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
I spent the past two weeks as a Pacific Leadership Fellow at the School of International and Pacific Relations of the University of California, San Diego, and the highlight of my fellowship was a 40-minute talk I gave on the general topic of “Democracy and Cultural Expression: Confronting Modernization in the Philippines.” The PLF — usually a government or business leader from the Asia-Pacific region — is asked to make a public presentation to a large audience composed of academic and community representatives, to introduce and discuss major issues facing his or her society.

I felt it safer to presume that the non-Filipino members of my audience last Jan. 28 knew very little about Philippine history and politics, so I began with a broad overview of that history, bringing things to the present and the medium-term horizon, considering both our strengths and resources — noting the robustness of our recent economic growth — but also the longstanding inequalities and structural weaknesses that continue to hold us back. Here’s a slightly edited excerpt from the rest of my talk:

We have to pause and wonder exactly what kind of democracy we have in the Philippines, and what needs to be done — particularly on the cultural front — to achieve a fuller sense of the word.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call Philippine democracy a sham, because most Filipinos enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms absent in patently undemocratic societies —freedom of expression, of association, of mobility, of enterprise; the right to vote, and a presumptive equality under the law.  But that presumption is also the weakest leg our democracy stands on, undermined by gross economic and social inequalities in our society showing Philippine democracy as more a democracy of style and spirit than one of substance.

Indeed, economically and politically, the Philippines has been ruled for more than a century by an elite, a roomful of families from the landed gentry and comprador capitalists who developed their wealth and power as agents and executors of colonization, and have taken turns at governing the country well into the present.

We cannot have true democracy without achieving a better balance in our economic and social structure, and its best hope in the Philippines could be in our enlarging middle class. They may not yet have the economic and political clout of the elite, but coming from the poor and aspiring in their own way to become more prosperous, they have the most at stake in creating a new regime of opportunity and fairness.

Lifestyle Feature ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:
It is the middle class that has served as the voice of Philippine democracy, primed by its education to value freedom of thought and expression. It is the middle class that stands at the vanguard of modernization, having not just the desire but also the means — through education and entrepreneurship — to change the future.

… One out of every 10 Filipinos now lives and works abroad in a decades-long diaspora that has kept the Philippine economy afloat through remittances amounting to more than $25 billion in 2013. But they bring home not only money but new ideas, and I feel confident that, in the long run and for all its social costs, this diaspora will have salutary effects because that domestic helper in Milan or plumber in Bahrain will no longer be simply a domestic helper or plumber when they come home. Tourists bring home snapshots of pretty places and exotic food; foreign workers bring home real learning, lessons in survival and getting ahead, and raised expectations of their local and national leaders.

This exposure to global culture and its elevation of local aspirations will be a major force in reshaping the Filipino future. And again, it is the middle class — the dwellers of the Internet and the Ulysses of this new century — that will lead in this transformation, just as they have led the most important movements for political and social reform in our history.

… One of the bright spots of Philippine society today is the fact that civil society is very much alive, constantly on guard against governmental or corporate abuse and wrongdoing, ever ready to uphold the rights of ordinary citizens and communities, and firmly rooted in those communities. It has stood at the forefront of the movement to fight corruption, which recently came to a new climax with the explosive revelation of a billion-peso pork-barrel scam going all the way to the Senate and even possibly higher.

One of the greatest challenges of our modernization may be that of electoral reform — not just a reform of the electoral process, but a reform of the voter’s mind — not to vote for popular candidates, but to vote wisely, to see the vote as a chance to short-circuit a historical process and to lay claim to one’s equality and patrimony.

And this is where culture comes in, as an instrument of social and political reform and modernization. If we look at culture more proactively not just as a way of living but a way of thinking, then there is much room for the promotion of true democracy through cultural expression.

By cultural expression I don’t mean simply the writing of stories, poems, plays, and essays, which is what I do most days, partly as my civic duty. I mean the use of all media at our disposal — the arts, the press, the Internet, whatever can influence the Filipino mind — to forge and sustain a set of core values, of national interests that cut across family, class, and region.

Of course, we can take “cultural expression” in its more popular and familiar forms — stories, poems, plays, music, painting, and dance, among others — as gestures toward the idea of a larger, national culture. After all, with every poem or painting, the artist seeks to palpate, from an audience of citizens, a sense of what is common and what is important — or to put it both ways, what is commonly important and what is importantly common. This has always been the social value and the political mission of art — not just as a means of self-expression, but of establishing, affirming, and promoting certain commonalities of thought and feeling.

… We need nothing less than a new cultural revolution — focused on the assertion of the ordinary citizen’s rights over power and privilege, on the importance of the rule of law, and on our understanding and acceptance of what it means to be a Filipino in this globalized world. Forging that sense of national identity is crucial to securing our future, again in a world and in a part of the world where the Chinese, the Japanese, the Koreans, and the Americans seem to have very clear ideas about their roles and capabilities. In this ocean of resurgent nationalisms, we Filipinos need to redefine ourselves as more than America’s students and surrogates.

In sum, much remains to be done to lend more substance to Philippine democracy in terms of addressing age-old economic and social inequalities. But the first field of battle exists in the mind and spirit, and the first campaign in this battle, the first declaration of freedom, has to be an act of the imagination.

I prefer to see democracy as a process rather than a product; the aspiration can be as powerful as its actualization. This democracy is first formed by its assertion: by seeking democracy, we begin to achieve it, and this assertion is the task of our artists, writers, thinkers, and opinion makers, the imaginative shapers of our national identity.
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Dogs recognize human facial expressions | Sci-Tech | DW.DE | 19.02.2015

Dogs recognize human facial expressions | Sci-Tech | DW.DE | 19.02.2015 | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Angry or happy? Dogs can tell the difference by looking at people's faces. But, do they understand what the expressions mean? Dog owners believe this to be the case, but there is no scientific proof.

Angry or Happy - For the Dogs it's like a quiz: The winner gets a treat.
Mailmen and dog-owners are well aware of the fact that an angry face or friendly smile can trigger very different reactions in dogs. A team around veterinarian Corsin Andreas Müller has published a new study in "Current Biology" - describing an experiment that makes use of human facial expressions. The researchers showed that dogs are able to differentiate between two distinct human facial expressions, one being "angry" and the other being "happy".

Professor Ludwig Huber supervised the study
But for the experiment it was not enough to bring an angry or happy man together with a dog, says Professor Ludwig Huber, who supervised the study and holds the chair for Comparative Cognition at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. "Dogs smell and hear very well, but their vision isn't so good. So it's possible they perceive the moods of humans not visually, but in other ways. We know, for example, that humans can also convey fear to other humans by emitting pheromones."
So the scientists had to make sure the dogs participating in the experiment would not be distracted by any smells, sounds or movements. The solution: Touchscreen monitors, on which the faces would be displayed. "The dogs had to touch the screen with their snout to get a treat," Huber explains. "So the dogs had to find out, which of the facial expressions would deliver the food – and most of the dogs found that out in training."

Dogs that were trained with smiling mouths, later recognized happy or angry faces by just looking at the eyes. (photo: Clever Dog Lab Vienna)
Not just smiling teeth
But to make thinks more difficult, the researchers presented the dogs with a mere cross-section of the face – either the area around the eyes, or the area around the mouth. This was to make sure the dogs didn't simply learn that a smiling face with shiny white teeth– resembling a long horizontal white bar – meant food.
Instead the dogs had to learn to read the entire facial expression with all its details. "We didn't just show the dogs new faces and cross-sections. They even passed the most difficult test: Dogs that were trained with the lower half of the face around the mouth were subsequently presented with the other cross section and had to differentiate between "angry" and "happy" – only by seeing the area around the eyes."
In other words: The dogs had to draw conclusions about the smile just by seeing the eyes. This was only possible, because the dogs were able to imagine how the other half must have looked like. "The explanation is: Dogs that remember angry or happy human faces from their day-to-day-life fill in the missing cross-section automatically," Huber says. "They clearly draw on such memories in the tests. So they must be capable of distinguishing between faces and facial expressions."

Dr. Andreas Corsin Müller - lead author of the study
Do dogs understand the meaning of a smile?
But one big question remains: Do our four-legged friends only distinguish the two, or do they also understand what the expressions actually mean on an emotional level? The experiment was not conclusive on this count, but some observations of the scientists suggest that dogs do understand more than meets the eye: Dogs that were tasked with touching the "happy" faces were much less hesitant to do so.
"It took us almost three times as long, to train the other group of dogs to make contact with the 'angry' ones," Huber recalls. "The task for both groups was essentially the same, but the dogs were reticent to touch the angry face on the touchscreen – and that suggests that they are capable of perceiving emotions and interpreting them." And if you ever lived together with a dog – you would probably not doubt that.
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A brave new word | Chemistry World

A brave new word | Chemistry World | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
There is, wrote an anonymous author in the Quarterly Review in March 1834, a ‘want of any name by which we can designate the students of the knowledge of the material world collectively’.1 ‘Philosophers’ was thought ‘too wide and too lofty a term’ for these gentlemen, the author explained, and ‘savans’ was, needless to say, too French. ‘Some ingenious gentleman’, however, had proposed making an analogy with ‘artist’: why not call them ‘scientists’?

© ImageZoo / Alamy
Named and famed
That ingenious gentleman was in fact the article’s author, the English polymath William Whewell. This is the first known reference to Whewell’s neologism, and it stuck. The irony is that Whewell’s article was a review of a book by a scientist (as we would now happily say) who was not a gentleman at all, but a gentlewoman, Mary Somerville.

‘Chemist’ was already well established by then, but Whewell went on to propose ‘physicist’ for ‘a cultivator of physics’. His friend Michael Faraday was polite about scientist, but not at all keen on the three ‘i’ sounds in ‘physicist’: it was so awkward a word that ‘I think I shall never be able to use it,’ Faraday wrote. Actually he didn’t embrace ‘scientist’ either, persisting in thinking of himself as a philosopher.

Whewell was of course a master neologist, giving Faraday also ‘ion’, ‘anode’ and ‘cathode’. ‘Scientist’ was not an immediate success, however. Linguists looked askance at this Greek–Latin hybrid. John Ruskin objected to the scientism, as we’d now say, of appropriating all knowledge (scientia) to science. Others wrongly thought the word to be American, and therefore obviously vulgar. So you only just escaped from being ‘savants’, ‘materialists’ or even ‘sciencers’.2

End of term
Why do some new words and terms in science catch on while others fall by the wayside? Did some kind of natural selection favour ‘natural selection’, not to mention ‘covalent bond’, ‘nuclear fission’, ‘quark’, ‘supramolecular chemistry’, ‘nanotechnology’ and ‘synthetic biology’? It’s not hard to see why we quickly found an alternative to ‘buckminsterfullerene’, but aside from sheer ease of vocalisation what accounts for the success or failure of a neologism? Tobias Kuhn of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and his coworkers Matjaž Perc and Dirk Helbing have attempted to answer the question by conducting textual analyses to map out the spreading of ‘scientific memes’ in more than 47 million publications in the Web of Science and American Physical Society journals.3

As in Richard Dawkins’ original concept of a meme,4 these terms propagate somewhat like genes, being ‘inherited’ when they leap from one paper to another. Rival terms for the same concept might compete like alleles. The analogy is not perfect, however, because it’s not clear how much these terms mutate, far less what the criteria for selection are.

In any event, citation networks defined by the genealogy of scientific memes generally show well-defined clusters corresponding to specific disciplines. ‘Fission’, for example, is unsurprisingly limited (in physics) mostly to a cluster linked to Physical Review C, which covers nuclear physics.

Kuhn and colleagues say that, as well as frequency of use, a given meme can be characterised by two other measures: the sticking factor, which measures how often a meme is carried over between papers linked by citation, and the sparking factor, which measures how often the meme appears in papers that don’t cite any others in which it appears. The significance of a meme is then quantified by the ‘meme score’: the frequency times the ratio of the sticking to the sparking factor.

The results pinpoint some memes that, being mere chemical formulae (like C60), could hardly fail to find use: they are more like indicators of ‘hot’ compounds. Other top memes (in physics) do seem to correspond to catchy but more arbitrary names for important concepts: black hole, dark energy, carbon nanotube, graphene, quantum dot.

The meme score seems to be a good metric of impact as measured by whether terms have their own Wikipedia entry. A particularly telling plot shows the rise and fall of the meme score for different memes over time. The authors call this ‘bursty’, meaning that memes come and go quite abruptly, often over short periods. This, they say, indicates that ‘the rise and fall of scientific paradigms is driven by robust principles of self-organisation’. Another way to put that is to say science is faddish, and perhaps its language at any moment owes as much to imitation and trend-following as it does to meritocracy.

It would be fun to see the same analysis conducted for chemistry, which is only glimpsed here. Which top memes would you predict? How much do they rely on the status and persistence of their progenitors? Is there a formula for coining successful ones? There’s surely a new field here. I think I shall christen it chemisemiotics, and you should feel free to cite me. 


1 W Whewell (anon), Quart. Rev., 1834, 51, 58
2 S Ross, Nineteenth century attitudes: men of science, Kluwer, 1991
3 T Kuhn, M Perc and D Helbing, Phys. Rev. X, 2014, 4, 041036 (DOI: 10.1103/physrevx.4.041036)
4 R Dawkins, The selfish gene, Oxford University Press, 1989
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Zimbabwe: Language As an Expression of Freedom, Culture

Zimbabwe: Language As an Expression of Freedom, Culture | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
By Elliot Ziwira
African countries, though independent from the colonial yoke, are still at the mercy of the erstwhile colonisers, who sponsor the publication of books that advance their own interests; with promises of awards and international readership.

AT the Bookstore's pen would like to start this week's instalment by taking off his cap to Memory Chirere, Cynthia Marangwanda and Raisdon Baya, whose stars shone the brightest at the 14th edition of the 2014 National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA), held at the 7 Arts Theatre in Harare on February 14.

Cynthia Marangwanda's "Shards", published by KO Maseko Publishers, was the numero uno in the Outstanding First Creative Published Work. As a debutant, she demonstrated her clout in the rough terrain that is usually the preserve of experienced wayfarers.

"Around the Fire-Folktales from Zimbabwe" edited by Raisdon Baya stood its mettle in the Outstanding Children's Book category. It is a real must-read book for the young and the young at heart as it reveals the interface between oracy and literacy in moulding the individual as he or she interacts with societal expectations and merge them with his or her own environs.

That Chirere's "useless book" would effortlessly grab an accolade was no surprise, as At the Bookstore was apt in the anthology's review. It really is a masterpiece, and deserving of any literary award in the offing, as it does not only enrich the bookstore, but is an expression of a true Zimbabwean, nay, African sensibility, articulated through language in its simplest form.

The fact that the book won as an outstanding fiction book vindicates Chenjerai Hove's observation in Palaver Finish (2002:57) that: "I always tell people that if they want to know about the history of a country, do not go to the history books, go to the fiction. Fiction is not fiction. It is the substance and heartbeat of a people's life, here, now and in the past."

Indeed, fiction is an expression of a people's yearnings, aspirations, cultural mores and values, and a quest for psychic catharsis.

If artistes are inspired by their experiences and spurred on by the concerns of their own societies then, fiction will remain a true record of the obtaining issues prevailing at any given eon; past present or future. However, as has always been observed, if literary works are a culmination of the prevailing governing institutions' gatekeeping instincts, then the sensibilities that should be informing them will be utterly at fault.

Emmanuel M. Chiwome and Zifikile Mguni's book "Zimbabwean Literature in African Languages: Crossing Language Boundaries" (2012) explores the liberating nature of language in its expression of a people's way of life and the preservation of ethos. It advocates the use of indigenous African languages as the first step to decolonising the continent's citizenry's mindsets. The norms and values passed from generation to generation through folklore can never be really ferried through alien languages. Colonisation brought its own problems on the African landscape which can scantly be addressed using the same oppressive apparatus, which is the reason why the Kenyan writer, Ngugi WaThiong'o, vowed to stick to his native Gikuyu to hoist his country's flag above the colonial banner, as a way of liberating his people.

The book is divided into sections which highlight the different eons and languages under review. It really is an eye opener not only to literary critics and writers but to those whose purpose of reading is not mastery.

Chiwome and Mguni (2012) write in the preface to the book: "In the context of a former colony like Zimbabwe, literature can be viewed as a site of struggle. In this literary site of struggle, writers can either represent powers that oppress the masses or write from below in order to bring the people living on the margins closer to the centre." Suffice to say that the institutionalisation of how reality can be perceived is baneful to the freedom of literary expression. Writers as "truth's defence" should be the voices of the gagged, feeble and vulnerable.

In colonial Rhodesia the Literature Bureau determined the nature of literature to be consumed both in schools and the general readership. Therefore, although indigenous languages like Shona, Ndebele and Tonga could be used as an expression of liberation, they were skewed to serve the interests of the oppressor who controlled the printing presses.

The Literature Bureau as a creation of the colonial governments of Rhodesia since 1954 was at the centre of "the Zimbabwean people's hopes, their true and false starts on their journey to liberation, greater self-awareness and fulfilment" (Furusa, 1994:125). A perusal through the early publications in both Shona and Ndebele put paid to this assertion.

According to Chiwome and Mguni (2012), Solomon Mutswairo's "Feso" (1956) only saw the light of day after the "offending" first chapter which deplored the displacement of Africans from fertile lands, was removed.

Bernard Chidzero's "Nzvengamutsvairo" (1957) taps into Shona orature and merges it with missionary teachings as a strategy to hoodwink Africans to accept the new tide brought by colonialism. Social progress is only made possible by creating interfaces of harmony between the Africans and whites; yet at the same time Africans are expected to disown their own cultural mores.

Other books by Catholic priests like Patrick Chakaipa, Emmanuel Ribeiro and Ignatius Zvarevashe were also "intended to gain more converts". This rationale obtains in books like "Dzasukwa Mwana Asina Hembe" (1967), "Garandichauya" (1963), "Muchadura" (1967), "Rudo Ibofu" (1961), "Kurauone" (1976) and "Gonawapotera" (1976). These books did not only find their way in the school curricula in Rhodesia but even after independence in 1980. It is the government, therefore, that determines the nature of knowledge to be consumed and because of this, issues that really affect the generality of the populace might not be explored.

African countries, though independent from the colonial yoke, are still at the mercy of the erstwhile colonisers, who sponsor the publication of books that advance their own interests; with promises of awards and international readership.

African traditions have been subjected to immense pressure from colonisation and technological advancements. The Tonga people, for instance, had their own songs and folklores which were directly linked to the Zambezi Valley which was their cherished abode before the Kariba Dam flooded their area. Their resentment of the displacement from the life-source they had known for generations cannot be fully articulated in any other language besides their own.

The improvement of their lot through the dam remains a pipe dream years after its construction, and yet their association with the river basin as embraced in their folkloric songs and folklore remains painfully embedded in their hearts; although they have lost appeal to those who did not experience the golden times. So in a way they have been robbed of their freedom and no form of compensation will placate them.

The liberation struggle could not have been possible had it not been for the encouragement of writers who captured the majority's aspirations in their works. Writers play a significant role in nation building by creating symbols that breed national pride.

However, because of elitist literature which is controlled by political establishments, themes that are disparaging and foist disunity and ethnicism are usually avoided, which is why a lot of war novels and poems "avoid traumatic events that cause social embarrassment. The highest sacrifices paid in the war such as rape, betrayal and executions are avoided themes," (Chiwome and Mguni, 2012:183).
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