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Vacancies in this network: Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.
Cancún. Tras varios años de trabajo se presentará en el Senado la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos en su edición bilingüe español-maya, dio a conocer el maestro Fidencio Briceño Chel.
La presentación será ante testigos de honor: los perredistas Graciela Saldaña Fraire y Luis Sánchez Jiménez, en representación de la LXII Legislatura de la Cámara de Diputados, así como Javier López Sánchez, director del Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas (Inali), y Nicolás Ávila Cervantes, titular del Instituto para el Desarrollo de la Cultura Maya.
La actualización abarca hasta las reformas realizadas el 31 de mayo de 2015, por lo que “constituye un documento de enorme valor para la integración e identidad nacional”.
La traducción de la Carta Magna a lenguas es reflejo inicial de la obligatoriedad de la difusión de ordenamientos jurídicos a las comunidades indígenas en sus dialectos maternos.
De acuerdo al Inali, el uso de lenguas indígenas en contextos más allá del ámbito cotidiano y/o de su cultura tradicional otorga un reconocimiento y un valor equivalente al del español, lo que abre la posibilidad a aumentar la funcionalidad de las lenguas indígenas.
Briceño Chel puntualizó que “la utilización de las lenguas nacionales como instrumento de expresión, en este caso legal o judicial, permite también el desarrollo y ampliación del repertorio de términos especializados.
“La utilización de esos recursos actualizan y equilibran las lenguas indígenas frente al español, orientándolas a recuperar su funcionalidad en contextos públicos".
El coordinador de los trabajos de traducción fue Fidencio Briceño y su equipo de traducción, integrado por Gerónimo Ricardo Cano Tec, José Concepción Cano Sosaya, Samuel Canul Yah, Felipe de Jesús Castillo Tzec y José Alfredo Hau Caamal.
La asesoría jurídica estuvo a cargo de Deysi Canul Hau y Santos Cosme o. Pool Canché.
La presentación se realizará este martes a las 11:00 en el auditorio Octavio Paz del Senado de la República, en la ciudad de México.
03 de agosto, 2015 17:04 - Espectáculos 0
En 2014 ganó el Premio Nacional de Literatura Drámatica en España.
Protagonizada por la actriz nacional, Liliana García, junto a José Secall y Paulo Brunetti, vuelve a la cartelera del Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral, la obra "El Diccionario" . Luego de una exitosa temporada, las funciones se realizarán desde el 6 hasta el 30 de agosto.
La obra cuenta la historia de María Moliner, una mujer española que escribió sola el "Diccionario de Uso del Español", texto que desafió a la Real Academia Española, y a quien la arteriosclerosis cerebral le quitó lentamente sus facultades del lenguaje.
La entradas tienen un valor de 8 mil pesos y se pueden comprar a través de internet.
Voicemail is a pain in the neck, and Apple has decided to do something about it. The company is testing a new way to transcribe spoken messages and send the contents to iPhone owners via text.
Apple is prepared to use Siri and iCloud to change the voicemail experience, according to a report in Business Insider. Rather than allow calls to go to the carrier's service, Siri will answer incoming calls. Callers can leave a message as they normally would. The voice recording is sent to Apple's iCloud computers, where it is transcribed and returned to the iPhone owner as a text message.
The idea is to let people read their messages instead of dialing in and listening to them, tasks people are often loath to perform.
That's not all iCloud Voicemail will do. Users can have Siri tell select callers where they are and why they might not have been able to pick up the phone. The service is still being tested by Apple employees. It isn't expected to launch until 2016.
This won't be the first time Apple has futzed with voicemail. The original iPhone brought with it visual voicemail, a revelation at the time. Rather than force people to dial into their carrier's system and listen to each message in the order received, visual voicemail let iPhone owners see who called, who left messages, and then listen to those messages in any order they chose. Visual voicemail is now common to most smartphones.
[Apple TV Powers Up For September Refresh]
Apple will not, however, be the first to tackle transcribed voicemail messages. Google Voice has offered such transcription since 2009. With Google Voice, inbound callers could leave messages that were transcribed and then sent to Google Voice users through email and/or text message.
Google Voice has been the butt of jokes for years. The service is known to be notoriously inaccurate with its transcriptions. It often failed to transcribe 50% of the words in a single message. Google Voice, thankfully, also offers users the opportunity to listen to the actual audio message, rather than read the transcription as a backup. Google recently said it has taken steps to improve the accuracy of Google Voice transcriptions.
Apple's Siri isn't exactly perfect, either. Siri often mis-transcribes dictated text when users speak to their iPhones, whether for spoken commands or text/email messages. Apple is taking pains to improve Siri, which will debut new powers in iOS 9.
Business Insider said iCloud Voicemail won't be released until it works reliably enough. At the moment, that's looking like iOS 10, in September 2016.
Until then, we're going to have to suffer through using voicemail services to listen to those pesky recordings.
Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
The IBM Watson Language Translation Service moves from Beta into General Availability. New capabilities for the service and ability to customize models.
LAWRENCE, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) - The Lawrence Police Department is investigating one of their own for allegedly mishandling emergency calls.
A dispatcher is accused of turning away callers who spoke only Spanish, in a city where most residents speak that language.
Protocol here at the Lawrence police department is to help any 911 caller in any language, connecting them with one of several available translators.
But at the Lawrence police department emergency calls like this were turned away.
FOX25 obtained 911 recordings courtesy of Chief James Fitzpatrick, concerned by what a routine audit revealed.
“We came across these particular calls showing that this person was ineffective at their job so we took it upon further investigation, look into it as a personnel matter,” he said.
Fitzpatrick made it clear, when it comes to calling Lawrence Police, language should never be a barrier, especially in a city where 75 percent speak Spanish.
“You'd bring an interpreter online with through the 911 system and they'd help you walk through the call and what the issue was,” he said.
The chief wouldn't name the employee, but he said she has a history of similar violations.
“It was a matter of them not handling calls correctly, they're not getting provided with public safety services,” Fitzpatrick said.
He said it’s a past he hopes never to repeat.
“We want to make sure everybody is confident that when they call the Lawrence Police Department they're going to get the services that they need,” he said.
That employee is on leave and the chief said he would be inclined to terminate her, but is working with the union.
O Comitê Nacional para os Refugiados (Conare) anuncia abertura de chamamento público para banco de currículos de colaboradores voluntários para as atividades de pesquisa e de tradução. Os selecionados atuarão de forma voluntária, na qualidade de colaboradores, sem qualquer tipo de remuneração ou vínculo empregatício com a Administração Pública Federal, e não exercerão competências de servidores estatutários da Administração Pública.
Os colaboradores na área de pesquisa irão auxiliar nas investigações e diagnósticos dos aspectos geopolíticos contemporâneos de países de origem de solicitantes de refúgio; consolidar a base de Gestão de Conhecimento, tratando dados e produzindo estatísticas; e colaborar com a organização e gestão da informação produzida.
Já os colaboradores na área de tradução irão auxiliar o Conare na elucidação linguística de documentos e ajudar para a perfeita comunicação do entrevistador com o solicitante de refúgio ou refugiado.
Os colaboradores de pesquisa exercerão as atividades preferencialmente nos escritórios do Conare em Brasília, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro e Porto Alegre, podendo exercer suas atividades em outros locais. Os de tradução serão convidados a auxiliar os solicitantes de refúgio e refugiados em um endereço previamente acordado onde será realizada a entrevista, videoconferência ou atendimento.
Os candidatos para vagas de pesquisa deverão ter conhecimento avançado em inglês, francês ou espanhol, cursar preferencialmente Direito, Relações Internacionais, Ciências Sociais, Ciências Políticas, Serviço Social e áreas correlatas.
Para tradução, o conhecimento exigido é de qualquer língua ou dialeto estrangeiro, atestado por certificado de proficiência ou por ser nativo de país onde a língua ou dialeto é falada.
Certificado de reconhecimento
Aqueles que auxiliarem o Conare receberão certificado de reconhecimento emitido conjuntamente pelo Ministério da Justiça e o Alto Comissariado das Nações Unidas para Refugiados, em que constará a carga horária dedicada ao programa.
Os interessados devem se inscrever pelo formulário disponibilizado no endereço.
Oswego schools extended dual language application deadline after officials were contacted by the Department of
The U.S. Department of Justice contacted Oswego school officials earlier this summer expressing concerns with information the district provided about its dual language program.
School District 308 forms dual language task force
While stressing that they had not determined that Community Unit School District 308 violated federal law, representatives from the department's educational opportunities section said "it is not clear that the school district has made information regarding the program available to all parents of (English-learners) in the district, particularly Limited English Proficient families, in a manner they can access and understand with sufficient notice to apply for this educational opportunity," according to emails recently obtained from the school district.
As a result, the district took steps that included extending the program application deadline, said Judy Minor, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.
"We just wanted to provide clarity for our (English-learner) parents to make an informed decision about the placement for their students," she said
The Department of Justice declined to comment.
District 308 creates new special education position
SEE ALL RELATED
District 308 offers a variety of programs for English learning students, but the dual language program is the only one that required an application, officials have said.
According to the emails, Emily McCarthy, deputy chief of the educational opportunities section in the civil rights division, emailed Superintendent Matthew Wendt and Director of English Learners Theresa Ulrich on June 2, shortly before the original application deadline for the program.
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McCarthy's section enforces a variety of federal education laws and court decisions, including the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, which addresses English-learner services and requires school districts to help students to overcome barriers to equal participation.
She said potential applicants were required to have Internet access to view in any other language announcements and the dual language application. Applicants had to use "an automated web-based translation service that produces translations of a poor quality and alters the formatting," she wrote, according to the emails provided by the district.
When parents clicked on the link that indicated they could download the application in English or Spanish, only an English version appeared, McCarthy wrote.
She requested to talk with district officials "because we have concerns that (English-learner) students and (limited English proficient) families may be denied an equal opportunity to apply for and participate in the district's dual language program," according to the emails.
District administrators talked with Department of Justice officials twice, Minor said, and then had a follow-up call after the new deadline for the program had passed.
The district extended the application deadline by almost a month – to June 30 – and took program information to an outside agency to verify the translations, Minor said.
"We just wanted to make sure that we had our translations in the most accessible (form) for our native Spanish speaking (English-learner) parents," she said.
The district's dual language program has been a topic of debate among parents. School board members voted to end the program in late February, with several saying they preferred to start a new program that would dedicate more resources to Spanish speakers.
After the spring election, a school board with three new members voted to allow the program to continue in the coming school year at Hunt Club Elementary and Plank Junior High School, and to open at least two kindergarten sections.
At the beginning of July, 44 students were selected to join the program – 22 English speakers and 22 non-native English speaking students.
Minor said working with the Department of Justice on the application process was "a very positive experience."
The job market is a battlefield, and it's about to get a lot worse. In addition to competing against other skilled job-seekers for work, you'll soon be pitted against robots as well.
Robots have been working alongside human employees in industries such as manufacturing for a long time, helping accomplish tasks quicker or more efficiently. But, as the fields of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence continue to grow, we will see many more industries -- from the food industry to customer service -- affected by automation.
A 2013 research paper out of the Oxford Martin School in the UK estimates that roughly 47 percent of the total US jobs are at risk of computerization or automation. That means almost half of the jobs in the US could end up being automated.
But, which will be the first to go? Here are 10 jobs that will be at the top of the list.
1. ASSEMBLY LINE WORKER
The conversation about automation upending the manufacturing industry has been happening for decades, and it still hasn't come to fruition. Tech, factories, and jobs have had a tricky relationship since the Industrial Revolution. Robotic technology has been used in manufacturing for decades -- especially at major operations like Ford and Toyota -- and the technology continues to advance. But there are still some hurdles in regards to fine motor skills and decision making that need to be overcome before the robots will be able to work on their own in manufacturing. Even the best robots still require humans to closely observe and orchestrate their work.
2. FIELD TECHNICIAN
Many jobs require an employee in the field to physically visit a work site or piece of machinery and check on the operations. New advances in the Internet of Things could render this work obsolete.
"Low-cost sensors combined with high availability cellular/satellite communications and cloud technology are being implemented to automate and alarm these sites, and can be checked and maintained from a desktop or mobile device," said Scott Perrin, president of mFactor Engineering.
The need for employees in the field will be there, just not solely for the collection of data. Jerry Dolinsky, CEO of Verisae, said that the role of "meter reader" will be obsolete in the future. For example, British Columbia has already implemented smart meter programs. The field technicians focused on troubleshooting and problem solving will still be in demand, however.
3. CALL CENTER WORKER
At this point, most people are familiar with automated customer service lines and telemarketing. Using natural-language processing, automated call lines are able to better understand what customers are saying and direct them to the proper resource. There's usually still an option to be routed to a 'real person', but even that could be eliminated in the next few years.
Additionally, Dolinsky said, automation could lead to fewer calls to helplines in general, at least on the customer service side of things. Smart systems, remotely monitored by sensors, could help with product maintenance and ward off potential problems.
Sorting takes a trained eye and sorters typically work in a factory, pulling damaged or imperfect products from a batch as it moves along a conveyor belt. Automated inspection technology is growing to match the human output for this job.
"Right now it's common for people to be manually sorting and inspecting every single item -- a seat belt bolt, for example," Perrin said. "Vision inspection cameras used to cost $30,000, now they cost $1000, and vision inspection systems are fast, efficient and highly accurate."
5. DATA ENTRY
Data is moving to the forefront of important assets in almost every industry. Because of this, accurate data input is essential. Changes in the way data is collected and processed could lead to faster and more fully automated data entry.
For example, Dolinsky said, data from a driver's time on the road and time on the site could be captured by an on-board sensor, combined with GPS data, and automatically fed into the backend system. That data could then be automatically compared against daily goals and plans, and processed on behalf of that driver. The data entry is more efficient and happens faster as a result.
While lots of data -- especially historical data -- still needs to be digitized, and there will be work available to scan much of this data in the short term, the long-term need for data entry will be reduced.
6. INSURANCE UNDERWRITER
Whenever you apply for insurance through a broker or agent, your application has to be vetted to determine if the risk is worth accepting for the insurance company. The work is performed by underwriters. They review the application and decide whether or not they'll provide insurance, and how much they'll offer.
The role of insurance underwriter is at risk for automation because applications can be standardized and most organizations have set rules by which they determine eligibility. Machine learning can help computer systems learn these rules and apply them to the applications they receive.
7. TAX PREPARER
Many people know the feeling of sitting across from a tax preparer as you try to figure out how much money you owe, or what you'll be getting back when taxes are due.
But, what if you simply fed your W-2 into an ATM-like machine, answered a few questions, and it automatically filed your taxes for you? Aside from a few overly complicated tax code issues, most workers will be likely be able to file their taxes without the assistance of another human. Tax forms are standardized and machines will be able to read the info and ask you a few questions to process your paperwork. We've seen this happening with software like TurboTax for years.
Of course, the tax code is complicated and where there are problems, ambiguities, and irregularities, there will still be the need for human beings with deep knowledge who can do far more than just fill out the right forms.
8. SALES REPRESENTATIVE
Intuition says that making a sale requires a human touch. But, e-commerce is changing how we make purchasing decisions, especially those where there isn't much differentiation among the major competitors.
"If you're selling a high-differentiation product and/or a high-price, low-volume product you have some job security, but if you're selling a high-volume, low-differentiation product, you better start polishing your resume," said Doug Camplejohn, CEO of Fliptop. "These kind of product sales are all moving online."
Image recognition software and voice recognition software are bringing some major advances to language translation. Applications like Google's Word Lens can translate words from signs and documents in real time and there are a plethora of translation apps that allow you to type in a word or phrase and will translate it for you. Some will even speak the phrase for you. Granted, there are still cultural cues this technology misses, but raw word-to-word translation will be fully automated soon.
So, if you're not translating high-dollar business negotiations or matters of national security, then you may find that algorithms will be good enough to handle most other translation duties.
10. FAST FOOD EMPLOYEE
Automated ordering kiosks have already made their way into a few McDonald's restaurants around the world, and cooking positions could be eliminated next. The kiosks probably can't handle customer service issues well, but televideo systems could bring in an office employee to facilitate complaints.
Automation will affect parts of casual dining restaurants as well, as tableside tablet ordering systems have already arrived at restaurants like Chili's and others.
ABP : Charte européenne des langues régionales : vers une révision constitutionnelle ?
It was the day of Pentecost. God-fearing Jews and others converted to Judaism from afar came to stay in Jerusalem for the holiday. The disciples were together in one place for prayers, waiting for the fulfilment of the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit on them.
Oftentimes, the biggest thing holding us back from accumulating wealth is ourselves.
However, there may be another significant factor — one that we can't control: the language we speak.
That's what Keith Chen, behavioral economist and economics professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management, deduced from his research and shared in his 2012 TED Talk.
He was intrigued by the radically different savings behaviors displayed by the 34 countries monitored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). While the richest and most industrialized countries in the world share many characteristics, their savings rates (shown here as percent of GDP) are surprisingly dissimilar:
On the left side, residents of countries like Luxembourg and South Korea are collectively saving well over 1/4 of their GDP per year; on the right side, residents of Greece have barely managed to save more than 10% of their GDP, and the US and UK have not done significantly better.
Language may have something to do with these differences, Chen proposes.
Languages can either be "futureless" or "futured," he explains. When speaking a futureless language, the way you express the future is similar to how you would express the present; the opposite holds true for futured languages, in which the future is expressed distinctly from the present.
For example, if you're talking about the weather in English (a futured language), you would say, "It rained yesterday," "It is raining now," or "It will rain tomorrow," depending on the context and timing of the event.
"Every time you discuss the future or any kind of future event, grammatically you're forced to cleave that from the present and treat it as if it's something viscerally different," explains Chen. You have to divide up the time spectrum in order to speak correctly in English.
A futureless language such as German or Japanese, on the other hand, would use the same verb conjugation for the past, present, and future, which, translated into English, would be "It rained tomorrow" or "It rained now."
According to Chen, this subtle difference in grammar could help explain why the US saves much less than other OECD countries.
If the future feels more distant from the present, that's going to make it harder to save money, he explains. On the other hand, if you speak a futureless language — where the present and future are spoken about the same way — you're going to feel the same way about them, making it easier to save in the present moment for the future.
Chen put his theory to test, looking at data sets from all over the world, and found evidence supporting his hypothesis.
"There are pockets of futureless language speakers situated all over the world," he explained during his TED Talk. "Interestingly enough, when you start to crank the data, these pockets of futureless language speakers all around the world turn out to be by and large some of the world's best savers."
He found an average difference of 5% of GDP saved per year. "Over 25 years, that has huge long run effects on the wealth of your nation," he said.
Countries where residents speak futureless languages save an average of 5% more of their GDP than those with futured languages.
This theory can be applied to behaviors beyond the ability to save money, such as smoking. Smoking, in a way, is negative savings, Chen explains: "If savings is current pain in exchange for future pleasure, smoking is just the opposite. It's current pleasure in exchange for future pain."
Therefore, the opposite effect should be found. As expected, Chen found that futureless language speakers are about 25% less likely to smoke.
Watch Keith Chen's full TED Talk.
The number of local language Internet users in India is growing at 47% year-on-year and has touched 127 million in June 2015, thanks to the increasing use of smartphones in rural areas of the country, says a new report by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and market research firm IMRB International released on Monday.
The report says that India has 353 million Internet users as of June 2015. Out of this, 269 million access Internet at least once a month and the survey has been conducted among them.
India has a large scope for local language Internet as non-English speaking population constitute 88% of the population. At least 50% of the population speaks Hindi, says the report.
Rural population uses Internet mainly for entertainment, followed by communication and social networking. In urban India, the pattern changes to communication first, followed by social networking and entertainment.
With increasing other language Internet users, many online marketplaces have already started displaying product features and other information in local languages such as Hindi and Tamil.
The report also cites the challenges existing in the market. It says that most of the apps currently provide only partial local language content.
The report also calls for intelligent translations instead of just mechanical processes that are in place on many websites. For example, a website selling 16MP camera literally translates MP to “Saansad” in Hindi, which means Member of Parliament.
The report also compared the medium with television which it said had on an average four out of five ads in local languages irrespective of the mode of the channel.
Even the online channels like YouTube and online broadcasting sites are producing and disseminating the ads in local languages.
The overall digital advertising spends in India will reach Rs.3,575 crore by 2015 end. The proportion of digital ads spends in the local language will be 5% of the entire market Rs.179 crore, the report said.
With the increasing availability of digital content in the local language, this share is expected to reach close to 30% of overall digital advertising spends by the year 2020, the report said.
Over 65,000 individuals among 19,000 households spread across 35 cities were surveyed for the report. The survey also interviewed various stakeholders of local language content on Internet in India, including developers and publishers.
The current edition showcases the information captured from various data sources in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014.
NEEDHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Unicode Consortium® today announced that Arika Okrent will deliver the keynote address titled, “Babel Rousers: The 900-year Quest to Build a Better Language,” at this year’s Internationalization & Unicode® Conference (IUC). The conference will take place from October 26th to October 28th at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, CA.
“Babel Rousers: The 900-year Quest to Build a Better Language”
Ms. Okrent is the author of In the Land of Invented Languages, a history of artificial languages that was named one of the best books of 2009 by The San Francisco Chronicle. She received a joint Ph.D. in the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Psychology's Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Program at the University of Chicago and also holds a first-level certification in Klingon. Ms. Okrent is currently an editor at Mental Floss magazine and language writer at TheWeek.com.
According to Ms. Okrent, “Our human languages are ambiguous, complex, irregular, and just generally messy. Most of us are content to live with these problems, but over the centuries those who thought these problems can be solved asked: Why not build a better language? My talk will illustrate the history of approaches to language invention, both ingenious and foolhardy, by looking at particular words from these languages.”
IUC is the premier event covering the latest in industry standards and best practices for bringing software and Web applications to worldwide markets. The conference is sponsored by Adobe and MultiLingual Magazine. This is Adobe’s ninth straight year as a Gold Sponsor of IUC.
To view the full IUC agenda and to register, visit www.unicodeconference.org.
About the Unicode Consortium
The Unicode Consortium is a nonprofit organization founded to develop, extend and promote the use of the Unicode standard and related globalization standards. The membership of the consortium represents a broad spectrum of corporations and organizations in the computer and information processing industry. Members are: Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Government of Bangladesh, Government of India, IBM, Microsoft, Monotype Imaging, Oracle, SAP, The Society for Natural Language Technology Research, The University of California (Berkeley), The University of California (Santa Cruz), Yahoo!, plus well over a hundred Associate, Liaison, and individual members. For more information, please contact the Unicode Consortium at http://www.unicode.org/contacts.html.
About the Event Producer
The Object Management Group® (OMG®) is an international, open membership, not-for-profit technology standards consortium. OMG Task Forces develop enterprise integration standards for a wide range of technologies and an even wider range of industries. OMG's modeling standards enable powerful visual design, execution and maintenance of software and other processes. Visit www.omg.org for more information.
Note to editors: OMG® and Object Management Group® are registered trademarks of Object Management Group. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Unicode Standard, Unicode and the Unicode Logo are trademarks of Unicode, Inc. Unicode Consortium is a registered trademark of Unicode, Inc.
The Unicode Consortium
Ann McDonough, +1 781-444-0404
It really broadens the scope of the program, which started out with the ability to translate to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and of course, English.
The smartphone app now can read 27 languages and instantly convert the text without an Internet connection, the tech giant said. Users will instantly see the text transform live on their screens into their preferred language.
Evidently, the app is ideal for travelers, as it functions in the absence of a data or Internet connection for mobile phones. The trick is something called convolutional neural networks (CNNs), which are often used in image and video recognition to mimic the eyes and brain and they use minimal amounts of preprocessing. The new ones added are Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian.
The updates will be available for both Android and iOS devices over the next few days. One great functionality is the Word Lens which translates into your language the written word of something you point your camera at.
“In addition to instant visual translation, we’ve also improved our voice conversation mode (enabling real-time translation of conversations across 32 languages), so it’s even faster and more natural on slow networks”, the company said.
According to Barak Turovsky, product lead for Google Translate – just 20 percent of the planet speaks English, and this minority needs some entrepreneurial assistance. Additionally, one-way translations are available from English to Hindi and Thai. To get access to the new language capabilities, users should go to the Google Translate app, set English along with the language they’d like to translate, and click the camera button.
Cattiau shared the mission of the Google Translate team, which members are from many countries including Italy, Japan, Russia, Romania, China and France and it is to overcome language barriers. You will then be prompted to download a small pack for each language.
Have you ever wondered why you say “The boy is playing Frisbee with his dog” instead of “The boy dog his is Frisbee playing with”? You may be trying to give your brain a break, according to a new study. An analysis of 37 widely varying tongues finds that, despite the apparent great differences among them, they share what might be a universal feature of human language: All of them have evolved to make communication as efficient as possible.
Earth is a veritable Tower of Babel: Up to 7000 languages are still spoken across the globe, belonging to roughly 150 language families. And they vary widely in the way they put sentences together. For example, the three major building blocks of a sentence, subject (S), verb (V), and object (O), can come in three different orders. English and French are SVO languages, whereas German and Japanese are SOV languages; a much smaller number, such as Arabic and Hebrew, use the VSO order. (No well-documented languages start sentences or clauses with the object, although some linguists have jokingly suggested that Klingon might do so.)
Yet despite these different ways of structuring sentences, previous studies of a limited number of languages have shown that they tend to limit the distance between words that depend on each other for their meaning. Such “dependency” is key if sentences are to make sense.
For example, in the sentence “Jane threw out the trash,” the word “Jane” is dependent on “threw”—it modifies the verb by telling us who was doing the throwing, just as we need “trash” to know what was thrown, and “out” to know where the trash went. Although “threw” and “trash” are three words away from each other, we can still understand the sentence easily.
But we might have more trouble understanding a sentence like “Jane threw the old trash sitting in the kitchen out,” because now “threw” and “trash” are four words apart and “threw” and “out” are eight words apart. We can shorten those dependency distances, and make the sentence clearer, by changing it to read “Jane threw out the old trash sitting in the kitchen.”
R. Futrell et al., PNAS (2015)
Sentences A and B are the same length and use the same words, as do C and D. But the dependency lengths of the second sentence in each pair are longer.
These observations had led some linguists to hypothesize that all of the world’s languages reduce the distance between dependent words, something called dependency length minimization (DLM). Yet the most comprehensive previous studies of this trend only covered seven languages. Although most of them did show at least some evidence for DLM, the support for it in German was weak. That finding raised doubts about whether DLM really was a universal feature of human language.
To try to resolve the question, a team led by Richard Futrell, a linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, analyzed 37 languages from 10 different language families to see how much they minimized dependency lengths over what would be expected by chance. In addition to major languages such as English, German, French, and Spanish, the database also included ancient Greek, Arabic, Basque, Tamil, and Telugu, one of India’s classical languages. For most of the languages, the researchers used written prose from newspapers, novels, and blogs, although for ancient Greek and Latin they relied on poetry. They crunched thousands of sentences using software designed to measure dependency lengths.
The results, published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrate that all 37 languages, including German, minimize dependency lengths to degrees greater than expected by chance. Nevertheless, the team found wide variations in the extent of DLM. Thus Italian, Indonesian, and Irish showed high degrees of minimization, whereas Japanese, Korean, and Turkish showed much less. In general, SOV languages like German tend to have longer dependency lengths, although this is not a hard-and-fast rule.
Just why these variations exist is a topic for future research, the authors say. But they point out that German and many other SOV languages employ a linguistic device called “case marking,” a modification of key words in a sentence that makes it easier to distinguish the subject from the object. For example, whereas English speakers must say either “John kisses Mary” or “Mary kisses John” to know who is kissing whom, in Japanese one can say “John Mary kiss” because the case marking will make it clear. (English, an SVO language that generally does not use case markings, nevertheless has some vestiges of it from its origins in the Germanic Old English: We say “He threw the ball to her” rather than “He threw the ball to she” to make it absolutely clear who is the subject and who is the object.)
Limiting dependency length is advantageous, Futrell says, because convoluted sentences require more memory processing—and thus more energy—for both listeners and speakers who are trying to understand and be understood. Thus it makes sense that short dependency lengths became a universal feature in human language. “As language users, we have a choice of many ways of expressing ourselves,” Futrell says. “What languages don’t do is force you” into inefficient and energy-wasting use of memory stores.
The new work is a “major advance” because “it shows that DLM is a property of languages in general,” says David Temperley, a cognitive scientist at the University of Rochester (U of R) in New York. Nevertheless, he stops short of concluding that it is a “universal” or “hard-wired” feature of language, rather than a strategy that humans have developed over time to make themselves better understood. Florian Jaeger, a psycholinguist also at U of R, agrees. Jaeger says that the current paper, along with other recent research, shows that although “the bias towards efficiency is a strong factor in explaining” common features of the world’s languages, “finding a potentially universal pattern does not necessarily” mean that it is “genetically encoded.”
Pathétique est la terrible réalité constatée et vécue par une certaine population d'Algériens qui se sentent obligés de communiquer, souvent, entre eux en français dans des situations des plus anodines.
Certains, contraints pour mieux faire passer leurs idées, leurs points de vue ou leurs sentiments : d'autres par snobisme petit bourgeois. Mais peut-on les déchoir de leur algérianité ? Le problème est trop complexe, d'abord la langue française est encore une composante socioculturelle très ancrée dans l'imaginaire, l'espace et le vécu des algériens, ensuite elle reste incontournable dans le système éducatif qui n'a pas pu s'en passer. L'arabisation précipitée et dogmatique, des matières scolaires littéraires au début des années 1971 a fait plus de tort que de bien au pays, la finalité a abouti à une pseudo-arabisation des sciences sociales et juridiques à l'université bien qu'il ait été légitime de plaider le droit et de rendre la justice dans la langue du peuple. Cependant à l'arrivée au lycée, des réformes de l'école fondamentale, la défrancisation des mathématiques, des sciences physiques et des sciences de la Vie vers la fin des années 1986, n'a pas pu aller au-delà de l'enseignement secondaire.
A l'université, les sciences biomédicales, l'ingénierie, la biologie, les sciences de la terre et les sciences exactes ont résisté au massacre programmé. Il fallait, pour y arriver, mettre en retraite toutes les potentialités universitaires algériennes et les faire remplacer par des "Doctors" moyens orientaux. Une fois à l'université, l'étudiant se retrouve dans une situation ubuesque, on lui avait vanté le mérité du recouvrement de sa personnalité avec «sa langue réappropriée», mais voilà que celle-ci est devenue incompétente pour lui ouvrir les domaines des sciences et de la technologie. Des milliers d'étudiants échouent dans leurs études à cause de leur difficulté à maitriser la langue française. Pour remédier à cette situation, les dernières «réformes Benbouzid» ont refrancisé (latinisé) la transcription des symboles mathématiques, la salle de classe est devenue un creuset de non-sens : le professeur explique son cours en arabe ou en une sorte de créole algérien, mais écrit au tableau et énonce l'équation ou la fonction en français. L'élève en classe, est comme un spectateur lors d'un match de tennis : sa tête se déplace tantôt de droite à gauche, tantôt de gauche à droite durant le même cours. Burlesque ! Sur les réseaux sociaux, spécialement Facebook, les Algériens ont adopté, qui une sorte de charabia faite d'un à peu-près de français et de dialecte local, d'autres ont opté pour l'arabe syrien, en vogue grâce aux feuilletons turcs et, transcrit en latin pour communiquer avec les arabes des autres pays, une minorité de lettrés seulement, affectionne la langue arabe ou française. Rare, sont ceux qui peuvent commencer et terminer de parler dans une même langue sans ponctuer avec un mot de français ou d'arabe.
L'Algérien est embrouillé dans sa pensée, il l'exprime très mal ; il pense dans une langue et le révèle dans une autre. Qui n'a pas entendu souvent, dans un ‘'françalgérien'' féminiser le mot, État ou arbre ? Parce que dans la langue arabe, ce sont des mots féminins. Contrairement aux autres populations arabophones, comme les Égyptiens, les Marocains etc… qui, eux sont très à l'aise et fluides dans l'expression et la formulation de leurs pensées, l'Algérien reste indécis pour couper le nœud gordien. Les Égyptiens ont, depuis longtemps, opté pour le dialecte cairote véhiculé par le cinéma, la télévision, la chanson et aussi par leur presse écrite, aujourd'hui ce sont les Syriens qui leur emboitent le pas.
Dans les pays du Golfe, il se fait aussi de plus en plus perméable à l'anglais qui le ringardise, comme le fait le français au Maghreb. L'arabe littéraire classique s'est figé dans sa grammaire depuis Sibawaih, mais il est obligé d'emprunter des mots surtout anglais pour le besoin. La langue arabe est un symbole de la souveraineté, inscrit dans la Constitution algérienne, mais dans la réalité elle n'est pas que la langue des Algériens ; c'est une langue supranationale partagée par tous les pays de la ligue arabe. On n'empêche pas les mutations d'apparaître et le temps de s'écouler, tôt ou tard les dialectes nationaux avec leurs particularismes sécréteront inéluctablement des langues nationales au sens le plus géographique du mot. C'est ce qui s'est passé pour les langues issues du latin (langue morte supranationale), comme l'italien, le français, l'espagnol, le portugais et le roumain.
In the words of young Germans, just ‘merkeln’
Angela Merkel inspires German dictionary manufacturer’s youth word of 2015.
By JULES JOHNSTON 8/3/15, 5:44 PM CET
The German dictionary manufacturer Langenscheidt came up with the idea seven years ago to to create a list of new words and expressions invented by teens by selecting the “Jugendwort” (Youth Word of the Year). And since then, young Germans have been invited to submit terms to an online board.
The vote is now on to select their favorite from 30 new expressions.
Their current first choice? “merkeln.”
Using Chancellor Angela Merkel’s name as a verb — and not a flattering one — “merkeln” means to be unable to take decisions or give your own opinions and can be used to describe someone who just stays there without doing anything.
Other high scoring words include “Smombie,” “Earthporn,” and “rumoxidieren,” each combining politics, pop culture and scathing comment.
Previous winning words have represented trending terms in pop culture, including 2012 winner “YOLO” — you only live once— and 2011’s “swag” — a shortened form of swagger — as they search for a phrase that is “100 percent youth language” to include in their evolving e-book on language.
For the first time in the competition’s history, one word was removed from the list. “Alpha-Kevin,” meaning “the most stupid of all,” proved highly popular. “It was not our intention to discriminate against specific persons,” the site said.
The vote continues until Oct. 31, when a jury will take the 10 most popular words, select the word of the year and create a top-five ranking.
CANCÚN, MX.- Después de varios años de trabajo, mañana se presentará en el Senado de la República la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos edición bilingüe español-maya.
La presentación se realizará teniendo como testigos de honor de la diputada Graciela Saldaña Fraire y del senador Luis Sánchez Jiménez, en representación de la LXII Legislatura de la Cámara de Diputados, así como de Javier López Sánchez, director General del Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas (INALI), y de Nicolás Ávila Cervantes, encargado de la Dirección General del Instituto para el Desarrollo de la Cultura Maya.
La actualización de la traducción al maya del Constitución abarca hasta las reformas realizadas el 31 de mayo del 2015, por lo que constituye un documento de enorme valor para la integración e identidad nacional.
La traducción de la CPEUM a lenguas indígenas es un reflejo inicial de la obligatoriedad de la difusión de ordenamientos jurídicos a los integrantes de las comunidades indígenas en sus lenguas maternas.
De acuerdo al INALI, el uso de las lenguas indígenas en contextos que van más allá del ámbito cotidiano y/o de su cultura tradicional, otorgan a dichas lenguas un reconocimiento y un valor equivalente al del español, lo que abre la posibilidad a aumentar la funcionalidad de las lenguas indígenas.
La utilización de las lenguas nacionales como instrumento de expresión en este caso, legal o judicial, permite por otro lado, su desarrollo y ampliación de su repertorio de términos especializados. La utilización de estos recursos actualizan y equilibran las lenguas indígenas frente al español, orientándolas a recuperar su funcionalidad en contextos públicos.
El coordinador de los trabajos de traducción fue el maestro Fidencio Briceño Chel y el equipo de traducción estuvo integrado por Gerónimo Ricardo Cano Tec, José Concepción Cano Sosaya, Samuel Canul Yah, Felipe de Jesús Castillo Tzec y José Alfredo Hau Caamal.
La asesoría jurídica estuvo a cargo de Deysi Canul Hau y Santos Cosme o. Pool Canché.
La presentación se realizará a las 11:00 horas en el Auditorio Octavio Paz del Senado de la República. (Noticaribe)
LEÓN.-Cinco poetas contemporáneos indios participan en un 'workshop' en Soria para dar a conocer su poesía
Soria, Europa Press Los poetas H.S. Shivaprakash, Ranjit Hoskote, Subhro Bandopadhyay, Suresh Dhingra y K. Sachidanandan visitan en agosto España para participar en un 'workshop' de traducción con filólogos y poetas españoles, que tendrá lugar en Soria, en el marco del festival 'Expoesía', los días 6 y 7 de agosto, y en el que se traducirán sus poemas al español.
Esta será la segunda de las dos sesiones de un encuentro que se inició en la India el pasado mes de febrero con la traducción de poetas españoles contemporáneos a diferentes lenguas de la India, en una iniciativa que "abre una importante vía de comunicación y diálogo entre la poesía actual escrita en castellano y la producción poética india de nuestro tiempo", según ha informado la Casa de la India en un comunicado recogido por Europa Press.
Uno de los objetivos del proyecto es la elaboración de una antología de poesía india contemporánea en bengalí, hindi, malayalam, canarés e inglés con traducción al español y que tiene previsto su lanzamiento en España durante 2016, en el marco de la celebración de los 60 años de relaciones diplomáticas entre España y la India.
La expedición india, promovida por el Consejo Indio de Relaciones Culturales (ICCR) y la colaboración de otras instituciones como la Embajada de la India, la Casa de la India, el Ayuntamiento de Soria, Ayuntamiento de Ávila, Ayuntamiento de Segovia y la Editorial Amargord, ofrecerá además recitales poéticos en Madrid, Soria, Ávila y Segovia.
La primera cita tendrá lugar en Madrid este martes, 4 de agosto, a las 20.00 horas en la librería Enclave Libros con un recital poético. Su viaje continuará el jueves 6 y el viernes 7, cuando los poetas indios participarán en el festival 'Expoesía' en Soria, con la celebración de un 'workshop' de traducción y un encuentro poético España-India que tendrá lugar el viernes, 7 de agosto, a las 19.00 horas en el Patio de las Columnas del Ayuntamiento de Soria.
El sábado 8 de agosto será el turno de Ávila, con una lectura poética en el aula José Hierro del Episcopio. Al día siguiente, 9 de agosto, los poetas cerrarán los actos en Segovia, con un recital poético a las 20.00 horas en la Casa-Museo Antonio Machado.
K. Satchidanandan es el poeta contemporáneo indio "más traducido a nivel internacional", escribe poesía en malayalam, su lengua materna, y prosa en este idioma y en inglés.
Además de veinte colecciones de poemas, tiene varios libros de viaje, obras teatrales, críticas, traducciones de poemas de todo el mundo y cinco libros en inglés sobre literatura india. Este autor indio ha ganado 32 premios literarios y becas, y en 2007 se estrenó una película sobre su vida titulada 'Summer rain'.
Otro de los poetas que visitarán España es Subhro Bandopadhyay, que es autor de cuatro libros de poemas, otro en español y una breve biografía de Pablo Neruda en bengalí. Dos de sus colecciones de poemas han sido publicadas en España, también es traductor de la antología de poesía bengalí contemporánea 'La pared del agua'. En la actualidad es profesor de español en el Instituto Cervantes de Nueva Delhi.
Por otro lado, H.S. Shivaprakash es un poeta, dramaturgo y traductor, Premio Nacional de Poesía de la India (Sahitya Akademi Award 2012) y Premio Nacional de Teatro de la India (Sangeet Natak Akademi Award 1997).
Este autor indio ha escrito nueve libros de poemas y quince obras de teatro, asimismo ha sido director del Tagore Centre de Berlín y es editor de la revista Indian Literature de la Academia Nacional de las Letras.
Por su parte, Ranjit Hoskote es uno de los jóvenes poetas indios "más reconocidos", pues ha escrito cuatro colecciones de poesía, ha editado una antología de la poesía india y ha traducido poemas de Vasant Abaji Dahake y de la poetisa mística de Cachemira Lal Ded.
Su obra ha sido galardonada con premios como el Sanskriti Award for Literature, el primer premio del British Council/Poetry Society All-India Poetry Competition y el Sahitya Akademi Golden Jubilee Award.
El último de los poetas que participarán en este encuentro con los autores españoles es Suresh Dhingra, quien ha publicado dos obras como crítico y poeta y ha escrito cuentos, artículos, traducciones que se han incluido en una treintena de colecciones. Es un renombrado traductor al hindi, inglés y español y en la actualidad trabaja en una antología de cuentos catalanes.
L'idée de permettre l'accès du contenu du livre au public arabophone sur un sujet qui suscite l'intérêt - et les passions - n'est pas mauvaise sauf qu'elle s'est faite sans l'aval de l'auteur ou de la maison d'édition.
C'est "assez incroyable" déclare l'auteur du livre. "Cette publication s’est faite sans mon accord, ni celui de mon éditeur français (Actes Sud). Elle est donc totalement illégale".
Circonstance aggravante pour l'auteur, la traduction et le titrage choisis par le journal Al-Hayat vont à l'encontre de l'esprit du livre "dans un sens particulièrement négatif envers les harkis".
L’auteur du livre qui s’est donné pour mission de s’attaquer aux mythes et au fantasmes qui entourent la question des harkis en France et en Algérie, n’est pas surpris que cela soit le cas. Mais, il est choqué de voir que ladite traduction se permettre "même d’écrire des choses qui ne figurent pas dans mon livre".
Il cite à cet effet des exemples de traduction infidèle où le sens originel est déformé et où des choses qui ne figurent pas dans le livre sont ajoutées.
Une traduction qui "réoriente et détourne les propos de l'auteur...".
Les éditions Actes Sud ont envoyé le 29 juillet une lettre mise en demeure au directeur du journal Al Hayat qui semble avoir eu pour effet l’arrêt de la publication du livre.
L’éditeur constate que le journal publie sans aucune autorisation le livre et dénombre "près de 40 pages/extraits reproduits au sein de l'édition imprimée du journal, et mis, de surcroît à la disposition des internautes en fichiers PDF, soit autant de publications illicites d'El Hayat".
L'éditeur note également que l'ouvrage a été "traduit sans le consentement préalable de M.Daum, ladite traduction constituant une atteinte à son droit moral". La traduction n’est, en outre, "pas conforme et fidèle à l'œuvre première… et, plus grave encore, elle réoriente et détourne les propos de l'auteur...".
Actes sud met en demeure dans la lettre le journal de cesser la publication de l'ouvrage de Pierre Daum sous "quelque forme que ce soit" et sans "préjudice des dommages et intérêts auxquels" l'auteur et les éditeurs sont en droit de prétendre.
La publication du livre a cessé dès le lendemain. Mais, souligne l’auteur cela représente en tout "39 publications illégales" et il "reste les dommages et intérêts".
Démonstration en vidéo : avec 27 nouvelles langues, l'application de traduction de Google passe encore un cap. Ses traductions automatiques visuelles sont surprenantes d'efficacité.
Même sans connexion Internet, il est désormais possible de bénéficier des services de l'application Google Translate, l'une des pépites de la galaxie Google. Barak Turovsky - le responsable du projet Google Translate - vient de présenter les nouvelles fonctionnalités de son application. Les utilisateurs peuvent désormais traduire en 34 langues un texte, simplement en visant avec leur smartphone l'image à traduire, qu'il s'agisse d'un panneau de signalisation routière ou d'un menu de restaurant. Dans un article passionnant de son blog officiel, l'équipe de Google Translate détaille l'algorithme utilisé pour isoler le texte dans le viseur du smartphone, pour le traduire à la volée et pour afficher le résultat en temps réel.
Pour que le grand public se rende compte de l'efficacité incroyable de leur application, les ingénieurs de Google Translate ont aussi posté sur Youtube une vidéo à lire ici où ils traduisent en « live » la chanson « La Bamba ». La vitesse de traduction et sa qualité sont bluffantes.
You’re going on vacation to a place where you don’t know the language, and English isn’t widely spoken. Sure, you’ve learned how to say “hello” and “where’s the bathroom?,” but beyond that you’re clueless and your flight is tomorrow. What to do?
Gone are the days when tourists wander around clutching guidebooks with an index of handy phrases. Today there are more convenient ways to facilitate communication. This is not a comprehensive list of the copious digital language tools available; rather, these are two go-to options I’m using right now. Consider it a cheat sheet for when you touch down in a city and are at a loss for words.
Each week, Stephanie Rosenbloom helps travelers get the most out of their trips, with reviews, deals and tips.
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One of the easiest (and cheapest) things to do is to download one of Bravolol’s phrase book apps, available in more than a dozen languages including Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Russian and Arabic. Each app comes with several free categories of useful phrases and essential words such as “greetings” (with remarks like “Good morning”); “shopping” (“May I try it on?” as well as words for different kinds of clothing); “eating” (“I’d like a table in a nonsmoking area” along with words for types of food); and “emergency” (“Call the police”).
One of Bravolol’s phrase book apps. Credit Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Also free is the “romance” category, to which one can quickly refer if moved to say, “Can I buy you a drink?” in Italian or French or, perhaps more important, “I’m not interested.” A “favorites” category stores any phrases you star (by clicking an icon next to each one) so you can swiftly call them all up in one place.
Each English phrase is shown in the foreign language and, in the case of a language such as Japanese, as a transliteration as well. And all of the categories are on a white background and are identified with a simple font as well as colorful graphics, which makes it easy to find the one you need when you’re about to walk into a restaurant or a boutique. There’s even an “extra-large” setting for the phrase and vocabulary fonts so you don’t have to reach for reading glasses.
But what makes these digital phrasebooks stand out among language apps is that when you tap a phrase, the app speaks it aloud. There’s no guessing as to how to pronounce the words. And if the app is talking too quickly for you, simply tap the turtle icon to hear the words more slowly (you can also adjust this in “settings”). Ideally you listen to the phrase and repeat it, but if your accent is terrible, you can play the voice on the app to, for instance, a waiter or store clerk. (If you don’t want the app to talk, you can turn off that feature in “settings.”)
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For additional phrase categories such as “numbers,” “weather,” “directions” and “sightseeing,” you can upgrade to the paid version of the app for $4.99, or opt to see ads for a free trial of the app’s complete offerings.
Bravolol also makes language bilingual dictionary apps ($2.99 for an ad-free version), including English and Arabic, English and Greek, and English and Korean. Type into the search bar a word or phrase (in English or in your chosen foreign language) and the app will show you the word or words in the other language. Tap the listen icon beside a word and the app will pronounce it for you. And here, too, you can star favorite words and keep them in a single folder. But Bravolol’s phrase book apps are more useful if you’re on vacation and just need the basics at your fingertips.
My other in-the-moment communication tool is Google Translate, which is free and can be used in a few ways. (Note: Try it out before you’re at happy hour in Lagos, as this app is a little more complicated.)
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Ryan Darwish 25 minutes ago
One problem with using these types of apps is that when someone is addressed in their language they may respond in the same language. You...
TravelingProfessor 25 minutes ago
I need this based upon an embarrasing experience I had in a Paris restaurant last year. I was trying (in French) to ask my waiter about a...
bengal11joshua092599 1 hour ago
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One way to use the app is to tap the camera icon, then hold your smartphone’s camera lens up to the words you want translated on, say, a street sign or a menu. In seconds the instant translation feature transforms the words on the sign into your desired language, virtual-reality style. This feature has supported seven languages for quite some time, but last week Google added 20 more, for a total of 27, including Bulgarian, Dutch and Swedish.
I don’t recommend using the camera option to read your horoscope in Vogue Japan, however, as I did on a recent trip there. Long blocks of tiny text have not been the app’s strong suit, as others before me have written. My horoscope included lines such as, “Oh to communicate flexibility phrases that and be able to let wearing the courage…” It works very well with street signs or a word or two of large text, like “daily specials.” Yet that said, you may not want to bother fishing for your phone while standing on a street corner in the rain.
Happily, the app is helpful in other ways. Say you’re asking for directions. You can speak, type or draw characters on your smartphone screen with your finger whatever it is you want translated. Then up pops what you just said or wrote in the other language (along with a transliteration if relevant) and an icon that you can tap to have the words spoken aloud in the foreign language. There’s also a nifty icon (a square with only its corners outlined) that allows you to make the translation fill your entire smartphone screen. Star a translation such as “Where is the bathroom?” by tapping the icon beside it, and it will be saved to a “starred” folder for easy access the next time you need it.
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Once you begin this process — writing or speaking in your native tongue and then seeing and hearing the translation — you have a few options. For instance, you can show the text translation on your smartphone to whomever you’re trying to speak with. Or you can let them listen to the audio translation. From there you can continue a conversation, either in writing or by talking into the phone. The app can listen for whichever language is being spoken and then translate as you converse.
To use the app in the moment with the least amount of fiddling, set it up ahead of time. This involves a few taps to select the two languages you’ll be using and the direction you think you’ll begin typing or speaking (for example, English to Italian).
In the end, there’s no substitute for learning a language, or some vocabulary, in advance of a trip. Even knowing five words — “hello,” “thank you,” “please,” “sorry,” “goodbye” — shows locals that you’re making an effort. And they will be all the more willing to help you. No matter how short your flight, you certainly have time for that
Twitter has announced that it has added four more Indian languages namely, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi and Tamil, to web as well as its Android app in which the popular micro-blogging website can be used. In its latest blogpost, the micro-blogging site writes, “We’ve updated twitter.com and the Android app to support these additional Indian languages.”
Twitter India currently has a user base of 22.2 million. A community of Twitter users partially translated the interface into these new four languages via a ‘Translation Centre’, it said.
Twitter adds support for 4 more Indian languages, taking the total to 6:
“These four languages were partially translated by a passionate community of Twitter users via the Translation Center — we couldn’t have done it without their help. By supporting Twitter in these languages, we are making our platform for live, public conversations more accessible to Indians all over the country,” the blogpost further adds.
With the new update, Twitter will now support six Indian languages including Hindi and Bengali.
Interpreting is interpreting – or is it?
Analysis of the different types of interpreting shows that regardless of the adjective preceding the word "interpreter," practitioners of this profession the world over perform the same service and should meet the same standards of competence.
Published: 5 years ago Last updated: 3 years ago
community-interpreting , conference-interpreting , court-interpreting , interpreting-types
The title of this paper may seem simplistic, but it represents decades of reflection on the practice of interpreting. As someone trained in a program oriented toward conference interpretation who went on to practice court interpreting and is now involved in training community interpreters, I am constantly reminded of the many similarities between these types of interpreting. Yet I am also constantly hearing practitioners strive to differentiate their type of interpreting from that of other practitioners.
A conference interpreter on medical interpreting: I didn't get all those years of training to be able to say, "Where does it hurt?"
A medical interpreter on court interpreters: They wouldn't last five minutes in the emergency room, they're so used to the plodding pace of court proceedings.
A court interpreter on conference interpreting: What could be so hard when you always get the speech in advance, and you only work 30 minutes at a time?
In California, interpreters certified for criminal court proceedings set themselves apart from those who are "merely" certified for administrative hearings. Several court interpreter colleagues, upon hearing that I had established a center on community interpreting, expressed the fervent hope that I would not include court interpreting as a species of "community interpreting." "After all our hard work for professional recognition, we don't want to be lumped together with that bunch," was the message I got.
A common topic at interpreters' meetings is the need for client education: "We need to educate our clients so that they understand how specialised our work is; we're not like those other so-called interpreters."
I'm not the only person to ponder this issue, of course. Scholars such as Roberts (1997) and Gentile (1993, 1997) have also discussed the divisiveness of drawing distinctions among different types of interpreting. Gentile, in particular, advocates eliminating the adjectives and simply talking on interpreting. Garber (1998), on the other hand, points out that there are some profound differences between types of interpreting, and that labels are helpful for distinguishing them. Perhaps it is naïve to think that people will discontinue the use of qualifiers, given the human propensity for classifying things. If we are going to use them, though, they should serve some purpose other than mere divisiveness.
Some years ago, I came across a thesis written by a conference interpreter in Taiwan, Joseph Tseng, about the struggles he and his colleagues were enduring to gain recognition in their country. The parallels between the nascent conference interpreting profession in Taiwan and the equally inchoate community interpreting profession in the United States struck me immediately, spurring me to write a paper on the subject (Mikkelson, 1996a). That paper only raised more questions in my mind, however. Why does the public, on the one hand, lump all language professionals together-language teachers, translators, interpreters, and even transcribers and court reporters are all the same to them-while on the other hand, practitioners make such an effort to differentiate themselves? Could there be any correlation between the public's confusion and ignorance, and the profession's obsession with drawing ever-finer distinctions? Garber (1998) contends that the labels alleviate confusion, noting that "outside of a small group of people who share our interest in interpreting, the word 'interpreter' has very little meaning. In order to give it some practical meaning, we must add some type of qualifier." Whether the distinctions add to or lessen the confusion remains to be seen.
As I've traveled around the world meeting interpreters of myriad languages working in a vast array of settings, I've been struck with another irony: Interpreting is becoming an increasingly common activity that is now an essential part of human interaction at all levels; more and more people are employed as interpreters in government and public agencies, non-governmental organisations, and private industry-yet the interpreters I talk to are almost unanimous in complaining that they are underpaid, undertrained, and underappreciated. In a situation that would appear to defy the law of supply and demand, the demand for interpreters far exceeds the supply (of qualified interpreters, that is-or in some cases, even unqualified ones), while the pay and working conditions deteriorate. Although the number of interpreters in the world is not keeping pace with the need for their services, it is growing in absolute terms. So why do interpreters have so little clout? I think the answer can be found in the preceding paragraphs.
In this paper I hope to show that the traditional labels attached to different types of interpreting are inadequate and may be contributing to the divisiveness we see among interpreters today. I will attempt to identify not what distinguishes one type of interpreting from another, but what unifies them, and along the way I hope to dispel some myths. It is my hypothesis that what actually differs is not what the interpreters do, but how they are perceived. In other words, whereas the intrinsic nature of interlingua communication varies little from one interpreted event to the next, powerful external factors intervene to create major differences in attitudes among the clients and the practitioners themselves. I will analyze these factors and discuss how they affect the interpreting profession.
2. Myths About Interpreting
Interpreters are familiar with the misconceptions the lay public has about their profession, but they tend to be unaware that each segment of the interpreting profession has its own myths about other types of interpreting, such as:
Only conference interpreters perform simultaneous interpretation.
Only court interpreters have to be concerned with ethical considerations such as confidentiality and impartiality.
Community interpreters are always amateurs with limited formal education.
Conference interpreters always interpret for trained public speakers, and they always get the speeches in advance with plenty of time to prepare.
Only community interpreters deal with cultural differences.
The following discussion of different types of interpreting should dispel these myths.
3. Types of Interpreting
Interpreting itself can be described in simple terms: "(T)he interpreter has first to listen to the speaker, understand and analyze what is being said, and then resynthesize the speech in the appropriate form in a different language ..." (Jones, 1996: 6). The following list, though not definitive, contains the subcategories most frequently encountered in the literature about interpreting. In every one of these subcategories, interpreters perform the (seemingly) simple task described above. The first three focus on the mode of delivery, and the remaining categories emphasize the setting or the subject matter of the interpreted event. The types of interpreting are listed in order of the unofficial hierarchy that prevails among interpreters, the informal but very real differentiation that places some interpreters at the pinnacle and others at the "bottom of the heap."
Simultaneous interpreting: As the name suggests, providing the target-language message at roughly the same time as the source-language message is being produced. According to Seleskovitch (1978a):
In simultaneous interpretation the interpreter is isolated in a booth. He speaks at the same time as the speaker and therefore has no need to memorize or jot down what is said. Moreover, the processes of analysis-comprehension and of reconstruction-expression are telescoped. The interpreter works on the message bit by bit, giving the portion he has understood while analyzing and assimilating the next idea. (125)
Consecutive interpreting: In this case, the interpreter waits until the speaker has finished before beginning the interpretation. Again quoting Seleskovitch (1978a):
In consecutive interpretation the interpreter does not start speaking until the original speaker has stopped. He therefore has time to analyze the message as a whole, which makes it easier for him to understand its meaning. The fact that he is there in the room, and that the speaker has stopped talking before he begins, means that he speaks to his listeners face to face and he actually becomes the speaker. (123)
Whispered interpreting: Also known as chuchotage. When equipment for simultaneous interpretation is not available, "one participant speaks and simultaneously an interpreter whispers into the ear of the one or maximum two people who require interpreting services" (Jones, 1998: 6).
Conference interpreting: "(E)nables participants in a multinational meeting to communicate with each other in a seamless fashion, making the language barrier almost imperceptible" (GSTI, 1998a: 6). Some writers equate conference interpreting with simultaneous interpreting. According to Jones (1998), most conferences are conducted with simultaneous interpreting these days, though interpreters must be prepared to perform in the consecutive mode as well.
Seminar interpreting: A term used by the U.S. Department of State to designate the interpreting that takes place in meetings and small conferences. Gonzalez, et al (1991: 28) assert that "the basic difference between conference interpreting and seminar interpreting is the size of the meeting."
Escort interpreting: Refers to the interpreting services provided for government officials, business executives, investors, observers, and the like, who are conducting on-site visits. "Escort interpretation is marked by the spontaneity and the broad spectrum of situations interpreters may find themselves in, from formal meetings to tours of factories to cocktail parties. The mode most often used in this type of interpretation is consecutive, and is usually limited to a few sentences at a time" (Gonzalez, et al, 1991: 28).
Media interpreting: A catchall term encompassing the interpreting performed at press conferences, publicity appearances, and interviews, as well as films, videos, videoconferences, and television and radio programs (GSTI, 1998b).
Court interpreting: Also known as legal, judiciary, or forensic interpreting, refers to interpreting services provided in courts of law and in legal cases of any sort. According to Gonzalez et al (1991):
Legal interpretation refers to interpretation that takes place in a legal setting such as a courtroom or an attorney's office, wherein some proceeding or activity related to law is conducted. Legal interpretation is subdivided according to the legal setting into (1) quasi-judicial and (2) judicial interpreting or what is normally referred to as court interpreting. (25, emphasis in original)
In some jurisdictions, such as the State of California, a further distinction is made between court interpreters, who work in criminal and civil proceedings in courts of law, and administrative hearing interpreters, who provide services in hearings conducted by administrative law judges under the auspices of state government agencies. In the United States, most interpreting in legal settings is done in the simultaneous mode, although consecutive is the mode of choice for witness testimony (Gonzalez et al, 1991); but in other countries, interpreted court proceedings are most likely to use the consecutive mode (Driesen, 1989; Tsuda, 1995).
Business interpreting: Sometimes known as commercial or trade interpreting. Gentile et al (1996) define the term broadly:
In the narrowest sense, the term denotes two or more business people discussing business matters through an interpreter. ... However, we take interpreting in business settings in its broadest possible sense, to include all [liaison] interpreting situations which are outside the welfare/medical/legal rubric. We do not include relationships characterized by a marked differential in power or status within a given society. Examples of these interpreting settings range from arts, sport, tourism and recreation to patent negotiations or government-to-government meetings and delegations. (116)
Another setting where interpreting takes place with increasing frequency is the workplace, where the employer or supervisor speaks the official language of the country and employees speak a minority language; this could also be considered business interpreting, and it does involve a differential in power. Frishberg (1986) reports that sign-language interpreters are called upon to interpret with increasing frequency in commercial settings, whether for employers and employees or for interlocutors who are on a more equal footing. Business interpreting may entail either consecutive or simultaneous interpreting.
Medical interpreting: Alternative terms are health care interpreting and hospital interpreting. According to Frishberg (1986: 115),
"Interpreting in medical settings encompasses a variety of situations, from routine consultation with a physician to emergency procedures, from prepared childbirth classes to support for complex laboratory testing." Many experts include mental health interpreting as a subcategory of medical interpreting. The State of California has designed another subcategory, medical-legal interpreting, to refer to services provided for physicians conducting medical exams for purposes of evidence-gathering in legal cases such as industrial injury claims and personal injury lawsuits. Significantly, the certification exam for medical-legal interpreters includes a test of simultaneous interpretation skills (CPS, 1998), although consecutive interpreting is considered the norm in the medical setting. The Standards of Practice developed by the Massachusetts Medical Interpreters Association (MMIA) (1995: 14) state, "If the interpreter is competent in the simultaneous mode, [he/she] uses it when it is important that the speaker not be interrupted (e.g., psychiatric interview, periods of high emotion)."
Educational interpreting: Often included under community interpreting, this is a rapidly growing field of specialisation, especially among sign-language interpreters (Frishberg, 1986; Aguirre et al, 1997). It involves interpreting in the classroom for students who cannot understand the language of instruction, as well as interpreting between teachers and parents and at school board meetings and disciplinary hearings. Either consecutive or simultaneous interpreting may be required, depending on the circumstances.
Over-the-Phone Interpreting (OPI): Also known as remote interpreting, this term refers to interpreting services provided via telephonic links (occasionally with video links as well), in which neither the interpreter nor the parties are in the same physical location. (Heh and Qian, 1997). OPI interpreters tend to work in medical, social service, business, and legal cases. At present, most OPI interpreting is done consecutively, but as telecommunications technology develops further, simultaneous interpreting will become more prevalent (Mints, 1998).
Community interpreting: Perhaps the most controversial of the terms used to differentiate between types of interpreting (see Mikkelson, 1996a & b; Roberts, 1994), it refers to interpreting that "enables people who are not fluent speakers of the official language(s) of the country to communicate with the providers of public services so as to facilitate full and equal access to legal, health, education, government, and social services" (Carr et al, 1997). This type of interpreting is also known as liaison, ad hoc, three-cornered, dialogue, contact, public service, and cultural interpreting; there is very little consensus about the definitions of these terms and whether or not they are synonymous (Gentile et al, 1996; Carr et al, 1997).
Community interpreters were once considered amateurs and well-meaning but misguided "do-gooders" (Gonzalez et al, 1991: 29), but nowadays they are increasingly recognised as specialists in their own right. Some writers consider community interpreting an umbrella term that includes court and medical interpreting (Mikkelson, 1996b), while others (mainly court interpreters) regard it as a separate category. Some sources contend that community interpreting is by definition performed in the consecutive mode (Gentile, 1997), but in fact simultaneous interpreting is often used when the interpreter is capable of it and the situation is conducive to it (Gentile et al, 1996). Gentile (1997) has expressed frustration at the imprecision of the term "community interpreting" and expresses a preference for "liaison interpreting" because it better describes the process. He goes on to say that the continued use of the label "community interpreting" will have an adverse effect on the profession, perpetuating the "cinderella image" that attaches to it.
It will continue to be regarded as a second rate form of interpreting which is not worthy of specific attention in terms of status, training, remuneration and research. ...This is basically because it does not describe an environment which is easily recognisable as an area of interpreting nor does it use terms which are devoid of ambiguity; the term community can be applied to a community attending a conference, a community living in one area, a community of people interested in a single issue, or a community of speakers of a certain language. (117-118)
Nevertheless, "community interpreting" appears to be pushing aside the other terms in worldwide usage.
4. Qualities of Interpreters
A survey of the literature reveals a great deal of overlap in the descriptions of the ideal interpreter, regardless of whether the subject of discussion is a court, medical, or conference interpreter. The following qualities are identified by various authors as essential for good interpreting:
Language skills: Even laypersons recognise that interpreters need to have a good command of their working languages to interpret accurately, though they underestimate the extent of that command. Writers about all types of interpreting, from conference (Seleskovitch, 1978a; Jones, 1998) to court (Gonzalez et al, 1991) to community (Frishberg, 1986; Gentile et al, 1996) emphasize the breadth and depth of linguistic proficiency required. They are also unanimous in making the point that language is just a prerequisite for mastering the techniques of interpreting.
Analytical skills: Gonzalez et al (1991: 363) declare that analysis is "foremost" among the strategies employed by court interpreters, "so essential to [simultaneous interpreting] that it can be considered an intrinsic part of the process rather than an ancillary tactic." Writing about conference interpreting, Jones (1998) also stresses how important it is to analyze a speech before interpreting it. The standards of practice for medical interpreters (MMIA, 1995) also cite analysis as a key element in interpreting proficiency.
Listening and recall: As Gentile et al (1996: 44) note, "Effective interpreting requires effective listening skills." Many authors define the specific kind of listening that interpreters perform as "active listening," and further point out that "[t]his active, attentive listening is quite different from other forms of listening, and has to be learned by the interpreter" (Jones, 1998: 14). Memory or recall is also identified as essential by virtually all experts on interpreting, regardless of the type: Seleskovitch (1978a: 34) goes as far as asserting that "in interpretation, memory and understanding are inseparable; the one is a function of the other." Having a good memory is especially important for a judiciary interpreter, who must retain and include in the target language message even paralinguistic elements: "What makes the court interpreter's job much more difficult than that of the conference interpreter is that the court interpreter cannot entirely discard non-semantic information such as pauses and hedges because they must be included in the [target-language] version in order to provide a legal equivalent of the [source-language] message" (Gonzalez et al, 1991: 384).
Interpersonal skills: One might expect heavy emphasis on this quality among medical and social service interpreters, who are in more direct personal contact with their clients than conference interpreters (Roberts, 1994). But even conference interpreters are encouraged to develop these skills, as they may have a great deal of personal contact with delegates (Jones, 1998; Seleskovitch, 1978a). Despite the stereotype of the conference interpreter who spends all day in the booth addressing faceless bureaucrats in a disembodied voice, many conferences involve direct contact between interpreters and delegates. Moreover, the conference attendees are not necessarily international civil servants or businessmen; they may come from all walks of life, and range from factory workers to housewives to farmers to refugees.
Ethical behavior: Although the interpreter's code of ethics has the greatest impact on the interpreter's work in legal settings (which is why Gonzalez et al devote an entire 42-page chapter to the subject), ethics are a major consideration for all interpreters (Frishberg, 1996; Sussman and Johnson, 1996). Jones (1998) describes the delicate situations that can arise in international conferences, requiring that interpreters thoroughly understand their role and exercise good judgment. Medical interpreters must be particularly attuned to the importance of patient privacy issues (MMIA, 1995).
Speaking skills: Most people associate speaking skills with appearances before large audiences at public events such as congresses, assemblies, or press conferences; and public speaking is indeed a key component in the training of all types of interpreters (Weber, 1984; Frishberg, 1986; Gonzalez et al, 1991). Gentile et al (1996: 47) point out, however, that even liaison or community interpreters, who generally interpret in more intimate settings, need to be able to express ideas well: "Effective speaking skills range from quality of voice to choice of idiom, vocabulary, phrasing etc. So both what comes out of the mouth of the interpreter and the way it comes out are important in the overall effectiveness of the interpretation."
Cultural knowledge: It is almost universally acknowledged that interpreters working in medical and social service settings need to be acutely aware of cultural differences (hence the term "cultural interpreter" that is so prevalent in Canada), although there is widespread disagreement about what they should do with that knowledge (Carr et al, 1997). Court interpreters are also expected to take culture into account, although they are much more restricted in their ability to educate their clients about cultural differences (Gonzalez et al, 1991). What many of these interpreters may not recognise is that conference interpreters, too, consider themselves not just linguistic but also cultural intermediaries. Seleskovitch (1978a&b, Seleskovitch and Lederer, 1984) has written extensively about the link between language and culture. Perhaps Jones (1998: 4) sums it up best when he says that "in all of their work, (conference) interpreters must bridge the cultural and conceptual gaps separating the participants in a meeting."
Subject knowledge: Although professional interpreters often complain that their clients do not understand their need to prepare ahead of time and gain some understanding of the subjects to be discussed in order to interpret accurately ("You don't need to understand it, just translate it!"), all experts on interpreting recognise the need to acquire technical terminology and content knowledge in relevant fields (Seleskovitch, 1978a; Gonzalez et al, 1991; Frishberg, 1986; Gentile et al, 1996; MMIA, 1995).
Thus, it is clear that to some degree or another, all interpreters must demonstrate the qualities listed above, regardless of where and for whom they interpret. The fact that many individuals who are called upon to interpret in certain settings lack these qualities does not mean they are not needed; it simply means that the client requesting interpreting services does not appreciate their importance. So if all interpreters are really performing the same task, why is there such disparity in the formal training, pay, and prestige of interpreters?
The differences may be the result of confusion between the practice and the practitioner. Conference interpreting is a well-established, highly competitive field in which practitioners must undergo extensive training and demonstrate a high level of skill to be able to work for very selective international organisations, government institutions, and private clients. As a result, conference interpreters can command high fees and are treated with respect by their clients and colleagues.
In contrast, hospital interpreters, for example, are hired (in the best of cases) by public hospitals with limited budgets to provide services, on the one hand, for overworked, underpaid medical professionals who may never have worked with interpreters and do not know what to expect, and on the other hand, for immigrants who have limited resources, often lack a formal education, are unfamiliar with the workings of the health care system in their adopted country, and are not in a position to impose high standards on interpreters. Rarely are the interpreters required to show proof of any formal education in their languages or training in medical interpreting; the only criterion for their selection is purported knowledge of the required languages (or, in the worst of cases, physical presence, a foreign name or appearance, and accented speech). The remuneration and status accorded these interpreters are commensurate with the low standards for their selection.
The tables would be turned if the conference organisers approached the janitor on the day of the conference, asked him if he spoke the languages in question, and dragooned him into service, while the hospital administrators contacted a physician in the patient's home country who had also graduated from an interpreting school and set up a date for her to fly in to the hospital for the patient's appointment. The interpreting that each of these clients needs would not change, but their attitude toward the interpreter certainly would.
5. Another Approach to Categorizing Interpreting
The interpreting categories listed in Section 3 above tend to focus on the setting, the mode of interpreting, or the subject matter of the interpreter-mediated event. Individual interpreters may wear a variety of hats, working one day in a conference, the next in an escort situation, and the next in a court proceeding. Thus, when someone identifies himself as a conference interpreter, that does not necessarily mean that he interprets only in conferences. The interpreter's working languages are a major factor influencing the type of interpreting he performs; hence, an interpreter of French and German has a wide variety of options to choose from, depending on education and training, aptitudes, and the local job market, whereas an interpreter of Somali, no matter how skilled, will not have many opportunities to interpret conferences or business negotiations. In other words, the categories are not very helpful for describing the job of a particular interpreter.
Not only do these labels create confusion among potential users of interpreting services, but they also cause strife among practitioners. As Gentile (1997: 111) points out in reference to the term "community interpreting":
In the professional context, there are obviously tensions created in the establishment of another "form" of interpreting within a scenario which is evolving rapidly and which will, by definition, upset the accepted order of things as well as alter the hitherto perceived skill requirements of practitioners engaged in the field in general.
Alexi Eva (1997) also rejects the traditional categories of interpreting on the grounds that they are based on "single parameters," and thus are too limiting. She advocates a "multiparameter approach" (which, incidentally, would also eliminate the hierarchical perception noted above).
The additional parameters that I would like to see included concern (a) the various elements of the communicative situation: Who speaks, to Whom, about What, Where, When and Why (and for what purpose ...), rather than simply the temporal characteristics of delivery and the spatial coordinates of communicants, and (b) the nature of the texts involved in the event, not just in terms of topic (in answer to What above) or the 'whole' vs. 'segment' distinction proposed by Sale sky, but also in terms of the way the text is built, whether it is more oral-like or written-like, and the intertextual relationships obtaining between the individual texts which constitute the macro-text of an interpreter-mediated event. (156)
Alexi Eva goes on to note that in real life, interpreter-mediated events are so complex that it is impossible to establish clear-cut categories. She advocates approaching the events as "'families,' with central members (prototypes) and peripheral members (blend-forms) being identified on the basis of their position on a scale or continuum..." (156). She then specifies the parameters that should shape the definition of interpreting: 1) mode of delivery and production, 2) participants in interpreter-mediated events, 3) the topic of an interpreter-mediated event, 4) text type and text building strategies, 5) spatial and temporal constraints, and 6) the goal of an interpreter-mediated event. In this way, interpreter-mediated events can be placed along a "continuum of 'universality' vs. 'culture-specificity' using a number of scales":
'distance' vs. 'proximity' (between speaker, addressee and interpreter);
'non-involvement' vs. 'involvement' (of the speaker as text entity);
'equality/solidarity' vs. 'non-equality/power' (related to status, role and gender of speaker and addressee, as well as the interpreter in some cases);
'formal setting' vs. 'informal setting' (related to number of participants, degree of privacy, and distance from home country);
'literacy' vs. 'orality';
cooperativeness/directness' vs. 'non-cooperativeness/indirectness' (relevant to negotiation strategies);
'shared goals' vs. 'conflicting goals'. (169)
This approach allows for a more precise analysis of interpreting in real-life situations. Thus, a broad term like "media interpreting" does little to inform the uninitiated about what the interpreter actually does, but using Alexieva's model, we find that an interpreter working at a press conference at the Olympic Games is performing the tasks traditionally associated with conference interpreting, whereas the interpreter assigned to a magazine interview with a movie star is not. Similarly, the court interpreter working at a mass arraignment, in which a judge, sitting high on a bench, addresses a group of defendants listening to a whispered interpretation, performs a very different task than when interpreting at an attorney-client conference in a jail cell, or the cross-examination of a witness during a jury trial. Parameters such as distance/proximity, formal/informal setting, shared goals/conflicting goals contribute a great deal to elucidating the nature of the communication that is taking place.
The way the multiparameter model is applied to different interpreter-mediated events depends, of course, on the researcher's purpose. To answer the questions I posed above, I would like to carry Alexieva's approach a little further by adding some external factors to the mix. I believe that it is extrinsic, not intrinsic, factors that account for the vast differences in interpreters' pay, working conditions, and status. In that context, I would like to examine the following factors:
The status of the languages involved in an interpreter-mediated event.
The multilingual or bilingual environment of an interpreter-mediated event, and whether the interpreter is expected to interpret bidirectionally or unidirectionally.
The degree of interpreter preparation required and allowed for an interpreter-mediated event.
The criteria for being selected as an interpreter for a given interpreter-mediated event, and
The job market for interpreters in the location of the interpreter-mediated event, and
The degree to which interpreters are organised and regulated in the location of the interpreter-mediated event.
Status of languages. The status of the languages being interpreted affects the status of the interpreter. This factor is related to the non-equality/power parameter identified by Alexieva (1997). Consider, for example, that the interpreters working at the United Nations General Assembly are interpreting for some of the most powerful people in the world, and the official languages of the United Nations are those of the most powerful countries in the world. UN interpreters enjoy excellent working conditions and are highly respected professionals. In contrast, Tseng (1992: 132) reports that conference interpreters in Taiwan, interpreting between two UN languages (English and Mandarin), have relatively low status, partly because English is "a symbol of prestige and good education" and meeting participants would rather "use what little English they have" than rely on interpreters, "to show off to their peers or to avoid losing face by using [simultaneous interpretation] receivers." Therefore, it is important to look at attitudes toward the languages involved in an interpreter-mediated event in the location of that event.
With the notable exception of Spanish in the United States, the majority of the languages interpreted in community settings (hospitals, social service agencies, refugee centers, etc.) are relatively low-status languages of limited diffusion (Gentile et al, 1996), and interpreters in these venues work under very poor conditions. Ironically, some of the most advanced research and scholarship on interpreting in the United States is being done by interpreters of American Sign Language (Patrie, 1993; Roy, 1989; Cokely, 1984), yet sign language interpreting has not yet received the recognition that some types of spoken-language interpreting are beginning to enjoy. The various sign languages used by deaf people all over the world are low-status languages; in fact, many linguists only recently accorded them the rank of full-fledged languages, and the lay public is generally unaware of how sophisticated these languages are (Frishberg, 1986). Thus, the work performed by interpreters for the deaf, regardless of the setting and the complexity of the communication, is undervalued just as much as that of spoken-language interpreters of minority languages.
Multilingual environment, direction of interpreting: Whether interpreters are expected to know multiple languages and work unidirectionally within a language pair is another factor that differentiates high-prestige interpreting assignments from less desirable ones. Staff interpreters at international organisations such as the European Union and the Organisation of American States must demonstrate proficiency in interpreting from two or more languages, but they generally interpret into just one language, their "mother tongue." In other conference interpreting markets, however, meetings generally involve only two working languages and the interpreters are expected to work into and out of both (Jones, 1998). Interpreters who work bidirectionally do not necessarily suffer from a loss of prestige - Japanese conference interpreters being a case in point - but the more specialised the interpreter is perceived to be, the more respect he or she commands. (Inggs, 1998) reports that court interpreters in South Africa routinely interpret multiple languages, but in a given case they will be interpreting bidirectionally between just two languages. She also points out that the interpreters are not tested for competence, since the languages, the defendants needing interpreters, and the interpreters themselves are held in low esteem.
Preparation for assignments: How much an interpreter is expected and allowed to prepare for an assignment is related to the client's perception of the importance of interpretation. The General Conditions of Work adopted by the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) state, "For their technical and terminological preparation the organiser shall send the interpreters a complete set of documents (programme, agenda, minutes of the previous meeting, reports, etc.) in each of the working languages of the conference as early as possible, but not later than 15 days before the beginning of the conference." Of course this obligation is not always fulfilled at every conference, but it is accepted as standard procedure at international conferences. Conference organisers and delegates attending conferences are accustomed to this requirement, and generally they comply because they value accurate interpretation. In contrast, Tseng (1992) reports that conference interpreters in Taiwan often meet resistance when they try to obtain documentation in advance. Court interpreters also complain of the problems they have preparing adequately for their assignments (Gonzalez et al, 1991; Gentile et al, 1996). Lawyers and doctors are particularly reluctant to allow interpreters to see their files, citing confidentiality considerations, but in courts and health care facilities where interpreters are respected as professionals, their requests for documentation are more likely to be honored.
Selection of interpreters: In interpreting markets where clients are accustomed to working with interpreters and have high standards for their services, the profession is very competitive. To be selected for interpreting assignments, practitioners must demonstrate their competence by taking exams, in the case of organisations with interpreting staffs, or through membership in professional associations such as AIIC that require references from experienced interpreters for admittance. Graduates of recognised schools of interpreting are also considered to be members of this elite group. The status interpreters enjoy in such markets reflects the selectiveness of the employment process.
Clients who are not used to working with interpreters, on the other hand, are not selective at all because they do not know what questions to ask and have no standard to go by such as a license or degree. Tseng (1992) identifies this as a major problem in Taiwan, and many other scholars decry the lack of standards in the selection of interpreters in the markets they write about (Roberts, 1997; Nicholson and Martinsen, 1997; Martina, 1997; Szkodzinska, 1997). Tseng (1992: 100-101) also reports that out of 24 conference interpreters interviewed in Taiwan, only six had received two or more years of formal training in interpreting; 11 had received less than six months of training, and five had received no training at all.
In the absence of universally imposed academic standards for practitioners, certification programs in which interpreters are required to pass proficiency exams have been developed in many areas as a means of providing potential clients with a pool of competent interpreters to choose from. The lack of training programs to help candidates prepare for these exams results in high failure rates, however (Gonzalez et al, 1991; Lascar, 1997). A vicious circle is created, as the low pay and poor working conditions of interpreting work give prospective practitioners little incentive to invest in long training courses, and thus colleges and universities have little impetus for establishing such programs.
Local job market: Factors such as the economy, demographics, politics, and culture of the country or region where an interpreter works have a major impact on the professional opportunities available to him or her. A conference interpreter with a French/German/English combination, for example, may find plenty of work in Europe, but not in the United States. The demand for Hmong/English interpreters soared in the late 1970s when refugees of this Laotian minority group settled in the state of Minnesota, but as these immigrants grow older and new generations emerge with English-speaking ability, the need for interpreters will diminish (Interpreter Standards Advisory Committee, 1998). An international conflict or the passage of a law may generate a tremendous demand for interpreting in a certain language and a certain venue, as was the case when Guatemalan refugees in the United States were suddenly subject to deportation or when the United States sent troops to Somalia; whereas the severance of diplomatic relations between two countries may cause the interpreting market in a given language combination to evaporate. When work is scarce, interpreters must find other means of earning a living, which detracts from their ability to maintain their skills and maintain contact with potential clients (Tseng, 1992; Roberts, 1997). All of these circumstances affect the demand for interpreters, the terms under which they are hired, and the status they are accorded.
Organisation and regulation: Finally, the degree to which interpreters are organised and regulated in a given location affects their status. Tseng (1992: 148) points out that the situation of conference interpreters in Taiwan would be much better if they formed a professional association, since "interpreters working in international conferences [as opposed to those organised by Taiwanese] are able to work under better conditions, thanks to negotiations initiated by professional associations in the past." In his discussion of professionalization in general, he notes that occupations attain the status of professions by gaining control over the market in which they work. One way of establishing this control is by forging "alliances with the state," including lobbying for government regulation of the profession. This has proven true in the case of court interpreters in the United States, where legislation requiring that interpreters working in the federal courts pass a proficiency exam brought about an immediate increase in the pay and prestige of interpreters in that jurisdiction, in stark contrast to their counterparts in the state courts (Gonzalez et al, 1991).
This analysis of the different types of interpreting has shown that regardless of the adjective preceding the word "interpreter," practitioners of this profession the world over perform the same service and should meet the same standards of competence. What accounts for the tremendous disparity in working conditions and status is not the nature of the interpreting itself, but external factors that affect the market in which interpreters render their services. The way to lessen this disparity is to recognise the commonalities in interpreters' work and to form strong professional associations and alliances that will unite practitioners striving to achieve common goals.
Articles published in this section reflect the views of the author(s) and should not be taken to represent the official position of AIIC.
Holly Mikkelson teaches at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and is a state and federally certified court interpreter. Visit her website: www.acebo.com.
This article was originally presented at the 30th Anniversary Conference of the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation (GSTI) of the Monterey Institute of International Studies (January 1999). Ten years later the editors of Communicate! consider the paper to be of continuing relevance and are pleased to be able to republish it.
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By its very nature, media interpreting has to be conducted in the simultaneous mode. It is provided particularly for live television coverages such as press conferences, live or taped interviews with political figures, musicians, artists, sportsmen or people from the business circle. In this type of interpreting, the interpreter has to sit in a sound-proof booth where ideally he/she can see the speakers on a monitor and the set. All equipment should be checked before recording begins. In particular, satellite connections have to be double-checked to ensure that the interpreter's voice is not sent back and the interpreter gets to hear only one channel at a time. In the case of interviews recorded outside the studio and some current affairs programme, the interpreter interprets what he or she hears on a TV monitor. Background noise can be a serious problem. The interpreter working for the media has to sound as slick and confident as a television presenter.
Media interpreting has gained more visibility and presence especially after the Gulf War. Television channels have begun to hire staff simultaneous interpreters. The interpreter renders the press conferences, telephone beepers, interviews and similar live coverage for the viewers. It is more stressful than other types of interpreting as the interpreter has to deal with a wide range of technical problems coupled with the control room's hassle and wrangling during live coverage. Source
Tags: Types of Interpreting, Media Interpreting, Media Interpreter, How to become a Media Interpreter? What is Media Interpreting? Definition of Media Interpreting.