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El error de traducción que casi desata la tercera Guerra Mundial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Writing Laws in a Citizen Legislature - Flathead Beacon

Writing Laws in a Citizen Legislature - Flathead Beacon | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
As I was working on one of my old tractors recently (it’s a Farmall 806 for the curious) I began cussing the engineers who designed it, as I have many times in the past. Why, oh why would anyone put a bolt in an almost, but not quite, inaccessible place? How do they expect people to work on this thing without going crazy? Remember the cars of the 1970s that had to have the engine partially removed from the vehicle to change the sparkplugs? I know that they are well intentioned people who only want to design a machine that works well, but couldn’t they have adult supervision from a mechanic who actually has to work on them?

I have also heard contractors voice similar complaints about architects. In fact, it seems that there is often no collaboration between the designers of something and the people who will be working on it. Same with the people who design forms and the people who have to fill them out. I often thought that the process should be reversed; the people who were supposed to fill the form out should design it, and the people who were supposed to design it should have to fill it out, although I have to say that there has been a marked improvement in that area.

It also, I began to realize, is similar to a legislator writing laws; they know what they want to do, they know how they want it to work, but when it is finally signed into law, will it do what they thought it would do? In Montana, state legislators are not professionals. It’s a citizen Legislature and there is no aptitude test other than being able to get elected. Being a legislator is one of the few important positions that does not require any ability test or prior experience as a prerequisite to getting the job. Another one is being a parent.

Years ago there was a very important bill to fix the Workers Compensation system. It went through the legislative process and was signed into law by the governor. Shortly after it became law, it was discovered that it contained a $40 million error. In a futile attempt to prevent that from happening, the governor’s aide hurried down to the Secretary of State’s office to get the bill back. On being told that it was now law, and couldn’t be returned, he asked if he couldn’t just use some “white out” on it. No to that as well, and the Legislature had to meet in a special session to fix it.

A lawyer once complained to me, “Those guys in Helena don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t understand the law.”

So, just to gig him a little, I said, “It’s not their job to understand the law, it’s their job to write it. It’s up to you lawyers to figure it out.”

Well, this topic is getting a long way from working on a tractor, so I think I’ll get back to something else that offers a challenge. I know I can get to that bolt on the Farmall somehow, but why they put it there is beyond me.

Jim Elliott is a former state senator. He lives in Trout Creek.
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York Events: The Edit/Rewrite: The Art of Editing and Rewriting

York Events: The Edit/Rewrite: The Art of Editing and Rewriting | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
he Edit/Rewrite: The Art of Editing and Rewriting

Oct 22, 2014, 3:30pm-4:30pm

This seminar takes as its starting point Robert Graves's observation: “There is no such thing as good writing only good rewriting.”

It highlights the importance of the editing and rewriting process, not as something that comes later, but as an integral and crucial component of the essay-writing experience. It provides hands-on techniques for close reading of our own work and improvements in word choice, sentence structure, order, punctuation and more.
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Workopolis Retail Career Centre

Workopolis Retail Career Centre | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
This is a six month contract


This position provides English to French and French to English translation, proofreading, revision and adaptation for material produced by World Financial Group's Marketing Department.


. Provide quality, accurate standardized and timely translations from English to French of marketing material, sales tools, market commentaries, PowerPoint presentations, press releases, legal documents and various correspondence. Some French to English translations are also required
. Develop written solutions that will motivate the desired action among Quebec French-speaking target audience
. Provide, whenever required, revisions of translations done internally and externally
. Proofread final copies, printer's proofs and web postings
. Help maintain and update the Linguistic Services terminology bank


. University degree/college diploma in translation or equivalent work experience
. Minimum 4 years of translation experience, preferably in the investment and/or insurance industry
. Excellent research skills
. Accuracy and attention to details are essential, as is good judgment
. Adaptability required to manage multiple deadlines and changing priorities
. Self-motivated and able to work autonomously with minimal supervision
. Knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint

We value and reward the ability of our people .

No matter what your role, we're looking for people who have a great attitude and take immense pride in their work. Our goal is to provide customers with the best possible experience. To make this goal a reality, we need people who:

. practice clear and honest communication while meeting the highest standards of professional behaviour
. help others recognize their abilities and reach their full potential
. effectively develop partnerships and work with others in a supportive and constructive manner to promote continuous growth and improvement
. use creativity, resourcefulness, critical thinking and sound judgment to push past a problem and find a well thought out solution
. are self-aware and open to change by being enthusiastic, flexible and forward-thinking
. persevere, even amidst the new or unfamiliar, despite difficulties, failure, or opposition
. take an active interest in our business by understanding how their job contributes to the goals and priorities of the organization
. take full accountability for their tasks and commitments
. contribute specialized technical skills and knowledge to the organization
. take ownership of their career and are eager to learn

If this sounds like you, this is where you want to be!

Transamerica Life Canada / Canadian Premier Life / World Financial Group / AEGON Capital Management is an Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act ( AODA )compliant workplace. Applicants can be confident that our recruitment and hiring processes will be modified to accommodate disabilities, if requested.
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The Perils of Writing Poorly: Is Your Copy Possessed?

The Perils of Writing Poorly: Is Your Copy Possessed? | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Copywriting can be a dangerous pursuit. Each time an inexperienced, harried, or careless writer begins to fill a blank page, he or she unwittingly opens the door to a dark possibility.

I’m speaking, of course, about copy possession.

Great copy is easy to spot: It’s coherent, free-flowing, and well reasoned. It speaks in an engaging voice and embraces the reader like an old friend.

Possessed copy repels at first sight. It growls, it barks, it speaks in strange tongues. It taunts readers and mocks their standards and expectations.

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If your copy is written with all the clarity, fluidity, and appeal of a federal tax form, you’re fighting a losing battle for audiences’ attention and respect. The moment your possessed copy goes live, there isn’t a prayer in the world that can save your brand.

Content Is Forever. Exorcise the Demons Before You Publish!

Warding off evil spirits isn’t easy, but it’s a fight we marketing professionals can’t afford to lose. If all this seems a bit too unsettling, perhaps it’s time to consider hiring a qualified writer with experience in these matters—someone who can charge into battle without fear.

For content creators who decide to go it alone, the following tools and tricks offer some measure of protection. (The rest depends on your analytical process, your writing skills, and the creative risks you’re willing to take.)

Make an outline.

In the early part of my writing career, I almost never jotted down a framework before I wrote. I felt it hampered the creative process. Then I went to graduate school and wrote outlines just to make it through each day. That experience changed everything.

Organizing your thoughts on paper (and putting flesh on the bones as you go) ensures all the points you need to include flow logically and form a cohesive whole. Afterward, you can go back and fine-tune your copy so your final product is greater than the sum of its parts.

Focus on your audience.

Your work is meaningless if it’s misinterpreted or poorly received. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. They’ll wonder what your purpose is, what your point is, what it means for them, and why they should care. You should have concrete answers to these questions before you lay a finger on your keyboard.

Have a good grammar guide handy.

Run-on sentences, seemingly random punctuation, series that aren’t parallel, modifiers that dangle: These hideous manifestations of apathy and ignorance can inspire a range of audience reactions, none of which are good for your brand.

I recommend The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications by Amy Einsohn and A Pocket Style Manual by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers.

Consult a dictionary as often as necessary.

Misspelled words (e.g., seperate), confused homonyms (insure vs. ensure) and nonexistent words (irregardless) are telltale signs of possession. Your readers will have a hard time forgiving such easily preventable mistakes. For the love of all that’s good and decent, look up words you’re not sure about. I’m a Merriam-Webster girl, myself.

Don’t ramble.

Content volume is exploding. Attention spans are shortening. People are busy as hell.

Rambling sentences and paragraphs have no place in your content. Look for ways to break things up whenever possible—as long as you don’t swing wildly in the direction of short and choppy. (As in all things, balance is the key to happiness.)

It would also be helpful to review your sentence structure—are you varying it enough?—and to eliminate unnecessary words. You don’t need a damned adjective for every damned noun, and you don’t need a damned adverb for every damned adjective or damned verb. (Damn it.)

Copywriting Is a Test of Mettle. Excellence Is a Hard-Earned Victory.

Good copywriters make the process look easy, but I can assure you it’s not. It requires a big emotional and intellectual investment, serious self-discipline, and lots of stamina.

Outlining points of emphasis, reviewing picky grammar rules, eliminating redundancies, checking for consistency, retooling sentences and paragraphs—though not especially glamorous, these are mission-critical tasks for marketing writers. It’s how we vanquish the demons that threaten to consume our message. Great content just isn’t possible otherwise.

Before you tackle your next copywriting project, ask yourself this question: Am I prepared to do whatever it takes to protect the soul of my brand?
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Barbarismos, un curioso diccionario paralelo al de la RAE

Barbarismos, un curioso diccionario paralelo al de la RAE | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Hoy descubrimos en este interesante artículo, Barbarismos, un curioso diccionario paralelo al de la RAE en el que se redefinen algunas palabras.
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Diccionario de la RAE para sobrevivir en la España de Rajoy

Diccionario de la RAE para sobrevivir en la España de Rajoy | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Ahora que  la RAE ha incluido la palabra amigovio en su nuevo diccionario ha llegado la hora de introducir nuevos términos que nos ayuden a sobrevivir en la España de Rajoy.

Blackear: Irse de farra loca a cuenta del dinero de los demás. Ejemplo: Qué resacón, tío, ayer estuve blackeando hasta las mil, por cierto, ¿qué hay que votar hoy?

Sapersona: Referido al amigo de máxima confianza y gran valía profesional -un héroe de España- que de forma repentina se convierte en "esa persona a la que usted se refiere".

Sepultaznar: Acción de sepultar España siendo amigo de Aznar. Ejemplo: Hola, qué tal, soy el  tío Miguel y acabo de sepultaznar Bankia.

Listonto: Gestor económico que es muy listo hasta que va al juez y se hace pasar por tonto.

Matoistra: Dícese de la que es ministra sin serlo y juega al Apalabrados en las reuniones del Consejo de Ministros de los viernes y haz lo que te diga Soraya o te van a castigar sin el Jaguar en el recreo.

Perioinda: Periodista que solo dice chorradas como Inda.

Susanizar: Acción de terminar cruentamente con tus rivales. Como hace Khaleesi.

Apujolar: Abroncar al inoportuno testigo que te sorprende robando regalices en una tienda de chuches.

Asenadado: Aburrido, taciturno. Referido al que ejerce una profesión sin sentido como, por ejemplo, senador en España. Utilizado también como sinónimo de siesta o cabezada: Me he quedado asenadado en el sofá.

Sanchezteca: De  la hipoteca que es (un poquito) mejor que la del resto de los mortales y se concede al político que es guapo, pero muy guapo, monísimo ¿eh?

Gallardonar: Ganar 8.500 euros al mes sin hacer (casi) nada.

Acebesar: Sinónimo de Gallardonar, pero son 25.000 euros al mes.

Rosadiecismo: Ideología personalista basada en personalismos y todo va a ir bien si no me llevas la contraria, Sosa Wagner. ¿No? Pues nada, a la puñetera calle.

Cayonada: Dícese del político al que le han cambiado el decorado y sale vestido de vaquero en una peli de romanos.

Castarbitro: Árbitro que usualmente no pita los pasos de salida a la selección de Estados Unidos de forma que impide a Podemos ganar las elecciones.

Nicolasado: Timado, estafado,
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Official languages bill will be signed at AFN convention -- away from main event

Official languages bill will be signed at AFN convention -- away from main event | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
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Official languages bill will be signed at AFN convention -- away from main event
Lisa Demer
October 22, 2014
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Jill Kaasteen Meserve, 23, of Juneau, performs with the Woosh.ji.een Dance and Drum Group at the First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference on Wednesday. Meserve said she supported a bill passed this year recognizing 20 Alaska Native languages as official state languages.
Lisa Demer / Alaska Dispatch News
If the legislation to recognize 20 Alaska Native languages as official state languages was wrought with emotion, the ceremony to turn the bill into law with the governor’s signature is fraught with politics.

Gov. Sean Parnell had been set to sign House Bill 216 on Thursday at the start of the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage, the biggest Native gathering of the year with an anticipated 5,000 attendees.

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With endorsements at stake, candidates look to AFN convention
That will still happen -- sort of.

Parnell still gets 20 minutes, starting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, to address the entire convention in the third-floor main ballroom. But the signing ceremony won’t happen during his speech the way Parnell and bill backers planned. Rather, it will take place after his address in a smaller separate room one floor down while the convention continues on, said AFN president Julie Kitka.

Kitka said that the signing ceremony was morphing into something bigger than the time allowed.

“It seems like it took on a life of its own on social media, with people inviting other people and so on,” Kitka said. The AFN agenda is tight, with two top Obama administration officials among those scheduled for Thursday and many speakers just getting 10 minutes to talk.

“We thought the most respectful thing to do is allow the governor to give his report on the state and allow a bigger opportunity in a separate room to go on as long as they need to,” Kitka said.

The ceremony was bumped from the main convention hall after a Tuesday meeting of the AFN board.

Some board members didn’t like that the governor waited so long to begin with.

With the general election less than two weeks away and Parnell up against a ticket that includes former AFN president Byron Mallott as the lieutenant governor candidate, some on the board considered Parnell’s selection of the AFN venue sheer political opportunism.

But one of the bill’s prime sponsors, a Republican who is part Alaska Native, countered that there’s no better time or place for action on a measure that means so much.

The legislation does not create any new requirements for translation but is deeply symbolic. It elicited impassioned testimony in legislative committees, strong floor speeches by legislators, and a demonstration in a Capitol hallway to force a vote before it passed April 20, Easter Sunday, on what was supposed to be the last day of this year’s legislative session.

“It passed in April,” said Georgianna Lincoln, an AFN board member and former state senator originally from Rampart. “One half a year later he wants the signing at the AFN convention? Now isn’t that politics?”

If Parnell really backed the bill, he should have signed it already, Lincoln said. “But don’t put on a big show.”

The language bill is the lone measure passed this year still awaiting action by the governor.

The bill hasn’t been sitting on Parnell’s desk all this time. His office was working with House Speaker Mike Chenault to time when the bill would be formally transmitted from the Legislature, as is standard. Once it is delivered, he has 20 days to act. The language bill was delivered Oct. 15, starting that clock. Until a bill is sent over from the Legislature, there’s no deadline for the governor.

While it’s unusual for a bill to sit for months before heading to the governor’s desk, it has happened in the past, said Suzi Lowell, chief clerk of the House.

State Rep. Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, joined with Democrats including Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins of Sitka as a prime sponsor of the bill.

She said backers and the AFN agreed in early August to have the signing at the convention in what she still hopes will be a joyous occasion.

AFN “was really receptive,” she said. “It's not a stretch to say AFN is probably the best and the broadest audience that we are ever going to have for a bill like this.”

She’s disappointed with the second-tier room but said the celebration will go on. Elders and Native speakers of most if not all the 20 languages plan to be at the ceremony.

“This is bigger than any one political figure. It is bigger than any one political race,” Millett said.

At this week’s First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference – the precursor to AFN – the bill was acknowledged as important. It was too important to be part of a political stunt, said some. It was so important that it deserved a big audience, said others.

“Our languages expressly identify our environment, our world, our universe, our way of thinking, our way of being, our opinions, our happiness,” said Ole Lake, a Yup’ik speaker originally from Hooper Bay who lives in Anchorage now.

The signing should already have happened, away from the suggestion of politics, he said.

Jill “Kaasteen” Meserve, 23, is originally from Hoonah but now lives in Juneau and was among those at the Capitol in the spring to support the bill.

She also wondered why the governor delayed signing it for so long but said AFN provides “the perfect opportunity. We’ve got people from villages all over the state. We’ve got elders who could be here to witness it.”

Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins, who carried the bill, said he just wanted to mark the moment.

“All I care about … is a celebration of these languages and a celebration of the people who made a Herculean effort to get it through the Legislature. It was truly amazing,” he said.

The measure adds these Native languages to what had been an official list of one, English: Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Alutiiq, Unangax, Dena'ina, Deg Xinag, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich'in, Tanana, Upper Tanana, Tanacross, Hän, Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian.

It passed the state House 38-0, with two members absent. The vote was 18-2 in the Senate, with Fairbanks Republican Sens. John Coghill and Pete Kelly the lone “no” votes.
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Edwards: Slurs dehumanize language

Edwards: Slurs dehumanize language | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
One of the best things about language is that it evolves. As we move across continents and within cyberspace, the words we use to describe our world move and grow with us. Words take on new meaning and hold new subtlety. The meaning of literally, literally changes.

Here in China, I’ve had the honor of explaining to a cop what a “pig” is, and why Echo is both a nymph and a sound. I’ve also been lucky to learn the Chinese roots of words. The Chinese ethnic experience is preserved in language. The formal term for Chinese language is literally, “language of the Han.”

Our languages reflect the diverse people of our world. Our histories, triumphs and tribulations are all preserved within language. The melting pot of America is showcased in our vast vocabulary of loanwords. The cruelty of our past is denoted by the fact that we have suppressed other languages from Cajun to Cherokee.

But there are certain words that don’t need to be used. Slurs, no matter what letter they start with or what group they target, are out of place in our lives and language. They aren’t edgy, brave or creative. They are words designed and targeted to make people feel like they are not people. It’s not for accuracy, learning or devil’s advocacy that we should stop using them, it’s for common human decency and respect.

Slurs are always inaccurate, but we shouldn’t just avoid them because we want to be right. Look at the difference between Deaf, and deaf. Lowercase d deaf is the term for those who cannot hear, while capital D Deaf are people who identify with and are active in Deaf culture. It’s the difference between a condition and a culture. This distinction isn’t about being right, it’s about respecting a culture.

And yes, these issues are complex. Our world makes it easy to be ignorant about these things. As oppressed groups evolve, their language evolves. Even when you’re on the inside of a group, it may be hard to know what constitutes as proper terms. As a trans person, I still question whether I should add an asterisk to the end of trans. A tiny asterisk at the end of trans is seen by some as inclusive of non-binary genders, while some view it as a way of marking those genders as less than.

But complexity doesn’t get us off the hook. It’s the age of Google and the age of polite questions. Just as you can ask a trans person, “What are your pronouns,” if you slip up and use an improper term, you can politely apologize and ask for help.

There is always a reason why certain words become common while others waste away. Ignorance never happens in a vacuum. Why we often don’t know the proper terms for oppressed groups is ultimately linked with their oppression. There is a reason why every schoolchild knows the name of Columbus, but not the name of the people he slaughtered, the Taino.

And I know that someone out there is itching to put on their fedora of devil’s advocacy. They will go to the bigot’s refuge of free speech. No, you shouldn’t be punished for the mere utterance of a word. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. And why in the world are you eager to use a slur? What good is going to come from dehumanizing language? Are you somehow going to advance one group by selling out another? Will free speech, journalism or one of your other pet causes somehow be made invalid if you cannot use your slur of choice?

One final caveat – oppressed groups can reclaim slurs. But that is their choice not yours. Some slurs are not your slurs to reclaim. Do not try to claim them for others. It’s not your fight.

Recently, Lincoln Public Schools introduced initiatives to avoid gendered terms in order to make schools more accepting for students of all genders. They aren’t trying to say that you couldn’t identify as a binary gender, or that gender is bad. They simply want to respect children of all genders as they navigated school. Ultimately, using the preferred terms of a group is just that, allowing people to navigate life on their own terms. Literally.

Walker Edwards is a Senior Philosophy Major currently Interning at the University of Nebraska’s American Exchange Center in Xi’an China. You can reach them at
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What language tells us about the roots of the stone age diet

What language tells us about the roots of the stone age diet | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Stone-age snack? A hedgehog on the island of Uist, Scotland. Photograph: Murdo Macleod
Next month, the UK’s first paleolithic restaurant will open in London. The paleo, stone-age or caveman diet has been around in various forms for decades. But it harks back to a much earlier time, when our eating habits were supposedly in line with our evolution, before agriculture came along and made us civilised but unhealthy.

One of the best TEDx talks I’ve watched is an efficient debunking of the stone-age diet by Christina Warriner. In short: the meat-heavy regimen is not at all how cavemen ate, and many so-called stone-age foods – like root vegetables – are in fact the product of intensive cultivation (wild carrots, for example, are generally tiny and full of toxins).

Debunking the paleo diet: Christina Warinner at TEDxOU
Things we know about our ancestors generally come from two sources: their own accounts, and the things they have left behind. In other words, history, and archaeology. When there’s no written record of a culture – and the earliest examples of writing are around 5,000 years old – we have to rely on artefacts and biological remains. Authors of stone-age diet plans have relied on out of date and, well, half-digested archaeological evidence of what life was like thousands of years ago. Accuracy isn’t their priority – selling books is.

Strangely enough, though, there’s another line of inquiry available. Since the mid-20th century, scholars have argued that language can provide clues about stone-age lifestyles, even in the complete absence of writing. How could that be possible?

It’s all thanks to a painstaking technique called the comparative method. This is as archaeological as linguistics gets: it involves delicately scraping away the surface layers of spoken language to find patterns of relatedness beneath. For example: the word for “father” is pere in French, but far in Danish. Now, we know these two languages have common roots, and in that context two forms of a word as basic as father will almost certainly related – or “cognate”. We also know there are many other words that start with a “p” in French but “f” in Danish, like pied and fod, poisson and fisk. At some point in the past, then, a change must have crept through Danish and French to make them less alike in this small way. Did a “p” become an “f”, or vice versa? Because we also know that the former is a very frequent kind of sound change, we can deduce that the common ancestor of both French and Danish used a “p” at the beginning of these words.

With a highly technical understanding of sound change, and collections of thousands upon thousands of cognates, whole words, and then large vocabularies of unrecorded languages have been revealed. Much of the early history of academic linguistics was spent reconstructing European “proto-languages”, our best guesses at earlier forms of familiar linguistic groups. There was proto-Germanic, proto-Romance, proto-Slavic and, eventually, a huge lexicon of proto-Indo-European (PIE) a hypothetical language that represents the common ancestor of everything from Welsh to Romanian, Greek to Sanskrit.

This, of course, takes us back quite a long time. Just how long is a matter of fierce debate. In all probability it gets us just a bit beyond the earliest writing, about 6000 years ago. Not quite palaeolithic then, but late neolithic – still stone age, and before, or at the very dawn of agriculture. What did society look like then? How did people live, eat and hunt? Well, let’s look at some of the vocabulary we’ve been able to reconstruct (thanks to the database over at University of Texas, Austin, for these examples)

bol- (root)
bhabha (bean)
kerem- (onion)
abel- (apple)
rktho-s (bear)
ghan-s- (goose)
anut- (duck)
kuon- (dog)
ulp- (fox)
bhren-to-s (deer)
ghaiso- (arrow)
aik- (spear)
deru- (to work, toil)
gelebh- (to flay, skin)
bhes- (to rub)
ten- (to stretch)
plek- (to plait)
kista (basket)
médhu (mead)
My list is highly selective. But this does sort of sound like a subsistence culture in northern Europe. The PIE diet might include some deer stew, with onions and beans. But significantly, there’s no olive oil, fig trees or citrus fruits.

Which leads me to my favourite map in all of linguistics. It’s based on the idea that, because we have been able to reconstruct words for apple, salmon, oak, beaver, squirrel, hedgehog but not grapes or chestnuts, we can work out where the Indo-European “homeland” might have been.

Evidence for one theory of the location of speakers of proto-Indo-European, based on a comparison of reconstructed vocabulary with the distribution of plants and animals. From Colin Renfew’s Archaeology and Language (1987), after WM Mann and L Kilian. Illustration: Republished with permission
Sadly, there is a big problem with this approach. The PIE lexicon is far from complete. What is more, names can be applied differently by different cultures. Words related to salmon have also been used to indicate trout, a fish with a different range. And meanings are slippery. What if we took the existence of a word “mead” to mean that PIE speakers knew about fermentation and alcohol? Our word beer, after all, comes from the medieval Latin biber – a drink of any kind. Not only that, but at 6,000 years’ distance, the linguistic ground is far from firm. The datasets get smaller and smaller the further back you go, making it harder to say that similarities between words aren’t down merely to chance. Linguistic palaeontology promises more than it delivers.

Still, it’s nice if language adds some colour to the blurry picture we have of our distant forebears. And you could probably do worse than follow a PIE-diet: no short-crust pastry, but oak-smoked hedgehog in abundance.
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Editorial: Government must not dictate what languages citizens can use | The Province

Editorial: Government must not dictate what languages citizens can use | The Province | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
In 1989, in a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision related to freedom of the press, then-justice Peter Cory wrote the following words:

“It is difficult to imagine a guaranteed right more important to a democratic society than freedom of expression … the concept of free and uninhibited speech permeates all truly democratic societies and institutions. The vital importance of the concept cannot be overemphasized.”

It is likely these words, or similar ones from other Supreme Court of Canada rulings, that Richmond municipal lawyers relied upon in wisely advising council against drafting a bylaw that would ban Chinese language-only signs. Canada’s free-speech rights include protection of the manner in which we communicate with each other, including which language we use.

Some people are upset with Richmond store owners who only use Chinese in their signs. They need to get over it.

Government must have no role in dictating which languages private citizens use, particularly in a multicultural country such as Canada. If shopkeepers only wish to use Chinese in their signs, more than likely they have decided that’s best for their businesses bottom line. Customers are free to decide whether to shop in those stores or not.

With, 45 per cent of Richmond residents reporting that they are ethnically Chinese, according to the 2011 census, Chinese signs clearly make good business sense. Critics need to consider why they feel offended. That also can’t be overemphasized.
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Asia Radio Today - Industry News

Asia Radio Today - Industry News | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
The News Service Division of India’s public broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) has launched free SMS news headlines in four more Indian languages.

The service is now also being offered in Gujarati, Assamese, Tamil and Malayalam on pilot basis.

The Free AIR News SMS service was launched in English last year and has 400,000 subscribers.

Last month, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar launched it in five Indian languages – Hindi, Sanskrit, Marathi, Dogri and Nepali.

The service aims to provide important news to subscribers in their preferred language on their mobile phones.

To avail the service, one can register at
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Oral Abilities of Children Can Detect Writing Problems in the Future

Oral Abilities of Children Can Detect Writing Problems in the Future | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
The way children form sentences in correct grammar or syntax may be indicative of potential writing difficulties, a study reveals.
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Ecrire, traduire en métamorphose - L'atelier infin Bernard Simeone

Ecrire, traduire en métamorphose - L'atelier infini
Bernard Simeone

DATE DE PARUTION : 02/10/14 EDITEUR : Verdier (Editions) ISBN : 978-2-86432-773-8 EAN : 9782864327738 PRÉSENTATION : Broché NB. DE PAGES : 80 p.

Une première approche du phénomène de la traduction tendrait à donner d'elle une image plus homologuée que celle de l'écriture, plus proche de ce qu'on nomme d'ordinaire transmission, et qui suppose un contenu : traduire, c'est bien sûr se mesurer à un texte préexistant (énorme évidence bonne à rappeler pour en mesurer toutes les implications). C'est donc éloigner un peu le vertige de l'informel, du texte censé surgir ex nihilo.

Mais d'un examen plus approfondi, il résulte vite que traduire c'est affronter, tout autant que le texte original et de façon plus taraudante, les spires, abîmes et silences de sa propre langue, en une expérience dont l'intensité et la légitimité n'entretiennent pas une relation hiérarchique avec celles de l'écriture première.


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New: In a Burning Sea - Contemporary Afrikaans Poetry in Translation Edited by Marlise Joubert

New: In a Burning Sea - Contemporary Afrikaans Poetry in Translation Edited by Marlise Joubert | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
An anthology compiled and edited by Marlise Joubert, with an introduction by André Brink – In a Burning Sea: Contemporary Afrikaans Poetry in Translation – is now available from Protea Boekhuis:
In a Burning Sea: Contemporary Afrikaans poetry in translation aims to address a long-standing need to introduce Afrikaans poetry to a local as well as international audience. While a number of translated works have, in recent years, been made available to the wider South African readership, only a handful of high-profile individuals continue to enjoy international recognition.
This anthology is a collection of poems from contemporary poets who are actively writing and publishing and whose work is a good reflection of the current trends evident in Afrikaans literature. The editor hopes it will go some way towards remedying the present lack of exposure and encourage future publications offering translations of writing also representative of the broader traditions of historical and twentieth-century Afrikaans poetry.
In compiling the anthology, the editor approached poets who had published at least a second volume of poetry in the years from 2005 to 2011. Some poems were unpublished at the time of the selections but have found a subsequent home in more recent volumes of poems. Individuals were asked to submit up to ten poems; some offered their own translations, but for the remainder she made use of a panel of excellent English translators. In each case the poet worked in close collaboration with the translator of his or her choice.
About the editor
Marlise Joubert is a freelance writer and a painter. She was the editor of four volumes of poetry featuring work of the poets participating in the annual Versindaba poetry festivals. Her first volume of poetry was published in 1970 and her seventh volume, splintervlerk, was published in 2011 and was nominated for the SALA Poetry Prize in 2012. She is also the webmaster of Versindaba.
Book details
In a Burning Sea: Contemporary Afrikaans poetry in translation edited by Marlise Joubert
EAN: 9781485301073
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What Programming Can Learn From Literature

What Programming Can Learn From Literature | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Ever since I first mentioned I was writing a book that imagined the great authors writing software, I've encountered a steady stream of skeptics who react to the premise with eye-rolls or incredulity. Whether it's "Programming has nothing to do with literature! Get your filthy JavaScript away from my beloved authors!" or the converse, "Get your snooty literature away from my beloved JavaScript!," the perceived schism between technology and the humanities looms large.

Yet this so-called schism is a relatively modern phenomenon. Right now there's an overwhelming demand for software professionals, and this has spawned a sort of tech exceptionalism that dismisses the liberal arts as a sideshow for mushy technophobes and academics. That feels narrow minded. Those with a background in the humanities are more likely to have an inductive, open-ended approach to reasoning and are more likely to probe beyond the standard methodologies and question accepted practices. The chronology of great writers reads like a laundry list of language innovators: Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Woolf, Joyce, Kerouac.

It's easy dismiss coding as a rote exercise -- a matter of following rules. But natural language is subject to rules of its own: grammar, syntax, spelling. The best writers test these rules, bend them, or break them outright, and in doing so they keep the language alive. Programmers break rules too. When a good programmer breaks a rule, it's not for effect -- they're trying to overcome an arbitrary convention that's hampering their ability to express themselves. Software's indebted to these programmers who are curious enough to experiment with language, because that's how new patterns and techniques are conceived. So I wanted to apply the quirks and transgressions of the great authors to JavaScript, to see where that pushed the language.

But isn't code simply a list of instructions for a computer? Sure, a program must make sense to a computer, but it's equally important that it be understood by humans (not least the human who wrote it). In fact the durability of a program pretty much depends on the ability of the author to express its logic in human terms. Programs are written and maintained by humans, and if they can't readily understand the purpose of a program, they won't try to improve it and they can't fix it when it (inevitably) goes wrong.

Since the 1960s, we've been hearing that soon computers will start writing their own programs. But it takes ingenuity, nuance, and emotional intelligence to craft quality code. Any computer with those qualities would probably be pretty good at writing novels too.

As a long-term coder and literature devotee, I'm the first to admit that writing literature and writing code are two very different processes -- yet I've become increasingly aware of the things they have in common. In both literature and code, words take their meanings from their context. Both literature and code use words (or symbols) to represent complex ideas in concrete form. Then they assign that idea to an object: a word, an expression, a function or method in code, perhaps a character or a place in literature. (Functional programming uses higher order functions to represent ideas of ideas, a concept familiar to readers of Woolf or Borges). Both literature and code are expected to more-or-less conform to rules of logic (even an experimental work of surrealism defines its own logic of a sort). In fact, literature's logic can be at least as complex as a program's--take Dostoevsky's Stavrogin, who "if he believes, doesn't believe that he believes, and if he doesn't believe, doesn't believe that he doesn't believe."

I chose to have these authors write JavaScript because it's the coding language that most resembles natural language. It's at its most expressive when combining simple idioms in original ways; its syntax, which is limited yet flexible, promotes innovation without compromising readability. Just as natural language has no dominant paradigm, JavaScript developers can select from a grab bag of approaches -- procedural, functional and object-oriented -- and blend them as appropriate. Most ideas can be expressed in multiple ways, and many JavaScript programmers can be identified by their distinctive coding style.

Because JavaScript has relatively few constraints, it leaves more creative wiggle room. Several eminent JavaScripters have exploited this wiggle room to experiment with new voices. Jacob Thornton (who wrote Bootstrap, the web's most popular development framework) speaks eloquently on the attraction of JavaScript to those of us who value creativity over predictability: "It's precisely this potential for expression which makes it not only bearable, but actually exciting... Like an artist painting a bowl of fruit, if I had to express each work the same way -- with the only variety being in the fruits themselves -- I'd surely have gone mad by now."

To be clear, I'm not advocating that developers should go into work tomorrow and re-write their core utility as a Milton sonnet. Software teams need to collectively figure out the style that works for them. Most of the ambitious stuff is best reserved for personal projects and . . . well, maybe an odd book. That said, many of JavaScript's syntax choices have little or no effect on the generated bytecode. A prose analogy would be the difference between a semicolon and an em dash. It's a stylistic choice that doesn't alter the meaning in any significant way.

In my book, I try to show the breadth of styles and sensibilities that can be expressed in code. Hemingway's code is intentionally unsophisticated. He wants you to feel the awe of the Fibonacci sequence without him talking all over it. Shakespeare's solution is a "calckulation in two acts employing the humorous logick of java-scripte" (with comments in iambic pentameter). Austen appears to seek the approval of the grammar pedants while winking furiously at those who can see beyond the artifice, Borges generates prime numbers by imagining long-limbed monsters climbing a staircase, Nabokov exploits the rotational delta between Terra and Antiterra to predict the next happy number, Tupac raps out his solution, and Kerouac... oh but now I see your eyes rolling...
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Why Being a Writer Isn’t as Obvious as All That

Why Being a Writer Isn’t as Obvious as All That | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
For those of us transitioning from “I’d like to be a writer one day” to “I am a writer” there’s a vicious cycle of self-doubt: We don’t take ourselves seriously, so others don’t take us seriously, so we don’t take ourselves seriously . . ..
Karen’s instructions are just the thing for breaking the cycle.
But I have a very hard time taking her instructions.
Since I’m a writer, I’ll tell you about that now.
Let’s be clear: I am a writer.  My first professional writing jobs were in graduate school, way back in 1995-1996.  I actually wrote for a semi-living.  Nothing glamorous — in-house newsletters and a pile of editing work — but it was real writing, for pay.  That made me a writer.
It was confusing, of course, because I was going to school to study accounting.  One doesn’t usually graduate from business school with “I am a writer” on the brain.  I slapped on the accountant sticker and ran with it.
I did the accounting thing for a couple years, transitioned into the non-profit sector and then into the zero-profit sector.  Slapped on the housewife sticker and then the stay-at-home-mom sticker and finally the homeschooling-mom sticker.  I did some odds-and-ends accounting projects during that time, and so I didn’t let my accountant label fully wear off.  I did some teaching stuff, and the teaching stuff involved writing things.  The accountant stuff involved writing things.  I was a still a writer, it turns out.  I still didn’t put the writer sticker on.
When my children were babies, I had a mom’s forum I was very active on.  I started feeling restless.  I asked an internet friend to pray for me: I’m feeling like I should be doing something more and I don’t know what.
My husband and I went to a charismatic Mass, random event we just enjoyed going to.  The speaker before Mass spoke about discerning small-v vocations.  “What have you been doing for as long as you can remember?” he asked us.  I told my husband: Well, I’ve been writing ever since I knew how.  It’s the one thing I always do.
Used to drive my grandmother nuts.
Meanwhile, I heard about blogging.  I started a little anonymous mom-blog just to practice writing for an audience.
Then I saw this link to the Catholic Writers Guild’s online writers conference.  It was free and I could do it from home.  I did it.
I went again the next year.
My writing picked up from there. Nothing big, just bits and pieces of this and that as I grew more serious.
By the following year, I was involved with the CWG as a volunteer.  Next thing I knew, I was running the CWG Blog.
True story: I was hesitant to promote the CWG blog on my own personal blog, because I figured they probably didn’t want to be associated with me.
Yes.  That’s right. I was the person who was handpicked to create and manage the CWG Blog, and I genuinely assumed that the Guild would rather I kept quiet about that fact. It just seemed like a reasonable thing for an organization to want.
I mean yeah, sure, they’d let me volunteer. But let’s not get carried away.  An organization needs to keep up its standards, you know?
I still sorta feel that way.  But I think they’re okay with me, because they let me be Vice President for a while.
One day, a friend of mine referred to me, in public, as a “blogger.”
I was mortified.
So here I am.  I get paid to write stuff.  I’ve published a book.  I’ve had actual times in my life when people contacted me (not the other way around) and said, “Could I hire you to do this writing thing for pay?”
But when people ask me what I do, I still don’t automatically respond, “I’m a writer.”  Also, I don’t have my own office.
Part of the reason is that writing is not the main thing I do.  The main thing I do is raise my kids.  It’s the thing I love to do, despite my utterly not-safe-for-Pinterest lifestyle.  The thought of not writing is weird.  Alien.  The thought of not being able to organize my life around the rearing of my children makes me cry.  Unspeakable.
I still have my accountant sticker, and I do enough teaching stuff that I have a teacher sticker I wear sometimes too.  I don’t usually tell people about those, either, unless it comes up.
Usually I just tell people I’m a housewife.  It’s subversive and it causes people to leave me alone, which at a party is nice, because you can never really have a conversation at a party anyway, too loud and mingley.  Anyone who gets as far as inviting me for a cup of coffee, which is when you can have a conversation, already knows I’m writer by then.
They know by then because I have terrible handwriting.  I have bad dreams sometimes about trying to write down my phone number and not succeeding.  These dreams have a basis in real life.  So when someone wants to get together for coffee I give them my business card, so that I don’t have to write down my number by hand.  Thus even if they didn’t know before, by the time coffee comes around, they know.
The other reason I don’t mention writing much is that I write about religion.  Not just any religion, but wacked-out I Think Catholicism Is True religion.  Most people don’t want to read about that.
And then yet the other reason I don’t mention it is because I spend a lot of time in Catholic places.  It goes better if I show up as just another random housewife lady, and not with my professional Catholic sticker on.  People eventually find out what I do in my spare time, but they don’t find out until after they know me.  It’s better that way.
I’m a very shy writer.  When I was a kid, my family would always ask, “When can we see what you’re writing?”
I would cover my notebook and say, “When it’s finished.”
That’s still the answer.
I don’t have an office because the main thing I do is raise my kids.  That’s my #1 job.  There’s no spare bedroom, and it would take an awful lot of spare bedrooms before Jennifer’s Writing Space got to the head of the queue.  I’m considered a priority member of the household because I have to share my bedroom with zero pets and only one human, and the human is the person I married.
I could go out and get an accounting job, and use the money to buy a giant house with lots of spare rooms. But I’d have to give up my day job raising my kids, which I love, and there wouldn’t be much writing time, either.  Not a good strategy.
One day when I’m old, maybe enough children will move out that we’ll have a room that could be my writing space.  Until then, I share office space with my five best friends.  I’m good with that.
When I go to confession, 98% of my sins are in some manner writing-related.
But the office thing isn’t nothing.  I know I’m a writer, because my husband bought me a lovely ultralight computer for my birthday this year.  I have a teenager, which means I have a live-in babysitter, which means I can take a child to lessons or sports and leave the other ones home, and I get to sit alone in the car for an hour.
I use my little computer to write drafts, and then save them on dropbox and go edit and publish back home at the shared big office computer.
My happy hour, by which I mean the hour when I am very happy, is when I’m sitting in a parking lot all by myself, with no one bothering me, and I can write things.
The other people I live with cook dinner, and I get those writing hours.  So I guess that makes me official.
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Nuremberg trials interpreter Siegfried Ramler: ‘The things we saw were shocking’

Nuremberg trials interpreter Siegfried Ramler: ‘The things we saw were shocking’ | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Seven years after fleeing the Nazis on the kindertransport, Siegfried Ramler made his way to Nuremberg – where he became an interpreter in the trials of Germany’s major war criminals
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Philippe Sands
The Guardian, Wednesday 22 October 2014 18.00 BST

'I was 22, I just concentrated on the job' … Siegfried Ramler in front of a projection of Hans Frank, the 'Butcher of Warsaw'. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian
Siegfried Ramler travelled from Honolulu to London last month, a little short of his 90th birthday, to give a talk about human dignity and the Nuremberg trials, at which he worked as an interpreter. Coincidentally, he arrived as the Conservative party announced an ill-considered and petulant threat to withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights, aligning itself with the ideas of Vladimir Putin. The convention was adopted shortly after Ramler completed his Nuremburg assignment, reflecting the “enthronement of human rights” that Winston Churchill had called for in October 1942.

Sig, as he likes to be known, has a wry sense of humour and a gentle German accent. A packed audience at the Army & Navy Club on Pall Mall listened in a state of thrall as he described the experience of sharing a small interrogation room with the likes of Hermann Göring and Hans Frank, men whose acts prompted European states to embrace the revolutionary idea of individual human rights. Organised by the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), the event celebrated the birth of simultaneous interpretation at the Nuremberg trials, a novel development that took years off the proceedings, while imposing on interpreters the pressures of capturing the horror accurately and fairly, before the speaker had completed the sentence.

Sig’s road to Nuremberg was not direct. In March 1938, as a 14-year-old Austrian Jewish schoolboy, he watched Wehrmacht troops enter Vienna, observing through drawn curtains the coming of the swastika and the jubilation of a multitude of joyous Austrians.

The family were soon thrown out of their home and shortly after Kristallnacht Sig travelled to London on the kindertransport, to live with his uncle near Hampstead Heath in north London, a period he recalls with much fondness. Towards the end of the war, in 1945, Sig signed up with the US air force to work as a linguist in Germany. He learned of the trial of Nazi leaders, went Awol, and hitched a ride to Nuremberg’s palace of justice.

Within days he was sitting in a small room with Hans Frank and a military interrogator. Without any training, he interpreted the pre-trial interrogations of the man who ruled large parts of occupied Poland, the “Butcher of Warsaw”.

Frank was governor general of occupied Poland, as well as Adolf Hitler’s personal lawyer, a man charged with – and then convicted for – the murder of three million Jews and Poles. Sig remembers him as an “interesting and impressive” man “overtaken by fanaticism”. He acted “with a clear mind”, he says: “He knew he had done wrong.”

How did he feel to be in the same room as Frank, given that he had lived through Kristallnacht? That wasn’t the issue, says Sig. “I was preoccupied with doing a good job, with unfamiliar vocabulary” – the search for accuracy. “We were there to interpret, not to judge. Did subconscious, negative feelings intervene? The predominant question was not of feelings but a linguistic question, how do I accept this challenge of words.”

During questions from the audience after his talk, someone asks whether the interpreters were traumatised by what they heard. “The things we saw were shocking,” Sig says, “but they could not be translated into feelings, because we were not in a position to feel one way or another. I was 22, I just concentrated on the job”.

After the pre-trial interrogations came the main trial. Sig was there from day one – 20 November 1945 – to the end, when the sentences were handed down. Ten times he heard the presiding judge, Sir Geoffrey Lawrence of the English court of appeal, speak the words “Death by hanging” – Tode durch den strang: a straightforward matter for the interpreters. That last session was not filmed, to preserve the dignity of the defendants. He recalls many of the big moments over that year: Robert Jackson’s “unforgettable” opening speech (four nations who chose to “stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law”); Jackson’s near disastrous cross-examination of Hermann Goering, repaired by a “brilliant” David Maxwell-Fyfe; the Bergen-Belsen film of “gas chambers and unspeakable cruelties”; the acceptance of a little responsibility by Hans Frank and Albert Speer (“they pronounced a collective guilt of Germany as a whole but would not accept individual guilt”).He recalls too the moments of levity: the festivities at the Grand Hotel, the excessive drinking by Russian officers, the buffoonery of Hermann Goering. The questions take him back to his own emotions. Yes, he says, there were moments when some of us got into difficulty. One of his colleagues was Virginia von Schon, a librarian and most talented interpreter, also “beautiful, prim and proper”. “She was on an English microphone”, Sig tells an audience on tenterhooks, “when a word came up that she could not bring herself to pronounce, because it was so vulgar”. Not wanting to pronounce it in open courtroom “she interpreted all the way up to the word, then she stopped, she just wouldn’t do it.” Sig pauses. “I took the microphone and used that word, in fact I made it worse.” He pauses again. “On that note, we might adjourn!”

The legacy and lessons of that momentous year were “extremely important”, personally and globally, Sig says. Over the decades a question recurs. “How it is possible that these things happened in a country that produced musicians, a Goethe, a Schiller, how was it possible that a culture like this could sink into the abyss into which they had fallen under the Nazis?” Sig still asks himself that question. The answer? “I attempt a response, that when you live in a society with no checks on behaviour, no acceptance of any rule of law, no respect for rules of procedure, then those things can happen in any country.” He pauses, looks up, around the room. “It’s not only a German problem, it’s a human problem.”

He feels strongly about global cooperation – he still works at the East-West Centre in Hawaii (an organisation founded in 1960 to strengthen relations between nations) – and human rights and international criminal justice. The Nuremberg judgments engendered the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and then two years later, the European Convention. These, he says, are matters of pride and also concern: “Just because it doesn’t all work perfectly doesn’t mean it was the wrong way.” In his view Nuremberg “created a path to the rule of international law, a means for dealing with guilt and the acceptance of responsibility”, a way of distinguishing right from wrong.

It seems that some Conservatives – the justice secretary among them – wish to be rid of the European court. Chris Grayling would do well to spend an evening with Siegfried Ramler, who could refresh him on the rationale for the European Convention and its court, a system of collective security. Sig knows a thing or two about history, and what happens when checks and balances are cast aside.

• Philippe Sands’ A Song of Good and Evil, about the Nuremberg trial, will be performed with Vanessa Redgrave, Laurent Naouri and Guillaume de Chassy on 29 and 30 November, at the Purcell Room, South Bank, London.

Nuremberg and Beyond: The Memoirs of Siegfried Ramler, is published by Ahuna Press.
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NYS AG Announces Language Access Agreement With Newburgh Police

NYS AG Announces Language Access Agreement With Newburgh Police | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
The New York State attorney general has announced an agreement with the City of Newburgh Police Department to provide greater access for residents who do not speak English.

The agreement ensures language access for one of the state’s so-called Limited English Proficient, or LEP, communities. Kristen Clarke is the Civil Rights Bureau Chief at the state attorney general’s office. She says her office received information and complaints, and heard from advocates about the problems in communicating with law enforcement in various parts of the state.

“We heard from advocates who represent domestic violence victims who told us that victims would call 9-1-1 for help and the police officers would come out and because of their inability to communicate with the victim they would turn to the alleged batterer to translate for her,” says Clarke.

Peter Gonzalez is president of Newburgh-based Latinos Unidos of the Hudson Valley, an organization that addresses quality-of-life issues affecting Latinos in the region. He says the agreement is a positive development.

“I also think it will make cooperation between the Spanish-speaking population of the City of Newburgh and the police a lot more amicable, more cooperative,” says Gonzalez.

He says he raised the following matter with representatives from the attorney general’s office.

“This at least will make it so if there’s a problem, there’s a police report that comes out, at least they’ll know what’s on the police report,” says Gonzalez. “We had someone who came into our office back in July, he was a domestic violence case. He had come in and he had had a complaint, a police complaint, and it was all in English. And he came into Latinos Unidos and wanted us to translate it.”

Again, Clarke:

“So the language access agreement will be one that helps ensure that residents across Newburgh get the help that they need going forward regardless of their ability to speak English,” says Clarke.

Chief of the Newburgh Police Department Michael Ferrara did not respond to a request for comment. Judy Kennedy is Newburgh’s mayor.

“I was 100 percent behind this agreement and behind the support to do that,” says Kennedy. “We have a very large Latino population, almost 50 percent, and so it’s all kinds of things that go on that a lot of those people really don’t know how to speak English and they need help, they need information, they need support, they need a lot of things.”

She adds:

“When our police department can speak Spanish and communicate with them it solves a lot of problems and prevents a lot of problems,” says Kennedy.

The agreement is aimed at improving the ability of officers in the Newburgh Police Department to provide interpretation and translation services. Clarke says the police department will ensure that its officers, and its civilian employees who have regular contact with the public, effectively communicate with LEP persons, including when responding to calls for assistance; making traffic stops; taking complaints; interviewing crime victims; making public service announcements, and issuing safety alerts.

The department also will take steps to recruit, hire, and retain bilingual officers and staff and translate vital documents. Clarke says Newburgh could serve as an example.

“We’re really proud to be at a place where Newburgh might stand as a model for other police departments that also need to put in work to make sure that they are prepared to serve all individuals in their communities,” says Clarke.

According to the U.S. Census, 48 percent of Newburgh residents are Latino or Hispanic, compared to about 18 percent of New Yorkers. Elsewhere in Orange County, the attorney general’s office has worked with the Middletown Police Department to strengthen language access.
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Un 'hacker' no es un 'pirata informático': Abren la petición para cambiar la definición errónea

Un 'hacker' no es un 'pirata informático': Abren la petición para cambiar la definición errónea | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Los 'hackers' españoles han abierto una petición online para cambiar el significado de la palabra 'hacker' en el diccionario de la Real Academia Española, canon del uso del idioma español, informa ...
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Two Languages, One Nation? - European studies blog

Two Languages, One Nation? - European studies blog | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
I’ve no need, or desire, to give you here potted histories of the vicissitudes of the Catalan language and its literature, with their controversial political aspects and problems of definition, as they’re well covered by Wikipedia. In anticipation of the conference  Language and the Making of Nations  to be held at the British Library on 14 November, I thought it would be more interesting to look at a few examples of the happy relationship between Spanish (alias Castilian) and Catalan as reflected in BL collections.

Nobody nowadays is monolingual in Catalan, although it is of course perfectly possible for people outside Spain to be bilingual in, say, Catalan and German.

Bilingualism may well be more common than monolingualism, although bilingualism doesn’t necessarily mean equality of status for both languages or that both are used in all contexts.  For centuries educated people were as fluent in the Latin they learned at school as in the vernacular they imbibed with their mother’s – or even their wetnurse’s – milk.  But of course Latin and the vernacular had different spheres of activity.

Spanish was spoken at the Catalan court from the 15th century onwards, when poets composed in both languages; and linguisticians study the dialect of Spanish now spoken in Catalonia (see Sinner, below).

1. The oldest Catalan-Spanish dictionary in the British Library appears to be:

Joaquin Esteve, Joseph Belvitges and Antonio Juglà y Font,  Diccionario Catalan-Castellano-Latino (Barcelona: en la oficina de Tecla Pla viuda, 1803-05). British Lbibrary 828.h.19.

These three gentlemen have all the qualifications one could wish for (wouldn’t you like to have doctor utriusque iuris on your c.v.?). Their audience is Catalans who need to express themselves in Spanish in ‘tribunals, academies and pulpits’ not only in Spain as a whole but also ‘without leaving their houses’.


Pedro Martyr Anglès, OP, Prontuario orthologi-graphico trilingue. En que se enseña á pronunciar, escribir, y letrear correctamente en latin, castellano, y catalan: con una idiagraphia, ò arte de escribir en secreto ... (Barcelona: Mariano Soldvila, [1743]).  1568/2820.

Writing in the medium of Spanish (after all, he says, the grammar of Greek, Hebrew  and oriental languages are expounded in Latin), Anglès treats Spanish and Catalan on equal terms, though both have to cede prestige to Latin.

3.  Last but not least, the popular drama of  19th-century Barcelona and Valencia abounds in short pieces (sainetes/sainets, entremeses/entremesos) described on the title page as ‘pieza bilingüe’.  So far as I can determine, the linguistic divisions are drawn accurately: characters speak Catalan among themselves, and when joined by a Spanish speaker pass into Spanish as a matter of courtesy.

Don M. P., El memorialista. O Lo que vale un buen hombre, pieza bilingüe en un acto y en verso (Barcelona: Juan Llorens, 1859).  11726.g.11 (35)

Gregori is a letter-writer and matchmaker, who matches Doña Clara and Don Eugenio; Pauleta is a maid. The characters mostly  speak in Catalan. Doña Clara is a fine lady, who speaks only Spanish; when addressing her, Don Eugenio speaks good Spanish and wins her hand; Gregori speaks to her in humorously bad Spanish. Although there is a class division by language, the atmosphere is more one of One Nation.

The conclusion is suitably bilingual:

Don Gregori: Long live Gregori (CATALAN)
Doña Clara, Don Eugenio and Pauleta: Let him live long (SPANISH)
Doña Clara, Don Eugenio: For he is a good man  (SPANISH)
Pauleta: For he is a good man (CATALAN)


Carsten Sinner, El castellano de Cataluña : Estudio empírico de aspectos léxicos, morfosintácticos, pragmáticos y metalingüísticos, Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, 320. (Tübingen, 2004).[320]

Pedro-Manuel Cátedra (ed.),  Poemas castellanos de cancioneros bilingües y otros manuscritos Barceloneses (Exeter, 1983). X.0909/545(34)

Maurizio Fabbri, A Bibliography of Hispanic dictionaries: Catalan, Galician, Spanish, Spanish in Latin America and the Philippines.  Appendix: A bibliography of Basque dictionaries (Imola, 1979).  X.950/20122
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How Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement protesters are using their native language to push back against Beijing

How Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement protesters are using their native language to push back against Beijing | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
There some subtle yet subversive wordplay to what Hong Kong's protesters call the Umbrella Movement.
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10th Students Worried over Language Dilemma

10th Students Worried over Language Dilemma | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
HYDERABAD: As the uncertainty over composite courses in SSC still continues, Class X students across Telangana are worried over the question paper pattern for the first language course in annual exams.

Many schools stopped teaching Sanskrit and Arabic languages after the government announced their removal as first language subjects in August.

However, the government reintroduced them into the SSC syllabus recently, which again pushed the schools into a dilemma. As a result, the schools decided not to teach them until the government gives clarity on the issue. “We will start teaching them only if the officials ask us to do,” said Rajeshwari, principal of Saraswati Vidya Mandir, Keshavanagar.

Students are also puzzled if the government continues with its new model of 80 marks for major first language subject (Telugu) and 20 marks for the minor subject (Sanskrit), or old model of 100 marks for any language subject will be brought back. Any sudden change will effect their performance in the exam as they have not been preparing for the removed composite courses for the past three months.

Officials of the Directorate of Government Examinations (SSC Board), Telangana, has already written to the government asking it to keep 100 marks for the first language course as before, and proposed Sanskrit as a stand alone subject from the next academic year.

Considering the possible negative effects of major changes to the examination pattern in the middle of the academic year, the SSC Board officials also requested the government to continue with the old model. However, the state government is yet to respond to the proposal.
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Burundi's senate passes bill on status of languages | Shanghai Daily

Burundi's senate passes bill on status of languages | Shanghai Daily | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
BUJUMBURA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Burundian Parliament Upper Chamber (the senate) on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill on the status of languages and requested Chinese language to be formally taught in Burundian schools. Burundian Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Joseph Butore was present at the Senate in the day to clarify details of the bill.

"This bill comes to value the national language (Kirundi), to avoid language conflicts and to determine official languages," said Butore.

The bill stipulates that official languages in Burundi include Kirundi, French and English while Swahili is the fourth language taught in schools.

"The English language will be taught for public administration officials because Burundi must be competitive in the East African Community where English is most used." Butore indicated that a didactic study will be made in order to determine clearly how each official language will be taught and how much time it needs to be mastered. Before adopting the bill, senators demanded the Chinese language be taught in Burundian schools, arguing that the Chinese language is now used in several countries. The bill was adopted by Burundian Parliament Lower Chamber (the National Assembly) in August.
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Urdu is not going anywhere - Harris Khalique

Urdu is not going anywhere - Harris Khalique | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
That in my humble view is the conclusion of the conference in Karachi on the state of Urdu language, literature, journalism and performing arts held last week. Urdu is not going anywhere and Urdu is not going anywhere. Twice, yes, with different meanings.

For the last seven or eight years, it has become a ritual of sorts that Ahmed Shah, earlier the elected president and now the secretary-general of the Arts Council of Pakistan in Karachi, mobilises a team of selfless volunteers around him and gets a representative sample of Urdu literati and literature lovers, from within the country and abroad, to convene in Karachi under the banner of the Annual Urdu Conference to appreciate and analyse the current state of language and literature, its sociology and politics.

Born to parents from Abbottabad, Shah is a quintessential Karachiite and an Urdu literature buff. On a somewhat lighter note, it seems that Shah has taken the right clue from some global politicians including the all-powerful Russian leader and go-getter, Alexander Putin. They oscillate between being the president and the prime minister of their countries when the constitution restricts the number of terms for each position. Shah stays the president and the secretary in turns. His stable stint at the institution he runs with such adroitness has created an unprecedented reputation of the Arts Council, the art schools and training programmes associated with it and the events it organises.

This year, the true feat of the organisers was not getting writers, poets, critics and artists from seven countries across continents and thirteen cities from across Pakistan to attend the conference. It was drawing huge crowds for each of its twenty odd sessions over four days (Thursday through Sunday last week) when the city was largely choked and traffic was hugely paralysed because of a major PPP congregation planned on Saturday. The mushaira at the Urdu conference happening the same night saw some people coming straight from the political rally.

It was a bit of a relief in these testing times to see the love of poetry bringing together under one roof people with adversarial political views who were praising or booing in one voice the verses they collectively liked or disliked. Such shared public spaces across class, ethnicity, sectarian and party divides must be restored and encouraged.

Let me now come to the conclusions I arrived at during the conference about the state of Urdu in the present times after keenly attending a few sessions, gathering information from other delegates on sessions I couldn’t attend and after meeting with some important litterateurs and scribes of the current times.

Urdu is not going anywhere, geographically speaking and in popular imagination. The threats posed by English are digging more into the common vocabulary of Urdu language, but its verbs, phrases and syntax stay intact. In effect, the more people from across classes and secondary towns participate in media and communication, theatre and oratory, the more Urdu is used. The mushrooming of private television channels, both news and entertainment, and FM radio stations has perhaps created challenges for the right usage, pronunciation, correct idiomatic expressions, etc of Urdu but the phenomenon has promoted the language and its use like never before.

That also means that the more democracy and participation we have – which will rapidly increase the need of communication between people living in different places in the length and breadth of Pakistan – the more will Urdu be used around us. One small example is the commercial non-viability of three English-language news channels in recent years. It forced one to be shelved after years of investment and just at the time when it was all set to be launched, the other completely switched from English into Urdu and the third was shut down after running for a couple of years.

One interesting thing is that while Urdu news, drama and music channels continue to marginalise English language broadcasting, they pose little threat to the electronic media in other Pakistani languages. The more the public at large involves itself in political, cultural and social conversation, the more space is created for other Pakistani national languages.

Sindhi, Pashto, Seraiki, Hindko, Balochi and Punjabi channels as commercial enterprises may not be making as much money as Urdu channels, but they are growing and progressing incrementally. A new blend of languages is also witnessed in political talk shows as well as entertainment shows when Urdu is used intermittently on Sindhi, Seraiki and Pashto television channels. Some channels actually have bilingual programming where a couple of hours every day have been dedicated to Urdu talk shows.

What could not happen in the echelons of power, bureaucracy and parliament, educational curriculum and state-sponsored narrative, is now happening on private radio and television channels where languages are used according to the needs and demands of common citizens and also treated with equal respect.

For someone like me – who appreciates that a language whose speakers grossly outnumber its so-called native speakers – developing, agreeing to and making people adhere to a standard register, a uniform accent and pronunciation will not be possible. Therefore, the more Urdu is left on its own, in terms of people using it as they need and as they please, with the ‘Urduites’ stopping their lament about its downfall and not worrying about its imposition by the state as a national language in the true spirit, it will continue to evolve gaining strength from its sister languages and local dialects within Pakistan.

It is the lingua franca and the shared language of the people but not the mother tongue of most. Pitching it against other national languages and mother tongues of the country through half-hearted state patronage over the years has done it no good. Thank God the Pakistani state, sans the Punjab government, has largely withdrawn its patronage. My theory here, bordering on conspiracy theory of course, is that when the dominant elite realised that people have learnt Urdu and it has become a people’s language, they stopped patronising it.

However, my conclusion remains that Urdu is needed for the practical reasons of market expansion, shared social and political interests and cultural expression. Whether Bilawal speaks in Karachi or Gilgit, Sharif speaks in Lahore or Quetta, Khan s in Islamabad or Multan, Fazlur Rehman in DI Khan or Sukkur, and Dr Maalik in Ziarat or Khuzdar, they will all speak to the public in Urdu. Likewise, it will be the preferred language for all current affair analysis and news broadcasts. Urdu is not going anywhere; it is here to stay as the language of public discourse.

The other conclusion and a different meaning of the expression that Urdu is not going anywhere – as in not progressing and developing – is also true. Urdu is no more the language of intellectual discourse in Pakistan. When I shared this with some senior Urdu writers, they got truly upset. Nevertheless, I maintain that since there is no new knowledge that is generated in Urdu – from philosophy and mathematics to sociology and economics – it is not among the greatest intellectual languages of the world today.

One way of dealing with our backwardness in different disciplines of knowledge could have been speedy and quality translations of contemporary knowledge into Urdu. There was a time when this was happening but this has ceased to happen anymore for quite some time. Therefore, it is important to recognise that neither Urdu nor any other languages we speak and write in Pakistan have anything to offer to anyone from the outside world except for some pieces of literature in Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto or Seraiki.

Urdu may well be the most representative language of Pakistani literature but that is not enough to make a language the language of intellectual discourse.

The writer is a poet and author based in Islamabad.

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Billboards proclaim the power of stories - SundayWorld

Billboards proclaim the power of stories - SundayWorld | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Building on the logic that a well-established culture of reading can be a game-changer for education, the campaign seeks to motivate parents and caregivers to give their children a head start in life by making reading and storytelling a part of daily life.

To celebrate the launch of the campaign, and the role of family members in developing children's literacy, the campaign hosted a special open-air storytelling session beneath the last of the billboards to go up.

The billboard was put up in Soweto on Wednesday.

Special guest Antoinette Sithole, the sister of Hector Pieterson - who died in the 1976 youth uprising fighting for children's right to learn in their mother tongue - shared a folk tale from her youth with children from one of Nal'ibali's local reading clubs. S poken word artist Mandi Vundla showcased the power of stories through a poetry performance.

In calling for parent and caregiver involvement in children's literacy learning, the new billboard series moves away from the idea that literacy learning can take place only at school - and only in English.

Nal'ibali Gauteng literacy mentor Bongani Godide, who hosted the event, said: "Many parents and primary caregivers don't realise how important their teaching role is with their children - they feel it's the responsibility of school to do all the teaching. Yet sharing stories, something which all families can do, is an essential building block for literacy learning." Research from the South African Book Development Council shows that only 5% of parents read to their children.

"Making regular story times with children is an investment in their education and future.

"Families grow together through their stories, sharing things like values, life lessons, language and knowledge. By reading and sharing stories, a sense of continuity and shared culture happens in stress-free ways while children get to enjoy themselves with the adults they love," said Godide.

"And even if you can't read, you can still tell stories to children. Stories spark those parts of their brains concerned with imagination, emotion, sensation and movement. They create the pathways that enable thinking and reasoning. Research has shown that children who read for pleasure perform better in the classroom, and not just in vocabulary and spelling, but also in maths. And stories are a great way to get children interested in books and reading, starting from birth."

The series of billboards, illustrated by Rico Schacherl of Madam & Eve fame, depict three scenes that symbolise how helping children to develop an interest in books and reading can be enjoyable for adults and children alike, and can be done with children of every age.

The illustrations tap into the growing body of research that indicates that reading for pleasure can put one on the path to educational success, irrespective of social background and circumstance.

Just over 500 billboards have been erected nationwide, with taglines translated into the predominant languages of the provinces and locations in which they are found.

"We are using African languages and English to help ensure everyone appreciates Nal'ibali's messages," said Godide. "Telling stories and reading regularly to children in home languages provides strong foundations not just for learning to read, but for learning another language like English and for ALL learning."


The contents of the billboards have also been transformed into short animated clips that will be aired daily for the next four months at 10 taxi ranks across the country. - Staff Reporter

For more information, visit or
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