Metaglossia: The Translation World
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Metaglossia: The Translation World
News about translation, interpreting, intercultural communication, terminology and lexicography - as it happens
Curated by Charles Tiayon
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Language Scientific Welcomes New Vice President of Technology

MEDFORD, Mass. (PRWEB) February 12, 2019 -- Language Scientific continues expanding and hiring more staff to supplement and enhance its unique combination of high quality technical and medical translation services and cutting edge technology. As part of its growth, Language Scientific announces the addition of Jason Morris to their executive team in the role of Vice President of Technology.!
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AI at the UW: UW CSE professor uses natural language processing to shed light on political campaigns and Twitter trends | Science |

As a young student, UW professor of computer science and engineering Noah Smith was frustrated with his French conjugation homework and started looking for a way to get his computer to make it easier. He didn’t know it at the time, but that program was his first exposure to natural language processing.

Now, instead of verb conjugation, Smith tackles natural language processing problems like auto-translation and conversational systems with his research group Noah’s ARK. The group uses natural language processing to answer questions about politics, media, and the evolution of language.

Natural language processing is a part of our everyday lives with voice technology like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri becoming increasingly commonplace. Even predictive text suggestions in messaging and email platforms are an example of natural language processing in action.

Smith worked with the UW student team that won the $500,000 first place Alexa prize from Amazon in 2017. The team developed Sounding Board, an AI agent capable of holding conversation about popular topics and current events. Sounding Board achieved an average conversation duration of 10 minutes and 22 seconds.

Natural language processing can offer insight into social issues by drawing patterns out of large sets of human language data. In one study, Smith used data from the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns to define a trend in candidates’ political language. The study showed that candidates used more extreme language in the primaries, but used more moderate language in the general elections. However, this change in language did not reflect an actual change in policy positions.

Natural language processing can also be used to understand how language evolves over time, especially with the amount of communication taking place on social media platforms. By parsing text on Twitter, Smith and his research group can develop tools to analyze how human language changes over time through trends in large volumes of data collected from the site.

In another study, Smith explored how language changed and how new words spread via online communication. The study found that language change is significantly more likely to be transmitted among demographically similar areas.  

By improving natural language processing, researchers can develop more meaningful and accurate ways to answer questions like how much science news is sensationalized or whether there is bias in how we describe perpetrators of gun violence.

“When humans look at anything, because of the way we evolved we see patterns, but that doesn’t mean they’re really there,” Smith said. “We’re looking at systematic ways of interpreting what’s going on inside the models and how to improve them.”

Smith’s team researches various methods of deep learning, a specialized form of machine learning. These models are trained using large sets of labeled data and learn patterns from it.

One of the reasons deep learning is successful is because it offers flexible models. However, this flexibility can also be limiting when it comes to applying the model to new situations.

“We want to make models less flexible so they generalize better about data they don’t see,” Smith said.

There are sometimes misconceptions about the progress of AI and what this kind of technology can do, however.

“Some people believe where we’re heading is machines that understand you the way other humans do,” Smith said. “I think the role of machines is augmenting my intelligence, not mimicking my intelligence.”

For those of us who aren’t data scientists, it can be hard to visualize how natural language processing works and what it’s capable of. The Allen Institute, where Smith is a senior research manager, offers interactive online demos that give insight to the process.

As these systems improve, natural language processing will more proficiently assist everyday tasks and more accurately answer questions about the world. Some topics of interest for Smith and his research group include detecting sensationalized science, presentation of immigration issues, and analyzing reporting on presidential debates.

Reach reporter Rhea John at Twitter: @rheamjo

Like what you’re reading? Support high-quality student journalism by donating here.

Rhea John!
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Abu Dhabi News: Hindi to become third official language of Abu Dhabi courts

The move will allow Hindi speakers to lodge claims and grievances in their own tongue!
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The First Testament: A Pastor’s Take | Scot McKnight

So begins a series of reviews of John Goldingay, The First Testament. This post is by Dan Hanlon, an Anglican missioner to Rwanda, and a student at Northern Seminary. What is your go-to translation for teaching, for preaching, for writing? How does FT compare with your go-to translation? Recently my go-to translation!
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Il invente des gants pour traduire la langue des signes

Au Kenya, ce jeune homme de 25 ans a réussi à mettre au point des camps permettre de traduire la langue des signes en langage audio!
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SIEL 2019 : Les vainqueurs du Prix Ibn Battouta ont été désignés

Le Prix Ibn Battouta de la littérature de voyage a été remis dimanche à des écrivains de différents pays arabes, dans le cadre de la 25-ème édition du Salon international …!
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Sommeil : et si on apprenait des langues en dormant ? - Terrafemina

Plus besoin de passer des heures à répéter des phrases dénuées de sens à DuoLingo, il paraît que quelques nuits de sommeil suffisent pour apprendre les bases de nouvelles langues. Enfin, d'après une étude.!
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SIEL-2019: Remise du Prix Ibn Battouta de la littérature de voyage

Le Prix Ibn Battouta de la littérature de voyage a été remis dimanche à des écrivains de différents pays arabes, dans le cadre de la 25-ème édition!
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Google Assistant is now your multilingual interpreter

During CES last month, Google announced its Home speakers and smart displays with Assistant would be capable of becoming virtual interpreters and... by Hagop Kavafian in Google, Google Assistant, Google Home, Google Home Hub, Google Home Max, Google Home Mini, News!
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Ottawa tables legislation to protect and promote Indigenous languages, Inuit call it 'colonial' | CBC News

The federal Liberal government tabled legislation Tuesday to protect Indigenous languages in Canada — many of which are facing extinction because of a shortage of speakers after centuries of colonialism.!
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Federal legislation introduced Tuesday hopes to strengthen supports for Indigenous languages

The federal government has introduced a new piece of legislation aimed at strengthening Indigenous languages. Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages, was given first reading Tuesday. It recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples and the importance of language as a part of culture. It would also enable the Minister of Canadian Heritage to enter …!
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Canada unveils Indigenous Languages bill to fanfare, criticism

The Trudeau government tabled its long-awaited Indigenous Languages legislation Tuesday in the House of Commons.!
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Juvenes Translatores: St Aloysius' College Sixth Form hold on to the crown - The Malta Independent

Juvenes Translatores: St Aloysius' College Sixth Form hold on to the crown
Friday, 8 February 2019, 13:28Last update: about 20 hours ago

Francesca Vassallo from St Aloysius' College Sixth Form is Malta's best young translator for 2019 and together with winners from each of the EU's 28 member states will now travel to Brussels to collect her award and meet the European Commission's professional translators.

 The European Commission announced the authors of the best 28 translations on the topic of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in its annual Juvenes Translatores competition for secondary school students. The European Commission's translators - the organisers of the contest - selected the winners from among this year's 3,252 participants from 751 schools across Europe.!
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Bengali translation of Guru Granth Sahib released

A Bengali translation of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh religion, was released by former President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday.

The book in five volumes was released at a programme held at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, here.

It took four years for Chayon Ghosh and Jhuma Ghosh to translate the book.

The event also marks the 550th birth centenary celebration of Guru Nanak.

Mukherjee spoke about the importance of the Guru Granth Sahib which is treated as a living God by Sikhs. PTI!
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Where to Start with Algerian Literature

My favorite Algerian book critic, Dr. Nadia Ghanem, has put together an overview of who’s who—and what’s what—when it comes to Algerian literature in English.

In total, she found around 100 books. The first French translation of an Algerian literary work was published in 1956. After that, the first Arabic translation—of Taher Wattar’s The Earthquake—came in 2001. As of yet, no full-length Tamazight translation has appeared. In general, there is little Tamazight work in translation. “The work of the Kabyle poet Ahcene Mariche is an exception,” Ghanem says, “thanks to friends who regularly translate his collections into English.”

Ghanem’s 99 books represent novels, memoirs, and poetry collections. Among these, a third have appeared since 2010.



Arabic literature in Algeria is vibrant, but severely underrepresented in English translation. While both genders are under-represented in Arabic, things get ridiculous when it comes to women’s writing. Only one woman’s full-length works have been translated from Arabic to English: those of Ahlam Mostaghanemi. We did find another woman, Zhour Ounissi, who has a translated essay in a collection.

Assuming you won’t read all 99, Dr. Ghanem and I put together this list: a six-book start on Algerian literary prose. For a start at poetry,check out Words Without Borders’ January supplement, ed. Marilyn Hacker.


Dr. Ghanem says: anyone interested in 1960s and 1990s Algeria should read The Earthquake by Tahar Wattar and The Star of Algiers by Aziz Chouaki.


The Star of Algiers is set in Algeria in 1990–91, just on cusp of the Algerian civil war.



Yasmina Khadra is by far the most translated into English, and the works are…uneven. Indeed, Ghanem calls choosing among his works “a game of Russian roulette.” But, she adds, his Inspector Llob series, starting with Morituri, is “exceptionally well constructed and thoroughly entertaining.”


This is one of my favorites, brilliant absurdist humor.


According to Dr. Ghanem, Algeria’s only out lesbian writer.


Last, stories from the internationally acclaimed, unmissable Djebar. Ghanem told me to choose “anything of Djebar’s,” so these seven short stories are it.

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In a book lover’s life, there’s nothing as magical as a perfect, surprising recommendation from someone who just gets you. But finding those people can be tough! That’s where TBR comes in. Go here to find out more, or just click the image below:!
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Were Jesus and Joseph really carpenters?

Looking at the original Greek, the Latin translation, and Jesus’ own historical context might answer this question … or not.

Tradition and popular devotion have often portrayed Jesus and Joseph as carpenters, working together, sharing both workshop and tools while building chairs, stools, and tables. Even some Spanish Baroque paintings show a very young Jesus with a small wood splinter stuck in his finger, a tiny drop of blood flowing out of it, or carrying a wooden log on his shoulder while in the workshop, as if foreshadowing his later death on the cross. But is that what the biblical text itself actually says? Looking at the original Greek, the Latin translation, and Jesus’ own historical context might answer this question … or not.

Sure, most translations use the word “carpenter” to describe Jesus’ and Joseph’s trade. But the Greek word we read in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark can be read in many different ways. The word the Gospels use is téktōn, a common term used for artisans, craftsmen, and woodworkers (so, yes, it can translate as “carpenter”), but also, interestingly, it can refer to stonemasons, builders, construction workers, or even to those who excel in their trade and are able to teach others (as in the Italian maestro). The Latin translation we find in the Vulgate, faber, actually preserves the very different meanings the Greek téktōn has. A faber is a general term used for workers and craftsmen in general. A faber can surely work as a carpenter every now and then, but a lignarius is a carpenter by trade.

Professor James D. Tabor, a biblical scholar at the University of North Carolina, has suggested “builder” or “stonemason” would be a better translation for the Greek téktōn in Jesus’ case, for very specific reasons. On the one hand, Jesus’ preaching often uses metaphors inspired by construction: frequent references to “cornerstones” and “solid foundations” might suggest Jesus was indeed familiar with the details regarding how to plan, finance, lay, and build a house. Also, given the fact that the region where Jesus lived and died is not exactly abundant in trees, and that most houses in his day were built with stones, thinking Jesus and Joseph might have worked in the building business makes sense.

But it is not that easy either. In the Septuagint (the very first translation of the Hebrew Bible from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek), we find the Greek téktōn being used in the book of Isaiah, and also in the list of workmen building or repairing the Temple in Jerusalem in the second book of Kings, to distinguish carpenters from other workers. This distinction was already a classic one, as the Greek already frequently used the word téktōn to refer specifically to a carpenter, using lithólogos for stone worker, and laxeutés for mason. Thinking this common use of the word was inherited by the authors of the Gospels, who were well acquainted with the Septuagint, is only logical.

But comparing the Greek in the Septuagint with the original Hebrew found in Isaiah is also necessary. The Greek téktōn is the word commonly used to translate the generic Hebrew kharash, the word commonly used for “craftsman.” However, téktōn xylon is the verbatim translation of the Hebrew kharash-‘etsim, “craftsman of woods,” that is in fact found in Isaiah 44:13.  But the Hungarian bible scholar Géza Vermes suggested it is possible that the Greek téktōn was not translated from the Hebrew kharash but, rather, that it corresponds to the Aramaic naggara. In fact, Vermes argued, when the Talmud refers to someone as a “carpenter,” it might imply a very learned man. This would mean, then, that the authors of the Gospels would be indicating Joseph was in fact a learned man, who was not only wise but also literate in the Torah, regardless of his trade.!
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Podemos aprender un idioma durante el sueño profundo

Aprender vocabulario de un idioma nuevo es posible durante la fase de sueño profundo: las mismas estructuras cerebrales que rigen el aprendizaje de un vocabulario mientras estamos despiertos, funcionan también cuando dormimos para la formación de la memoria.!
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La traductora Irene Aldasoro, el 9 de febrero de 2019, en 'Arte[faktua]' | EITB Televisión

Yolanda Mendiola entrevistará a la traductora Irene Aldasoro en 'Arte[faktua]', que acaba de recibir el premio Euskadi Saria por la la novela Gailur Ekaiztsuak.!
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Lazos de paz entre religiones en torno a la Biblia Valenciana en Vila-real - Vila-real

Representantes de las distintas confesiones asisten a la inauguración de una muestra con ediciones en un centenar de idiomas!
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El veracruzano que gana dinero traduciendo a grandes empresas incluso en tiempos de Google Translate

En un mundo cada vez más interconectado, la traducción profesional es una necesidad importante para muchas personas y empresas, por lo que Saúl Villegas Sojo encontró en ese nicho una importante oportunidad de negocio.!
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In Mohawk speech, Liberal MP Marc Miller says learning language helped him learn ‘my place on earth’ - National |

Miller, who is not Indigenous, told parliamentarians learning the Mohawk language has helped him to "understand my place on earth."!
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The Fakir of Venice Movie Review: Farhan Akhtar's Film Is Lost In Translation

What lifts the film somewhat and makes it watchable is Farhan Akhtar’s performance as Adi Contractor.!
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New Phishing Attack Uses Google Translate as Camouflage

A phishing campaign that attempts to steal Google account and Facebook credentials has been discovered that utilizes Google Translate as camouflage on mobile browsers.!
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DPS Multilingual Resource Center to focus on parent engagement | Raleigh News & Observer

The new Multilingual Resource Center in the Durham Public Schools will focus on making sure all parents have access to the DPS services they need.!
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How bosses could soon be monitoring employees even in their spare time! | Daily

A New-York based startup has been awarded $2.42 million to create an AI-driven phone that constantly tracks what its user is doing.!
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