I ran across a discussion board not long ago in which someone was chastising someone else for using the term Indian to refer to someone hailing from India. Apparently, this person thought that Indian was derogatory, no matter who it referred to, since it could be misunderstood to be a backwards, ignorant or redneck description of a Native American.
As someone semi-obsessed with word meaning and culture, this irritated me to no end. Are we just going to skip talking about the people originating from what, if current trends continue, will be the most populated country on earth by the year 2030? Or should we reinvent our own English name for the Republic of India? Does that seem more politically correct?
But this does bring to mind an interesting parallel. India, like the United States and like most of the world at one point or another, was subjected to extensive colonization, which naturally included the language of the conquerors. Both countries currently conduct much (though not all) of their commerce in English. India, however, has retained a predominantly diverse linguistic landscape, and claims two nationwide official languages as well as 18 official regional languages by state. If the United States is a melting pot, India is a nuanced dish with any number of separate but intermingled flavors — a complex, ancient-and-upcoming civilization.
In our focus, Bob Myers discusses India’s also complex-and-upcoming translation market, both in terms of business and country-wide need. Sandeep Nulkar touches on some of India’s entrepreneurs and how this affects the translation industry. Elanna Mariniello, Matthias Steiert and Afaf Steiert continue the discussion on the translation business and center it on the many languages of India. Yogini Dahiwadkar offers some tips on how to learn (or teach) Hindi and Marathi, two of these aforementioned languages.
Changing things up a bit, Pham Hoa Hiep moves things to the east — and west — to outline some Vietnamese translation tips, and then Jeff Williams goes to about the farthest reaches of the west to report on the bustling Portland, Oregon, localization scene. Bill Hindle has practical advice on ensuring language proficiency with appropriate testing.
Jumping all the way to the back of the magazine, we have Karla Bauerova’s Takeaway on women in the language industry and how they can intersect with male-dominated work fields. Jumping back to the front of the magazine, Thomas Waßmer reviews SDL Trados Studio 2011, Lori Thicke interviews Steven McDowell of Sybase, John Freivalds has a few thoughts on Indonesia and etymology, and Kate Edwards explains India-related geographical nuances.