Blogos

Language as a weapon

A whistleblower tells ABC News (US) that many interpreters hired to work for the US army in Afghanistan cannot speak the local language very well. Story here. This is probably no huge surprise, and definitely not a surprise to the armed forces personnel who are trying to “win the hearts and minds” of the Afghan...

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Old and new from India

From dictionaries to mobile phone apps, India is in the news. First the old: ExpressIndia reports that the Sanskrit to English dictionary from Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute in Pune is now midway through the letter “A”.  Okay, but the project began in 1948. Sanskrit-English dictionaries are available, so what is the difference...

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(not) localizing happy hour

I popped over the local brewery across the street from MultiLingual just now for the reduced-price appetizers and a greasy jolt of pub food to get the neurons firing. Amid the hummus and calamari and pot stickers, I came across the following description for Irish Chips: “hand-cut chips smothered in cheese, black olives, tomatoes, green...

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Machine Translation and Human Translators Put to the Test

If you find much of the “machine translation” versus “human translation” Internet debate tiresome and less than enlightening, then check out this refreshing, graphical, approach to comparing their respective merits from the New York Times ‘Technology’ section: Putting Google to the Test in Translation. It takes a number of original texts and then compares the...

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Social media users in the 'Arab' world

Never too sure what ‘Arab world’ even means, but I really liked this article about social media use there. Some interesting observations from people in Facebook, D1G, TootCorp and GamePower7. It is clear that catering for the Arabic user goes much further than user interface translation and that we cannot regard such users as homogeneous:...

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language in person

Lingomatch promotes Language Swap in select cities worldwide. There are any number of sites where one can go to find a language partner (you’re learning Finnish, she’s learning English) via chat or Skype, but this one is set up as a social network / (hopefully?) platonic “dating” site to find a local language exchange partner....

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Saving Salish

If the Salish Native American language is to endure, it is up to the few remaining speakers and today’s youth together to save it.  Nothing new here. There are dying languages all over the world. But here in the Idaho/eastern Washington/western Montana area, with a fairly homogeneous population base, it is exciting to see the...

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Laurel Wagers, Rest in Peace

Laurel Wagers, managing editor of MultiLingual died on February 13, 2010. An employee at MultiLingual Computing, Inc. since 1998, Laurel quickly found a home and took the editorial reins of MultiLingual. A self-confessed Luddite, she nevertheless jumped into all the editorial content, including the more technically oriented coding pieces. She had a sharp eye and...

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Mental Acculturation

The world flattens by means of technology, brand names, and apparently even psychology, according to the New York Times:  “Behind the promotion of Western ideas of mental health and healing lie a variety of cultural assumptions about human nature. Westerners share, for instance, evolving beliefs about what type of life event is likely to make...

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