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Oct/Nov 2016

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The Taiwanese linguistic mosaic | Anna Maya Tomala
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

Taiwanization developed in the 1990s into a “mother tongue movement” focused on promoting languages locally established in Taiwan. The efforts to save declining languages were meant to emphasize the importance of a separate Taiwanese cultural identity.

In 1993, Taiwan became the first country in the world to implement the teaching of Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka and aboriginal languages in schools. However, Mandarin remains the predominant language of education and despite all efforts the number of people speaking Taiwanese is continuously dropping....

Brexit and the European Union: Causes and consequences | Thomas Gilmartin
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

The economic shock in the UK following the vote was immediate, manifesting itself while votes were still being counted. Sterling plummeted on the foreign exchange markets to levels not seen in 30 years. The low pound is good for tourism and exports but not for importers, and many British exported goods rely on imported component parts, the prices of which can remove any competitive advantage on foreign markets for the final product. Business and financial planning have been made very difficult, with numerous industries reporting a fall-off in orders or long-term plans being put into abeyance.

The Governor of the Bank of England, Paul Carney, took the controversial pre-referendum step of warning of significantly adverse consequences of a vote for Brexit. Though post-referendum data is not yet sufficient to confidently predict long-term economic consequences, what has emerged seems to vindicate the pessimism. Consumer confidence fell by the largest amount in 26 years in July, according to market research company GFK. Manufacturing output contracted at its fastest pace in three years in the same month. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research stated that the chance of recession within 18 months moved to 50/50 after the vote. Permanent recruitment fell in July to levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2009 according to a Markit/REC report, while the overheated London property market has begun to show several signs of contraction already....

Columns and Commentary

Post Editing | Katie Botkin
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

In Japan last April, cherry blossoms in full bloom and crowds snapping photos, I was more struck by cultural differences than I have been in perhaps any other country. Maybe because I wasn’t expecting it to be that different. Certainly more focused on relationship-building in business than I was used to, probably with more ritual around certain things Westerners (or at least Americans) tend to rush through....

Perspectives: Translating in Asia | Kara Warburton
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

The last major event I attended was the Asia-Pacific Translation and Interpretation Forum (APTIF), in Xi’an, China, last April. The opening ceremony was an extravaganza — a language Olympics — with megatron screens blazing visuals and giant speakers thundering energizing music. Countless young aspiring translators dressed in color-coordinated T-shirts were running about, unable to contain their excitement. The message was clear: translation and interpreting are vital for China’s economic growth.

It seems that China is not alone in coming to this realization....

Community Lives: Apertium: Free and open-source MT | Jeannette Stewart
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

There are many ways in which languages are taught and learned, but the end result is the same in giving us the ability to communicate beyond our native language group members. It enlarges our community. Now we live in the digital age and are grappling with ways to best facilitate multilingual global communications. Languages and computers are the building blocks that are raising a new edifice of translation. But how do we teach computers natural languages? Certainly we can load source and target dictionaries into computers’ memories, but how do we make the leap from facilitating machines to forming the equivalents that trained professional translators would? How can we effectively enable machine learning?...

Core Focus

Just a garage band from Shanghai - Radical localization and the future of global enterprise | Arle Lommel
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

...Increasingly, companies realize what they’ve known about Japan for many years: Asian markets are just as sophisticated and savvy as any in the United States or Europe. They demand the same level of care and design that their Western counterparts expect. Enterprises that take local requirements seriously will have a significant advantage over those that treat Asia as an afterthought.As an example of how companies can take advantage of real engagement with local cultures, consider Apple’s release of GarageBand 10.1.2 (MacOS)/2.1.1 (iOS) on May 17, 2016. On its surface, this was a “sub-point” update of the sort reserved for minor bug fixes, but in this case Apple issued a press release about it. So what was different about this one?...

Unification and its discontents in Southeast Asia | Jacob Andra
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

Despite vast differences between ASEAN nations (or even within them — think of the hundreds of distinct ethnolinguistic groups strewn across the Indonesian archipelago), they share some important commonalities. From a Western perspective, Southeast Asia is merely part of that larger exotic creature that is Asia generally. Indeed, it shares many characteristically Asian cultural features. At the same time, some general trends unique to the ASEAN region are worth noting.

Firstly, even more than in Asia-at-large, business is based on personal relationships. This contrasts with the Western mode, in which processes and key performance indicators dominate....

Creating a language lexicon for Asian languages | Jordi Torras
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

Creating lexicons for Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) was no small feat, as they required complex systems including different written styles of characters and extensive grammatical structures to express politeness and formality.

The Japanese language lexicon was particularly tough to pair with NLP applications because there are four different writing systems in the language; all can be used together and interchangeably. The Chinese lexicon was designed to simultaneously support traditional and simplified Chinese writing systems, which allows the same semantic technology to be used in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and overseas Chinese communities. And the Korean lexicon was written almost entirely in Hangul characters, which is not written in sequential order....

Localizing for India | Poulomi Choudhury
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

Being an 80s kid and growing up as part of the first “digital native” generation of India was a disconcerting yet exciting experience, full of social and personal dichotomy. On one hand, thanks to home computers and access to the internet (in the age of dial-up!), a whole new world opened up for me and my peers. On the other hand, this somehow worked to further widen the social disparity between the have and the have-nots in India. Before I continue, I feel the need to warrant that statement with a bit of background information about the sheer diversity of the Indian population.

When I mention the difference between the have and the have-nots, I use the term a bit loosely. I am not only talking about the poor and the rich, but also of the difference between the English-speaking, educated “elite” population and the (sometimes) public-school educated population, who speak little to no English....

Chinese construction equipment - building a brighter future | Ben Beech
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

In the last few decades we have seen Asian markets open up to the world in terms of trade and cross-border collaboration. With a softening internal view to Western values and a slow adoption of key characteristics of more open economic models, we’ve seen an explosion of Asian economies pumping manufactured goods into both Europe and the rest of the world.

Just wandering around cities such as Bangkok, Hanoi, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City (originally Saigon) you see a phenomenal amount of ongoing construction projects, all of which, of course, require a mixture of machinery to complete.

Particularly in Hanoi, modernization has seen an incredible construction boom with skyscrapers popping up like weeds all around the old city. This boom has put Hanoi on the map at 46th position on a list of world cities with the most skyscrapers over 100 meters tall (ranked by Emporis)....

Word order errors in Simplified Chinese MT | Peiyu Wu
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

This article aims to detail four types of words that can cause WO errors in SMT from English to Simplified Chinese, and offer a solution to tackle these challenges. The sample for this research was selected from the training data for one of eBay’s Simplified Chinese MT engine prototypes (eMT) with 726 sentences, 16,068 words, total. The research examined 140 sentences and identified 16 words and parts of speech that present WO challenges.

One of the main differences between English and Chinese is the position of modifiers, which makes MT between the two languages very challenging. In English, the position of modifiers is relatively flexible. It can be placed before, after or even several words away from the key phrase that is being modified....


Nostradamus and the localization industry | Claudia Mirza
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

When I think of Michel de Nostredame (Nostradamus), the French philosopher and seer, I picture a delusional character who lived in the 16th century, writing with a feather in a candle-lit room. Every time I hear about the many disturbing predictions he made, I get the chills. Thankfully, my more practical side quickly takes over and I tell myself, “forget about it, this is not real.”

His real prophecies are compelling, but there may also be “prophecies” attributed to him that he didn’t actually make....


A comparative study of post-editing guidelines | Ke Hu
Multilingual Oct/Nov 2016

If full post-editing should reach human translation quality, it still remains a question whether full post-editing is more pragmatic than translating from scratch in terms of cost. It is even debatable if post-editing can actually bring productivity gains, which leads to skepticism toward the benefits of post-editing. Ana Guerberof reported productivity gains in her research in 2009. Marcello Federico and his colleagues also found productivity gains in 2012. However, in 2014, Federico Gaspari and his colleagues found that post-editing could lead to productivity losses over translation from scratch....

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