The Week in Review: April 28, 2023

If you enjoyed our November 2022 exploration of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, then this first story on our radar is for you: a team of researchers recently found that our native language could have an impact on our abilities to perceive melody and rhythm in music.

Meanwhile, at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, mentors in a student interpreting program are calling for the university to compensate them fairly for their work. Plus, we’ve got press releases and blog posts from Translated, TransPerfect, and Smartling that you won’t want to miss.

Got news you’d like to share in next week’s Week in Review? Send it over to our editorial team here

Native language might shape musical ability (via the Science News)

In our November issue, Ciklopea’s Mladen Stojak took a deep dive into the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis — that is, the idea that one’s native language has an effect on their cognition and perception.

And this week, Science News featured a recent study into that very idea — more specifically, the idea that one’s native language might have an effect on their musical abilities. In this study, the researchers had individuals perform a task assessing their ability to perceive melody and rhythm. Individuals with a tonal language as their mother tongue performed significantly better on the melodic perception task than those who speak a nontonal language — and vice versa for the rhythm task.

Legal Interpreter Mentors Demand Better Wages (via The Villanovan)

At Villanova University in the state of Pennsylvania, students have the opportunity to get hands-on training in the field of legal interpreting through the university’s Community Interpreter Internship. 

And those who complete the program can give back to their peers by serving as legal interpreter mentors — a paid position for students to help manage and train the interns. But those mentors have recently demanded higher wages for their work, noting that the current pay is unfair. This week, the school’s student newspaper looked into the mentors’ efforts to receive fair compensation from the university.

Parents who don’t speak English would have more access to translated documents under Colorado bill (via Chalkbeat)

A bill currently going through the Colorado state legislature would allow parents with limited English proficiency (LEP) to have more involvement in the development of their children’s Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). 

An IEP is a written document outlining the special educational needs of children with a disability — while parents with LEP are entitled to a translation of the final version of an IEP under federal law, there’s no such requirement for earlier drafts and other documents in the development process. This bill would allow Colorado parents with LEP to be more involved along the way, requiring that documents and assessments be translated for them so that they can provide their input.

Canadian creates translation app to help him argue with Chinese parents (via Daily Hive)

Growing up, Joshua Gao had trouble finding the right Chinese words to use when he was in a heated conversation with his parents. Now an entrepreneur in the tech industry, Gao decided to put his skills to the test, creating the translation app Binko Chat to help him argue with his parents in their native language. 

Though Binko’s not likely to compete with the likes of DeepL and Google Translate, this piece in the Daily Hive is a feel-good human interest story about the power of machine translation.

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