Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reading List for the rest of 2010

The 2010 Best Translated Books:

Ghosts, by César Aira (Argentina)
Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

The Twin, by Gerbrand Bakker (Netherlands)
Translated from the Dutch by David Colmer

Anonymous Celebrity, by Ignácio de Loyola Brandão (Brazil)
Translated from the Portuguese by Nelson Vieira

Wonder, by Hugo Claus (Belgium)
Translated from the Dutch by Michael Henry Heim

The Weather Fifteen Years Ago, by Wolf Haas (Austria)
Translated from the German by Stephanie Gilardi and Thomas S. Hansen

The Confessions of Noa Weber, by Gail Hareven (Israel)
Translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu

The Discoverer, by Jan Kjærstad (Norway)
Translated from the Norwegian by Barbara Haveland

Memories of the Future, by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (Russia)
Translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull

Rex, by José Manuel Prieto (Cuba)
Translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen

The Tanners, by Robert Walser (Switzerland)
Translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky


For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/

The EU is taking the first step towards setting the right to an interpreter directive

THE EUROPEAN Commission has proposed minimum standards for interpretation and translation for suspects standing trial in a country where the language is not their own. The proposed legislation is designed to help people to get a fair trial anywhere in the EU, even when they cannot understand the language of the case.

The need for standardised procedural rights and the barriers which can lead to unfair convictions during judicial proceedings in other EU countries have been highlighted by a number of real-life cases. These include an Italian tourist involved in a traffic accident in Sweden who was not allowed to talk to an Italian-speaking lawyer during trial, and a Polish suspect who could not see written translations of evidence used against him in a French court.

The proposed new Directive replaces a Framework Decision on interpretation and translation rights in July 2009, which became void upon the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on December 1st, 2009.

On November 30th, 2009, EU governments asked the commission to put forward proposals on a “step-by-step” basis to establish EU-wide standards for a series of procedural rights. The commission is thus turning the proposed Framework Decision into a Directive.

This proposal is the first step in a series of measures to set common EU standards in criminal cases. The Lisbon Treaty enables the EU to adopt measures to strengthen the rights of EU citizens, in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The proposal strengthens citizens’ rights to interpretation and translation in three ways: interpretation would have to be provided for communication with lawyers as well as during investigations – such as police questioning – and at trial; the proposal covers written translation of all essential documents such as the detention order, the charge sheet or indictment, or vital pieces of evidence; citizens must have the right to legal advice before waiving the right to interpretation and translation; translation and interpretation costs will have to be met by the member state, not by the suspect – irrespective of the final decision.

“We are taking a first important step towards a Europe where justice knows no borders. Nobody in the EU should ever feel that their rights and their protections are weakened simply because they are not in their home countries,” said vice-president Viviane Reding, the EU’s commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship.

The Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings, proposed by the commission, will be the first Directive to strengthen criminal justice since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au .

On translation and belonging

I remember a discussion a few years ago with one of my colleagues from Cairo, a high caliber Arabic<>English translator, about the English version of Naguib Mahfouz trilogy.

I happen to know the translator of that work. I also happen to have read Naguib in Arabic, and then in English.

My friend said one thing that I could not disagree with: although technically very good, there was no Cairo in the English translation. At least not the Cairo both her and me spent such a long time in.

The Cuban-American writer, Gustavo Perez Firmat, says in one of his poems:

The fact that I

am writing to you

in English

already falsifies what I

wanted to tell you.

My subject:

how to explain to you that I

don’t belong to English

though I belong nowhere else.

Translating culture is a very hard task, and the more the source and target cultures differ, the harder it becomes to bridge the gap. Naguib in Turkish, or Farsi, would probably be more Cairene than Naguib in English or Swedish.

The way around it would be to limit literary and cultural translations to bilingual people who either spent their childhood in the source country, or come from bi-cultural families. Then again, being bilingual, or even bi-cultural, does not make you a brilliant translator. So maybe we could employ them as some sort of consultants to the translator?

Just dreaming aloud..

(Thanks to Patty Ball and The Quad)

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au.

Learning Japanese on the Field

I am not into sport at all, but the following article is about what motivates people to learn another language.

Tommy Manzella is a US baseball player, a shortstop for the Astros. The shortstop is often considered the most dynamic defensive position in baseball because more balls go to the shortstop than any other position.

But he still has time for his index cards. On his team is Matsui, the veteran Japanese second baseman who's in his third year with the Astros. Matsui can speak some beginner English, but Manzella wants to learn to speak to him in his own language. So he is working with Matsui's interpreter and jots down a few words every now and again. He is not aiming at being fluent - he just wants to be able to communicate.

I give him Kudos for that. Most of the words he has learned are at least baseball-related and concern defensive positioning on the infield or the best way to feed balls to Matsui while covering second base. He's also learned some numbers and question words.

What got him into it? A former team manager who worked in Japan told him "it goes a long way as far as your relationship if they see you, not only them trying to make an effort to learn your language, but you making an effort to learn their language. That's the kind of people they are. They show that as a sign of respect. "I was thinking that might be a good idea [to learn a couple words a day]. I think it's good to try to learn a new language because you never know when you're going to need it. I've got a situation here where I have someone I can go to every single day and say, 'Hey, is this right?' and he can help me out. If you wanted to do that normally, you'd have to pay a lot of money to have that kind of a system."

Sign of respect. You never know when you might need it. And it doesn't just apply to the Japanese. It applies to everyone. So if you are doing business (or just playing golf) with someone who is not from an English-speaking background, it pays to know the lingo.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Bravo, Grossman!

The typical translator's status can be likened to a ghost writer's — an appendage obscure and underpaid. Like ghost writers, they often receive flat fees and no royalties. Reviewers often overlook them or faintly praise them — and this drives Grossman crazy — for "ably" translating the original text.

"`Ably translated,' compared to what?" asks Grossman, whose "Why Translation Matters," a brief, forceful defense of her profession, is being released by Yale University Press. "The reviewer clearly doesn't read Spanish. How would they know if it is ably translated? They quote long passages to indicate the style of the writer and never credit the translator."


Grossman would know: she has translated such works as Miguel de Cervantes' 'Don Quixote' and Gabriel Garcia Marquez' 'Love in the Time of Cholera'.

In "Why Translation Matters," Grossman writes of taking on the opening phrase of the first chapter of "Don Quixote," among the most famous words in Spanish literature: "En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme," which in an earlier English-language edition was translated into, "In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind."

Grossman worked on the phrase by reciting the Spanish to herself, "mantralike." She reached for the right mood and rhythm, to recapture how it struck those who read "Quixote" centuries ago. She pondered the word "lugar," which can mean either village or place. The words came to her, like lyrics to a song: "Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember."

Grossman, who turns 74 in March, is curly haired and plainspoken, her voice still flavored by her childhood in a Yiddish-speaking neighborhood in Philadelphia. She had an early interest in languages — although she hardly remembers a word of Yiddish — and by high school was thinking about becoming an interpreter, "which suggested travel, exotic places, important events, world-shaking conferences at the United Nations," she writes in "Why Translation Matters."

Why Translation Matters argues for the cultural importance of translation and for a more encompassing and nuanced appreciation of the translator’s role. As the acclaimed translator Edith Grossman writes in her introduction, “My intention is to stimulate a new consideration of an area of literature that is too often ignored, misunderstood, or misrepresented.”

For Grossman, translation has a transcendent importance: “Translation not only plays its important traditional role as the means that allows us access to literature originally written in one of the countless languages we cannot read, but it also represents a concrete literary presence with the crucial capacity to ease and make more meaningful our relationships to those with whom we may not have had a connection before. Translation always helps us to know, to see from a different angle, to attribute new value to what once may have been unfamiliar. As nations and as individuals, we have a critical need for that kind of understanding and insight. The alternative is unthinkable.”

Throughout the four chapters of this bracing volume, Grossman’s belief in the crucial significance of the translator’s work, as well as her rare ability to explain the intellectual sphere that she inhabits as interpreter of the original text, inspires and provokes the reader to engage with translation in an entirely new way.

The full interview with Grossman can be read online. The book can be purchased directly from the publisher's website.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/

Get a Piece of That Cake, Quickly

Is your company doing business with the Arab world?

The Google CEO, on a visit to Riyadh, predicted that the Kingdom would have a bright future because of its large young population. He said the Arabic content on the Worldwide Web was expanding by the day. "The Internet Arabic content will increase further due to the presence of a large Arab population estimated at 300 million," he said, adding that Saudi Arabia would have a big role to play in expanding Arabic content on the Internet. According to statistics published in 2009, 48 million Arabs use the Internet.

Google International has two offices in Egypt and Dubai but no presence in any other Arab country. It has introduced Arabic language in its search engine and provides translation services from different languages to Arabic. But be careful - Arabs are very touchy about their language. After all, the language is sacred because the Koran came down in it. So Google-type mess of machine translation is a very sure way of making unhappy and offended clients.

If you are doing business with the Arabic-speaking world, it is time to localise at least the most important parts of your website NOW. For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at www.arabic.com.au .

Tell Tells All About Neosales

Are you still thinking of lunches and coffees (or maybe something stronger) to clinch that sale with your new direct client? Think no more.

According to Roy Tell from Applied Languages, your website and the technology it uses will now take place of the preliminary chitchat and the martini, because business people do not have the time to engage in business lunches. I don't concur, but I live in Australia, and we are mad about lunches (we don't have martinis). However, lots of what Roy says is true:

1. Globalization: “Information will find you [and] will connect everyone in business, customers—everywhere, and all the time…Entirely new business models, supply chains, customer care networks, markets and industries will be born from this always-on global connectivity. —Get ready now for this shift.” Institute for Global Futures, Global Trends Report 2009

2. Translation technology is changing the localization industry: “Google leaps language barrier with translator phone and [Google] has already created an automatic system for translating text on computers, which is being honed by scanning millions of multi-lingual websites and documents.” (Times Online-UK, February 7, 2010)

3. Traditional sales techniques no longer work: “Consumers frequently consult search engines and websites before heading for the store. This trend will accelerate.” Why Traditional Sales Techniques No Longer Work Well, Marketing Turnkey Systems, August 18, 2009

Which means, in short, that if you don't have a website that is localised, informative and easy to use, you are lagging behind in marketing. More importantly, you may never get the chance to actually talk to the client if they are not "turned-on" by your website.

So Roy is predicting a "translation Apocalypse" end of this year (I want to see that), because "from how we can now access information, to how we evaluate what we read, technology is facilitating the translation of this information and helping us reach that Tower of Babel stage where we once again all speak one “virtual” language. The entire Translation Industry is going to see dramatic changes, and only the companies that are prepared to integrate technology are the ones who will survive (...) Selling in this changing landscape, whether it is translations or anything else, will require a fundamental paradigm shift. Traditional sales approaches will be thrown out, old methodologies scrapped, and a Gestalt-type sales approach is embraced."

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at www.arabic.com.au .

Each language is a unique world of thought

Languages are not only tools of communication, they also reflect a view of the world. Languages are vehicles of value systems and cultural expressions and are an essential component of the living heritage of humanity. Yet, many of them are in danger of disappearing.

UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger tries to raise awareness on language endangerment.

The editor in chief is the Australian linguist Christopher Moseley. According to him, we have to care about language preservation "because each language is a uniquely structured world of thought, with its own associations, metaphors, ways of thinking, vocabulary, sound system and grammar – all working together in a marvellous architectural structure, which is so fragile that it could easily be lost forever."

In Australia, for instance, there are active and successful campaigns to revive the use of languages that were regarded as dead for generations, but turned out to be only ‘sleeping’. In New Zealand, the Maori language has been rescued from near oblivion through the scheme of ‘language nests’ – nurseries where the language is passed on to young children.

This third edition of the Atlas is new in at least three important ways. Firstly and most obviously, it is being published in two different formats: an on-line version as well as a printed version. The on-line version is an important new development, and is based on Google Earth maps, with the location of each endangered language, no matter how small, pinpointed as exactly as possible on the maps, which can be filtered to any desired scale and level of detail.

Secondly, for the first time the Atlas is giving a comprehensive coverage of the whole world. The previous two editions gave only a sample from some continents of the state of threatened languages, but this time we have been careful to cover every language, and, as before, to show the level of endangerment, from “Unsafe” down to “Moribund” with a system of colour coding. The UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, freely available, aims to provide speaker communities, policy-makers and the general public with state-of-the-art knowledge, continually updated by a growing network of experts and community members. The online edition of the Atlas includes all of the information in the print edition and much more.

And thirdly, the Atlas is available in three languages: English, French and Spanish, with possibly more translations to come later.

Below is the Table of Contents:

Preface, p. 4
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

Introduction, p. 8
Christopher Moseley

Cartographic representation of the world’s endangered languages, p. 14
Christopher Moseley

Sub-Saharan Africa, p. 20
Matthias Brenzinger and Herman Batibo

North Africa and the Middle East, p. 26
Salem Mezhoud and Yamina El Kirat El Allame

Europe and the Caucasus, p. 32
Tapani Salminen

Western and Central Asia, p. 43
Hakim Elnazarov

North-east Asia, p. 48
Juha Janhunen

India and the Himalayan chain, p. 59
Stuart Blackburn and Jean Robert Opgenort

South-East Asia, southern China and Taiwan (China), p. 64
David Bradley

Greater Pacific area, p. 74
Darrell T. Tryon

Australia, p. 79
Michael Walsh

South America, p. 86
Willem Adelaar

South America: Andean region, p. 95
Marleen Haboud

Mexico and Central America, p. 103
Yolanda Lastra

United States of America, p. 108
Chris Rogers, Naomi Palosaari and Lyle Campbell

Canada and Greenland, p. 113
Mary Jane Norris

Contributors, p. 122

Bibliography, p. 125

Index, p. 137

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at www.arabic.com.au.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Literature, translation, globalisation

"The Dull New Global Novel" essay by Parks in the NY Review of Books poses the hypothesis of "boredom" and "dullness".

The new "global" novel, written by someone in country X but intended for audiences from all over the world, will be boring by default because, as Parks says, "From the moment an author perceives his ultimate audience as international rather than national, the nature of his writing is bound to change. In particular one notes a tendency to remove obstacles to international comprehension. Writing in the 1960’s, intensely engaged with his own culture and its complex politics, Hugo Claus apparently did not care that his novels would require a special effort on the reader’s and above all the translator’s part if they were to be understood outside his native Belgium. In sharp contrast, contemporary authors like the Norwegian Per Petterson, the Dutch Gerbrand Bakker, or the Italian Alessandro Baricco, offer us works that require no such knowledge or effort, nor offer the rewards that such effort will bring. More importantly the language is kept simple. Kazuo Ishiguro has spoken of the importance of avoiding word play and allusion to make things easy for the translator. Scandinavian writers I know tell me they avoid character names that would be difficult for an English reader."

Mr Parks is making assumptions not born out by facts: that the "international" readership is dumb, and that translators can't translate literature.

The fact that there is a global market for any novel (witness Dan Brown and Rowlings) is in itself fully dependent on the existence and high skills of literary translators. Parks is saying that if it can be translated it isn’t literary — or the truly literary parts of literature are those parts that can’t be translated.

Except that we cannot ever agree on what is and what is not "truly literary". The way things are going, I am finding lots of post-modern novels in general incomprehensible in my native English, and I don't envy any translator the task of having to convey the already opeque language into another. Meaningless mambo-jumbo in English is not truly literary - it is literary mambo-jumbo. I could give a long list of examples, but I would run out of space, and court defamation lawyers.

That which can be translated is the essence of literature. Every translation is a witness to the unidentifiable beauty of Language.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at www.arabic.com.au.

Bartleman, proudly anglo-Québecoise

I am trilingual. So Bartleman's story made me smile, appreciate and bond...

Currently living in Squamish BC, Bartleman is a proud Canadian athlete who has come to understand the importance of French/English bilingualism. “I am a big supporter and enthusiastic proponent of Canadian bilingualism, a subject that is often treated with a lot of contempt and mockery out here in Western Canada,” she writes in her blog.

Originally from Montreal, Bartleman grew up in an English-speaking home and is the oldest of four children. In her early years, her family moved to Alberta where she attended a French immersion elementary school. Growing up, she didn’t understand the full scope of her parents’ insistence on bilingualism and like most children, didn’t care for French in school.

Around age 11, she and her family moved back to Montreal where she attended an English high school. “It’s different when you’re in Montreal once you get to high school. You go to French class in high school in Montreal and sure you might hate it, but then you go out with your friends who are French or who speak French and it translates right . . . no pun intended.”

While Bartleman went on to pursue her life’s passions, she began to understand her father’s insistence on her learning Canada’s other official language. As she travelled across the country, she noticed that a whole lot of people speak French in Canada. “I go other places in Canada and meet all these francophones and I think it’s really cool.”

As she started participating in international competition, Michelle understood the importance of her second official language even more, meeting other athletes from around the world, making friends and picking up other languages in the process!

“I recently had this enlightenment, after speaking at the Jour de la francophonie where there were all these BC francophones,” she says. “I had the realization that I’m their counterpart. I’m an anglophone Quebecer, an anglo-Québecoise.”

As guest speaker, Bartleman delivered her speech in French. Some other speakers were unable to deliver their speeches in Canada’s other official language. She describes this in her blog: “I couldn't understand why the francophones, on their day, were still pandering to the anglos. And then it struck me. The BC francophones at this event get it. They understand the give and take needed to perpetuate understanding and appreciation between different cultures. They realize that, even on their day, they need to respect and accommodate anglophones in they same way that they as francophones hope to be accommodated and respected every other day of the year.”

Hard Marketing Blooper

One would have thought that writing a press release for your translation business is precisely the activity that will showcase these linguistic skills. As such, I find it difficult to consider the snippet below as anything else but a blooper (machine translated??)

Are you looking for someone who would translate your business letters for English and Spanish translations?? Finding a language expert is not an easy task. One has to really work harder to get a good translator as learning and translating a language is a difficult task and there are only few experts available in the market. Don’t worry we don’t want to scare you but this is ground reality. Just chillax!! we have some exciting offers which would leave your mouth open. We at Golocalise.com now introduce best translation services especially for English translation and Spanish translation.

"Translate for translations?" Sound like a book title - maybe there is also "translate for car mechanics", "7 Days to Translate for New Mums" and so on? And how "harder" do you need to work to find an expert (in Spanish, there are a few score thousand good translators). The term "harder" bring weird connotations - what are these guys into? "Harder" and "Chillax" go together well.. first you go harder then you chill an ax? Exciting comes at the wrong sequence, though - one usually gets excited, harder, mouth open then chills.. Especially with the photo that this ad carries.

The ad further requests that the reader "just close (..) eyes and give us once chance to deliver". Oh, boy! I would have to close my eyes to have the guts to hand them my work.. once!

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at www.arabic.com.au.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"In Fact"

Another freelancer not to be added to my list of potential contractors:

Dear sir:
In fact I am a freelance translator from Yemen (Arabic native speaker)who has a university degree in translation and English literature. I can translate from English to Arabic. I have three years of experience. And I am doing my master degree in Transaltion . In fact I am wondering if I can join your team as afreelance from- home transaltor; I won't take much ( 25$ per 1000 word). Being ready to take such fees doesnot mean that I am not a good translator, for you can test this yourself. Iwill send you My C.V and a sample of my translation once I get a reply.
wish you contaced me.

(a) I am no Sir - he didn't do his research
(b) 25 bucks per 1K words does not inspire confidence, neither do his typos. Maybe he types 1K words per 25 seconds?
(c) Since he wished I contacted him, he obviously was aware it was a mere wish - in fact, he only stayed in my inbox long enough to be blogged here.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

The Dam

This is apparently an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries regarding a pond on his property. It was sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality, State of Pennsylvania . This guy's response is hilarious, but read the State's letter before you get to the response letter.

SUBJECT: DEQ File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr. DeVries:

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.

A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2009.

Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action. We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.

David L. Price
District Representative and Water Management Division.

Here is the actual response sent back by Mr. DeVries:

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr. Price,

Your certified letter dated 12/17/07 has been handed to me to respond to. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane , Trout Run, Pennsylvania .

A couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood 'debris' dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials 'debris.'

I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

These are the beavers/contractors you are seeking. As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.

My first dam question to you is:

(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or

(2) Do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?

If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued.

(Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.)

I have several concerns. My first concern is, aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation -- so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causing flooding, is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names.

If you want the stream 'restored' to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers -- but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English.

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams).

So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2009? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality, health, problem in the area. It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! The bears are not careful where they dump!

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.



For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

A Linguistic Joke for the Sophisticated

Prince Charles is visiting an Edinburgh hospital. He enters a ward full of patients with no obvious sign of injury or illness and greets one.

The patient replies:

"Fair fa your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin race,
Aboon them a ye take yer place,
Painch, tripe or thairm,
As langs my airm."

Charles is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient. The patient responds:

"Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat an we can eat,
So let the Lord be thankit."

Even more confused, and his grin now rictus-like, the Prince moves on to the next patient, who immediately begins to chant:

"Wee sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
Wha' sich a panic in thy breastie,
Thou needna start awa sae hastie,
Wi bickering brattle."

Now seriously troubled, Charles turns to the accompanying doctor and asks "Is this a psychiatric ward?"

"No," replies the doctor, "this is the serious Burns unit."

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

How Do You Want to Look in Translation?

If you’re seeking to translate any kind of business documents, marketing materials or web pages, it is important that you obtain an accurate English to Arabic translation from the beginning. Using automatic text translators or a button on your toolbar that instantly translates a web page into Arabic might be very tempting, especially from the cost point of view, but these translations are not fit for public view, because although some of the words may be translated accurately, the meaning of your message most probably won’t.

Your document or website represents your business and reflects it to the international client base. Any mistake made or left behind by an automatic translating software or an inexperienced human translator can cost you lots of future business.

This is why it’s important to choose the translator you are giving your business image to very carefully.

Here is how:

* Always ensure that the professional translator of your choice is native in the language you want to have your documents translated into, except in the rare situations where that person is fully fluent in both the written and spoken forms of both the source and the target languages.

* If you’re looking at promoting your service or product to Arabic speaking North Africans, you shouldn't use the same vocabulary used in, say, the Arab Gulf. Although written Arabic is pretty standard, cultural differences do exist and you will not come across as someone who has done a thorough research of your proposed market place overseas.

* Do you really need the whole of your documents translated? Most translators charge by the word or page, so it does make sense to utilise images - a picture is worth 1000 words. Instructions, for example, could be pictured, and you may consider using the services of a graphic designer who can provide accurate pictures, and thus reduce your translation costs. Just ensure that your graphics are not considered offensive by your target clients.

* Compare the subject matter and technical content of your documents to the proposed translator’s qualifications. Translators specialise and not everyone can translate legal or medical documents. Terminology associated with these fields is very precise and mistakes in translations could result in serious consequences.

* Quality is not cheap. Reading and translating your documents takes time. A translator can only do so many words per day, so be wary of claims to be able to translate 50,000 words per day. Such work will for sure lack quality and won’t be worth the money you spend.

* Don't give your translators documents that are unedited and unfinalised, because any last minute changes to the initial document will result in additional proofreading to ensure that their incorporation in the final translation, the consistency of terminology, etc.

* A good translator doesn't shrink from approaching you with questions and suggestions about possible improvements to your original text in terms of spelling, grammar and sentence structure, or meaning of certain terms. A know-all is a sure fire way to disaster.

Investing money and time in ensuring a properly done translation will save you grief and cash later in the business interaction with your target market. The translated documents will work FOR YOU instead of AGAINST YOU. Remember, this is YOU in translation - what do you want to convey?

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Google Chrome Translation Software

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

KIT, lip-reading, and a multilingual mobile phone

From AFP 02/03/10

It has happened to almost everyone. You are sitting on a train or a bus and someone right next to you is annoyingly shouting into his or her mobile phone.

­Researchers at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a method for mobile phones to convert silent mouth movements into speech. The technology is based on the principle of electromyography, that is the acquisition and recording of electrical potentials generated by muscle activity. This muscle activity is measured in the face and converted into speech.

The user can speak into the phone soundlessly, but is still understood by the conversation partner on the other end of the line. As a result, it is possible to communicate in silent environments, at the cinema or theater, without disturbing others. Another field of use is the transmission of confidential information.

"We currently use electrodes which are glued to the skin. In the future, such electrodes might for example by incorporated into cellphones," said Michael Wand, from the KIT.

The technology opens up a host of applications, from helping people who have lost their voice due to illness or accident to telling a trusted friend your PIN number over the phone without anyone eavesdropping -- assuming no lip-readers are around.

The technology can also turn you into an instant polyglot. Because the electrical pulses are universal, they can be immediately transformed into the language of the user's choice.

"Native speakers can silently utter a sentence in their language, and the receivers hear the translated sentence in their language. It appears as if the native speaker produced speech in a foreign language," said Wand.

The translation technology works for languages like English, French and Gernan, but for languages like Chinese, where different tones can hold many different meanings, poses a problem, he added.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Meedan Bridges Language, Culture

From Robert Lukes, Dakota

A new website was launched last month with the intention of providing a means of communication between the Arabic- and English-speaking worlds. Meedan, the Arabic word for "gathering place" or "town square," is meant to symbolize the old town squares where people would gather together and discuss community issues.

Arabic-language websites have been fairly unrepresented in the internet, but this is set to change in the near future. Vinton Cerf, a vice president at Google, estimated that the number of Arabic-speaking internet users in the Middle East will increase by 46.4 percent in the next three years, creating a great opportunity for increased communication between people across the planet.

The method for this breakthrough is a computer translation program that translates articles, blogs, and comments into the language of the reader. This automated translation is augmented by a team of experts and reader contributions-not unlike Wikipedia-to fix any inaccuracies in the computer translation.

In this way, Meedan intends to break through the familiar narrative of conflict between peoples. Through creating an online community, the people behind Meedan hope to bring the people into direct communication with each other. Much has been said about the gap in understanding between the English-speaking world and the so-called 'Arab street.'

More information, can be found at news.meedan.net.

I just hope they don't start some war by using translation software for this praiseworthy project.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Translation isn't enough

Chanin Balance, President & CEO of viaLanguage, on international marketing:

- By the end of 2010 over 1 billion people will have access to the Web.

- Non-English speaking consumers drive nearly 70% of the world's economy.

- Companies are leveraging the power of the Web to present themselves and their products [to new consumers].

- Language tools are great but they can't account for cultural differences and language nuances.

- The use of social platforms, video clips, tweets and other tools, companies must adapt not only to the language differences but to cultural differences.

- In the short-term, campaigns should be created country-by-country, with both language and cultural differences taken into account.

- There are smart things businesses can do to be reusable such as internationalizing their copy. Once the labor-intensive translation and localization is done and proofed, one should take that content and design all their documents, campaigns and products to easily adapt to the various languages and regional markets without the need for major engineering on their Web sites.

- Communication challenges frequently occur when businesses begin to market across cultures. One key step that is often overlooked or short-cutted, is localization. No matter what vehicle you use, multicultural marketing is more than just translating an advertisement, website or even a blog or twitter posting. Businesses need to actually embrace the nuance of a culture and culturally adapt their messages and brand.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Humphrey Does It Again

From the Egyptian Al Ahram, no. 985, 11 - 17 February 2010

Injy El-Kashef

"Piles of publications by the American University in Cairo (AUC) Press were displayed outside the Oriental Hall on Monday 8 February, proudly bearing the name of Banipal Award winner Humphrey Davies, whose translations include Naguib Mahfouz' Thebes at War, Alaa El-Aswani's The Yacoubian Building, Ahmed El-Aidi's Being Abbas El-Abd, Mohamed Mustagab's Tales From Dayrut, Gamal Al-Ghitany's Pyramid Texts, Khaled Al-Berry's Life Is More Beautiful Than Paradise, Ahlam Mosteghanemi's Chaos of the Senses and Hamdy El-Gazzar's Black Magic. Inaugurating the second in AUC's In Translation series of lectures, professor of Arabic Studies and director of the Centre for Translation Studies, Samia Mehrez explained that the Centre's ambition is to go past "inter-lingual" into "inter-semiotic" translation in order to generate the greatest possible exchange for the benefit of an ever-growing community of intercultural readers.

The second distinguished guest at the series, Humphrey Davies was introduced not only as the prominent translator who has delivered some 15 outstanding works of Arabic literature to English speakers, but also as the "audacious" man who gave up promising careers that his doctoral degree from the University of California and his employment at Non-Governmental Organisations operating in Egypt, Palestine, Sudan and Tunisia would have facilitated. "I love words for their own sake," commented Davies with charming self-awareness, asserting that his ultimate choice of a career in translation has, despite possible odds, allowed him to "pay the bills, put bread on the table and go on vacations. I definitely encourage a career in translation for those who have the same passion for words."

His first published translation, in 2000, appeared in Banipal -- it was Sayed Ragab's short story Rat, in Egyptian Arabic -- affording Davies the first "bread" from his burgeoning career as a translator. The hook, however, had presented itself three years before, in the form of an extremely ambitious project that both "confront[ed] me with many tough translational issues, and [became] addictive, and encouraged me to try my hand at making a living from translation and allied skills," he is quoted in Banipal. The work in question was the "preparation of a critical edition, translation and lexicon of an Egyptian work of the Ottoman period, Yusuf al-Shirbini's Hazz al-Quhuf bi-Sharh Qasid Abi Shaduf (Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abu Shaduf Expounded)". He became "manic" about words, and so "confident" in the certitude of his ardour that he did not "feel the risk" inherent in turning translation into a career, especially as the post-9/ 11 world and increasingly globalized international community made translations from Arabic a commodity in much higher demand than it was 20 years ago.

Davies' allure as a person, in fact, partly lies in his loyalty to his inner beliefs -- which seem to have repaid him, in time, for his keen self- perception and devotion. It all began with a "mid-adolescence crisis" which erupted when he realised that he "hated" both English literature and his presence among the throngs who were enrolled in its study. He needed a subject with a "more intimate atmosphere [and so] took a leap into the dark" -- a student of English literature among hundreds, he became one of the four enrolled in the study of Arabic language at Cambridge. From then on, the need to engage with the Arab world became increasingly pressing -- the driving force being "putting oneself in others' shoes," especially as further study of the language yielded an awareness of its unfathomable complexity and richness.

Although he initially envisioned the option of translation in short-term goals, stumbling upon the English translation of Marcel Proust's A La Recherche du Temps Perdu irreversibly internalised Davies' notion that a translation can be a great work of literature in its own right. Although he had "never taken a creative writing course in my life [and] never written a primary work of literature in English," Davies, consolidated in his profound mastery of both colloquial and classical Arabic, began translating the works that he personally esteemed to be of artistic value, as a reader. When asked to define what he viewed as "artistic value", this man of "instinct", seemingly lost for words to explain what he perceived as obvious, shrugged while attempting to clarify: "artistic value is... it's what turns you on". As for the reader he has in mind while translating, Davies' answer was witty, truthful and simple: "Someone well educated, highly cultured... someone like me." On numerous occasions Davies managed, effortlessly, to extract laughter from the audience -- his modest, yet secure, demeanour so engaging that the evening was as fluffy on the soul as it was dense on the mind.

The role of the translator vis-à-vis both the text and the author were extensively addressed, breaking with the image of the translator as someone cloaked in invisibility, living in the shadow of the author. Although Davies took this opportunity to congratulate AUC Press on their respect and appreciation of the role of the translator, evidenced in their placing the latter's name on the cover of the book, he still asserted, "invisibility is a relief for me," clarifying that he has "a preference for what I might call 'deep meaning' and 'function' over surface and form." What continues to test this particular translator is the increasing tendency of modern Arabic literature for "free and direct speech, in which the text flows in and out of tense without any particularly referential context. Tenses are slippery in Arabic," he says, adding, "punctuation conventions in [a state of] flux". The often weak state of copy editing adds to the mix of challenges he struggles with. "When you call the author to ask him if he meant 'put his feet on the bath' or 'put his feet on the path', you really feel like an idiot," he chuckles.

Is his relationship with the text one of submission or control? "Submission," he replies. "The sort of question that goes through my head while translating is, what does the author really mean here and how would I say it if I were using English?" The historic debate on "domesticating versus foreignizing translation" is, according to Davis, one the "most fascinating, complex and important issues in translation theory... I give it no thought." Other considerations that have no bearing on Davies are issues of gender and politics -- I've Had Enough by Effat Yehia being one of only two works by women translated by him. "In don't think in these terms," he explains. "My only consideration is finding the book artistically compelling." Nor does he feel he should be shouldering the responsibility for canon formation; "it would be presumptuous of me to believe that I would have an impact on forming the canon. The canon will form itself."

Every single author, ultimately, will present the translator with challenges, be they "intense lyricism, helter-skelter rushes in streams of consciousness or unfamiliar slang that may be unknown even to the readers of the original language." Can any work of literature be untranslatable? "I philosophically don't want to believe that. There is no such thing as a book that cannot be translated. There are only texts that haven't found their translators yet."

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Nothing But Good News

Jessica Lambertson from Government Executive (USA) on how the US Administration is spending money on translations:

- Federal spending on language contracts skyrocketed from nearly $14.9 million in 1990 to more than $1 billion in 2009.

- The Army, for instance, went from spending $260 million on language contracts in 2007 to $834 million in 2008.

- The Homeland Security Department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration have increased spending on such services significantly since 2007. ICE's spending on language contracts grew $5.6 million from 2007 to 2008, for instance, rising from $19.5 million to $25.1 million.

- spending on language service contracts will continue to grow during the Obama administration. Despite the ballooning deficit and spending crunch, President Obama's programs for foreign trade, diplomacy and domestic multiculturalism urge the federal government to continue to use translation and interpretation services, the research group noted.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

"Québécois" TinTin causes offence

Since the publisher of Tintin first introduced "regional-language" editions of the popular comic book 30 years ago, readers in places from Alsace to Tahiti have been charmed to discover the boy reporter using their local dialect.

Not in Quebec.

Graeme Hamilton, from the National Post, reports that far from being flattered by the Québécois "translation", some are offended by the fact that it is written in a dialect. Which means it isn't pure. It isn't pure means it isn't French..

"In Quebec, we may speak strangely, but we write in French, and little Quebecers can read Tintin in the original, even learning a few new words along the way," Odile Tremblay wrote in Le Devoir. "So, a translation.... We have a bit of pride left. Don't go taking that from us. Seriously!"

Seriously! I agree. I should send the article to every time an agency asks me to give the a translation in "Sudanese Arabic" or some other such anomaly. Spoken dialects are one thing - but "they write/read in Arabic"...like all civilised Arabic-speakers. It is a mark of being educated and cultivated. If you can't read it, then you won't be able to read it in some weird dialect either.

"We have a bit of pride left. Don't go taking that from us. Seriously!"

When Languages Die - an interview with K David Harrison

BBC article by K David Harrison, a linguist at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, and director of research for the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, stresses the tragedy of dying languages..

The Linguists, a film featuring the work of Professor K David Harrison and colleague Gregory Anderson as they travel the world documenting the world's vanishing tongues, was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. He also write the book "When languages Die." A sample of that fascinating book can be read online.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Marsot's "Langue étrangère" untranslatable into French

I wrote about Vanina Marsot in April last year.

Now Marsot speaks of her experiences as a bilingual writer writing about the differences between her two languages..

"As I was writing it, I noticed there weren’t any novels that addressed my particular pet idea. There are lots of books about people moving to France, but they tend to be written by outsiders looking in: people entranced or repelled, caught up in the humor or frustration, privilege or disadvantage of being a foreigner in France. The French, they are so: puzzling, frustrating, intriguing, annoying, rude, smelly, precise, chic, and/or (insert your adjective here). But a bilingual woman is both an insider and an outsider.

Funny, then, that it turns out my novel seems to be untranslatable, at least into the other language it is about, French.

There’s a lot of French in my book. I think and hope it’s written so that even if you never studied the language, you can still understand what’s going on in the French passages, which are commented upon in English by my narrator. But here’s the crux of the matter: the French phrases and expressions in the book are dissected in English; that is, understood and parsed through English. So, though the novel is in English (the protagonist), there’s a necessary tension with French, the antagonist. If you translate everything into French, the tension is gone. You’d have to convey that the French-language voice is that of a bilingual American, who is commenting on the French language; so, you’d read a French voice puzzling over odd French phrases — in French! Perhaps a really good literary translator could do this, but I’m not sure how."

Here is an interview with the writer...

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

What if We Only Had One Language?

Catherine Porter, MLA President, has a wonderful entry on the Asian Languages blog. Here is an excerpt:

Lately, as a thought experiment, I’ve tried to imagine living in a world without translators. A preposterous notion, to be sure, although perhaps no more so than others we accept as premises for entertainment, for example, the notion that a certain Benjamin Button is born old and proceeds to grow younger. In any event, to anchor the exercise in a bit of science fiction, I’m positing that the human brain has evolved to permit the learning of just a single language; translation is thus out of the question. The resulting world, as I picture it, is radically and starkly diminished. Pursuing the experiment through the prism of my own tradition, which members of my generation typically encountered in curricular form as “ancient history” followed by “Western civilization,” I see that the Arabs, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Hebrews, and the Romans learned nothing from one another. There has been no New Testament, no Renaissance, no Reformation, no Enlightenment, no scientific or industrial revolution. There is no American Constitution, no United Nations Charter, no European Union. Works of literature, philosophy, scholarship, and science that may have been produced in other linguistic contexts are forever inaccessible to speakers of English—and of course the English language itself has not developed in anything like its present form.

Fortunately for us, the human brain in its plasticity took a more propitious evolutionary path. Human beings can and do learn multiple languages; translators and interpreters have always been with us, and we need them as much as ever.

Porter then gives reasons for the need:

(1) Despite the advances in Machine Translation, it is not clear when these software programs will be able to handle the syntactic, stylistic, and cultural complexities of literary, philosophical, or scholarly texts, if ever.

(2) English is not always an option, and multilingual people have a demonstrated advantage over only-English monolinguists.

(3) Globalization + knowledge explosion facilitated by digital media = increasingly diverse sources of new knowledge, and translators will be in increasing demand.

(4) Apparently, there is a great unmet demand for educated translators and interpreters, and translation is an ideal context for developing translingual and transcultural abilities as an organizing principle of the language curriculum.. (so why aren't they paid as much as brain surgeons??)

Now the painful truth:

"[in] the history of the Anglo-American tradition [a]good translations must be fluid and transparent and good translators must stay out of sight. The invisibility of the translator has become a cliché, but it is by no means a myth. Presses don’t want to advertise books as translations. Newspapers sometimes publish translated texts without acknowledging the fact. Academics have been known to remove translations from their curriculum vitae to avoid jeopardizing their chances for promotion or tenure. And until recently, few universities in the English-speaking world have acknowledged translation as a legitimate area of study."

Arrrrgh.. This is, of course, Venuti, trying to make a translator visible by using words such as 'swell"..

And Porter is right: no where else in the world would a sane academic remove the fact that they have translated serious work from their CVs. So when migrating to places such as UK, USA or Australia, translators from non-English speaking backgrounds quickly feel the frustration of becoming nobodies.

The Chronicle also published a recent article about literary translator visibility in recent years.

"Translation is having a moment, or a series of moments. But its champions say the fight is far from over to have translation—not the theory of it but the hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves, get-out-your-lexicons variety—recognized as a legitimate scholarly activity. In the United States, it's nearly impossible to make a living as an independent literary translator. It's almost as hard to get an academic job as one." Scary! In Egypt, you wouldn't even dream of getting a publishing house to approach you with a book translation of you do not have a PhD in the discipline you are translating about.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Japanese Human Translators Here to Stay

..says Ry Beville, himself a translator from Japanese to English..

The reason, says Beville, is that translation programs like those provided by Google and Babelfish can handle business letters and websites to a reasonable degree; they at least convey the gist of a text, but they still have a long way to go before they become truly viable. The fact that their translations need to be heavily edited isn’t the problem. It’s all the meaning that is lost, especially between Japanese and English. Linguistic science tells us these languages are worlds apart. For a native-English speaker, Japanese is a level-five language, meaning the hardest to master (a distinction it shares with Arabic). Creating a program that can negotiate such vast differences seems like a quixotic dream perhaps exceeded in difficulty only by the pursuit of robust artificial intelligence.

Beville is no Luddite himself, and freely acknowledges the debt of online dictionaries in his career. His proposed solutions are quite interesting in themselves: an open-source translation program that works by concensus, its entries by no means absolute, but rather refined through increasing participation in the project. A program could always map out the structure of a given sentence (remember diagramming sentences?) and use those discrete values to create a correspondence in the target language. The second option would be to begin compiling publicly available translations of identical or similar structures and finding a kind of average or typical rendering of those structures.

But that won't always work, because even though generally accepted grammar structures are finite, possible combinations of words and their meanings within those structures approach infinity. Mapping structures, compiling known translations, refining the system — it all seems so Sisyphean, even for a computer or enormous open-source project.

The full article, worth reading, can be found here.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Australian English Regionalisms

If you are interested in hearing how Australians from different parts of the continent pronounce English words, all you need to do is to visit Macquarie University website and do a few clicks on the map..

A new interactive website launched this Australia Day is the first publicly accessible resource to detail information about the formation of the Australian accent and how it has evolved.

Australian Voices was developed by Macquarie University speech scientists Dr Felicity Cox and Dr Sallyanne Palethorpe as part of an ongoing study of the way Australians speak.

Visitors to the site can listen to audio files and compare accents and dialects belonging to different cultural, social and regional groups, and can even participate in the research by submitting audio files of their own speech or that of family members.

A person's accent can vary depending on their age and gender, as well as their social, cultural and regional history or affiliation. Until recently, researchers classified speakers of Australian English - those born in Australia or raised here from a young age - into one of three categories - either broad (colloquially described as ‘ocker'), cultivated (a more British sounding accent type) or general (the accent spoken by the majority of Australian English speakers).

To more accurately define Australian English as it stands today, Cox and Palethorpe have broadened the definition of Australian English by identifying three different dialect sub-groups - Standard Australian English, Australian Aboriginal English and various Ethnocultural Australian English varieties - and say this new classification system is more inclusive of the variation that is present amongst Australian English speakers.

Accents are always changing, and Australian English today is very different from that which was spoken 100 years ago. Milestone events in Australia's history have been paralleled by linguistic change, and so even speakers of general Australian English sound very different today than they did in the past.

"The way we speak is closely tied to identity, social dynamics and social cohesiveness," Cox said. "It's an instinctive thing - we find ourselves slotting into the speech patterns of the people we spend the most time with and this is particularly true of children and adolescents who are the initiators of accent change."

The website invites users to explore accent change through the extensive use of audio files, which take listeners on a linguistic journey spanning 100 years.

"People are often reminded of their grandparents when they listen to our early audio clips," Cox said. "Many factors have played a part in shaping the way we speak, from the dialect mix that was present in the early days of the colony, to social change during World War I, the dismissal of the Whitlam Government, and the increasing linguistic diversity resulting from Multiculturalism."

Swell Venuti

An article from Temple University talks about Lawrence Venuti's translation from Catalan of Ernest Farrés’s Edward Hopper , a work that has won Venuti the second annual Robert Fagles Translation Prize, sponsored by the National Poetry Series.

A leading theorist in his field, Venuti is at the forefront of what might be called a translation renaissance. Once invisible in their behind-the-scenes roles, translators are increasingly recognized in academic and publishing arenas for their contributions to the literary process.

The most prevalent translation strategy has been to adhere to the current standard dialect of the translating language, which is the most familiar and least noticeable to the reader. This kind of translation, according to Venuti, effaces the translator’s presence and erases cultural distinctions.

“Translation rewrites a foreign text in terms that are intelligible and interesting to readers in the receiving culture. Doing so is akin to committing an act of ethnocentric violence by uprooting the text from the language and culture that gave it life. Translating into current, standard English at once conceals that violence and homogenizes foreign cultures,” he said.

Ah! The white man's guilt complex...

Today, Venuti’s impressive collection of translations includes everything from Gothic tales to scandalous contemporary best-sellers. The stylistic innovations he undertakes in his translations are called “elegant” and “brilliant” by reviewers.

I assume his reviewers are bilingual translators.. Otherwise, they would have no clue what they are talking about anyway..

“When I devise a translation project, my aim is to write a translation that will make a linguistic and cultural difference in English,” he said.

You can't. You would have to destroy English as a language of power first. English sucks in differences, linguistic and cultural, like a sponge, making them its own without necessary having to acknowledge the debt.

The best part is the explanation of "swell" used by Venuti in this translated poem:

Face stern, hair
more or less blonde, eyes
with an inward-looking glint,
skin in the pink, wearing
a stare-till-you’re-bored attitude
in a black dress that hugged her breasts
and a pair of long legs, in good working order,
she looked real swell, sure enough,
and “independent,” as the saying goes.

The explanation of this AMAZING term states that..

Venuti’s translations purposely use non-standard English colloquialisms, slang and dialect, requiring the reader to read the translation as a translation. In the above poem, swell—not Standard English, not even contemporary slang—was commonly spoken by American painter Edward Hopper, so Venuti selected it when bringing this poem, which describes Hopper’s 1938 painting, from Catalan into English.

DUH? I am only half a century old, and "swell" was used this way in my teenage years, and is still used by some of my friends today.. Maybe the person who wrote the review should mingle a little with different classes of people in different places before she writes such stuff?

Phoenix not Rising Out of Anything

This pathetic article does such injustice to translators, and shows so much ignorance about what we do, that if the training institution it promotes really is affiliated with Phoenix University, then it is should be renamed the Dodo University. Dead as..

Professionally trained translators who specialise solely in "business language" do not make all the killing. Those who specialise in highly intricate legal jargon, in medical technologies, in engineering and the financial markets, if they are VERY GOOD at what they do, can make a decent living. On the other hand, businessmen who can properly speak a second language open doors for themselves to promotion, but they will never become professional translators unless they undergo proper tertiary training. Not some language course, but theory and practice in the field of language transfer.

Translators might become interpreters, and although these are two related fields, interpreting is much harder than translating and needs a much more rigorous training than translating in quick problem solving techniques, memory skills, note-taking, working with difficult (violent, dying, not altogether there and so on) clients, and mastering by heart whole glossaries of specialised terminology in both languages.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

So the statement that "if you undergo translation training you can even work as an interpreter" followed by "you will be in a position to carry out a variety of ways of interpreting" which includes simultaneous (known as conference) interpreting is misleading. To become a simultaneous interpreter you don't just need two languages. You need to be widely read, very well educated, and politically savvy, because this is a job for people who will work at the UN, the EU, the Congress, etc. interpreting in situations where an incorrect term could lead to a war.

Global Language Training either got a writer who stuffed up their write-up, or they aren't really training people in Translating and Interpreting.

Being a court translator is more than having the skills

From Laramie Boomerang

When Julie Sellers is in a courtroom, she’s oftentimes thinking in two languages.

For nearly 10 years, Sellers has been a courtroom translator, providing an impartial voice for Spanish — speaking people who do not have the English language skills necessary to follow the proceedings of court.

It’s not easy — while many people are knowledgeable in more than one language, it’s often Sellers’ duty to translate English to Spanish — and vice versa — simultaneously. This means forever being on the edge of overwhelmed — Sellers explained that to many people, the feeling of perpetually being behind in their translation can be too much.

“Just because you speak some or even a lot of both languages doesn’t mean you have the skills to be an interpreter,” Sellers said. “I found that I did; I was able to stay calm, and that’s one of the things when people first start — especially with simultaneous interpreting — they just freak out because you’re five words behind, and you always feel like you’re never going to be able to cover everything, to remember everything and have the words come out correctly.”

Recently Sellers completed a rigorous course in order to become a federally certified court interpreter — a course that Sellers said has only a 10 percent pass rate. Although Sellers has been translating in Wyoming for years — the Equality State has no certification requirements for court interpreters — her federal certification now means that she can serve as a translator in any federal case, all of which require the use of a certified translator.

“I can be called anywhere there is a federal trial, that could be here in Wyoming or elsewhere. As far as I know there are no other federally certified interpreters in the state of Wyoming so they’ve been having to call people in, mostly from Colorado but they’ve also flown people in from places like Miami,” Sellers said.

Translating for a court means understanding a veritable cornucopia of languages within languages — everything from national to regional slang, Spanish equivalents of legal terms, and everything else from weapons and drug terminology to the tiniest parts on an automobile.

“I knew a surprising amount of weapons terminology, partly because I grew up on a farm in Kansas so I’ve shot,” Sellers said. “But there are other things that were less familiar to me, like intricate vehicle parts. I’ve had to crawl under our truck before so I could look at things and better remember them.”

But being a successful court interpreter means more than just having a seemingly endless knowledge of a second language — it also means doing nothing more — and certainly nothing less — than translating languages. That means when a Spanish speaker asks Sellers what a legal term or phrase means, she immediately translates into English “What does that mean?”

“I absolutely, for the professional code of ethics, cannot offer advice or a legal opinion. I cannot do anything that would give an appearance of partiality,” Sellers explained. “That’s hard, especially in cases here where there may be no one else around who’s spoken Spanish to them since they either were arrested or had contact with the justice system. I’ve had families follow me out before, and I have to tell them, “I cannot talk to you.” It’s hard, because it comes across as rude but that’s the ethical code of the profession which, again, is why it’s important when lawyers or judges are looking for a translator that they have someone who is a professional.”

In that vein, Sellers said that she has been working with a number of local judges to get a more concrete interpreter policy installed in Wyoming.

“The state needs to have that for their own benefit and protection and also to make sure that anyone participating in the judicial system in this state can do so fully and fairly,” Sellers said.

Darwish Celebrated in Film

From the Daily Star

The late-Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish was one of the towering figures of late-20th century Arab cultural production. Among Palestinians, Darwish’s stature was unrivaled.

Recognized as one of the great Arabic-language poets in living memory, he was also an
unreconstructed nationalist with a long record of critically minded activism within Yasser Arafat’s PLO.

To follow his decades of output is to find poetic expression of the urgency of Palestinian militancy and the accumulation of Palestinians’ despair and anger at the ineffectual political classes that have claimed to represent and support their right to retain possession of their ancestral lands.

Straddling the worlds of art and politics, it’s no surprise that Darwish has cut such a heroic figure in the cultural life of his countrymen – whether they reside in ’48 Palestine, the Occupied Territories or among the Palestinian exile community.

His poems are memorized and recited by elementary school children, set to music and performed by Arab artists throughout the MENA region and have been translated into 30-odd languages, including Hebrew. From time to time, Darwish’s work is adapted to film.

“As the Poet Said,” the latest feature-length film by Lebanon-based Palestinian documentarian Nasri Hajjaj, is one of the more ambitious efforts to bring Darwish’s poetry to the rest of the world through film.

The premise of the film is simple, setting out to take the audience on a tour through the poet’s life. Accompanied by Darwish’s work, Hajjaj takes the camera to some of the places the poet lived in the Middle East and Europe. The journey is linear but in execution the project is
multi-layered. The filmmaker has assembled a distinguished group of colleagues, friends and admirers to participate in the tribute.

Several Palestinian poets – Ahmed Dahbour, for instance, and Dalia Taha – are augmented by cast that include Nigerian writer, poet and playwright Wole Soyinka, dissident Israeli poet Yitzak Laor, Iraqi Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas, American Michael Palmer, Lebanon’s Joumana Haddad, former French Prime Minister (and, it seems, poet) Dominique de Villepin and a troupe of school students from Sidon’s Ain al-Hilweh camp.

The camera (wielded by Jocelyne Abi Gebrayel) captures this cast of characters in a dozen or so different locations, within Palestine, around the Middle East, in Africa and Europe, places loyal to the memory of the poet and to which the poet was loyal – his favourite room in Paris’ Madison Hotel, for instance. Whether by design or happenstance, many of these locations are in a state of repair, or disrepair – an abandoned railway station, a university auditorium filled with scaffolding, an abandoned theatre.

For the most part each setting affords these figures an opportunity to read lines of Darwish’s poetry. They do so in several languages – Arabic, of course, but also English, French and Kurdish.

The poetry can be interpreted in other terms as well, of course. A weighty piano piece, composed and performed for Hajjaj by Lebanese composer Hiba al-Kawas, opens the film and is revisited throughout. This pounding score is augmented by the work of harpist and composer Tara Jaff, and dancer Lorca Sbeiti can be seen navigating various derelict spaces at certain points in the work.

The effect is to testify to the wide range of people that have been moved by, or at least exposed to, Darwish’s words. This approach gives the film an oddly selfless aspect, since Hajjaj’s cast is given so much latitude to interpret Darwish’s work in his or her own terms.

Moving literature between genres is challenging work. No few lines of film criticism have complained about how some hack scriptwriter or director has tried to adapt a much-loved novel or short story to the screen and made a hash of it. If adaptations of prose works to film are hard to pull off, translating poetry to film is inestimably more difficult. It has been amply demonstrated that the shooting and editing of moving images, whether proper film or digital video, can be “poetic.” It is difficult, though, to approximate the impact of written poetry – the resonance of words and their breadth of meaning within individual readers – even within
other languages, let alone in visual media.

Filmmakers are still compelled to try. One compulsion, presumably, is the desire to secure increased exposure for the poetry, liberating work that, if left between the covers of a book, might languish in obscurity. There is less danger of that being the case with the work of
Darwish, which is probably better known in the non-Arab world than that of any other Arab poet. The desire to free Darwish’s work from its genre, and its appeal to both filmmakers and audiences, was nicely illustrated at last December’s Dubai film festival, where “As the Poet Said” enjoyed its world premier. It wasn’t the only Darwish poem in competition.

Lebanese filmmaker Talal Khoury’s “9 August,” his second effort to render a Darwish poem on film, screened in DIFF’s short film competition. Furthermore the trailer that DIFF’s production team worked up (to project before the festival’s gala screenings) was drawn almost exclusively from a particularly effective passage of Hajjaj’s film. That sequence sees a deaf actor sign a passage of Darwish’s poetry – an avalanche of verbs the poet deployed as if grappling to depict
the complex range of feeling his lover, and country, evoked in him. Audiences invariably applauded generously. It wasn’t odd to hear the word “beautiful,” in various languages.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

Our Own Sykes-Picot

The Gulf News recently published an opinion piece worth reading [I have fixed the English a little, and rearranged it so that it makes sense to Western readers]:

We Arabs are the worst collaborators against our own language. We always talk about conspiracies being woven against the Arabic language, while, in fact, we are Arabic's arch enemies.

Instead of calling upon all Arab satellite channels to use proper Arabic in their broadcasts, some Arab media officials do exactly the opposite. They call upon male and female presenters to use their colloquial regional dialects instead, which can hardly be understood in other countries.(...) It is true they have their own accents, but the language they speak is perfect English, while, on the other hand, the colloquial Arabic spoken by the Libyans, for instance, has nothing to do with proper Arabic. That's why no other Arab can understand it well when spoken on television.Arab films (..) tend to portray wedding registrars who use Quranic Arabic as clowns, as if telling the viewers not to learn this type of language, when they should.

(...) Isn't this a lingual Sykes-Picot, argues an Arab analyst? Isn't it enough that the Arab world has been carved up geographically and politically by the British and the French colonialists? Why do we try to fragment it linguistically now through the media? Is this done on purpose by media officials so that they prevent any kind of cultural communication amongst Arabs, which might lead later to real unification envisaged by Arab pan-Arab nationalists?

(...) It is true that the Arab satellite television channels that use proper Arabic have, as I mentioned in an earlier article, succeeded in unifying the Arab people where Arab nationalist parties have failed, but the TV stations that encourage the use of dialects have a parochial regionalist slant. In other words, they are an extension of Sykes-Picot.

[and so on and so forth - bad teachers, national leaders who can't string a sentence correctly, etc. etc..]

[Then the bomb]

Thanks to the West for protecting our language!

One cannot but also thank the BBC for using the best standard Arabic in its broadcast over half a century, while our supposedly national televisions and radios are using slang ‘cockney' Arabic.

And were it not for Google or Microsoft, the Arabic language would probably have missed out on the Internet and computer revolution. Thanks to Microsoft, proper Arabic has found a place for itself in the computer industry. And thanks to Google, Arabs can now use their proper Arabic to look for information on the World Wide Web. Were it left to Arabs themselves, they would have debased their language as they have done over the years.

[Not sure about the last part - Google just pulls up any rubbish in Arabic letters as Arabic, be it machine produced, or even Dari]

The unity of written Arabic is a myth, too. I have never been able to stomach literary works or academic materials written by scholars from North Africa, because the syntax is French.

The myth hits hardest when working as a copy editor. Businesses want to target the "Arab" world (another myth) but what sells in Lebanon does not sell in Riyadh or Aden. Just try selling car parts.

One could add to this myth the problem of almost non-existent technical terminology. Although many Arabists have tried unifying the terms used in pure and applied sciences, localisms are still more than common, and more than necessary.

I wouldn't blame the Arabic language teachers - they are bred to teach a language that is archaic and does not move with times. In the age of the Internet, fusha is making less and less sense to the younger generation. Time to stop being our own arch enemies, and modernise this dinosaur.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.

ITI Warning Against Machine Translation

From International Trade

The Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI), with 3,000 members worldwide, is one of the UK’s primary sources of information on language services for government, industry, the media and the general public. ITI promotes the highest standards in the profession and its members play a key role in promoting cross border trade in products and services. In this article ITI general secretary Alan Wheatley highlights the growth of machine translation services offered by global phenomena such as Google and Facebook and warns against relying on machine translations for business.

If you’re reading this you probably rely heavily on the Internet for your business. Most do, and not just for emails and finding information, but for strengthening brand awareness, and engaging with stakeholders. The interactive nature of Web 2.0 platforms, social media sites such as Facebook and blogs such as micro blogging site Twitter, mean that it’s easier and faster than ever for businesses to communicate on a global scale.

As an international trader, you’ll appreciate the necessity and benefit of having your company literature – and hopefully by this stage your website too – translated into the languages of your target markets, but what do you do when you begin to embrace social media on a wider scale and set up a company Facebook page, a blog, or a Twitter account?

Google Inc is one corporation who believes that having all your online communications translated into the relevant language/s is important and claims to be the largest free language translation service online. Its Google Translation website lists a total of 52 languages available for translating websites, documents, searches and individual words – and all by computers using mathematical equations, at a click of a mouse, without any human translation. In theory, this means that if you have a corporate blog you can simply paste the URL into the Google Translate facility and your blog will appear instantly in a language of your choice.

Others think it’s a good idea too and have their own translation tools. Facebook Inc – with more than 300 million users most of whom are outside the US – for example, has approached it slightly differently and has crowdsourced its users – again not necessarily professional translators, although some reportedly are – to translate the website into 65 different languages. It goes further. Facebook thinks its pro bono crowdsourced translation approach is so good it wants to patent it. It’s also offering users of Facebook Connect the opportunity to tap into the Facebook community to enlist help translating their sites into any language.

Even Twitter has jumped on the crowdsourced translation bandwagon to have its service available in French, German, Italian and Spanish, in addition to English and Japanese. Twitter plans to enlist its users to offer translations, reportedly alongside some in-house translators.

Where’s the harm in any of this, you might ask? Perhaps none, if all you want to do is exchange a few personal emails with a colleague half way across the world whose language you don’t speak. But if you think you can use Google Translate, for example, to publish your website or blog in other languages, replacing human translation with machine translation, you’re putting your brand and reputation at serious risk.

How can a machine translation ever guarantee accuracy and quality? It’s quite simple – it can’t. Although Facebook and Twitter offerings do have some human intervention in that humans supply possible translations and others vote and the winning vote is applied, there’s still no guarantee that it’s the best translation in that particular context. Translation is a complex task requiring a lot of skill and knowledge. Would you trust an unqualified teacher to teach your children, or an unqualified lawyer to offer you legal advice? If it were easy to speak each other’s language we would all be able to do it by now and the profession of translation, which is almost as old as language itself, wouldn’t exist.

There is much more to being a translator than meets the eye. A good translator has an exceptional command of the native or ‘source’ language and can provide outstanding copywriting, proofreading and editorial services. They usually operate in highly specialist fields and possess the relevant technical vocabulary. They guarantee your communications are fit for purpose. Professional translators also identify unarticulated needs, thanks to their acute appreciation of cultural differences and approaches to business and industry practices.

It’s true that professional translators themselves use technology to speed up their work. However, specialist computational linguists have been working for over 50 years to achieve a high degree of quality and the translators themselves programme their software to suit their particular area of focus. A professional translator would never rely purely on a machine translation because computers will never understand how a language works and therefore neglect the essential aspects of good communication – accuracy, clarity, style, nuance and cultural sensitivity.

Errors in translation and interpreting can waste enormous amounts of time and money, resulting in incalculable costs in terms of misunderstanding and loss of prestige. Professional translators understand this and know business leaders care about the effect their online – and off line – communications will have on the business and will ensure the company communicates effectively to enhance the perception of your brand and reputation.

Sadly, it can be very easy to get it wrong by cutting corners and ITI members are often called in to rectify strategic translation errors. Rather than hiring a professional from the outset, some companies believe they can save money and achieve the desired result by using a machine translation or enlisting someone in-house who just happens to speak the language/s in question.

Poorly translated communications can mean your brand will be poorly perceived resulting in limited or no success, and by not using a professional translator you will not only waste money, but you will also miss opportunities, fail to attract appropriate media attention and damage your reputation. It makes sense to get it right from the outset and call in a professional translator.

To identify professional translators – and interpreters – there are some obvious checkpoints. You can start by confirming qualifications, references and memberships of professional bodies. A professional translator or interpreter will always be happy to provide these. ITI members, for example, demonstrate their commitment to the profession by joining the organisation and adhering to a strict code of conduct. This is essential in an unregulated profession. You can find the award winning ‘Translation Getting it Right’ booklet available in the Advice to Business section of www.iti.org.uk plus a Directory of Members.

You’ll know when you’re working with a professional because he or she will offer consultancy, add value, translate into their native language unless they are multilingual, ensure the end translation is fit for purpose, save you money, help safeguard brand reputation, offer specialist knowledge, request feedback, solve problems, think ahead and advise. No computer will ever be able to do all that!

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at http://www.arabic.com.au/.