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Archive for June 3rd, 2008

EU hopes for Community patent under French Presidency

Talks on setting up a European patent system made good progress at the meeting of EU industry ministers yesterday (29 May), but sensitive translation arrangements remain the main obstacle, the Slovenian EU Presidency said after the meeting. Although work at technical level has not been completed yet, several proposals are on the table now, Slovenian Economy Minister Andrej Vijzak said.

“If there is enough political will, I am confident of having a solution soon, maybe even under the French Presidency,” Vijzak stated. The main stumbling block in the negotiations on a Community patent and a related litigation system, which have been going on for over a decade now, is the issue of translation arrangements. The Slovenian Presidency has proposed two options. One foresees a ‘flexible patent’, which would allow the owner to decide in which country the claim would be protected, while the second option calls for translation into all official EU languages by an automated computer system. The latter is the one favoured by a majority of member states.

The main difference between the options is that that in the latter, translation had no legal status, contrary to the first one. Regarding the Community patent, the Presidency particularly highlighted the cost aspect, saying that a cost-effective patent system had particular benefits to SMEs. Joachim Rohwedder, vice-president of VDMA, the largest engineering association of the European capital goods industry, backed this view, saying that high costs were the main reason SMEs are refraining from registering patent rights.”Today, patent registration in Europe is more costly than in the US and Japan, with translation requirements are a particular burden,” Rohwedder stated, calling for a Community Patent with a cost-effective language regime.

Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy lauded the Slovenian presidency for putting in “extraordinary efforts in advancing this issue”. In parallel to the patent talks, ministers also took note of the progress of the ‘Better Regulation’ initiative (see EurActiv Links Dossier), agreeing that further cutting red tape was vital to Europe’s competitiveness. In 2007, the bloc had agreed to cut the administrative burden by 25% by 2012.

Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen said that the Commission was on track to complete the screening of EU legislation and present another package of proposals for its simplification by the end of the year. The Czech delegation also presented a proposal calling for even more substantial steps. Initiated together with the UK, it also attracted the backing of Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, with Lithuania and Ireland expected to support it. The Slovenian Public Administration Minister Gregor Virant called this declaration “interesting and useful”, but stressed that it was not a common EU project and the focus should be on the bloc’s initial better regulation initiative. The ministers also agreed to create conditions for reducing the fragmentation of the European venture capital market, which should help overcome the lack of equity and investment capital for financing SMEs.

Source: http://www.euractiv.com

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Court interpreters a ‘shallow’ fix: ALRM

The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (ALRM) says the South Australian Government’s promise of more Aboriginal interpreters is a shallow response to a wider problem.The government will spend $520,000 over four years to get more Aboriginal people working in the courts system.

Neil Gillespie from ALRM says it will not improve the legal rights of Aboriginal people who don’t speak english. He says Aboriginal rights lawyers will still be unable to brief their clients ahead of court proceedings.

“What we’re talking about is the Rann Government providing in the court system, but not pre-court system, so Aboriginal people continue to be denied access to justice in the Australian justice system,” he said.”It’s a bit of a shallow type of funding because it’s only focusing on the prosecution of Aboriginal people rather than the defence of Aboriginal people.”

Source: http://www.abc.net.au

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£800,000 cost of interpreters

The bill for providing interpreters and information for people using Kettering General Hospital, GPs, the courts, councils and the police has nearly doubled to more than £816,164 in the past two years.

It reflects figures published in April which showed Corby and Northampton were in the top 15 in the country for the number of immigrant workers registering since the enlargement of the European Union. Figures obtained by the Evening Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act show Northamptonshire Primary Care Trust has increased its spending on translation services by more than £164,000 since 2005/06, taking the total to £294,304.


The trust has seen an increase of 61 per cent in interpreting requests to 3,812 in the past 12 months.

A trust spokesman said: “The trust uses the Community Access Language Service.

“This is anything from interpreters to translating medical notes and leaflets.

“The trust is aware that the cost of translations has increased significantly in recent years.”

During the past 12 months the hospital provided interpreters on 889 occasions in a total of 29 different languages.

Hospital chief executive, Dr Mark Newbold, said: “The trust adopts a very common sense approach to interpretation and translation. For example the friends and family of a patient are used to help interpret every day matters such as menu choices or other routine aspects of care.

“We only use interpreters when it is vital that a patient has a good understanding of their condition or injury.”

Northamptonshire Police’s spending on translation services, which it does not receive specific funding for, has risen from £231,359 to £325,941 in two years.

Assistant Chief Constable Derek Talbot said: “We are policing an increasingly diverse community which requires us to use interpreters more and more, both on the telephone and by calling them out to interpret directly.

“This applies equally to people coming into police custody as well as those people who are victims and those needing help.”

Armida Olejniczak, 28, moved to Corby from Poland three years ago and when she first arrived, she couldn’t speak much English.

She said: “We studied English at school for 10 years, but when I came here it was difficult to understand people because of their accents.

“When I went to the doctor, I had to take a dictionary.

“Now a lot of places in Corby have translations in Polish. You can even book and check appointments at my doctor’s surgery in Polish. It’s money well spent.”

Racial equality officer for Kettering Ven Subbarayan said spending money on translators could cut down costs in the long run.

He said: “When problems arise because of misunderstanding, it can cost more.”

A report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research shows 2,330 central and east European workers were registered in Corby between 2004 and 2007. In Northampton there were 14,250 – the highest outside London.

Wellingborough has 1,805 registered, Kettering 750 and East Northamptonshire has 555 immigrant workers in the area.

The total cost of translation services provided by Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough councils, Northamptonshire Primary Care Trust, Kettering General Hospital, Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Magistrates Courts for 2005/2006 (excluding Corby Council) was £456,072, 2006/2007 £538,918 and for 2007/2008 the figure is £816,164.

East Northamptonshire Council could not provide details.

Source: http://www.northantset.co.uk

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Wanted: Aboriginal interpreters

THE State Government has pledged more than half a million dollars towards providing more Aboriginal interpreters in the state’s court system.

The money will be spent over the next four years to recruit new interpreters from within the South Australian public service. Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said that only 70 percent of court requests for Aboriginal interpreters were filled between July last year and February.Mr Atkinson said the figure compared to 97 percent for other languages such as Italian and Vietnamese.”Extra Aboriginal language interpreters in our court rooms means that cases can be dealt with more swiftly and with less stress for everyone involved,” Mr Atkinson said.

“This will make a real difference to the efficiency of our justice system and ensure the courts are easier to navigate for Aboriginal-speaking people.”Under the plan, Aboriginal people currently employed as nurses, social workers or teachers will be encouraged to make extra money through performing interpreting work.

Source: http://www.news.com.au

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Thaksin ally quits Thai cabinet

Thai minister Jakrapob Penkair 30 May 2008

Mr Jakrapob insists he intended no offence

A Thai cabinet minister allied to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has resigned after being accused of criticising the monarchy.

Jakrapob Penkair stepped down after the police said they would charge him with lese majeste, a serious offence which can lead to a 15 year prison sentence. The move comes amid political tension over the government’s plans to revise the military-drafted constitution. Rumours of another military coup are shaking investor confidence.

Deep rift

Political careers in Thailand routinely survive all sorts of mud-slinging – but any allegation of disloyalty to the monarchy is usually fatal. So it has proved to Jakrapob Penkair, an outspoken cabinet minister and one-time protege of Thaksin Shinawatra, the billionaire prime minister who was ousted by a military coup in September 2006. The offending comments were made in English in a speech to foreign correspondents last August. Their translation and interpretation have been the subject of intense debate.

Mr Jakrapob insists he intended no offence. The issue is a highly emotional one in Thailand. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is almost universally revered here – but he is 80 years old, and there is barely-concealed public anxiety over the succession. Opponents of Mr Thaksin, whose allies run the current government, believe he has a hidden, anti-monarchy agenda. So when the government announced it would try to amend the military-drafted constitution earlier this year, that prompted a resumption of street protests by some of the same groups who led the campaign against Mr Thaksin two years ago.

They will doubtless see the resignation of one of his most loyal supporters in the government as a victory. But the deep rift between the pro- and anti-Thaksin camps is still unresolved, after more than two years.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk

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The late Robert Fagles, a master translator who made the ancient Greek and Roman classics his artist’s canvas, used to spend three hours early each morning shuttered in his Princeton University office translating and writing. Often, at the end of that routine, he would walk out with his head cocked to one side as if listening to the voices of the ancient poets, recalled Sandra Bermann, a friend and former colleague. He gave new life to those poet’s voices through his bold and powerful English translations of works that included Homer’s “The Odyssey” and “The Iliad” and Virgil’s “The Aeneid.”

“It’s hard to speak of Bob Fagles without something akin to wonder,” Bermann said yesterday to a gathering of several hundred people who attended a memorial service for Fagles in the Princeton University Chapel. In addition to Fagles’ family, among those attending the service were other literary luminaries who had been Princeton faculty colleagues of his, including poet Paul Muldoon and author Toni Morrison. Fagles, who died of prostate cancer at age 74 on March 26 in Princeton, left behind a legacy not only of his acclaimed translations, but also of a humanity, generosity and kind humor that made him a beloved colleague, mentor, friend, father and husband to the people whose lives he touched, his colleagues said.

“Bob had the courage to translate so much and so beautifully, I think, because he himself was so much,” said Bermann, chairwoman of Princeton’s department of comparative literature, which Fagles helped establish and oversaw for almost 20 years. “He cared deeply about each faculty member, about his staff and students,” Bermann said. But above all, his wife of 51 years, Lynne Fagles, was the light of his life — his muse, friends and relatives said. And he was a good listener, as well as a wellspring of information who was fascinating to talk to, his daughter, Nina Fagles Hartley said.

“No matter how busy, you never had the impression that he was bored or distracted” during conversations, Hartley said. That’s the kind of characteristic that made him a model father and an effective teacher, she said. Fagles’ translations have sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, drawing a wide-ranging audience that included both an academic and general readership.

He received numerous awards in his career, including the National Humanities Medal, the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the PEN/Ralph Manheim prize for lifetime achievement. Muldoon, chairman of the university’s Lewis Center for the Arts, said Fagles’ vivid and attentive translations had an “extraordinary delicacy” about them.

“Losing him,” Muldoon said, “we’ve lost part of our grounding and part of our groundedness.”

Source: http://www.nj.com

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Pop Japan Travel’s Mind Over Manga tour this Aug. 21 to 27 offers guests the unprecendented chance to print their own comic in Japanese and sell it directly to Japanese customers at Comitia, one of Tokyo’s most respected dojinshi (indie comics) events. Several artists have already taken us up on this offer, but now, with the tour deadline rapidly approaching (and the $100 early discount available only until this Monday!), PJT has released complete details of the dojinshi option, including printing, translation and lettering costs.

The PJT printing package includes black-and-white printing at B5 size (182×257 mm) with superpost 220kg full-color covers using clear or matte PP printing. Page counts are available in multiples of four, with copy counts in increments of 50. See http://www.popjapantravel.com/updates/41/Manga+Printing+Details for complete price table.

Translation from English to Japanese and lettering are available for $8 per page plus 6 cents per word (you won’t be charged for pages with no text).

Your comic remains 100% owned by you, and the translation is considered work for hire, which means you also own the Japanese version we produce and can use it however you like. Digital Manga retains no rights to the work and must ask your permission to use it. You also may set your own price for selling the book at the convention, and you may keep 100% of the money you make.

Even if you don’t choose to sell your own book, you’ll get an up-close look at the way Japan’s manga market operates. The tour will also include the chance to meet and pick the brains of some Japan’s most important manga and dojinshi artists, plus a visit to a cutting-edge anime studio and Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli Museum, and lots of exclusive privileges and discounts at Japanese otaku retailers like Kotobukiya and Mandarake. Of course, we’ll also include our tried-and-true tour of Tokyo, providing a mind-blowing look at the world’s most populous urban area, plus a few excursions outside the city and optional tours of Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima.

The tour, including round-trip airfare from LAX to Tokyo, full hotel accommodations, transport in Japan, entry fees, bilingual guides and customized guidebook, is $2,198 plus a $235* fuel surcharge. But if you sign up and send us your $300 deposit before Monday, June 2, you’ll receive a special $100 off, making your price just $2,098.

*-Subject to change.

DIGITAL MANGA’S POP JAPAN TRAVEL is the original and premiere provider of pop culture themed tours of Japan.  Since 2003, PJT has operated more than 15 tours with themes focused on Japanese anime, manga, games and more.  Pop Japan tours offer a careful balance of the hyper-modern world of J-pop culture and the rich traditions of ancient Japan, and PJT is the ONLY tour agency to provide exclusive experiences such as visits to anime and game studios, meetings with manga artists, and more. Pop Japan Travel tours are organized in cooperation with IACE Travel, one of Japan’s largest travel agencies.

COMITIA has since 1984 been one of Tokyo’s most popular dojinshi events. Run four times a year, it focuses on original, creative art rather than fan fiction. That has made it a launchpad for new manga artists, with thousands of circles participating each year. It takes place at Tokyo Big Sight, which otaku will recognize from Comic Party, Genshiken and many other anime and manga series.

Source: http://www.activeanime.com

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Professor John Koch of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies has put forward a new theory that the cradle of Celtic civilisation was not Hallstatt, between the Rhine and the Rhone, but the Iberian peninsula.

In his O’Donnell Lecture at the University College, Bangor, he said that on the basis of an extensive continent-wide overview of linguistic and archaeological evidence, he has come to the conclusion that a Celtic civilisation and culture had originated on the Atlantic West of Europe in the Bronze Age. Rather than being the remnants of a great culture that extended to and remained for longer on the Atlantic fringes, he believes the Celtic culture developed here. Professor Koch, a highly respected American academic who settled in Aberystwyth and learnt Welsh, said his theory is based on inscriptions found in Spain and Portugal, which suggest that a Celtic civilisation pre-dated that which emerged in central Europe by more than 500 years.

These stone inscriptions in Portugal and Spain are in the earliest written language of western Europe, Tartessian, and date from 800 BC to 400 BC. Professor Koch argues that this language can be deciphered as Celtic. The traditional theory is that the original British population was over-run by a wave of non-Celtic people from the Iberian peninsula – hence the predominance of a dark-haired rather darkish population in Wales and Brittany. These were followed by successive waves of tall, more lightly coloured Celts from Central Europe.

Recent DNA researches has shown that contemporary British people – Celts and Anglo-Saxons alike – have more in common with the Basques than any other race group. This finding has attracted confusion and amusement in the popular English press. Professor Koch’s theory is supported, at least in part, by Stephen Oppenheimer, author of The Origins of the British. Oppenheimer claims that genetic evidence shows that 75 per cent of the population of the British Isles have the same genes as people who live in the Basque country whose forefathers, he argues, migrated to those islands between 15,000 and 7,500 years ago. Oppenheimer makes another interesting claim. He says there is no evidence – linguistic, archaeological or genetic – to identify the Hallstatt or La Tène regions or cultures as Celtic homelands. He says that this error is derived from a mistake by Herodotos 2,500 years ago when in a remark about the ‘Keltoi’, he placed them at the source of the Danube, which he thought was near the Pyrenees.

“The Danube,” wrote Herodotos, “starts from the country of the Celts and the city of Pyrene. It flows through Europe, which it divides down the middle. The Celts are outside the Pillars of Heracles and march with the Cynesii, who are the western-most people in Europe.” Everything else about his description, argues Oppenheimer, located the Keltoi in the region of Iberia.

The Silver King

Herodotos, according to Henri Hubert, the great French historian, archaeologist and linguistics expert, gives the name of the King of Tartessus at the time when the Phocæans were colonising Marseilles. His name was Arganthonios – the silver King. Tartessus was famous for its silver mines, and according to Herodotos Arganthonios gave money to the Phocæans to build a defensive wall against the Persians of Cyrus. Hubert noted that the name Arganthonios is based on the Celtic form of the word for silver – arganto.

It is possible, of course, that a Celtic chief could have become king of the Iberian state of Tartessus.

There is even an Irish legend in Do Suidigud Tellaich Temra (The Yellow Book of Lecan) about the origins of the Gaelic Celts – “We are born of the children of Mile, of Spain.”

Professor Koch’s theory has attracted a lively discussion on one or two websites. But as yet I have seen no mention of the views of Hubert. He cited Philipon’s work in drawing up an Iberian vocabulary, based on geographical names and proper nouns, which is distinct from Tartessian.

The people of Tartessus were famous for their trading, travelling to Brittany and even to the British Isles, and resemblances in culture between the British Isles and Spain could be explained by trade. Of course, it makes no difference whether the Celts spread from central Europe or from the Iberian peninsula. It’s still very interesting, nevertheless.

Source: http://www.agencebretagnepresse.com

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El proyecto CACAO, encargado por la Unión Europea, permitirá a los usuarios acceder a…

…un contenido digital más útil y aprovechable
El Centro Europeo de Investigación de Xerox (XRCE por sus siglas en inglés) está coordinando un proyecto, encargado por la Unión Europea, para desarrollar una innovadora herramienta que permita acceder, comprender y navegar por los contenidos de los textos de múltiples lenguas existentes en bibliotecas digitales y catálogos online de acceso público (OPACs por sus siglas en inglés). El nuevo Acceso Multilingüe a Catálogos y Bibliotecas online (CACAO por sus siglas en inglés)  es una plataforma formada por bibliotecas y organismos académicos y de investigación industrial de Europa. Además, forma parte del programa eContentplus que apoya la coordinación de bibliotecas, museos y colecciones de archivos, así como la conservación de colecciones digitales de toda la Unión Europea para asegurar la disponibilidad de los documentos culturales, académicos y científicos para su uso futuro.

Este programa también se encarga del desarrollo de una biblioteca digital europea, basada en iniciativas como la Biblioteca Digital Europea y la Biblioteca Europea, que se centra en los aspectos multilingüísticos y multiculturales para permitir que el contenido digital sea más accesible, utilizable y aprovechable. Las nuevas y exclusivas capacidades de CACAO están basadas en la Estrategia de Lisboa (Consejo Europeo, Lisboa, marzo 2000) que define cómo intentará la Unión Europea convertirse en una economía mundial más dinámica, competitiva y basada en el conocimiento. CACAO forma parte de la investigación y desarrollo tecnológico que lleva a cabo la Unión Europea como principal instrumento para patrocinar los proyectos de investigación europeos y conseguir los objetivos de la Estrategia de Lisboa.

“Desde su creación en los años 90, uno de los objetivos principales del XRCE ha sido desarrollar tecnologías de gestión documental más inteligentes, capaces de dotar a los documentos con la ‘inteligencia’ necesaria para analizar el contexto, traducir los documentos a cualquier idioma y eliminar las barreras muticulturales y de diversidad lingüística, promoviendo así un mejor intercambio del conocimiento”, dice Monica Beltrametti, vicepresidenta y directora del XRCE. “Estamos encantados de que CACAO nos dé la oportunidad de aplicar algunas de nuestras tecnologías Smarter Document ManagementSM para contribuir en la consecución de una economía basada en el conocimiento europeo”.

El proyecto CACAO pretende proporcionar a los usuarios de la Unión Europea una potente biblioteca digital multilingüe y una herramienta de búsqueda de catálogos de bibliotecas para entender, navegar, y acceder a la completa gama de contenidos disponibles en Europa, independientemente de cuál sea el idioma. CACAO va más allá de las limitadas búsquedas de palabra clave en un único idioma y analiza el contenido semántico de una consulta. Según Frédérique Segond, científico principal y responsable del grupo de investigación sintáctica y semántica del XRCE: “CACAO simplificará y acelerará enormemente la complicada búsqueda de libros y otros documentos en los catálogos de bibliotecas online”. Además, con la combinación de técnicas de procesamiento de lenguaje natural con sistemas de recuperación de información existentes CACAO permite a los usuarios introducir consultas en su propio idioma y recuperar los documentos y objetos en cualquier otra lengua disponible. También proporcionará una herramienta de búsqueda multilingüe, selectiva, inteligente y fácil de usar.  Según algunos estudios, los trabajadores del conocimiento invierten hasta el 30 por ciento de su tiempo buscando información relacionada con su trabajo en documentos electrónicos, y los usuarios utilizan cada vez más idiomas distintos, aparte del inglés, para comunicarse a través de Internet. Además, se prevé que el contenido de los documentos de las bibliotecas europeas deje de estar únicamente en inglés, al igual que está pasando con el contenido de Internet. Asimismo, se espera que también aumente el interés de los usuarios por documentos publicados en idiomas distintos de la lengua nativa o del inglés.

La política de larga duración en materia de innovación abierta del XRCE ha permitido a sus investigadores e ingenieros trabajar frecuentemente con una amplia variedad de instituciones europeas de investigación, tanto públicas como privadas, y bajo contratos de la Unión Europea y gubernamentales. XRCE ha coordinado varios de estos proyectos. Xerox estableció su Centro Europeo de Investigación en Grenoble, Francia, a principios de los 90 para crear tecnologías documentales innovadoras e impulsar la transición corporativa de Xerox hacia una empresa de tecnología impulsada por los servicios. XRCE es la base de muchas de las herramientas de la gama de soluciones de gestión documental inteligente de Xerox (Smarter Document Management SM), tales como el texto híbrido y la categorización de imágenes, la conversión de documentos XML y las herramientas de análisis lingüístico ya utilizadas por la compañía para algunos de los trabajos más complicados de sus clientes.

Socios del proyecto CACAO:
Celi S.R.L –  Italia
Libera Università di Bolzano – Italia
Polska Akademia Nauk Biblioteka Kornicka – Polonia
Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie – Francia
Gonetwork S.R.L. – Italia
Magyar Tudomanyos Akademia Nyelvtudomanyi Intezet – Hungría
University of Goettingen, Goettingen State y University Library – Alemania
National Szechenyi Library – Hungría
Xerox Research Centre Europe – Francia

Fuente: http://www.arboldenoticias.com

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La Unión Europea (UE) y China lanzaron ayer aquí un programa de intercambio de idiomas para dar a los europeos la oportunidad de estudiar el chino y entender la cultura china.

“Este programa de intercambio de idiomas es un paso importante, tanto para estimular el aprendizaje del idioma como para fomentar el entendimiento inter-cultural”, comentó Leonard Orban, comisionado de la UE para Multilingüismo.

Orban y Zhang Xinsheng, viceministro chino de Educación, lanzaron oficialmente el Programa de Intercambio de Idiomas China-UE de cuatro años, titulado “Ventana UE”.

La Unión Europea y China han mantenido una buena cooperación en la capacitación de personal educativo de alto nivel, mencionó Zhang. Hasta 2007, el número de estudiantes chinos que estudiaban en naciones de la UE llegó a 193.000, mientras que la cifra de estudiantes de países de la UE que estudiaban en China era de 15.000, indicó. El intercambio del programa de idiomas será útil para el mutuo entendimiento de sus respectivas culturas y será bueno para “el desarrollo de las relaciones UE-China”, declaró Zhang.

El proyecto 2009-2013, presentado en ocasión de la X Cumbre China -UE en noviembre de 2007, y patrocinado por el gobierno chino, proporcionará oportunidades para 200 maestros de escuela europeos del idioma chino, así como 400 directores de escuela de los Estados miembros de la UE para mejorar su eficiencia en idioma chino y el entendimiento de la cultura china. La primera fase del programa durará dos años y consistirá de dos actividades –Capacitación en verano de 50 maestros de idioma chino de Estados miembros de la UE y una visita de estudio de 10 días de 100 directores de escuela y administradores de educación de Estados miembros de la UE. En el contexto del diálogo estructural UE-China en el campo de educación y cultura, una primera junta técnica entre representantes de la comisión y el Ministerio de Educación de China, tuvo lugar el 31 de enero de 2008 en Bruselas.

Fuente: http://spanish.china.org

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