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Archive for June 6th, 2008

This is a question asked by many of our clients. Unfortunately there are no official figures on the subject which makes the question a difficult one to answer, and in turn raises the additional question of which languages to support when producing a campaign.

So, we have compiled the following research over a number of years to help various campaigns and public communication initiatives.

The research that we have done in this field has looked at the following areas to help us to answer the question of, which languages should I be translating for the UK home market?

  • The information gathered by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in the Census 2001,
  • Which languages are supported when the Government translate for the home market, and,
  • The current social economic situation.

This page is a consolidation of the research that we have found on the subject and shows an insight into which languages are spoken in the UK. If you have any comments about this research please use the contact page on this website.

Census 2001

In an ideal world we would be able to get this information directly from the results of the Census in 2001, but the question ‘which language do you speak/understand best’ wasn’t included in the Census.

Perhaps this question wasn’t included because it is irrelevant if asked in a language that is not understood – it is no use asking a Chinese speaker what language they speak in English. To pre-empt this, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) carried out their own research into what languages are spoken in the UK, this was done in partnership with Local Authorities in England and Wales.

After this data had been analysed the ONS provided linguistic support in the following languages for Census 2001.

  • Albanian/Kosovan, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Cantonese), Croatian, Farsi /Persian, French, German, Greek, Gujerati, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Serbian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.

Additional Languages for 2008

Given the recent increase in economic migration from countries in Central Europe we would also add the following to the list.

  • Bulgarian, Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovak and Slovenian.

Consideration must also be made for the native languages of the UK such as, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Cornish, Irish and (of course) English.

And then cross referencing this against what languages are supported by the Central Office of Information (COI), we can conclude that the list of languages below will cover the vast majority of the current UK population.

  • Albanian/Kosovan, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese, Cornish, Croatian, Czech, English, Estonian, Farsi /Persian, French, German, Greek, Gujerati, Hindi, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese and Welsh.

While this information is very useful if a UK wide campaign is planned (or if budgets are not an issue), most projects will be specific to a particular region and therefore we need to know which communities are concentrated in which areas.

This information can be gained from looking at local populations and their country of birth. In other words what percentage of a local population is born abroad.

Born abroad

As the global economy accelerates, the flow of information, investment and industry across international borders means that people with different languages and cultures follow the opportunities this creates.

The UK is one of the strongest economies in Europe and has had years of low inflation, low unemployment, relatively low interest rates and the City of London is now one of the world’s major financial centres – this all leads to an attractive proposition when attracting migrants.

This has lead to an increasingly culturally (and linguistically) diverse UK.

To illustrate this point the graph below shows the growth in the number of people that were not born the United Kingdom that are now currently residing here. The figures were part of a survey done by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPRR) entitled the New Immigrant Communities Study. It shows that there are 4.3 million people living in the UK (and consuming public services and products) that were not born here.

a graph showing how many people living within the UK were not born there

Given that this figure has grown at 38% between the years of 1991-2001 we have assumed that this growth will continue (safe assumption given the new entrants in the EU). This played forward gives a figure of approx 6 million people living but not born in the UK in 2011, 10% of the UK population.

What languages where?

Looking at research provided by the BBC, the Institute for Public Policy Research and Sheffield University Social and Spatial Inequalities Research Group, we are able to give an overview of which groups of people live in which area and therefore an indication of the languages spoken in each region.

For instance, looking at the London region the data shows that (in 2001) 1.7m people living in London in 2001 were born outside of Britain. The following 10 countries and regions were the most common birth places of these 1.7m people, accounting for ~50% ,(the languages spoken there are provided in brackets).

  • India (Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujerati and Tamil (Although there are many others))
  • Caribbean (English, French, Spanish and Dutch)
  • South and East Africa (Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Amharic, Chichewa, Oromo and English)
  • Bangladesh (Bengali)
  • Nigeria (English is the official language but others include Igbo, Yoruba and Idoma)
  • Pakistan (Urdu, English and Pashto)
  • Kenya (Swahili and English)
  • Central and West Africa (Swahili, Kirundi, Yoruba and Hausa)
  • The Far East (Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, Pashto and Sorani)
  • Sri Lanka (Tamil)

In total 25% of the city’s population was born abroad, this was 18% in 1991, an increase of 38%. This is not uniform all over the city with the largest percentage of born abroad residents residing in Wembley where 52% of people were born abroad (the most common places of birth being India, Caribbean and Sri Lanka). While the lowest was Upminster at 4% of the population (the most common places of birth being India, Africa and the Caribbean).

So, armed with this information you will be able to make better choices about what to translate and what languages to provide support for in your projects. When purchasing language services make sure that you use the pan Government agreement put in place by the OGC as this offers considerable savings and improved flexibility over previous agreements. More information can be found on this website.

Source: http://www.k-international.com

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Due to the increasing use of the English language the numbers of Welsh speakers had been declining for decades. However, following a number of measures, including the introduction of the Welsh Language Act 1993, Welsh has enjoyed a strong revival in recent years and has an equal status with English in the public sector in Wales.

Wales today is officially bilingual, with over 20% of the population able to speak Welsh. Of these 611,000 Welsh speakers 62% use Welsh on a daily basis over English.

Decline of Welsh in the 16th Century

The passing of the 1536 and 1542 Acts of Union brought a significant change in the official use of Welsh.The purpose of the Acts of Union was to integrate Wales with England and this therefore meant that English became the official language of business in Wales. During this time it was not possible for any monolingual Welsh speaker to hold office in Wales. Although the language was not officially banned it lost all status and brought with it centuries of steady linguistic decline – the language would not be used as an official language again for over four hundred years, until the passing of the 1942 Welsh Courts Act which permitted limited use of the languages in the courts.

Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn

‘The Red Dragon will shown the way’

welsh_translation_services_wales_flag_red_dragon

Rise of Welsh – The Welsh Language Act 1993

To date, the most significant Act by far to be passed is The Welsh Language Act 1993.

A milestone in the modern history of the Welsh language, this Act was the first to put Welsh and English on an equal footing within the public sector.

The Act did three main things for the Welsh Language:

  • Set up the Welsh Language Board, with the duty of promoting the Welsh language and ensuring compliance throughout the public sector.
  • Gave all Welsh speakers the absolute right to speak Welsh in courts under all circumstances.
  • Obliged all organisations in the public sector providing services to the Public in Wales to treat Welsh and English on an equal basis. Meaning any official literature and publicity such as road signs, minutes, information leaflets etc… must be supplied bilingually, as well as all public events and meetings be interpreted.

Since its conception in 1993 the Welsh Language board has rallied thousands in support of the increased usage of the Welsh language. So much so that the UK Government has ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in respect of Welsh and they have ruled it to be one of the languages which is sufficient for naturalisation purposes in the UK.

wales_landmark_welsh_translation_services

Welsh in the 21st Century

The teaching of Welsh is now compulsory in all schools in Wales up to the age of 16, and this has had a major effect in stabilising and reversing the decline of the language. In popular culture Wales has had some important exports advertising the use of the Welsh language by speaking their native tongue on television. The most recent being Glyn Wise and Imogen Thomas’s conversations in Welsh on Big Brother 6 which sparked a nation wide debate about the Welsh language.

Television channel ‘S4C’ broadcasts exclusively in Welsh during peak hours and the main evening television news provided by the BBC in Welsh is available for download. There is also a Welsh language radio station ‘BBC Radio Cymru’ broadcasting on a daily basis. Many major corporate organisations have followed the Government’s lead and realised the importance of providing their information in both Welsh and English – Microsoft recently launched their operating system XP and their 2003 version of Microsoft Office in Welsh. Linux distributions and various online services to Blogs are translated into the Welsh language.

“The launch of Windows and Office 2003 in Welsh marks a real milestone for the language and fits in well with the Welsh Assembly Government’s vision for a bilingual Wales”.

“I find it very encouraging that at a time of increasing globalisation, a huge multinational company like Microsoft still recognises the importance of supporting diversity in languages and culture.”

-Welsh Language Minister Alun Pugh

(From the BBC News Website)The BBC also recognises how important the Welsh language is in the United Kingdom and they have setup a competition called the The Big Welsh Challenge. Which will help the English population to learn and understand Welsh.

big_welsh_challenge_welsh_translation_services

Welsh Translation Services

Since 1986, K International has been assisting various government organisations, such as the Welsh Assembly Government, UK Home Office, Independent Complaints Commission, Electoral Commission and many more, with their Welsh language requirements. Many of our Welsh translators are members of the Society of Welsh Translators; all have been through our rigorous testing procedures to ensure they meet our high quality standards, and will have at least 3 years previous translation experience.

Each project is different and therefore translators are chosen for their unique skills and specialist knowledge that meet the project requirements. As with all our translators, they speak the target language as their mother tongue, using the language in their everyday life on a daily basis. All our Welsh translators are native to Wales.

Our In-House Design and Web Development team have vast experience artworking, typesetting and illustrating Welsh translations into booklets, leaflets, information packs and websites.

Some examples of these include:

  • 48 Page booklet for the Home Office Crime strategy Unit
  • The Welsh localisation of the ETS Communication Unit’s Employment Tribunal Website
  • Welsh glossary pages for the Electoral Commission

welsh_language_translation_examples

At K International we understand the importance and the beauty of the Welsh language, its value in doing business in the UK and how vital it is for Welsh speakers to be able to communicate in their native tongue.

For more information on K International and our Welsh translation and interpreting services please call (01908) 670399, or e-mail info@k-international.com.

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MEP launches appeal to make Welsh official EU language

Pressure is mounting on the EU to reconsider the status of regional and minority languages and introduce translation and interpretation for Welsh, Catalan and Basque. MEP Jill Evans from the Pro-Welsh independence party Plaid Cymru launched an appeal on 3 June to make Welsh a co-official language in the European Parliament.

Evans says she wants to have the linguistic rights of her fellow countrymen recognised by the EU institutions. She insists that the Welsh should be able to communicate, notably with the European Parliament, in their national language.

She wants to prove that people and organisations would use Welsh to communicate with EU institutions if they had the opportunity to do so and that there is real demand for Welsh language facilities.

The appeal calls upon individuals and institutions in Wales to win official recognition of Welsh at European level: “I’ve been campaigning for several years,” Ms. Evans said. “I welcome the support I’ve received from many organisations and individuals,” she added.

While negotiations are currently underway between the Welsh government and the EU Council on the status of Welsh language and translation, other linguistic minorities in the EU are becoming increasingly vocal. The Spanish government and regional authorities are making similar demands for Catalan and Basque.Catalan, spoken in Spain, Andorra, Southern France and in an enclave in Sardinia, is an important regional language in the Western Mediterranean. With close to seven million native speakers, it is also more widely spoken than several of the European Union’s official languages.

The EU nowadays has 23 official languages. After the accession of Bulgaria in January 2007, the Cyrillic alphabet is also used in EU official documents next to the Latin and Greek ones: a visible testimony to the continent’s diversity. While the EU says it is committed to safeguarding its linguistic diversity and to offering citizen-friendly communication in the member states’ official languages, the status of minority and regional languages is remains a controversial issue. Part of the controversy is linked to the costs of translation and interpretation. €511 million were spent in 2005 to cover language facilities in EU institutions, while last year a report by former Finnish MEP Alexander Stubb questioned the need to have every EU document translated into lesser-spoken languages such as Finnish, Swedish and Maltese.

Source: http://www.euractiv.com

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A wrist mounted translation device being developed for the uniformed services has put Derby University in the running for a prestigious business innovation award.

Derby is one of five universities shortlisted in the Innovation in Development category of the first Lord Stafford Awards east Midlands, for its collaboration with Civil Defence Supply (CDS) of Lincoln.

The awards, established in 1997 in the West Midlands, recognise and encourage the development of collaborative relationships between businesses and universities. They are being held for the first time this year in the east Midlands.

Derby University design graduate Amin Ismail, born in Iraq, landed a job with CDS after designing the prototype for the AHKY – Arabic for ‘speak’ – a wrist mounted verbal translation device to help soldiers and uniformed civilians interpret key foreign phrases in emergency situations.

CDS is a multi-million pound company that supplies special operational equipment to police forces, NATO, the United Nations, the US DOD and the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

Its technology includes long range photography, heat seeking devices and attachments to surveillance. Its role has been likened to that of the fictional ‘Q’ branch in the James Bond films, creating more unusual devices and gadgets.

‘We learnt of Amin from the massive press coverage over his AKHY concept and made immediate contact, as we had conceived the need for a language translator some two years ago,’ said Eran Bauer, CDS’ director of Civil Defence Supply.

‘The translator is now ready for the market and Amin is a key member of that team. We have successfully married this student’s novel ideas to our designs and made a world class device that can radically change the way people integrate with those of different cultures.’

Derby University, along with all others shortlisted, is due to be visited this month for the second part of the judging process. The judging panel will be joined by Lord Stafford.

Awards winners will be announced on Thursday 11 September at a dinner at Goosedale conferencing and banqueting, near Papplewick, Nottinghamshire. The winners of each category will receive £5,000.

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

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Interview: Answering the call for on-demand interpreting in China

Only a decade ago, the number of foreign visitors to China was but a fraction of the 132 million inbound tourists that visited the country last year – aside from a few intrepid business travelers armed with translators, the majority were students, teachers and backpackers winging it in a country with a notoriously difficult language.

Fast-forward to 2008: leisure and business travel to China is booming, mobile phones services have caught up to developed world standards and the Olympics, which China is expecting to attract half a million foreign tourists, are two months away. One thing that hasn’t changed is the significant linguistic obstacle the Chinese language presents visitors, especially Westerners.

The challenges faced by foreign visitors to China have given rise to demand for instant, on-demand interpreting services, rather than hiring a bilingual guide who requires food, lodging and transportation and can become a significant expense on long trips.

Hong Kong-based telephone interpreting service provider ChinaONEcall established its Kunming office in January 2007, entering the rapidly growing on-demand interpreting industry in mainland China. After a free trial period given to a group of beta-testers and then a gradual launch to the tourist and expat market, the company – which has operations in China, the UK and US – had its public launch to media and the international business community in London in October 2007.

GoKunming sat down with ChinaONEcall Cofounder and Operations Director Greg Sinclair to find out more about this growing industry:

GoKunming: Why did you found ChinaONEcall?

Greg Sinclair: I’ve been coming to China for ten years, first teaching English in Qingdao in 1998, and while I am now reasonably able to hold my own in conversation I can still remember how difficult it is for someone who has just arrived and has no knowledge of Chinese. Despite huge developmental advances over the last decade and increasing numbers of English-speakers, a non-Chinese speaker is still hugely handicapped in trying to get by in China.

My father found it particularly frustrating a couple of years ago when, after visiting me in Kunming, he got completely lost just outside of Shanghai. The only thing he had to help him was a mobile phone and my number. I managed to find out where he was and how he could get to where he needed to be by speaking to a passer-by who’d been handed my dad’s phone. The panic was over but then we both thought this could be a really good idea for a business.

GK: Who do your clients tend to be?

GS: Our clients include business travelers, tourists, students and even expatriates – basically anyone who wants a little bit more freedom while moving around in China and doesn’t want to rely on tour guides and interpreters or burden their Chinese-speaking friends with frequent calls for help. We also have a large number of customers who aren’t in China or even planning a trip to China but want an interpreter for a conference call. We have access numbers in the US and UK so people can call us for either local rate or toll-free and we’ll connect the call to the person they wish to speak to – for example a factory manager – and provide the interpreting service.

We are also getting more and more clients wanting document translation by email rather than just interpreting and we also provide this service. In fact, there will shortly be a site dedicated to this at www.chinaONEtranslate.com

GK: What do you see happening to the phone interpreting industry after the Olympics?

GS: I’m not really able to speak for the industry as a whole but I assume, like us, they are very interested in the Olympics and are hoping to get a significant volume of business from that and other events in the future such as the Shanghai Expo 2010 and the Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou also in 2010.

However our business model is not focused on one event or another. We anticipate our business as ongoing and indeed rising to cover what appears to be an exponential increase in business and leisure travel to China. Obviously it would be foolish not to tap into and take advantage of large international events such as the Olympic Games but equally foolish to assume that we can sit on our laurels because China is playing host to such a prestigious affair.

GK: Many companies portray a phone interpreter service as something only used in emergencies, what kind of non-emergency calls do your staff receive?

GS: It’s true that there are situations where a service like ours can be a real lifeline in an emergency but thankfully these are not as common as some may believe. Of course we get customers who are in stressful and difficult circumstances and we’ve helped people out of some fairly sticky situations, which is why our staff are all taught useful conflict management and mediation skills, but we also get many calls which are not emergencies at all.

People use us in all sorts of situations including haggling over souvenirs, changing money in the bank, and just chatting to strangers on a long train journey. We had one Australian who we helped arrange a date with someone he’d been exchanging smiles with over 36 hours on a train, although I’ve no idea how that eventually turned out. On the business side we had a British customer who was impressed with a jewelry shop in Lijiang. He took the shop’s business card, gave it to his friend in the UK who imports jewelry and we set up a conference call. Some of this Yunnan jewelry is now being sold in London. Of course emergencies happen and our staff are ready to help but most of the time it’s really about having the freedom to create and take advantage of opportunities that the language barrier can sometimes make impossible.

GK: What are the major opportunities and challenges for the phone interpreting industry in general?

GS: Again, it’s difficult to speak for the whole industry but from our point of view we see a rising opportunity in the domestic market. We are already talking to Chinese firms that receive a lot of western visitors, particularly in the export and hospitality industries, and have some exciting partnerships in the pipeline. There is also a growing market of Chinese people visiting English-speaking countries and while this is, at present, mostly in tour groups or with face-to-face interpreters it is starting to change. Chinese people in, for example, the US can call our toll-free number to get an interpreter to help them communicate with English speakers. So the whole setup can work just as well in reverse.

Challenges include helping people who speak English as a second language or people who have quite strong regional accents. Our team is trained in listening to different accents; one of them has even spent a year in Newcastle, England which to my mind has one of the more difficult regional accents for a non-native English speaker to understand. Another perceived challenge is the rise of electronic translators, some of which are dedicated devices and some of which are software based and can be downloaded to a smart-phone or PDA. I say perceived challenge because at the moment these really can’t be compared to having a human-being at the end of the phone line and despite huge advances in technology, true artificial intelligence and electronic interpersonal skills are some way off, if indeed possible at all. Another possible challenge is the rise in foreigners learning Chinese and Chinese people learning English but again I think we are a long way off this trend affecting our industry.

GK: Why did you choose Kunming as your base for mainland operations?

GS: That’s a question I get asked a lot. Apart from the fact that I was living here already and am recently married to a Kunming girl, it’s actually a great place to set up a business. You don’t have the huge expenses associated with running a business on the coast and because it’s a university town there are actually a large number of highly educated and ambitious graduates.

Of course it’s easier and quicker to find staff in Beijing or Shanghai but the first-tier cities have significant staff retention problems. It takes us a little bit longer and a little bit more effort to find the best people here but we know that having trained them they are going to stay with us for the long haul and have opportunities for promotion within the company.

Financially it makes sense too – I’m proud that we are one of the best employers in Kunming – it would be harder to offer such attractive packages to employees in Shanghai. Finally, from the customer’s perspective we could be anywhere in China. Our 400 phone number costs no more than a local call from all over China and our team is very well-traveled and knowledgeable about all of the business and tourist destinations in the country.

GK: What is the strangest or most memorable call ChinaONEcall has received?

GS: That’s a tricky one, some of them are probably too sensitive to mention here. However, we once had someone in the US who needed to talk to his Chinese mother-in-law in Canada to arrange a surprise party for his wife. So the call went from North America to China and back to North America again via an IP calling card service. What should have been a very cheerful phone call turned into a screaming row as the wife overheard the conversation and got angry that her husband was secretly talking to her mother.

Source: http://gokunming.com

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Copywriters.co.za: Expert copywriting services for all copywriting projects

Copywriters.co.za is a stable of medium to heavyweight, award-winning freelance copywriters delivering a professional service which is all about experience, creativity, fast turnaround, quality, confidentiality, efficiency and value for money.

Recently re-launched by new owners Purple Cow Communications, Copywriters.co.za handles every kind of copywriting project, including:

  • Conceptual copywriting
  • Below-The-Line copywriting
  • Website content
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) content
  • Print ads
  • Scripts for TV, video and radio
  • Brochures
  • Press releases
  • Direct marketing copywriting
  • Proofreading and editing services
  • Translation services – now in all 11 official languages of South Africa, and over 130 international languages

“Our clients have been asking for a professional freelance copywriting service for a long time,” says Leon Lategan, CEO of Purple Cow Communications. “Utilising a collective of freelancers is definitely the answer because you have access to top notch, experienced writers – each one a specialist in their particular field. And every project is executed on time and strictly according to the brief. We know how important deadlines are in our business and we focus on delivering quality work within the time constraints of the craziest deadlines.”

The service is efficient and easy to use. Client or agency submits their brief to the project manager at Copywriters.co.za who will provide a quote and – if required – a selection of portfolios to review. “Some clients or agencies are happy to work remotely via telephone and email, while others prefer to have the copywriter on site,” says Lategan. “We are happy to oblige either way as we work with experienced writers all over South Africa, and even some in the UK and Australia.”

No matter what the application or media platform, the freelance copywriting outputs are always relevant, well researched and crafted to perfection. And from a financial perspective, outsourcing work to specialised freelance copywriters on an ad hoc basis makes perfect sense.

Copywriters.co.za also provides translation, proofreading and editing services for all major African, European and Asian languages. Working only with mother tongue speakers with a tertiary education and years of translation experience, we can translate any document – advertising or website copy, annual report, legal manuscript, scientific article, contract, tender document or sworn statement – into any one of South Africa’s eleven official languages and over 130 other languages.

For more information visit www.copywriters.co.za

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The Nunavut government has passed legislation to officially recognize the Inuit language along with English and French. Culture Minister Louis Tapardjuk says the move ensures survival of Inuktitut and will help strengthen Inuit culture.

The legislation means the Inuit will have the right to receive government, court and other public services in their own language.Nunavut’s Official Languages Act must still be approved by the federal government.

Source: http://canadianpress.google.com

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