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Archive for June 11th, 2008

No interpretation system for foreign-speaking callers

IRELAND’S ‘999’ service has a potential emergency of its own. Enquiries by Metro Éireann have revealed that non-English speaking residents and visitors to Ireland have no access to an interpreter should they dial 999 or 112. Garda, fire and ambulance emergency services in greater Dublin and beyond have no interpretation system in place, while Eircom – whose operators receive the initial emergency call – said it does not engage the services of interpreters. Immigrants officially make up 10 per cent of the population in the Republic of Ireland, with some putting the figure at closer to 15 per cent. A Garda spokesperson confirmed to Metro Éireann that is currently has no interpretation service for non-English speaking callers requiring urgent police assistance, but added that the force has recently advertised for telephone interpretation services.

“We have put out a tender for telephone interpreting and we expect it to be up and running in mid-September, and part of the specification will include 24-hour interpreting services,” commented the spokesperson. However, the force is lagging behind its northern counterpart, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), which already arranges access to interpreters for 999 callers and recently developed a multi-language ‘please hold’ message for those awaiting an interpreter. According to the PSNI, the initiative has been designed to alleviate any uncertainty in the caller during the silent period when the operator is arranging for an interpreter to come onto the line. According to Dublin Fire Brigade, its regional control centre – which takes emergency calls for Dublin and surrounding areas – does not have any interpretation service. A spokesperson said that foreign callers with poor English or a strong accent are able to spell out their address, but added that the issue “has come up at meetings” and is being looked into. Other fire brigades across the country are under the management of local authorities and it is unclear if any have interpreters on standby. A Health Service Executive (HSE) spokesperson was only able to confirm the presence in its ambulances of books with basic medical questions in “numerous” languages. Eircom, meanwhile, relies on an “informal” arrangement whereby bilingual Eircom staff can be called upon in the event of communication difficulties. A spokesperson added that there was no obligation on the company to offer a multi-lingual service. Eircom is the interim custodian of the 999 service in an agreement with the Department of Communications. The service is currently out to tender. Mary Phelan, a lecturer in interpreting at Dublin City University and secretary of the Irish Translators and Interpreters Association, said she is pleased that the Garda are introducing a 24-hour interpreting service for emergency calls, but added that the situation “could be very confusing” if the force provides an interpreting service and other bodies do not. She said that in emergency situations, such as house fires, “speed is of the essence… Even short delays could make a difference in an emergency.”A US-based expert on telephone interpreting, Nataly Kelly, told Metro Éireann that access to interpreters in an emergency is particularly important as people can often lose the ability to speak a non-native language in panic situations. At a recent seminar in Dublin on telephone interpreting, she played an audio recording in which a telephone interpreter in the US successfully helped deliver a baby, demonstrating the importance of telephone interpreting in situations where urgent action is needed. Kelly said that beyond the obvious life-saving benefits of interpretation access, it is also important for legal reasons. She outlined the famous case in the US, known as the ‘$71m word’. It involved a hospital that asked one of its bilingual staff to interpret for a patient, instead of hiring a professional interpreter. During the consultation, the staff member misinterpreted one word, leading to a misdiagnosis.

“As a result, the patient was given the wrong course of treatment and ended up quadriplegic,” said Kelly. The hospital was sued and reached a $71m settlement with the affected patient. She added that, at times, native populations can be dismissive about the need for interpretation/ translation services, but pointed out that there are numerous instances in which such services actually help the native population – for example, if a nonnative speaker witnessed a crime, and needed a translator in order to give evidence. Kelly also warned about the dangers of hiring ‘interpreters’ who haven’t received appropriate training, a common practice among many translation/interpretation companies in Ireland. “It’s an erroneous assumption to think that just because you can speak a language that you can be an interpreter,” said Kelly. “It’s the difference between someone who uses a skill for personal use and someone who uses a skill professionally. “The advice for people who want to become interpreters is, before anything, they need to first make sure that they have the necessary level of language proficiency in both languages, because a lot of people assume ‘Oh, that person speaks Polish, I can just ask them to interpret, because I know they speak English and they speak Polish.’ But they don’t think that, maybe they only attended a certain level of school, or maybe their level of English isn’t that good.”

Source: http://www.metroeireann.com

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“French and German are unlikely to survive in Brussels” unless both countries “unite to better assert the importance of their languages,” argues Marc Foglia, the chief editor of the Groupe des Belles Feuilles, a reflection group, in a post on Blogactiv.

The author gives historical reasons for the decline of French, particularly highlighting the enlargements of 1995 (Austria, Sweden, Finland) and of 2004 (which included the ten Eastern newcomers).

What’s more, in the main European institutions, knowledge of French “is no longer indispensable,” the blogger argues, pointing to estimates that only one third of Brussels-based European civil servants can speak Molière’s language.

Thus the forthcoming French Presidency wants to defend the use of French “in the name of the diversity of languages in Europe,” says Foglia. He believes the best way to do this is to promote French by traditional means.

The author points out that the French, and particularly Francophone civil servants, are faced with a “dilemma” as they are expected to use French “as much as possible” while also making sure they are understood, which often requires that they express themselves in English.

The blogger points to the growing proportion of Commission texts in English, which rose from 45.4% in 2004 to 72% in 2006. This is in sharp contrast to the dramatic decline of the French language, which fell from 40.4% of texts in 1997 to 14% in 2006, he reveals.

Foglia stresses that unlike the Elysée’s pages under former President Jacques Chirac, they are currently not translated into other languages under President Sarkozy, sending a “worrying sign to our European partners”.

He concludes that this could be interpreted as implying that France is neglecting its European neighbours by presuming its institutions are of no interest to them.

Source: http://www.euractiv.com

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Connecting worlds through translating words

Don Mee Choi is helping bridge the worlds of American feminists and Korean feminists by translating the works of contemporary female poets. Don Mee has taught Asian & Pacific Islander American History at Seattle Central Community College and works with an international women’s network that focuses on issues related to militarism.

She read from her latest book ”Mommy Must be a Fountain of Feathers: Selected Poems of Kim Hyesoon” (Action Books, January 2008) as well as her other book ”Anxiety of Words: Poems by Contemporary Korean Women Poets Ch’oe Sŭng-ja, Kim Hyesoon, and Yi Yŏn-ju” (Zephyr Press, 2006). The poetry is image heavy, often dark and macabre and covering issues about Korean gender dynamics, home life, the effects of the US military bases, poverty, and the shifting of governments in Korea- from military dictatorship to capitalist democracy.

Each of the poets have distinct voices, points of view and styles which Don Mee meticulously took into account while translating. While it is accepted that translation often loses some intricacies of the original, Don Mee instead focuses on what is gained by having a wider audience read the works.

”Mommy Must be a Fountain of Feathers: Selected Poems of Kim Hyesoon” (Action Books, January 2008) is another recent translation of Don Mee Choi.

Source: http://www.thecitycollegian.net

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The carmaker uses translation technology to turn out technical and service documents in the local tongues of many of its overseas dealers.

Car maker Renault has used translation technology to convert its product documents into 23 different languages to support its expanding global car dealership network. Using technology from global information management specialist, SDL, the French car manufacturer has translated technical and service information into local languages for many of its overseas dealers.

SDL Knowledge-based Translation System has been used for the automated translation with the process being managed by SDL’s Translation Management System. Speaking to silicon.com, Peyman Kargar, VP of engineering, repair and warranty at Renault Service, said the project was part of the company’s aims to become more competitive.

He said: “Our mission is to be in the top three by the end 2009 in terms of product quality but also service quality in the dealership. The ambition is in terms of quality of service but also the internationalisation. “It means you give dealerships tools, process and production of a very good level to help them and to permit them to offer the best performance for the customers.”

The translation tech will also help local supply chains run more smoothly as communication is clearer and tasks can be achieved more quickly. “For all documentation, translation is the one of the major points,” Kargar said. Renault has taken a much more global approach in recent years, expanding outside Europe in terms of sales and volumes, with ambitions to continue this and increase the number of models in its range. Kargar said: “We wanted to minimise the number of models in terms of translation costs. You need better technology, better processes to be able to minimise the impact of new models.”

The project has been running for around seven months with more languages being rolled out all the time. The languages translated so far are: Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, Finnish, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. There is also limited coverage in Danish, Hebrew, Korean, Norwegian and Slovakian.

Source: http://www.businessweek.com

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World’s first ever online English-Marathi dictionary has been launched here today which can be viewed by any internet-enabled operating system.

The dictionary was unveiled by one Sunil Khandbahale, a software expert. “The dictionary is highly useful for ready reference seekers like professionals, students and teachers,” Khandbahale said.

The new online reference can be viewed in devices like desktop, laptop, mobile phone among others. Some other online dictionaries including the English-Hindi, English-Gujarati is on a testing phase, the expert added.

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Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

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WHEN Caleb Huanung first came to Australia from Burma, he spoke no English. Now the Braybrook man is helping others to understand the language. Mr Huanung, 33, is one of 27 RMIT students who received scholarships from the Victorian Government to assist in their Diploma of Interpreting course.

The university student came to Australia in 2005 to escape political persecution in his native Burma. Unable to speak the language, he often needed an interpreter to accompany him on routine outings such as doctor’s appointments. “At that time it was very hard to get a Burmese interpreter. Often, I could not understand all of their conversation. Sometimes I noticed that the interpreter interpreted incorrectly,” Mr Huanung said. These early experiences shaped his determination to pursue a career in interpreting.

“I came from a non-English-speaking background so most of my community doesn’t speak English. So I decided to do this course to try and help my community,” he said.

Unable to study for the diploma in his native Schin dialect, Mr Huanung is undertaking the course in Burmese. He said the scholarships were a great relief to students who might otherwise have difficulty paying for the course. He will use the money to help pay for transport to and from the university’s city campus and to buy textbooks.

“The scholarships make us very happy and make us want to do the course more because of this support,” Mr Huanung said. James Merlino, the Minister assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs, presented the scholarships at a ceremony at Queen’s Hall, Parliament House. Mr Merlino praised the recipients who, he said, were pursuing a valuable career. He said the scholarships aimed to support the crucial role that interpreting played in the community by providing equal access to information and services.

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

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El profesor de Filología Griega de la Universidad de Oviedo Julián Garzón presentó en el Club Prensa Asturiana de LA NUEVA ESPAÑA su libro «Geógrafos griegos», en el que realiza una traducción literal de fragmentos escritos por Escílax de Carianda, Hannón de Cartago, Heraclides Crético y Dionisio, hijo de Califonte. Garzón, que es también profesor de Literatura Helenística e Imperial y Mitología Griega, considera que su traducción «resultará útil» para los investigadores avezados en el tema. Asimismo, señaló que, aunque estos cuatro geógrafos son muy distantes en el tiempo de composición de sus obras, cuentan con «una línea de estilo y problemas muy similares».

En la presentación intervinieron Narciso Santos Yanguas, catedrático de Historia Antigua Universal y de España de la Universidad de Oviedo, y César Inclán, de KRK Ediciones, quien señaló que el libro aporta una visión «general y objetiva» incorporando los últimos avances e investigaciones arqueológicas de muchos de los lugares que se mencionan. Por su parte, Santos Yanguas explicó que la obra cuenta con una «profusión completa» de notas a pie de página, diecisiete mapas y una bibliografía, tanto parcial como específica, que resulta «muy atractiva».

Fuente: http://www.lne.es

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