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Archive for June 24th, 2008

A GROWING demand for Welsh speakers has led to a Wrexham college offering a course which aims to ensure words are no longer lost in translation.

The foundation degree in Welsh translation has been launched by the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI) after Assembly research revealed demand for interpreters had rocketed in recent years. The part-time course, being offered from september is the first foundation degree of its kind to be offered in Wales and will be delivered by academic staff from NEWI’s school of humanities. It is aimed at Welsh speakers who, although not employed as translators, are asked daily at work to provide Welsh translations for English language documents.

Dr Richard Dover, head of humanities, said NEWI had worked closely with local employers to develop the course and would continue to do so following its launch. He said: “NEWI has a long history of training students to meet the needs of employers and the local economy and the launch of the foundation degree in Welsh translation is further evidence of this. “Demand for high quality translators in Wales is growing at a rapid rate and we hope to be able to address the current skills shortage within the industry with the introduction of the degree, while providing individuals with a valuable learning experience.”

The two-year course will teach students advanced Welsh language skills, editing skills, the principles of translation and technical translation, as well as covering the topics of literary Welsh and Welsh terminology. Work placement also forms one of the major elements of the course, with students required to spend a significant amount of time in a Welsh-medium workplace. Dr Dover added: “We are proud to be a Welsh university and remain committed to developing opportunities for higher education taught through the Welsh medium.

“Not only will the course open up opportunities for those already working within the translation industry, it is also suitable for students interested in pursuing a career in translation, those who want to improve their written Welsh and those wishing to open up possible new career paths through a part-time mode of study.”

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

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Literature Lost

Americans are debating their place in the world now more than ever and as we seek understanding we confront histories and ancient narratives with remarkably limited access to international sources written in a familiar language.

That in part may be because the American community of letters has no way of recognizing outstanding foreign literature that spans those cultures, and no way to confer celebrity on such risky subject matter published in the United States. Our top literature awards, the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, do not recognize works written by foreign authors or those published in translation. It is time to change this, for the benefit of all involved: for authors, publishers, translators and, above all, a public hungry to understand a complex world we cannot ignore.

Popularizing foreign subject matter before an American audience has little to do with content. Consider “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, a perpetual hang-glider on The New York Times Best-Seller List. “Reading Lolita in Tehran” by Azar Nifisi was a sensation. Jhumpa Lahiri (a Pulitzer winner herself) remains popular as does Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns.” Clearly there is a market for foreign-themed literature.

But in this highly competitive arena, works in translation may gain critical distinction yet fail to break out into popular consciousness. The difference between these two classes of books is obvious. Hosseini, Lahiri and Nifisi write as fluent or native English speakers while foreign authors – the Turkish author Orhan Pamuk or the Egyptian writer Naguib Mafuz, for example – publish through translators. There is a qualitative difference lost in translation that has less to do with the complexities of interpretation than with it being a sort of hearsay. But more practically speaking, foreign writers trying to publish successfully in the United States simply bear the added burden of being labelled a translation. They are relegated to academic houses and niche prints, with limited promotion budgets and restricted distribution.

For translators the work is hard and limited to academics or those with great passion for foreign cultures and languages. The outcome of their labor is uncertain, as publishing houses are often more skeptical than the public. But we can make it easier to bring more authors and translators together with their audiences by raising their profile.

There is no better way to increase the prospects of a risky venture than the imprimatur of a major prize like the Pulitzer or the National Book Award. It is clear, for example, that the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Orhan Pamuk widened interest in him personally and made translations of his entire corpus into English viable. But the American literature awards break open a market like no other.

A high-profile American award for books in English translation would raise the quality and quantity of translations, giving translators a great goal to aim for in taking on risky projects. And it would raise respect for the hard work of cultural interpretation for those who often live and work obscurely as bridges between civilizations.

The standing obstacle is that these awards go to American authors publishing in the United States. (In fact, the National Book Award had a citation for translations from 1967 through 1983 before radically scaling back its number of awards.) Obviously this is the primary obstruction for foreign writers seeking a higher American profile.

I would propose a new prize, awarded to a foreign work published in the United States by an American translator. To the usual literary standards I would add another: the quality of the translation. This would require more bilingual journalists and authors appointed to awards panels who are able to make the aesthetic judgment necessary of a work spanning different cultures.

All of this would fortify our intellectual culture, invigorate debate, and deepen understanding of parts of the world about which Americans are desperately curious. Reading headlines, hearing speeches or scanning policy tracts will never answer the fundamental questions about history, identity and culture that only literature can pose: Who are we? What is it like to be alive here and now? How are we different? How are we the same?

To avoid any conflict, I should indicate I do not intend to publish another translation. I spent four years attending a project important to me but which nonetheless had no certain outcome and consumed time and resources only to be passed over by trades and most academic houses due to one hurdle unrelated to content: It was a translation. My wife points out that it might have been easier to write my own book. She has a point, though certainly my own challenges and those of the book’s author are more than matched by unsung authors, editors and publishers every day around the world.

But the mission and the challenge of bringing quality literature from a foreign context to an American audience has never been greater. Fortunately, the established writers and editors who set our literary standards can make that mission more rewarding for everyone, by recognizing new works and understanding that need no longer be lost in translation.

James Snyder is a member of NATO’s International Staff and translator of “Justice in a Time of War,” a history of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal by the Swiss journalist Pierre Hazan.

Source: http://www.iht.com

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Mozilla Firefox, now in Gujarati and Punjabi

Firefox 3 was released in 46 languages. However, Hindi was unable to make the cut Gujarati and Punjabi have become India’s representative languages on the internet. At least, that’s what one can conclude after the release of Mozilla’s latest upgrade of its popular browser.

Firefox 3, an open-source browser, is a competitor to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari. It was released on Tuesday in 46 languages. However, the absence of Hindi as one of the languages is most surprising considering that Gujarati and Punjabi have made the cut. The release in different languages is the latest weapon used by Mozilla in its fight against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, by far the most popular browser. However, if Firefox 3’s downloads is anything to go by, Microsoft can’t afford to rest on its laurels. Within four days of its release, a staggering 14 million downloads of Firefox 3 were registered.

There have been a phenomenal 6000 add-ons (tools for customising the browser) and 2000 more add-ons on the cards. Speaking about the absence of Hindi, and more surprisingly the presence of Gujarati and Punjabi versions, Chris Hofmann, a Mozilla spokesperson said that there were no selection criteria for the languages for Firefox. “All of our localisation efforts are purely volunteer-driven. Volunteer translate the software into their native languages,” Hoffman said.

It’s not that Mozilla hasn’t given Hindi a chance. In fact, if you visit the addons.mozilla.org website, you will find language packs for Hindi and Tamil. However, these packs need to be developed by ‘motivated’ individuals into the respective Firefox languages. “They (Gujarati and Punjabi) were not given any preference. As a free software project, anyone can access our source code and localize it in the language they choose. We have active community members working on Hindi and Tamil. They are not officially shipped as a version of Firefox yet, but these volunteers are working hard to get their translations ready for distribution.”

As far as Marathi is concerned, it doesn’t even have any language packs. “A group of volunteers are working on developing Marathi tools,” Hoffman added. Mozilla though admits that compared to other regions, its growth has lagged in India.  However, Mozilla wants it to change. “We will work as much as possible with our Indian community members to make sure all of their needs are met as they prepare their translations for inclusion in our official release process. We are also actively reaching out to recruit people to work on localisations for Indian users,” Hoffman said.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com

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WizCom Technology Launches The New Quicktionary®2 Kanji – Portable Japanese Reader For WW Distribution

WizCom Technologies Ltd. Corporate news announcement processed and transmitted by Hugin ASA. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement. WizCom Technology launches the new Quicktionary®2 Kanji – Portable Japanese reader for WW distribution

The product was jointly developed with Japan 21 (Wizcom distributor in Japan)

WizCom Technologies Ltd. (WizCom) (Prime Standard: WZM, IL 0010830706), a global provider of portable, handheld scanning and translating Pens that enable and enhance reading-related activities and business productivity, announced today in a press conference in Tokyo the launch of its new product, the Quicktionary 2 Kanji Reader that scans Kanji and translates the words into English or Japanese. The company intends to sell the product in Japan and around the globe including to worldwide community of Japanese language students. Orders for the new products have already been received from Sweden, the UK, and other European distributors as well as from Far East countries including Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.

Japan 21 Inc. (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, http://www.japan21.co.jp ) that hosted the press conference in Tokyo already started to sell the product in Japan on April 10th. and has obtained a great media attention from TV and Radio stations, Magazines and Internet news portals. The WW retail price of the new product is $279 (29,800 Yen in Japan) excluding tax…

According to Michael Kenan, CEO of Wizcom Technologies “There are many good dictionary platforms available today, such as books, PC based dictionaries, web-based dictionaries and electronic devices, however, none of the conventional dictionary platforms have the easy-to-use input method WizCom has developed for defining Kanji character strings if a user is not familiar with the Kanji text he is reading”.

Amir Berenson, Wizcom VP for Business Development and Sales, participated in the press conference in Tokyo. He emphasized to the audience that “the Quicktionary2 Kanji Reader Pen addresses a major challenge to non-Japanese students by giving them a fast and easy way to understand and translate Kanji to English via a simple scan of the words and idioms. A case study was done in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem last month, using Japanese language students who were handed the product after a fifteen minute basic introduction to the Pen. The response to the Pen as compared to the current products available was simple overwhelming. The students noted that the Quicktionary2 Kanji was more accurate, quicker and easier to use, with a more intuitive user interface that any of the products they were currently using”.

The product has been welcomed by Wizcom distributors around the globe. The multiple dictionaries available on the Pen serve the needs of not only Japanese language students but the wider Japanese community as well, as the Pen not only translates from English to Japanese and vice-versa, it also contains a built-in Japanese to Japanese dictionary.

The product supports all 2,000+ Japanese daily-used Kanji characters and is suitable for all Japanese readers, from primary school age to senior citizens who do not like to use standard dictionary platforms. This product is very suitable for people who can speak Japanese but are unable to read it because of the Kanji barriers.

It has taken more than two years of joint development efforts between Wizcom Technologies in Israel and Japan21 linguists to implement the Japanese OCR and dictionary databases into the product. “Language always developed before technologies and technologies always need to absorb unreasonable language requirements”, said Mr. Mike Kato, CEO of Japan21.

The Quicktionary2 Kanji Reader’s key features are: – World-first Japanese OCR and Japanese dictionary combination in a portable platform – Three dictionary databases from very popular Sanseido Daily Concise dictionary series – Unique algorithm to manage Japanese OCR problems arising from the combination of three characters sets – Unique algorithm to divide Japanese strings into corresponding word segments – English OCR for English to Japanese and Japanese OCR for Japanese to Japanese and Japanese to English – Horizontal and vertical mode for Japanese scanning – Text-to-speech for English words and idioms

For additional information regarding WizCom Technologies, please visit http://www.wizcomtech.com.

About WizCom Group

WizCom Technologies Ltd. is the world’s leading producer of personal, portable scanning Pens that enable and enhance reading-related activities, text processing and business productivity. These pocket-sized, user-friendly devices enable people to understand and use printed material, anytime and anywhere, without disrupting their reading process. Our Pens are an invaluable support tool for students of English as a first or second language, as well as people working in multilingual environments, enhancing their fluency and accelerating reading comprehension.

Ligature Ltd. is a world-leading developer of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies and applications. The company offers an innovative approach to OCR-based solutions for specialized markets partnering with OEMs, VARs and system integrators incorporating CharacterEyes into software applications and hardware products.

Galil Microwaves Israel (2003) Ltd. is a third-party manufacturer and assembler of electronic modules for microelectronic and microwave components.

For further information, please contact:

SCHWARZ Financial Communication Frank Schwarz Investor Relations Germany

Phone +49-611-174539811 Fax +49-611-174539829 schwarz@schwarzfinancial.com

— End of Message —

WizCom Technologies Ltd. 8B Hamarpe St. Jerusalem

WKN: 915856; ISIN: IL0010830706; Index: Prime All Share, TECH All Share; Listed: Freiverkehr in Börse Berlin, Freiverkehr in Börse Düsseldorf,

Freiverkehr in Hanseatische Wertpapierbörse zu Hamburg, Freiverkehr in Niedersächsische Börse zu Hannover, Freiverkehr in Bayerische Börse München, Freiverkehr in Börse Stuttgart, Prime Standard in Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, Geregelter Markt in Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse;

WizCom Technologies Ltd.

http://www.wizcom.co.il

Source: http://www.abnnewswire.net

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Dictionary fresh step in long trek

Whai Ngata spent four years completing the standard English-Maori dictionary his father started.

He toiled away at night after Hori, his father, died suddenly in February 1989.

Whai was born to the task: a great-grandson of the Ngati Porou visionary Sir Apirana Ngata, he grew up wrapped in Maori culture, tradition and te reo.Now, as retirement beckons, Whai Ngata plans to do it all again and compile a second edition of the H. M. Ngata English-Maori Dictionary.”If that’s not enough to keep me busy then I don’t know what will,” the 66-year-old says.

Next week Ngata leaves a 40-year career in journalism when he retires as general manager of Maori programming at TVNZ. It has been a long journey.When he started at the Auckland Star in 1968 the Waitangi Tribunal did not exist. He says there were just five Maori journalists. You could only dream of Maori being taught to primary pupils.The fact that Maori is now accepted as an official language of New Zealand means it has come a long way, he says.

“The advance of the use of te reo, when I started in broadcasting, was in the arena of protest. A lot of what we now have to choose to listen to are a consequence, in many ways, of that process.”Now, with the “normalisation” of the language through education and broadcasting, the audience for Maori programmes is made up of more non-Maori viewers than Maori.”This has to be a consequence of a much larger audience pool being able to choose from a large selection of programmes. I feel very comfortable with this.” But, Ngata says, there is still a journey to go. “Once all the issues that were subject to protest 30 years ago are no longer an issue and they are part of the New Zealand psyche, then we have arrived at our goal.”

He got into journalism to cover Maori issues. But in the early days all Maori reporting was about protest.”It was a lot harder to get the message the protesters were trying to make to be the story rather than the protest itself.”He switched to broadcasting in 1975 and was on hand for the big stories of the time: the 1975 Maori land March led by the late Dame Whina Cooper, the Bastion Pt evictions in 1978. He has covered “30-plus” Waitangi commemorations _ and got to Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s 50th birthday in London.Bastion Pt, he says, was a sad part of New Zealand’s history. “I wouldn’t want to wish that on our country again. But the things have had to run their course. In South Africa, processes had to run their course and in New Zealand, we’ve had to run it as well.”

“New Zealand is a far healthier environment for young Maori to grow up in today than it was 30 or 40 years ago.”Ngata thinks Maori programmes should be on mainstream as well as Maori television.”The funding agencies for the programmes are getting a bigger bang for their buck. The programmes are reaching two audiences. Some of the TVNZ Maori material has been re-aired up to four times.”He says anything that means people are interested in Maori TV other than “the All Blacks doing the haka” is good.

Stephen Stehlin, producer of TVNZ’s Tagata Pasifika, has worked with Ngata for 21 years. He admires Ngata, whom he has seen in many difficult situations _ at times having to defend both TVNZ and Maori.”He is able to be both inside being a Maori and … outside being a Maori as well.He brought national identity to our screens.”TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis said: “Whai Ngata has been a rock in turbulent waters, and his guidance to us has been invaluable.

“Much of the revitalisation of Maori language and culture and its improved standing in Pakeha New Zealand has been the direct result of a handful of skilled, dedicated and passionate people like Whai.”

Ngata, who last year was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori broadcasting and television, says he looks forward to having at least a month of no cellphones or emails and sleeping in each day.

Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz

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Para potenciar los aspectos creativos de la traducción, la Fundación Francisco Ayala, la Facultad de Traducción e Interpretación y el Servicio de Traducción Universitario de la Universidad de Granada convocan una nueva edición del Premio Francisco Ayala, en el que podrán participar estudiantes matriculados en segundo y tercer ciclo de los planes de estudio de universidades españolas. Se traducirán al español, desde el inglés, el francés, el alemán o el árabe, textos sobre crítica cinematográfica que ya están disponibles.

Para más información, visite la página siguiente:
www.ugr.es/~stu/premio/bases.html

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Intelectuales firman un texto en defensa del castellano

Piden cambiar la Constitución para garantizar su enseñanza

Una veintena de escritores, artistas y políticos, entre los que figuran Mario Vargas Llosa, Albert Boadella y Fernando Savater hicieron público ayer un manifiesto en defensa del castellano como lengua común en España. La iniciativa pretende que se garantice la enseñanza de este idioma en todas las comunidades autónomas y, en especial, en Euskadi, Cataluña y Galicia, porque consideran que en estos territorios se está primando a las lenguas cooficiales, «arrinconando» al español. Entre sus objetivos figura acabar con casos como el que han denunciado padres de alumnos vascos que exigen que sus hijos puedan estudiar íntegramente en castellano y exigen anular la reforma de los modelos educativos del Gobierno vasco en los que se prima la enseñanza en euskera.
El colectivo de intelectuales reclama al Congreso que introduzca las modificaciones necesarias en la Constitución y en los Estatutos de autonomía para garantizar «en todos los campos y en todo el territorio nacional» los derechos de quienes opten por el castellano. «Los ciudadanos son quienes tienen derechos lingüísticos y no los territorios ni mucho menos las lenguas», aseguró el filósofo y promotor de UPD, Fernando Savater.
José Antonio Marina, Roberto Blanco, Sosa Wagner, Aurelio Arteta, Félix de Azúa, Carlos Castilla del Pino, Luis Alberto de Cuenca, Arcadi Espada, Alberto González Troyano, Antonio Lastra, Carmen Iglesias, Álvaro Pombo, Carlos Martínez Gorriarán, José María Ruiz Soroa, José Luis Pardo, Ramón Rodríguez, así como profesores de las universidades de Santiago, Cantabria y Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid, completan la lista de firmantes.
Entre los puntos de cambio propuestos, se encuentra el «asegurar el derecho de todos los ciudadanos a ser educados en lengua castellana, sea cual fuere su lengua materna, así como el incluir, entre los planes de estudio, opciones que contemplen a las lenguas cooficiales autonómicas, pero nunca como lenguas vehiculares exclusivas». «La base sobre la que partimos es que no puede discriminarse políticamente al castellano», sentenció Savater.
La académica Carmen Iglesias resaltó su preocupación por «las consecuencias de la marginación del castellano en los planes educativos» y recalcó la importancia de lograr una movilización «para garantizar el derecho y deber del aprendizaje del castellano».
Asimismo, defendieron «el derecho de todo ciudadano a ser atendido institucionalmente en las dos lenguas oficiales, lo que no significa que todo funcionario esté obligado a emplear ambas». Y apuntaron como recomendable el que la rotulación de calles y edificios públicos sea bilingüe, «pero que nunca se emplee exclusivamente la lengua autonómica».
Para más información, visite la página siguiente:
estaticos.elmundo.es/documentos/2008/06/22/manifiesto.pdf

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