Frank Gerke of Germany has spent years translating Vietnamese literary works into his native language.

“I’ve read many Vietnamese novels and I like works by the late writer Vu Trong Phung most,” Gerke said.

Most of Phung’s novels have poked fun at the lifestyle of Viet Nam’s upper classes in the late 1930s.

Gerke is now translating Dat Lua (A Land of Fire) by acclaimed writer Nguyen Quang Sang into German.

Sang’s short stories Ao Tuong (Illusion) and Toi Thich Lam Vua (I Like to Be King) were also chosen by Gerke for translations in recent years.

“I met Sang during my first visit to Viet Nam in 1993 and I started reading his works then,” Gerke said. “I was captivated by his plain writing style featuring the simple characteristics and lifestyle of people living in the country’s southern regions.”

“My translations will help German people know more about the land and the people of Viet Nam, ” he added, speaking in southern-accented Vietnamese.

Gerke has travelled to the southern provinces many times. “I can understand the unique dialects of southern Viet Nam when I translate Dat Lua,” he said.

“My wife, a Hanoian, even asked me to explain to her several southern dialects when she read Dat Lua,” Gerke said.

Dat Lua is about southerners and society during the American war in the country.

Before Dat Lua, Gerke translated works by many Vietnamese well-known poets including Ho Xuan Huong, Nguyen Binh and Han Mac Tu into German.

Gerke started learning Vietnamese when he was a high school student.

“Many Vietnamese youths studied in Germany and I learnt Vietnamese from them,” he said.

He graduated from the Vietnamese language faculty at HCM City-based National University in 1994. Years before he obtained a doctorate in Vietnamese ethnology at Berlin University.

Gerke is also fond of Vietnamese music, especially the love melodies and anti-war songs composed by Trinh Cong Son.

Son, who died in 2001, is well-known in Viet Nam and abroad as a master songwriter of melodies featuring love and the destiny of human beings.

“I met the composer many times before his death,” Gerke, who now has a Vietnamese name, Trinh Cong Long, given to him by Son. “I was born in 1964, the Year of the Dragon, and in Vietnamese, Long means dragon.”

He said he would apply for Vietnamese citizenship. “I’ll become a citizen of Viet Nam where I’ve chosen my second country,” he said. — VNS

Source: http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn


You know how to read and write in your local language, but you have been unable to use or search for information on the web because all search engine tools are in English? Not anymore.  A team of scientists and linguists from Makerere University and Rhodes University have developed the first ever Luganda search engine that will enable people to search for information on the web in Luganda, Uganda’s mostly used language.

People can now down a firefox free software for Luganda (www.mozilla.com) and be able to search for any information on the web in Luganda.  The Luganda search engine was launched at Makerere University’s Faculty of Computing and Information Technology with a promise that other Ugandan languages will soon have their own search engines.

Prof. Venacious Baryamureba, the Dean of the Makerere’s Faculty of Computing and Information Technology says that other Ugandan languages will also get their search engines in order to enable people who don’t know English to be able to search and receive information on the world wide web.

The local language search engine software is a result of tiresome efforts of a team from the two universities led by Dr. Lorenzo Dalvit which used Luganda dictionary words to translate from English the search commands and prompts.  Dr. Lorenzo who is the coordinator of SANTED (South African-Norway Tertiary Education Development) says through non-profit translation project Translate.org.za they are making indigenous African languages visible on the world wide web.

He described as a dream come true, saying by not being exposed to one’s own language in writing or computer technology, one begins to undermine a big part of one’s identity.

Source: http://www.ugpulse.com

A statistic to consider: About 50 percent of world literature derives from English, but less than 3 percent of English-language publications are translations into English from the rest of the world. And that figure is closer to 0.3 percent if you consider only adult literature and poetry.
It wasn’t always thus. Esther Allen, executive director of the Center for Literary Translation at Columbia University, asks us to consider the intellectual life of our country in the 1950s. “You had people who’d immigrated in the wake of World War II, and had been in Europe. The legacy of that international engagement persists for three decades,” she says. “With the Cold War, there’s this underlying notion of cultural exchange as the solution.” In 1999, the United States Information Agency closed. After that, she says, “Needing to hear from the rest of the world dissolved. Now you have the Treasury Department embargoing translation from such countries as Iran.”

Our current three cents’ worth of translation reflects not only our cultural climate but also the changing landscape of book publishing in general. Traditionally, new books found their audiences in a lazy, back-fence, word-of-mouth manner. This changed in the ’80s with big book publishers getting bought by bigger media companies, plus being taxed on unsold warehouse inventory. Now, mainstream publishers give a new book four weeks to show juicy sales or—as translator and literary agent Thomas Colchie puts it—“they pull the plug.”

Fortunately, the situation isn’t entirely bleak. In 2005, Rainmaker Translations formed to publish eight translated works of contemporary literature per year. With a  catalog including Albanian, Hungarian and Taiwanese titles, Green Integer is also an important player on the scene. And the New Directions house—founded 72 years ago by poet James Laughlin (a protégé of brilliant translator/poet Ezra Pound—remains dynamic and bold, with translations filling half the company’s list. New Directions publisher Barbara Epler praises the “whole slew of wonderful small presses (Archipelago, Ugly Duckling) and medium-sized ones (NYRB Classics, Graywolf, Dalkey) who make translation a priority on their lists and are bringing out terrific books.” Also, this fall—in conjunction with its program fostering new generations of translators—the University of Rochester is launching Open Letter books, publishing modern international literature and nothing but, with such exciting, fun works as The Pets by Bragi Olafsson, bassist of Björk’s old band, The Sugarcubes.

Bookstores are likewise receptive to words beyond borders. Veteran bookseller Paul Yamazaki, of City Lights in San Francisco, has helped establish a program called Reading The World. Fifteen publishers are involved, “each contributing five to seven titles in translation,” he says, “of which 300 stores commit to displaying two or three from each, accompanied by posters and pamphlets, whose printing and mailing is partly underwritten by large publishers.” The program takes place in June, one month after World In Translation Month.

Google has updated yet another one of its products to work better on Apple’s iPhone. On Thursday the company launched a new version of its Translate service that lets anyone convert their native tongue into one of the other 23 available languages.

The service has been reworked mainly to appeal to travelers who don’t want to carry around phrase books and have their mobile phones with them anyway. In a post about the update, Google software engineer Allen Hutchison notes that the tool uses as minimal an amount of data as possible, so it won’t break the bank while you’re abroad and incur massive data roaming charges from your carrier. Hutchison says the general number of translations is anywhere between 200-400 per 1MB of data, which is quite a few considering data can cost you at least $0.005 per KB while abroad (depending your carrier).

The tool also keeps track of all your previous entries, so each time you come back to the page, your past translations will be there. You can get it to go back and re-translate them all to another language without getting rid of the old ones.

Also, in case you’re trying to use it as a tool to communicate with someone else (without slaughtering any pronunciations) you can reverse the two languages on the fly, letting someone else type using their own language as long as it matches your phone’s selected character set.

Still missing from the mobile version of Translate is the site translator and the dictionary utility that pulls up full word definitions and commonly used phrases that surround them, the former being useful for hitting local hotel or attraction sites while out on the go.

Source: http://reviews.cnet.com

Interpretation costs by Norfolk police have more than doubled to £360,000 in the last five years it has emerged. Rises in immigration numbers for the county have led to extra support services needed, the Evening News can today reveal.

In 2002 to 2003 Norfolk Constabulary spent £152,339 on translation and interpreter fees and interpreter expenses.  But figures released following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request shows the cost has since risen to £360,395 between 2006 and 2007 – with the figures for 2007 and 2008 expected to show a further rise of £363,675.

Norfolk’s chief constable Ian McPherson, said: “Immigrants haven’t brought anymore crime than the indigenous people but they do bring in extra complications in language and translation services. “Immigration doesn’t bring crime, increases in population bring crime. There are expected to be 72,000 extra houses in the area, that’s extra population.”

The figures paint a picture of a county which is becoming increasingly ethnically diverse and there are now believed to be as many as 88 languages spoken in the county, including Portuguese, Russian, Lithuanian, Polish, Kurdish-Sorani, Turkish, Mandarin, Hungarian, Latvian, Swahili, Arabic and Pushtu.

Influxes from workers from Eastern European communities have changed the ethnic mix of the city and county. But Mr McPherson insisted that this has not affected crime figures in the region.

He said: “They are no more criminal than any other group. There are parts of the county in terms of agriculture that would struggle to survive without those immigrants. Part of our role is to support those employers.”

Norfolk Constabulary, along with 32 other statutory agencies in the county, including the probation service and Norfolk County Council, use INTRAN – a multi-agency partnership providing language services in the Eastern region.

INTRAN works in partnership with district councils, public agencies and smaller voluntary organisations to provide interpretation and translation services to the general public. Last year the INTRAN partnership was asked for information in 58 of the 88 languages spoken in the county. A spokeswoman from Norfolk County Council said it is a legal requirement to provide translation services under the Race Relations Act 2000.

Although the figures are growing, in comparison to our sister county, Suffolk, their police force spent £849,617 on foreign language speakers last year. Of that figure £196,664 was on interpreters. And translation fees are not the only rising cost for the police.

In 2006 to 2007 the Constabulary spent £1,110,411 on fuel which then rose to £1,129,866 last year with the projection for 2008 to 2009 being £1,514,000.

Source: http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk

South Africa’s Rhodes University and Uganda’s Makerere University are coming together to translate Mozilla’s FireFox Internet browser into Uganda’s mostly spoken language, Luganda.

The University has organized a two-day workshop that will be held at the Makerere University on Thursday and Friday. Software experts from South Africa and Uganda and well as top Luganda linguists will attend this workshop.

Deborah Namirembe, Makerere’s Computing and Information Technology Faculty’s communication officer said that the aim is to make it more available to non-English speaking Ugandans.

If this project is successful, this will be the first computer program to be translated into Luganda. Mozilla Firefox has already been translated into six of South Africa’s 11 official languages (Xhosa, Zulu, Tswana, Siswati, Northern Sotho and Venda)

Africa’s academic professionals have stressed the importance of issuing local content and language support facilities, in there home language, to the rural population.

Source: http://www.itnewsafrica.com

With the U.S. dollar’s decline, buying American-based products online just got a lot cheaper for the rest of the world’s slew of Internet shoppers.

ALTInternet users outside the U.S. now account for 80 percent of the world’s online population, with rapidly developing countries experiencing double-digit growth rates year-over-year, reports comScore Networks Europe. Right now, those international shoppers are getting a virtual 11 to 94 percent off American-bought products, just because their currencies are worth that much more.

Enter the new age of international shopping. In South Korea, 99 percent of those with Internet access have used it to shop, followed by the U.K., Germany and Japan at 97 percent, according to the latest Nielsen Global Online Survey on Internet shopping habits. Meanwhile the U.S., at 94 percent, has fallen to eighth place in the world standings for online shoppers.

To be sure, there are still countries that raise fraud red-flags, such as Nigeria, Romania and Russia. But in areas like the U.K., where the pound sterling has risen 20 percent against the dollar, online shopping has become the third-most-popular online activity, according to June 2008 data from U.K. trade group the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

As a business, you don’t want to be spending money, time and effort trying to keep international shoppers away, says Howard Schecter, director of client services for preCharge Risk Management Solutions, an international payment processor for more than 150 currencies. Instead you want to be encouraging the shoppers your way.

Fewer than 15 percent of nearly 2,000 U.S.-based merchants recently surveyed by preCharge actively sell internationally, says Schecter. Contrast that to the 85 percent who said they’d like to, and the lack of U.S. e-merchants plunging into international waters could translate to high-dollar business for those that do. “The ones we work with,” says Schecter, “quickly discover that they’re developing new repeat customers who can’t buy U.S. products elsewhere.”

Speaking the language

The simplest way to position a site for international buyers is to translate it to their languages. There are a plethora of translation services available on the ‘Net.

Our testing of some of the top-ranked “free translation” search results showed marked differences in translation abilities. Our Spanish-to-English test of four sentences indicated that Yahoo!’s Babel Fish and Promt were the most accurate in giving those sentences readability. The beta version of Google Translate and Freetranslation.com were in the middle. Windows Live Translator and InterTran were the least accurate.

All had sentences that were incomprehensible in the translation. As Jeff Chin, a product manager for Google Translate, put it: “We know [mechanized translation] is not perfect . . . but it plays an important role in helping people access content they might otherwise be unable to read.”

That’s why, even with the new tools, working with a human editor—one with real-world multi-lingual experience—is still very important. Free Translation charges $40 for the human touch on up to 266 words and more for larger blocks of text. Open-source translation program Worldwide Lexicon was built from scratch by human translators; it integrates directly into a site but has its not-yet-translated limitations.

Complete human translation of ecommerce-site text “costs the same as for paper text,” says Dorine Houston, an English-to-Spanish text translator certified by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. “It’s $80 to $100 per 1,000 words, depending on the complexity of the language in the text.”

So to shave costs, e-merchants should think critically about the text they intend to use on pages they intend to translate, Houston says. “The best way to make a translator’s job easier is to write your text in good English and avoid anything that is ambiguous or confusing. . . . Proofread your document in your source language and make sure what you mean is actually expressed by your rhetorical patterns, sentence structure, mechanics and lexical choices.” Higher fees apply for extras such as inserting URLs and rush jobs. A good translator, Houston says, will consult with you regarding any doubts or ambiguities.

For e-merchants now offering chat support, there are even real-time translation services for that. Shoppers and customer service personnel each type in their own languages, and the system automatically translates the answers for the other side to read. Freetranslation.com’s SDLChat Translator and Meglobe.com’s IM translation tool are both free options. MeGlobe currently requires that users connect first by email or previous registration at the Meglobe.com site, however. Meanwhile, WorldLingo has a for-purchase chat translator along with its translator for blogs that has received decent reviews.

From there, international sites even have their own search engine rankings. Google’s new “Language Tools” tab on its search homepage is available to every Google searcher. Shoppers specify their language and their key words; the search engine finds the translated sites to match.

Source: http://www.practicalecommerce.com