May 29 2006

Help is a Call Away, Ctizens Taught

Newcomers to Canada don’t always know how to reach emergency services or what to expect when police, fire or ambulance personnel show up at their door.

Some come from countries where the police are perceived as corrupt or oppressive.

That’s why Halton police have initiated a unique diversity program called Emergency Services Information to New Canadians (ESINC). The goals include building positive relations and increasing trust of all emergency services.

Police officers, firefighters and paramedics go to English-as-a-second-language (ESL) classes and give presentations about who they are, how they operate, how to use the 911 service, and what to expect. They also distribute a package of material on crime, fire and accident prevention.

The program involves a partnership with Halton Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the fire departments of all four municipalities in the region, the Halton Multicultural Council, and the federally-funded Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program.

ESINC will be officially announced tomorrow but has been operating since the beginning of the year.

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May 29 2006

Financial Services Heads in Denial Over Impact of Globalization

Published by under Globalization

Financial services sector leaders are failing to acknowledge the challenge that globalization will pose in the next few years, accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP said in a survey.

Of 175 chief executive officers of financial services providers interviewed, 21 percent thought their companies would gain over 50 percent of profit outside of their home markets by 2010.

Globalization will probably have the largest impact on profits in the industry over the next three years, with 65 percent of respondents agreeing it was the biggest challenge facing their company.

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May 29 2006

In the U.S. and Europe, Tensions Between a National and Minority Languages

After the Senate’s recent vote to make English the “national language” of the United States, an avalanche of accusations accumulated, suggesting much illiberal villainy. The Senate’s enshrinement of English in the immigration bill it approved last week was cautious: the proposed law says the government must ” preserve and enhance the role of English,” but it leaves intact federal laws requiring multilingual materials and services. Yet some critics immediately attacked it as xenophobic, even racist.

But perhaps, to put things in a broader perspective, it may help to step outside the United States’ debates about English and look at a situation that is its precise opposite. A few months ago officials from the European Union scrutinized Germany’s compliance with the 1992 European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, a counterweight to the very idea of official languages. It stresses what it calls “the value of interculturalism and multilingualism.” It demands that treaty participants “promote regional or minority languages,” encourage their use, create political links among their speakers, guarantee access to them in criminal and civil proceedings, and encourage their presence in television and radio. Procedures were established for monitoring compliance with this project.

In March a European Union “committee of experts,” as they are officially called, issued a 168-page report (available at after examining Germany’s compliance. The gist of it is that in Germany “more determined measures are needed to encourage the use of regional or minority languages in economic and social life.” Germany is, for example, asked to “remedy the existing shortage of Lower Sorbian-speaking teachers,” to “develop and implement the educational model for North Frisian proposed by the North Frisian speakers” and “reverse the decline in study and research opportunities for Low German, Sater Frisian and Lower Sorbian.” Germany’s response in a 50-page appendix did little to mitigate the righteous sentiments of the final verdict.

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May 01 2006

Speaking in (Many) Tongues Can Be Profitable

WANTED, and in many instances urgently needed: translators and interpreters of numerous languages into English. Opportunities especially good in New York and other cities with large and highly varied immigrant populations. And in government agencies where certain Middle Eastern and Asian languages have surged in priority in the post 9/11 world.

That, labor market and other experts say, sums up the outlook in the United States today for translators and interpreters, professions that have grown sharply since the 2001 terrorist attacks, though not solely in response to them. And with the routes into these specialties diverse — they all require a mastery of English and at least one other language, but there is no single form of certification in the country — people can enter them with varied educational backgrounds.

Although many people call anyone who renders one language into another a translator, practitioners reserve that word for people who convert written material in one language into written material in another, or speech in one language into a transcript in another. They refer to those who convert speech in one language into speech in another as interpreters.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says there were 31,000 translator and interpreter jobs in the country in 2004, up 40 percent since 2000, and estimates a further increase to 37,000, or 20 percent more, in 2014. (The bureau notes that the number of people in the business is “probably significantly higher” because many work part time.) The average full-time salary in 2004 was $38,000, with those employed by federal agencies averaging more than $70,000. About 2,000 of the jobs in 2004 were in New York State and about 500 in New Jersey and Connecticut.

But Kevin Hendzel, a spokesman for the American Translators Association, which represents about 8,000 translators and interpreters, predicted even sharper future growth, “based on the current demand.” Aside from a severe shortage in “national security languages,” among them Arabic, Farsi, Pashto and Dari, the demand, he said, is being driven by, globalization and by the need for interpreters in hospitals and courtrooms. The need at hospitals has been made more acute by a 2000 requirement that institutions receiving federal aid provide more effective service to people lacking English proficiency, he said.

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Feb 22 2006

Half White-collars Keep Blogs, Privacy Top Theme

Blogging has increasingly become more popular in China, with 52% of white-collar workers now keeping weblogs (blogs) according to CBP Career Consultants Co., Ltd., a leading career consulting firm in China.

Pictures from the Web log of a woman from Shanghai who goes by the pseudonym Mu Mu.
Unlike western bloggers who often focus on news and politics, the Chinese white collar bloggers see complaining alongside office and personal gossip as their priorities, according to the survey.

According to the findings of a blogging survey conducted by CBP among white-collar workers in China’s four largest cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – 52% responded they already had a blog, while another 28% said they plan to begin a blog in the near future.

“Weblogs have become the fourth online channel for Chinese people to communicate with each other, following email, bulletin board systems (BBS) and instant messaging tools such as QQ and MSN Messenger,” Bian Bingbin, President and Chief Career Consultant with CBP Career Consultants, told Interfax Monday. “Blogging is now a lifestyle habit for more and more Chinese white-collar workers, with a majority updating their blogs once every three days on average,” he said.

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Feb 17 2006

Int’l Day of Mother Languages to debut in China

An International Day for the Celebration of Mother Languages, which falls on Feb. 21 every year, will make its debut in China.

The United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO)introduced the day in 1999, aiming to promote people’s awareness of their mother tongue, which, as an communication tool, represents a specific nationality or ethnic group and embodies a unique culture.

According to Sun Lei, a senior official with the Beiijng office of UNESCO, people all over the world are using 6,000 to 10,000 languages as their mother tongue. However, half of these languages are dying or in danger of decline, due to accelerating globalization.

“The international community now has the hard task of safeguarding these languages and maintaining the world’s cultural diversity, which is believed to help promote peace and stability,” Sun said at a press conference here on Friday.

Zong Gang, a senior official with the chief sponsor, the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), said that China, faced with challenges and opportunities brought about by globalization, has fully recognized the importance of maintaining cultural diversity for the world’s peace and development. To promote development of the nation’s diversified culture can help build up a harmonious Chinese society.

As a result, he said, the Chinese government responded immediately to the UNESCO’s proposals on the celebration of the International Day of Mother Languages.

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Feb 17 2006

R&D: Globalization & Flat World

In fifteen years of offshoring, India has been aggressively expanding its higher-value services (proof points exist in business application innovations, product development, and BPO) and has developed a stable of world-class IT services vendors that can save foreign companies the trouble of setting up their own offshore centers. A large supply of qualified talent exist in areas outside IT, such as R&D, finance and accounting, call centers, and back-office administration.

Across every industry spectrum, there is potential for knowledge work to relocate to India. In orchestrating global innovation, we saw that names like HTC, Flextronics, Cellon, Quanta Computer, Premier Imaging, Wipro Technologies, and Compal Electronics, are fast emerging as hidden powers of the technology industry. They are the vanguard of the next step in outsourcing – of innovation itself. When Western corporations began selling their factories and farming out manufacturing in the ’80s and ’90s to boost efficiency and focus their energies, most insisted all the important research and development would remain in-house. With initiatives like the Chinese racing to ride the biotech wave coupled with a very high determination in China to leapfrog into hi-tech industries and dominate the global market for knowledge products, this is likely to change.

Contrary to popular belief, it is intellectual capital and university collaboration, not just lower costs, that primarily attract companies to locate R&D activities in locations away from their home country, so says the new study sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The comprehensive study finds that emerging countries such as China and India will continue to be major beneficiaries of R&D expansion over the next three years as companies seek new market opportunities, access to top scientists and engineers, and collaborative research relationships with leading universities. Market growth potential, quality of R&D talent, collaboration with universities and IP protection are the key decision drivers. Surprisingly cost is never seen as a consideration in the decisions to locate these units.

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Feb 16 2006

Triple Certification in Localization: Summer Workshop: June 20-22nd

The Localization Program, CSU Chico offers The Triple Certification in Localization in conjunction with our certifying partners:

1. The Center for Regional and Continuing Education, California State University Chico
2. The Localization Institute
3. The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA)

The Objective of this Triple Certification is to establish learning opportunities, and educational standards that can provide much needed Localization skills and training in cutting edge industry developments and technologies.

The Triple Certification in Localization has two components:

* 45 hours of online instruction, in form of videos, power points, lecture notes, and interactive quizzes.
* 24 hours of face-to-face interaction and lab work at California State University located in Chico , CA .

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Feb 16 2006

Want to See if Your International Website Hits Its Mark?

Common Sense Advisory and the authors of “The Culturally Customized Web Site,” have teamed up to study trends and best practices in website globalization. Qualifying respondents will receive a free cultural diagnosis of one of their international websites in the form of “The Cultural Customization Scorecard.” In return the researchers request participation in a short survey.

What does the assessment cover? In short, respondents will get a review of one language or country site based on a theoretically-sound, empirically-validated framework built on five unique cultural values that account for similarities and differences across global cultures. For more information, see our description of the Cultural Scorecard.

We invite marketing executives and website owners to participate. We also encourage language service providers and software developers to ask their customers to participate and benchmark their work against a well-defined methodology. Click here to take survey or forward this link to someone you think might benefit from the cultural assessment.

Having Don and Renato and Nitish and Arun assess your website is a powerful one-two punch.

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Feb 15 2006

Download The Virtual Handshake FREE!

Download The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online by David Teten and Scott Allen FREE!

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Jan 28 2006

Google Launches Censored Chinese Search Engine

Online search giant Google (GOOG) launched a China-based search engine Wednesday that will be self-censored to avoid posting results that antagonize China’s communist government. uses the Chinese Web suffix “.cn” and supplements the existing dot-com Chinese-language website available from servers in the USA.

“In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on, in response to local law, regulation or policy,” said a statement from Google’s senior policy counsel Andrew McLaughlin. “Removing search results is inconsistent with Google’s mission,” he conceded, but “providing no information … is more inconsistent with our mission.”

In an increasingly competitive market, Google’s move to a China-based website will aid its fight against foreign rivals such as Yahoo and homegrown firms like, China’s most popular search engine, in which Google owns a 2.6% stake.

By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world’s most populous country.

Because of government barriers set up to suppress information, Google’s China users previously have been blocked from using the search engine or encountered long delays in response time.

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Nov 14 2005

ATA 46th Annual Conference

I presented Targeting and Profiling Customers and Vendors Online for the second time, this time at the American Translators Association (ATA) ATA 46th Annual Conference in Seattle on Saturday. The presentation was well attended and well received. Among the members of audience where my friends, Beatriz Bonnet, president of Syntes Language Group in Denver and Christine Egwuonwu, senior project manager of Commgap in Salt Lake City. I also met Christine’s husband for the first time.

Two members of the audience who came to the front of the room to introduce themselves after my presentation really stood out: Sandra Alboum, owner of Alboum & Associates in Arlington and Natalia Jimenez, managing director of Eurologos in San Jose. Both of them noted my need for Italian-English and Italian-Spanish translators by looking closely at the screen grabs of my social networking software (SNS) profiles during the presentation and each of them came forward to recommend one. They’re either naturals at networking or quick studies!

Another member of the audience, Virginia Anderson of Canvas Dreams in Beaverton, Oregon, pointed out, during the customer relationship management (CRM) portion of the presentation, that her husband, David Anderson, had built ContacTracker, hosted CRM solution.

After the presentation, I had the pleasure of dining with ATA Translation Company Division (TCD) assistant administrator, Ellen Boyar, translation manager of Thomson Scientific in Philadelphia, past ATA TCD administrator Linda Gauthier, COO of BG Communications International in Montreal and Greg Churilov, president of Effective Translations in Buenos Aires. We talked about money, politics, religion and sex. We are now closer than ever. Remember, networking is about building relationships and building relationships is personal.

To top off a great networking weekend, on my way home, I met up with the same Southwest Airlines flight attendant I first met on my trip home from the ATA TCD 6th Annual Conference in Philadelphia where, coincidentally, I first presented Targeting and Profiling Customers and Vendors Online last April. I recognized her first and reintroduced myself. She remembered me, my book, Vacation Spanish, and the flight we were on when we first met.

On my flight to Seattle I had met a linguist, author and speaker, Don Richardson (who was also traveling to Seattle to speak,) who, as a Christian missionary in far flung places across the globe, has documented types of Christ woven into the languages and cultures of the peoples among whom he has lived and worked and has written a number of books on the subject. Don told me a couple of compelling stories that aroused my curiosity. I now look forward to reading one or more of his books. I hope to stay in touch with him and his lovely wife, Carol, who was traveling with him to give a solo singing performance in Seattle.

For those of you who missed my presentation, and for those of you who would like to review it, I’m sorry I didn’t consent to have it recorded on the DVD the ATA made of this year’s conference presentations. I promise I’ll do it next time. In the meantime, you can download Targeting and Profiling Customers and Vendors Online.ppt or read Targeting and Profiling Customers and Vendors Online, the first in a series of articles on the subject published in the ATA TCD newsletter (the second one is due out later this month.) I also recommend reading CustomerCentric Selling by Michael T. Bosworth, author of Solution Selling, and The Virtual Handshake by my good friend, online business networking guru, Scott Allen, and Never Eat Alone by master networker Keith Ferrazzi. See also: Blogger, Bloglines, Ecademy,, Hoovers, LinkedIn, openBC, Plaxo, Ryze,, SugarCRM, TypePad and WordPress.

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Jun 28 2005

English/Persian Voice-to-Voice Translation Tool

Three years of work by a large interdisciplinary team at the University of Southern California has created a rudimentary but working two-way voice translation system that allows an English-speaking doctor to talk to a Persian-speaking patient.

The Transonics Spoken Dialog Translator turns a doctor’s spoken English questions into spoken Persian, and translates patients’ spoken Persian replies into spoken English.

Shrikanth Narayanan leads the large multidisciplinary USC Viterbi School team that developed Transonics. One member of this team presented a report on the system June 25 at the Association for Computational Linguistics conference in Ann Arbor Michigan.

“Fluent two-way machine voice translation is one of the holy grails of engineering,” said Narayanan, an associate professor of electrical engineering, computer science and linguistics at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering who directs the Speech Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory (SAIL) in the Viterbi School’s Integrated Media Systems Center.

“We are years away from perfecting it, but we think the choices we have made about how to go about creating such a system are working. We hope to have something that will be useful in emergency rooms or ambulances within two years or so.”

The system that exists, funded by two DARPA grants totalling $3.8 million, is a result of intensive research in information technology, critically supplemented by careful observation of patient-doctor dynamics in numerous bilingual interaction sessions staged for the project.

Narayanan noted that the Transonics approach relies not just on computer code, but also on the ability of humans to use even imperfect tools. This approach, he adds, grows directly out of the extraordinary difficulty of the technical problems involved.

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In contrast to my last post (Ky. Secretary of State Web Site Now Multilingual), this post offers a more realistic look at machine translation. Narayanan notes that he is “years away from perfecting it” and that “the Transonics approach relies not just on computer code, but also on the ability of humans to use even imperfect tools”.

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Jun 28 2005

Ky. Secretary of State Web Site Now Multilingual

The Web site for the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office now offers translations into six new languages. The new service makes the office one of the first multilingual Web sites in Kentucky state government.

The site is translated through an automated and computerized process and occurs dynamically, allowing the site to be translated immediately after it is updated in English. The site will now be accessible in Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Italian and traditional Chinese.

Forms for the office will not be translated as state laws require “the document shall be in the English language.” All visitors to the site whose computers are programmed with the appropriate characters will have access to the translations.

Nearly 2 percent of the 1.8 million yearly visitors to the the secretary of state’s Web site come from foreign countries. The languages chosen primarily reflect the demand for the languages as determined by constituents’ requests or the international visitors that most frequently visited the site.

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To understand why this doesn’t work, pick a string of text (any string of text,) go to, enter your string of text, pick a language (any language) to translate it into, take the resulting translation and use the same system to back translate it into English and see what you get.

Two sayings come to mind: On the one hand: “something is better than nothing.” On the other hand: “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

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Jun 28 2005

Muslim-US Diplomacy – One Teen at a Time

Sometimes diplomacy is as simple as a teenager’s smile. In the halls of Falmouth Academy on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod, the face of Iraq is Ruba – unveiled and unabashed as she gives out hugs and high-fives.

“I love answering questions,” she says as she nears the end of her year here as a high school junior. “Someone asked if I have a refrigerator. They always ask me why I’m so normal – that’s the best question ever!”

In the Monitor
Tuesday, 06/28/05
Supreme Court splits on Ten Commandments
Internet file-sharing takes a hit
In the south, a bid to loosen Baghdad’s grip
Endangered Species Act under fire from two directions
In Alaska, 68 miles of contentious asphalt

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Along with 10 boys from Iraq and some 400 other high-schoolers from predominantly Muslim countries, Ruba has been studying in the United States through a program the State Department launched in the 2002-03 school year, in response to the fissures of 9/11. It’s one of the modest steps by governments and educators to create a new tide of young ambassadors.

Many connections take the form of letters, e-mails, and joint projects online. As a token of friendship with counterparts in Afghanistan and Iraq, American classrooms have raised money and sent everything from school supplies to candy. But students old enough to travel find that meeting face to face is the quickest way to make stereotypes crumble.

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