Sunday, 30 December 2018

Summer School of Latvian Language and Baltic Culture 2019

Latvian Language and more 2019

Summer School of Latvian Language and Baltic Culture | Baltic Media Language Training Centre in cooperation with Liepāja University in Latvia

Travel and study together with your family or friends, invest in your self-development and spend a fabulous time with your beloved ones.

August 16 – August 25, 2019

The leading Nordic-Baltic language service company Baltic Media, in cooperation with the University of Liepāja, offers an intensive Latvian language and culture program in the mesmerizing city of Liepāja, located on Latvia’s beautiful Baltic Sea coast.

Liepāja is a fantastic place to learn Latvian as it has everything from a beautiful seaside to market stalls offering fresh local produce to the Great Amber Concert Hall, a new architectural landmark of the city: www.latvia.travel/en/city/liepaja-8  


This intensive Latvian language and culture program provides:
  • solid instruction in learning the Latvian language (28 academic hours) at two levels – beginners (A1) and pre-intermediate (B1);
  • specially designed course materials;
  • cultural activities, including tours of the city and movie séances at an outdoor cinema featuring Latvian movies;
  • 3 day/2 night weekend trip to a B&B with amber hunting along the sea coast and yoga on the beach.
Cost:
  • 595 EUR includes tuition, course materials, coffee and snacks, cultural activities, tours, and a 3 day/2 night stay at a B&B (meals and yoga instruction included).


  • 200 EUR for a person for those who want to participate only in the cultural activities (without tuition costs).


  • 575 EUR early bird special price if you enroll by April 30.
For more information, please e-mail us at kursi@balticmedia.com.

Ten Amazing Days

We encourage you to pack your travel bag, bring along your friends, and spend 10 amazing days discovering the beauty of the Latvian language as well as the unique culture and nature of Latvia’s beautiful sea coast.
It will be your best summer ever.

Accommodation is not included in the rate. Please book your hotel or guest house yourself. Liepāja has a wide choice of accommodation for all budgets.

Hotels and Guest Houses in Liepāja

How to get to Liepāja


Windsurfing Liepāja beach 2018. Photo: Baltic Media
Coffeeshop Boulangerie in Liepāja. Photo: Baltic Media

August 16 - August 25, 2019 Liepāja, Latvia
Latvian Language and more 2019
More information coming soon.

Please contact us:

Riga Office

World Trade Center
Elizabetes iela 2
LV-1010, Riga, Latvija
Valodu kursi +371 67 224 395
Valodu kursi +371 26 404 054
Valodu kursi +371 67 224 982
Valodu kursi kursi@balticmedia.com

About Liepāja University


Liepāja University is one of the oldest higher educational establishments in Kurzeme region (Latvia) with large experience and academic traditions. It is located in the heart of Liepaja city - a city with long and diverse history, unique architecture and atmosphere, and mostly - the wonderful sea and the beach.
  • Liepaja University is an accredited state higher educational establishment, which implements study programmes at all three study levels: basic studies, Master and Doctorate studies.
  • Every year about 30 study programmes are implemented.
  • Full-time and part-time studies.
  • The number of elected teaching staff members - 74, among them more than 64,8% - Doctors of Sciences; 35,1 % professors and associate professors.
  • About 2000 students.
  • LiepU has its own anthem, coat of arms, logo and a banner.
  • More than 20 thousand graduates

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Swedish Lucia for Dummies


Swedish Lucia – the origins

The Lucia tradition can be traced back both to the martyr St Lucia of Syracuse (died in 304) and to the Swedish legend of Lucia as Adam’s first wife. It is said that she consorted with the Devil and that her children were invisible infernals. The name may be associated with both lux (light) and Lucifer (Satan), and its origins are difficult to determine. The present custom appears to be a blend of traditions.
In the old almanac, Lucia Night was the longest of the year. It was a dangerous night when supernatural beings were abroad and all animals could speak. By morning, the livestock needed extra feed. People, too, needed extra nourishment and were urged to eat seven or nine hearty breakfasts. The last person to rise that morning was nicknamed ‘Lusse the Louse’ and often given a playful beating round the legs with birch twigs. In agrarian Sweden, young people used to dress up as Lucia figures (lussegubbar) that night and wander from house to house singing songs and scrounging for food and schnapps.
The first recorded appearance of a white-clad Lucia in Sweden was in a country house in 1764. The custom did not become universally popular in Swedish society until the 1900s, when schools and local associations in particular began promoting it. The old lussegubbar custom virtually disappeared with urban migration, and white-clad Lucias with their singing processions were considered a more acceptable, controlled form of celebration than the youthful carousals of the past. Stockholm proclaimed its first Lucia in 1927. The custom whereby Lucia serves coffee and buns (lussekatter) dates back to the 1880s.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Nordic Entrepreneurial Environment

The Nordics. Credit: Twitter
By Tine Thygesen, The Entrepreneur Europe

For a small place tucked away in the furthermost corner of Europe, with only 25 million inhabitants, the Nordic region is punching above its weight when it comes to entrepreneurship. In the last few months alone, Spotify has IPOed with a market cap of $26 billion, iZettle has been sold to PayPal for $2.2 billion and Tradeshift has achieved unicorn status.

Other notable Nordic successes include Skype, King, Rovio, Unity, Just Eat, Endomondo, Bluetooth, Lego, Klarna, Trustpilot, Kiloo (Subway Surfers), Too Good To Go and Bang & Olufsen.
A recent analysis shows that Nordic businesses raised just over $1 billion in venture capital during the first half of 2017, with Sweden receiving the lion's share of the funds in the amount of $634.2 million.

The mere 25 million people in the Nordics are split into five countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland) with five separate languages, forcing its citizens to be highly versed in English and foreign languages to make themselves understood broadly. Practically all citizens speak two languages, and many speak several. It also forces young companies to be "born-global" as their home markets are insufficient for major success. As such, many companies (also from outside the region) use these small countries with their homogeneous populations as a learning lab, a place to test new products and concepts relatively inexpensively, before the most promising ones are rolled out onto larger markets, typically the U.K., U.S., and Germany.

The region enjoys a (relative to other countries) high level of equality that ensures taking advantage of the 50-plus percent of the population that is female, homosexual etc., whose talents are underutilized in countries with high inequality.

In the future, one of the region's major opportunities may very well lie in its intrinsic concern for the environment, as the planet will need more and more solutions to combat climate change as global warming continues to worsen.

In recent years, the region has topped in global happiness ratings done by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (in 2018 the top four were Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland), which frees the population up from worrying about basic human conditions (health care is free and unemployment benefits available) enabling them to turn their energy into more fruitful labors, such as building companies and being productive at work.

All things combined, the Nordic region is a testament to the fact that many economic models, not just the ultra-capitalistic, can spur innovation and high-growth companies.

At first glance, one could be forgiven for thinking that the economic social democratic model of the Nordic countries, where tax rates are high and the state provides for citizens in need, would discourage entrepreneurship as a risky venture. After all, the need for personal financial success is less in a society with a solid economic safety net. In that way, the Nordic region refutes the myth that necessity is the mother of invention.

Actually, corporate tax rates in the Nordics are comparable to the rest of Europe, and some of the countries, such as Denmark, have a liberal labor market where it's easy to lay off staff. That is not to say that the region's entrepreneurs are not challenged by the legislative environment that taxes warrants and capital gains highly, but perhaps this is partially offset by the region is among the least corrupt in the world, with effective structures of governance including a highly digitized public sector. In addition, the region enjoys a high overall digital literacy across the population. In 2010, Finland was the first country in the world to declare broadband a legal right.

Without a doubt, much of the region's ability to create (for which the Scandinavians even have a special word, "skaberkraft," meaning "the power to create) stems from the high level of education. Education is not only free, but residents are paid a grant while undergoing higher education. The free education leads to a general education level that is among the highest in the world, providing entrepreneurs with an abundance of qualified labor in most fields.

Read more: Entrepreneur  

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Facts About Sweden - the Largest Country in the Nordic Region


Credit: Baltic Media

The largest country in the Nordic Region is also the one with the biggest population. For many, Sweden is synonymous with the production of high-quality cars, iron, and steel.
Inland lakes and large rivers cover almost 10% of Sweden's land mass. Despite the country's enormous coniferous forests, it still has 27,000 km2 of arable land.
Sweden is also the Nordic Region's most populous country, with around 9.1 million inhabitants, almost two million of whom live in the Stockholm area. The northern parts of the country are sparsely populated.
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy. King Carl XVI Gustaf has no real political power, and the parliament, Riksdagen, is the country's highest authority.
Sweden is a member of the EU but has retained the crown as its currency. The country is not a member of NATO.
Sweden is a major exporter of goods and services. The biggest exports are electronics, engineering, cars, paper, iron and steel.
Per capita GDP is € 28,200 (2006).
Total area (1): 447,420 km2
Lakes and streams: 40,080 km2
Arable land and gardens: 26,080 km2
Forests and plantations: 282,760 km2
Largest lake: Vänern 5,648 km2
Highest point: Kebnekaise 2,106 m
Coast line mainland: 11,530 km
National borders: 2,205 km (border to Finland: 586 km, to Norway 1,619 km)
Icecap and glaciers: 283 km2
Population February 2017: 10 014 873 inh.
Population density 01.01.14: 23.7 pop./km2
Population, capital 2016: 2 163 042 inh Stockholm (municipality) (2)
National day: 6th June (Swedish Flag's Day)
Form of government: Constitutional monarchy
Parliament: Riksdag (349 seats)
Membership of the EU: From 01.01.95
Membership of NATO: No
Head of State (as of September 2009): Kong Carl XVI Gustaf
Head of government (as of October 2014): Prime Minister [Stefan Löfven]
Currency: Swedish crown (SEK)
Official website: www.sweden.se
1) Incl. the largest lakes, but excl. the area from the coastline to the territorial boundary, 81,502 km2
2) Stockholm, Upplands Väsby, Vallentuna, Österåker, Värmdö, Järfälla, Ekerö, Huddinge, Botkyrka, Salem, Haninge, Tyresö, Upplands-Bro, Nykvarn, Täby, Danderyd, Sollentuna, Södertälje, Nacka, Sundbyberg, Solna, Lidingö, Vaxholm, Norrtälje, Sigtuna and Nynäshamn
Source: Norden

Saturday, 1 September 2018

We can help you capture new Nordic and Baltic markets. Here is a piece of advice on how to start

Website translation services for ecommerce
Credit: StoryBlocks. Norway

Website translations
Exports of products and services to other countries is what both you and your country need. If you want to capture new markets, having your website or online store only in English is not enough.

According to market research, an online store or website in client's native language has a significant impact on buyer's choice. Roughly 75% online store customers give preference to the seller who provides product and service description in customer's native language.
So if you want to expand your product or service market, start with website localization in the language used on your potential market. However, do not forget to ensure customer service in their native language.
Saves money
  
We have over 25 years of experience in website localization in Nordic and Baltic languages. Our clients will also save money as we use CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools that create a translation memory and terminology database so you will not pay twice for phrases that repeat 100% and will pay less for those somewhat similar to the translated ones. Terminology database will also ensure terminology consistency and search engine optimization.
Our translators are human beings instead of machines as machine translation such as Google cannot understand the context, idioms, jokes and other nuances, therefore, nothing has been able to beat professional translators so far. The leading global and local scale companies still localize their content only with human translation.
We recently localized Swedish hairdresser equipment and product wholesaler website in all Scandinavian languages - Headbrands.seHeadbrands.fiHeadbrands.dkHeadbrands.no. Their turnover saw increases of growth!
Find more information on website translation and our work flow on our website.

Monday, 13 August 2018

English's Days as the World's Top Global Language May be Numbered. Can English Remain the 'World's Favourite' Language?



English is spoken by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, but do the development of translation technology and "hybrid" languages threaten its status?
Which country boasts the most English speakers, or people learning to speak English?
The answer is China.
According to a study published by Cambridge University Press, up to 350 million people there have at least some knowledge of English - and at least another 100 million in India.
There are probably more people in China who speak English as a second language than there are Americans who speak it as their first. (A fifth of Americans speak a language other than English in their own homes.)
But for how much longer will English qualify as the "world's favourite language"? The World Economic Forum estimates about 1.5 billion people around the world speak it - but fewer than 400 million have it as their first language.
Of course, there is more than one English, even in England. In the historic port city of Portsmouth, for example, the regional dialect - Pompey - is still very much in use, despite the challenges from new forms of online English and American English.
English is the world's favorite lingua franca - the language people are most likely to turn to when they don't share a first language. Imagine, for example, a Chinese speaker who speaks no French in conversation with a French speaker who speaks no Chinese. The chances are that they would use English.
Five years ago, perhaps. But not anymore. Thanks to advances in computer translation and voice-recognition technology, they can each speak their own language, and hear what their interlocutor is saying, machine-translated in real time.
So English's days as the world's top global language may be numbered. To put it at its most dramatic: the computers are coming, and they are winning.
You are probably reading this in English, the language in which I wrote it. But with a couple of clicks on your computer or taps on your tablet, you could just as easily be reading it in German or Japanese. So why bother to learn English if computers can now do all the hard work for you?
At present, if you want to do business internationally, or play the latest video games, or listen to the latest popular music, you're going to have a difficult time if you don't speak any English. But things are changing fast.
In California, Wonkyum Lee, a South Korean computer scientist for Gridspace, is helping to develop translation and voice-recognition technology that will be so good that when you call a customer service helpline, you won't know whether you're talking to a human or a computer.
Christopher Manning, professor of machine learning, linguistics and computer science at Stanford University, insists there is no reason why, in the very near future, computer translation technology can't be as good as, or better than, human translators.
But this is not the only challenge English is facing. Because so many people speak it as their second or third language, hybrid forms are spreading, combining elements of "standard" English with vernacular languages. In India alone, you can find Hinglish (Hindi-English), Benglish (Bengali-English) and Tanglish (Tamil-English).
In the US, many Hispanic Americans, with their roots in Central and South America, speak Spanglish, combining elements from English and the language of their parents and grandparents.

Language is more than a means of communication. It is also an expression of identity - telling us something about a person's sense of who they are. 

The San Francisco poet Josiah Luis Alderete, who writes in Spanglish, calls it the "language of resistance", a way for Hispanic Americans to hold on to - and express pride in - their heritage, even if they were born and brought up in the US.
English owes its global dominance to being the language of what until recently were two of the world's most powerful nations: the US and the UK. But now, especially with the rise of China as an economic superpower, the language is being challenged.
Computerised translation technology, the spread of hybrid languages, the rise of China - all pose real challenges. But I continue to count myself immensely fortunate to have been born in a country where I can cherish and call my own the language of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton and Dickens, even though the language I call English is very different from theirs.
Presentational grey line
Read more: By Robin Lustig Presenter, The Future of English, BBC World Service 

Friday, 10 August 2018

- Iceland 24 - Iceland Travel and Info Guide : History of the Icelandic Language

- Iceland 24 - Iceland Travel and Info Guide : History of the Icelandic Language: We’ll be the first ones to admit it. The Icelandic language is not one of the bigger, more popular languages like English, Spanish or French...

Credit: Baltic Media

What makes the Icelandic language special
Iceland is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean situated just below the Arctic Circle. When you look at Iceland on a map, it seems pretty lonely. But this isolation did have a linguistic benefit. Iceland’s location prevented its language from being too diluted or influenced by languages of nearby countries. As a result, Icelandic is the North Germanic language that most closely resembles the Old Norse spoken over a thousand years ago. The Viking Sagas and Eddas written around 800 years ago can still be read today because the language really has not changed that much. Not even English can say that!

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Nobody should ever trust a translation produced by a machine. Only a human translator can verify the machine did a good or a bad job… and fix it



In the past years, I’ve been evaluating machine translation output extensively. I started to do this because I was curious, and I ended up doing this professionally. As this evaluation work was for various NLP scientists and translation agencies,  I cannot dwell on details, but what I learned in the various tests is this:
  • The machine translation output has overall improved a lot. 5 years ago a test document with 1000 sentences contained more than 700 sentences where a translator was taking the risk to waste time editing the machine translated text. Today less than 100 sentences are too bad for editing. “Too bad for editing” means that the sentence the translator creates for delivery is too different from the machine translated text: too many words had to be dropped, added, moved or edited.
What changed in these 5 years? The test set was almost the same: the same source sentences, but different engines. The Systran, Google and Microsoft engines became neural MT systems, and I added Amazon and DeepL to the translation set. (A pity I could not add LILT to the test set — I cannot use adaptive MT in my measuring tools. But I’m sure LILT has improved at the same pace as the others. Maybe even more…) In the same test set, there were also high fuzzy matches from translation memories. Those I never changed as I used them for validating the data.

The sentences in the test set were quite long (15 to 45 words, or up to 300 characters), and the syntax of some sentences was quite complex. Clearly, 5 years ago, MT system could not handle well those long sentences. Today the quality of the machine translated long sentences is much, much higher.
Another observation: translators were asked to label sentences before editing — we asked them if they believe the pre-translated text was retrieved from a translation memory or if it was produced by an MT engine. 5 years ago most translators got it right, because “machine translated sentences contain more mistakes all over the place“.  This year, they could also tell what was MT, but the reason was very different: “the edits I had to do on TM output were mostly fixes of mistakes MT systems don’t make“.

Interesting evolution.
Of course,
  • there are still big differences between the language pairs. For some target languages, I really doubt MT will ever be good enough to be used by professional translators. But for a lot of target languages, it is clear: machine translation is a solid tool that can help to translate more in less time.
  • there are still a lot of documents that will never be fit for MT pre-translation. It has just become easier to spot them now.
  • nobody should ever trust a translation produced by a machine. Only a human translator can verify the machine did a good or a bad job… and fix it.
So I was wondering: why do we keep on using the term “post-editing”? Maybe we should stop using this term, and just use “editing” or why not just use “translating”? This is what translators do, after all…



Source: Gert Van Assche  https://theopenmic.co/post-editing/

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Global Market for Outsourced Translation and Interpreting Services and Technology to Reach US$46.52 Billion in 2018



Common Sense Advisory's 14th annual comprehensive study of the language industry shows growth continues due to content digitization, personalized customer service, and business globalization.
The global market for outsourced language services and technology will reach US$46.52 billion in 2018, according to a primary quantitative study by independent market research firm Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research). The firm surveyed providers from around the world to collect actual reported revenue for 2016, 2017, and expected revenue for 2018. CSA Research details its findings in the 14th annual global industry report, "The Language Services Market: 2018," the only comprehensive global analysis of private and publicly-traded language services and technology companies.
As organizations both large and small make their products and services available in more languages, the firm predicts that the language services industry will continue to grow and that the market will increase to US$56.18 billion by 2021.

The firm found that the demand for language services and supporting technologies continues and is growing at an annual rate of 7.99%, representing an increase over last year's rate of 6.97%. 

Sixty-four percent of surveyed language services providers (LSPs) said revenue was up over the previous year. Factors driving this demand include content digitization, personalized customer service, and business globalization.
  • Revenues, rankings, and locations of the 195 largest LSPs in the world
  • Regional rankings of the largest LSPs in AfricaAsia-PacificEastern EuropeLatin AmericaNorth AmericaNorthern EuropeSouthern Europe, and Western Europe
  • Trends in automation and spoken-language technologies including the impact of artificial intelligence on project management automation
  • Breakdown of the market by translation, interpreting, localization and engineering, project management, and more
  • Breakdown of the market for technology sold by LSPs and technology providers with estimates for translation management, translation memory, terminology, machine translation, interpreting management, and other software
Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research) is the premier market research firm specializing in the language services and technology industry. It provides primary data and insight to assist companies with planning, brand strategy, innovation, competitive positioning, and better understanding of global markets.


Included in report series are the largest 195 language service providers globally, as well as by region, all of which offer language and localization services to enable enterprises to expand global reach and to respond to domestic needs. The top 10 largest commercially-focused language services companies worldwide, listed according to 2017 revenues, are: TransPerfect; Lionbridge; LanguageLine Solutions; RWS Holdings plc; translate plus; SDL; Hogarth Worldwide Limited; Welocalize; Amplexor International; and Keywords Studios.
CSA Research's structured and documented market research methodologies ensure comprehensive and independent data-driven research for LSPs, technology vendors, global enterprises, and investors. Primary data and insight in CSA Research's 2018 independent study include:
"The Language Services Market: 2018" is available to CSA Research members. The list of the largest LSPs based on 2017 revenues is open-access and available here.
About Common Sense Advisory
Contact: Simona Bertozzi, 978-275-0500, 197258@email4pr.com
SOURCE: PRNewswire.com  
Related Links

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Scandinavian Languages: Are the Three Neighbouring Languages Becoming Strangers*?


Translation Nordic languages
Credit: StoryBlocks


The languages spoken in Scandinavia are called North Germanic languages and include Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese. They are subdivided into East- (Danish, Swedish) and West-Scandinavian (Norwegian, Icelandic) languages. Finnish, being completely different, belongs to the Finno-Ugric language family.
Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are all very similar, and it is common for people from all three countries to be able to read the two other without too much difficulty. Understanding the spoken languages, however, can present more difficulties, especially for Swedes and Norwegians who have had little exposure to spoken Danish.
Icelandic and Faroese do have some words in common with the three other Scandinavian languages, but it is not common for Scandinavians to be able to understand Icelandic and Faroese, except for certain Norwegians who have a similar dialect (Norwegian nynorsk).

Norwegian is to Danish as Valenciano is to Castellano
In terms of vocabulary, the most similar languages are Danish and Norwegian, which is possibly due to Norway once being under Danish rule. The two languages differ about as much from each other as Castellano does from Valenciano. The main difference lies in the spelling of and pronunciation of words – the words often being the same words and having pretty much the same meaning, just spelled slightly differently. In some cases, however, a certain word will be used in Norwegian and another in Danish in the same way as English for example has ‘lorry’ and ‘truck’.
Whereas written Danish and Norwegian (Norwegian bokmål) is very similar, the written Swedish language contains some words that a Danish and Norwegian person cannot possibly understand unless they know them beforehand.

“Norwegian is Danish spoken in Swedish
When it comes to pronunciation, however, Swedish and Norwegian are very close. For a Dane and a Norwegian, it can sometimes be quite hard to communicate, as Norwegians tend to ‘sing’, wheras we Danes ‘talk as if we have a potato in our mouth’. Swedes also ‘sing’, but depending on the region, some Swedish speaking people are easier to understand for Danes than Norwegians because they don’t ‘sing’.
In conclusion, this gives us the following equations:
Norwegian + phonology – vocabulary = Swedish
Norwegian – phonology + vocabulary = Danish
Thus, it has been said that “Norwegian is Danish with Swedish pronunciation”. While this is not completely accurate, there is some truth in the statement.

Are the three neighbouring languages becoming strangers?
Despite the similar languages, Scandinavians sometimes end up speaking English between themselves often due to the dialects existing in the Scandinavian countries and the effects of globalisation. However, making an effort to try and understand each other is only a matter of practice – in the same way as when an American person tries to understand a Scottish person.
If you were to learn one of the Scandinavian languages, which one would you go for?

*Written by Claus Skovbjerg, MA, stagiaire communicateur at TermCoord
Read more: Termcoord.eu