Thursday, 19 March 2015

Hot Topics: Translation, Localization, Language Industry and Science

DNA Analysis Reveals Missing Link in European Ancestry

Currently, the majority of languages spoken in Europe belong to the Indo-European family, a huge group comprising more than 400 languages and dialects spoken across Asia and Europe. In modern Europe there are also representatives of the Uralic, Mongolian, Turkic, and Semitic language families. This latest research supports the “Steppe hypothesis” that the Indo-European family of languages was introduced by inhabitants of the Russian steppes. However, it competes with the “Anatolian hypothesis”, according to which the first speakers of these languages were the Near Eastern farmers who moved to Europe seven or eight millennia ago. Link to the full article HERE


The effects of bilingualism on the white matter structure of the brain

This article fills an important gap in the literature on structural changes in the brain that are induced by speaking two languages. It has been suggested that early lifelong bilingualism affects the structure of white matter (WM) of the brain and preserves its integrity in older age. Here we show that similar WM effects are also found in bilingual individuals who learn their second language (L2) later in life and are active users of both languages. This finding presents a strong argument for the general benefits of additional language learning and the importance of language learning and use in a naturalistic environment. Link to the full article HERE

Language, Identity & Power- What Future for Minority Languages in Europe?

On 24 February 2015, Csaba Sógor MEP organized a conference entitled “Language, Identity & Power: What Future for Minority Languages in Europe”, with Herbert Dorfmann (EPP) and Jill Evans (EFA/Greens) MEPs, in cooperation with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), the European Free Alliance (EFA) and the Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC). The conference explored the different possible arrangements for linguistic minorities in Europe, evaluating how the European Union and the Council of Europe could strengthen minority and regional language protection and promotion within their legal framework. Many speakers agreed that the European Parliament has the right to initiate legislation, but it doesn’t use it sufficiently in terms of linguistic minority protection and promotion.
The high turnout to the conference showed the importance of implementing legal frameworks and concrete measures aimed at protecting and promoting regional and minority languages in Europe. Future activities on this topic are planned in order to raise more awareness and develop concrete strategies to reach these goals. Furthermore, the EPP Group is organizing a hearing on national minorities in Europe on the 22nd of April. Link to the full article HERE

App to revitalise an ancient language

Translations between the Wiradjuri and English languages - there will soon be an app for that, and the Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest at Dubbo will play a part in its development.
NSW Aboriginal affairs minister Victor Dominello on Sunday announced $185,000 in funding for the development of an app to support the maintenance and revitalisation of five Aboriginal languages in NSW.
He said the app, through mobile devices, would provide audio recordings of commonly used words and phrases in the languages of Bundjalung, Gamilaraay/ Yuwaalaraay/ Yuwaalayaay, Gumbaynggirr, Paakantji and North West Wiradjuri. Link to the full article HERE

Monday, 9 March 2015

A design classic turns 100 – the Coca-Cola® bottle in Swedish history

Baltic Media's clients include the regional branch of Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, one of the world's largest bottlers for the Coca-Cola Company's brands. The roots of the famous Coca-Cola bottle are in the Nordics.

Exactly 100 years ago, the Coca-Cola bottle emerged with its unique curved shape. However, few know about its connection to Swedish design. Glass engineer Alexander Samuelsson from Kungälv received a patent on the bottle in 1915.
An exhibition about the design behind one of the world's best known brands, and how a Swede from Kungälv played an important role in the iconic bottle's design will be shown from March 7 through April 4, 2015 at the National Museum of Science and Technology (Tekniska Museet).
The exhibition tells the story of Alexander Samuelsson, who worked at the Surte glassworks and went on to became a senior manager for the cylinder manufacturer, Chapman Root Bottling. The curvy bottle was the company's entry the Coca-Cola Company's competition for a bottle that distinguished from all others. It had to remain recognizable in the dark, or even if shattered.
The Coca-Cola bottle is an exciting example of how important product design is in the process of innovation. The ingenious shape also set in motion a captivating story of packaging development in relation to new demands for sustainability and new consumption patterns.
With original sketches and bottles from the Coca-Cola Company's own collections, the exhibition shows not only how the design came into being, but also how the package evolved from the first sketches into today's design.

Pictures: Tekniska Museet.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Hot Topics: Translation, Localization, Language Industry and Science

Twitter Chatter About Putin and Poroshenko: The Language Breakdown

Posted by Tetyana Lokot on February 19, 2015

When we started collecting our Twitter data last October, we were predominantly interested in what Russians and Ukrainians were saying about their presidents. But we decided to cast a wider net and collected all the tweets containing the last names of the heads of states in Russian (Путин and Порошенко), Ukrainian (Путін and Порошенко), and English (Putin and Poroshenko). We ended up with over six million tweets - 6,342,294, to be exact.  Once we had our data, we faced a problem: how can we tell when a Russian or Ukrainian tweets about Putin or Poroshenko as opposed to a Brit or a Korean? There are several attributes of tweets and Twitter accounts that help indicate a user's country and language. First, there is the location a user chooses to add to their profile. Then there is the language a user sets for their account and interface. Third, each tweet also has a language indicator, determined from the keyboard setting and tweet content. Finally, some users choose to turn on geolocation on their smartphones, and in this case... Link to the full article HERE.



Military could be using high-tech speech software by 2017
Posted by Ray Locker

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon could be able to listen in on voice communications in difficult environments and then quickly translate and transcribe them for use by intelligence analysts and combat troops by 2017, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Newly released DARPA documents show it is continuing the next two stages of itsRobust Automatic Transcription of Speech program, which is aimed at separating speech from background noise, determining which language is being spoken and then isolating key words from that speech for analysis.
The Air Force, DARPA says, is testing the third phase of the program in the field now, while "the research division of a government agency will be testing the speech activity detection algorithm to incorporate into their platform." References to "a government agency" usually refer to a part of the intelligence community, such as... Link to the full article HERE


A language family tree - in pictures

Minna Sundberg’s illustration maps the relationships between Indo-European and Uralic languages. The creator of the webcomic Stand Still. Stay Silent, put the illustration together to show why some of the characters in her comic were able to understand each other despite speaking different languages. She wanted to show how closely related Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic were to each other, and how Finnish came from distinct.. Link to the full article HERE


A massive database now translates news in 65 languages in real time
Posted by Derrick Harris on February 19, 2015

I have written quite a bit about GDELT (the Global Database of Events, Languages and Tone) over the past year, because I think it’s a great example of the type of ambitious project only made possible by the advent of cloud computing and big data systems. In a nutshell, it’s database of more than 250 million socioeconomic and geopolitical events and their metadata dating back to 1979, all stored (now) in Google’s cloud and available to analyze for free via Google BigQuery or... Link to the full article HERE


Twitter introduces hashtags in 13 Indian languages
Posted by Riddhi Mukherjee on February 23, 2015

Twitter has introduced hashtags in 13 Indian languages, including Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Sanskrit, Nepali, Bengali, Assamese, Punjabi, Gujarati, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.

Last month, Twitter had also introduced Hindi and Urdu translations for tweets through Microsoft’s Bing Translator. It’s worth noting that Twitter mentioned that the results will “vary and often fall below the accuracy and fluency of translations provided by a professional translator.” So, why didn’t they tie-up with... Link to the full article HERE