Friday, January 05, 2007

Touchy-Feely Bush taught Intercultural Lesson by German Chancellor

U.S. President George W. Bush, who raised eyebrows with an impromptu neck massage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year, promised her on Thursday not to repeat it.

"No back rubs," he told her with a smile at the end of a joint news conference after White House talks. The German chancellor smiled sheepishly in response.

Merkel had raised her shoulders in surprise last July at a Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg when Bush, in a gesture of friendliness, approached her from behind and put his hands on her shoulders and squeezed.

Read more: Bush

Russian more attractive in Poland

The Russian language - once widely despised in Eastern Europe, when it was compulsory under communism - is making a comeback in Poland, a Polish newspaper reports.

The daily Rzeczpospolita says the incentive seems to be that many Western companies are stipulating a knowledge of Russian as a job requirement.

Read more: Russian
Posted by Kwintessential at 7:25 PM
Categories: Language Learning News

The EU's Tower of Babel

Since 1 January the European Union has not only got two new members but also two extra languages: Romanian and Bulgarian. In fact, there are three 'new' tongues, for Irish has also joined the list of Brussels' 'official' languages, bringing the total to 23. But critics say that's at least 20 too many.

The European Union makes use of around 3000 interpreters and translators, most of them coming from the world's largest translation agency, the Directorate-General for Translation in Brussels. These translators are needed for the 1.3 million A4-size texts which are produced in Brussels each year and the more than 11,000 meetings.

Read more: EU
Posted by Kwintessential at 7:24 PM
Categories: Translation News

Fancy a Visit to "Racist Park"?

Visitors to China's capital can stroll through "Racist Park," enjoy a plate of "Crap in the Grass" and stop by a Starbucks franchise for a cup for "Christmas Bland" coffee.

Now the Beijing government is trying to clean up such mistranslations and sloppy editing (including the inversion of 'a' and 'r' in carp on menus) before an expected 500,000 foreigners arrive for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

"Some of the translations in China aren't clear or even polite," said Liu Yang, director general of the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages program. "The government realized that if they weren't changed, the city would lose face."

Read more: China

Word of the Day: interregnum

interregnum \in-tuhr-REG-nuhm\, noun;
plural interregnums \-nuhmz\ or interregna \-nuh\:
1. The interval between two reigns; any period when a state is left without a ruler.
2. A period of freedom from authority or during which government functions are suspended.
3. Any breach of continuity in an order; a lapse or interval in a continuity.

Forewarned by his equations that the Galactic Empire is about to collapse, Seldon hopes to shorten the inevitable interregnum from a predicted 30,000 years of bloody anarchy to a mere thousand. -- Gerald Jonas, review of Foundation's Fear, by Gregory Benford, New York Times, April 6, 1997

They were at the moment enjoying a sort of interregnum from Roman authority. -- Frederic William Farrar, Life of St. Paul

Posted by Kwintessential at 6:02 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

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