Thursday, January 26, 2006
the prejudice map
We came across an interesting piece of work by a blogger who has devised what has become know as the "prejudice map". Simply by running searches through Google he has managed to compile a map of the world and indicate the main prejudices against certain countries (according to the searches on Google). For example, for Germany he would type in "germans are known for" into Google. As a result Germany is known for "precision, beer, resourcefulness and punctuality".
As a Brit I was somewhat concerned that we are "extremely unclean and rather complaining"!! Actually looking at the map, the Brits get a raw deal. Brazil seems to come off best - "infomality, partying and bikinis". Sounds like a rather nice place...
Please bear in mind that these are not the bloggers own views and that they are also 'prejudices' - in fact before you access the map you have to prove you understand the meaning of prejudice. Enjoy!Visit The Prejudice Map
jackson takes 'going native' one step too far
Michael Jackson went shopping in Bahrain on Wednesday disguised as a traditional Arab woman, but if it was an attempt by the pop star to avoid attention, it failed.
Jackson has been spending time in the Gulf state as a guest of the royal family since a Californian court acquitted him in June of child molestation. A Reuters photographer saw him in a popular shopping mall in the centre of the capital Manama all in black, with sunglasses, gloves, a veil covering his face and dressed in an abaya, or full-length robe -- but with men's shoes peeping out below.Read more: Jackson
event to promote language and cross cultural skills
Businesses looking to trade in overseas markets often fail to make the most of opportunities because of poor language skills and a lack of cultural awareness, according to a regional language development group.
To help export novices get a head start, the SWRLN has organised a free event at the University of the West of England at which businesses will be shown how learning a new language and developing cultural awareness can boost their business’ performance overseas.
Having the ability to converse in the local language gives business owners, managers and their staff the advantage of understanding local and cultural issues, which can make all the difference between success and failure, the group claims.
“Business that put language and culture on their agendas are likely to have most success overseas,�? said Dr. Peter Gold, of SWRLN. “There are several ways in which these issues can be addressed, by developing language strategies, learning language skills, using interpreters and translators, and many other ways in which language and culture can be incorporated into an international business strategy."
The event, scheduled for 1 February at 9 a.m., will also feature a half-hour special session on doing business in Eastern Europe.Read more: Event
language barrier key problem for welsh firms
Welsh companies are losing out in international business because their foreign competitors are more willing to communicate in several languages. That is according to CILT Cymru, the National Centre for Languages.
It has called on schools not to ignore the benefits of teaching foreign languages to ensure the economy remains competitive. CILT Cymru says many Welsh companies think they are as prepared for international trade as their European counterparts when it comes to international communication, despite their over-reliance on English or, at best, English and Welsh.Read more: Wales
language teachers needed for european survey
UK language teachers are being asked to take part in a Europe-wide survey on employment as part of a plan to promote linguistic diversity.
Native-speaker teachers working in the UK, as well as British teachers working abroad, are being encouraged to take part in the 10-month European Commission study. The aim of the survey is to identify and improve the obstacles to language teachers living and working in the EU and to encourage more of them to work abroad.Read more: Survey
new english-malay translation system
Linguamatix Sdn Bhd, a company specialising in the development of computer translation systems, today announced the launch of LinguaWeb, an online trial of a high-speed English-Malay translation system based on the company’s proprietary LinguaBASE technology. LinguaWeb allows users to conduct real-time translation and searching of the whole Internet in Malay and it is available for a limited time only from www.linguamatix.com/linguaweb.Read more: Linguaweb
international survey on exporters' challenges
Small businesses are being urged to take part in an international survey about the hurdles to exporting. Led by New Zealand, two international agencies - Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Organisation for Economic Development - are surveying thousands of small and medium-sized businesses world-wide on the barriers they face when exporting.
Small Business Minister Lianne Dalziel said by taking part in the survey, New Zealand would help identify barriers to exporting and contribute to an understanding of best practice globally. It could also help New Zealand find out what it does well.
A similar survey was carried out in the UK by CILT (National Centre for Languages) and now published in the book "Language and Culture in British Business". For the results relating to cross cultural awareness visit - Cross Cultural Barriers.Read more: Survey
conservatives' ethnic minorities welcome cameron
At a meeting today of the Conservative Party's Ethnic Diversity Council, its Chairman, Mohamed Iltaf Sheikh spoke of the enthusiasm shown by the Party's ethnic candidates for David Cameron's drive to select more ethnic minority candidates. He said: "Candidates from a great cross section of Britain's ethnic minority communities attended the meeting and I must say all were upbeat about Conservative prospects under the new Leadership of David Cameron.Read more: Tories
why the german school is wrong to ban multilingualism
Readers yesterday would have seen that a Berlin school has banned pupils from speaking languages other than German on school grounds. David Gordon Smith argues why such a ban is misguided and counter-productive and why Germany should embrace multilingualism....
...There appears to be a fallacy that speaking another language somehow detracts from pupils' ability with German. This is not the case. Humans have an almost unlimited ability to learn languages and in general there is no reason why the average person cannot master two or more languages.Read more: David Gordon Smith
google's move points to future of internet lying in china
Google made headline news in the UK yesterday with its decision to bow to the Chinese government and restrict its search results. Previously if Chinese internet surfers using Google's US servers had punched in 'democracy', they would have received more than 33 million results (with most of them banned). The new Beijing-approved www.google.cn website will generate less than a quarter as many results.
Most observers are focusing on the fact Google is turning its back on its principles in not allowing free, open searches. Bloggers, free speech advocates, media watchdogs and Tibet support groups have all denounced Google's decision.
....Suggested new motto: 'Don't Be Hypocrites'," wrote Singapore-based Jos Birken on an online column hosted by Google's own blog service. "As of today, it's official. Google's 'Don't Be Evil' motto has withered in the face of China's opposition [to] maintaining any type of human rights within the Middle Kingdom's borders," Mr Birken wrote.
However, from a website globalization point of view this very clearly demonstrates that the internet's future to some extent lies in China. With over 110 million users, less that 10% of the population, China's internet economy will grow and grow. Google to can not be blamed for trying to access the market. For those savvy enough, now is the time to start investing in a Chinese website and ensuring they achieve high rankings on the new www.google.cn site.Related Article: The Potential of a Chinese Website
In the news: Google
health organisation to overcome language and culture barriers in asian community
Khush Dil's ("happy heart") is an outreach project set up in Scotland to try and address the issue of heart disease in the Asian population. Researchers found that people from Asian communities throughout the city were not accessing health care because of cultural and language barriers.
At the launch of the organisation, health workers took a screening programme to check cholesterol levels and blood pressure into the community. They then encouraged patients to consider taking part in a programme of classes, including aerobics and healthy cookery. Khush Dil's clinical co-ordinator Gill Mathews said: "We had very positive feedback and people highlighted that they particularly appreciated that staff were taking the time to understand their particular cultural norms and introduce them to exercise that was culturally appropriate. People who don't speak the language are disadvantaged in that they may never have been exposed to the media health promotion campaigns that have run here."Read more: Khush Dil
word of the day: grandee
grandee \gran-DEE\, noun:
1. A man of elevated rank or station.
2. In Spain or Portugal, a nobleman of the first rank.
Jack Byron still harbored delusions of being a local grandee, attempting to influence district politics; as the final humiliation, in the parliamentary election of 1786 his vote was disallowed. -- Benita Eisler, Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame
Like Bellow, he is at once a snob and a democrat, a voracious brain and a churning gut, a seminar-room grandee and a barroom brawler. -- A. O. Scott, "Trans-Atlantic Flights," New York Times, January 31, 1999
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
lib dems want to reflect the uk's cultural diversity
A group of Liberal Democrats has launched a campaign to make the party "more representative" of the UK's ethnic diversity. MP Jo Swinson said the Lib Dems, whose 62 MPs are all white, "'urgently' needed to draw "on a wider pool of talent".
The Reflecting Britain group is calling on the party's next leader, who will be named in March, to tackle the issue.Read more: Lib Dems
president bush all for cross cultural understanding
Although President Bush did not take up Kwintessential's offer of free cultural awareness training it seems he has developed a real sense of cross cultural understanding: "Learning somebody else's language is a kind gesture," stated the U.S. President recently, because it suggests "I care about you."Read more: Bush
ban on turkish in german school sparks diversity debate
A secondary school in Berlin has decided to ban Turkish and other foreign languages spoken by its pupils in an attempt to improve German language skills at the immigrant-dominated facility.
The ban has unleashed a heated public debate about foreigner integration in German society with some politicians arguing the move is counterproductive and discriminates against foreigners. School authorities, however, claim their students' command of German has improved markedly over the past few months.Read more: Germany
google to censor results in china
Online search engine leader Google Inc. has agreed to censor its results in China, adhering to the country's free-speech restrictions in return for better access in the Internet's fastest growing market.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company planned to roll out a new version of its search engine bearing China's Web suffix '.cn,' on Wednesday. A Chinese-language version of Google's search engine has previously been available through the company's dot-com address in the United States.Read more: Google
tips for living/working in singapore
Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. While Malay is the national language, English is the language most commonly spoken. It is used widely in the business arena and is the language of instruction in schools. Most Singaporeans in the corporate sector speak fair to excellent English; taxi drivers and some shopkeepers speak a 'pidgin' known as 'Singlish,' which is a mixture of English, Malay, Hokkien [Chinese dialect] and Mandarin.
"I encounter it [Singlish] every day," says Yvonne McNulty, who has recently relocated to Singapore. "Be patient, repeat yourself a number of times and use short sentences," she advises, "And be prepared to say some words phonetically in order to be understood.Read more: Singapore
expats choosy about destination
For career-conscious global professionals, where they work is as important as which company they work for, research shows.
A new report published by London's foreign direct investment agency, Think London, shows that the global professional seeks to add value to their careers, not just by which organisation they work for, but where they work.
The research, carried out by experts in HR and expatriate management, Michael Dickmann and Tim Mills of Cranfield school of Management, reflected the views and perceptions of individuals rather than the views of corporations. Nine out of ten of the foreign-born executives questioned believe that working in London has benefited their career.Read more: Think London
france: best quality of life in the world
And the winner is…France. The loser? Iraq. No explanation necessary for the latter, but readers may be surprised to see France taking top honors in the annual Quality of Life Index this year. It's the first time this country has risen to first place. More than that, though, it's the first time in 21 years that any country other than the United States has come out tops in the Index. This year, the United States drops from the top spot to sixth position.Read more: France
plan to ban foreign languages from the streets of holland
A code of conduct requiring that Dutch be the only language spoken in Holland's streets is being considered by the Right-wing minister for integration.
The announcement by Rita Verdonk of the VVD Liberal Coalition Party caused uproar among her Left-wing colleagues in the ruling coalition and some party colleagues. She subsequently back-pedalled but political insiders believe she is deadly serious. The Netherlands has more than two million immigrants, mainly from Morocco and the former Dutch colonies, Surinam and Curacao.Read more: Dutch
ibm speech translation technology
IBM unveiled new speech recognition technology on Tuesday that can comprehend the nuances of spoken English, translate it on the fly, and even create on-the-fly subtitles for foreign-language television programs.
Historically, speech technology required the user to limit his speech to a fixed set of phrases in order to interact with a device. With IBM's Embedded ViaVoice 4.4 software package, introduced on Tuesday, the company hopes to allow users to speak commands using phrasing that is natural to them.Read more: IBM
Cultural Diversity: The European Experience
Tuesday 14th March 2006, The Drum, Birmingham, UK
The conference will be looking at some of the key issues for the cultural sector from the European perspective and each will explore these issues through stimulating presentations from experts from across Europe and the UK, providing an opportunity for discussion and debate.
* Joost Smiers, Professor of Political Science of the Arts, Utrecht School of Arts and author of Arts Under Pressure – Promoting Cultural Diversity in the Age of Globalisation
* Magdalena Kulikowska*, Project Co-ordinator, Pro Cultura Foundation
* Simona Bodo*, Researcher, Italy (also member of Board of CIRCLE)
* János Zoltán Szabó*, Research Officer, The Budapest Observatory
* Samenua Sesher, Director, decibel, Arts Council England
word of the day: flippant
flippant \FLIP-uhnt\, adjective:
Lacking proper seriousness or respect; showing inappropriate levity; pert.
In the mid-1950s we both wrote for the same weekly, where her contributions were a good deal more serious and less flippant than mine. --Anthony Howard and Jason Cowley, "Decline and Fall," New Statesman, March 13, 2000
The conversations had grown more adult over the years--she was less flippant, at least. --Sylvia Brownrigg, The Metaphysical Touch