Thursday, February 03, 2005

Student exchange programs build intercultural competence

Findings from a just completed international investigation indicate high school students who study abroad on AFS Intercultural Exchange programs show impressive gains in intercultural competence, knowledge about other countries, and personal comfort interacting with people from different cultures.

Read more: Intercultural Competence

How Culturally aware are you? New China quiz

A new cross cultural quiz has been added to the Cultural Quiz page at Kwintessential. The quiz asks 10 questions regarding basic business etiquette for those doing business in or visiting China.

Prior to taking the test why not brush up on your etiquette knowledge of China and read our Doing Business in China guide?

Ready? Cross Cultural Quiz - China

100 mistakes in polish translation of EU constitution

Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Truszczyński admitted yesterday in the Senate that the Polish version of the European constitution contains around 100 linguistic mistakes and modifications.

The Ministry has just finalized work on comparing the English and French versions of the document to the Polish translation. Truszczyński announced that he will turn to the Italian government to take the mistakes into consideration, although he admitted that there is no guarantee that each change will be confirmed. It is currently unclear whether the modifications will postpone the process of ratification of the constitution in Poland.

Read more: Polish Translation
Posted by Neil Payne at 11:28 AM
Categories: Translation News

top 10 romantic lines in bad english, a website dedicated to sharing humorous linguistic mistakes in English, has released its "Top 10 Most Romantic Lines from New English Language Students."

The top 10 are:
10. I fell in love with her the first time I sawed her.
9. He had such a worm heart.
8. We were two sheeps passing in the night.
7. We have hated each other for so long. I want to borrow the hatchet.
6. My dentist makes me blush twice a day.
5. I don't know if he will propose, but I am expecting.
4. I have something exciting to tell you. My girlfriend and I got enraged last night!
3. The groom was wearing a very nice croissant.
2. He lifted the veal off her face and gave her a big kiss.
1. I think she is really glad she got marinated.

Posted by Neil Payne at 11:17 AM
Categories: Language Learning News

Monster acquire 40% of China.HR

Monster Worldwide today announced that it has acquired a 40 percent stake in Holdings Ltd., the owner of, for U.S. $50,000,000.

"Gaining a foothold in this key area of the Asia Pacific region represents another step in Monster’s global growth strategy of entering foreign markets where significant current and future opportunity exists. With the world’s largest population and fastest growing economy, we believe that China’s rapidly growing recruitment marketplace currently represents a great opportunity," said Andrew J. McKelvey, Chairman and CEO of Monster Worldwide.

Read more: China.HR

Increased number of blue-collar expats in Shanghai

While most expats living in Shanghai hold high-level management positions, an increasing number of foreigners have flocked into the city to take blue-collar jobs in recent years.

The Shanghai Labor and Social Security Bureau said yesterday that about 2,038 foreigners holding a college degree or a lower education background are currently working in the city, accounting for about 13 percent of the city's total working expat population.

Read more: Shanghai Expats
Posted by Neil Payne at 10:49 AM
Categories: Expatriate

word of the day: discursive

discursive \dis-KUR-siv\, adjective:
1. Passing from one topic to another; ranging over a wide field; digressive; rambling.
2. Utilizing, marked by, or based on analytical reasoning -- contrasted with intuitive.

The style is highly discursive, leap-frogging forwards and backwards across the decades, without ever sacrificing thrust or clarity. --Nicholas Blincoe, "Spirit that speaks," The Guardian, August 21, 1999

Rather than being a limiting influence, the time restrictions seem often to have compelled ensembles and soloists to condense and distill arrangements and to edit potentially discursive solo performances. --Richard M. Sudhalter, Lost Chords

Provided by
Posted by Neil Payne at 10:44 AM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Language, Culture, Etiquette and Business Protocol - Singapore

A new country profile has been added to the Kwintessential site offering guidance on Singapore.

The profile offers insight into areas such as the languages spoken, the cultural make-up, social etiquette, business protocol and general do's and dont's for those visiting Singapore on business or for pleasure.

Singapore - Country Profile

cross cultural differences in usability

Frank Gaine, MD of Usability by Design, offers some insights into the reactions by different cultures to website interfaces. He points to areas such as product categories, buttons and terminology that designers must bear in mind when designing sites for foreign audiences.

An interesting analysis is presented of the cultural differences between UK and US users.For example:
Language: certain vocabulary and terminology differs across the Atlantic. A shrimp is a prawn a dustbin a garbage can and sneakers are trainers.
Self-preception: UK users will not usually have any reaction to their country not being at the top of a list of world nation as they realize the UK is just another country in the world. US users however will find this a turnoff, as they expect the US to be the default country.
Stating the obvious: Sites that offer too much information on how something works annoys British users - less is more. In the US it is the opposite, the more information the better.

Read more: Usability

The 5 point plan for intercultural communication

Working with a variety of cultures can and does lead to poor communication and misuderstandings which in turn lead to stress, frustration, anxiety, negativity, apathy and ultimatley poor business results.

Understanding the communication styles and other nuances of colleagues opens up new channels of communication. This 5 Point Plan offered in the Real Estate News is aimed at people within the real estate industry but is applicable across the board.

The 5 points to intercultural success are:
Find common interests
Appreciating differences
Having empathy
Being understanding
and Having patience.

Posted by Neil Payne at 11:45 AM
Categories: Cultural Diversity

Expat life opens eyes to cultural diversity

An interesting first hand account of the life of a young boy leaving the USA to live with his family in Bangkok, Thailand, appears in today's The Exponent.

The writer describes the culture shock of eating different food, suddenly being in a minority (ethinically), hearing a different language but concludes that all these things are necessary if people are to achieve a better understanding of one another.

Read more: Life in Bangkok
Posted by Neil Payne at 11:33 AM
Categories: Expatriate

Imams to learn french

Around 400 Imams (prayer leaders at mosques) will learn French is an attempt to encourage the development of a 'French Islam'.

Interior Minister, Dominique de Villepin, announced the courses are aimed at the third of Imams in the country that were born outside France. The courses will not only teach them the French language, but also law, civics and history.

Read more: French Imams
Posted by Neil Payne at 11:24 AM
Categories: Language Learning News

China promotes cultural heritage through website translation

It appears that the importance of having websites in foreign languages is becoming of increasing importance to all countries interested in attracting interest from abroad. China's moves towards becoming an international tourist destination were helped with the lauch of an English languages website proomoting The Dunhuang Academy.

The Academy hopes to attract visitors to its works and to the Buddha Caves, a major Chinese tourist attraction.

Read more: English Website
Posted by Neil Payne at 11:17 AM
Categories: Web Globalization

Shakespeare's Sonnets in Finnish

A new Finnish translation of William Shakespeare’s Sonnets are now available under the title Nautintojen ajan aarre. The translation is the work of author and scholar Kirsti Simonsuuri, and the volume has been published by Yliopistopaino.

The translation took a total of five years.

Read more: The Bard in Finnish
Posted by Neil Payne at 11:08 AM
Categories: Translation News

word of the day: ukase

ukase \yoo-KAYS; -KAYZ; YOO-kays; -kayz\, noun:
1. In imperial Russia, a published proclamation or order having the force of law.
2. Any order or decree issued by an authority; an edict.

I took a playwriting course from the noted Prof. A. M. Drummond, a huge man on crutches who right off the bat delivered a ukase never to begin a play with the telephone ringing. --Arthur Laurents, Original Story By

This new ukase, however, ignited bureaucratic warfare and spawned rival and conflicting rules and concepts, frittering away time and effort. --Richard B. Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire

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Posted by Neil Payne at 10:40 AM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

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