Thursday, February 16, 2006

the business potential of brazil

Ahead of carnival time, Brazil is abuzz with an optimism that is also reflected in the country's buoyant economy, but can the world's sixth most populous country fulfill its potential as a safe destination for global investment?

Read more: Brazil

us army wants handheld translation device invented

Perennially short of translators, the Pentagon wants a new, handheld, sophisticated language translation device for soldiers.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has announced phase II of the Translation System for Tactical Use program. DARPA envisions a robust system that will allow soldiers to use the device to issue commands or ask questions of locals, and have the locals answer back and be understood by the device.

Read more: Device
Posted by Kwintessential at 8:20 PM
Categories: Translation News

intercultural skills a "must" when dealing with china

Sometimes when gift giving across cultural borders, the thought isn't the only thing that counts.

At a seminar for building relationships in Chinese markets yesterday, the possibility for cultural misunderstandings was best exemplified when speakers and participants spent almost half an hour on this seemingly benign subject.

It started with a short skit about a long forgotten incident when the first President Bush gave the Chinese premier a pair of cowboy boots. That was a culture - and some might have even said a fashion - faux pas; in China, it's rude to give the gift of footwear.

Read more: China

hong kong disney criticized for lack of cultural awareness

Hong Kong Disneyland has denied charges of cultural arrogance and said it would rectify the situation that lead to the mass shut-out of thousands of angry mainlanders over Spring Festival.

On February 1 and 2, hundreds of visitors, mainly from the mainland with tickets valid for 180 days, were denied entry. The furor generated concern from the Hong Kong government and public. The park was widely criticized for what was termed cultural arrogance and lack of knowledge of China's market.

Disney has tried to learn about China. For example, a large majority of staff speak three languages - Mandarin, Cantonese and English. Guide maps and general information are also trilingual.

Read more: Disney

quikdrop to translate ebay auctions

QuikDrop International, the chain of privately-held eBay drop-off stores, will provide language translations for each of its approximately 15,000 eBay auctions per week on into Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese and Japanese.

Since QuikDrop does accept bids outside the United States, a very significant number of foreign nationals bid on and win QuikDrop auctions on eBay," said Murray Mead, president of QuikDrop, in a release. Translating the auctions into other languages, broadens the appeal of eBay internationally.

Read more: Ebay

word of the day: malaise

malaise \muh-LAYZ; -LEZ\, noun:
1. A vague feeling of discomfort in the body, as at the onset of illness.
2. A general feeling of depression or unease.

The first sign of illness is a malaise no worse than influenza. -- Steve Jones, Darwin's Ghost

Beauty is a basic pleasure. Try to imagine that you have become immune to beauty. Chances are, you would consider yourself unwell -- sunk in a physical, spiritual, or emotional malaise. -- Nancy Etcoff, Survival of the Prettiest

Posted by Kwintessential at 8:12 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

german skiers to wear belgian colours thanks to adidas

Some 30 German skiers at the Winter Olympics have to wear caps in Belgian national colours after team sponsor Adidas supplied them with the wrong gear.

An Adidas spokesman said on Wednesday the firm had provided German athletes in biathlon and Nordic combined with caps in Belgium's black-gold-red instead of Germany's black-red-gold.

"We regret this technical mistake and do apologise to all athletes," Jan Runau said, adding that caps with the right colours would now be produced but not arrive until next week.

Read more: Adidas
Posted by Kwintessential at 8:35 PM
Categories: Cross Cultural News

expat repatriation taken more seriously

Repatriation unmistakably remains one of the most challenging aspects of the relocation experience and companies are becoming increasingly aware of this.

Over 85 percent of the respondents to the 2003-2004 Global Relocation Trends Survey, sponsored by GMAC Global Relocation Services, SHRM Global Forum, and the National Foreign Trade Council, said that they discussed repatriation and re-entry issues with their employees-the highest figure in the history of the survey. With such a current high number of companies communicating with their expatriates before their repatriation, one would assume that few individuals, couples, and families would experience re-entry shock during their transition back home.

Read more: Expats

intercultural dimensions of kissing

Well, it might be, but there’s no real way of telling if France and all its red wine and Eiffel Tower has any romantic gusto over the rolling cornfields of Morris, Illinois.

Africa’s scorching deserts may be for lovers. But, rural Africans don’t even French kiss. French kissing in Africa (or other arid climates devoid of modern medicine) may be deadly.

The art of smooching is global, and may mean something completely different depending on the part of the globe on which you’re resting your feet, said Coal City kissing expert Lou Fry.

Read more: Kiss

cross cultural differences a minefield

Cultural differences can play a crucial role in the success or failure of a business venture when the players come from vastly different backgrounds. Looking from an Australian perspective, discusses some of these differences, calling them, without exaggeration, “cultural minefields.�?

Citing a study by Dr. Cheryl Rivers of the Queensland University of Technology, evidence shows just how wide the gap in understanding can become. Atimes notes: “In her studies ... Dr. Rivers said research showed 30 percent of international negotiators believed they were deceived by the other party. She said when an offer of money is considered a token of friendship in one culture and a bribe in another, there is no wonder cross-cultural negotiations break down.�?

Read more: Minefield

pupils must learn mandarin

Pupils should be taught other languages such as Mandarin in school, a report for the British Council says.

The current dominance of the English language poses 'serious' economic and political disadvantages for the UK, the study claims. UK graduates who speak only English will lose out to multi-lingual workers from other countries, the council says.

Read more: BBC

new york life launches korean website

In an effort to enable Korean-speaking policyholders and agents to access and learn more about its products and services, New York Life has launched a Korean-language Web site at "The Korean-language Web site is part of New York Life's continued effort to serve the Korean community in the United States," says Janet Choi, assistant vice president of the Korean market at New York Life.

Read more: NYL

hilton benefits from localized websites

Global hotel chain Hilton International has hit its online booking targets ahead of schedule by creating a localised ecommerce strategy.

The company embarked on a programme to overhaul the process of publishing tailored local comment to each of the hotelier’s country web sites in 2003 when it realised the internet would play a key role in changing travel buying habits.

Read more: Hilton

asia to have 65% of all internet users by 2009

Global Internet users are expected to reach 1.4 billion, of which 65 percent are to be located in Asia, by 2009.

This forecast was shared by Reza Behnam, managing director, Yahoo! Southeast Asia, one of the speakers in the Travel Distribution Summit Asia 2006, being held in Singapore. In his presentation, “Search, the new travel distribution channel�?, Behnam said that Asia Pacific is expected to account for 423 million Internet users, excluding China, of the total one billion base at the end of 2006. He added that Asian consumers are looking for community, content and search.

Read more: Yahoo!

Equality Bill completes parliamentary stages

The Equality Bill, which establishes a single Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR), completed its parliamentary stages yesterday, and now awaits royal assent.

The CEHR is designed to be 'a one-stop shop' for individuals suffering discrimination and to provide employers and service providers with improved advice and information. The body will bring together the work of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

The CEHR will also have responsibility for the new equality areas of age, religion and belief and sexual orientation, and will work to promote human rights.

Read more: CEHR

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