Tuesday, March 14, 2006

cultural awareness training booming in uk

Cultural awareness training has come a long way from its early days as "British Life and Institutions" or the Civilta, Landeskunde subjects still taught in many secondary schools. The work of the British Council has been important in changing the focus to "cultural studies", in-depth studies of specific issues as an insight into how Britain works, presented through seminars and through their six-monthly magazine, Thresholds (contact for further information).

Just as ELT research and development was boosted by the fees paid to private language schools in the English language learning boom of the 1970s and 1980s, so the needs of international business are driving the culture awareness boom of the noughties. Organisations like Sietar, the Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research (, and intercultural websites like support the exchange of information on intercultural training, particularly in the business and academic world.

Read more: Training

RIA Novosti to launch Chinese-language site

RIA Novosti will later this month unveil its Chinese-language website, the first one to be run by a Russian media organization.

The site is aiming at a broad Chinese-speaking readership, and has been developed by RIA Novosti in association with the Russian Embassy in Beijing, the press office of China’s State Council, and several Chinese media outlets.

The site, entitled Exinwang, will cover Russian current affairs in politics, economics, science, education and the arts, and will carry opinion pieces devoted to Russian-Chinese cooperation and international events of mutual interest. A constantly updated database will include reference materials on today’s Russia.

Read more: RIA
Posted by Kwintessential at 8:14 PM
Categories: Web Globalization

New Competition Launched by Association of Language Learning

A new competition is being launched for all the language teachers in the United Kingdom, called the Association of Language Learning (ALL) International Challenge Award 2006.

The ALL, in collaboration with MondoChallenge, a company which is distinguished by its career breaks in the developing world, is offering the language teachers from all sectors of education a new contest. The winner of this competition will then have the opportunity to teach English to local children and adults in a developing country such as Chile, India, Gambia, Sri Lanka or Tanzania.

Read more: ALL
Posted by Kwintessential at 8:13 PM
Categories: Language Learning News

ferdinand attacks apathy in uefa to tackle rascism in football

Manchester United's England defender Rio Ferdinand has accused UEFA of not doing enough to combat racism in the European game.

Ferdinand criticised the fines issued after England players suffered racist taunts in a friendly in Spain in November 2004, though both the match and sanctions were a matter for world ruling body FIFA, rather than its European arm. "For too long now, European football authorities have not taken the problem of racism in the game seriously and refuse to acknowledge how widespread the problem is," Ferdinand said in a statement on Tuesday.

"I talk to a lot of European players and know there are big problems in Spain, in Italy and in Eastern Europe. "It is time for UEFA to stop paying lip-service to the problem. The fines handed out after the England-Spain game (100,000 Swiss francs) were a joke.

Read more: Ferdinand
Posted by Kwintessential at 8:11 PM
Categories: Cultural Diversity

whitehall failing to reflect uk diversity

Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) chairman Trevor Phillips criticised government for failing to make sufficient progress to melt the "snowy peaks" of Whitehall.

His broadside comes less than five months after Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell launched a ten-point plan aimed at boosting the number of Black and ethnic minorities, women and disabled people in the civil service.

Mr Phillips said it was 'disgraceful' that only one government department was headed by an ethnic minority - Suma Chakrabati, permanent secretary at the Department for International Development.

Read more: CRE

culture is key to intercultural awareness and dialogue says vatican

Culture is the key to engaging in dialogue with people of other religious faiths and those who profess no religious beliefs, said the head of the Vatican's councils for culture and interreligious dialogue.

Through culture, Catholics can reach out to those in their communities and discuss the importance of basic human values, French Cardinal Paul Poupard told Catholic News Service in an interview before he was named interim president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue March 11.

Culture is not just about colorful local customs, culinary specialties, or what hair or clothing styles each new generation of young people have adopted; "culture is the soul of a people," he said. It includes how people see or define concepts such as "love, suffering, the 'Weltanschauung'" or the overall perspective from which one interprets the world, he said.

Read more: Vatican

Translating Web Sites

Extract from article, 'Translating Websites':
"I recently talked to someone who was in the process of translating their current web site (which is now in English) into several additional languages so he could appeal to more potential customers worldwide. By using the existing domain name and simply "adding pages to the site" in other languages, he thought he could save some money by not having to purchase additional domain names.

I proceeded to explain to my friend that his idea of translating the site into different languages was a good one—but trying to save money is a bad marketing decision altogether. Multilingual web sites and merely translating the existing site into other languages is not a good marketing decision. It's more effective to use only one language per domain name and establish an online presence in the country where you intend to do business.

Read more: Bill Hartzer

vietnam - the new india?

In early March, a high-level U.S. trade delegation of representatives of more than 20 major American companies—including Boeing, Citigroup, FedEx, Ford, GE, and Time Warner—went to Vietnam to investigate investment opportunities. This came on the heels of other major companies' such as Intel and Western Digital announcing moves into Vietnam. Could Vietnam be tomorrow's India?

Read more: Vietnam

multilingual kids get chance to win place at world cup

A competition has been launched that gives UK students the chance to travel to Munich to watch the football World Cup this summer if they can demonstrate their knowledge of European languages and a commitment to healthy living.

Starwatch is funded by the European Union, and is being launched in the UK by CILT, the National Centre for Languages, the body in charge of heightening national capability in languages and encouraging multilingualism. Timed to coincide with the World Cup, and aimed at promoting knowledge of languages, health and fitness to young people across Europe, the project has received the help of 21 international footballers. Representing the England team are Steven Gerrard and Owen Hargreaves.

Read more: Starwatch


These findings, published in a report Modern foreign languages in a vocational context, are the result of a research project that set out to discover to what extent languages are integrated within vocational courses such as business studies.

The aim of the research was not only to find out the scope and take-up of modern foreign languages, but also to identify the barriers to learning a language and the vital success factors that teachers and trainers need to take on board.

Read more: Language

archbishop defends religious schools

Claims that faith schools cherry-pick bright, wealthy pupils have been denied by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Rowan Williams told the National Church Schools conference that such schools cater for children from a diverse range of backgrounds. But he vowed to end the 'heartache' of admissions, saying faith schools should commit to guarantee places for local children and those of other religions.

Read more: Schools
Posted by Kwintessential at 7:59 PM
Categories: Cultural Diversity

europe lags behind asia in skills

Europe is falling behind Asia in terms of education and skills, a report published by the Brussels-based Lisbon Council think-tank says.

It blames France and Germany which are criticised for mediocre education systems and their inherent class bias. China and India, on the other hand, are starting to deliver "high skills at low costs and at an ever increasing pace".

Read more: Skills

word of the day: uxorious

uxorious \uk-SOR-ee-us; ug-ZOR-\, adjective:
Excessively fond of or submissive to a wife.

It is batty to suppose that the most uxorious of husbands will stop his wife's excessive shopping if an excessive shopper she has always been. -- Angela Huth, "All you need is love," Daily Telegraph, April 24, 1998

Flagler seems to have been an uxorious, domestic man, who liked the comfort and companionship of a wife at his side. -- Michael Browning, "Whitehall at 100," Palm Beach Post, February 22, 2002

Posted by Kwintessential at 7:56 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

Monday, March 13, 2006

new intercultural and cross cultural communication directory

A new directory was brought to our attention recently. The Intercultural and Cross Cultural Communication Directory aims to be become the Yellow Pages for the intercultural communication and cross cultural training sector.

The idea is that people seeking services, information or resources on anything to do with intercultural awareness can come to the site and find a host of links to relevant sites. The site is well thought out offering a range of categories such as cross cultural training providers (arranged by country), forums, intercultural management training, cross cultural team building, news, resources, forums, publishers and university courses. Kwintessential already have their site up at the Intercultural Training Providers page!

Another nice touch to the site is that is takes a broad look at the intercultural and cross cultural communication field so also includes categories such as HR, business links and translation services.

The designer is offering free links for a limited period so anyone with a site fitting into the above categories should get in quick!

uk workers confused by digital etiquette

UK office workers are confused about the digital ‘etiquette’ surrounding new communications technologies such as email, SMS and instant messaging (IM).

Almost half of UK office workers said they would consider it rude if someone does not respond to an email within a morning, while an impatient five per cent said they take offence if an email isn't answered within five minutes.

Read more: Etiquette

the role of dna in intercultural differences

East Asian and European cultures have long been very different, Richard Nisbett argued in his recent book "The Geography of Thought." East Asians tend to be more interdependent than the individualists of the West, which he attributed to the social constraints and central control handed down as part of the rice-farming techniques Asians have practiced for thousands of years.

A separate explanation for such long- lasting character traits may be emerging from the human genome. Humans have continued to evolve throughout prehistory and perhaps to the present day, according to a new analysis of the genome reported last week by Jonathan Pritchard, a population geneticist at the University of Chicago.

Read more: DNA
Posted by Kwintessential at 7:10 PM
Categories: Cross Cultural News

france targets china for language training

The Alliance Francaise, an organization which promotes the French language and culture around the world, is to open a new school in Beijing and offer courses at the newly-founded schools in the eastern cities of Jinan and Qingdao this year.

Jean-Pierre de Launoit, president of the Alliance Francaise of Paris, said at a press conference Monday that China has become the organization's fifth biggest network in the world with 19,069 members in 2005 and an average increase in student numbers of around 19 percent.

Read more: French
Posted by Kwintessential at 7:09 PM
Categories: Language Learning News

italy lost in translation

Italy is a very sophisticated country, but it's curiously babyish in certain respects. It longs to be part of the great grown-up world, but can't always quite manage it. It knows, for example, that English is the language that the whole world speaks, so it wants to speak it, too. But it seems unwilling to put in the necessary effort.

As I may well have pointed out before, English translations on Italian menus, signs and packages are often almost unbelievable. You'd think that with someone whose native language is English living on the top of every other Tuscan hill it wouldn't be difficult to get these translations checked. But no. I was in Tuscany last weekend and bought a jar of pesto sauce. Dangling by a string from its neck was a label singing the sauce's praises in English. This is what the label said (and I quote precisely): "It's an dexcellent handmade with no conservant and very tasty mode of use: to spread it on the toast, bread, roast and every where it is wanted to become tasty."

Read more: Italy

chinese publishers to train translators

China International Publishing Group, a leading translation and publishing agency, has launched a program to train professional translators and interpreters to solve a shortage of expertise in these fields.

The group's training center has combined forces with the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in the United States to train the professionals.

China suffers from a major lack of competent translators and interpreters, despite the growing popularity of foreign language study throughout all age groups, said officials with the training center.

Read more: China
Posted by Kwintessential at 7:05 PM
Categories: Translation News

us military launch automated translation tool

Spurred by the military and intelligence communities’ growing need to translate and retrieve pertinent foreign-language intelligence, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has launched a program aimed at improving automated, searchable translations.

The Global Autonomous Language Exploitation (GALE) program is focused on developing, integrating and applying technologies that will analyze and translate huge volumes of speech and text in multiple languages. It will be deployed through three processing engines that will transcribe, translate and distill pertinent information.

Read more: GALE
Posted by Kwintessential at 7:04 PM
Categories: Translation News

China opens English-language website on foreign economic cooperation

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced Monday it has opened an English-language website for foreign economic cooperation aimed specifically at overseas investors in China.

The website aims to provide information on international economic cooperation for foreign enterprises and overseas investment promotion agencies, said the ministry.

According to the ministry, the English-language website is divided into seven sections, namely major news, laws and regulations of China, key cooperation projects, lists of Chinese enterprises, investment strategy of Chinese enterprises, promotion organizations and statistics.

Read more: China

Idiom Recognizes McAfee and Xilinx for Website Globalization Achievements

Idiom(R) Technologies, Inc. (Idiom), the leading independent provider of scalable software solutions for accelerating and optimizing globalization initiatives, today recognized the achievements of two of its customers, McAfee and Xilinx, that were named 2006 Ten Best International Web Support Sites Award winners.

The inaugural awards, presented by the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) and the Association of Support Professionals (ASP), were established to recognize excellence in global web-based customer support.

Read more: Idiom
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:59 PM
Categories: Web Globalization

racial prejudice now more subtle in the usa

Between 80 and 85 percent of the U.S. white population remains prejudiced against blacks, and more people are prejudiced than they think they are.

These are two of the top twelve findings from the first major academic conference on prejudice and discrimination held in the U.S. It was sponsored by the Psychology Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the fall of 2005. Also sponsoring the conference were David L. Weiner, psychology author and CEO of Marketing Support, Inc., Chicago; the American Psychological Association and the Department of Afro-American studies at the university.

Read more: USA
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:58 PM
Categories: Cultural Diversity

poor perception of islam grows in the usa

As the war in Iraq grinds into its fourth year, a growing proportion of Americans are expressing unfavorable views of Islam, and a majority now say that Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The poll found that nearly half of Americans -- 46 percent -- have a negative view of Islam, seven percentage points higher than in the tense months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, when Muslims were often targeted for violence.

Read more: Islam
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:56 PM
Categories: Cultural Diversity

word of the day: manse

manse \MAN(T)S\, noun:
1. A large and imposing residence.
2. The residence of a clergyman (especially a Presbyterian clergyman).

A two-story white Greek Revival manse, with a front porch and a terrace in the back. -- Garrison Keillor, Wobegon Boy

That Carol was a certified divorcee was one of many facts about her which failed to fit, along with her still living with her widowed father in this weird gothic Victorian manse. -- Erik Tarloff, The Man Who Wrote the Book

Posted by Kwintessential at 6:45 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

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