Friday, May 05, 2006

jordian cartoon seeks to bridge the intercultural divide

A Jordanian media firm hopes its new TV cartoon series can achieve what politicians have failed to do so far: bridge the cultural divide between East and West.

It sounds like a tall order, but the firm Rubicon - named after the river Caesar crossed on his way to consolidating his rule over the Roman Empire - already has managed to bring together Americans, Iraqis, Jordanians and a Palestinian to create the cartoon called "Ben and Izzy" about a friendship between two boys, an Arab and an American.

The cartoon, aimed at 8- to 11-year-olds, also has backing from Jordan's media savvy rulers, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, who have made it their goal to promote tolerance. Rania will showcase Jordan's first TV cartoon export in New York on at a black-tie dinner Monday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Read more: Jordan
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:55 PM
Categories: Cross Cultural News

no more spitting for chinese tourists

Some Chinese tourists have been warned that while spitting, slurping food and cutting in line may merely disgust people at home, they are sometimes not tolerated abroad.

The increasing number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad may be a huge new source of income to destination countries, but that won't prevent complaints against individuals from reflecting badly on all of China.

"The media in Singapore reports that hotel staff are upset with Chinese tourists spitting in their rooms and smoking in bed."

Read more: Chinese

culture change needed to bring BMEs into employment

Statutory requirements are "not the answer" for private-sector organisations to recruit people from disadvantaged backgrounds, employment and welfare reform minister Margaret Hodge has said.

"Promoting culture change is far tougher for employers, but the answer doesn't necessarily come from legislation," she said. "Both private- and public-sector employers have to do better. But the public sector ought to be showing as exemplar employers how a diverse workforce gives you the best person for the job."

Hodge explained that the government was now tackling the issue of getting the "broad range of those who are really disadvantaged in the labour market" into jobs, including people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, older workers and refugees.

Read more: Hodge

the need to make your site multilingual

If one more person tells us that 'the language of the Internet is English', we'll scream very loudly. Sure, English once was the lingua franca of the Net - hardly surprising given that HTML and the World Wide Web were invented and developed in English-speaking parts of the world - but that was many years ago and nowadays the Web has grown up and moved on considerably.

You'll now find swathes of content written in Spanish, Japanese, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean and many more languages. And why? Because web users are no longer exclusively English speaking and respond best to content in their own native language. In fact, in many cases they may only understand content in their mother tongue. So if your website is selling products or services to a global audience, it's no longer appropriate to assume that just because they have access to the Net they'll be able to understand English. That simply isn't true.

Read more: PC Pro

new intercultural podcats website

The Kwintessential team came across a new addition to the online intercultural communication world. A new blog providing podcasts on a variety of topics within the intercultural communication field has been launched with the name 'absolutely intercultural'.

The following is an extract from the site stating their aims and objectives:
‘Absolutely Intercultural’ is its name and, as far as we know, this is the first podcast in the world to deal with intercultural issues. We’ll be releasing a new episode every second Friday evening, looking at all intercultural aspects of human intercultural communication.
For example, we’ll be hearing from students on foreign work placements, looking at inter-cultural aspects of the forthcoming World Cup, asking how teachers can make use of inter-cultural exercises and simulations in their classroom and sharing with you any intercultural gossip we come across.
‘Absolutely Intercultural’ won’t be so much about passing on information but more about starting an intercultural dialogue between the makers, the contributors and the listeners.

Visit the site as absolutely intercultural

usa still largest users of internet

According to a research comScore Networks, 694 million people worldwide over the age of 15 are connecting online.

"Today, the online audience in the US represents less than a quarter of Internet users across the globe, versus 10 years ago when it accounted for two-thirds of the global audience," said Peter Daboll, president and chief executive of comScore Media Metrix.

The United States has the largest Internet audience with 152 million users, followed by China with 72 million, Japan with 52 million, Germany 32 million, and Britain 30 million. South Korea landed in fifth with 24.6 million, France with 23.9 million, Canada 19 million, Italy 16.8 million and lastly India with 16.7 million. The remaining list includes Brazil with 13.2 million, Spain with 12.5 million, Netherlands with 11 million, Russia 10.8 million, and Australia 9.7 million.

Read more: Net Use Israel spent the longest online with 57.5 hours during the month, which is twice as long to the average person in the United States.
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:43 PM
Categories: Web Globalization

world cup 2006: phrase of the day - grind out

If you had to sit through two teams having to grind out a result then the chances are it was not a very good match. Having to grind out a result means achieving a point or possibly a win through ugly, desperate and uncomfortable methods.

word of the day: execrable

execrable \EK-sih-kruh-buhl\, adjective:
1. Deserving to be execrated; detestable; abominable.
2. Extremely bad; of very poor quality; very inferior.

His human-rights record was abysmal. His relations with Washington were adversarial. He rivaled Zimbabwe's execrable Robert Mugabe for the title "Africa's Saddam." -- James S. Robbins, "The Liberian Opportunity", National Review, July 8, 2003

For while agents and editors often misunderstand their market and sometimes reject good or even great works, they do prevent a vast quantity of truly execrable writing from being published. -- Laura Miller, "Slush, slush, sweet Stephen", Salon, July 25, 2000

Posted by Kwintessential at 6:37 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

Thursday, May 04, 2006

eu hunt for bulgarian and romanian interpreters

Two years after the European Union’s “big bang�? expansion to the east, the search is still on to find interpreters and translators specialising in the bloc’s new official languages.

Recruiting Bulgarian and Romanian interpreters – the two countries which are expected to join the EU in January 2007 – is proving to be even more of a bureaucratic headache. The hunt for interpreters and translators who are fluent in central and eastern European languages is urgent given the EU institutions’ multinational character.

Read more: EU
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:57 PM
Categories: Translation News

usa needs "cultural irrigation"

A couple of weeks ago I met a bright young Senate staffer on Capitol Hill in Washington. Like most such people, he possesses a lot of influence and significant power. He has at his fingertips details of every planet in his universe - names, wards, counties, votes, biographies, vices.

His only limitation is an absolute ignorance of the world outside the US. He had visited London with his wife on a European sightseeing trip. He once attended a conference in Asia. His self-assurance and fluency are undiminished by knowing nothing of the foreign issues on which his employer speaks and votes in the Senate. He is content with mastery of his own, all-American sphere, and has no desire to burden his agenda with the arcane affairs of Britons or Germans, or even of Afghans or Iraqis.

His mindset is characteristic of many smart young Americans, and matters a lot to the rest of us. Our destinies are at the mercy of the US, and will continue to be. The passing of the generation that found itself obliged to voyage overseas in the second world war has had perverse consequences. Though 21st-century Americans can travel much more easily and cheaply than did their grandparents, their horizons are narrower. As mere tourists, few of us learn much about any society.

Read more: USA

languages are critical for us special forces

American special forces, the cutting edge of the global strategy for winning the fight against terrorism, are so overstretched that many units are deploying in the world's trouble spots unable to communicate with the locals.

Billions of dollars are being added to their budget by Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, and their ranks are being expanded to numbers unseen since the Vietnam war after they were identified as the key to defeating al-Qa'eda and its affiliates.

It is these units that will be crucial for assessing targets for possible air strikes if diplomacy fails to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions. But officials have conceded that the special forces are so busy they have had no time for the standard training in languages.

Read more: USA

bookshop selling more foreign language titles due to immigrants

A Carlisle bookshop is selling best-sellers in Polish to cater for the influx of eastern European workers.

Book buyers at Bookends in Castle Street can pick up Harry Potter or the Da Vinci Code in English or Polish.It is another sign of the city’s move towards multi-culturalism following two years of steady growth in its population of Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian nationals attracted by well-paid work.

Read more: Carlisle

chinese women making good use of internet

A growing number of urban Chinese, especially women, are starting businesses on the Internet in order to be their own boss.

Liu Li, owner of an online women`s accessory shop, said she was encouraged by the success of a friend, who recently quit her accountant job to become a full-time online entrepreneur.

As an accountant, Liu`s friend received a little over $370 monthly. But by selling cosmetics and winter clothes online in her spare time, she earns over $3,700 monthly. Liu last May registered her shop, 'True Colors,' at, a Chinese Web site where merchants can register for free. Then she uploaded information about her goods for sale, including photos, product descriptions and prices.

Read more: China

world cup 2006: phrase of the day - the form book

The form book refers to the current form (meaning recent success in matches) of a team. The phrase is really only ever used when referring to cup competitions such as the FA Cup, Champions League or World Cup. The common usage would be something like "in the World Cup the form book goes out of the window" - meaning that in important cup competitions it does not matter which team has been doing well or doing awful; as it is a one off match 'anything can happen'.

word of the day: wag

wag \WAG\, noun:
A humorous person; a wit; a joker.

The master of ceremonies was one Boston, a noted wag, and the occasion seemed to promise the greatest facetiousness. -- Francis Bret Harte, The Luck of Roaring Camp

Yet the fate of all three reformers was more or less the same. Washington remained much as it had been before. ("Only more so," a wag might add.) -- Jonathan Rauch, Government's End

Posted by Kwintessential at 6:05 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

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