Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Job seeker rejected due to "racist dog"
A Belgian businessman rejected a Nigerian job applicant because the businessman said his own dog was racist and would bite non-whites, Belgian media reported Saturday. The 53-year-old man Nigerian told De Standaard newspaper he arrived at the Belgian's wrought-iron business and was immediately confronted by the barking dog.
The Belgian turned the man away before he could even enter, and wrote on his labor office letter that he could not hire the man because of his color, adding there was a risk the dog would bite him. The local labor office has concluded that the Belgian was racist and has removed him from its list of potential employers.
"My dog is racist. Not me," the Belgian told De Standaard.Read more: Belgium
UK foreign language teaching hits all-time low
Foreign language teaching in the UK's state schools has been reduced to "the sort of thing you find in a 'get by' phrase book", claims a doom-and-gloom report published yesterday.
That's the conclusion of The Corruption of the Curriculum by Shirley Lawes, which indicates that the government's decision in 2004 to allow GCSE pupils to drop languages has resulted in a predictable decline in the number of kids taking the exams, leading to a "dumbing down" of language curricula "as teachers react to the latest fads to revive pupils' waning enthusiasm".Read more: Language Learning
Flickr goes multilingual
Photo-sharing outfit Flickr yesterday announced it was finally addressing the issue of non-English-speaking users by launching new versions in seven major languages, Reuters reports.
Uploaders will now be able to choose from traditional Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, or Spanish - acknowledgment of the 55 per cent of users who live outside the US of A, according to company figures. Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield said: "These are the markets where Flickr is taking off already."Read more: Flickr
gCommerce Solutions Launches Website Translation Service
In anticipation of record international business over the next calendar year, gCommerce Solutions, a unique eMarketing firm specializing in the hospitality industry, today unveiled a website translation and search optimization service designed to increase international bookings at U.S. hotels. The service is expected to help hotels capture a record number of international travelers expected to flood the U.S.Read more: gCommerce
Intercultural Training and the Expatriate Assignment
International business assignments are becoming increasingly important in the modern business world. As companies expand they need to trade with, manufacture in and have a presence in foreign countries. Much of the time these moves initially involve sending out employees from the home country to oversee the burgeoning developments. This expatriate community is often critical to a business’s success yet more often than not the proper time, investment and skills are not given to the expatriate assignee to ensure they can do the job properly.
One key area that many businesses ignore is that of intercultural training.Read more: Intercultural Training and the Expatriate Assignment
Word of the day: fulminate
fulminate \FUL-muh-nayt\, intransitive verb:
1. To issue or utter verbal attacks or censures authoritatively or menacingly.
2. To explode; to detonate.
1. To utter or send out with denunciations or censures.
2. To cause to explode.
This mass culture--global, immediate, accessible, buoyant, with shared heroes, models, and goals--is immensely intoxicating. Ayatollahs fulminate against it; dictators censor it; mandarins try to slam the door on it. -- Lawrence M. Friedman, The Horizontal Society
Monday, June 11, 2007
Diversity: Beyond the tick-box culture
For many people, the notion of workplace diversity has become a legal tripwire, a set of targets to be met or a problem to be overcome. As a result, discussions about diversity often embrace nothing more than statistics and quotas. It's no wonder that people are beginning to get tired of the whole thing.Read more: Diversity
Should immigrants 'learn our lingo'?
"Learn our lingo" is the Sun's splash headline today, apparently backing Ruth Kelly's call for councils to reduce the amount of documents they translate into foreign languages.
The communities secretary argued that translating too many documents created a "crutch" for immigrants and discouraged integration. Translation services cost councils around £25m a year and the NHS £55m, the Guardian reports, and the Daily Mail says some councils offer translations in as many as 15 foreign languages.Read more: Guardian
Word of the Day: quiescent
quiescent \kwy-ES-uhnt; kwee-\, adjective:
Being in a state of repose; at rest; still; inactive.
The solution, Dr. Wilmut discovered, was to, in effect, put the DNA from the adult cell to sleep, making it quiescent by depriving the adult cell of nutrients. -- Gina Kolata, "Scientist Reports First Cloning Ever of Adult Mammal", New York Times, February 23, 1997