Thursday, October 26, 2006

language, culture and safety

Like other metropolitan areas around Europe, Gibraltar has experienced a significant increase in foreign-born residents and workers over the past decade. The influx of these workers has become a vital part of our community and of the local workforce and this has created an opportunity for local employers to help fill gaps in the labour market. Hiring migrant workers also allows businesses to add an international flavour to their workplaces, especially important for companies tied to the global economy and/or serving a more diverse local customer base.

Many migrant workers have little or no problems assimilating into the Gibraltarian workplace. They speak English well and understand the business and social culture and climate. However, others find it more challenging. With the increase of workers streaming into the workplace, it is important for employers to understand the many language and cultural differences and nuances of migrant workers so they can help them assimilate them faster. Gibraltarian/English employers are often quick to assume that “everyone thinks like we do�? and that people from other places should just naturally acclimate.

The reality is that language and cultural barriers can contribute to misinformation and misunderstandings and these can get in the way of transmitting effective communications. This in addition creates complications in the workplace, which includes problems with managing health and safety.

Read more: Article

Academics to promote understanding of Islam

Universities offering Islamic studies are failing to meet the needs of Britain's multi-cultural society, according to a report by Scots-based academics.

Experts at the Al-Maktoum Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Dundee looked at 55 higher-education departments in the UK, including six in Scotland, and concluded that they were not doing enough to promote understanding of Islam. They say that in the wake of the London bombings in July 2005, there is "an urgent need" to look for better ways of understanding religious differences.

Read more: University
Posted by Kwintessential at 5:29 PM
Categories: Cultural Diversity

Ernst & Young is offering cultural awareness training

Ernst & Young is offering cultural awareness training to new recruits from overseas, the firm’s chief executive said this week as he announced a huge jump in profitability.

Cultural awareness classes and English lessons for its growing contingent of overseas recruits were part of plans to be 'innovative' about recruiting to fill the UK skills gap, Mark Otty told Accountancy Age.

Read more: Ernst & Young

Diversity Best Practices to Develop CEO Diversity Scorecard

Diversity Best Practices (DBP), a Washington, D.C., membership-based company providing informational resources, benchmarking data and consultative services to corporate diversity practitioners and executives, recently announced the creation of the CEO Diversity Scorecard, which is intended to be a universal measurement tool to help chief executive officers gauge their progress in making diversity and inclusion an essential part of their workplace culture. The CEO Diversity Scorecard was announced at the Diversity and Women’s Leadership Gala, Oct. 26 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Read more: DBP

Language skills pose barrier to foreign workers in Finland - study

According to the results of a new study conducted as part of the EU-funded Urban II programme in Finland, Finnish language skills are of key importance for foreigners seeking work in the country. The results, which were released on Thursday, show that approximately half of the companies surveyed consider Finnish language skills to be a central factor in the recruitment of foreign workers.

"A change in attitudes is needed. Language requirements can often be used as an excuse not to take on a foreign employee," said Kari Kananen, project coordinator for the study.

Read more: Finland

russian losing favour in ex-soviet states

With the Soviet Union's disintegration the Russian language has been losing ground to other tongues not only in the former Soviet states but also in Russia.

A 22-year-old waitress in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, told the Moscow Times she is the only one of 10 siblings in her family who speaks Russian, having learned it by herself.

But millions of other young men and women in the former Soviet Union and former satellite states are either unable or opting not to study the language of Pushkin, Tolstoy and Lenin, says the report.

Read more: Report
Posted by Kwintessential at 5:23 PM
Categories: Language Learning News

IBM India Teaches English Language Skills via Web

IBM’s India Research Laboratory has developed a Web-based tool to help those who speak English as a second language to assess and improve their language skills. The technology, called Sensei for the Japanese word for teacher, was developed by the lab for IBM’s call center and back office transaction processing services operation in India, IBM Daksh Business Process Services.

Read more: IBM

tower of babel translation device "within reach"

A "Tower of Babel" device that gives the illusion of being bilingual is being developed by US scientists.

Users simply have to silently mouth a word in their own language for it to be translated and read out in another. The researchers said the effect was like watching a television programme that had been dubbed. The system, detailed in New Scientist, is not yet fully accurate, but experts said it showed the technology was "within reach".

Read more: Babel
Posted by Kwintessential at 5:20 PM
Categories: Translation News

word of the day: rapport

rapport \ra-POR; ruh-\, noun:
A relation, especially one characterized by sympathetic understanding, emotional affinity, or mutual trust.

He established a tremendous rapport with younger patients and routinely skipped classes and missed tests to take children to the circus or for rides in his convertible, often stopping for ice cream at Frank Monaco's drugstore on the South Side. -- James T. Fisher, Dr. America

Scott and Shackleton could not have been temperamentally more dissimilar and had virtually no rapport. -- Caroline Alexander, The Endurance

Posted by Kwintessential at 5:14 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Website Word Count Tool

Traditionally when a company needed a website translating it was up to the company or translation agency to work out the word count, as this is what translation agencies base their costs on. This meant the client either finding Word files of the pages on their website or going through the process of copying and pasting their website pages into Word documents in order to run a word count.

Kwintessential have now launched a new tool designed to provide an accurate word count of any internet website page and more importantly make it a hassle-free process. The innovative tool only requires someone to paste in the URL of the page they want translated; the tool then sends a hi-tech spider to that page and comes back with an accurate word count that discounts all HTML and other coding.

Give it a go! Website Word Count Tool

Intercultural factors when making International Presentations

Making a presentation in front of international audiences is not for the fainthearted. People from different cultural backgrounds with varying language skills are definitely more challenging than a homogenous local audience. Are international audiences any different from local audiences? From a biological point of view, there are almost no differences as all humans behave similarly in response to basic stimuli like hunger and heat. The differences become crucial when one considers cultural conditioning.

Read more: Presentations
Posted by Kwintessential at 5:22 PM
Categories: Cross Cultural News

Vegemite crackdown fears roil expats

Reports that U.S. customs agents are searching people from Australia and New Zealand for Vegemite, a popular yeast extract spread, has created consternation among antipodean expatriates living in America.

The Australian Embassy in Washington said on Monday it was looking into Australian media reports that customs officials were checking people for the salty brown spread.

Read more: Vegemite
Posted by Kwintessential at 5:20 PM
Categories: Expatriate

China needs a million interpreters

According to Beijing Morning Post, China is in great demand of interpreters mainly due to the development of the foreign trade and communication. Quite a few people experienced such embarrassment in which they drew a blank from a lecture given by foreign experts because of the poor simultaneous interpretation.

Wang Lifei, a professor from University of International Business and Economics, pointed out that only a few universities provide professional interpretation training, such as Beijing Foreign Studies University, Shanghai Foreign Studies University, and University of International Business and Economics, and only 200 professional interpreters graduate every year.

Read more: Interpreters
Posted by Kwintessential at 5:19 PM
Categories: Translation News

Ethnic Identity Gives Teens Daily Happiness Boost

Ethnic pride can help teenagers maintain happiness when faced with stress, according to a new study by a Wake Forest University psychologist published in the October issue of Child Development.

Adolescents with positive feelings toward their ethnic group say they are happier on a daily basis than those who have a more negative attitude about their ethnic identity, said Lisa Kiang, assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest and lead author of the study.

Read more: Ethnic

Britons & Indians top list of overseas property buyers in Dubai

British nationals and Indians are amongst the top non-Arab property buyers in Dubai. Of the total number of registered expatriate property owners in the emirate, 124 are citizens of the UK and 119 are Indians.

"Local governments' investment in property projects have attracted expatriate capital and helped create unprecedented investment opportunities for UAE nationals and expatriates alike," media reports quoted Sultan Butti bin Mijrin, director-general of Dubai's land department, as saying.

Read more: Dubai
Posted by Kwintessential at 5:16 PM
Categories: Expatriate

Language barrier contributing to homelessness

Homeless organisations across Dublin say they are frustrated at the lack of language services available to cope with an influx in the number of non-nationals looking for help.

Experts working with the groups believe that many foreigners arriving in Ireland are unable to find work because they can't speak English. The language barrier can lead to many ending up homeless on the streets of the capital.

Read more: Ireland

Afternic Launches German-Language Version of Domain Name Site

Afternic, a recognized leader in the aftermarket domain-name industry, today unveiled a German-language version of its online marketplace.

The site,, represents the company's first foreign-language edition, and is expected to build upon robust demand for secondary-market domain names both in Germany and the European continent as a whole. This summer reaching 10 million and growing, .de domain-name extensions rank second only to .com in total registrations, according to Roger Collins, Afternic's president and chief executive officer, citing industry statistics. Referencing these same figures, Collins said that the fast-growing German market has expanded to nearly 50 million Internet users in 2006, ranking it first in the European Community.

Read more: Afternic

word of the day: crabwise

crabwise \KRAB-wyz\, adjective:
1. Sideways.
2. In a cautiously indirect manner.

Grass tells this story in awkward fashion, coming at it crabwise indeed, with hesitations, shifts of direction, and out of sequence, allowing his narrator to display his own confusion, uncertainty, resentment of a history that has deformed his own life. -- Allan Massie, review of Crabwalk, by Gunter Grass, The Scotsman, April 5, 2003

Atwood moves crabwise through such questions as the place of moral or ideological content in art, the conflict between artistic purity and commercial necessity, and the nature of the relationship between writer, text and reader. -- Christopher Tayler, review of Negotiating with the Dead, by Margaret Atwood, Sunday Telegraph, March 10, 2002

Posted by Kwintessential at 4:35 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

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