THE POWER OF WORDS

Kristen Corridan, Val Swisher, and Sarah Llewellyn presenting at the September NCTA General Meeting.

Kristen Corridan, Val Swisher, and Sarah Llewellyn presenting at the September NCTA General Meeting.

A non-profit translation organization serves to remind us all that translators can play an important role in making the world a better place.
BY DIANA DUDGEON

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.—Margaret Mead

September’s General Meeting was held on an unusually hot Saturday in San Francisco. The speaker of the day was Val Swisher, Founder and CEO of Content Rules, Inc. Val is also a member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit association Translators Without Borders, which provides pro bono translation services for humanitarian non-profits. → continue reading

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Just for fun

According to a February 25, 2004, press release, the Esperanto version of the Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org)—an open-content, polyglot encyclopedia—had 11,000 articles, making it the tenthlargest language in the Wikipedia.

The first film produced in Esperanto was called Angoroj (1964). Incubus, produced a year later, starred William Shatner, himself an Esperantist; it is the only known professionally produced feature film with entirely Esperanto dialogue.

Besides Esperanto, the most famous constructed languages are the Klingon and Vulcan languages of the movie and TV series Star Trek, and the languages of J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle-earth mythologies (Sindarin, Quenya, Khuzdul and others).

The minor planet (1421) Esperanto is named in honor of the language. It was discovered on March 18, 1936 by Yrjö Väisälä, a Finnish astronomer.

Though the United Nations does not recognize Esperanto as an official language, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translated into Esperanto.

Google, the Internet search engine, has the capability of displaying the Google interface, tips, and messages in Esperanto. When using Esperanto as a search keyword, Google will return about 2.6 million hits, some of which are sites written in Esperanto.

Esperanto accounts for more than 99% of all published material on constructed languages.

As depicted in the poem “Utopia” (article page 20 of Translorial), albeit in black and white, the flag of Esperanto is green with a white area (green 2:3, white 1:1) in the top left corner with a green 5 pointed regular star pointing upwards centered in it. The meaning of this symbol stands for the hope (green) of the five continents united (5-pointed star) in common understanding and peace (white color). And because Dr. Zamenhof was a thorough gentleman, he even wrote the anthem to go with it.

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Quiz: What Is Your Cultural IQ?

By Anna Schlegel

1. Global web users are most likely to understand the intent behind which of the following icons:
A. Skull and crossbones
B. An envelope
C. A shopping cart
D. An eagle
E. A mailbox with a flag in the upright position

2. The American “OK” gesture communicated by making a circle with one’s thumb and index finger means:
A. Nil in France
B. Generosity in Japan
C. *%#@!! In Brazil
D. *%#@!! In Greece
E. All of the above

3. Companies that are targeting Taiwanese businesses and consumers are advised to communicate their message in which written language:
A. English
B. Traditional Chinese
C. Simplified Chinese
D. Cantonese
E. Pinyin Chinese

4. How long is a football field (area of play only):
A. 100 yards
B. 105 meters
C. 12 fathoms
D. 110 yards
E. A, B and D

5. Which of the following languages reads from right to left and thus requires a localized operating system in addition to special fonts?
A. Japanese
B. Russian
C. Arabic
D. Korean
E. B and C

6. What best characterizes the language spoken in the People’s Republic of China?
A. Beginning in the 1950s, with the implementation of the government’s language unity plan, the two hundred-plus dialects spoken across China have merged. All citizens now speak Mandarin.
B. The majority of Chinese citizens adopted Cantonese as their primary language once the UK relinquished control of Hong Kong.
C. Although written communication is standardized, over two hundred dialects of Chinese are spoken in the PRC.
D. To overcome regional language barriers, the Chinese educational system has begun a compulsory English studies program for students beginning at age ten. Officials intend to adopt English as the lingua franca to unify China.
E. Chinese is no longer spoken in China; people speak Mandarin.

7. In the US the number 13 is associated with bad luck. What number is associated with death in Japan?
A. 13
B. 4
C. 5
D. 6
E. No number; rather, the color brown evokes images of death.

8. What does the word “tortilla” mean to web development hotshots in Spain?
A. Security technology encoded into software
B. HTML “cookie”
C. Potato omelet
D. The “wrap” used in making a burrito
E. Both B and D

9. In what European country are names spoken and written with the family name first (i.e. “Asian style”)?
A. Italy
B. France
C. Albania
D. Hungary
E. Finland

10. Which of the following is NOT an official language of Switzerland?
A. French
B. Romansch
C. English
D. German
E. Italian

Answers:
1
: B. Skull and crossbones is considered a symbol of virility in some African countries. The shopping cart, while becoming more universally well known as a result of the Internet, is not a familiar item in many countries—people use baskets or bags.
2: E.
3: B. Pinyin is a phonetic system for writing Chinese words with a Latin script. Beijing or Taipei, for example, are Chinese words written in Pinyin. Pinyin is used mainly for non-Chinese speakers learning Chinese.
4: E. 100 yards for American football, 105 meters for regulation soccer—which is called football in most countries—and 110 yards for Canadian football.
5: C.
6: C.
7: B.
8: C.
9: D.
10: C.

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