The US team have been busy making a series of videos ahead of the upcoming Games. The first two concentrate on the Americans trying their hands at a little Cockney rhyming slang. The first phrase they learned is: “If you win a medal, you can go chicken oriental.” Chicken oriental is slang for “mental” or crazy, and isn’t used widely in London! The second video shows the athletes working on saying “Now I’ll stick on the Hansel and Gretel, and make us a nice cup of Rosie Lee.“ The only rhyming slang we use here is Rosie Lee (tea).
Although none of the team have the accent correct at all, it’s nice to see them have a laugh with it and have fun! The videos are a very nice gesture, although I don’t think they’ll need to use either of these phrases whilst here in London!
You can see their channel, ThankYouBritain, on YouTube. More videos will be uploaded as it gets closer to the start of the Games.
Facebook has rolled out a new translation feature to users’ profile pages. The social network site has teamed up with search engine Bing, to provide a translation link on comments which are posted in another language. The translation feature, which has been available on fan pages for a while, will allow users to click a link and the translation will pop up in your preferred language. Good news for those of us with international friends whose language we can’t speak!
You may have read about Scottish schoolgirl Martha Payne’s NeverSeconds, a blog focussing on Martha’s school dinners. She uploads a photo of her lunch every day and rates it. Martha also posts photos of lunches she has been sent from other schoolchildren around the world, as well as raising money for charity Mary’s Meals, which provides school lunches for the poorest communities all over the world.
Argyll and Bute Council claimed that the nine year old’s blog was attracting negative attention, and implemented a ban on photography in the school canteen, after one of her photos was published in a Scottish newspaper with a less than flattering headline. They issued a statement saying that the blog was a “misrepresentation” of the food choices offered to pupils at the school.
The ban has now been lifted after public uproar, and Martha will be resuming blogging about her school dinners today. The publicity the row has attracted means that Mary’s Meals has now raised enough money to feed 1963 pupils in Malawi school meals for an entire year.
Good on you Martha! This should never have happened in the first place. Students should be encouraged to do this sort of thing; as Martha has proved, she is not only is she communicating with kids all over the world, but also writing on a regular basis. Too many pupils in the UK leave school without a basic knowledge of English spelling and grammar.
Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung published their entire front page in binary on Friday (June 8th). Details such as the publication’s website, date and price remained in the original form. The reason? The newspaper was celebrating its first digital edition. You can ‘read’ it here. (The German front page is on page 3, and the rest of the paper was printed as usual, so you won’t be needing this translation tool.)
If you’re a user of Google’s Gmail service, you will soon be able to translate more easily within your email! The new system, which is being rolled out to all users during the next few days, will work much like a Google search which asks if you’d like to translate the page when the search engine finds the page in another language.
To translate a message manually, you can click on Translate Message in the header at the top of the message. If you want things to happen automatically, select Always translate. If you don’t need translation for a specific language, you can select Turn off and messages in that particular language won’t be translated for you. Further instructions can be found in the official Google Blog post.
This will save lots of time and copy and pasting to Google Translate!
Google has announced that over 200 million people use its’ Translate service every month.
Google Translate launched in 2006 offering Chinese and Arabic translation, and now offers translation in 64 different languages.
Google Research Scientist Franz Och said in an official blog post:
In a given day we translate roughly as much text as you’d find in 1 million books. To put it another way: what all the professional human translators in the world produce in a year, our system translates in roughly a single day. By this estimate, most of the translation on the planet is now done by Google Translate.
Whilst the translation system isn’t as precise as a human translator, there’s no denying it’s popularity and usefulness.
Following the launch of the European Spanish store, online retailer Amazon.com now has a specialist Kindle shop for digital books in the Spanish language on its US site. The books on offer include an exclusive on Paolo Coelho novels, the popular Twilight and Hunger Games collections, and titles by authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The site also offers subscriptions to Latin American newspapers, such as La Nacion.
“We’re excited to introduce Spanish language storefronts on all Kindles, as well as a dedicated store for our Spanish-speaking customers in the US,” said Kindle Content vice president Russ Grandinetti. ”We’re looking forward to continued expansion of our store for Spanish language readers around the world.”
In addition, the company now offers customer help and support in Spanish.
US Kindle users can buy the books here.
Following on from the news of the development of a new program to help us speak languages; the latest buzz in the technology world is a device which will translate sign language to text. The intention of the program, named the Portable Sign Language Translator, is that it will be used as an app on a tablet, Smartphone or laptop, and will allow deaf people or people with speech difficulties to communicate with hearing people more easily.
A camera will record the user’s hand signs, and then import the recording into the program, and translate it to text. Researchers and scientists at Aberdeen University, who are developing the project, say that the program will be customisable to the user’s needs, and will even allow users to develop their own signs for words and phrases they may need for work or studies.
The program is expected to be released next year.
Too lazy to learn a new language? Curious to see what you sound like speaking in Mandarin? Or maybe you use your Windows-compatible smartphone on holiday? Microsoft is developing the perfect program for you! The software will record your voice, then translate it into another language for you, and then play your voice back speaking in that language. There is no release date for this yet, but Microsoft researchers say the program will require an hour of training to learn your voice. At the moment, the program can translate between 26 languages, including English, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin.
For full details and sample audio clips, click here.
Source: Technology Review
This morning I read in the local newspaper about the celebrations planned for today – St Piran’s Day. St Piran’s Day, for those not in the know, is the national day of Cornwall, and as I know there are usually Cornish language workshops held around here for children, I wondered if there was anything to support adult learning too.
If you have an iPhone or iPad, you’re in luck. For today only, the Cornish Soundboard app will be free. The app features Cornish people from across the county saying typical Cornish phrases, so you can be sure to imitate them correctly with the right accent! Plans are underway to create a sister app for the Cornish language.
Those who want the app after March 5th can find it in iTunes for 69p.