Several research studies confirm the positive impact of ict on the migrants’ interactions with their family or the rest of the community. The “culture of the link” 31 is usually promoted, and quite often internet services, such as Skype or msn messenger with the possibility to use webcams – are so positively promoted that only the positive aspects are put forward. Even though migrants can effectively keep in touch with their family, and see them very often with the webcam, these practices can also provoke the opposite effect. Instead of having the impression of being near one’s relatives or friends back in the native country, the migrant may feel nostalgic not to be physically present for a birthday or a special event. In any case, the communication has to be interrupted and he or she is “condemned” to remain apart. Even though ict may provide an improvement, it cannot replace the direct inter-personal relationships.
The idealisation of ict might underrate the real difficulties met by the migrant geographically cut off from his or her loved ones.
Another downside of such changes consists in the fact that more intense obligations are placed on family members in other parts of the world, and the process of “keeping in touch”, which can result in intense emotional pressures. Indeed, oftentimes, relatives in the country of origin idealise the living conditions of their family members who have left and are convinced that their relatives earn a great income, which may or may not be the case. Pressure to send money back home may be important in this case, and has probably increased in recent years with the many means of communication available nowadays.
Today, many on-line services, administrative or private, are replacing what was once provided by a public utility or customer services agency with a physical person at the other end. In France, as an example, a web service site of the national agency for employment 32, requires online preregistration in order to benefit from unemployment services. These sites are often only provided in the local language (French in this case), which 31 http://ticmigrations.fr/fr/whoweare/manifeste 32 http://www.pole-emploi.fr Viola Krebs & Vicent Climent-Ferrando is not really helpful for allophone speakers. In such cases, administrative services are in fact reducing their costs and responsibilities by interposing a machine between the applicant to seeking services and the employees dealing with their requests.
The electronic administration has also a large impact on identification.
Biometrical systems of identification are increasingly more commonly required and accepted. They reinforce a society of control, and strongly regulate the influx of immigrants 33. Migrants are submitted to intensive controls motivated by the fear of illegal migrations.
Moreover, migrants may be illiterate, or may not have any practical experience with the Web. As a result, they become completely dependent on their friends or, if they have other family members present, on their children sent to school who know how to use technologies and who also speak the language of the host country. The two previous situations create asymmetrical relations which can negatively affect each member of the relationship. The solicited friends are required to deal in private matters, even if they would prefer not deal with those kinds of problems. But friends may not have the courage to refuse to help their friends in genuine need. On the migrant’s side, a dependency can develop on someone who does not belong to the family circle and with whom he or she shares private and sometimes even intimate information.
Concerning the children, they often find themselves in situations where they are the ones having to deal with administrative procedures, whether physical or online. This point is one of the challenges presented by the recent study conducted in Geneva about the situation of language services provided to migrants 34. Many testimonials show that these children, being the only ones who have some level of understanding of the local language, suffer greatly, often in silence, because they bear the full weight of migration and acculturation issues. Several studies show that children of migrants are already subject to psychological stresses provoking voluntary autism caused by the feeling of disloyalty toward their parents.
They are torn apart between two spaces ; one is the space of their home, their mother tongue and their parents, and the other one is the universe of hostility in the unfamiliar society and the foreign language ignored 33 http://ticmigrations.fr/fr/whoweare/manifeste 34 Voix au Chapitre, Rapport sur l’accompagnement linguistique des migrants non-francophones Genve, d. ICVolontaires.org, 2008.
Viola Krebs & Vicent Climent-Ferrando by their own parents. The only solution they find is silence as a barrier between two antagonistic worlds 35.
The two attitudes of silence, depicted above, inevitably influence each other and make more difficult the children’s situation, trapped in a vicious circle.
RECOMMENDATIONS / OPPORTUNITIES While an article like the present one can never be exhaustive, it shows that migration and language issues are a complex phenomenon relevant to many millions of people around the globe. Technology can be an asset for migrants, including situations where they live in an environment with a dominant language(s) other than the one(s) they understand and speak.
Online translators and other resources can be very helpful. However, the fact that many administrations do increasingly require all citizens to register for online services is a challenge especially for allophone and illiterate speakers.
The role of children in these contexts is particularly delicate and must be taken into consideration. Children should not replace social workers and should not be placed in situations where they have to play adult roles.
Efforts, such as the one for a World Charter of Migrants 36 can put the debate into perspective and provide tools that can be used to develop decent, practical migration policies. In the same line, a comprehensive list of conventions and declarations related to migration policies is available on the website of the International Migration Organization.
The role of online tools and information sources is to help share information, provide practical guidance and promote the use of languages beyond the ones often used in international debates. This, however, requires efforts when it comes to the development of technical tools and scripts, on one hand, and translation carried out by individuals, on the other hand.
35 Dahoun Zerdalia Les couleurs du silence. Le mutisme des enfants migrants, CalmannLvy, 1995.
36 http://www.cmmigrants.org Viola Krebs & Vicent Climent-Ferrando BIBLIOGRAPHY [ANAYA JAMES 1996] Anaya James. Indigenous Peoples in International Law. New York :
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Immigrants in Liberal Nation-States, New York, 2003.
[CLIMENT-FERRANDO 2011] Climent-Ferrando, Vicent « La recherche sur l’immigration en Catalogne : bilan 2000-2010 » [Research on Migration in Catalonia : An Overview 20002010] In : Migrations et Socit. Centre d’tudes sur les migrations internationales, vol XXIII, 134-135, Paris, Mai-Juin 2011, 251-268.
[EUROSTAT] Eurostat, European Statistics available online at http://epp.eurostat.
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[JUNYENT 2005] Junyent Carme (ed.). Les llenges a Catalunya. Quantes llenges s’hi parlen Barcelona, Editorial Octaedro, 2005.
[KREBS 2007] Krebs Viola. Bilinguisme, inter culturalit et communication politique, dans L’anglais et les cultures : carrefour ou frontire Droit et Cultures, d. Harmattan, Paris, 54/2007, http://droitcultures.revues.org/[KYMLICKA, NORMAN 2000] Kymlicka, W. & Norman, W. Citizenship in diverse societies.
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[KYMLICKA 2001] Kymlicka, W. Politics in the vernacular : nationalism, multiculturalism, and citizenship. Oxford. Oxford University Press, 2001.
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valuation des mesures de soutien, Commission externe d’valuation des politiques publiques, Genve, Septembre 2005, p. 15.
[MCROBERTS 2001] McRoberts, Kenneth. “Canada and the Multinational State”, Canadian Journal of Political Science, 683-714, 2001.
[ZAPATA-BARRERO 2007] Zapata-Barrero Ricard. “Immigration, Self-Government and Management of Identity, The Catalan Case”. In : Korniman, M. ; Lauglanf, J. The Long March to the West : 21st Century Migration in Europe and the Greater Mediterranean Area. Vallentine-Mitchell, 2007.
[ZAPATA-BARRERO 2007] Zapata-Barrero Ricard. “Setting a research agenda on the interaction between cultural demands of immigrants and minority nations” Journal of Immigration and Refugee Studies vol.5, n4 ; 1-25, 2007.
Viola Krebs & Vicent Climent-Ferrando Sites web BABELFISH http://babelfish.yahoo.com CATALAN TRANSLATOR http://traductor.gencat.net/index_en.jsp EUROSTAT. STATISTIQUES DE LA COMMISSION EUROPENNE http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.
eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Migration_statistics GOOGLE AUTOMATIC TRANSLATOR http://translate.google.com INSTITUT STATISTIQUE CATALAN http://www.idescat.cat/dequavi/Dequavi. TC=444&V0=1&V1=INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE ESTADSTICA. GOBIERNO DE ESPAA http://www.ine.es/inebmenu/mnu_cifraspob.htm MAIRIE DE BARCELONE, CATALOGNE http://www.bcn.cat METROPOLIS http://international.metropolis.net MIGRALINGUA http://www.MigraLingua.org MIGRATION INFORMATION http://www.migrationinformation.org MIGRATION ONLINE http://www.migrationonline.cz/themes/eu MIGRAWEB http://www.migraweb.ch MIGRAWEB.ES http://www.MIGRAweb.es TRANSLATION CAF translatorscafe.com Viola Krebs & Vicent Climent-Ferrando Viola Krebs & Vicent Climent-Ferrando ANNELIES BRAFFORT & PATRICE DALLE ACCESSIBILITY IN CYBERSPACE :
SIGN LANGUAGES Sign languages are the natural languages of deaf communities.
Their lexicons and grammars are very different from spoken languages.
In many countries, spoken language, even in written form, is usually a second language often poorly mastered by deaf speakers. The automatic processing of sign languages is a very new field. In this paper, we make an inventory of existing resources, both in terms of a corpus and systems and tools based on new technologies and associated uses.
Original article in French.
Translated by John Rosbottom.
ANNELIES BRAFFORT is Research Director at LIMSI-CNRS, where she coordinates research on Natural Sign Language Processing (NSLP). This research concerns the study of the body, French Sign Language (FSL) modelling, and text-to-FSL translation. Current applications focus on automatic generation via the animation of virtual signers, which are 3D characters speaking in FSL.
PATRICE DALLE is a professor at Toulouse University 3.
He leads the team for IRIT image processing and comprehension. His research focuses specifically on Sign Language modelling, processing and comprehension.
Applications include communication in Sign Language and the development of educational tools.
ign languages (sl) 1 are natural languages used by the deaf, and some hearing people alongside the deaf. These languages are clasSsified as visual-gestural (issued by the body and received through vision). They are expressed in space, in front of the speaker, by means of gestural units composed of hand and arm gestures, chest, shoulders or head movements, facial expressions, gaze directions, etc., that are carried out simultaneously.
Since Spoken languages (spl) cannot be perceived, sl are the only type of languages available to the profoundly deaf to communicate with their environment. As deafness is hereditary in only 4 % of cases, signed languages are native only to a minority of deaf people. For the other 96 % of deaf sl speakers, then, the transmission of language is a priori not parental 2. sl provide all the functions performed by non-gestural natural languages and, for the deaf, are really the only appropriate linguistic mode, the only languages that enable psychological and cognitive development in a manner equivalent to the way spoken languages function for hearing people [DALLE 2005].
As with spl, there is no one universal sl. Rather, there exist as many variations as there are different deaf communities, each with its own sl history, signifying units and lexicon 3. However, unlike speakers of two different spl, two deaf people operating in two different sl may come to understand each other and communicate in a very short time. This is due to the close proximity of linguistic structures between sl : certain very iconic are characterized by the absence of so-called “standard” 4 signs 1 Throughout this article, we will use SL for Sign Languages, and SpL for Spoken Languages.
2 http://corpusdelaparole.in2p3.fr/spip.php article3 When we speak of LSF and French, these words can be generalized to the SL in a given country and the VL in this country.
4 A lexical unit institutionalised for a given SL, possibly listed in a dictionary.
Annelies Braffort & Patrice Dalle (each of them different for each language) [CUXAC 2000]. The provenance of these shared structures is probably the very nature of the channel and its propinquity to the mental representations of deaf speakers. What we often refer to as “visual thinking” challenges conventional perceptions of what belongs to the field of linguistics.