This is why the us Department of Energy followed the lead of the British Academy by hopping onto the bandwagon of translation 3 Translation from http://www.literature.org/authors/descartes-rene/reason-discourse/ chapter-01.html Michal Oustinoff via new technologies, in order to create the multilingual platform WorldWideScience.org at the end of June 2010, where you can search on 70 scientific databases from 66 countries in a diversity of languages. The whole thing is connected via a multilingual search engine and automatic translation program in ten languages : Arabic, German, English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Russian, with other languages being progressively added to the list.
Take the example of China. Here’s what comes up on the website : “In 2008, while Chinese scholars published 110,000 papers on international journals recorded by sci, they also published 470,000 papers on domestic Chinese journals. Without accessing these 470,000 papers, it is impossible to obtain a realistic feeling about the thrust of scientific and technological advancement in China. Therefore, the need for mutual translation between English and Chinese and for cross-language retrieval is increasingly urgent”.
It could not be clearer : to communicate is not simply a question of being informed [WOLTON 2003] ; it is first and foremost, a question of having access to information at all. And in an increasingly multilingual world, with the West no longer the centre of gravity (including Japan in the famous economic Triad), a lingua franca, universal as it may be, does not, on its own, replace all others. This paradigm, inherited from the aftermath of World War II, which saw the emergence of The United States of America as a superpower, has run its course, and even the United States is beginning to take note.
CONCLUSION We have understood that the question of the lingua franca must be reframed within the broader context of geopolitics, just like translation, a similarly central issue, for which the etymology is illuminating. The term translatio (Latin for “transfer”) was understood in the Middle Ages to mean “translation”, a meaning that the English term “translation” retained.
But it was also used [CASSIN 2004 : 1312] to designate knowledge transfer (translatio studii) or power transfer (translatio imperii). The concept of knowledge as power was thus transmitted from Greece to Rome, and then to the West, a phenomenon that continues today in other parts of the world, particularly in Asia (India, China) and in the South (Latin America ; Arab countries ; perhaps, with time, Africa). Which means the Michal Oustinoff emergence of new powers, the redistribution of the card holders at the top of the pyramid. This explains why Chinese is becoming an international language, while in the past it wasn’t spoken outside China, Taiwan, and their diasporas.
The case of Portuguese is revealing in this respect. Like English, Spanish, Arabic or Russian, it is a lingua franca across a linguistic area, in this case the Lusophone countries. But it is also one of the brics’ major languages.
In 1960, Brazil was a developing country with about 70 million people.
Today it is the eighth world power and counts nearly 200 million inhabitants. From its original place on the periphery, Portuguese has come to play an increasingly central role. In a multipolar world, the continuation of English as the sole lingua franca appears less and less self-evident.
In 2005, Michael J. Barany, mathematician based in Princeton, published an article Business Week entitled “Science’s Language Problem”, which smartly summarises the above :
Tomorrow, when the number of researchers fluent in English will certainly dwindle in laboratories throughout the world, the English straightjacket will become increasingly uncomfortable – at a time when the volume of scientific information is about to explode.
In China and India, world-class scientific infrastructures are emerging, and more discoveries will be reported in their local languages.
These could go unheeded or underappreciated elsewhere – just as work currently published in Japanese or French often fails to impress American scientists not fluent in those languages. Papers that undergo various translations and interpretations often emerge murky and hard to comprehend.
While automated translation is rapidly improving, it is unlikely that machines can ever attain the nuance and technical accuracy required for the ever-changing vocabulary of science.
The globalisation of science offers innumerable new opportunities for intellectual advancement. But unless we build better bridges between linguistic communities, countless ideas and innovations could be ignored and effectively lost.
What is true about the globalisation of scientific communication [LVYLEBLOND 2007] is even more so in other spheres. As powerful as English may Michal Oustinoff be, cyberspace cannot content itself with a single lingua franca. It suffices to browse the internet to realise the immense benefit that multilingualism holds. To see the world only through English, by contrast, offers an increasingly weak vision as other languages grow in both absolute and relative terms. This is a paradigm shift of which we are only now beginning to measure the full extent. Communication is no longer conceivable on the scale of a single language ; multilingualism and translation (including automatic or computer assisted) must be adjoined. These, however, are necessary but insufficient prerequisites.
“War is too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military”, said the french leader Clemenceau. The same applies to the language question, whether in cyberspace or in the broader context of rapid global rebabelisation.
It cannot remain the preserve of linguists, translators, interpreters and translation scholars : it exists in the spirit of a truly multidisciplinary approach involving both the social sciences and the natural or “hard” sciences [OUSTINOFF 2011]. Even more broadly, it is now everyone’s business, since cyberspace is not addressed – far from it – only to the specialists.
BIBLIOGRAPHY [BARANY 2005] Barany, M. J., Science’s Language Problem, Business Week, mars 2005. http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2005/ tc20050317_4179.htm [BRITISH ACADEMY 2009] The British Academy, Language Matters. Position Paper, 2009.
http://www.britac.ac.uk [BEL HABIB 2011] Bel Habib, I., Multilingual Skills Provide Export Benefits and Better Access to New Emerging Markets, Sens Public, octobre 2011. http://www.sens-public.
org/article.php3 id_article=[CALVET 2007] Calvet, L.-J., La traduction au filtre de la mondialisation, dans Oustinoff, M., Nowicki, J. (dir.), Traduction et mondialisation, Herms, n°49, Paris, CNRS ditions, 2007.
[CASSIN 2004] Cassin, B. (dir.), Vocabulaire europen des philosophies. Dictionnaire des intraduisibles, Paris, Le Robert / Le Seuil, 2004.
[CRYSTAL 1997] Crystal, D., English as a Global Language, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
[GRADDOL 2000] Graddol, D., The Future of English A Guide to Forecasting the Popularity of the English Language in the 21st Century, The British Council & The British Company (UK) Ltd, 1997 (nlle d., 2000). http://www.britishcouncil.org/learning-elt-future.pdf Michal Oustinoff [MARTEL 2010] Martel, F., Mainstream. Enqute sur cette culture qui plat tout le monde, Paris, Flammarion, 2010.
Multilingual WorldWideScience.org. http://worldwidescience.org/multi/index.html [LVY-LEBLOND 2007] Lvy-Leblond, J.-M., Sciences « dures » et traduction, dans Oustinoff, M., Nowicki, J. (dir.), Traduction et mondialisation, Herms, n°49, Paris, CNRS ditions, 2007.
[OUSTINOFF, NOWICKI 2007] Oustinoff, M., Nowicki, J. (dir.), Traduction et mondialisation, Herms, n°49, Paris, CNRS ditions, 2007.
[OUSTINOFF, NOWICKI, MACHADO DA SILVA 2010] Oustinoff, M., Nowicki, J., Machado da Silva, J. (dir.), Traduction et mondialisation. Volume 2, Herms, n°56, Paris, CNRS ditions, 2010.
[OUSTINOFF 2011] Oustinoff, M., Traduire et communiquer l’heure de la mondialisation, Paris, CNRS Editions, 2011.
[PAOLILLO, PIMIENTA, PRADO 2005] Paolillo, J., Pimienta, D., Prado, D., et al., Mesurer la diversit linguistique sur Internet, rvis et accompagn d’une introduction de l’Institut de statistique de l’Unesco, Publications de l’Unesco pour le Sommet mondial sur la socit de l’information, Paris, 2005. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001421/ 142186f.pdf [QUIRK, AL. 1980] Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., Svartvik, J., A Grammar of Contemporary English, Londres, Longman, 1980.
[RICARD 2007] Ricard, P. Une tude britannique prne le multilinguisme en affaires, Le Monde, 25 septembre 2007.
[SHIN, KOMINSKI 2010] Shin, H. B., Kominski, R. A., Language Use in the United States :
2007. American Community Survey Reports, Washington D.C., US Department of Commerce. Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau, 2010.
http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/acs-12.pdf [WOLTON 2003] Wolton, D., L’autre mondialisation, Paris, Flammarion, 2003.
Michal Oustinoff RIC PONCET TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION AND LANGUAGE PRESERVATION When industry is innovating new technologies, it is largely driven by a vision that is short to medium term. Languages on the other hand are evaluated in the long term. How does this meeting of time scales relate Should we not think of ICT innovation in terms of linguistic diversity Original article in French.
Translated by Laura Kraftowitz.
RIC PONCET founded Linguasoft to support the communities wishing to maintain their language.
He has managed many projects using his Language Preservation Process and Tools.
his insert elucidates the influence of information communication and technology (ict) on the evolution of world languages, and Targues for ict innovation to target multilingualism.
Languages, Technology, and Time Writing may be considered the oldest language technology (not least because no other before it left a trace). However, five millennia are but a brief period in the existence of human language. Let’s not forget that the skull of Homo habilis (2.5 million years old) contains Broca’s area, the region of the brain that controls language. Even if this does not necessarily mean that human language is 2.5 million years old, it at least gives us an idea of just how young language technology is. Despite its youth, writing has had an influence as fast as it is profound on the evolution of human society. It is precisely this kind of lightning-fast technological revolution – but this time unfolding on a planetary scale – that we are now experiencing with the internet.
Researchers and language activists agree that half of the world’s 6,languages will disappear within a century. It is likely that this view greatly underestimates the present and future impact of cyberspace on multilingualism.
Technological Linguicide Since technological innovation is – at least within the industry – often guided by a business approach with short- to medium-range vision, ict is for world languages a double-edged sword. It is easily conceivable that a software company would place its consumer products on the Chinese ric Poncet market, thereby entering a market of almost one billion Mandarin speakers, to whom it can distribute millions of licenses. But what happens when that same company wants to localize that same product to serve a language with fewer than 10,000 speakers – and this statistic currently applies to half the world’s languages Not only will the number of licenses sold count no more than a few dozen or at most a few hundred, but the localized aspect of the work will take longer (and therefore be more costly) than that of Mandarin. Indeed, many of these languages are not standardized, or do not even have a writing system. The company must thus accept to invest significantly more and earn much less. What company is willing or able to convince its shareholders and employees to adopt this as a business strategy And what of the feasibility of localizing a piece of software for 6,900 languages It comes as no surprise that not one of the world’s millions of software programs comes even remotely close to approaching this level of multilingualism.
Innovation and Multilingualism So, given the technology factor, is there no salvation for multilingualism Current multilingual technology is simply too restricted, partly because of its limitation for the aforementioned reasons, to the world’s most powerful languages. It makes sense to extend multilingualism toward panlinguism. In other words, rather than sprinkling technologies with language, it becomes necessary to rethink them to the end of integrating language – as a strong characteristic of humanity.
Woe to the languages that do not have the critical mass, either in speakers or in financial resources. Their weak presence on the Web – if not their complete absence – means that their speakers are, by default, linguistically absorbed into languages that have an online presence. The astrophysical analogy of the black hole is no exaggeration : languages without sufficient inertia or mass to continue their trajectory will inevitably be absorbed, and the lower their mass the faster.
If the first aspect of critical mass (number of speakers) cannot be increased overnight by a simple magic wand, then second (financial resources) may be : language preservation programs can be launched with modest budgets, and all funding is in this sense a catalyst for productive energy into the language communities concerned.
ric Poncet Prospective Let us return to the rate of language extinction within a century as mentioned above. The author, given current trends and the field work he has undertaken, predicts a language death rate of 80-95 %.
It took writing several centuries to conquer the world ; it took a decade for the internet to revolutionize the way its users communicate, eat, work, and play ; in short, how they live. It is important to note that language (thus, languages) is the vector of all these activities. Given that the Network of networks is a major language vector, what can we expect for the coming century – ten times the current age of the internet Can we exclude the emergence of a technology more earth-shattering than writing or the internet Such an event would leave the majority of world languages little chance of survival, and could lead in the short term to a cultural cataclysm.