Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

Can You Get By With Globish?

January 5, 2008

The United Nations have declared 2008 the International Year of Languages.

But if you listen to the global buzz, you might think that you don’t need ‘languages’ any more, Globish (Global English) is THE language that will get you everywhere, in particular in business.

A number of companies consider it as the way to save.

Save on what? On one essential aspect of international communication: language diversity. So if that is the case with your company, you will undoubtedly find some interesting insights in this excellent broadcast on Radio France Internationale.

The title was: ‘Interpreters in the world of business’, and several professional interpreters, as well as top players in the field of global business were interviewed.

It’s true that for medium-level meetings and communication, conference interpreters will be less and less needed. Why is that so? Because business executives are increasingly made to use English in their daily interaction with their foreign counterparts, and even among themselves! But it also means that they need to be trained (and this has a cost too).

Did I say ‘made’? That’s because I’ve had many opportunities to discuss this with French business executives, some of them extremely FLUENT in English. They resent the fact that some meetings held in France have to take place in English. They would very much prefer to use their own native language to work faster, and better.

For important business negotiations and top-level meetings, interpreting will continue to be needed, if only to ensure that the top management are allowed to speak in their own languages. But not only them: one case in point are the EWC‘s (European Work Councils) set up by European multinationals. The participants in EWC meetings are management and employee representatives, and the latter do not necessarily have the command of English (nor do they receive the kind of language training…) that would enable them to follow the meetings in any meaningful and positive way.

So interpreters now have a bigger role in business. They have made the switch from diplomatic conferences (their main line of business when simultaneous interpreting was invented, just after World War II) to business conferences, and they are a most valuable part of them, not only as language interpreters, but as cultural mediators too.

Take Chinese. As the Chinese interpreter points out in the interview, the Chinese are not giving up on their language, quite the contrary. Why should they, anyway? Very high-quality Chinese interpreting is essential to many business deals. If the two sides can’t communicate efficiently, what happens? The deal falls through or is delayed. The Chinese have enough suitors at the moment to afford to pick and choose.

So, the United Nations have declared 2008 the International Year of Languages. Are you doing anything for your language this year? Any plans? I’d love to hear about them.


FreeRice (one more)

December 11, 2007

In view of the fact that some readers of this blog are using it, and returning to it, to reach the FreeRice donation website, I feel I owe you an update on the current totals.

So it’s like this: Total All Dates now stands at 7,536,669,470 grains of rice donated since October.

Lots of other sites are also offering a link to FreeRice. We mustn’t forget that the underlying idea is to donate to the starving.

FreeRice have found a way to make it a win-win situation. They have also found a brilliant way to demonstrate the power of viral marketing.

FreeRice Vocabulary Game (new update, December 1)

December 2, 2007

I can see from the dashboard that the vocabulary game is a very popular post. It’s good news, and I can only encourage you to continue 😉

FreeRice is a brilliant marketing idea. They give you something (some enlightenment with vocabulary) and you donate something through the game. It’s a win-win.

Update on the latest count: 5,541,225,910 grains of rice on December 1, 2007

FreeRice Operation

November 28, 2007

May I remind you that the United Nations FreeRice operation is still on. A nice and useful way to give food, and test your English vocabulary at the same time. Personally I hover between levels 41 and 47, not something to be proud of, but I’m in just for the rice. I earned one kilogram in about 30 minutes. Incidentally, some (not all) of the difficult words come from Latin, so they are not always difficult to recognize.

As of November 26, the total donated was 3,993,119,570 grains of rice, over a 20-day period.


Play a Vocabulary Game and Donate Rice

November 24, 2007

I’ve just found this vocabulary game. Please try it. It’s interesting and there is no money involved!

For each word you get right, FreeRice donates 10 grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger.