EU Visiting Staff Events

Three staff members from the European Union Commission visit MIIS and UC Berkeley to discuss Multilingualism in the European Union

Please see the attached flyers for information about the two related events: a Tech Cafe in the DLC on February 9 from 4-6, and a panel discussion in the Irvine Auditorium on February 10 from 12:15-1:30.

Please also note that there is limited space in the DLC, so if you’d like to attend the event, you will need to contact Professor Max Troyer to reserve a space.

Dates: Monday and Tuesday, February 9th and 10th. Please note the dates!

Lecture on the intersection of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Human Computer Interface (HCI)

Spence GreenSpence Green is a recent Ph.D graduate in Computer Science at Stanford University. He works with Chris Manning and Jeff Heer and is a member of the Stanford NLP Group and the UW Interactive Data Lab. Spence is currently researching the intersection of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Human Computer Interface (HCI). He has also worked on syntactic parsing, machine translation, and coreference resolution. He co-organized the first Workshop on Interactive Language Learning, Visualization, and Interfaces held at ACL 2014. He is participating in building an interdisciplinary community interested in the intersection of NLP, HCI, and data visualization. Spence’s presentation will focus on the technical side of his dissertation, which is part of a machine translation research effort led by Christopher Manning, a professor of linguistics and of computer science. This presentation will be of interest to all translation students and faculty, but will be technical in nature.

Spence will present on Tuesday, December 9th from 12pm to 1:30pm in the Irvine Auditorium.

16th Mini-Monterey Model

16th Mini-Monterey Model Flyer

The Mini-Monterey Model is collaborative effort between the Language and Intercultural Program and the Interpretation Practicum class. It includes a set of presentations given by students in the languages that they are studying. The presentations are then simultaneously interpreted by students of interpretation into various languages.
The theme this year, presented by the Chinese Studies Program, is Current Events and Dao De Jing; students will present on their research projects on a variety of topics, including international politics, environment, trade disputes, humanities, etc., with many presentations relating to “the way” (also known as “the dao” or “the tao”). Interpretation Practicum students will simultaneously interpret these Chinese speeches into English, Japanese, French, and Spanish, using relay interpretation (Chinese to English to Spanish/ Japanese/ French). As part of the program, students will give a demonstration explaining how consecutive and simultaneous interpretation work.

Meet the Chinese Interpreters!

Meet the Chinese Interpreters!

11 students in Chinese program will interpret at the Fall Forum.

Chinese Interpreters

From left to right, WANG Jingrui, LIU Chang, REN Junhan (Scarlett), Lorraine Wan, SHEN Peilan (Becky), SHEN Yingchun (Erica), CHEN Mo (April), SUN Yayuan, LIU Meng (Susan), WU Yiray, YANG Xiaoting (Gracey), SOONG Shan Chie (Grace), LI Lan (Fall Forum Planning Committee, not interpreting at Fall Forum)

 

Fun Fact about the Chinese Language:

Chinese is said to be among the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn, along with Arabic, Japanese and Korean. However, it’s not really as hard as you might think!

 

There are none of the tenses, plurals, conjugations or genders that can make learning European languages such a daunting task. For example, instead of saying “I went to San Francisco last week”, “Last week, I go to San Francisco” is enough — as “last week” has already indicated that the action happened in the past.

 

The hard bit is mastering the tones. Mandarin is a tonal language, which means the intonation of a sound determines its meaning. Tones fall on the vowels in pinyin. If you get this wrong you might end up saying completely the wrong thing. For example, wǒ xiǎng wèn nǐ, means ‘I want to ask you’. Simple enough, right? But if you were to say wǒ xiǎng wěn nǐ, it would mean ‘I want to kiss you’. Oops!

 

In a famous one-syllable article, a form of constrained writing unique to Chinese, Yuen Ren Chao (1892–1982) wrote the 施氏食狮史 (literally: “The Story of Shi Shi Eating Lions”, pinyin: Shī Shì shí shī shǐ;) in Classical Chinese. In this 92-character modern poem, every syllable has the same sound shi, only to be differentiated from one another by the four tones when read in modern Mandarin Chinese.

 

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion-Eating_Poet_in_the_Stone_Den

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/chinese/guide/facts.shtml

Meet the German Interpreters!

Meet the German Interpreters!

At Fall Forum 2014 you can experience three contributions in German and their interpretation into English.

allemanni

(Isabel Frey, Hannes Schauer, Yiray Wu)

Isabel is a non-graduate student on an exchange semester. Her C language is Spanish. She will finish her Master’s degree in Conference Interpreting at the University of Heidelberg next year.

Hannes is an advanced entry student. After graduating from MIIS in May 2015, he will finish the last year of his second Interpretation degree at the University of Leipzig. His C language is Spanish as well.

Yiray is from Taiwan. Her A language is Chinese. She started learning German in high-school and added it as her C language at MIIS. She studied as an exchange student at the University of Tübingen and at the SDI in Munich.

German: Flexible strings attached

While German is notorious for its seemingly endless compound nouns, they don’t pose too much of a hassle for interpreters.

What can become troublesome though, is the flexible nature of German sentences. Speakers can construct sentences, where essential information pops up at the very end. After listening for half a minute, the whole contend might be negated at the end by a little, sneaky “nicht”. Or imagine having only a misleading part of a verb at the beginning, while an important particle went on a journey right to the end of the whole sentence:

example deutch

Imagine not being able to trust a single verb until you get to the end! A nightmare during simultaneous interpretation.

Meet Fall Forum Speaker Rajeev Sinha!

Meet a Fall Forum speaker!

Fall Forum 2014 will be held in 3 days. In this event, speakers from more than 10 countries will discuss one of the most urgent global issues of our time: Water. Rajeev Sinha, a student in the Chinese Translation and Interpretation program at MIIS from India, is one of our speakers, and he will speak about water and politics.

Q – Thank you for accepting to be a speaker at Fall Forum. I’m glad that I can interview you for the blog. First, I’d like to ask for your observations on water issues.rajeev

A – Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource, having political implications for a country both in the domestic and international arena.

Shortage of water directly affects people’s life, affecting availability of water for drinking, as well as agriculture. Such shortage also adversely affects country’s economic situation, industries, electricity production, etc. Bigger countries at times face a peculiar situation. For example, at times, while one part of a country struggles with droughts, another deals with floods.  While one part of the country is endowed with water resources, the other part is arid. That’s why some countries are engaged in river linking projects as well as water diversion projects.

In the international domain, as regards the trans-border Rivers shared by two or more countries, the concerned countries try to set up bilateral and multilateral mechanisms to alleviate suspicion between them regarding river water usage, and to share relevant hydrological data, which is useful in flood forecasting and disaster prevention and mitigation.

 

Q – Thank you very much. I’m also curious about your impression of the Chinese language. You obviously have spent a lot of time learning and using the language. What are your thoughts on the Chinese language?

A – People may disagree, but I think Chinese isn’t difficult language to learn in the initial stages; but it is difficult to master. After initial stages, it becomes increasingly difficult to reach higher levels of proficiency in this language.

I think this is partially because the Chinese grammar is flexible, and for a non-native speaker, it takes a lot of time to develop the “feel” of the language. One struggles in choosing appropriate words for specific contexts, and wrong choice of words leads to awkward sentences, lacking native flavor. Even though two words represent similar concepts, they may not necessarily be used in the same way. Moreover, sentence structure is different from several other languages including English.

– Thank you so much. I am looking forward to seeing you and listening to you at Fall Forum.