Language Learning Beyond the Classroom is a new book of case studies edited by David Nunan and Jack Richards that focuses on how successful language learners are actively engaging language outside of academic settings. Published by Routledge, this volume touches on five broad topics: Involving the learner in out-of-class learning, Using technology and the internet, Learning through television, Out-of-class projects, and Interacting with native speakers. It includes contributions from MIIS alumni as well as current and former faculty including: Kathi Bailey, Kelly Calvert, Dave Chiesa, Akihiko Sasaki, Jennifer Grode, and Jodee Walters.
The word for “Constitutionally” in Japanese is 憲法上, which takes up half as much space. Japanese is usually a space-efficient language. That doesn’t mean it’s easier when we interpret, though!
The linguistic distance between Japanese and English sets a extremely high bar for interpreters.
Having developed on islands at the eastern and western ends of Eurasia, Japanese and English are probably two of the least similar languages in the world.
This leads to challenges on multiple levels for interpreters and students of interpretation. These challenges include:
- On a basic level, it is a huge challenge to be proficient in both Japanese and English.
- Number conversion is ridiculously difficult. 1 billion becomes 10×100 million in Japanese. What the heck!
- Sentence structure and order is quite different between the two languages. In fact, simultaneous interpretation between Japanese and English was considered to be impossible 60 years ago when the Tokyo Tribunal was held.
See who’s coming to the Fall Forum here.
Second-year interpreter Liu Chang took fifthplace at the 5th Cross-Strait Consecutive Interpreting Competition which was held on October 19th at Xiamen University in Xiamen, Fujian Province, PRC. Ms. Liu was in competition with 25 talented student interpreters from the major Chinese translation and interpreting programs at universities in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.S., and the U.K. There were three categories of consecutive interpreting covered: gist, conference, and dialogue.
Please join us in congratulating Liu Chang on her achievement! For more information, please visit http://www.xiadakouyi.com/dasai-update.htm (site in Chinese).
We sat down with Liu Chang to ask her a few questions about her experience:
Q: How was it? Was it intense?
C: Yes, of course. It was quite different from what we did in class. I was interpreting in front of several hundred students, most of whom were trained to be interpreters. And you know you were judged for every word you said.
C: Of course! Both during the dialogue, which was both into English and Chinese, and the speech, which was into Chinese only. These are the skills that I’ve been practicing at MIIS, so they were quite helpful. After the contest, I had people from the audience, mostly students, approaching me, saying how much they’d enjoyed my performance. That’s quite encouraging!
Being a student at MIIS already gives you a lot of advantages: professional training, star professors/practitioners, and an immersive learning environment, which is critical for any language learner. For example, I saw competitors with great skills but who struggled with their languages, both Chinese and English. So definitely, being a MIIS student is at a great advantage. There were contestants coming to me, asking about my study here and how to apply. It made me feel proud as one of the MIIS mafia. MIIS is highly regarded in Chinese interpreting circles.
Q: Fall forum is coming. Do you feel more comfortable interpreting for a large audience?
C: I was there last year. The format and the scale was similar to the contest that I was in. The challenge is also the same: you are interpreting in front of a bilingual audience. If you get something wrong, you will know it right away because you can hear murmuring coming from the audience. Really, if you can pull if off, you are ready for anything. There are as many professionals watching your performance as you would ever expect to have. That being said, it can also be encouraging. As most of them understand both languages and our profession, you know they appreciate your effort. So fall forum is a great opportunity to show what we’ve got.
Q: Anything you’d like to say to our potential audience?
C: Come and join us! Watch our performance and see how far we have come within just one year.
Congratulations again, Liu Chang! You made us all proud!
MIIS Professor Jinhuei Dai has recently published a book. It is titled Life, Cognition and Teaching Chinese. The book has 17 chapters: (1) Life, Cognition and Teaching Languages, (2) Categorization, (3) Prominence, (4) Perspective, (5) Instantiation, (6) Cognition and Grammar Instruction: BA Construction, (7) Cognition and Semantics, (8) Cognition and Pragmatics, (9) Metaphor and Cognition, (10) Cognition and Mental Space Theory, (11) Eastern and Western Ways of Thinking, (12) Personhood and Human Rights, (13) Cognition and Teaching Chinese Characters, (14) Cognition and Curriculum Design, (15) Cognition and Digital Instructional Design, (16) Chinese Heritage Language Education: Motivation and Cognition, and (17) The Journey to the Way. Each chapter starts with a photo or picture in life and a quote in English to relate our life to teaching and theories, then followed a section of relating teaching to cognitive linguistics and cognition in general.
Congratulations Professor Dai!
You can read some of Professor Dai’s book (in Chinese) here.
Six second-year interpretation students in Spanish program perform the art of interpretation at Fall Forum on one of the most important challenges of our time: Water.
Martina Kinkle, Erin Teske, Alison Woods, Mariano De Anton, Deepti Limaye, & Omkar Kalaskar (from left to right)
Spanish interpreters are constantly challenged:
Taking out the fluff. Formal speeches in Spanish tend to use more flowery language, whereas English is generally more succinct. When interpreting, this can make your job easier, because you can interpret a message using fewer words, or more difficult, since it might take more effort to actually decipher the speaker’s message.
Careful with those false cognates! Spanish and English share many words that are spelled and pronounced similarly, but which have very different meanings. For example, if you say you’re ‘embarazada’, it actually means you’re pregnant, not embarrassed. Although this is a very basic example, false cognates can be tricky in more formal discourse as well.
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Are you working towards an international career? Do you dream of representing your country in an international conference? Will you have someone interpreting for you?
Fall Forum, MIIS’s annual interpreting event, is the best occasion to get a feel for what interpretation means as you watch interpreters in action. This year, aspiring interpreters studying in MIIS’s Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish programs will demonstrate consecutive interpretation in the forum, which will focus on the one of the most urgent issues of our time: Water.
The event will be held at MIIS on November 14th, from 2 to 5pm, with a reception from 5 to 6:30pm. You might discover that someone you already know from MIIS is a future interpreter, and be surprised to see them performing the art of interpretation. As the organizers for the event, the Fall Forum Committee would like to introduce our interpreters in our next post so that our readers can get to know their work and personality, in addition to providing some updates on the event. Please stay tuned!
MIIS Faculty Lisa Donohoe Luscombe has recently been published. The article is called Language and identity in a post-Soviet world: language of education and linguistic identity among Azerbaijani students.
Lisa’s article was published by the journal, Nationalities Paper: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity, and can be found at this link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/.VADD89JdXcg#.VADH8tJdXcg
Returned Peace Corps volunteer Adam Garnica recently shared highlights of his two years as an English teacher in Mongolia through the Institute’s Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program.
“Summarizing my Peace Corps experience is difficult. I spent two years maintaining my own blog (http://www.2secondstreet.wordpress.com/) to help disseminate my experience, and even then, I find that the stories told there only scratch the surface. My favorite posts include my one on the history of Mongolian script, the story of me getting my first deel, and the list and description of traditional Mongolian dairy treats.
I spent two years teaching at a collection of schools, working with 25 teachers and over 2,000 students to help improve English teaching and language ability. I met a variety of fascinating characters who ended up being teachers: Munkhtuya, a nurse who joined the democracy rallies in Sukhbaatar Square back when the country switched from their communist model, Nergui, who ran a small business and observed the illegal fur trade, and Bujidmaa, a young woman born after the revolution who sees new hope for her country. The students were diverse and unique, full of optimism, anxiety, warmth, and promise for the future.
There were wonderful projects where I met unique people. I traveled to the taiga on the border with Russia, in the middle of a national park, to do health and English workshops with the Tsaatan, or Reindeer People. I participated in the English Language Teacher’s Association of Mongolia’s (ELTAM) annual seminar with one of my co-teachers, presenting a poster on a simulation we did on civilizations. I climbed a mountain with several men to watch the sun rise during the lunar new year. I cut a young girl’s hair to signal the end of her infancy. Along the way there were miners, students, business owners, herders, restauranteurs, and welcoming strangers.
Mongolia is going through unique growing pains, and for two years, I saw the effects. Inflation hurt everyone I saw as the value of money spiraled downward. Alcoholism wandered the streets in broad daylight, or sat motionless by the school’s gates. Wealth flowed into the city, but only to select pockets. Skinheads, businessmen, young families, and environmental protestors in traditional garb flooded the streets of the capital, hoping to shape their nation’s future.
The country is so much more than the conquests of Chinggis Khaan, and I’m glad I got to learn and experience a bit of their culture as they work through this important time in their nation’s history. It helped give me a new perspective on the developing world, politics, nature, and education, and how no matter where you go, people want safe, secure, and meaningful lives.
I’m also happy to be back at MIIS, where I know the students and faculty understand the value of what I was able to experience. It’s also nice to not be cold all the time, but that’s another story for another time!”
Professor Anthony Pym will give two lectures next month.
Ohio State University
Lecture and workshop on translation as a model for the revitalization of the humanities
Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
Lecture on cognitive research on translation processes
We are excited to announce the launch of a new graduate certificate program in Spanish Community Interpreting. This certificate program is distinguished for its nationally-known faculty, who offer participants a solid foundation in written translation, sight translation, consecutive dialogue interpreting and simultaneous interpreting. Participants will build professional and linguistic knowledge needed for the fields of legal, medical, social service and educational interpreting and will be prepared to take certification exams in the relevant sectors.
For more information about this new course and how to apply, please visit http://go.miis.edu/communityinterp