Language, Culture and Identity: Case of Cameroon Anglophone Crisis

During the just ended Peace Summit in France, Cameroon's President, Paul Biya declared there were key differences between French- and English-speaking Cameroonians because of their contrasting experiences under colonial rule: "My country is complex. ... After the First World War, ... Some were under British colonization and others under French colonization. The result has been a juxtaposition of culture and civilization that makes things quite difficult. Well, we have done everything we can to put the two languages, English and French, on an equal footing but, the mindsets, as well as the judicial systems, are different..." Paul Biya explained.  ...
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Translators are here for the long haul!

I would say 'no comment' to the decision by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to use Google Translate in vetting refugees' social media activities, but, as a professional translator, this is a slap in the face. For a link to the referenced article, please click here.  Many a translator would still be offended should USCIS use non-professional linguists. That would, however, be easily understood based on the overwhelming number of applicants and the fact that the linguists would at least be humans. Machine Translation (MT) is beneficial both to the translator and the end-client in that it improves...
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Globalization and the Vanishing Voices of the World

Language extinction is a slow but sure process. I have always been intrigued by that sad reality. This was rekindled after I watched a performance of Lena Herzog’s “Last Whispers” at the Kennedy Center, DC yesterday.A three-part immersive audio/visual/virtual reality oratorio on extinct and endangered languages, “Last Whispers” is a composition of both spoken and sung recordings of about 40 extinct and endangered languages among which:Ahom, ChinaAyoreo, ParaguayBathari, OmanLxcatec, MexicoDalabon, AustraliaGreat Andamanese, IndiaIngrian, RussiaKotiria, BrasilKoyukon, AlaskaOngota, EthiopiaThat presentation reawakened the reality of endangered languages and I couldn’t help but reflect on the causes and effects of the gradual disappearance of...
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15 Success Tips and Tools for a Freelance Translator

There exist quite a few resources on freelance translator tips out there. Even though some existing tips are applicable across the board, every author’s content and experience are unique and so is their readership or target audience. In the paragraphs below, I am sharing those tips and best practices that have worked for me as a French-English freelance translator. My assumption is that you already possess the necessary translator training, skills and techniques including: Formal education or training in translation or linguistics Native proficiency level in your target language (s) (excellent grammar, writing and vocabulary skills) Reading and comprehension skills...
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#ATA59 NOLA: A Conference Well Worth It!

All roads led to New Orleans for the just-ended 59th annual conference of the American Translators Association (#ATA59, #NOLA). About 1,600 participants (linguists, language service providers, companies/organizations, government agencies…) from across the globe, representing every major language or culture one could think of. As always, it was diversity at its best and cross-cultural communication in action. I’m yet to be a veteran attendee but can safely say there’s no better place to network, meet and make friends who ‘get’ you, acquire much-needed skills in the ever-changing T&I industry, expand your horizon and grow your business than at the ATA conference....
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You spoke, We listened: Website Facelift

It's been a long-time coming but we finally implemented some changes on our currently self-managed website. We made both cosmetic and content changes. Among the new features are:A  Services pageA revamped Home pageAn About page that truly represents usA Contact page and widgetOur acclaimed Workflow/QA processAn updated Quote Request page that now includes a formWe believe the changes make our site more user-friendly and that the current site does more justice to our business and services.Thanks a lot for sacrificing a few minutes of your time to review and provide objective feedback. To access the site, please go to website or click on any of the hyperlinks in...
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A Culturo-linguistic Perspective of the Separatist Movement in Cameroon

Commonly dubbed 'Africa in Miniature', for its cultural, ethnic and geographical diversity, this Central African nation is home to over 277 living  languages (273 indigenous, 4 non-indigenous, 12 institutional, 101 developing, 88 vigorous, 56 endangered, and 20 dying) with French and English as official languages. Handed as 'bounty' to France and Britain after the first World War, Cameroon was geographically and linguistically split into 'anglophone', Southern or British and 'francophone'  or French Cameroon or territories respectively. For a better understanding of our analysis, here's a brief socio-political background on Cameroon: While English Cameroon witnessed colonial inclusion by the British, French...
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Translation is a technical skill!

Bilingualism, isn't the only prerequisite for being a translator. Although both activities entail communicating in two languages, translation is an art in itself, it requires special skills and techniques. Bilingualism only focuses on communicating in either of two languages interchangeably, while translation focuses on the ability to communicate between the two languages. Some bilinguals learn both languages simultaneously and use both languages in the same setting while others learn their second language in a different setting. While bilingualism has many advantages like divergent thinking, linguistic abilities, thought patterns, world perspective in general,Oral fluency in a language, especially in social bilingualism isn't a...
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Shout out to all the strong women out there! #womanpower

To commemorate Mother's Day, I would like to highlight and express gratitude to my female stronghold. I am surrounded by, and have drawn inspiration from many resilient women. Across the globe, women have come a long way, and significant strides have been made towards empowerment and gender equality. Yet, the struggle to face and overcome the sometimes unfair competition and discrimination between sexes is still very much alive; even in seemingly tolerant/equal workplaces or the most advanced societies. The gender wage gap in America for example, cannot be overemphasized. For the purpose of this blog, we would like to focus...
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The Leap of Faith

It is amazing how easily we could get comfortable in misery. It just takes us courage and faith to take risks and liberate ourselves from miserable situations we find ourselves stuck in.For every freelancer, and I believe this is true for any life-changing situation, there's always that moment, that experience that pushes us to take that leap and just trust our faith and capabilities. Mine came when I knew I had enough of being miserable at a full-time job. The current world economy and job market situation leaves many people in jobs they're way overqualified for, both in terms of...
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Ramblings of a Translator

A translator colleague says he may have to ‘avoid the Brits to be a good translator…’ I thought that was hilarious. I believe it’s harder for the typical American because of the almost monolingual (safe for some Spanish) situation of the country. For linguists or people who grow up in multi-lingual contexts, code-switching is a near natural phenomenon. British and American English vary but for the most part, it’s the same core language.  And I’d dare say that in terms of authenticity, the former carries more weight. Same applies to say Canadian vs French French or Belgian vs French French. That’s where...
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