Modern Language Association reports flat growth for language teaching positions

For those seeking jobs teaching English or foreign languages, the job market remains bleak — but what passes for good news may be that the number of openings is flat this year, and isn’t dropping further after dramatic declines in the previous two years.

That’s the conclusion of the annual report on job openings of the Modern Language Association, which tracks its job listings each year as a measure of the health of the market overall. While not all openings are listed with the MLA, its figures for English and foreign languages match the overall rises and falls of available jobs — especially tenure-track assistant professor openings that are most sought by new Ph.D.s. The association is today releasing its projections for the 2010-11 academic year listings, in advance of the group’s annual meeting, which starts Thursday in Los Angeles. Read More...


Wikipedia turns 10, sets up in India to expand user base for local language Wikipedias

Wikipedia turns 10 this January. In 2010, we saw several Wiki Media Foundation bigwigs visit India, hold public meet-ups with the Wiki community and appoint the first Indian to sit on the board of the Wikipedia Foundation, Bisakha Dutta. Apart from the formal Indian Wikipedia chapter, that has been on the anvil for some time now, Wikipedia Foundation has also chosen India to set up its first offshore office.
But why India? The large number of potential Net users here, and the ‘ground support’ that exists in the form of a passionate community of Wikipedians, drive these “offshore efforts”. However, they realize, that the ‘Indian Internet’ is by no means a homogeneous entity. During recent visits to India, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has repeatedly articulated the need to approach Wikipedia growth here from a strictly “localized” perspective — by expanding the user base for the local language Wikipedias. Read More...


New York city legislators call for state law that will provide language services to medication consumers

New York City legislators and advocates are calling on the state to implement a law so all chain-store pharmacies across the state will need to provide language services to help consumers understand their medications. The state law would be modeled on a city law passed in 2009 that took effect in June.
“Taking prescription medications shouldn’t be a game of Russian roulette for seniors, non-English speakers or anyone else,” said state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) in a statement. “I am committed to doing all I can, working with my colleagues in the Legislature, to make medication instructions and prescription labels understandable to all consumers.”
The initiative has been supported by Peralta, state Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), the immigrant advocacy program Make the Road New York and the Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, which has taken on Make the Road as a client.
Nisha Agarwal, director of the Health Justice Program, said her program and Make the Road have been working on this issue since 2007. After previous collaboration on various health-care issues, the organizations decided to work on this issue based on a New York Academy of Medicine study that found while 88 percent of pharmacists saw individuals with limited proficiency in English daily and almost 80 percent had the capacity to translate labels, only about 39 percent translated labels daily and almost 23 percent did not translate labels.
“The pharmacist couldn’t explain to them how to take their medicine in a language they would understand,” Agarwal said. Read More...


The European Commission’s Directorate General for Translation (DGT) launched a clear writing campaign song

“We are leading a campaign to encourage Commission officials to write more clearly. “Good news: clarity’s a-coming!”, by David Monkcom, is the Clear Writing campaign song. It summarizes the advice contained in our campaign booklet “How to write clearly” [pdf] and sets it to a traditional gospel melody. It’s sung here by the Hot Air Vocal Ensemble – a Brussels-based choir of which David is a member. For further information about the Clear Writing campaign e-mail: DGT-CLEAR-WRITING@ec.europa.eu .”
The Commission also published the plain language guide How to Write Clearly, which is available in all 23 official languages of the European Union! Read More...


New career opportunities for medical interpreters in U.S.

Federal laws have been on the books for years requiring medical institutions to provide interpreters to non-native speakers, but there has been little enforcement of the provisions until recently. Now the Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 18,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States, is establishing new standards effective in January requiring hospitals to provide language interpreting and translation services.
The new provisions are expected to further fuel the demand for medical interpreters, which were already in short supply.
Even before the new standards were introduced, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted jobs for interpreters and translators would grow by 22 percent over the next decade, faster than the average for all other occupations. Meanwhile a nationwide survey of 4,700 doctors, conducted by the nonprofit Center for Studying Health System Change, found that only 55.8 percent of practices with non-English speaking patients provide interpreting services, and 40 percent offer patient-education materials in languages other than English.
Medicaid currently reimburses the medical provider for the services of an interpreter. Depending on the state, a medical interpreter can make $25 to $50 an hour. In the private sector, they can command upwards of $100 an hour. However, it can be even more costly to forego the services of an interpreter, said Dr. Olgierda Furmanek, an associate professor at Wake Forest University who has designed a new graduate level curriculum in response to this burgeoning career opportunity. Read More...