Georgia's government recruits brigade of native English speakers to spur a linguistic revolution

The goal is to make Georgia a country where English is as common as in Sweden — and in the process to supplant Russian as the dominant second language.

The government has already lured 1,000 English speakers to Georgia, and by September, hopes to have another 500 in place so that every school in the country has at least one. Under the program, which resembles both the Peace Corps and the Teach for America program, the teachers live rent-free with Georgian families and receive a stipend of about $275 a month.

The initiative to embed these foreigners across Georgia reflects the ambitions of its Western-leaning president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who speaks excellent English and studied law at Columbia University. Read More...


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...


Common Sense Advisory’s predictions for 2011: increased visibility for language services

Each year Common Sense Advisory has issued predictions for the language services industry based on their extensive qualitative and quantitative research. In 2011, language will appear more prominently on the radar of global and domestic organizations than ever before:
* Marketers of everyday products feature built-in language support.
* Translation energizes customer experiences.
* Fiscal scars trigger spending sobriety.
* Project managers at global organizations face an identity crisis.
* Nervous tolerance of machine translation (MT) turns into enthusiastic acceptance.
* Crowdsourced and user-generated content displaces internal documentation and technical support.
* Global and multilingual social media become areas of domain expertise.
* Marketers grab the language opportunity by the “long tail.”
* Video and audio skills create localization stars.
* Hybrid “buyer/supplier” organizations make waves in the industry.
In summary, Common Sense Advisory’s predictions reveal a thriving, exciting climate for the language services industry in 2011, with an overriding theme of enhanced visibility. Language will be seen as an opportunity for revenue enablement, and the increased attention will mean that both buyer requirements and vendor offerings will evolve to become more numerous and diverse. Technology and service providers will play a vital role in facilitating this evolution. Read More...


European Union: own single patent plan would end language feud

BRUSSELS—A plan for twelve nations from the 27-member European Union to create their own single patent would help inventors and end a stand-off over languages, the European Union’s executive arm said Tuesday.
Proposals for a single EU patent have been under discussion for over a decade, but member countries reached a stalemate over language rules. Last month, ministers for economics and enterprise failed to reach a compromise on the language, after having agreed last year on how the new system. Twelve EU member states including France, Germany, the U.K., Sweden and the Netherlands then contacted the commission asking to use the “enhanced cooperation” process to forge ahead with a patent.
Typically, unanimity is required on questions relating to multilingualism; previous negotiations stalled because Spain and Italy had wanted to see their languages included.
The latest proposal now needs to be approved by ministers on the basis of a qualified majority rather than unanimity, after the consent of the European Parliament. Next year, the commission will present detailed proposals for implementing enhanced cooperation for unitary patent protection, including translation requirements, it said.
The patent would be examined and granted in English, French or German, and inventions would be protected in all EU countries participating under the enhanced cooperation. Applicants in the EU whose language isn’t English, French or German would have the option to file applications in any other official language of the bloc. The costs for translation into one of the official languages of the European Patent Organization would be eligible for compensation.


EU Commission launches an online tool for mapping the language industry

The Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission (DGT) launched an interactive online tool for collecting and exchanging data on the European Union language profession and industry on 18 November 2010 in Brussels.
Companies, associations and individuals active in the language industry, and national statistics bodies, are now encouraged to add their input. This will turn the web platform into a valuable source of facts and figures about the language industry.
The web platform offers document search, addition of information and data submission via online questionnaire. It covers the following subsectors of the language industry:
• translation
• interpreting
• subtitling and dubbing
• software localisation and website globalisation
• language technology tools development
• multilingual conference organisation
• language teaching
• linguistic consultancy.
The database is managed by DGT, but most of the input will come from the industry itself. The idea of creating the web platform grew out of a study on the size of the EU language industry, published by DGT in November 2009 (1). The study’s main finding was that the language industry had shown resilience in the face of the financial crisis, and was likely to continue growing at a healthy rate of 10 % over the next five years. But the study also revealed an absence of EU-wide standard practice for statistical coverage of the language industry. As a result, the information available varies from one EU country to another and may also be difficult to track down.