Struggles Only Language Professionals Can Relate To

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator Among the thousands of languages spoken in today’s world, only around 100 can be translated using machine translation. When technology really can’t do it all for us, we rely heavily on human translators and interpreters for the huge volume of information exchange that’s happening every day. While thanking them and appreciating their commitment, it’s also important to acknowledge that translation and interpretation are not easy jobs. To honour the…

Fonts and Writing Systems of the Chinese Language: What Went Wrong in Mulan?

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator As a native Chinese speaker, as much as I want to appreciate Disney’s effort in trying to recreate the story of Mulan, a famous female soldier who symbolizes bravery and loyalty in Chinese literature, the above scene gave me mixed feelings. Upon looking at the inscription on Mulan’s family sword, my feelings might be equivalent to an English speaker watching a period film, where one of the characters opens…

The Magic of Language Services in Health Care

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator As a non-native English speaker, ever since I came to Canada, I set this ground rule for myself: my future life partner has to speak English well. He doesn’t need to get a perfect 9 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) tests, but he needs to be able to communicate with a doctor if I unfortunately am ever found to be in the position that I cannot….

Language Access and COVID-19 Information – How’s the World Doing?

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) announced COVID-19 as a pandemic, the widespread of the novel coronavirus officially became a global issue. As of today, most of the countries in the world have published official instructions on how to self-assess, how to prevent the disease, and what to do if one’s close contacts have tested positive for the virus. Most of these guidelines are written in each country’s official languages. However, the prevention of a…

China’s Week-long Debate over Censorship, Literature, and AO3

Archive of Our Own, or AO3, is a non-profit publishing platform run by the Organization for Transformative Works to support creative freedom. It supports over 70 languages including English, French, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Esperanto, Korean and Chinese. On Aug. 19, 2019, AO3 won a Hugo Award in the category of Best Related Work for its contribution to literature. On Feb. 29, 2020, China banned access to the website. Here is an insider’s view of exactly…

Starting from “How Are You” – How Communication Barrier Goes Beyond Language

by: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator Seven years ago, when I first came to Canada, the first culture shock I ever experienced was the question “How are you?” It was my biggest fear at the time, that someone would show up in front of me and burst out the words: “how are you?” I, feeling attacked, would have to answer in return, without having developed the conditioned response of replying with “I’m good.” Before I…

Breaking down Chinese on Chinese Language Day

By: Hongyan (Jack) Xu – Marketing Manager & Conference Interpreter In 2010, the United Nations declared “Language Days at the United Nations”, to celebrate official languages used at the UN. April 20th was declared Chinese Language Day, a date taken from the Chinese lunar calendar called “Guyu”, or the “Rain of Grains”. Legend has it, a man named Cangjie on this day invented the first written Chinese characters based on animal tracks. His wisdom moved…