Long-tail Languages: A Social Justice Perspective

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to long-tail languages worldwide. Apps and games are being localized into them, and critical information and government announcements have been translated. Although international travelling has been limited during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns over the past year, information exchanges across borders have never stopped, making languages that were once maybe considered non-essential decades ago now not only paid more…

COVID Stories: Life as an ASL Interpreter in the time of COVID

By: Anna Grunfeld I had an experience recently that I’ve been thinking about and wanted to share some thoughts. I was fortunate enough to receive my second dose of the COVID vaccine, having qualified for the early second dose. When I called to book my appointment, the lady on the phone asked me what qualified me for the early dose, and I explained that I am a Sign Language Interpreter who works in many high-risk settings…

Chatbot and the Language Industry

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator  What comes to mind when you see the word chatbot? Siri? Alexa? Or the automatic replies you receive when you type in an online customer service chat box? Well, they are all a part of the big chatbot family. As the name indicates, chatbots are robots that can automatically generate conversations with humans and fall into the artificial intelligence (AI) category. When asked questions, chatbots generally come up with…

Fictional Languages and Where to Find Them

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator Late last year, with the airing of The Mandalorian, Tusken Sign Language was introduced to the public. Accompanied by the unbearable cuteness of ‘Baby Yoda’ and the attention it brought to the Deaf community’s contributions to the film industry, the series and Tusken Sign Language trended online, adding a new member to the family of fictional languages. Fictional languages, familiar to fans of sci-fi and fantasy genres, have a…

Vaccination and Protecting Oral Traditions of Indigenous Languages

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator In the past few months, as Canada started vaccinating the first few eligible groups of people against COVID-19, provinces, including Manitoba, have chosen to prioritize Indigenous knowledge keepers for the first batches of jabs. In Ontario, this prioritization applies to all First Nations, Métis and Inuit adults. The policy was well-received by local Indigenous communities, as knowledge keepers serve are vital in preserving their languages and cultures, which, until two…

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…

The Progression of American Sign Language Throughout COVID-19

By: Ashley Tulio, Communications Specialist American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language in which the brain processes linguistic information through the eyes. The movement of the hands, body, and facial expressions all play essential parts in conveying information. In spoken language, emotions and questions can be shown by raising the pitch of voices or adjusting the word order. However, ASL users express emotions and ask questions by raising their eyebrows, widening their eyes, and…

Diversity of Languages in the World

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator We all know it’s hard to learn a new language. Transitioning from one language to another is way more difficult than transitioning from using the system of a Windows PC to that of a Mac laptop. The realm of languages is so vast and diverse that it’s almost impossible for one person to master them all – the about 7,000 languages spoken in today’s world, and the 180 spoken…

Battling COVID-19 and Filling the Language Gap: Reflections on Language Advocacy Day

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator If there has been one common goal for people all around the globe in the past year, it would be to end the COVID-19 global pandemic. The disease doesn’t discriminate. Since last March, we have witnessed people from all walks of life with different social statuses and cultural backgrounds falling into its trap. A year has passed, and the virus still doesn’t seem to want to stop. What is…

Highlights of Challenges Facing Ontario’s Language Services Sector

By: Craig Carter-Edwards The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a stress test for many essential services offered in Ontario. It has brought to light the challenges, inequities and structural flaws within systems designed to support the health and well-being of Ontarians. These challenges, of course, existed before COVID-19, but this crisis has increased the level of public’s awareness of them. Among these are translation and interpretation services. Many Ontarians with limited knowledge of English and/or…