47 million American citizens are unable to speak English or do not speak English as their primary language. This often produces communication problems in situations where clear communication is important, such as in healthcare and health related industries.
Though translation technology is far from being perfect, advanced translation tech is very useful in hospitals and pharmacies where live translation help isn’t always immediately available.
How Can Medical Translation Tech Impact Healthcare?
Healthcare can be positively impacted by translation technology in many ways, but there are a few very practical ways it can help improve healthcare and also help people communicate better with their doctors to prevent serious mishaps and misunderstandings.
Translation services through translation technology significantly reduce cost for hospitals and other medical centers. The money they save by using text-to-text and text-to-speech technology for translation between doctors, nurses, and patients can be spent on other medical equipment and services.
Translation technology can also reduce wait time for patients, as well. It’s not uncommon for people to have to wait up to twenty-five minutes on top of other wait times just to get a translator, unless the hospitals employs a full time translation staff. The wait time can be even longer for uncommon languages.
The languages that most United States hospitals have access to are likely to be either Spanish or Chinese. Chinese translation has been growing steadily more popular in the United States due to business relations with China. Finding a translator is what hospitals have an especially hard time with.
That’s why translation technology is becoming especially popular in hospitals where stacks of paperwork are filled out every hour. It’s still important for paperwork to be filled out correctly and accurately, or else fatal mistakes can be made.
Translation Tech Offers More Privacy
Hospitals aren’t just saving money and getting paperwork done faster by using translation technology though. The personal side of healthcare is also affected. By using a professional translator as a middleman, doctors are often in danger of getting lost in translation through small miscommunications and misinterpreted answers.
Patients can also be hesitant to talk about personal health information with people other than their doctor. This could force people to leave out crucial details to avoid embarrassment. Having a written translation of a patient’s records and health questionnaires can allow a doctor to see if the questions are really being understood or not.
Also, exams will take less time, and personal information stays only between the patient and physician.
Yinjie Qian, the Chinese language teacher at Olympic Heights High School in Florida has received the 2012 “Teacher of the Year” award from the Florida Chinese Teachers Association. Qian is originally from China, but she has lived in Florida for sixteen years now, and she continues to teach her classes Chinese songs, skits, and poetry in an attempt to get them to learn fluent Chinese.
Students Excel Because of Hardworking Teacher
Qian didn’t start out at Olympic Heights as the Chinese language teacher. She first began her career at the high school as an ESL teacher, and she didn’t form the Chinese language program until 2006.
During 2006, Quian earned National Board Certification and quickly took the lead in forming the Chinese language program that would soon enable hundreds of students to learn Chinese and Chinese translation.
“Nothing is more gratifying than seeing my students’ achievements,” said Qian after she received her award. Many of her students have gone on to receive Chinese language scholarships, top awards at the State Chinese Competitions, or nominated as Pathfinder candidates all under her tutelage.
The program, which started out as a single class, has grown to include multiple levels as well as an AP class for students who wish to learn professional translation skills. One former student continued Chinese all the way through college and has just earned an internship in China.
Quian Continues Her Education
Though Qian has already revived the “Teacher of the Year” award and passed the National Board Certification, she continues to take classes and further her education. She spends the summers in China, taking extra teaching courses, and she has been invited to speak at the Florida Foreign Language Association Annual Conference.
In addition to this, Qian has also been asked to help grade AP Chinese exams by the College Board. With so many of her students going on to college to pursue business and legal translation skills, Olympic Heights High School and all of Florida are very grateful to Qian for her gifted teaching, and they recognize a talented educator when they see one.
Qian ended her interview by saying, “Many teachers at our school are dedicated and hard-working. To me, they are the unsung heroes and role models I often draw inspiration from. My students are also the source of my driving force. Their energy and enthusiasm for learning have always inspired me to better prepare them for their future.”
Two students at Northeastern University have won scholarships to study Chinese language and culture in China for eight months. They had previously been studying Chinese business translation, and because of their work and effort, they have been chosen to continue their studies abroad.
Chinese Scholarship Awarded Through the Fulbright-Hays Group
The scholarships from the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program are awarded through the U.S. Department of Education, but students can sign up for the scholarships through their individual schools. The winners are young men, one a sophomore and the other a junior at Northwestern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
During their stay in China, they will work on their Chinese translation skills, study in a Chinese college, and intern at Chinese companies within the Xi’an High-Tech Development Zone. The Northwestern students won the scholarship along with fourteen other students in the New England area. They have already participated in a summer immersion program called Dialogue of Civilizations.
Skills Beyond the Language
During the program, they not only learned more about the Chinese language and culture, but they also demonstrated leadership skills and the ability to express their thoughts clearly and articulately. The language program director at Northwestern described the students saying, “While they are business students, they are curious about all aspects of Chinese culture.
They didn’t just focus on the Chinese businesses and ignore the social and cultural history. I think that’s what makes them really stand out.”
About one billion tourists were abroad in 2012, and that amount is projected to increase during 2013. Some noticeable differences in the tourists this last year were that there were more Chinese tourists than ever, and they spent an average of 30% more than other tourists.
In light of this, more than thirty different countries are planning ways to lure in more Chinese tourists during 2013. The tactics include everything from providing Chinese translation at major landmarks to simplifying visa norms.
Countries Vie for Chinese Tourism
Restaurants, hotels, attraction sites, and more are all recruiting people to provide Chinese business translation services for the expected tourists this year. With debt problems widespread across the globe, people have high expectations for this year’s tourist season.
China has recently experienced a job boom, and the middle class is expanding. People have more disposable income, and other countries are fighting each other to be the place where they spend it. The U.K., the U.S., and Australia are all hoping Chinese tourists will give some life to their flagging economies.
Main Touristic Cities
Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Korean, and Japan are popular neighboring countries, and they have already begun rewriting their tourism policies in anticipation of 2013’s Chinese tourists. In the Philippines, Chinese tourists make up the fourth largest market for tourism.
Over the summer, there was a territorial dispute that interrupted tourism, but it has picked up once again and more plans are being made to attract Chinese nationals. In America, Chinese tourism increased by 30% in 2012, and now the United States is looking to increase that number once again in 2013.
Many different landmarks throughout the country are making an effort to hire people who are able to provide professional translation services in Mandarin, and the U.S. government has introduced an expedited visa process.
Go Big or Go Home
Attracting Chinese tourists seems to be on everyone’s agenda for the New Year. Even countries like Gambia, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan are making marketing efforts to get their share of Chinese tourism. Basically, the only country that has not had any increase in tourism from China has been Japan, though not from lack of effort.
A dispute over the Senkaku and Diaoyu Islands has been the main reason for the decrease in tourists. However, they are still one of the thirty or so countries making tourism policies right and left trying to take advantage of China’s thriving economy.
There are foreign businesses being set up by the hundreds in China every year. This year, China will start up over 500 new KFC restaurants across the country with plans for even more growth.
With 160 cities that contain over a million citizens, there is plenty of demand for foreign goods and products. However, there are some barriers that make setting up the businesses a little difficult.
Unique Challenges for Foreign Brands
A large part of the problem is finding accurate translation services. KFC’s original slogan when translated into Chinese was “eat your fingers off” until a correction was made. The main problem is that there are so many different dialects, and they aren’t always interchangeable or mutually intelligible. Chinese translations can mean translating into Mandarin, Wu, Cantonese, or several other varieties of Chinese.
Other problems include distribution and political barriers. Though the internet has helped tremendously with distribution, restaurants are still struggling. Also, there are political barriers when certain companies have celebrities endorse products. Richard Gere did a commercial for Fiat and Dior that wasn’t aired in China because Gere supports Tibetan independence.
All of these factors have to be considered before a foreign business can be established in China, even though many businesses do very well in the country.
Chinese is arguably one of the most difficult languages to learn, but scholars are still wondering if younger children would benefit from learning the language. Young children have proven to be able to learn different languages much more quickly than older children and adults.
Schools across the United States often have immersion schools for German and Spanish, but Chinese is starting to become more popular as well. In fact, it is nearly the most widely spoken second language.
This is because Chinese translation is becoming more important for business in America and other countries, and people want to equip their children for a successful future.
Confucius Institute Helps Elementary Classrooms Learn Chinese
In order to create a pipeline of students who will continue to learn the Chinese language after high school, several different universities across the United States that have Confucius Institutes have started elementary programs for K-12th grade students to learn Chinese in the classroom.
They have also provided scholarship programs for high school students to take college language classes while they are still in high school. The credits they earn can be applied to many different colleges.
The idea behind the programs and scholarships is to encourage students to develop more in-depth language skills so that they can possibly go on to careers where they will be able to provide professional translation and Chinese business translation.
China’s Confucius Institute has been around for a while, but it is still gaining popularity especially now that Chinese is becoming more globally spoken. The Institute was created to teach people more about the language and culture of China, and it has done this through Chinese translation and language programs as well as through theater and the arts.
In 2006, the United States opened its universities to the Confucius Institute, allowing classes and programs to be taught inside already existing schools.
Learning Chinese Can be Important for Business Students
The Institutes all around the world have given students the opportunity to learn Chinese languages and Chinese culture. Chinese business translation and legal translation has been a rising job market, and many students are trying to ensure that they have a profitable career ahead of them out of college.
Australia is the first country that has made learning an Asian language mandatory, but many other countries have also started to seriously consider the benefits of learning Chinese and other Asian languages.
Nearly a week ago, the presidents from colleges and universities around the world met in Beijing to discuss the plans for developing the Confucius Institutes that are already established and also the ones yet to be established.
Their plans were to discuss financial issues as well as how to more effectively teach the Chinese language and spread awareness of Chinese culture. The institute has already produced many professional translators and the number is likely to increase as the Institute grows.
Concerns about the Institute
Despite its popularity and growth, the Institute has also had some issues, one of which is being short staffed. Another issue that some countries have a problem with is that the Confucius Institute is funded by the Chinese Communist Party, and on some level, they use the institutions to spread propaganda and exercise some measure of control over what the institutions do.
However, there is no denying the effectiveness of the Institute, and their passion for teaching the language and culture of China is admirable.
Right now, the main problem with the Institute is finding full-time teachers. The classes are mainly taught by half-time volunteers, but in the institutions located on different continents, half-time teachers are not enough to keep the schools running.
Some say that highly trained teachers avoid teaching in the Institutes, and others are wary about letting schools with communist ties into their countries. The meeting last week was held in part to discuss these issues so that some resolution could be found.
Since last year, Ivey Publishing has been recruiting student volunteers from the Ontario and London campus of the Ivey School of Business to help translate cases from English to simple Chinese.
The students in Canada usually can’t find paying jobs while in school, but the Chinese translation they provide for Ivey Publishing is something they can add to their resumes.
Ivey Has Relied on Chinese Schools in the Past
The Ivey School of Business is the second largest publisher of analyzed corporate problems and solutions in the form of cases, and in the past, they have relied on school in China to provide them with translation services. Now, they have turned to a different resource, namely Chinese students that attend the London or Ontario business school campuses.
This change has been beneficial for the school and also for the students because the school can’t pay the students for the translations they provide, but the students can use their experience on their resumes.
Since the students are studying business, the translations they provide help them work on their legal and business translation, and it also allows them to gain general translation experience for future jobs. More and more business schools are starting up in China, and it has increased the demand for western style cases and other business content for teaching purposes. The new solution to translating cases has seemed to work well for everyone so far.
Source: The Globe and Mail
Theater in China
Chinese theater dates back to the dynastic period and has a long history. While there are many different types of dramatic arts in China, the bulk of the art is now referred to as Chinese opera. Other categories of Chinese theater, all of which date back to the Shang Dynasty, are shadow plays, mimes, and acrobatics.
Shadow puppetry first became popular during the Ling Dynasty. There were two different schools of shadow plays at the time, Pekingese (northern) and Cantonese (southern). What differentiated the styles were not the stories they told or the content of the play, but how the puppets were crafted. The Cantonese puppets were large and were made of leather. Color was used to symbolize character traits, for example, red stood for bravery, while black stood for honesty. The Pekingese puppets were smaller and were painted with rich colors. All of the puppets had detachable heads, which were stored in fabric-lined boxes. This was practiced due to an old superstition that if the heads were left on the puppets, they would come to life during the night.
The operatic tradition began during the Three Kingdoms era in China, but was not an organized entity until the Tang Dynasty, where Emperor Xuanzong (712-755) started the first opera troupe in China. The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) brought a new form of opera called Zaju that implemented rhyme schemes and the use of stereotyped characters. The most popular form of opera is Beijing opera, where traditional Chinese string and percussion instruments accompany the acting. Actors in Beijing operas are highly trained and rely on stereotyped motions. Their gestures, foot movements and other body language are as exact as speaking, and can express anything from riding a horse to opening a door.
During the early 1900s, many young Chinese came home from studying abroad and brought with them strong influences from Western theater. Cao Yu was one of the major playwrights of this time, in which the strict motions of Beijing opera were cast aside. The beginnings of the People’s Republic of China brought on much disillusionment for the theater. The Cultural Revolution brought on the persecution of many playwrights and the disbanding of most opera troupes. All operas were blacklisted except for eight “model operas”, and all Western-style plays were condemned.
After the Cultural Revolution, plays that had been banned were revived and new works were written and performed. A large amount of these plays dealt with the controversial issues of the Communist Party’s misuse of power.
The Cultural Revolution of China had a main goal of decreasing any capitalist elements remaining in the social structure in order to move towards an ultimate goal of Communism. Mao Zedong was the leader of the party and is often referred to as the chairman of the socialist movement and revolution in China. In 1966, those who opposed the change were removed through class struggle. Children were used in groups called the Red Guards to implement changes at a younger age and further the process. These changes lead to multiple elements of damage throughout the country. These changes were most supported by the working class who received benefits from the new improvements and ideas.
With the new implementation of socialism across the country, Mao’s efforts relieved many top officials who were not supporters of communism, but capitalism. With these removals, structure soon crumbled. The economic structure was the first major hit to the country. Those persecuted suffered from multiple punishments. Assets were taken, women were raped, and multiple people suffered from beatings. Those who still remained rebellious joined the Countryside teams, who fought for the previous state of the country, but were often displaced, and had little resources to cause much change. The Cultural Revolution officially ended in 1969, but multiple rebellions still occurred.
After Mao’s death in 1976, forces within the party grew stronger, and the opposition of the Cultural Revolution grew larger. Led by Deng Xiaoping, reformers worked to abandon any Maoist ideas left in the revolution, which was seen to be near an end. With the weakening Communist party, a group called the “Gang of Four” set out to end any Cultural Revolution rule remaining throughout the country. On September 9th, 1976, Mao died from health complications. His remaining supporters saw him as a figure that noticeably progressed China in a communist fashion, but the ultimate view of most citizens, saw it as an end to the movement. The remaining Communist party grew to denounce the Cultural Revolution as a sound idea. Today, the media is prohibited from talking about the effects of the Cultural Revolution, leaving an unheard and unseen mentality. Ideas, such as museums to educate citizens about the Revolution, have been declined multiple times.