By JILL KUSHNER BISHOP, Multilingual Connections Machine translation can undermine nuanced research data and analysis—here's a close look at human/machine difference. Connecting with other people is at the heart of ethnographic research – understanding their perspectives, preferences, and behaviors helps organizations create and align offerings with consumers. Research relies on clear communication to optimize participant experience and develop meaningful insights from research results. Yet not all communication is created equal – especially when working in multiple languages. Translation by machine or an inexperienced translator often lacks cultural nuance and can miss the mark, resulting in a poor participant experience, study attrition, less than optimal interpretation, and ultimately insufficient research outcomes. To illustrate the differences in output between human and machine translation, we set up several experiments – first pitting human vs. machine and then pitting two experienced translators against each other....
Why does Nuance Matter when Translating and Transcribing Multilingual Content?
Jennifer Collier Jennings
by JILL KUSHNER BISHOP, Multilingual Connections Languages are alive—vibrant and eloquent expressions of who we are. During my doctoral fieldwork I looked at how people used language to enact and express their identity, how connections and community were created through speech and how forms of talk, particular phrases or words, could transport people across time and space. Words matter. So when contemplating translation, how can you ensure a focus on each word while not losing sight of the broader cultural considerations? When research brings you to multilingual communities—whether globally or in your own backyard—it’s essential to consider the linguistic and cultural practices of your target audience. Assuming you’re doing work in their language of choice, you’ll likely have content that needs to be translated or audio that needs to be transcribed to analyze the data you’ve collected. In either case, nuance matters. Choices of words, phrases or metaphors—yours or theirs—signify by conveying meaning about ideas,...
Found in Translation: Pro Tips for Translating and Transcribing Multilingual Content
Jennifer Collier Jennings
by JILL KUSHNER BISHOP, Multilingual Connections You may recall the old joke: What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. Two languages? Bilingual. One language? American. The study of world languages among Americans lags far behind that of many other countries, with less than seven percent of American college students enrolled in language courses. Among adults who studied a second language in school, less than one percent claim to be proficient. Despite the sad state of world language education in the US, that old joke applies less and less all the time. The American Community Survey of 2013 study found that one in five US residents—almost 62 million people—speaks a language other than English at home, with 41% speaking English “less than very well”. When research brings you to multilingual communities—whether in the US or globally—it’s essential to consider the linguistic and cultural preferences of your target audience. Assuming you’re doing work in their language of choice,...
Tutorial: Decoding Organizational Change
Jennifer Collier Jennings • 0 Comments
Tutorial Instructors: KATE SIECK RAND STEVEN GARCIA Team One Businesses are infamous for their rich lexicon of words to describe change: growth, revitalization, reinvention, innovation, revolution, evolution, and every manner of “do something different.” But what does all of this mean? How do these different terms work? What do they imply about the process of change? And under what conditions might they succeed? That was the question driving this tutorial. Starting with some introductory concepts from cognitive and linguistic anthropology, we took a pass at the conceptual models underlying some of the more popular terms in this vocabulary. We presented three – Growth, Disruption, and Innovation – while the tutorial participants completed four additional ideas: Pivot, Lean, North Star, and Unify....