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Now u can txt in Welsh

  •  Posted on Aug 17, 2009  by  | No Comments
_46153192_welshphone226pa Mobile phones have been an indispensable technology for us for so long now that I can’t even remember how long it’s been – but I know it’s at least ten years. Phones have evolved so much that they are no longer phones, but devices that you can use for listening to music, taking photos, browsing the internet and maybe the odd phone call or text message. So all this considered, it’s quite shocking to hear that until now, there hasn’t been a mobile phone for Welsh speakers! Both a phone with Welsh menus and predictive text and also an iPhone application for those wanting to learn Welsh have been unveiled at the National Eisteddfod festival to celebrate Welsh culture. The Samsung S5600 will have over 44,000 Welsh words and be available on the Orange network. The iPhone application was developed with the help of the head of Computer Science at Aberystwyth University Professor Chris Price, who is also a Welsh learner. He said "There are many apps for learning other languages available to iPhone users, amongst them 27 for French, 23 for Italian and even ones for Irish, and Tagalog, which is spoken in the Philippines. I felt it was high time that help of this kind was made available for those learning Welsh."

Top language blogs of 09

Apart from our own of course (we’re slightly biased) there are some great blogs on languages out there. Language blog Lexophiles and language portal have recently held the Top 100 Language Blogs 2009 competition. You can read the results here. We’ll definitely been taking a look through these blogs. And hopefully now that ours is off the ground, we’ll make the 2010 list!  We’re putting together our own list of favourite language blogs so please leave us your suggestions!

Learn to babble with babbel

  •  Posted on Aug 07, 2009  by  | No Comments
There’s no doubt about it – learning another language is no easy feat. Most of us will recall French textbooks and trying to remember those irregular verbs at school. But should you want to learn a new language from scratch or brush up on your existing skills, the power of the internet brings us a website called Babbel, which can help you do just that. Registration is free and users can learn English, French, German, Italian or Spanish, through vocabulary and writing exercises, with the site in their native language. As well as this, you have access to the over 420,000 other users of the site, to chat to, receive help from and also offer advice to. A language learning community seems like a great idea, and a cheap, easy and fun way to improve language skills. So if you fancy getting another language under your belt to put on your CV, why not take a look? I’m going to give Italian a go…

Only in America

  •  Posted on Aug 05, 2009  by  | No Comments
The credit crunch has caused a wide range of problems – but some are more obscure than others. A graduate from Monroe College in New York is suing the University, because like many graduates and experienced professionals worldwide, she hasn’t been able to find a job in the four months since finishing her degree. Trina Thompson said that the University’s careers service had promised contacts and advice for job hunting but not provided them. She’s therefore asking for her tuition fees to be re-paid – all $70,000 of them. This got us thinking – could we see similar lawsuits against recruiters?! Hopefully not - recruiting professionals will always be able to find positions for candidates, even during the tough times. It’s just a bit harder. But whether we can help or not, customer care should remain at a high level. If you’re looking for a job with languages, take a look at our latest positions here.

Ireland pays the price for lack of translators

  •  Posted on Jul 30, 2009  by  | No Comments
We know how valuable language skills are to the workforce and the economy, but it seems like there’s even more evidence now to show that there’s a high price tag attached to the lack of language skills across the English speaking world. A new report shows that a shortage of translators in Ireland, capable of translating documents into Irish, has cost the government there over €1.5 million since 2007. The department of education was the biggest spender, with the department of social and family affairs also spending significant amounts. This means that not only are the UK and Ireland both losing out on valuable contracts through the lack of language skills in their workforces (as we reported recently) but this skill shortage is actually costing us a lot of money too. This comes as another report states that around a fifth of UK primary schools could miss a target to offer languages by 2010. Without this pipeline of talent, the situation is going to get even worse.

Another glass ceiling?

  •  Posted on Jul 27, 2009  by  | No Comments
We often hear about glass ceilings for women but a recent government report has concluded that top professions have become increasingly exclusive, making it harder for individuals from poorer backgrounds to break into careers in law, medicine and accountancy. In many occupations it has also become harder to ‘work your way up’. Barriers cited include internships, with former Health Secretary Alan Milburn saying that securing one often relies on knowing the right people. He is calling for career advice to start much earlier – in primary school – and more action by schools, parents and companies. He said: “There is a chasm between where we are and where we need to be if Britain is to realise the social and economic benefits of huge potential growth in professional employment. We need a new recognition: that a closed-shop mentality in our country means that too many people from middle-income as well as low-income families encounter doors that are shut to their talents.”  It’s an interesting argument – as recruiters we know that there is a lot of legislation surrounding equality and a lot of work that goes towards providing opportunities for a wide range of people. But on the other hand, without a good education and the necessary support and encouragement, many people will not be able to maximise on their potential talent and grab these offers. What do you think – are there closed doors? And what can businesses do to help this situation?

‘Twittern’ – the new German words

A new, 25th, version of the Duden German language dictionary has now been launched, featuring 5000 new words. It’s always interesting to see what new English words make it into the dictionary, but what new vocab have the Germans been using? New words include twittern – to twitter and komasaufen – literally translated as ‘to drink into a coma’, but more commonly known as binge drinking. A more German related entry is Abwrackprämie, a ‘car scrapping premium’ of €2500 for those that scrap their cars which are over nine years old. Which other words would you like to see added?

Language degrees disappear

  •  Posted on Jul 20, 2009  by  | No Comments
Where have all the linguists gone? Making modern languages optional at GCSE must be having a knock on effect, as Universities are now facing the effects of less students applying to study languages. The University of the West of England is stopping courses in French, German and Chinese for the next academic year as they only received 39 applicants, compared to other subjects which saw a 14% rise in applications. This comes as Queen’s University Belfast announced plans to close its German department. This is just another example of the damage that a drop in language learning is causing. In a few years’ time this will have a significant effect on the business world too, with a shrinking pipeline of linguistic talent. At the recent European Award for Languages held by CILT, Baroness Coussins quoted some interesting research from Cardiff Business School, which found that the UK loses £9 – 21 billion from lost contracts every year due to our lack of language skills. That’s a phenomenal amount of money that could be helping restore our economy, but with news like this, the situation doesn’t look like it’s going to be improving in the near future.

Encouraging language learning could save UK economy

  •  Posted on Jul 17, 2009  by  | No Comments
Our recent press release! We’re in a recession but the UK economy is losing out because of our lack of language skills. That was the message from the European Award for Languages 2009, where multi lingual recruiter Euro London Appointments sponsored the Business Language Prize. The ceremony reinforced the message that languages are key to the UK workplace. Baroness Coussins, Chair of the Parliamentary group on modern languages, quoted recent research that found the UK loses up to £21 billion a year in lost contracts because of the lack of language skills in the British workforce. She also pointed out that teams from 205 countries will be participating in the London Olympic Games in just three years time and urged language learners to continue working hard to turn around the negative stereotype surrounding Brits and languages. “As a company that not only recruits multi lingual personnel, but whose staff all speak another language, we really appreciate how important languages are to the business world” says David Shacklock, Managing Director of Euro London Appointments. “It’s great to get involved in projects like this and encourage language learning, which is crucial to ensure that we have enough talented linguists to make up the next generation of business leaders. These figures are just more evidence that more needs to be done when it comes to language learning. That missing £21 billion could go a long way to lifting us out of this recession.” Euro London awarded the Business Language Prize of £1000 to a project called ‘Eurofest’ for developing language provision to match the needs of business and employers. The awards were held in Bristol by CILT, the National Centre for Languages, to reward language learning projects from around the UK. They also featured journalist, broadcaster and keen linguist, Henry Bonsu, as Master of Ceremonies.

Language learning at record low

It’s no surprise that ever since the government made the learning of a foreign language at GCSE level optional, the number of students taking them has fallen. But according to the exam board, Cambridge Assessment, only 75% of the highest achievers take a GCSE exam in a modern language – that’s down from 94% 25 years ago. The research also said that Spanish is set to overtake German as the second most popular language after French. Three quarters of the highest achievers studying languages is still a high percentage, however it’s worrying that this number has decreased so dramatically. And if it’s falling among the brightest students, what about the rest of the school population? More efforts need to be made to encourage language learning, or the pipeline of linguistic talent in the UK will continue to shrink.

2010 for French recovery

  •  Posted on Jul 13, 2009  by  | No Comments
France, like the rest of the world, has suffered at the hands of the global recession, but Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said that there is light at the end of the tunnel. He recently told Parliament that the French economy would gradually improve next year, which would also help the employment market. "The year 2009 will be very difficult for the employment program. It will be only during the course of 2010 that we see a very gradual [economic] improvement that will permit an improvement in the employment market." It’s positive that there is now more optimistic discussion going on, and although there is a long way to go yet, hopefully we are on the road to recovery.

The benefits of bilingualism

  •  Posted on Jul 06, 2009  by  | No Comments
We all know that being bilingual is a useful skill to have in the workplace and when travelling, but research now shows that those of us that are able to speak two languages can learn an additional language easier than those of us who are monolingual. According to research from Northwestern University in the States, it doesn’t matter which other language you speak, as researchers tested people who spoke both English and Mandarin and English and Spanish, and asked them to learn words from a made up language that did not resemble either Mandarin or Spanish. Both groups did significantly better than those who spoke only English. Viorica Marian, Associate Professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University, said: “It's often assumed that individuals who've learned multiple languages simply have a natural aptitude for learning languages. While that is true in some cases, our research shows that the experience of becoming bilingual itself makes learning a new language easier. After learning another language, individuals can transfer language learning strategies they've acquired to subsequent language learning and become better language learners in general." This is an interesting, although not particularly surprising find. Learning another language often teaches you a lot about your own language that you didn’t know before, and knowledge of how language works in general. This is even more reason for schools to start teaching languages from an early age, as it would provide a basis for further language learning. You can read the full article here. So what’s your next language going to be?