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Employability and Education: Multilingualism as a Trade. Michael Smith. Overview. Educational context of the 21 st century Inspiring Education Economics of Language Thinking Global, Act Local – The Language Industry Tools of the Trade The Missing Links. Education in the 21 st Century.

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Employability and Education: Multilingualism as a Trade


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    1. Employability and Education: Multilingualism as a Trade Michael Smith

    2. Overview • Educational context of the 21st century • Inspiring Education • Economics of Language • Thinking Global, Act Local – The Language Industry • Tools of the Trade • The Missing Links

    3. Education in the 21st Century • Rationale for Learning International Languages • The value, for Canadian society as a whole, of learning international languages can be summarized as follows: • increased awareness of and sensitivity to cultural and linguistic diversity • improved potential in the Canadian and global marketplace and workplace • enhanced role in the international community.

    4. Education in the 21st Century • There are also many personal reasons for learning an additional language or for enrolling in an international language course at school or in a community program. Students who have no previous knowledge of the language may be interested in: • more opportunity to communicate directly with people from other language groups and gain a deeper insight into their culture • a broader range of educational, career and leisure opportunities.

    5. Education in the 21st Century • Students who possess some knowledge of the language or a family connection to the culture may have different reasons for learning: • renewing contact with a heritage language and culture that may have been lost through assimilation • maintaining a first language that is not the majority language in the community • developing literacy in a first language that is not the majority language in the community.

    6. Education in the 21st Century • There is significant evidence to suggest that all language learners receive some additional indirect benefits from their language learning experience: • development of increased grammatical abilities in the first language—phenomenon of additive bilingualism • enhanced cognitive functioning, particularly increased ability to conceptualize and to think abstractly; more cognitive flexibility; and greater divergent thinking, creativity and metalinguistic competence. • WCP Framework for International Languages 3Y Program, 2001

    7. So what? • “A broader range of career choices.” • Fluency or business proficiency after 30-level? • Career choices at HS level? • Cultural relevance/fluency? • Primary skills? • Do I need to speak German to be an engineer?

    8. Ministerial Paradigm Shift – Inspiring Education • “Technology should play a broader role in the classroom.” • Education in Alberta should be guided by the following principles: • “Sustainable and efficient use of resources” • “Innovation to promote and strive for excellence” • Maximize opportunity to earn post-sec credit while in high school • Competencies vs. Knowledge • Applicable skills are more valuable than fact recitation

    9. Ministerial Paradigm Shift – Inspiring Education • So we want students to leave school with skills but: • “Decision-makers should identify and adopt strategies and structures that optimize resources (financial and human) and minimize duplication” • Make it smart, and cheap

    10. Ministerial Paradigm Shift – Inspiring Education • We are now, more than ever, under pressure to ensure maximized ROI for government education funds.

    11. Advanced Education • “In Alberta, we’re focused on investing in infrastructure and growing our highly skilled workforce. By giving the University of Calgary a new, expanded space for its engineering school, we can increase the capacity to educate more engineers who can help us meet our goals and keep building Alberta.” • -Premier Alison Redford, Oct. 9, 2013

    12. Advanced Education • “Our government was elected to keep building Alberta, to live within its means and to fight to open new markets for Alberta’s resources.” • Multiple Education and Advanced Education Press Releases in 2013 • “Canada’s western provinces are the economic driver of our country, and we are looking at unprecedented opportunities across the region – and those come with challenges on the skills and labor front.” • Press release following summit of western Canadian advanced education ministers, September 2013

    13. The Economy of Language • BRICS • Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa • Rapidly industrializing, combined $16billion GDP • Turkey, Indonesia might be added to this list soon. • Over ¼ of the planet’s land • Over 40% of the planet’s people

    14. The Economy of Language • BRICS • The languages of these countries are emerging as major business languages, yet some (Portuguese) are absent from the Alberta POS.

    15. The Economy of Language • Online Business • ~2 billion people use the internet • ~74% of content on the web is in English • ~33% of the people who use the internet read English • This means that the demand for non-English content will increase

    16. Online Language Use • English = 33% of internet users • Chinese = 27% (and growing) • https://www.pinterest.com/pin/10414642861388180/ • The rest of the top 10 (total ~20%) • Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Arabic, French, Russian, Korean • Others: 20%

    17. Localization • AKA “The Language-Service Industry” • Localization is defined by the process through which a company’s product (usually software or website) is adapted both linguistically and culturally to be viable and successful in foreign markets. • #4 most-rapidly growing industry in the US • $20Billion USD in 2011 • Common Sense Advisory

    18. Localization

    19. Localization - Roles • Engineers • Sales/Marketing • Project Managers • Graphic Artists • Translators/Editors/Terminologists

    20. Localization – Tools of the Trade • Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) • Makes use of a personal database for approved/previously translated materials • Less cost • More speed • Translations are done by humans (usually) • Require specialized training to use (aside from language training)

    21. It looks something like this…..

    22. CAT in the Classroom? • Specialization necessary • Made for people with graduate-level training in translation • Cost prohibitive • >$5k/yr/license • Alberta currently has no translation skillset development in any of it’s curriculum • Logical next-step/long-term goal for 21st century learners?

    23. Translation Training in Alberta • There isn’t any!! • Currently, any post-sec training is done in Eastern Canada • http://www.lexicool.com/courses_canada.asp • Something to have our students aspire to?

    24. Machine Translation Tools • 3 types: • Rules-based • Stats-based • Hybrid

    25. In the beginning…… there was an algorithm • Rules-based translation • A computational linguist “taught” (programmed) a computer with grammar rules and vocabulary and the worst translations imaginable resulted • Ex. Systran • Which was then purchased by Yahoo! • and then by Microsoft, subsequently became known as Bing • http://www.bing.com/translator • (Systran is still around today, selling hybrids)

    26. Then Google said “let’s let people search for a ballpark translation” • Stats-based translation • Programs “read” translated text and come up with statistics on how those are translated. • Requires a large corpora (body of texts) • Like the internet, for example • Remedy for the Language Teacher’s “Face-palm” has yet to be discovered • As more content is added to the internet, these become more and more accurate

    27. Best of Both Worlds • Hybrid Machine Translation • Systran sells these now • Custom to companies • Hundreds of thousands to implement ($$$$$) • Still requires significant corpora

    28. Machine Translation in the Classroom? • Maybe • Your novice students will use Google Translate. • Get over it. • Cautionary tales – have a few • Tell them a few words that will give it away • Tenses they haven’t learned yet (and use perfectly) • Synonyms not learned in class • Wrong meaning/context (though could be dictionary) • If they tell you it’s from the dictionary, ask to see it. • So you can get a copy for yourself, obviously

    29. Machine Translation in the Classroom? • At higher levels (or in immersion) • “Post-editing” • Very common practice in language industry • Requires ability to edit in a language • Accessible at higher levels in a second language program, maybe. • Make it an assignment • Pre-author a text • Translate it online • Find the mistakes • If there are any

    30. The grass is…. green • On the next slide, some quick stats about European K-12 equivalent second language programs

    31. Where to now? • Add new language’s to Alberta Ed’s POS • Portuguese, Korean • Stress importance of post-secondary language training • Translation skills vital for business • Specialized career paths • Allow for development of cultural competency • Encourage advanced students to use machine translation prudently, and in controlled situations. • Consider optional status of language courses