Category: Language travel

Cost-effective translation for international education

“Translation is, after all, at the core of the international education experience”

International education is all about teaching and learning across national and linguistic borders. How can institutions and teachers best overcome language barriers and communicate better with foreign languages audiences? 

We consider the different options available: working with professional translation agencies, working directly with translators via freelance networks, and “doing it yourself” with Artificial Intelligence-powered machine translation software. We will consider the pros and cons and relative costs of the various approaches along with best practices, tips and tricks for improving outcomes.

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Will language translation tech ring a death knell for modern language learning?

“100 billion words a day? It is nearly unfathomable that Google’s neural machine translation can accomplish this”

Humans have been trying to find better ways of deciphering different languages for centuries, but it wasn’t until 1949 that the concept of “machine translation” really became a possibility.

According to a paper written by John Hutchins, Yehoshua Bar-Hillel was one of the first ones to take an interest in the field. He led a Georgetown University machine translation team and in partnership with IBM performed a demonstration of an automatic translation machine in 1954 known as the Georgetown-IBM experiment.

It was the height of the cold war, and the machine was capable of translating roughly 250 words from Russian into English. At the time, the demonstration generated a lot of interest, and it was predicted that machine translation would be perfected before 1960. However, computers weren’t advanced enough at this time to handle the complexity of translation, and subsequent experiments for the following few decades were lacklustre at best.

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Which are the easiest and hardest languages to master?

“The average learner would take four times as long to learn Mandarin as they would to learn Spanish”

For most people, mastering another language is no easy feat. However, it is broadly accepted that some languages are easier to learn than others.

It’s a topic that is discussed often and in depth within the translation services industry, as well as by everyone from military personnel to expats. As such, let’s take a look at contenders for the easiest language to master… and the hardest!
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Another ELT school shuts down in Ireland… but a positive outcome

“One student had paid almost €6,000 for both herself and her son for a six-month course, which she thought she had lost”

As reported in The PIE News, LanLearn, an English language school located in Ireland recently closed its doors affecting approximately 150 International students. The closure followed an inspection in January by the Department of Justice and Equality where a number of irregularities were discovered.

A school closure is inevitably very distressing for students who may be unaware of their rights in such circumstances. One Brazilian student affected by the closure had paid almost €6,000 for both herself and her son for a six-month course which she thought she had lost.
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Exploring the Factors Influencing Language Learning

“What we need is to get motivated and immerse ourselves in different cultural experiences when learning a new language”

Educational travel consultant at Edukt Violeta Petkova explores the influencing factors and decisions that young people and adults make when choosing a new language to learn.

A fundamental decision for young people to make is choose which language they want to learn. However, I believe it is not always clear which language is best for them, and may even become confusing because it’s a choice that touches our lives when we decide on a school, college, profession, living space, goals and how we approach challenges.

Sometimes it depends on several factors: a parent´s suggestion, current trends and social surroundings, family background, special books, movies, musical influences, professional development, favourite travel destinations, love stories – there are many personal reasons that can make you think about and reconsider your choice of language.
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TOEFL’s rapid retreat from Vietnam: How computerisation allowed IELTS to dominate

“Let this be a warning to educational technologists…no matter how dominant a stake you hold, you serve the market and it could eat you for lunch”

The computerization of the TOEFL exam allowed the IELTS to dominate Vietnam, says Deren Temel, Manager of International Development at SEAMEO RETRAC in Ho Chi Minh City.  In this week’s PIE blog, Temel discusses “the TOEFL exam’s self-inflicted collapse” in Vietnam, and asks readers to lend their insight in the comments. 

Before we get into the strategic disaster that dethroned the TOEFL exam’s dominant position in Vietnam’s English credentials market, lets set a few things straight. Credentials are certificates, exam scores, or degrees that describe someone’s prior learning and/or skill level. The international recognition of credentials allows students to continue their education across borders.
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ALTO pricing initiative and the threat of commoditisation. Is there really a risk?

“Plenty of schools nowadays fall into the trap of making assumptions about what students need, offering the broadest range of options possible”

The language travel industry is trying to get a step ahead by standardising the method schools use to deliver pricing to agents across the globe. Caetê da Silva, social business designer at Taea ry, writes about how ALTO’s plan for an industry standard for language travel bookings could help schools to innovate.

I remember a few years ago I was discussing this issue with some industry colleagues, including Mr. Carlos Robles (former BELTA president). By the time my main question was: Why do agents have to, one by one, input several pricing systems for the same school, many times during the year, manually?
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