I’m taking my son to Japan this summer, so some of my recent posts (scroll down) are about getting back into Japanese. If you care to look around, start with my ‘About’ page; outside of Japanese, you’ll find posts about MandarinFrench (writing DELF B2) [proficiency certificates here] and learning a tiny bit of Cree.  Please leave a comment if something interests you–I’d love to check out your blog!


Emotive + Interpretation = Interpretainment

This was a really interesting podcast episode that explores a group of interpreters who are striving to put more emotion into the message that they are delivering, as opposed to the typical ‘truncation’ that happens through interpretation.  If the person speaking chooses to swear, or yell— shouldn’t you be including that as part of the interpretation?

The podcast includes a clip from an English/Portuguese interpreter working with a motivational speaker in Brazil.   Really cool to see how both the speaker and interpreter are working together to engage the audience– definitely worth checking out!

Renato Beninatto speaks with Maria Paula Carvalho, a conference interpreter and translator, on a new concept called “interpretainment.”  With interpretainment, the interpreter tries to mimic the speaker’s tone and gestures, in addition to translating the content. […]  Why interpretainers must surrender to the speaker’s emotions—laugh, cry, shout, dance, whatever is needed to achieve the intended impact.


Language Learning for Designer Yosuke Ushigome

“So how did he get to the point where he works all day in English, and routinely has to present some pretty hard-to-explain ideas in English? Language learners take note.

“Shadowing, but shadowing in real life,” Ushigome says. “As we speak to each other in my mind I repeat what you say, sometimes I would even say out loud what the other speaker said, which must have been supercreepy, but it was really effective.”

One other aid that really helped Ushigome — probably more than just with language, but also with culture and fitting in — was binge-watching on British comedy. A friend and colleague recommended him to watch “Peep Show,” a long-running sitcom on Channel 4 in Britain.

But Ushigome is likely to have watched Peep Show like no one else.

“Every episode I watched three times: First, just as it was, the second time with subtitles and the third time I stopped every time there was a punch line.”

What he did next is funny if you picture Ushigome in his flat in London pressing pause and play: “I Googled why it’s funny.” He had to do this every other minute, and admits that jokes delivered via Google were not funny, but he was taking note of every new word and phrase as well as shadowing throughout.”

From the Japan Times:

Duolingo does Japanese


Duolingo Japaneseって、Big Newsですね!

If you’re unfamiliar with Duolingo, it’s definitely worth checking out; it’s a really clever platform that, at the upper levels, actually turns the community of learners into a crowdsourced translation powerhouse.   The app can be downloaded from itunes for free and, to my knowledge, doesn’t ever ask learners to purchase anything.

They have been offering courses for learning a few languages and slowly adding to the list, but they’ve just announced that they’re moving forward with Japanese as a target language for speakers of English.   There’s a great article about the project on the Duolingo website, and I also saw a nice write-up by the Japan Times.


礼問答 (レイモンド)




无可奉告:No comment // I’m not at liberty to say…


I just watched a recent episode of 锵锵三人行(Behind the Headlines with Wentao), featuring 徐晓冬 (Xu Xiaodong–right side of picture above), the Chinese MMA fighter who challenged Tai Chi master 雷公 to a fight last week, and beat him in something like 10 or 15 seconds.   Here’s the clip if you ever wondered how this kind of cross-discipline rumble might play out:

Since then, everyone seems to have an opinion on what happened.  I’m not really much of a follower of MMA at all, but Xu Xiaodong seems to have a talent as both an MMA fighter as well as a confident “talker”.  The result is some truly epic internet clips like this one (I want to see the non-beeped out version!):

Continue reading

France choosing new president

So, it’s showtime in France today—- No interest in making a political post here (really); however, regardless of your viewpoint, there’s no denying that today’s second round vote is a biggie.

If you’re learning French, my money is on both the winning and losing speeches tonight being powerful and historic.  Even if you’re not into politics, it’s hard to undersell the significance of what Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron end up saying by the time the campaign trail finishes tonight.  (Round 1 victory speeches from Macron and Le Pen below).

Alberta Chinese Bridge on May 27th

I’m looking forward to volunteering as a judge for the Edmonton Confucius Institute’s Chinese Bridge competition. The theme this year is “Speak Chinese and make new friends around the world“. I’ve participated for the several years and it’s always wonderful to see the different ways that students make the topic their own and showcase their skills.   The day itself is always good fun– students start off with a knowledge test (see grade 1-3 study questions here), followed by the speech contest round, and ending with the talent competition.  Some students sing, some dance, some do magic— I once saw a student do a condensed ‘cooking show’ performance that was really neat.



JP: 平家物語 Heike Monogatari

Another reading from “声に出して読みたい日本語” (others here and here)– this is 平家物語 from page 22.  If you pay close attention, you can see blips where my phone appears to check the stroke order of a few characters.  I’m sure there are a few apps (both mobile and desktop) that would do the trick, but I’ve been happy with this app called KanjiQ.

I have no connection to the developer, but I think I’m going to pay for the add-free version.