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insight by wfx

Welcome to Wordwide FX's new enterprise!

Insight by WFX is a synthesis of our passion for languages and the financial markets. Here you will find technical and fundamental analyses from our clients, media partners and contributors in different languages, as well as discussions on languages and translation. And of course we will keep you updated on what is happening inside Wordwide FX Financial Translations. Hope you enjoy it! Greetings from the Wordwide FX team!

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11/09/2018

People are more honest when using a foreign tongue, research finds

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

New UChicago-led research suggests that someone who speaks in a foreign language is probably more credible than the average native speaker.

Boaz Keysar, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, and Yoella Bereby-Meyer, professor in psychology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, co-authored a recent paper in Topics in Cognitive Science that sheds new light on the role language plays in the natural impulse to lie.

In the research, native speakers of English, Spanish, Hebrew and Korean in four countries were invited to play a dice game in which they were paid according to the numbers they reported. Participants who used a foreign language were less likely to cheat than those using their native language, researchers found.

“When individuals have a chance to profit from dishonesty with no risk of being caught, their instinctive tendency is to cheat, while they refrain from cheating when they have time to deliberate,” Bereby-Meyer said. Such opportunities often occur in everyday situations, such as lying about a child’s age to get a cheaper ticket price, or not speaking up when you receive too much change. “There is a natural temptation to lie in these situations,” she added.

Roll of the dice

Working with groups in Spain, the United States, Israel and the Netherlands, researchers randomly assigned participants to perform the game in their native language or in a foreign language. They were paid according to the numbers they reported, and because the outcome was private, participants could cheat to inflate their profit without risk of repercussions.

Even though the game itself only involves reading numbers on a dice, all of the interaction was in the designated language and participants clicked on ‘number words’ on the screen, Bereby-Meyer said. “The die paradigm was a natural way to examine language’s effect on honesty.”

Even though the participants’ responses were private, the higher proportion of 5s or 6s selected by native language users showed that participants had a greater tendency to inflate their numbers when working in their native language.

“Even though there wasn’t much language involved, just being in a foreign language mindset made them more likely to resist temptation,” said Sayuri Hayakawa, a UChicago graduate student who was in charge of the UChicago part of the project.

Check your bias

Keysar and Bereby-Meyer argue that the findings challenge theories of ethical behavior to account for the role of the language in shaping ethical behavior. They believe the outcome is due to the fact that using a foreign language is less intuitive, so the automatic response systems that might give rise to cheating may be disengaged. “There is less temptation, so it becomes easier to refrain from impulsive behavior,” Bereby-Meyer said.

The study also provides a compelling narrative about inherent biases toward foreigners. “Studies have shown people with accents are perceived as less credible because they can be more difficult to understand,” Keysar said. These results suggest the opposite may be true.

Keysar believes this research has important implications, particularly in global business, in which companies work with foreign suppliers and customers on a daily basis. Even though a person’s gut instinct may be to trust these people less, the data show that if they are using a foreign language, they might be more honest.

Bereby-Meyer and Keysar plan to continue their work together in a new study exploring how language affects trust. The most recent study was done in collaboration with Shaul Shalvi from the University of Amsterdam, Albert Costa and Joanna Corey from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Sayuri Hayakawa from the University of Chicago.

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14/05/2018

FXTM's analysis in Arabic, Thai, Korean, and Indonesian, by Wordwide FX Financial Translations

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

More good news for us at Wordwide FX Financial Translations. One of our best clients, Cyprus-based broker FXTM, has recently entrusted us with the translation of technical and fundamental analysis by the company's top analysts, Chief Market Analyst Jameel Ahmat, Chief Market Strategist Hussein Sayed, and Research Analyst Lukman Otunuga. It's a pleasure and a privilege for us to be a part of FXTM's global strategy and to help them reach out to more and more clients worldwide.

Our partnership with FXTM started over 2 years ago and day by day we've been able to build a fruitful cooperation. Now, we are proud to say we have become one of their most trusted providers of specialized FX translations and that we are in charge of over 15 languages, including Arabic, Indonesian, Spanish, Thai, Chinese, Italian, and much more.

It's a real pleasure to work hand in hand with the FXTM team: Web Content Manager Sofia Kotsou, Email Marketing Specialist Nina Plavnik, and PR Executive Olga Ulasovich, and of course with analysts Lukman Otunuga, Hussein Sayed, and Jameel Ahmat. We want to thank you very much for allowing us to share these fascinating materials here on our blog.

The Wordwide FX Team

 

 

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09/05/2018

How Much is the Lord of the Rings Franchise Worth?

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

Via Moneyinc.com

By Nat Berman

Since the books publications, The Lord of the Rings has been making a solid stream of income. But more recently the millennium movies rocked the box office with ticket sales, and the books gained a new Frodo following.  From there revival video games, action figures and other merchandise has exploded around the world. How much is the Lord of the Rings franchise worth? To ascertain anywhere near a close estimate, all of the limbs of the entertainment branch of the LOTR tree must be analyzed. Here they are:

The Tolkien Estate

The Tolkien estate, run by the author’s son, Christopher, is still making money hand over fist. The Telegraph estimates that book sales alone for 2001 were up to 50 million pounds worldwide. That’s before they sat down with Houghton Mifflin to discuss further rights stemming from future book sales. In 2001, it was reported that Christopher was quite upset that the family would not be making cash directly from the movie deals.  It’s also been reportsedthat John Ronald Reuel Tolkien Tolkien was worth 500 million pounds when he died in 1978. His son Christopher, who oversees the family business of wheeling and dealing agreements about his Dad’s masterpiece, and also edits and annotates the notes and stories his famous father left behind, Christopher, who is not a fan of the movies, perhaps because they didn’t directly make him a dime, balked at some of the merchandising, and successfully stopped a Lord of the Rings slot machine that was developed by Warner Brothers.

Houghton Mifflin, the official U.S. publisher of Tolkien’s work for more than 60 years, has a lot to smile about. They took a risk and had paid a hefty sum to acquire the rights to the movie tie-in volumes. The company had made lots of cash from JRR Tolkien’s work with Lord of the Rings movies in 2001,2002, and 2003 and then expanding The Hobbit into a trilogy over ten years later. There were opportunities for endless publications that explained and highlighted the settings and characters of “The Nerd Bible”, or Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Online MBAaverages the figure of new and used book sales to be $2.25 billion.

It’s not a good idea to mess with the Tolkien’s literature, as one Russian author Kirill Eskovm found out when he was threatened by the estate because he wrote his version of Lord of the Rings, The Last Ringbearer, giving fans a glimpse of how the story would be told if Orcs were the good guys. This book could not be released in English because the Tolkien estate does not approve, but fans everywhere have downloaded underground translated copies.

Box Office Movie Sales

Despite purists who are upset about the deletion of Tom Bombadil, fans who never even heard of the book were won over by Peter Jackson’s award winning film trilogy. According to The Minute MBA, the movies are the sixth highest grossing movie franchise of all time, making close to $4 billion.

Game Wars

In 1982 a little computer game called The Hobbit was introduced. It was popular with die hard LOTR fans, but did not strike gold. The story of a cute little hobbit with a bunch of grumpy dwarves did not have much appeal for anyone, except for those who still have their “Frodo Lives” tee shirt from their college days in the 1960s, and kids who had seen the cartoon version of the movie. Electronic Arts (EA), paired some action packed and rather violent adventure games based more heavily on the movie plots than literary cannon. One game ruled them all, from PS2 to Xbox and Gameboy.

Not to be outdone, the Tolkien estate licensed their own game with Universal Interactive, closely based on the plot of the first book,  The Fellowship of the Ring. As it was more for hard core book canon fans than die hard gamers, the game based on the second book never made it to the shelves. Another video game based on the Hobbit was released by Vivaldi Universal and Sierra, but as the movies had not yet brought Thorin and Company back to life in cinematic glory, it didn’t break any sales records. With franchises, timing is everything. If they had waited ten years and made Thorin’s avatar look like Richard Armitage, who played the lead dwarf in the films, it would have flown off the shelves.

The Tolkien estate finally gave in to EA games to use book material that was not included in the movie so that the characters and plot could be more richly developed. Because of this, there are so many games that sprang from the movie and films, and estimate of sales would be impossible. If EA games is worth 34 billion dollars then it can be assumed that part of it was made from sales of The Lord of the Rings games like The Battle for Middle Earth series. The Lord of the Rings: Conquest was the last game to be released by EA and then Warner Brother’s bought the license to turn out more games before the release of the blockbuster Hobbit movie trilogy.

Merchandise

Action figures, Legos, jewelry, drink cups, and even Hobbit doll houses rode the coattails of this massive mix of literature and film adaptations, so the entire worth of the Lord of the Rings franchise grows with every new movie release, including extended video editions of the theater versions, with commentary from the cast and crew plus deleted scenes. Fans are clamoring for Peter Jackson to finish the job and make the Silmarillion, which if this happens, will give the other stories a new revival.

The big winners in this endeavor are Peter Jackson and the movie cast, Houghton Mifflin Publishing, and of course the Tolkien estate, even if they dispute the fact. New Zealand has also benefitted from tourism resulting from the film’s location, although much of the filming, particularly for the later films, was done on green screen. So in the end it can be said that the entire Lord of the Rings Franchise is more valuable than all of the Mithril in the Mines of Moria.

All tolled?  A specific number is extremely hard to guess but an estimate of $10-$15 billion is not entirely out of the question.

 

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03/05/2018

Renaming English: does the world language need a new name?

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

Via The Conversation

By Stuart Riddle

English is rapidly becoming a lingua franca in international communication for commerce and trade, education, science, international relations and tourism. 

It is the fastest growing language in the world, with more people speaking English than ever before. School children in India and China are learning English at a staggering rate as their countries emphasise the importance of English as a ticket to participating in the global economy. 

For example, the rise of English in China is unprecedented, and has been likened to a mania, with school children as young as seven learning to speak English.

So why then do we continue to link this evolving internationalising language with a small island in Europe that once upon a time controlled the world?

Perhaps it is about time we got rid of the “English” and start calling it something else – international, standard or common language?

Not one, but many Englishes

It is important to understand that there is not one English language; there are many. In fact, in Australia we don’t even speak and write English. We actually use Standard Australian English, which is not the same English that you might find in the United Kingdom, the United States, India or China. 

There are countless blends, pidgins, creoles and mixed English languages. At the same time that English is becoming the language of internationalisation, it is also becoming localised in different parts of the world as multiple world Englishes flourish.

sociocultural perspective on language considers the impacts of regional dialects, national standards and conventions, slang, different pronunciations and the use of communication technologies such as mobile telephones, texting and email. Our use of English depends on the contexts, audiences and purposes we are using it for.

Spoken English differs from written English. There are different ways of using written English depending on the formality and genre of writing. Spelling, grammar and punctuation change depending on who is writing and for who is reading. English is an “open source” language, with hybrid forms appearing all over the globe as different peoples blend English together with other languages. 

Some interesting points about English languages: there are more non-native speakers of English than native speakers; nearly four out of fiveEnglish-speaking interactions happen between non-native speakers of English; most research is shared in English-language journals; English is the number one language used on internet sites; English is the language of international aviation; and most literature is published in English or translated from English into other languages.

Serious concerns with English as an international language

The rise of English comes with several concerns, including questions of cultural hegemony and postcolonial criticisms. While it is easy to shrug off such criticisms with the argument that English is necessary for social mobility, economic prosperity and education, there remain many unanswered questions around the social and cultural impacts of English as a global language.

For example, the use of English in the internationalisation of research and higher education comes at a cost to local knowledge and languages, as academics in places such as Japan, China, Germany and other parts of the world compete with scholars from the UK and USA to publish in high-ranking English-language research journals. 

Even in France, which is renowned for its cultural and linguistic protectiveness, English is gaining ground in its universities, with 83% of French lecturers using English in their field of research.

There is a real tragedy in the loss of language diversity as English takes over, placing other languages at risk of extinction. This has been acknowledged and efforts are being made to preserve indigenous languages in places such as Papua New GuineaBrazil and Australia. However, is this enough? Are we destroying more than language through the rise of English as the international standard?

That said, there is some sadness in the idea that we might be the last generation of travellers who experience those amusing and sometimes awkward moments when attempting to order food or ask for directions in a country where everyone doesn’t speak English.

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13/04/2018

The English language is the world’s Achilles heel

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

Via The Conversation

English has achieved prime status by becoming the most widely spoken language in the world – if one disregards proficiency – ahead of Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. English is spoken in 101 countries, while Arabic is spoken in 60, French in 51, Chinese in 33, and Spanish in 31. From one small island, English has gone on to acquire lingua franca status in international business, worldwide diplomacy, and science.

But the success of English – or indeed any language – as a “universal” language comes with a hefty price, in terms of vulnerability. Problems arise when English is a second language to either speakers, listeners, or both. No matter how proficient they are, their own understanding of English, and their first (or “native”) language can change what they believe is being said.

When someone uses their second language, they seem to operate slightly differently than when they function in their native language. This phenomenon has been referred to as the “foreign language effect”. Research from our group has shown that native speakers of Chinese, for example, tended to take more risks in a gambling game when they received positive feedback in their native language (wins), when compared to negative feedback (losses). But this trend disappeared – that is, they became less impulsive – when the same positive feedback was given to them in English. It was as if they are more rational in their second language. 

While reduced impulsiveness when dealing in a second language can be seen as a positive thing, the picture is potentially much darker when it comes to human interactions. In a second language, research has found that speakers are also likely to be less emotional and show less empathy and consideration for the emotional state of others.

For instance, we showed that Chinese-English bilinguals exposed to negative words in English unconsciously filtered out the mental impact of these words. And Polish-English bilinguals who are normally affected by sad statements in their native Polish appeared to be much less disturbed by the same statements in English.

In another recent study by our group, we found that second language use can even affect one’s inclination to believe the truth. Especially when conversations touch on culture and intimate beliefs.

Since second language speakers of English are a huge majority in the world today, native English speakers will frequently interact with non-native speakers in English, more so than any other language. And in an exchange between a native and a foreign speaker, the research suggests that the foreign speaker is more likely to be emotionally detached and can even show different moral judgements.

And there is more. While English provides a phenomenal opportunity for global communication, its prominence means that native speakers of English have low awareness of language diversity. This is a problem because there is good evidence that differences between languages go hand-in-hand with differences in conceptualisation of the world and even perception of it. 

In 2009, we were able to show that native speakers of Greek, who have two words for dark blue and light blue in their language, see the contrast between light and dark blue as more salient than native speakers of English. This effect was not simply due to the different environment in which people are brought up in either, because the native speakers of English showed similar sensitivity to blue contrasts and green contrasts, the latter being very common in the UK. 

On the one hand, operating in a second language is not the same as operating in a native language. But, on the other, language diversity has a big impact on perception and conceptions. This is bound to have implications on how information is accessed, how it is interpreted, and how it is used by second language speakers when they interact with others.

We can come to the conclusion that a balanced exchange of ideas, as well as consideration for others’ emotional states and beliefs, requires a proficient knowledge of each other’s native language. In other words, we need truly bilingual exchanges, in which all involved know the language of the other. So, it is just as important for English native speakers to be able to converse with others in their languages.

The US and the UK could do much more to engage in rectifying the world’s language balance, and foster mass learning of foreign languages. Unfortunately, the best way to achieve near-native foreign language proficiency is through immersion, by visiting other countries and interacting with local speakers of the language. Doing so might also have the effect of bridging some current political divides.

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10/04/2018

Right and wrong ways to spread languages around the globe

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By Wordwide FX Financial Translations

Via The Economist

Emmanuel Macron’s plan to boost French-speaking puts means before motive

REMARKABLY, a French president had never addressed the Académie Française before. The French have a soft spot for authority, and the mighty presidency (atypical for Europe) and the academy (founded to guarantee the purity of the French language) are both symbols of that. So when Emmanuel Macron told the academicians—modestly known as les immortels—of his ambitions to revitalise French around the world, it was a very French affair indeed.

In some ways Mr Macron constitutes a break with Gallic tradition. He speaks English not only well but gladly, in contrast to his predecessors, François Hollande (whose ropy English was the butt of jokes) and Jacques Chirac (who often pointedly refused to talk in English, though he could). But in the best French tradition, Mr Macron spoke with passion about French and confidence in its future. He announced more money for the Alliance Française, for example, to teach the language, and more support for teaching French to refugees who have arrived in France. His aim is to see French go from being the world’s fifth-most-spoken language to its third.

It is very French to think that this can be accomplished by determined state action. Yet people don’t learn a language because somebody has built a fancy new school nearby. These days there are plenty of language-learning options, especially online. The cost of learning a language is mainly measured not in money but in time. You have to give someone a reason to do the work, before even bothering with the means and opportunity.

Think about the rivals to French. One is English. Americans and Britons might think foreigners learn English because their culture is appealing. But if that was ever true, it no longer is. Foreigners learn English simply because there are already a lot of people to speak it with—a majority of them, today, outside the chief Anglophone countries. A Swede learns English to do business in Brazil. This is why, despite the irony, English will probably still dominate the European Union after Brexit.

Or consider Chinese, a language of booming interest to foreign learners. It is in a way the opposite of English: the vast majority of its speakers live in just one country. But what a country. China’s economy will soon be the world’s largest, and its people still do not speak very good English. Learning Chinese is an obvious way to exploit an unrivalled economic opportunity.

Finally, take German. In the 19th century it was a posh language of science and scholarship, expected of all educated Europeans. Early Zionists pondered making it the national language of the Jewish state. But two wars, horrific atrocities and four decades of division wrecked its image. However, it has recovered. As Germany’s economy roared back from a long post-reunification slump, German-learning increased by 4% between 2010 and 2015 (a lot, in historical terms). Perhaps more surprisingly, a country once considered stolid and conservative has developed a reputation for cool. Berlin is seen as the hippest capital in Europe. German is both useful and attractive.

French could combine all these attributes. Like English, it is found around the world. Like Chinese, it is economically important: French-speaking countries account for 8.4% of global GDP. And like Germany recently, France has long had cultural cachet. How, then, to revive the optimism for the language itself?

Much of the work will be done outside France, and by growth in Africa in particular. Mr Macron knows this; after an initial announcement, in Burkina Faso, that he wanted to give new vigour to the French-speaking world, he was seen as neocolonialist. His speech at the Academy was better, conceding that French had “emancipated itself from France”. He told the Academy that it was high time French schools began teaching literature written in French outside France.

By one projection, in 2050 there will be 700m French-speakers—80% of them in Africa. To keep that forecast on track and keep Africans speaking French—not switching to English, as Rwanda did—France would be wise to continue this approach of fraternité rather than autorité with its African friends, by helping those countries develop economically. And the best thing Mr Macron could do at home is release the talents of the French people. Reforms that get the French economy growing as Germany’s has done would do more than all the shiny new French-teaching schools in the world.

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