Bilingual Children and the Challenges for Non-Western Readers and Writers

I’m still busy with a bigger translation job, plus I have to go to a family function on Saturday which will inevitably wear me out, even though I’d rather be anywhere else. On the plus side, just one more day until the start of the autumn holidays. And my ninth-graders will be doing their work experience internships after the holidays, so that’s an additional two weeks of less teaching load.

I actually have a longer post half-drafted, but while I’m busy translating some very dull legalese, I’ll stick to linkdumps.

Though I actually did draft a longer post over at Pegasus Pulp about the German media discovering indie publishing (sort of) in the wake of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Those of us who don’t live in the US often experience some problems and drawbacks when dealing with e-publishing platforms designed mainly for the US. Barnes & Noble doesn’t recognize the existence of non-Americans at all and Amazon puts up hassles for both publishers and buyers if you’re not in their zone of fourteen favoured countries.

However, while we in non-US western countries may grumble about the fact that we have to earn 100 US-dollars in royalties, before Amazon will send us a cheque, and about the infamous Amazon surcharge, the situation is much worse in non-Western countries.

I already linked to Charles Tan’s post a few days ago (but it’s worth linking again, because this post is very good and important).

Now Kaz Augustin, a writer from Malaysia and regular commenter at this blog, describes her experience with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing from the POV of someone who does not live in one of Amazon’s favoured fourteen countries. Basically, she can’t even download the Kindle for PC software to check her own e-books for formatting errors. She also has a follow-up post about distributor diversity.

Aliette de Bodard also tackles the issues facing authors, readers and media consumers in non-western and/or non-English speaking countries and how the outdated regionalist attitudes of publishers and copyright owners encourage piracy.

I strongly suspect that the people in charge in the entertainment industry really have no idea that they have a global audience that is hungry for their products. Nor do the sort of people who insist on DRM, region restrictions and the like understand why anybody would even want to consume “foreign” media that has not been translated and adapted for the local market. In fact, a lot of politicians and media people would love to go back to pre-internet times when they could easily control what “foreign” productions the people could read and watch.

And now for something completely different (or not, come to think of it): The New York Times has a fascinating article about new research into the language recognition and acquisition mechanisms of babies growing up in bilingual families. Found via Jay Lake.

I was a bilingual child (though not from birth on. I spent a year at an American kindergarten at the age of 5 and was quasi bilingual from that point on) and I remember how my being bilingual was viewed as disruptive in the classroom. Luckily, my parents didn’t bow to the conventional wisdom of the day that children could only properly learn and speak one language.

Thankfully, we’ve moved beyond that and schools now increasingly try to integrate the experiences of bilingual children.

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1 Response to Bilingual Children and the Challenges for Non-Western Readers and Writers

  1. Pingback: Why the e-book revolution is still mainly a western phenomenon | Pegasus Pulp

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