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The More Global, the More Local

The small world experiment was comprised of several experiments conducted in the ’60s by the social psychologist Stanley Milgram and other researchers. The project examined the average path length for social networks of people in the United States. The research suggested that human society is a small world type network characterised by short path lengths.

To be more precise, according to the idea of six degrees of separation, everyone is on average approximately six steps away from any other person on Earth. Researchers at Facebook and the University of Milan reckon that the degrees of separation between any two people in the world have now been reduced to 4.7. The new research is based on an analysis of the friend networks of 721m people who use the social network regularly.

Another research project has shown that for 84% of users the mean number of friends of friends is always greater than ones own number of friends. Why? Scott Feld wrote about this phenomenon in his 1991 paper Why Your Friends Have More Friends than You Do. This is a classic paradox regarding social networks. The same phenomenon dictates that college students typically find that their classes are larger than the average class size and that an airplane will be more crowded than the average occupancy. The explanation is that if people, classes and flights are popular, you are much more likely to choose them.

The researchers also found that while Facebook makes it easier to connect with people anywhere on the planet, a user’s friends are most likely to be of a similar age and origin. Looking only at links between people within the same country, the researchers concluded that folk are separated from one another by an average of just three connections. We can say that it is still a very small world and becoming smaller all the time!

By | December 5th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Video Game Localisation

Video game localisation is the preparation of video games for other countries, which is more than just the translation of the language used in the game. The game industry is making as much if not more money than the film industry, so game internationalisation and localisation is becoming an integral part of development for many game studios. There are many different areas to take into account, such as linguistic, cultural, hardware and software, legal differences, graphics identity and music.

Video games, unlike any other entertainment products, aim at motivating and challenging players at their own level and pace. They do this by various means, such as customisable avatars and difficulty levels. When dealing with violence, historical events, foul language or sex, the target language may influence the game itself, since different cultures are more sensitive than others to these matters. The audio of a game is of great importance as well, which is why developers employ professional composers to give a signature sound to their creations.

In some cases, the translation will be almost an actual recreation, or, to put it in the words of Mangiron & O’Hagan (2006), atranscreation, where translators will be expected to produce a text with the right ‘feel’ for the target market.

By | December 5th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Advent Season

Are you looking forward to the Christmas holidays? Actually there isn’t too much time left: from last Sunday we are already in the Advent season. Advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming”) is a season observed in many Western Christian churches. It is a time of waiting and a time of preparation for Christmas. It starts on the fourth Sunday before 25 December and serves as a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ’s return.

The usual liturgical colour in Western Christianity for Advent is purple or blue, which symbolises royalty and repentance, and it’s the colour of the dawn before the sun rises. In England, especially in the northern counties, there was a custom (now extinct) for poor women to carry around the “Advent images,” two dolls dressed to represent Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. A halfpenny coin was expected from everyone who saw them for good luck, whereas not being visited by the doll-bearers was an omen of bad luck.

One of the Advent celebrations in Italy is the entry into Rome in the last days of Advent of the pifferari, or bagpipe players. They play before the shrines of Mary, like shepherds played when they came to Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus.

In recent times, the commonest observance of Advent outside church circles has been the keeping of an Advent calendar or Advent candle, with one door being opened in the calendar, or one section of the candle being burnt, on each day in December leading up to Christmas Eve. The keeping of an Advent wreath is also a common practice, with four or five candles extending from the wreath.

By | December 1st, 2011|Blog|0 Comments
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