Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ninth of October — Work in Progress


Having more or less recovered from the tiredness that beset me after the journey to Ireland and England, I can now foresee regular resumption of this blog no later than October 23. That's the anniversary of the interpreter-mediated meeting between Hitler and Franco in 1940.

Meanwhile I'm preparing my survey and taxonomy of interpreting for publication. A Spanish translation was published some 20 years ago, but for some reason the English original has lain gathering dust. Unfortunately part of the file has been corrupted in the meantime and has to be reconstituted.

I want to thank all the people who made my Ireland-England trip possible and turned it into a happy memory. The cheerful staff of Dublin City University and the COLING conference, my fellow members of the International Committee on Computational Linguistics (ICCL), my kind English cousins who drove me around and the staff at Bletchley Park. And last but not least the ground staff of Ryanair.

Ryanair is a very successful low-cost Irish airline. Not only are their flights dirt cheap if you fly on the right days, but they operate services that nobody else does. Non-stop flights from Valencia to Dublin for example. But they don't have a good reputation for customer service. Well, I too have had a moment of anxiety with them and it's no joke navigating through their online reservation system, But I must say that on this occasion their ground service for passengers with a mobility problem was impeccable at every airport: efficient and friendly.

Incidentally, we decided in Dublin that the next COLING will be held in Osaka, Japan, in late 2016.

I break silence today because it's another anniversary. El Nou d'Octubre (Ninth of October), the national day of Valencia. For earlier posts about it, enter octubre in the Search box on the right. It's the day when King James I of Aragon entered the city, making it finally Christian. He'd arrived nearby with his army a little earlier, on September 28, 1238, and he used the intervening days to negotiate, with the aid of Jewish translators, a bloodless rendition by the Moors. Meanwhile he camped his army on the stretch of Mediterranean seashore where I now live and which is today called Pinedo. It's five km south of the city centre. There's a stone cross to mark the site, but it's had to be moved inland because of coast erosion. James wasn't only a formidable warrior, he was also a very able administrator and there are still vestiges of his administration. Hence the Valencian College of Notaries is the oldest professional association of notaries in Spain; their current building is a landmark.

Want to celebrate it with me? There's a rousing performance of the Valencian national anthem on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esDfiT4H_XM or click here.

But if you fancy something less political, go to YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXHcc12kWYY or click here.

Image
The Senyera, the Valencian flag.

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