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Alaska 2023: FEMA fires group for nonsensical Alaska Native translations

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska  – After the leftovers of a rare typhoon caused considerable damage to residences along Alaska’s western shore in September, the U.S. government stepped in to assist locals — primarily Alaska Natives — in repairing property damage.

When people opened FEMA papers, they were hoping to find instructions on how to apply for help in Alaska Native languages like Yup’ik or Inupiaq. Instead, they saw strange words.

“He will go hunting extremely early tomorrow and will (bring) nothing,” stated one paragraph. The translator added the word ” Alaska ” at random amid the sentence.

“Your husband is slender as a polar bear,” observed another.

Another was written entirely in Inuktitut, a Northern Canadian Indigenous language spoken far from Alaska.

Once the mistakes were found, FEMA fired the California company that had been hired to translate the documents. However, the whole thing was a painful reminder for Alaska Natives of how their culture and languages have been suppressed for decades.

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FEMA Took Responsibility

FEMA took immediate responsibility for the translation issues and fixed them, and the agency is working to ensure that it does not happen again, according to spokesman Jaclyn Rothenberg. Because of the inaccuracies, no one was denied assistance.

That is insufficient for one Alaska Native leader.

This was another bitter reminder for Tara Sweeney, an Inupiaq who served as an assistant secretary of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Interior Department during the Trump administration, of steps made to discourage Alaska Native children from speaking Indigenous languages.

“Your slender hubby is a polar bear.”
FEMA aid paperwork translated

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Thousands Of Alaska Residents

“I can’t even convey the pain behind that sort of symbolism when my mother was beaten for speaking her language in school, like hundreds of thousands of Alaska Natives,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney has asked for a congressional oversight hearing to find out how long and often this method has been used by the administration.

Sweeney’s great-grandfather, Roy Ahmaogak, invented the Inupiaq alphabet more than a half-century ago.

He intended to design the characters so that “our people would learn to read and write to transfer from an oral past to a more tangible written history,” she explained.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, a Yup’ik elected to Congress as the first Alaska Native last year, said it was frustrating that FEMA missed the mark with these translations but did not call for hearings.

“I am optimistic that FEMA will continue to make the necessary reforms to ensure that they are ready to serve our residents the next time they are called,” the Democrat added.

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The Damage Was Over $28 Million.

The leftovers of Typhoon Merbok caused devastation as it went around 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) north via the Bering Strait, potentially affecting 21,000 persons. According to Rothenberg, FEMA has given out approximately $6.5 million.

A spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Jeremy Zidek, said that early estimates put the total damage at just over $28 million, but that number is likely to go up as more work is done to assess the damage after the spring thaw.

The poorly translated materials did not cause any delays or problems, but they were just a small part of Zidek’s efforts to help people sign up for FEMA help in person, online, and over the phone.

Gary Holton, a linguistics professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the former director of the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, says that another reason is that many residents are bilingual and can understand an English version, even if English is not their first language.

Central Alaskan Yup’ik is the most spoken Alaska Native language, with more than 10,000 speakers in 68 communities in southwest Alaska. In 17 of the settlements, children learn Yup’ik as their first language. According to the language center, there are around 3,000 Inupiaq speakers in northern Alaska.

The terms and phrases used in the translated texts appear to be drawn from Nikolai Vakhtin’s 2011 edition of “Yupik Eskimo Texts from the 1940s,” according to the language center’s archivist, John DiCandeloro.

alaska

Local Languages Similar Not The Same

The book is a written record of field notes taken by Ekaterina Rubtsova in the 1940s in Russia’s Chukotka Peninsula, across the Bering Strait from Alaska, who interviewed residents about their daily lives and culture for a historical history.

The works were eventually translated and posted on the language center’s website, which Holton used to track down the source of the mistranslated pieces.

According to Holton, many of the local languages are similar but not the same, just as English is related but not the same as French or German.

Holton has spent nearly three decades documenting and revitalizing Alaska Native languages, reviewed the web database and discovered “hit after hit,” phrases taken directly from the Russian book and randomly placed into FEMA documents.

“They just pulled the words from the document and then just arranged them in some random order and gave something that looked like Yup’ik but made no sense,” he added, referring to the result as a “word salad.”

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Hijacked Terms

He found it disrespectful that an outside company hijacked the terms people used to memorialize their life 80 years ago.

“These are people’s grandparents and great-grandparents who are knowledge-keepers, elders, and their words that they wrote down, wanting people to learn from and cherish, have just been bastardized,” Holton added.

Bethel’s KYUK Public Media first reported the mistranslations.

“We make no excuses for erroneous translations, and we profoundly regret any inconvenience this has caused to the local community,” said Caroline Lee, CEO of Accent on Languages, the Berkeley, California-based company that generated the mistranslated documents.

She stated that the company would repay FEMA the $5,116 it was paid for the service and undertake an internal investigation to guarantee that it does not happen again.

Lee did not answer follow-up queries about how the incorrect translations happened.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

Fashion

Hermes Lawsuit Claims Luxury Retailer Reserves Its Famed Birkin Bags Only For Its Biggest Spenders

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hermes

Hermes is the object of a new lawsuit alleging the luxury retailer of only selling its renowned Birkin handbags to customers who had spent a lot of money at the store on other items.

The proposed federal class-action complaint, filed this week in San Francisco, claims that Hermes violates antitrust law by requiring buyers to purchase other items in the store before being permitted to purchase a Birkin bag from Hermes.

hermes

Hermes Lawsuit Claims Luxury Retailer Reserves Its Famed Birkin Bags Only For Its Biggest Spenders

Birkin handbags, created from leather by artisans in France, can cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the secondary market and are seen on the arms of celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and Cardi B. The handbags may only be purchased in a Hermes store, not through its online.

However, the complaint contends that the average client must do more than just stroll into a Hermes store, see a Birkin on display, and purchase it. Instead, “deemed worthy” customers will be shown a Birkin in a private room.

According to the lawsuit, Hermes sales workers are responsible for identifying qualified customers to purchase Birkins.

hermes

Hermes Lawsuit Claims Luxury Retailer Reserves Its Famed Birkin Bags Only For Its Biggest Spenders

The lawsuit claims that “these sales associates are directed by Defendants to only offer Birkin handbags to consumers who have established a sufficient” purchase history” or “purchase profile” with Defendants or Defendants’ ancillary products such as shoes, scarves, belts, jewellery, and home goods.

While sales associates do not receive a commission for selling Birkins, the lawsuit claims that they are trained to utilize the Birkin purses to pressure customers into purchasing other products for which they are paid a 3% commission.

The company waited to immediately reply to a request for comment early Thursday.

hermes

Hermes Lawsuit Claims Luxury Retailer Reserves Its Famed Birkin Bags Only For Its Biggest Spenders

The lawsuit seeks class-action status for all residents of the United States who have purchased or been asked to acquire auxiliary products to purchase a Birkin over the last four years.

The plaintiffs are seeking specific monetary damages and a court order against the companies’ alleged selling techniques.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Celebrity

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

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Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon

NEW YORK — Iris Apfel, a textile expert, interior designer, and fashion celebrity renowned for her unique style, has died. She was 102.

Lori Sale, Apfel’s business agent, confirmed her death and described her as “extraordinary.” No cause of death was specified. It was also confirmed on her verified Instagram page on Friday, a day after she celebrated her 102nd and a half birthday on Leap Day.

Apfel, born on August 29, 1921, was known for her irreverent, eye-catching costumes that combined haute couture with huge costume jewellery. A traditional Apfel ensemble would include a feather boa, strands of chunky beads, bangles, and a jacket embellished with Native American beadwork.

apfel

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

With her large, round, black-rimmed glasses, bright red lipstick, and short white hair, she stood out at every fashion event she attended.

Her style has been the focus of museum exhibits and the documentary film “Iris,” directed by Albert Maysles.

“I’m not pretty, and I’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter,” she commented at one point. “I’ve got something far better. “I have style.”

Apfel achieved late-life stardom on social media, accumulating nearly 3 million followers on Instagram, where her profile reads: “More is more & Less is a bore.” She gained 215,000 TikTok followers as she waxed eloquent about fashion and style and promoted previous collaborations.

“Being stylish and being fashionable are two entirely different things,” she stated in a TikTok video. “You can simply buy your way to being fashionable. I believe you have a natural sense of style. It denotes inventiveness and boldness.”

She never retired, saying “Today” that “I believe retiring at any age is a fate worse than death.” Just because a number appears does not mean you have to stop.

“Working with her was an honour of a lifetime.” “I shall miss her regular calls, always greeted with the usual question: “What have you got for me today?,” Sale said in a statement. “A testament to her voracious drive to work. She was a visionary in every sense of the term. She observed the world through a unique lens equipped with massive, unusual spectacles perched on her nose.”

Apfel was an expert in textiles and ancient fabrics. She and her husband Carl ran Old World Weavers, a textile manufacturing company specializing in restoration work, including projects at the White House for six U.S. residents. Apfel’s celebrity clients included Estee Lauder and Greta Garbo.

apfel

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

Apfel’s celebrity skyrocketed in 2005 when the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City staged a show about her called “Rara Avis,” Latin for “rare bird.” The museum characterized her approach as “both witty and exuberantly idiosyncratic.”

Her individuality is generally seen in her mingling of high and low fashions—Dior haute couture with flea market finds, 19th-century church vestments with Dolce & Gabbana lizard trousers.” According to the museum, her “layered combinations” broke “aesthetic conventions” and “even at their most extreme and baroque” showed a “boldly graphic modernity.”

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, was among several museums nationwide that held a touring version of the display. Apfel later donated hundreds of pieces to the Peabody, including couture gowns, to help them establish what she described as “a fabulous fashion collection.” The Museum of Fashion & Lifestyle, located near Apfel’s winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, also plans a gallery to display artefacts from her collection.

Apfel was born in New York City to Samuel and Sadye Barrel. Her mother owned a store.

apfel

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

In her later years, Apfel appeared in advertisements for M.M.A.C. Cosmetics and Kate Spade, contributing to her reputation. She also created a line of accessories and jewellery for Home Shopping Network, worked with H&M on a collection of brightly coloured apparel, jewellery, and shoes that sold out in minutes, launched a makeup line with Ciaté London, an eyeglass collection with Zenni, and collaborated with Ruggable on floor coverings.

In a 2017 interview with APA.P.t the age of 95, she claimed her favourite modern designers were Ralph Rucci, Isabel Toledo, and Naeem Khan, but added, “I have so much, I don’t go looking.” When asked for fashion tips, she replied, “Everyone should find her own way. I’m a strong advocate for individualism. I don’t like trends. If you learn who you are, what you look like, and what you are capable of, you will know what to do.”

She dubbed herself the “accidental icon,” which inspired the title of a book she published in 2018, replete with keepsakes and style ideas. Odes to Apfel abound, ranging from a Barbie in her likeness to T-shirts, eyewear, artwork, and dolls.

Apfel’s husband died in 2015. They had no children.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Fashion

2024: MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

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MLB

Major League Baseball players have encountered an unexpected issue ahead of the new season: a defective outfit.

Players and spectators have previously expressed issues about the new jerseys worn this season, and on Thursday, as spring training games began, MLB Players’ Association (MLBPA) executive director Tony Clark expressed concern over the pants.

“A lot of the rhetoric is confirmation that the trousers are see-through,” Clark stated, according to ESPN. “It’s been a continuing conversation, with each day bringing something new that appears to make less sense than you’d like.

mlb

MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

“Universal concern,” Clark remarked, “is the pant.”

The jerseys for the new uniforms, designed by Nike and manufactured by Fanatics, have already received criticism from fans for seeming cheap, lightweight, and having an unappealing appearance. Meanwhile, a Baltimore Orioles player described the new jerseys as “a knockoff” from TJ Maxx.

“It’s disappointing that we’ve landed in a place where the uniforms are the topic of discussion,” Clark said.

According to a news release, Nike collaborated with over 300 athletes to create a more breathable, lightweight, and stretchy jersey.

mlb

MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

The corporation has yet to react to CNN’s prior request for comment on criticism of the uniforms, and Fanatics has declined to comment.

Players wore them during last season’s All-Star Game, and Nike and MLB reported that they were favourably received.

“They’re designed to be performance wear rather than what’s traditionally worn, so they’ll be different,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said of the uniforms.

mlb

MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

“I think after people wear them a little bit, they’re going to be really popular.”

This year’s Opening Day is set for March 28, but the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play two regular-season games in Seoul on March 20 and 21, marking the first MLB games in South Korea.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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