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This week in Translation News, an e-library opens up on the Beijing Metro system, scientists from 15 countries upload a worm’s mind into a Lego robot, and Chinese shoppers diss Burberry for poor localization.

E-books on the Beijing Metro

A free e-library is making the Beijing Metro commute a little easier.  Trains on subway line 4 are now filled with barcodes which passengers can scan using smartphones or tablets for free access to 10 e-books. The idea is that these titles will change every few months, each time following a different theme. The first ten books highlight historical Chinese texts. If the e-books are not enough to satisfy your bookishness, Beijing’s line 4 also has a stop designated for easy access to the National Library. (BBC)

Scientists Upload  Worm’s Mind into Lego Robot

Artificial intelligence is worming its way into technology – literally. Sixty scientists and programmers from 15 different countries are working together on the Open Worm Project, a research development that successfully uploaded the mind of a roundworm into a Lego robot. A sonar sensor attached to a worm’s nose allows the robot to replicate the worm’s behavior. The project aims to eventually build an artificial worm with an elastic body and muscles, bringing us closer to other types of artificial intelligence. (CNN)

Chinese Consumers Critique Burberry for Poorly Localized Design

With the Chinese New Year just around the corner, businesses are targeting holiday shoppers with limited edition items celebrating the Year of the Sheep. Luxury fashion brand Burberry released a scarf with the Chinese character 福(fu, which means happiness and good fortune, embroidered on the edge. An advertisement for the scarf quickly circulated to over 13,000 people, but not for the right reasons. Chinese consumers said the design “looked cheap” and lacked an understanding of Chinese culture. For Chinese New Year, the character 福 (fu) is normally presented upside down in order to symbolize the arrival of good fortune. This tradition stems from a phonetic similarity between the Mandarin words for “upside down” and “arrived.”

Related:  This Year in Language AI: Strides Towards Perfecting Language AI Communications

Perhaps next time, the company will use CSOFT’s translation services to help localize its products with poise. (Wall Street Journal)

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