Many jobs that are being replaced by automation are somewhat small in terms of the number of workers in each employment category, so the overall cumulative effect has not been adequately noticed. However drivers are a huge group with millions of workers, plus the collateral businesses that are built around track drivers in particular, like roadside restaurants, so the disruption of the trucking industry will have large injurious effects.
Nevertheless, the businesses that build cars, trucks and buses are moving full steam ahead with self-driving technology because they don’t want to be left in the dust by Silicon Valley developing the industry.
The report below from the Guardian suggests that self-driving trucks might come into common usage more quickly than we think. But however attractive the idea of far cheaper hauling might be to transportation companies, it’s hard to imagine the driving public will readily accept ginormous big rigs speeding down the highway with no driver. Business may compromise by using the platooning strategy, where a designated lead truck has a driver and several vehicles follow along by being networked wirelessly.
Powerful interests now believe there is money to be made by creating an automated future, although making many millions of people unemployed seems a poorly considered way to run an economy. Robots don’t shop.
Still, the automation future is coming coming our way, as we see in the machines and software already here as the vanguard of the revolution.
One thing that should be done is to zero out immigration, because America won’t need millions of additional unemployable workers in a vastly reduced employment universe.
The race is on to get driverless trucks on the roads, and experts say the impact on professional drivers ‘is going to be huge’
Driverless trucks will be safer and cheaper than their human-controlled counterparts, but that doesn’t mean America’s 3.5 million professional truck drivers are giving up to the machines without a fight.
Across the US, truckers collectively haul more than 10bn tons of freight each year, but it’s a tough job – the hours are long and lonely, the pay is low and the lifestyle is sedentary. In many ways it’s a job ripe for disruption; robots v truckers.
“Picture the taxi drivers around the world acting in response to Uber,” says Andy Stern, the former former president of the Service Employees International Union, referring to protests and violence that erupted in many cities as the $62.5bn Silicon Valley on-demand ride-hailing firm challenged conventional, regulated taxis.
“Truck drivers will follow a similar pattern,” says Stern. “There will be disruption in different places. You can imagine people ringing state capitals with their trucks.”
Much has been written about the advent of the driverless car, with rival versions being developed by Google, Uber and Tesla, yet driverless trucks are likely to roll out at scale much sooner. “Individuals can make their own choices about whether they want to get into a driverless car or taxi, but labour-saving technology will be deployed by businesses much quicker,” explains Stern, whose book Raising the Floor explores the need for a universal basic income as technology replaces jobs. Continue reading this article
The President visited Yosemite this weekend, so the public’s attention is focused on parks. Naturally, the discussion includes liberal worries that the parks are not diverse enough, and that topic was a front-pager for the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday.
Liberal outdoorsy types, like Sierra Clubbers, worry that colorful people don’t care about wild places, and when America becomes even more diverse (as libs have engineered through immigration), then wilderness preservation will end and pavement will prevail. In the post-American United States, Yosemite Valley might be rejiggered to include luxury condos or Yellowstone could get a roller coaster to amuse the kiddies — who would be left to complain? The Mexicans won’t care.
In liberal Minneapolis, the metro council is calling for “racially equitable use of parks” — whatever that is. Do they want race quotas for use? It’s unclear.
However, there are downsides to promoting diversity in wild places. The newbie visitors bring their own cultures and values to the experience. One expression is tagging, and so-called “street artists” see nature as a swell canvas where they can squirt out their imagined creativity.
In Joshua Tree alone, graffiti artists vandalized the popular Rattlesnake Canyon in 2013, requiring an extensive cleanup; workers just finished removing etchings from the face of Barker Dam, and in February, someone painted a large, bright blue giraffe on a boulder in 49 Palms Oasis.
About the same time, someone painted a menacing 8-foot-by-12-foot image of a skull on the wall of a historical structure in a nearby area known as the Wonderland of Rocks.
Nevertheless, the diversification of parks moves full steam ahead, as explained respectfully in the Chronicle — a project which was not appreciated by Ajit in the comments section: “I am Asian and I don’t give a rat’s a&s whether any other Asian visits any National Park. In fact, I’d rather have fewer visitors of all colors, races, and all ethnicity. Stop wasting the already meager resources of the Park system on politically-correct nonsense. Use the money to perform much-needed and postponed repairs and upkeep of these precious jewels.”
Growing up in North Hollywood, Jessica Rivas never gave much thought to the glacier-carved monolith that is Half Dome, rustic cabins along the Merced River or uniformed park rangers in flat brim hats.
These days she often can be found walking near the river, in the shadow of the granite peak.
Wearing the hat.
As a wilderness ranger working in Yosemite National Park, Rivas represents the park and the National Park Service and, she says, the nature that can be “life-changing.” As a 22-year-old woman of Mexican and Lebanese descent, however, she is far from representative of most visitors and workers in a park system that belongs to an increasingly diverse U.S. population.
Just 22 percent of park-goers are ethnic minorities, according to a 2011 study that also points out that percentage had not changed noticeably since the previous survey in 2000.
The lack of diversity is even more dramatic in light of predictions that by 2020 half of all youths in America will be of color, and by 2043, whites will no longer be a majority of the U.S. population.
It’s been a dilemma for all of the National Park Service’s 100 years: The legacy left for all Americans — and paid for with everyone’s taxes — should be easily available and welcoming to the entire population. Continue reading this article
This is something of a good news story, because when smart machines are chosen over shipping US jobs overseas wholesale, there are likely a few human workers required to assist the robots. At least for the time being.
It makes sense that businesses prefer to have their manufacturing nearby, where they can keep better track of production and make adjustments more quickly. The article below frames the issue more in terms of IT work, but the principle remains.
Still, the general trend is toward fewer workers because automation is increasingly being plugged in as a replacement for humans who demand wages and lunch breaks. Therefore, America and other first-world nations do not need to import immigrants for labor.
Automation will do the jobs Americans just don’t want to do.
While Congress and workers debate H-1B visas, virtual labor is ascendant
The offshore outsourcing of IT grew because of the cost of offshore labor. A software engineer in India is paid but a fraction of what a U.S. worker earns. Payscale puts the median salary for a senior software engineer in India at $10,000.
When IT services firms bring in H-1B visa workers, these workers earn substantially more than their overseas counterparts, but often significantly less than American IT employees.
This labor cost advantage has been a powerful lure for U.S. customers, but analysts see labor costs diminishing in importance. Customers want more automation, whether it’s infrastructure management or business process outsourcing. IT services firms can no longer complete exclusively on lower cost labor.
“The search for just cheaper people is a thing of the past,” said Frances Karamouzis, an analyst at Gartner. What customers now want is to buy more “thinking” and automation for the “doing,” she said.
One process that has taken off is called “Robotic Process Automation (RPA),” a term given to a virtual machine that takes over some of the applications and workflows managed by workers. These systems don’t directly replace humans, but take structured tasks and automate them, with users saving as much as much as 15%, said Karamouzis. Continue reading this article
Nevertheless, the New York Times featured a front-pager titled “Young New York Muslims, Robbed of a Respite” — apparently trying to make the Islamics into the victims. To most people, the murder for allah of 49 Americans seems a bit more consequential than Muslim immigrant kids confused about their Islam-is-peace narrative.
The slant comes across as a little crude, no? I thought sensitivity was a top liberal value.
Below, colorful immigrants celebrate Ramadan, as portrayed on the Times’ front page.
Ramadan is a major Islam holiday where practitioners fast during daylight hours. It is also a period of increased violence on the part of Muslims; in fact, Ramadan is the only holiday that normally comes with a non-accident death toll.
For Muhammad Hannan and other Muslim high school students in New York City, this has been a Ramadan of contrasts and conflicting emotions.
The joy of breaking a 16-hour fast with the first bite of a sweet date. The horror of hearing about the attack on a gay nightclub in Florida that left 49 dead. The drudgery of reviewing a year’s worth of earth sciences and trigonometry notes. The frustration of defending Islam — and the right to be in this country — after another terrorist attack carried out in the name of the Islamic State.
“I just don’t get it,” said Muhammad, a 17-year-old junior at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, Brooklyn, who immigrated from Pakistan with his family in 2014. “Islam is all about peace. In Ramadan, we don’t even curse. You’re not supposed to do anything bad.”
Ramadan is usually Muhammad’s favorite time. This year, though, the holiday, which encompasses a month of fasting from dawn to dusk, has not offered its usual refuge. Already, Ramadan coincided with the Regents, the series of state tests that most high school students in New York take. Continue reading this article
Kallstrom appeared on Fox News Thursday and explained to Megyn Kelly how the FBI is blocked from performing at its highest efficiency by the rules of engagement that “come down from by the White House.” The agents are expected to prevent jihad attacks, yet they are hampered by the “wet blanket of political correctness.” Agents are supposed to keep the country safe from domestic attacks, but, as Kallstrom observed, “They can’t go sniffing around anything to do with Muslims. They can’t go around to mosques, they can’t do things they would normally do.”
Job #1 for government is protecting the nation, but the one in charge now isn’t interested.
MEGYN KELLY: James Kallstrom was formerly the Assistant Director in charge of the FBI and senior counterterrorism adviser to the New York governor in the years after September 11. So just to clarify the record, the gun shop owner smelled a rat and reported the guy to the local authorities. as far as we know they did not contact the FBI so there was another missed opportunity. You’ve been saying all along the FBI and the locals need to be working together on this. What’s going on here? What’s happening, Jim? Why is the FBI not getting these guys even though there on the radar?
JAMES KALLSTROM: Okay, congratulations to the gun shop owner. Good Patriot. You know if you could wave a magic wand and say you could do whatever you could want to do, Jim, to better protect the citizens, you know we could never protect them all the time, but there’s some things that I would do. Get this wet blanket of political correctness off the backs of law enforcement, off the backs of the FBI. The last time i was on you with you Megyn, I got about 35 calls from agents who were on the job now at different levels saying, boy, you hit the nail on the head. We are really really . . .
KELLY: How? What’s being done to them that corrals them?
KALLSTROM: The rules of engagement, what the Bureau is being told about what they can do and what they can’t do. They can’t go sniffing around anything to do with Muslims. They can’t go around to mosques, they can’t do things they would normally do. I’m not talking about things that are off the charts; I’m talking about things that normally would be done but the orders have come down from the White House — the same people that took all the language out of the training documents and can’t be used in any memoranda — those are the same people. Continue reading this article
We’re in the final year of Obama’s fundamentally-change-America project and the run for the border is on. Masses of foreign moochers apparently fear that a President Trump will shut down the gravy train of freebies, so they want to get in while no-borders Obama is still in charge.
How large is the human tsunami? Hint: it’s not even summer, and the number coming across the border is already more than all of last year.
In fact, the government has delivered at least 441 Syrians into American communities, including 49 to Florida, just since the horrific slaughter of 49 last week in an Orlando gay bar. On that case, evidence continues to mount that the government was unable to protect us from Omar Mateen, even though the Orlando shooter left a long history of violence and threats.
Still, the 10,000 Syrians being admitted pale in comparison with the big picture of Obama’s Muslim immigration program, which is on course to issue a million green cards to residents of majority Islamic nations during his time in office. What possible benefit could that have for America? The policy significantly endangers the safety of all citizens.
The number of illegal immigrant families jumping the border so far this fiscal year has already topped all of 2015, according to Homeland Security statistics released Friday that show the administration’s border problems continue to grow.
Some 6,788 people traveling as families were caught on the southwest border in May — a leap of more than 20 percent over April, and putting the total for the first eight months of the fiscal year at nearly 45,000.
That’s already well above the 2015 yearlong total of fewer than 40,000, though it’s short of the record pace set in 2014, when a massive surge exposed massive holes in the U.S. immigration system.
Federal and local authorities have struggled to explain the latest surge in families, but a government lawyer gave one explanation to a federal judge earlier this month, saying that the Obama administration’s own lax enforcement policies, set in part by the courts, have enticed ever more people to make the harrowing journey.
The Justice Department’s immigration-law expert even told the judge that Illegal immigrants are abducting children on their trip north, hoping to pose as families to take advantage of the lax policies. Continue reading this article
A recent survey from Germany gives an indication of how little Muslim immigrants care to assimilate to European values. Research from the University of Münster showed poll results of Turks, a group with a history of several decades in Germany. Turks were invited to come work in German factories in the early 1960s because of labor shortages, and over 700,000 came over a decade. While the government envisioned them as temps, many stayed and formed the seed community for the current millions.
Some rudimentary assimilation has taken place, but not a lot. It doesn’t help that Turkey’s meddling PM Recep Erdogan visits his colonists to remind them of the dear homeland from time to time.
Here’s a video from 2011 with some Turko-German history, including a 2008 campaign stop from Erdogan telling his people that assimilation is a violation of their human rights and they should remain loyal to their Turkish roots:
The study of Turks suggests a growing adherence to fundamentalist Islam. Still, there are gripes that they don’t feel accepted, even though the efforts of many to become acculturated have been lacking. They want all the benefits with none of the responsibility.
A wide-ranging new study by the University of Münster shows that Germany’s Turkish community still has very conservative views on the role of religion in society.
The survey provides an often contradictory picture of social attitudes among Germany’s 2.7 million people of Turkish origin.
A total of 47 percent of the 1,201 respondents said that “following the tenets of my religion is more important to me than the laws of the land in which I live.”
But the study also reveals that this viewpoint is much more firmly held by the first generation (57 percent agreement) – Turks who emigrated to Germany – than by their offspring (36 percent agreement among 2nd and 3rd generation Turks).
One in three respondents, meanwhile, agreed that “Muslims should strive to return to a societal order like that in the time of Muhammad.”
Once again, this point of view was more strongly held in the first generation (36 percent) than in the second and third (27 percent).
Twenty percent said that the threat which the West poses to Islam justified violence. Seven percent said violence was a justifiable means of spreading Islam. Continue reading this article
BERLIN: Germany will not recognize polygamy or marriages involving minors, its justice minister said on Tuesday, as concern rises over such cases amid a record influx of refugees, many from Muslim countries.
“No one who comes here has the right to put his cultural values or religious beliefs above our law,” said justice minister Heiko Maas in an interview with Bild daily. “Therefore no polygamous marriages will be recognized in Germany.”
Under Islamic law, men are allowed to take up to four wives.
In Germany, however, polygamy is banned although the law provides latitude in some cases for migrants who had wedded abroad. For instance, if a man dies leaving two wives, a court could take into account their de facto relationship, which is bigamous under common law, when distributing the inheritance.
But Maas wants to end the ambiguity, saying: “Everybody must abide by the law, no matter whether he has grown up here or has only just arrived. The law applies equally to all.” Continue reading this article
Amazon’s automated warehouses continue to show how rapidly smart machines are taking over tasks that were performed by humans. A few years ago, workers pushed carts for miles around the warehouse picking out items for customer orders. Huffpo reported in 2011, “Some workers at Amazon.com’s Allentown, Pennsylvania warehouse are reportedly willing to contend with working at a brutal pace in dizzying heat so long as it means having a job.”
Was that only five years ago? It shows how quickly an industry can change when modern automation is applied.
San Jose California is a part of Silicon Valley, and naturally awareness of tech issues is high there. The home town Mercury News had a front-page spread on Sunday that focused on the employment threat presented by robots, as represented by the automation powerhouse that Amazon has become. The paper tried to draw a fine line, cheering the advances of robots and the jobs added to the nearby Amazon warehouse in Tracy while also observing the long-term inevitable job loss.
Certainly within such a dire employment prospects, it makes no sense for Washington to continue importing millions of unnecessary immigrant workers. In fact…
Automation makes immigration obsolete.
Amazon’s success has led to employment growth for the time being, but improving technology means fewer jobs later on. How do these brilliant captains of industry like Jeff Bezos expect the economy to run when half or more of the jobs (and paychecks!) have disappeared?
TRACY — In Amazon’s million-square-foot order-filling warehouse, two low-slung orange robots carrying stacks of consumer products are zipping across the floor, headed right at each other. One stops — not on a dime, it turns out, but rather over a QR code stuck to the floor — and allows the other to proceed, carrying inventory to a human worker who will pluck out an item, scan it and send it off for packing and shipping.
In this building the size of 28 football fields, containing four miles of conveyor belts and 15 million items awaiting customer orders from Northern California and beyond, the two limbless goods-moving machines are part of Amazon’s 30,000-strong robot army. Gliding in straight lines on a grid, separated from workers by chain-link fencing with signs warning people to keep out, the machines can lift and carry up to 750 pounds of retail products.
Seattle-based Amazon has pushed itself to the forefront of the robotics revolution, deploying robots in 15 U.S. fulfillment centers over the past four years. It has leased a fleet of 20 jumbo jets to further speed deliveries as an estimated 54 million Americans have flocked to its two-day-delivery Prime service.
The company says its superhuman robots have created far more jobs than they’ve taken, but experts say that employment trend will reverse as machines grow increasingly sophisticated and climb ever higher on the job-skills ladder, bumping Homo sapiens to the side.
“There was very little appreciable progress (in robotics) for a long time. Now we’re in an era where that progress is occurring,” said MIT economist David Autor.
But Amazon says the advancement won’t come at its workers’ expense. Two years ago, the e-commerce titan opened the Tracy facility with 1,500 full-time, permanent employees. Now, there are more than 3,000, company spokeswoman Ashley Robinson said. The job gains here that result from automation of certain tasks are seen across Amazon’s robot-equipped warehouses, Robinson said.
“It’s all about efficiency. It’s all about getting the boxes out to customers as quickly as we can. In a building without robotics it can take hours to fulfill an order. In this building it can take minutes,” Robinson said. “We’ve been able to build our workforce in this building because the robots have allowed us to fulfill more customer demand. It allows us to keep growing and growing.” Continue reading this article
Tuesday’s Washington Times headlined, “Immigrants children lured to terror: Identity often difficult for 2nd generation.”
The topic of the troubled second generation, particularly in Islamic families, is one that I’ve examined over time, recently in Government Screening Won’t Stop Second Generation Jihad. In that case, a Silicon Valley executive Sal Shafi contacted authorities because he feared his son, Adam (pictured), had turned jihad and was about to leave to join ISIS. Legal difficulties ensued.
Immigrant teens experience extra stress in the construction of who they believe themselves to be. Immigrant kids are not completely American nor entirely their parents’ tribe. As a result, many associate with others of the same demographic and form gangs based on ethnicity.
Muslim youth face a more consequential choice. The ISIS beheading gang claims to offer “true” Islam, not the watered-down or assimilated version of the parents, which provides a welcoming identity clubhouse to searchy young people.
The Washington Times article names a couple recent examples of second generation assimilation failures; I have reported on others in addition to the Shafi family. One was the son of Albanian immigrants Betim Kaziu was sentenced in 2012 to 27 years in the slammer for plotting to murder US soldiers overseas. Another was Mohamed Mohamud, a young Somali who plotted to bomb a Portland Oregon Christmas celebration, whose father (an engineer at Intel) contacted authorities with worries that his son was becoming radicalized.
The problem of second generation radicalization shows that immigration screening of the first generation does not protect America from danger. Islam can act like a recessive gene, becoming active in later generations to kill. Understanding this point means the prudent policy for American national security should be Zero Muslim immigration, period.
The online version of the Washington Times story was headlined somewhat differently:
While immigrants draw much of the attention, it’s their children who are proving to be the most fruitful recruiting ground for radical jihad in the U.S., accounting for at least half of the deadly attacks over the past decade.
The latest instance of the second-generation terrorist syndrome played out in Orlando, Florida, over the weekend when Omar Mateen, son of immigrants from Afghanistan, went on a jihad-inspired rampage, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Authorities said Mateen had flirted with other terrorist groups but declared his allegiance to the Islamic State on Sunday morning as he began his horrific spree.
He follows in the footsteps of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino, California, terrorists who was the son of Pakistanis; Nadir Soofi, one of two men who attacked a drawing competition in Garland, Texas, last year and whose father was from Pakistan; and then-Maj. Nidal Hassan, the child of Palestinian immigrants whose shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 set off the modern round of deadly lone-wolf attacks.
In other cases, attackers were immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children. They grew up in the U.S. but were besieged by questions of identity.
“Historically, the ‘high stress’ generation for American immigrants has been second generation,” said former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden. “Mom and Pop can rely on the culture of where they came from. Their grandchildren will be (more or less) thoroughly American. The generation in between, though, is anchored neither in the old or in the new. They often are searching for self or identity beyond self.” Continue reading this article
My head explodes every time I hear a TV commenter call a savage Islamic murder a “tragedy” — no, Hurricane Katrina was a tragedy; the jihad mass shooting in Orlando that killed 50 was a massacre for allah. Big difference. But we are hearing the usual media softening of jihad attacks because Americans aren’t supposed to notice how dangerous Muslim immigration is. The Orlando mass murders were executed by a son of Afghan immigrants, so it’s the common second generation problem.
Sebastian Gorka, a fine explainer of jihad, swatted that media malfeasance following the attack, as well as how detrimental political correctness has been to carrying out a proper response to America’s Islamic enemies. He appeared on Fox News early Sunday when not a lot was known about the attack in Orlando.
MARIA BARTIROMO: How do you see it now after that briefing where we now know that 50 people are dead 53 others are in the hospital and this was an act of terrorism?
SEBASTIAN GORKA: Maria, we need to stop using words like “shocking.” Nobody should be shocked: this is what they have been planning to do after Paris, after Brussels. Nobody should be surprised. Likewise this isn’t to be called a “tragedy.” This isn’t an Amtrak train being derailed; this is part of the global jihadi strategy. It’s not an accident: it is war against America. and lastly please please, I beg my colleagues in the US government, we have to stop talking about this maybe being a hate crime. It’s not a hate crime; it is part of an ideological military assault on the United States of America.
We have arrested 101 people linked to ISIS on US soil since the Caliphate was declared. This attack in part was facilitated by the policies of this administration, President Obama and Secretary Clinton, that have allowed political correctness into the threat assessment. Today I beg the White House — stop with the political correctness. We need to destroy this enemy before more innocent people — gay, straight, black, white, brown, yellow — are murdered on US soil.
BARTIROMO: You make very compelling statements there, Dr. Gorka. Tell us where you see this going in terms of an investigation of who else is out there. Who, what other terrorists are in America right now?
GORKA: Right now we have, as you your previous guests noted, more than 900 leads being investigated by the FBI in every single state of the union. What we need to know right now is who this person was connected to, how were they accessing ideological material, who those ideologues were. This person killed 50 people — that is more than one magazine’s worth of rounds inside a rifle, inside an AR rifle. This means he probably had some kind of training — who gave him that training? We have to find out the broader network and most importantly, not just the connections to ISIS or jihadis, but who are the ideologues, the people he was in touch with that spun him up to do this attack now during the season of Ramadan. I know the FBI are doing this right now we have to give them as much leeway as possible and stop the political correctness.
How can you tell when America has too many Muslims? One measure is the decision of the Census Bureau to publish an Arabic translation of the questionnaire for the next count, even though the language presents unique difficulties for use in such a situation.
Plus, we learn it’s important not to upset the Religion of the Perpetually Offended with culturally inappropriate symbols, like specifying “x” to mark a box to show assent. Diversity can be so complex.
In 2020, census questionnaires may for the first time be offered in Arabic, now the fastest-growing language in the U.S. However, the Census Bureau faces a challenge not only in translating the language but also in adjusting the appearance of the questionnaire for those accustomed to reading and writing Arabic script.
The Census Bureau has already conducted some research on what it would take to implement the new questionnaire and has made some recommendations. A final decision on these changes – or even whether the questionnaire will definitely be translated into Arabic – hasn’t been made. A new study presented at the American Association for Public Opinion Research annual conference in May detailed the bureau’s cognitive testing and focus groups of Arabic speakers not proficient in English to identify the translation and visual display issues that are unique to Arabic and anticipate the measurement problems that might result. The bureau will use this research to help determine whether a translation of the census form can accurately “translate” symbolic and layout meanings from English to Arabic.
Arabic is the fastest growing language in the U.S. The number of people ages 5 and older who speak Arabic at home has grown by 29% between 2010 and 2014 to 1.1 million, making it the seventh most commonly spoken non-English language in the U.S. Meanwhile, the number who speak Spanish at home has grown only 6% over the same time period.
The growth in Arabic language use is tied to continued immigration from the Middle East and North Africa and the growing U.S. Muslim population. The increasing presence of this group is one reason the Census Bureau may add a Middle East/North Africa category to the 2020 census form as part of major changes being considered to questions about race and ethnicity. In 2010, the Census Bureau offered an Arabic language assistance guide to help Arabic speakers fill out an English-language questionnaire.
The bureau identified about 1.9 million people with Arab ancestry living in the United States in 2014, but advocacy groups have suggested that the number may be much higher. Among those who speak Arabic at home, 38% were not proficient in English – that is, they report speaking English less than “very well.” This is comparable to the rate of English proficiency among the 39.3 million U.S. residents who speak Spanish at home. Some 42% of this group does not speak English very well, according to census data.
The challenges of translating surveys across cultures
Translating survey questionnaires is a tricky endeavor because it can be difficult to express the same meaning across two languages and cultures. But Arabic presents unique challenges because it is read from right to left on the page (the opposite of English and many other languages), the letters are connected like cursive writing in English, and, because it uses a different alphabet, words such as names can’t always be directly transliterated into English. Even if the questions are translated accurately, the visual elements of the survey may not necessarily transmit the same meaning as in English. For example, symbols such as an “X” to mark a response carry different connotations in different cultures. The census is usually a self-administered survey (that is, respondents complete the questionnaire on their own, on paper or online) and research shows that visual display can have a large effect on survey responses. Continue reading this article
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