B.B.B. celebrates launch of new service

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B.B.B. celebrates launch of new service


As of yesterday, the barrier between Korean and 16 other languages is effectively gone ― if you have access to a phone, that is. The Beyond Babel Brigade, a phone translation service sponsored by the Joong-Ang Ilbo, began accepting international calls yesterday, and to celebrate held a talent contest in Myeong-dong on Friday.
The eight performances came from all over the world, from Uzbekistan to the United States. Abolghasem Niaraki is a PhD. student who came to Korea one-and-a-half years ago from Iran. Though he said he had never sung in public before, he wanted “to transfer my feeling and show traditional Iranian music to the Korean people.” As Mr. Niaraki sang “Iran es Saboland,” girls snapped photos on their cell phones.
American Jordan Baszner held perhaps an unfair advantage ― he had worked as a professional performer on cruise ships before settling in Korea seven months ago to teach at the Paju English Village. “I jumped at the chance to perform,” he said. “So I called in from work.”
Mr. Baszner performed “Ggungddari Shabara,” a Korean song by Clone, because he wanted to surprise the older Koreans in the audience. He sported newly-dyed blue hair because, he said, “Being a teacher, kids love variety.” He won the “popularity award.”
Two Filipinos, Roger Amboy and Noel Sopranes, who won second place for his dramatic rendition of “I Who Have Nothing,” competed.
The grand prize winners were an enthusiastic group of 11 Japanese students from Sunjung High School in Eunpyeong district, northern Seoul, playing traditional Korean percussion.
The Beyond Babel Brigade offers phone translation services in Korean to and from English, Japanese, Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, German, Portuguese, Arabic, Polish, Turkish, Swedish, Thai, Vietnamese, Malay or Indonesian, To use the service, call 1588-5644.

by Ben Applegate
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