Monday, November 20, 2006

Rome Seminar Day 1...

Today was the first day of my seminar in Rome.  It started off bad and sort of went down from there :)  Only kidding, everyone worked together hard to make it work.

When I arrived, I first asked to see the printed material - in Copenhagen they missed printing one of the sections.  Well in Rome, we missed all of them!  We arranged for a quick printing (and they were fast, by mid-morning that was corrected).

Then there was the sound system.  It was being simultaneously translated (how UN like - little box off to the side with the translation team).  They could not hear me however - lots of "echo".  Not only that - but microphone after microphone would squeal, squeak and otherwise misbehave.  They blamed my voice!  Oh well - I think I used seven different microphones today - made a joke out of it. 

Having the simultaneous translation was a bit strange.  Apparently Italian takes 40% longer to say the same thing as you would in English.  So, I was to speak slowly.  I tried, but it was hard.  Imagine adding 40% to the runtime of your long batch job - it'll never finish in the batch window.  Well, I have two days of stuff to talk about.  And at full speed, it takes - two days.  I'll try not to miss the window - but who knows (I am exactly on schedule right now - if I skip one small section...)

Watching the translators was interesting.  One of them just sat there and talked - arms at their side.  The other one - she talked just like me - her arms were waving, hands gesturing - even though she wasn't addressing the audience.  I talk with my arms - a lot, she was following that right along.

Also, the timing of jokes was way off.  I would say something - and very much expect a chuckle.  Nothing, nothing, nothing and then a bit of laughter. They were running behind by a second or two - very nerve wracking at first.  But then I realized they were working very hard to either listen in English and translate themselves or listen to the translation where the words were coming out really really fast (that 40% thing).

By the middle of the day, I think we finally fell into a pattern - it started working.

But, I am more tired than usual.  The microphone problems really caused some stress up there - any sudden movement and "squeal".  They would switch a lapel microphone with a handheld (ever tried to type standing up with the keyboard on a low table, holding something in one hand?).

Tomorrow the sound people promise a better day.  I'm getting a Madonna microphone - wrapped about the head.  I can hardly wait... :)

It is fun still.

The Internet connection in my hotel is very limited.  Wireless only in the lounge.  I wonder what the Italian guys in the lounge are thinking of the guy in the corner sitting cross legged on the sofa without shoes and typing away is all about...  I bought my six hours of online time, I'm going to use it.

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18 Comments:

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

Do you know how I listen to anything (a speech, a book) translated in Italian ?

I translate it literally back in English in my mind and pass it to my English neurons ;)
--
I pity the poor translators - translating technical material is extremely difficult, unless you're familiar with the industry - now a simultaneous translator being a DBA at the same time ... 0.0000001% chance.

I wonder how they translated "bind variable" ... officially it's translated as "variabile di collegamento", but I can imagine a lot of funny translations as well LOL
--
About the "guy in the corner sitting cross legged on the sofa without shoes" ... they're thinking that He's an American Hippie disguised as a geek ;)

Mon Nov 20, 02:42:00 PM EST  

Blogger Jeff Hunter said....

Also, the timing of jokes was way off. I would say something - and very much expect a chuckle.
Yeah, especially with your "style" I would think that would be extremely distracting.

Mon Nov 20, 03:01:00 PM EST  

Blogger Niall said....

You missed him but Joze Senegacnik had a nice line about a RHB cluster - Real Human Brain cluster, right half in slovenian, left half in english. Lots of full scans on the dictionary and the dread rhb-1555 man too old error.

cheers and good travels

Niall

Mon Nov 20, 04:20:00 PM EST  

Blogger Roderick said....

Talking with your hands and wearing a Madonna microphone... Should the audience be expecting to see your rendition of Vogue tomorrow? :-)

Anyway your knowledge will provide everyone a Ray of Light.

Mon Nov 20, 04:30:00 PM EST  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

It's more something like "half brain listening and transforming the speech in written phrases (images)" and "half brain reading the images and making sense of them".

Eg we normally use the image-processing neurons for foreign languages (located mostly in the back of the head), and use the sound-processing ones (conveniently located above the ears) for native languages. Guess which is more efficient ?

Mon Nov 20, 04:32:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

@Alberto

>Do you know how I listen to anything (a speech, a book) translated in Italian ?

How about movies? In Italy (if I'm not mistaken) all foreign movies are translated to Italian ...I always found this annoying compared to subtitles (same for French or German), I always wondered how this works for you ("consumer" :-), I mean nothing wrong translating Stallone mumble back to original;-), but Clint must sound ridiculous in any language but English :-)

Regards,
ales

Mon Nov 20, 05:39:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Mark A. Williams said....

> Oh well - I think I used seven different microphones today - made a joke out of it.

Must have been the same microphones from HotSos last year. Or was that the year before?

- Mark

Mon Nov 20, 07:59:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Michael Smith said....

So maybe it is you with the mics. This isn't the first time you've had this problem. HotSoS was one I remember

Mon Nov 20, 08:42:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Gabe said....

One of them just sat there and talked - arms at their side.

Doubt that chap was Italian …

The other one - she talked just like me - her arms were waving, hands gesturing - even though she wasn't addressing the audience.

That’s more likely …

Mon Nov 20, 08:55:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Robert said....

>l> Tom said...
I wonder what the Italian guys in the lounge are thinking of the guy in the corner.....
<<

American tourist

>l> Tom said...
Wireless only in the lounge....bought my six hours of online time, I'm going to use it.
<<

LOL! I was like that with buffets.
The amount you travel,....did you not check ahead of time if the hotel's Net connection is up to your liking ?

Mon Nov 20, 09:17:00 PM EST  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

@ales

You're right, every movie is dubbed in Italian - and that has fostered an excellent subindustry of "voice actors" that are able to localize not only the meaning, but the intonation and voice stress etc also.

So an American movie becomes, somehow, a mixin between the two cultures ... even it normally stays at least 70-80% American of course.

Tue Nov 21, 06:10:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I always thought there would be no difference between Italians and Americans:
both cannot play soccer

Tue Nov 21, 09:12:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

To make things simple, you can try this.... get your own good cordless microphone and just before going to the stage, hand the sound technician your wireless receiver end to connect to the in-house PA system.

Tue Nov 21, 01:43:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Mark said....


It's more something like "half brain listening and transforming the speech in written phrases (images)" and "half brain reading the images and making sense of them".

Eg we normally use the image-processing neurons for foreign languages (located mostly in the back of the head), and use the sound-processing ones (conveniently located above the ears) for native languages. Guess which is more efficient ?


I guess if you balance the IO across the neuron devices, you will get the best performance.

Tue Nov 21, 03:22:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Gabe said....

I guess if you balance the IO across the neuron devices, you will get the best performance.

Remember though not to rebuild some of these structures while still online. Any performance improvement may be illusory and … short-lived ;)

Tue Nov 21, 04:15:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Andrea said....

Hi:

I was at the Rome session.

If you wonder how it was working... well... it was much strange for the audience as it was strange to Tom. The audio system had some issues... and hearing in English was sometimes uncomfortable (due to the reported issues... of course)... voice was 'skipping'... sorry, cannot describe better than this.
So sometimes I reverted to the headset with the translation (the sound technician said there was a channel with audio in English and a channel with Italian translation but I could not find English...).
As Alberto says... well... it's 0.0000001% chance to find a DBA to manage the translation... so sometimes translation was really "interesting".
All Italian people in the Oracle domain I know always use the original terms to identify core concepts, and translators sometimes translated too much.
Alberto, if you wonder about "bind variables", forget it. It was left unchanged... maybe it passed as "variabili di bind" :-# couple of times, but think of translating "index organized tables" or "heap tables"... that's much more creative and funny.
Anyway... on the second day it was much more comfortable than on the first.
Tom, apart from the issues you reported, I want to say that the whole thing worked, and all of the people I talked with were completely satisfied. (In my opinion) it has been really useful and enjoyable.

Wed Nov 22, 04:14:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Mattia Rossi said....

Hi,
I was at the Rome session too and, was one of the few ones (I believe about 10 out of 100, that is really a low percentage for a group od DBAs/Developers) that wasn't using headsets.
The first day as the previous poster said, was really bad for the audio, the 'sound guy' was constantly messing with the gain, reverber, pickup settings of the microphone so you either did not hear the first half of every word, or the microphone would squeal, or the volume would simply go up and down .... on the other hand the content of the seminar was on par with Tom's reputation.
I hardly ever go to seminars because after a couple of slides I get bored, whatever the argument, because it isn't technical enough.
I spent two days trying to catch up with what Tom was trying to pass on, and spent the meals discussing with the colleagues which technical part applied to our projects and which one we didn't even take into account ... I was really impressed.
I recommend Tom's seminar to whoever attended the advanced PL/sql course (for example) and thought that if that was the most advanced stuff Oracle University had to offer, then it would be better to be off by themselves.

Thu Nov 23, 10:03:00 AM EST  

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