Portuguese Prime Minister Costa, Secretary Alexis Tam and the distinguished guests presiding at Opening Ceremony for MPI Joint MT Lab
Mr. António Costa, Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic presided at the MPI opening ceremony at MPI Auditorium for Joint Laboratory of Chinese/Portuguese/English Machine Translation and launch ceremony for two Portuguese books held on October 11, to display the fruits of long-term cooperation and exchange between China and Portugal and to support and promote the common development of Mainland China, Portuguese-speaking countries and Macao. Prime Minister Costa’s presence and speech received a warm welcome from MPI staff and students. Prime Minister Costa spoke highly of MPI’s contribution to Sino-Portuguese cooperation, affirmed the advantages of MPI in Portuguese teaching and research, and encouraged MPI to achieve more in promoting cooperation and exchange between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
Dr. Alexis Tam, Secretary for Social and Cultural Affairs of MSAR stated that the opening ceremony of the Joint MT Lab and the book launch of Portuguese textbooks and a collection of theses embodied combination of academic findings and new technology to facilitate language communication, exposing to the world wisdom and talent of Macao people.
On the ceremony, Prime Minister Costa was gifted a portrait of himself true to life by MPI to symbolize the lasting Sino-Portuguese friendship.
MPI Opening Ceremony for Joint MT Lab and Book Launch was held at 16:30, October 11, at MPI Auditorium. In the presiding group were Mr. António Costa (Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic), Dr. Alexis Tam (Secretary for Social and Cultural Affairs of MSAR), Mr. Xue Xiaofeng (Vice Director of Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the MSAR), Professor Lei Heong Iok (President of MPI), Mr. Huang Song (President of Global Tone Communication Technology Co. Ltd), Professor Zhong Weihe (President of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies), Professor Nuno Mangas (President of Leiria Polytechnic Institute, Portugal), Professor Luís Filipe Menezes (Vice President of University of Coimbra, Portugal), Mr. Huang Youyi (Executive Vice President of Translators Association of China), and Mr. Yu Dianli (General Manager of The Commercial Press). In addition, a capacity crowd at MPI Auditorium turned up for the joyful and lively spectacle.
In his speech, Prime Minister Costa said that he felt honoured to attend MPI’s Opening Ceremony for Joint MT Lab and Book Launch, and the issuance of Global Portuguese in China would surely promote Portuguese teaching. He agreed with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who stressed in the closing speech of Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries that Macao serves as a bridge between nations and regions. Prime Minister Costa also stated that it was right the Forum that made Macao to bridge itself with all the Portuguese-speaking countries, even Portugal, accomplishing an incredible journey, also an incredible journey for a language. In this course, Portuguese teaching was faced with great challenge, from China’s “Belt and Road” Strategy which factored language as crucial. Learners of Portuguese might get close to Portuguese-speaking countries via Portuguese teaching, and thus making Portuguese a bridge to assemble Portuguese-speaking peoples. Portuguese, as one of the major languages in southern hemisphere, was to attain a Portuguese-speaking population of 350 million, while the prosperity of Portuguese teaching and learning in China could be foreseen with China’s increasing emphasis, in particular view that Chinese universities with Portuguese programmes had increase to 33. Therefore, Macao was not only holding firm its peculiar cultural identity, but also closing the distance as a bridge between nations as well as languages. “Macao Polytechnic Institute,” he said, “pays a due role in this respect.”
“It is a great honour to have Prime Minister Costa presiding at the ceremony,” stated MPI President Lei Heong Iok, “The Joint Lab of Chinese/Portuguese/English Machine Translation and series of Portuguese books are fruits of MPI’s academic research, knowledge impartment and teaching practice.” In his introduction of Global Portuguese, he mentioned that the textbooks, issued by The Commercial Press, a prestigious printing house in China, was the first complete set of textbooks of EU standards for Chinese learners of Portuguese in Mainland China and Macao. Its first printing of 8,000 copies would be issued nationwide in mid-October, Mainland bookstores, Macao bookstores and online bookstores of Amazon, Jingdong and Dangdang all in synchronization. In addition, President Lei stated that, From One Language to the World: China’s Portuguese Teaching with Macao as a Case Study was the distillation of Professor Carlos André’s years of reflection on Portuguese and his own teaching experience in China. He pointed out that the establishment of the Joint MT Laboratory signalled the coming of a new age in translation and that MPI set up a benchmark of Sino-Portuguese cooperation in production, learning and research. Labs and projects on cross-language big database, MT, speech recognition and CAT, all those owed to MPI’s century-long Portuguese teaching and research experience and its cooperation with Global Tone Communication Technology Co. Ltd, a mainland MT research and development giant, and Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, a university of academic strength. The project, with the support from Leiria Polytechnic Institute and University of Coimbra, was also a product of Sino-Portuguese cooperation. “MPI will carry on its high quality, and will back up as always its Portuguese teaching and research,” President Lei added.
Dr. Alexis Tam, Secretary for Social and Cultural Affairs of MSAR, stated that the opening ceremony of the Joint MT Lab and the book launch of Portuguese textbooks and a collection of Portuguese theses embodied combination of academic findings and new technology to facilitate language communication, displaying wisdom and talent of Macao people. He said that MSAR Government would reinforce Portuguese teaching in Macao and support that in Mainland. He also mentioned that MSAR Government had been well clear about the peculiarity of Macao and its mighty potential and irreplaceable role as a forum for dialogues between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. Macao was to take the mission, particularly for its historical heritage, its cultural identity, and its strategic status.
On the ceremony, Prime Minister Costa was gifted by MPI a portrait of himself true to life and Chinese ink paintings on the Portuguese Discovery and contributions to world peace. The living paintings just wreathed Prime Minister Costa in smiles and his acceptance was echoed with applause from the whole audience. To draw a perfect full stop for the ceremony, Macao and overseas students of MPI presented bouquets to Prime Minister Costa to wish for the lasting Sino-Portuguese friendship and expressed their best wishes to the distinguished guests.
Portuguese Prime Minister Costa delivering a speech
Secretary Alexis Tam and President Lei Heong Iok presenting books and a living portrait to Prime Minister Costa
Macao and overseas students of MPI presenting bouquets to Prime Minister Costa to symbolize a long-lasting friendship between China and Portugal
Group photo of Prime Minister Costa, distinguished guests, MPI staff and students