Rage against the machine?

IMG_2655

Some years ago a translation theory professor advised us against providing clients translations in a digital format. That same professor also laughed about the idea of exchanging points of view with the author of a work before or during the translation activity… because the author might not be among us anymore.

Well, I can tell you that I have been trusting my Bauchgefühl so I have always provided clients with digital files – and I am still around.

It is no secret that a tendency causes reaction when it first starts to show off. That’s simply what it takes to be new. And there will always be people for whom translation is a monologue before the Classics, and who try to bypass technologies.

On the opposite end of the rope there’s the market approach. In a self-motivated, pro-active way, industry interprets the market flows, and draws up strategies that promise to ease its pains. Along the way, it also creates needs for the crowds. Flesh and blood actors of the process are not globally taken into account, which obviously leaves a bad taste in their mouth. The ultimate bile is when market not only ignores them but tries to replace them.

Since the Industrial Revolution, History have taught us that machines and computers are fast learners. So fast that last week Steven Hawking warned that artificial intelligence could end mankind. In his sight, the ability of the software to learn and guess the words he absolutely needs to communicate is becoming spooky.

Yes, I know – literature has long offered us examples of how messers become the messies…

Specifically in the field of translation, this has developed into a never-ending subject matter; at a certain point there was the risk of machine translation. Patent Translator’s Blog recently defended that the activity of human translation, among others, will soon be extinct.

As part of a generation of professionals whose career launched with the advent of IT, it is hard for me to conceive my work with no input of artificial intelligence. We have learned how to make the best out of it, and we have grown our skills based on it.
I have tried not to develop any kind of prejudices against technologies, since that would only distract me from my focus. Instead, I have consciously kept posted, updated and upgraded along the way.

Yes, maybe I am an easy target for the industry. In this particular case, however, I am still not convinced that the solution is to swim against the tide.

Advertisements

Terms don’t come easy

Terminology is key for any translator. The quest for the right equivalent is a never-ending issue. In order to face the challenge, several obstacles pose before a translator though:

– Time is a luxury commodity, so it is never sufficient to allow deep digging in the subject.

– Clients in general have no clue of what’s behind words. The mainstream thought is that there is always a direct target word for a source word. You just have to look for it properly out there. Of course the widespread automated translation engines do not help us in our efforts to explain that translation involves a bit more than that.

– There is a myriad of good references online. The problem is that it is mixed up with a myriad of trash. It takes a clinical and critical eye. And know-how.

In more recent years, it seems clients finally started to understand the need to extract and systematize their own in-house terminology. Who among us does not welcome a pretty looking glossary along with the translation project?! Most of the times, however, we are lucky if we get a previous created TM, filled in with segments from previous translations. What in turn can be a long shot: the terms inside are mandatory, but may be absolutely objectionable, incompetent, irrelevant.

So if we give it some thought, what would be the optimal solution for terminology in translation? To extract the terms beforehand, and create a customized termbase we can use during the translation process? Awesome! But for that we need time, we need a consultant designated by the client, who gives us the concept and has the know-how, and probably a consultant in the target language, who helps us find the conceptual equivalent. Only then we should be able to see the right term.

There is quite a difference between this scenario and the real thing, I must say.

So that was one of the main reasons that took me to Barcelona last week, to attend the seventh EAFT Terminology Summit. I had the opportunity to meet some top names of the world of Terminology, such as Rute Costa, Rodolfo Maslias, Klaus-Dirk Schmitz, Barbara Inge Karsch, Maria Pia Montoro, Teresa Cabré, among many others.

EAFT with Rudolfo MasliasIcon Icon Icon © EAFT

By then I had already decided to attend the TERMNET International Terminology Summer School, which will be held in July in Cologne. This course can be seen as a preparation for the ECQA Terminology Manager certification exam, which I can optionally take next September.

Looking forward!

In the beginning was the word

Just found out by chance that ‘ana’ (אנא) in hebrew means ‘please’.
Never had imagined that my translation could be allegiance.
Never had given self-determination so much credit.

From Europe to Mercosul

EuroTermBank

Still working hard to improve our terminology sources!

EuroTermBank (Beta release) has been added to Word as an add-in, so that we can access the search feature more easily from the editor. Like the two previously mentioned Terminotix and TranslatorTools toolbars, this one works in Word, which is obviously not so handy. Anyway, a great resource! Download here.

mercosul

Since the demand for Brazilian Portuguese is growing, we also have to bear in mind that it is mandatory to consider terminology differences between European and Brazilian language usage. For this reason, we are also proud to announce that we have aligned and created a new database with the official terms of the Nomenclatura Comum do Mercosul. More than 7000 terms in PT-BR with their equivalents in EN. I am afraid there are no more languages available.

Some other new amazing supplements that we have included in our termbase portfolio: IPIN’s Naval, USCG’S Nautical, Automotive, official EU Harmonized Standards, Cinema, and counting!

One Apple a day…

We are definitely in the mood to organize all our sources of terminology. There is no gain in having amazing glossaries without being able to optimize their usage.

 That’s why we are dedicating some time to it, and today we have finally created a TM from the MAC OS X glossaries available on the  web. To retrieve the files, you will have to log in as a developer with your Apple ID.

apple

It’s easy to download your language .dmg files into your disc. If you’re not a MAC user, the hard part can be to extract them: try peazip.com.

When you’re done, follow the instructions given by CATguru:

You might obviously also feel tempted to create a termbase out of the Excel version of the glossaries, but for some reason you’ll get an error message. I suppose this is caused by the symbols in some entries. Anyway, as far as I am concerned, to be able to interact in SDL Studio with an Apple TM will be an awesome improvement!

Prepare files for translation

translatortools

The webpage is quite humble, anyway Translator Tools promise to bring a huge improvement to the preparation of files for translation.

I still cannot leave you my opinion here, since I couldn’t find the time to try it. However, don’t expect it to interact with Studio or any other CAT tool, but rather with Word and Excel.

language tree

Over the last couple of weeks, probably everyone working with languages and linguistics have seen or shared this tree. Thanks to Minna Sundberg for the feast for the eyes & food the brain!

Language families

Terminotix toolbar

terminotix

This time I have come across two plugins for a new toolbar, which is meant to be installed both in Word and in Studio. It can be customized in order to interact with your favorite resources on the web.

It provides direct access from Word and from Studio to a handful of glossaries, termbanks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and so much more.

Basically, you don’t need to minimize your document and to open your browser, which saves time and it’s not so patience consuming.

Try it for yourselves from here (for Word) and here (for Studio) – also have a look at the explanations here:

New (re)sources

iate      eurovoc

This week we have enriched our resources portfolio amazingly. The European Union Open Data Portal has recently provided access to the DGT’s TM, which allows translators around the world to use the powerful and immense Translation Memory of the Acquis Communautaire within CAT tools. Besides that, it is now also possible to download the Eurovoc Thesaurus and to interface within MultiTerm! This strongly enriches our terminology resources and is a valuable help in streamlining our translation process.

But there is more: IATE also released a TM and a termbase which can be imported into one’s system. How amazing is that?!