resources to help you on your journey to success as a translator
next free webinar in this series
takes place on June 18 at 15:00 BST:
Everyone Happy: Negotiating 101 for Linguists" - register
is a borrowed article that I wrote for the ATA
I hate this buzzword as much as you do -- at least, as it's used in the
present political climate. But it did capture your attention and, like
it or not, there actually is some meaning associated with the concept
of "fake news" in a more traditional sense.
believe we are dealing with several "fake news" items when it comes to
translation, especially translation technology. I would like to talk
about two of these items: one I've discussed before at length, though
my explanation must have been less than effective since it still
dominates the thinking of many; the other is something we might all be
guilty of in some way.
first conceptual misunderstanding is that working with machine
translation is necessarily the same as post-editing translation. Most
of us translators know this is not true -- but not because we were told
so or taught that way. It's because we know
that machine translation really is only one
of many resources (alongside
translation memories, termbases, corpora, dictionaries, and other
online and offline resources) that can be used in the translation
processes. We also know that most translation environment tools allow
us to dynamically use -- or not use -- the content that comes from
machine translation engines. Our proven experience therefore stands in
sharp contrast to the idea that post-editing, i.e., the correction of
raw machine-translated content, is the only way to use that technology.
course, we could say, well, let others believe what they want to
believe and let me do what I know is best for my business, but I think
there's a problem with that kind of thinking. I've noticed how very
difficult it is to talk about machine translation with anyone outside
those who have some practical experience with it. That includes machine
translation researchers and developers and, maybe more importantly,
clients of ours who (are trying to) use machine translation. Typically
they share the assumption that machine translation can be used by the
translator only in the reactive way: the translator reacting to
suggestions coming from the machine translation engine, i.e.,
post-editing. If that is the assumption, then the projects offered to
translators will be structured so only that kind of work with MT is
possible, and the research and development into working with MT will
look only into that avenue. And this is not because of evil intent.
Wordsmiths like us understand the power of words and language. If I
have a concept in my mind (such as how to work with machine
translation), and the only language I have to apply to it is that of
post-editing, it's just very, very hard to change that. This is why we
have to be patient, insistent, and strong in our communication that
while there is this one way of working with machine translation output
(in some cases, productively), in more cases than not there are other
and better ways to work with that technology. Only then will we be sent
a different kind of project and the research will look more deeply into
other kinds of approaches.
brings us to another topic, one where we ourselves might be helping to
communicate something erroneous with unfortunate consequences. I'm
talking about artificial intelligence (AI). There has been a lot of
writing in this column and elsewhere about AI and its effects on the
world of translation. Not only via neural machine translation, but as
we discussed a few months ago, on a whole host of other kinds of
technology that have an impact on the translation and translation
we need to talk about and understand AI. Not like an AI researcher or
developer would, but so we can have a healthy estimation of how much it
supports our work now and in the future. But we've been led astray on a
path littered with our own words and our own imagination. Terms like "neural
MT," "artificial intelligence,"
and "deep learning"
all seem to suggest that these are processes that emulate functions of
the human brain. And this is exactly what pop culture and news outlets
also want us to believe.
fact? It isn't true. How do I know? Because we don't understand our
brains. We don't know how memories are stored. We don't know why some
parts of the brain are responsible for some functions but can also be
completely reconfigured. We don't even know whether brain activity is
actually a matter of computation or a completely different kind of
process. We don't know what causes moods, creativity, intelligence,
wit, and emotions. And we certainly don't know what "mind" and
"consciousness" are. We do know some impressive numbers (100 billion
neurons, 100 trillion synapses, etc.), and lots of people are working
very hard and making good progress on understanding more and more about
the human (or really any) brain. But we're still very far from having a
good grasp on this most elusive of realms.
is there no artificial intelligence? Well, yes, there is, it's just
that it doesn't work like the human brain. In fact, the term
"artificial intelligence" is incomplete. We should always refer to its
full and technically correct moniker, which is "narrow AI" (already
sounds a lot better, doesn't it?). Narrow AI is the ability of a
machine to non-concurrently process large amounts of data and make
predictions exclusively on the basis of that data. That's what we have
today, and computers are incredibly good at it. Much better than we
are. General AI (also referred to as "Artificial General Intelligence"
or AGI), on the other hand, may never actually be achieved. We don't
even know whether AGI will be built on the basis of narrow AI's current
technology. If we ever reach true AGI, machines will be able to reason,
use strategy, make judgments, learn, communicate in natural language,
and integrate all of this toward common goals. (And, yes, also likely
do a good job with translation and pretty much everything else.)
few weeks ago I did a presentation for a class taught by a super-smart
developer who also works for a large technology developer. I explained
the differences between narrow AI and AGI, emphasizing as I did above
that we don't understand how our brain works and that it therefore
isn't a model for our current state of AI. At the end of my talk a
number of questions were raised, to which my developer acquaintance
responded by explaining that our current form of AI is modeled on the
human brain. Exactly the opposite of what I had just said, though I
think he didn't realize it. If we have been taught a certain concept
over and over and over again, it's not a matter of hearing the opposite
once and being able to replace it easily. It takes a lot of patience
let's teach ourselves and others that today's artificial intelligence
does not emulate the human brain (and it's entirely possible that it
will never be able to do so). Let's keep on repeating to the rest of
the world that there are many ways to use machine translation,
sometimes better than those that are assumed by default. We might just
be able to turn that fake news into real and helpful news.
reading: Meredith Broussard: Artificial
Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World.
The MIT Press, 2018.
Reese: The Fourth Age: Smart
Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity.
Atria Books, 2018.
New, dynamic content types are displacing old ones
The "good old" way of approaching content no longer works
Everyone expects a nearly real-time, connected
out how to master these changes here.
this is one of those embarrassing things for Windows
users (if you are one and/or care about such things). Apple computer
introduced the multi-use Command
key in the 1980s, and UNIX used the Meta
key going all the way back to 1970. Windows
users, on the other hand, were given a "Windows key" (or WinKey)
to unlock some fancy features only in 1994, represented here by the
(borrowed) "squared plus" icon: ⊞.
though Microsoft was (once again) late to the party, it did show up
eventually and made some decent contributions.
are my favorite features (in the latest version of Windows
10) to which the WinKey
provides quick access in combination with other keys. (If you're
already familiar with each one of these, let me know and I'll send you
a free PDF copy of my Translation
Matters book in recognition of
Just pressing the WinKey
opens the Start
and successive typing lets you find apps and docs on your computer
+ E: Displays the File
- ⊞ +
R: Displays the Run
dialog box that enables you to enter manual commands
+ M: Displays the desktop
- ⊞ + Left
(Right): Snaps your current
window to the left (right) and displays the other open apps on the
opposite side of the screen so you can choose (pressing the Up
keys immediately after you hit the Left
or Right key makes the
current window snap to a quadrant)
- ⊞ +
T: Focusses on the first and then succeeding taskbar entries (⊞ +
T cycles backward)
- ⊞ + Number
Key: Launches a new instance
of the pinned application in the nth slot on the taskbar
- ⊞ +
P: Displays external display options (to connect to an additional
monitor or projector)
- ⊞ +
+: Zooms in to 200% (⊞ +
- goes back to 100%)
+ I: Opens Windows
- ⊞ +
TAB: Opens the Task View
where you can select one of the open applications, create a new
"virtual" desktop, and see a timeline of your activities
- ⊞ + Ctrl +
D: Creates an additional desktop ("virtual" desktop) without first
opening the Task View
- ⊞ + Ctrl
+ F4: Closes the current "virtual" desktop -- any open applications are
automatically transferred to Desktop 1
- ⊞ + Ctrl
(Right): Switches between
open "virtual" desktops
+ V: Opens the clipboard history
- ⊞ +.
or ; : Opens the emoji panel when typing.
+ H: Opens the dictation toolbar
you're still mad because this is all about Windows
only (though chances are you didn't actually make it this far!), here
is a complete list of Mac
management and control, high cost transparency, networked teamwork,
higher quality -- a business solution.
Language Management powered by STAR CLM
the short video for more information on STAR CLM functionality and
The Tech-Savvy Interpreter - Digital Platforms for Individual
Simultaneous Interpretation Practice: No Booth Required (Column by
Barry Slaughter Olsen)
received my training as an interpreter in the mid 90s. We were still
squarely in the age of magnetic media back then (think cassette tapes,
Dictaphones, and VHS video). Digital recording still wasn't in the
hands of your average consumer, much less your average interpreting
student. We coveted our cassette tapes with ''authentic speeches'' from
the United Nations General Assembly or a US State Department press
conference. After all, good practice material was hard to
come by. Practicing interpreting on your own meant purchasing a Walkman
with headphones to listen to the source speech and a portable tape
recorder to record your own performance for subsequent playback and
critique. It was a crude setup but it worked. If they didn't want to
use the ''Walkman'' setup, interpreting students would have to fight to
reserve the simultaneous interpreting labs on campus so they could
returned to academe, this time as a professor, in 2007 and have been
training interpreters at the Middlebury Institute of International
Studies for the last 12 years. I started my teaching just as Silicon
Valley was beginning to digitize everything it could. Videoconferencing
was poised to take off. Cloud computing was hovering on the horizon.
And cheap digital storage and computing power were coming online. These
technologies now underpin almost all my work as an instructor and much
of my students' interpreting practice. These technologies are also
responsible for the many new remote interpreting platforms I have
written about in this column.
this edition of The Tech-Savvy Interpreter, I want to focus on software
programs for independent practice. As digitized audio and video have
become as common as digitized text, a whole new range of possibilities
has opened up for individual interpreting practice. The list of
offerings continues to grow, and interpreter training programs are
beginning to include these digital practice platforms in one form or
another in their curricula. We are still in the early stages of
development of these tools, but they offer an excellent alternative for
students who are part of online training programs or who may struggle
to get in enough practice in the simultaneous interpretation labs at
are three very different tools for individualized interpreter practice.
If you know of others, please contact me. All the platforms require a
computer and a headset.
(pronounced ''skick-rek'') was designed by the Directorate General for
Interpretation (DG-SCIC) at the European Commission in Brussels for use
with their Speech
Repository, one of the best
organized and largest collections of simultaneous and consecutive
practice material for conference interpreters. This is a software
program that must be downloaded and installed on your computer. It
supports both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting modes. Since
the program is installed on your computer, you do not need to be
connected to the Internet to use it. SCICrec is available free of
charge to professors, current students and alumni of DG-SCIC partner
universities through the My Speech Repository feature. To gain access
to the software, you must be a registered user of the Speech
Repository. The software is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
is an online video-based skill development platform. It works well for
individual interpretation practice and interpretation testing. The most
impressive feature of this cloud-based platform is that it has a
powerful feedback feature that allows trainers and fellow students
alike to provide feedback that is time coded and synched with the
recording of the interpretation. It also lets users create a set of
specific markers that can be used to indicate problems such as
incomplete sentences, mispronunciations, and omissions, to name just a
few. The platform can then automatically tally and plot the data across
the recording. GoReact also provides dual track recording and volume
control of the original audio and the interpretation. It is by far the
most developed platform of the three. The GoReact business model
focuses on educational institutions and not on individual users, so it
isn't an option for interpreters looking to practice on their own to
keep their skills sharp. You can create a demo account to gain access
to the platform, but it is a powerful one with a lot of features
designed for use in a formal educational setting, so it will take some
time to learn to use it.
Help bills itself as a
''comprehensive solution for interpreters'' that focuses largely on
terminology management and glossary sharing. In addition to these
services, it also has a ''practice
dashboard'' in free beta, so no
cost associated with its use but you may encounter glitches in the
software, which you are kindly asked to report to the developers. The
practice dashboard allows individual interpreters to practice
interpreting speeches in simultaneous and record their performances. It
also has a growing public speech database that users can access for
practice. Individual users can also build out their own private speech
database and archive recordings of their interpretations on the site as
well. The bigger vision the developers have is to encourage site users
to critique and provide feedback to one another. Time will tell if that
idea catches on. So, if you are eager to test out an individual
interpreting practice platform, this is likely the easiest one to take
for a test drive.
see all these individual practice platforms as positive developments.
They can strengthen existing academic programs by providing new
practice and feedback opportunities but they can also help interpreters
whose language combinations will never be part of traditional training
programs by providing them with ways to practice and receive feedback.
Not to mention, this is all done online as well. None of these
platforms is perfect, but building an awesome self-practice platform
for simultaneous interpretation is not something there is a huge market
for, we are too specialized, but if enough schools and individuals
begin to use one or two of these platforms regularly, we just may see
something develop that meets interpreter training needs like never
you have a question about a specific technology? Or would you like to
learn more about a specific interpreting platform, interpreter console
or supporting technology? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Access to CSA MarketFlex TMS Report
2019 CSA report ranks Memsource as the most viable product -- find out
why. The report also includes an overview of the current TMS market.
This 'n' That
scholar Anthony Pym has conducted short interviews with more than 100
translation scholars and published
them all on a YouTube channel.
You might enjoy watching some.
know Daniel Hahn, today's best public mouthpiece for the world of
translation (by the way, you can see what he did during his week as the
TranslationTalk curator right
here in the archives, along with
all the other curators). Daniel gave a very good interview the other
week about translation in the Economist,
where he shared the following thought that touched me and many of you:
have no self-expression that needs to be fulfilled through this
process. That's not how translation works. I have a desire for someone
else to be able to express themselves via me."
to top that!
the fun and informative memoQfest in Budapest a couple of weeks ago, I
got to talking with tools expert Angelika
Zerfass and decided to run a
series on tips and tricks with hidden features in common
translation-related tools. She will write the first installment next
month on memoQ.
Let me know if you're interested in writing a guest article for another
members: I need your help. In my function as the head of the ATA
Resources Committee, I'm trying to put together a list of technical
resources (blogs, newsletters, etc.) that are (relatively) regularly
published by ATA members. Please let me know what I should include. (An
example, for instance, would be Riccardo Schiaffino's About
you remember the translator-specific URL shortener xl8.link? It's still
out there, but we had to password-protect it to exclude nasty spammer
and phishers. If you want to use it to shorten your own URLs in a way
that also shows who you are, you can go here
and unlock it with the login: xl8talk and the password: 20xl8talk18.
summer trade-in from AIT! Switch from any other work organization tool
(even Excel) to TO3000, Projetex, or AnyCount at 55% off!
offer for Tool Box Journal readers from Advanced International
Translations (AIT) at https://www.translation3000.com/aitpn/557-66.html.
now and send any proof of owning your previous tool (screenshot will
do) to email@example.com
within 30 days after ordering.
on translation, not administration. Get your copy now.
A Love Story (continued after a long absence)
Reynolds reminded me the other day that I had not contributed to my
ongoing (and very geeky) love story with characters for a long time.
And he is right -- there is still lots to say. Some of you will
collection of remarkable characters,
and I'm looking forward to contributing some more.
found this very strange and rarely used character a few months ago and
had it filed away in my mind for later use. Pretty much the only use I
can think of is right
character for a definition.
Last Word on the Tool Box Journal
you would like to promote this journal by placing a link on your
website, I will in turn mention your website in a future edition of the
Tool Box Journal. Just paste the code you find here into
the HTML code of your webpage, and the little icon that is displayed on
that page with a link to my website will be displayed.
subscriber uploaded the icon last month:
you are subscribed to this journal with
more than one email address, it would be great if you could unsubscribe
redundant addresses through the links Constant Contact offers below.
you be interested in reprinting one of the articles in this journal for
promotional purposes, please contact me for information about pricing.
2019 International Writers' Group