Doing the Right Thing
Almost exactly a year ago I shared my pride
in being a translator because of this:
"The New Zealand Society of Translators
and Interpreters has launched the "Treaty Times Thirty"
project in which more than 90 translators will translate the English and
Māori versions of the Treaty of Waitangi into 30 languages. The final
versions will be presented on International Translators' Day in September.
"Why is this
such a remarkable gesture? Because the original (rush-job) translation of
the treaty was so severely botched that it caused countless injustices and
has so far cost the government of New Zealand 1 billion NZD in reparations.
You can read one retelling of that story right
It took a little longer than expected, but
the translation is now complete and was officially presented on February
17. The translation was done into New Zealand Sign Language, Afrikaans,
Arabic, Bislama, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Farsi, Fijian, French, German,
Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean,
Malay, Nepali, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish,
Tagalog, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, and Vietnamese. You can find
more information right here
(where you can also download a PDF version of the resulting book), or in this
And just in case you don't quite understand
why this is such a powerful story, make sure to re-read the retelling of
the original story of 1840 that I linked
to above. It was likely the most costly and perhaps most unfairly
carried out translation ever, and we should celebrate this meaningful attempt
to finally get it right.
translation quality assessment and monitoring system
Track every mistake your translators make
and give detailed feedbacks to them.
Get the full picture of translation quality
inside your team, try
it now for free!
1. Let's Share!
FIT is the International Federation of
Translators, and chances are that you are already a member -- even though
you might not be aware of it -- indirectly through your translators' or
interpreters' association. FIT has just released a position
paper on the "Future of Professional Translators" that is
really very well-thought-out and most definitely worth your time to read.
(Don't be confused about the many misleading dates that are mentioned
around it -- it was published just a few days ago.)
One of its statements is this:
traditional image of the solitary translator is definitely changing.
Specialisation, a team-oriented approach to the work and the willingness to
constantly refine the knowledge of tools will be essential for a successful
career in the translation industry."
And then it continues with this:
translators should seek to influence the development and become co-creators
of the tools they will be using in the coming decades."
I could not agree more with either
We're already dealing with at least one way
to find a voice in the development of our technology elsewhere in this
journal, so let's talk about the team approach. I had a talk with Luis
Lopez and Daniel Brockmann about SDL's new GroupShare
2017, SDL's now five-year-old product for LSPs and translation
buyers to distribute access to centrally hosted translation projects that
can then be worked on in Trados Studio. The current version of GroupShare
is not available in its cloud edition (so it has to be hosted on your
own server at this point), but that should change within a month.
Luis mentioned that only 15-20% of all LSPs
currently use a collaborative solution -- which honestly surprised me and
made me wonder whether those numbers are influenced by an SDL
customer-centric view. On the other hand, SDL prides itself on having spent
much of last year gathering feedback through personal interviews with
project managers and conducting the SDL Translation Technology Insights
Research that involved almost 3,000 translators, LSPs, and translation
buyers (you can download the various resulting reports right
here), so maybe it is an accurate perception.
Not surprisingly, much of what you can see
in the new version of GroupShare is based on the results of that
feedback. But those of us who have followed SDL in the last few years know
that they are not about to rush things and are very methodical about
introducing changes. Both impulses can be seen in GroupShare 2017.
The completely redesigned GroupShare
website -- which is also fully functional on mobile devices (thanks,
HTML5!) -- is now not only a place to view projects but also to manage and
set them up, preferably those that are often repeated and based on existing
templates. More complex projects still have to be set up within Trados
The actual setup of projects has been made a
lot easier through a system of "Dynamic Resource Access," which
will temporarily give participants (translators, editors, proofreaders,
etc.) all the access they need to fulfill their respective tasks without having
to assign those rights manually.
There is a dashboard now that gives a nice
overview of ongoing projects -- in future versions it's likely to be more
customizable by allowing users to remove and add widgets. As far as
integration into and with other tools, an API is available to do just that.
Naturally SDL services division would be happy to help you with that (as a
paid service), or you can do it yourself or ask a third-party developer to
do it for you. The latter is the case for management systems like Plunet
and XTRF, at least for GroupShare's last version; so far
there is no official word on whether the old connectors work for the new
Here's what I like -- and I know many of you
will, as well: If a translator receives a virtual server-based
"package" through GroupShare, the client can permit or
allow all kinds of things concerning that package, but (presently) they
cannot prevent you from attaching your own translation memories or
termbases to the project. I consider this a very translator-centric
If you are already using GroupShare,
you might want to take a look at a rundown of all the new features right
Let's talk about who is using this (not on
the receiving end but proactively on the managing end). They're primarily
LSPs of various sizes but also translation buyers who, according to Luis,
are relatively high on the Localization Maturity Level (a concept that was introduced
by Common Sense Advisory), meaning clients who are willing and able to
proactively engage themselves in the translation processes. Yet another
maturity level (and amount of translatable data) is found among users of
other SDL products such as SDL
WorldServer or other comparable monster tools.
Translators are really not anywhere on the
radar as active users of GroupShare. In a way that's a shame because
that was the original intention, but there is apparently a product in the
works through SDL's Language Cloud that will allow translators to
form workgroups and share resources in real-time. For now, if you and your
co-translators are all using Trados Studio, the work-around
solutions that Paul Filkin described
awhile ago might work just fine.
Of course, you can purchase and use GroupShare,
but methinks that's rather unlikely with a starting price of about
2,000 euro/year for the cloud version and 5,000 euro/year for the
Enhanced productivity in your work
memoQ will release at least 3 amazing, rich
feature packs in 2017 to support your work.
Stay tuned and download the most recent
release -- memoQ Adriatic -- from www.memoQ.com on 22 February!
Why memoQ Adriatic? Click here to learn
2. Explorer CliffsNotes (Premium Edition)
is an advance list of those of you who will not be interested in this
section: non-Windows users, users of more advanced file management
systems than Windows/File Explorer, and those who are more
computer-savvy than I. That leaves exactly five of the 11,000+ who receive
the Tool Box Journal.
this is for you, you, you, you, and you!
. . . you can find the rest of this article in the
Premium edition. If you'd like to read more, an annual subscription to the
Premium edition costs just $25 at www.internationalwriters.com/toolkit. This will also give you access to the archives
the of Tool Box Journal going back all the way to 2007.
best way to translate PDF
your PDFs into high-quality XLIFF, ready for translation using your own
tools. It then flows your translated XLIFF back into the original PDF to
give you a finished PDF.
PDF translation is simpler, quicker and more
accurate with TransPDF.
Get your free
TransPDF account now and try it for yourself.
3. Making Machine Translation Pay
I've been in conversation with STAR's Nadira
Hofmann and Ralph Benz for some time about their machine translation
solution, and they shared some interesting insights with me that I would
like to pass on to you.
When I say "STAR" I'm referring to
the large Swiss language service provider that also develops and maintains
a host of translation-related products, with Star
Transit as their flagship product. Transit's fans have
regularly complained over the years that I don't report on it regularly
enough, and in a way they're probably right (my last lengthy review is right
here). The fact is that I do use Star Transit quite a bit for a
large client, and I am continuously amazed by its reliability and
performance. So the reason I don't write about it more often is not that I
don't think it's worthwhile to mention; instead, it has more to do with its
product philosophy. In contrast to most other tools, Transit does
not release many "versions" -- Transit 2.7, the much-loved
and very stable version, was introduced in the late nineties, followed by
an ill-fated and faulty successor (Transit 3) that was quickly
replaced with Transit XV in 2001 and with Transit NXT in
2008. Instead of releasing new(ly hyped) versions all the time, Star
releases fairly major "Service Packs" -- nine in total so far for
the NXT version -- and these don't always lend themselves to writing
new reviews about each (though this admittedly might be my own perception
Anyway . . . STAR also offers customized
machine translation engines. Unlike SDL's proprietary engine, STAR's engine
is based on the open-source statistical machine translation engine Moses.
Another differentiator to SDL's BeGlobal/Language Cloud
offering is that presently STAR's only target group for the MT offering is
corporate clients. And this matches the offering's structure, which
requires a relatively intense and ongoing involvement of STAR's MT
development team. That team not only does an initial assessment of the
customer's need but also trains the engine with the customer's data and
then continues to retrain it at regular intervals until the
customer-specific settings are fine-tuned and the task of retraining can be
turned over to the customer (so it's not a dynamically trained engine like
SDL's or Lilt's).
The data that is used is naturally the
translation memory data (either coming from Transit "reference
material" or through translation memory exchange TMX files by
third-party tools), but there is a much stronger emphasis on high-quality
terminology data and inflected terms than in competing products. The
terminology data comes from STAR's TermStar product or exchange
formats from other terminology management programs. For the inflected data,
the Transit-internal morphology engine (available in 15 European
languages) analyzes the TM data and matches the inflected forms that it
finds with the existing terminology.
At the last tekom conference in
Stuttgart, STAR and the Deutsche Bahn (DB) co-presented about the
experience that DB had with introducing STAR MT. In that case, the
training corpus consisted of 602,678 TM units, 30,140 terminology records
from the termbase, and 38,754 records of inflected terminology from the TM
(the TM and termbase originated in Star Transit/TermStar
since the DB has been a long-standing technology customer of STAR). You can
find the presentation that was used at the tekom right
here (German) along with an English write-up right here.
What's interesting about the MT introduction
at the DB -- aside from the numbers that, not surprisingly, indicate a
successful implementation -- is the very careful and hype-free process with
which this was achieved. It involved all stakeholders and, most interesting
for many of us, this resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback from
freelance translators (note that STAR is not a service provider for
One other likely reason for the successful
implementation is that MT suggestions are used in Star Transit in
various ways. One is a display alongside TM matches in the respective pane
on the translator's screen. Another is the so-called "TM validated MT
match" that I described in Edition 250 of the Tool Box Journal.
Here's what I said back then:
we have looked at MT as something that should come into play if there is no
perfect or fuzzy match within the TM. This makes sense because the TM is,
of course, the gold standard, created as it is by us (or our team). What
if, Star thought, we also displayed MT suggestions alongside fuzzy matches?
They might be of as good or even better quality, especially if it's just a
terminological difference that makes the TM match fuzzy. And what if
we evaluated the MT suggestions (I always hate saying "MT match")
on the basis of our fuzzy TM matches?
- The source sentence is "Pressure increase
too slow when filling reservoir"
- The fuzzy TM match is "Druckanstieg zu schnell bei Füllung des Tanks"
["Pressure increase too rapid when filling reservoir"]
- The MT suggestion is "Druckanstieg zu
langsam bei Füllung des Tanks" ["Pressure increase too slow
when filling reservoir"]
is able to compare the fuzzy TM match (for which it "knows" that
there is only one unknown term) with the MT suggestion to find out that
there is no other difference between the two than that particular term. It
then concludes that the MT suggestion in all likelihood is correct -- the worst
it could be is to have one term incorrect -- and it becomes an
"Advanced MT match.""
This is what I call a translator-friendly
use of machine translation.
Aside from the specific implementation at DB
and the feature set of STAR MT, I was also interested in the profitability
of offering MT as a product. It has often been said that despite all the
big talk about MT, the only ones who have been able to actually make money
with it are the small handful of folks who have been able to sell their MT
companies (if they were indeed able to make money after paying back their
investors) and Google and Microsoft. And the latter two are profitable not
so much through licensing fees as advertisements.
When I asked about this (I can be very
dis(ch)armingly direct), I was told that, yes, offering machine translation
as a technology vendor can be profitable if it's part of a larger
offering. Of course, as mentioned above, STAR is heavily involved in (paid)
training and retraining of the MT engine. And there are also other
MT-related offerings that most of Star' MT clients use (and pay for),
including STAR MT Translate, a browser-based solution that can be
used by any authorized user for their everyday translation needs.
Conclusion: It's possible to make money with
MT -- if it's part of a whole technology infrastructure. And that should be
a cautionary tale for many who either are offering or are thinking about
offering MT as a standalone technology and/or service.
the office 20 minutes earlier today!
Using MindReader for Outlook, you
can write e-mails more quickly and more consistently.
Watch the short video for more information
on MindReader for Outlook functionality and usage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAPLHSvVrBc.
4. This 'n' That
Awhile back I listed a number of
search-and-replace "tricks" for Microsoft Word in the Tool
Box Journal, and these were also published in the ATA
Chronicle (by the way, if you haven't taken note of the newly
designed online and offline Chronicle, you should -- it's
beautiful). I said this about one of the tips: "I would be
hard-pressed to make a good case for why this next tip is of particular
benefit for a translator. It's not. But I think it's cool anyway."
And, boy, was I wrong, as Matthew Kushinka from RedLine Language Services
let me know. He has published two blog posts that give two excellent use
cases for a translator to re-sort listings the way I described it, one for converting
date formats and one for converting
number formats. Good ones!
Another article I was alerted to was by
Jeroen Tetteroo from Language Solutions. This
article deals with the translation file exchange standard XLIFF and its
supposed lack of flexibility when dealing with paragraph-based content
coming from content management systems and embedded HTML. Knowing that
(XLIFF) geeks like Twitter, I knew that the best way to reach them
was by posting a
link to the article. Lo and behold, "localization tools enthusiast
and XLIFF grump" (his own words -- I would never have come up with
"grump" myself) Chase Tingley showed up in force and had much of
the rest of XLIFF geekdom "liking" it. According to them, it's
the tool developers and not the standard itself that's falling short.
(Personally, I think the whole concept of XLIFF has been hijacked by tool
developers as an easy way to represent bilingual files within a tool rather
than aiming at exchangeability.)
Be that as it may, it looks like it would be
good if we as a community could find our voice in this and not just leave
it up to the standards and tool developers. Of course, you could make your
opinion known at the public
review for XLIFF v2.1 which ends February 24, but knowing that this
takes a bit of expertise, it might be good to combine voices, which brings
us to . . .
. . . the committee devoted to organizing a
platform where translators (and interpreters!) can collect and refine ideas
about where we really need improvements in our technology. I floated the
idea in the last Tool Box Journal, and just like that a group
consisting of Iulianna van der Lek-Ciudin, Barry Slaughter Olsen, Alexander
Drechsel, Tom Alwood, and Martin Kappus (and, where applicable, their
respective students) has formed to tackle this. I will keep you posted.
(And join me in thanking these folks for engaging in this!)
made easier with the new SDL Trados GroupShare 2017
Managing projects has never been easier than
2017 as Project Managers have increased transparency over the
projects they are managing, better security and ability to track progress
in real time.
Further updates to GroupShare 2017 include a
new modern look and feel and lots of new integration possibilities. Read
The 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.
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.
is a website that recently added the link:
you be interested in reprinting one of the articles in this journal for promotional purposes, please contact me for
information about pricing.
2017 International Writers' Group