Saturday, September 30, 2006

Proof positive that Trados programmers should change job

I like to keep the matching settings of Trados fairly low: sometimes that way I get some useful suggestions (especially for long sentences where only part of the sentence matches), but often what I get is something like this:

That's right: "Do not submerge in water" is supposed to be a 53% match for "Unplug when not in use".

Trados' matching algorithms have long been known to be among the poorest of all translation memory tools, but this takes the cake!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Patches for Italian dictionaries on CD-Rom

Some time ago I bought a new computer, but until yesterday I hadn't needed to use any of my dictionaries on CD-Rom on it.
The operating system of the new computer is XP (SP2): of course, none of my dictionaries was running properly.
I knew that in the past I had downloaded the necessary patches and saved them in some backup, but I couldn't find the necessary files, so I had to search them again on the web. Fortunately, they are all still downloadable, and I thought that posting the links to the pages from which the patches can be downloaded might be useful for other colleagues:

Link for Zanichelli dictionaries (Ragazzini, Boch, Zingarelli, Morandini, McGraw Hill Zanichelli, Economics and Business, DELI)

Link for Hoepli dictionaries (Grande Dizionario di Inglese Picchi, Grande Dizionario di Spagnolo di L. Tam, Grande Dizionario Tecnico Francese, Grande Dizionario Tecnico Tedesco, Dizionario Tecnico Inglese Marolli)

Link for Sansoni/Rizzoli dictionaries (Dizionario Tedesco Sansoni, Dizionario Inglese Sansoni - also known as Grande Dizionario Rizzoli-Larousse)

I have personally tested the patches for the Picchi, Tam, Sansoni inglese and McGraw Hill Zanichelli, and they all work - I imagine that the patches for the other dictionaries also should work.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Foundations of Translation - Lesson 1

(These are the notes for a course on Foundations of Translation I am teaching at the University College of the University of Denver. I'll be publishing the notes for the various lessons during the next few weeks. A short description of the course can be found here).

Difference between translation and interpreting


Types of interpreting

Conference interpreting
  • First used at the Nuremberg trials
  • Ability to wait for complete sentences, remember them while translating and speaking the previous one
  • Need to summarize and shorten the oiginal
  • Notes as aid to memory
  • Note-taking techniques (Herbert)
  • NOT: use of shorthand
Business interpreting (Role in business negotiations and meetings)
Community interpreting
  • Court interpreting
  • Medical interpreting

Ethics of interpreting

  • Interpreter as the "voice" of others
  • Interpreter as cultural bridge


University degrees for translators

Usefulness of university degree in translation (Respect accorded to degrees in translation from the major translation schools)
University-level degrees in translation
  • MIIS
    Most prestigious / Oldest program in the USA
  • Kent
    Important center for Terminology studies
  • Geneva
    One of the best programs in Europe
  • Trieste
    My "Alma Mater", first school in Italy, excellent
    Other (beware of the quality of many non university-level courses)

Books and publications on translation

    Books for course
  • McKay, Corinne: How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator, 2 Rat Press, 2006
  • Robinson, Douglas: Becoming a Translator, Routledge, 1997, 2003 (2nd ed.)
    Other interesting and useful books
  • Baker, Mona: In Other Words, Routledge, 1992
  • Hofstadter, Douglas R.: Le Ton beau de Marot , Basic Books, 1997
  • Chesterman, Andrew: Memes of Translation, Benjamins, 1997
  • Chesterman, Andrew and Wagner, Emma: Can Theory Help Translators?, St. Jerome, 2002
    Other publications
  • ATA Chronicle
  • Multilingual

Allied subjects

Translation quality control activities

  • Revision
  • Reviewing
  • Editing
  • Proofreading


Terminology management

  • Terminology extraction
  • Glossary creation

Translation studies (Theoretical discipline)

Media activities

  • Sub-titling
  • Voice-over

Technical writing


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Foundations of Translation

Last week I began teaching an introductory course on translation at the University College of the University of Denver.

The title of the course is "Foundations of Translation" (MODL 3950), and is described in the University College website as an
introductory course [that] addresses the essentials of translation theory, and basic translation skills that may apply to any language pair. Students will also learn how to address ethical issues that arise when translating sensitive and legal documents.
I will post here my lecture notes, please let me know if you are interested in receiving more information.


Here is a more complete description of the course:

This course is open to all languages, and will strive to provide to all students the foundations on which to build in order to become professional translators.

It will provide an introduction to translation, covering topics such as what translation is, how it differs from interpretation, what jobs are open to translators, and what resources are available to our profession.

It will concentrate on the fundamentals that all translators should know: A deep knowledge of one’s own native language and of at least one foreign language is a necessary prerequisite, but, alone, it is not sufficient. To become a translator one should also fully understand the subject-matter of the text to be translated, and have knowledge of things such as translation tools, reference materials, translation processes, and, above all, self-knowledge - knowing what one knows as well as an awareness of what one does not know.

Monday, September 04, 2006

New Microsoft glossary

Microsoft has released a new multilingual glossary, which can be freely downloaded from here.

According to Microsoft,
To provide users with more up-to-date terminology, Microsoft has replaced the glossary content that was previously posted to the Microsoft ftp site with a more concise document that is easier to use.
The new document is definitely more concise than those available before: 9000 lines instead of hundreds of thousands (the old XP glossary alone contained more than 100,000 lines).

I doubt that the new glossary is as complete as the previous ones, but I hope it will be at least more consistent. On the plus side, for those that have to manage multilingual projects, this glossary contains translations of the English terms into up to 45 different languages (not all English terms are translated into all available languages).

(Hat tip: Christof)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Index entries

I'm currently editing part of a large set of computer manuals. This documentation contains index entries, for example:
  • active links
  • links, active
My Italian colleague translated this as:
  • collegamenti attivi
  • collegamenti, attivi
This is technically correct, but useless: "collegamenti attivi" and "collegamenti, attivi" would appear close together in the index, thus making the index less helpful.

A better translation of the two index entries is:
  • collegamenti attivi
  • attivi, collegamenti
This way, the user will be able to find the reference both under "collegamenti" and under "attivi", as in the original English document.