Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Results of Translation QA Tool Survey

Tamara Lukyanova and Julia Makoushina, of Palex Languages & Software, have concluded their work on the interesting survey of translation QA tools we announced here in August.

From August through September 2007 Palex performed a translation community survey to evaluate acceptance of translation quality assurance tools by the translation community, to define where such tools currently are, their advantages and disadvantages and to visualize their future capabilities and their role in the translation process. In parallel with the survey, Palex tested and benchmarked translation quality assurance tools currently available in the market.

Julia has recently given a presentation ("Translation Quality Assurance Tools: Current State and Future Approaches") at the 29th Translating and the Computer conference that took place on 29-30 November 2007 in London. In addition to the presentation (which can be downloaded from the previous link), Julia has also written a paper with the same title. Both paper and presentation are very interesting and well worth downloading (you can do so from the previous links) and reading.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Translation QA Tool Survey

Tamara Lukyanova and Julia Makoushina, of Palex Languages & Software, have set up an interesting survey about translation QA tools.

From 1 August through September 28, 2007 Palex will perform a translation community survey to evaluate acceptance of translation quality assurance tools by the translation community, to define where such tools currently are, their advantages and disadvantages and to visualize their future capabilities and role in translation process.


In parallel with the survey, Palex is going to test and benchmark translation quality assurance tools currently available in the market. The survey and benchmarking results will be presented at 29th Translating and the Computer conference that will tale place on 29-30 November 2007 in London, as well as in other industry publications.

According to Tamara and Julia, if you respond to the survey and provide your e-mail address, you will be able to receive the survey analysis as soon as the survey is closed.

Please feel free to point other colleagues to the questionnaire.

To access the survey, click here (or on the link at the beginning of this post).

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A language that undermines Chomsky’s idea of a universal grammar?

The New Yorker has published a very interesting article ("The Interpreter" about Pirahã, an Amazonian language that seems to run counter Noam Chomsky's theories of a universal grammar.

Long, but very much worth reading.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Translation and Interpretation Training Workshops at Denver University

In my previous posts today I gave some info about the workshops I'll be teaching... but there are several more:

  • CRN 1652 - Memory Exercises for Interpreters - 7/9, 7/16 7:30–9:30 pm
  • CRN 1651 - Introduction to Sight Translation - 7/9, 7/16 5–7 pm
  • CRN 1649 - Proofreading for Translators - 6/19, 6/26 6–8 pm
  • CRN 1650 - Court & Legal Terminology - 6/21, 6/28 6–8 pm
  • CRN 1653 - Blogging for Translators: How to Increase One’s Visibility on the Web - 7/10, 7/17 6–8 pm
  • CRN 1654 - Note-taking for Interpreters - 7/12, 7/19 6–8 pm
  • CRN 1655 - Freeware, Shareware, and Inexpensive Tools for Translators - 7/24, 7/31 6–8 pm
  • CRN 1656 - File Management for Translators - 7/26, 8/2 6–8 pm

The workshops qualify for ATA continuing education credit.

For more information, please see Translation and Interpretation Training Workshops, in the University College web site (

DU Workshop - Freeware, Shareware, and Inexpensive Tools for Translators- 7/24/07 and 7/31/07

CRN 1655 - Freeware, Shareware, and
Inexpensive Tools for Translators

7/24, 7/31 - 6:00-8:00 pm

Translators often grumble about the high price of translation memory software tools, but there are many cheap (or even free) programs that can be surprisingly useful. The aim of this workshop is to introduce translators to some of the best cheap or free tools available, from full translation memory packages such as Omega-T, to a range of other tools including full-featured dictionaries and thesauri, programs used to search
glossaries, and so on. Basic computer knowledge required.

This is the second of two workshops I'll be teaching this summer at the University College of Denver University.

DU Workshop - Blogging for Translators - 7/10/07 and 7/17/07

CRN 1653 - Blogging for Translators: How to
Increase One’s Visibility on the Web

July 10 and 17, 2007 - 6:00-8:00 pm

Blogs are an excellent way for translators on a tight budget to present themselves on the Web.

The aim of this workshop is to introduce translators to blogs, how to create one for free, examples of blogging tools available, and what to do if one wants to create a more traditional Web page (including a very brief introduction to HTML).

This is the first of two workshops I'll be teaching this summer at the university College of Denver University.

Translation and Interpretation Open House at DU - 6/4/07

On June 4th from 6 to 8pm, the Translation and Interpretation faculty of University College, Denver University, will host an Open House at the South Renaissance Room, Mary Reed Building on the Denver University campus.

A panel of our T&I faculty will discuss the current state of the T&I professions and will answer questions from the audience.

There will be opportunities for Q&A, program information, and networking.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Errors caused by corrupted MS Office installation - Trados and XBench

Sometimes Trados refuses to convert or clean-up a document, displaying error message 50202 "due to a OCE/COM or file name error".

There is an article on SDL's web site explaining how to work around this error converting .doc documents to .rtf within MS Word, instead.

The suggested solution works; however, this error message may actually indicate that there is something wrong not in Trados, but in MS Word: some registry setting may have become corrupted.

It happened to me yesterday (I suspect that the actual culprit was the disinstallation and re-installation of McAfee), and I was able to solve the problem by using MS Office setup disk and launch a repair install.

Note that a corrupted MS Office installation may be difficult to diagnose: MS Word was apparently working fine, but I was getting errors in Trados (error 50202) and in XBench, where the QA functions refused to analyze certain Ms Word files, displaying an error message which indicated that a class was not registered.

That error message suggested the key to the solution: to uninstal McAfee I had run a special utility to clean up all traces of McAfee from the registry; when I saw that an error pointed to an unregistered class I suspected that maybe more had been removed from the registry than strictly the McAfee stuff.

So I run the repair install, and both errors disappeared (XBench and Trados).

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New version of XBench adds QA functionality

ApSIC has recently release a new version of XBench, adding very useful QA functionality to the tool, which was previously used mostly as a search tool for Microsoft Glossaries or other text-based reference materials.

You can find a more detailed review of the new version here (from my Translation Quality blog).

Monday, March 19, 2007

IATE, the successor to Eurodicautom , finally available

IATE, or "Inter Active Terminology for Europe" is finally available, and replaces Eurdicautom, which was no longer maintained while IATE was being made ready for use.

It offers twenty-languages (of course not all terms are available in all languages) and the possibility of saving one's own search preferences.

It permits limited wildcard searches (only the asterisk "*" to indicate any character or multiple characters, and the underscore "_" to indicate any single character: no full RegEx search), and also the possibility to restrict the search to specific domains (such as Agriculture, Business, etc.) and types of search (Term, Abbreviation, Phrase, or All).

There are some more features; you can find a full description in the online help to the database.

All in all a useful addition to most translators' collection of reference links.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Microsoft Glossaries Available Again

Microsoft has now released updated versions of the Microsoft Translation Glossaries.

These are now available through the Microsoft Developer Network for MSDN subscribers (and no longer through the free FTP site), and include the terminology for Microsoft Vista.

(Hat tip to Nick, who left the news as a comment in a previous post devoted to the demise of the MS Glossaries)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Foundations of Translation - Lesson 5

(These are the notes for a course on Foundations of Translation I taught at the University College of the University of Denver. A short description of the course cam be found here).

Translation Quality, Ethics and Final Test

Translation Quality

Translation Quality Control

    (Procedures to improve the quality of translation during the translation process)
  • Quality of the source language
  • Instructions
  • Style guides
  • Project glossaries

Translation Quality Assessment

Pitfalls for beginning translators

  • Knowling the language is not enough
  • Undertranslation/Overtranslation
    • Undertranslation
      • Improper terminology
      • Using a style that adheres too closely to the original text
      • Ignores idiomatic or cultural usage
    • Overtranslation
      • Tends to read fluently
      • May appear masterful
      • Questionable accuracy
        (See "The Translator's Tightrope: Recognizing and Avoiding Overtranslation", by John Rock, ATA Chronicle, June 2006)

Translation Ethics

Narrow (traditional) definition

  • Unethical to [willfully] distort the meaning of the SL text
  • What about when this is required by the customer?
  • What about when he/she is asked to translate something he or she finds offensive?
    • e.g. Translation of pornography
    • Translation of racist texts
  • What about if it is for a "good" purpose (e.g., in a trial)?

Responsibilities of the translator (discussion)


Class exercise: project managing a translation

Suggestion on how to improve one's vocabulary


    Provide your own answers to the following questions:
  1. What's the difference between translation and interpreting?
  2. What kind of jobs are open to translators?
  3. In your opinion, for a professional translator, do language skills count more than subject-matter knowledge, or less? Explain the reasons for your choice.
  4. Provide a description of a translation workflow, including steps to be performed before the actual translation, and after it.
  5. What kind of knowledge is important for a translator to have, and why?
  6. If you were to work as a translation project manager, what steps would you perform in order to ensure that the work you receive is of good quality?
  7. List a few types of translation errors, and what you would do in order to avoid them in your own work.
  8. In Lesson 5 we briefly discussed some ethical problems a translator might encounter. Can you think of other ethical or moral problems we may have to tackle as translators? Please, briefly describe them.

Course evaluation

Notes from the previous lessons in this course:

Foundations of Translation - Course Description
Foundations of Translation - Lesson 1: Difference between translation and interpreting
Foundations of Translation - Lesson 2: Jobs for translators
Foundations of Translation - Lesson 3: Characteristics of a good translator
Foundations of Translation - Lesson 4: Translation in Practice

Course on Translation for the Pharmaceutical Industry

I've just seen an announcement for this course (La Traduzione di Testi Scientifici per la Ricerca e l’Industria Farmaceutica), which will be held in Milan between March and May of this year.

The teacher is a biologist and free-lance translator, and (from what I could learn from their site), has also taught other translation-related subjects.

Monday, January 22, 2007

SDL/Trados Support Looking Up?

"If you have any comments, please email my manager..."

The back cover of the current ATA Chronicle is a big ad from SDL/Trados, with a letter from Keith Laska, Vice President, SDL TRADOS Technologies, announcing new customer service initiatives:

"This year you'll be able to escalate issues directly to my management team, and to me [...] Why not start now? If you have any comments on our level of customer service, please email me [...]"

I have been unhappy with the quality of Trados, and also with the quality of the support, so I thought I might give it a try, and see if this was just a publicity stunt, or if they actually meant it.

So, on Friday I emailed Keith, with a list of complaints. I was not expecting much, but this morning I received a call from Keith, who wanted to get more details on the issues I had. He also said that I would receive a call from a local "Customer Success Manager", and in fact this morning I was also received a long call from David Noiseux, who asked more questions about the details of the issues I have had with Trados.

It is early to tell if things are really improving, but at least they seem to be moving in the right direction.