Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Guest post: Translators’ Attitudes towards Machine Translation

By Irene Chamali

In my dissertation, I tackled the topic of Machine Translation vs. Translators, not only because I want to later become a translator myself, but also because I was always fascinated with technology and how it is used in different professions. My key question was: What are professional translators’ attitudes towards the technological tools created for their profession?

Word Cloud

1. Research Questions and Hypotheses

My first question was “Do professional translators believe that Machine Translation (MT) increases their productivity?” What I found (from the answers received and existing research) was that such software is easy to use, offers fast results and, according to professional translators, it improves their productivity. 

My second question, “Do translators view MT as a threat?” looked at how translators feel about automated programs which can translate entire texts automatically. I found that there is no fear that MT will replace translators, since, according to research participants, it is not quite advanced yet and there are aspects of language which MT software cannot yet cope with. So, translators do not view MT as a threat (yet). 

Moving on to the third question, “What are the requirements that MT software has to fulfill in order for translators to use it?” I originally believed that it would be difficult to pinpoint specific requirements. Previous research claimed that speed, usefulness and ease of use are the main factors driving MT software adoption, and my research confirmed this: I found that ease of use, fast results, a target text which requires only minor corrections, the availability of training and support for MT software are the requirements for MT software adoption.

My last question was “Is experience one of the factors which lead translators to the acceptance of MT?”, and the answers showed that more experienced translators are more likely to use MT software.

2. Participants and Data Collection

The participants were 42 professional translators (freelancers, in-house, working in companies or in the EU) from all over the world, of different ages and experience. I collected data through online questionnaires and then examined it with the help of SPSS (a statistical tool).

3. Results

Not all the results were what I was expecting, but this didn’t discourage me, because unexpected findings can encourage further research. 

The results regarding perceived increase in productivity thanks to MT software showed that most participants recognize the advantage of using such software, since it can increase productivity. Most respondents, however, appear not to trust the quality of machine translation. Not all groups of translators (freelancers, in-house translators, etc.) have the same opinion regarding perceived productivity. For example, none of the in-house translators agreed that MT software can increase productivity, although most of the other groups thought otherwise. The reason may be that they are urged by their companies to use software which does not suit their needs.

Almost no participant feared that MT will replace human translators, since MT still needs to improve considerably. The younger the participants were, the less they believed that MT software can replace them. I think this is because younger translators are more used to using technology and seeing such tools complementing one’s work instead of taking their place, so they are less intimidated by MT. Gender, on the other hand, did not seem to play any role in perceived threat. What played a role, according to the results, was nationality, as the answers to questions regarding perceived threat differed from one nationality group to the other. For example, Turkish, Spanish, Australian, Swedish, Bulgarian and Danish participants did not seem to agree that MT software can replace human translators. French participants, on the other hand, agreed, and Portuguese, Moldovan and Austrian ones were generally neutral. Regarding the requirements for MT software, the participants’ ranking showed that the most important are usefulness, fast results and ease of use. It was interesting to see that the answers that MT software users gave did not differ from those of non-users, which could mean that non-users have a realistic view of what MT software can offer.

Finally, the outcome of my last research question about work experience as a determining factor for MT software use was that groups with different working experience gave similar answers. The small number of participants could explain the fact that my results differed from those of previous studies.

I think that conducting research surveys like the one I did for my university is not only important for academic purposes but is also useful to help software developers tailor MT software to the needs of their clients. I will be very glad if my paper makes a contribution, however small it may be, to the investigation and enhancement of the relationship between human and machine.

About the author:

Irene Chamali is a recent graduate from CITY College, International Faculty of the University of Sheffield, in Thessaloniki, Greece. She was accepted in 2017, studied in the English Studies Department for three years, and was awarded the BA (Honors) degree in English Language and Linguistics. After her BA studies, Irene was accepted for an MA in Translation and Interpreting from CITY College, which she is currently undertaking. Her article summarizes the research she completed for her dissertation.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Guest Post: Bohemicus - a multifaced translator’s tool

by Jan Kapoun

Ever wanted to use machine translation or voice dictation in just about any CAT tool out there?

Well ... now, you can!

What is Bohemicus?

Bohemicus is a powerful translator’s tool. It integrates with your CAT tool (or any other application) to enhance its capabilities. It works like an interface. With Bohemicus, you can use machine translation, voice dictation (speech-to-text), your own translation memories, conveniently search in online/offline dictionaries, take notes, and much more… in CAT tools that do not actually provide such functionality by themselves. This way, your productivity and translation speed are greatly boosted.

Bohemicus enables you to work in professional software such as Across or Transit and to use machine translation or voice dictation, even if your software itself does not provide such functionality.

For a better understanding of what Bohemicus actually is all about, please watch the introductory video below:

Bohemicus: A program that’s actually on your side

Bohemicus has been created by a person who truly understands your needs: Jan Kapoun, a professional translator and IT developer with 13 years’ experience in the translation industry.

Machine translation in Bohemicus

Machine translation is provided by Google (paid service) or by MyMemory (free, but limited to 10K words/day).

To machine-translate a segment, simply press Ctrl+Space in your CAT tool. Bohemicus captures this command, translates your text behind the scenes and re-inserts the translation in the target language into your CAT tool.

Bohemicus works in several CAT tools: SDL Studio, Across, WordFast, memoQ, and DejaVu. In other tools, especially online tools like XTM or Coach, you just need to copy the source text into your target segment, select all the relevant text in this target segment and press Ctrl+Alt+Space. This will translate the selected portion of text.

Voice dictation

Voice dictation is based on the excellent Google speech-to-text engine, which functions even with minor languages, such as Czech, Slovak and Hungarian. To use this feature, it is necessary to download Bohemicus to your Android device (phone or tablet) and connect it through Bluetooth, with Bohemicus running in Windows 7/8/10. The Android and Windows instances of Bohemicus connect to each other automatically. Once you have established this connection, simply press the tilde key (~) on your PC keyboard (or tap the big blue B on your Android screen) to initiate the listening function. When you are done speaking, press the tilde key again to stop listening. Your speech will be almost instantly converted to text and inserted into your target CAT tool.

Offline/online dictionaries

To look up a specific word or term in your connected offline or online dictionary, simply select it in your CAT tool and press Ctrl+Alt+K and your offline/online dictionary will automatically appear on the screen, having looked up your word/term.

Bohemicus' Concordance Tab
Bohemicus’ Concordance Tab

Your own translation memories

When working in Across or in online tools like XTM or Coach you cannot use your own translation memories. This can really be a hassle, especially if you know that you have previously translated a similar text. With Bohemicus, you can connect your own translation memory and look up selected terms or even whole segments in it, by simply pressing Ctrl+Alt+K.

And more

Bohemicus also offers other useful editing functions, like a really neat note-taking feature, a clipboard manager for quickly inserting predefined strings... and much more.

About the author

Mgr. Jan Kapoun is a Czech linguist and programmer with a degree in Applied Information Technology (University of South Bohemia) and more than 13 years’ experience in the translation industry. He translates technical texts from English, German and French into Czech, and is continuously developing the Bohemicus software. You can try out his software downloading it from his web page: Bohemicus Software

Monday, September 14, 2020

A couple of quick tricks to make the translation of legal texts easier


 If you regularly translate legal texts (such as EULAs), you’ll frequently encounter long passages where a single segment continues for many lines, with all the text shouting in UPPERCASE (and maybe even all bolded):


This is very hard to read, and therefore even harder to translate. To make it easier to translate, just select the whole passage, and hit Shift+F3 to convert the whole passage to lower case. You can then translate it, and, once you are satisfied with your translation, select the passage again, and hit Shift+F3 again to convert the passage to all uppercase. Works in MS Word, SDL Trados Studio and memoQ.  

Single segments with numerous subclauses

Another quirk of legal texts that may make them more difficult to translate is that they often contain long passages rife with numbered subclauses:

(i) consectetur adipiscing elit; (ii) sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua; (iii) ut enim ad minim veniam; (iv) quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat; (v) duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur; (vi) excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident; (vii) sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

This would be seen as a single segment by most CAT tools, a segment difficult to translate because too long. The best way to deal with this problem is to split the segment before each of the subclauses. You can do this either by suitably changing your CAT tool’s segmentation rules or by splitting the segment manually.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Full stops considered rude?

Athena Scalzi is a young writer, currently contributing to Whatever, a long-running blog by science-fiction writer John Scalzi (her father).

She has recently written a well written and interesting post on how the newer generations view punctuation in general and the period in particular: Periods. What Are They Good For.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Pseudo-English terms in Italian

Vera Gheno, Zanichelli’s “Linguista Errante” has recently published an instructive article (in Italian) on “pseudoanglicismi” -- those words and terms in Italian that look like English words, but whose meaning is quite different from their meaning in English.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A special place is reserved in purgatory...

... for all clients who answer questions which require a choice between two alternatives with a simple “yes”

For example:

Question: In the sentence “Blah blah blah XYZ blah blah”, does “XYZ” mean “ABC” or does it mean “DEF”, instead?
Answer: Yes

The only thing answers such as this tell me is that the client hasn’t bothered reading the question properly.

A correct answer to the above could be “ABC”, it could be “DEF”, or it could even be “Neither: it means GHI”.

But “yes” is never a correct answer to a question that asks which of two proposed alternatives is correct.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Everything - A great freeware tool to find files on your computer

I've been using Everything as a search tool for finding files on my computer and home network for several years, and it is one of the few tools I really find I could not do without. 

Much better than Windows' own tools for searching files you know you have but that you can't quite remember where you put them... or even what the exact name of the file was. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

My apologies

A few months ago I published here a guest post: “Spotlight on the Israeli Translation Market”. I was recently made aware that the author of that post, in a separate article published elsewhere, advised new translators “Depending on your language, you may start as low as $0.01/word and aim to increase that ten-fold to $0.10 . . .”.

Since I completely disagree with such an approach to professional translation, I apologize for publishing the previous post, and will replace it with this same message.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

AIT Tools Free or Deeply Discounted "To contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 virus"

Besides Yamagata Europe (see my last post), AIT is also offering its tools for free (to medical translators) or deeply discounted “To contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 virus”. Here is the text of a message I received from AIT:
We hope you are safe and healthy. We also hope that you keep calm, stay home, and learn new tools for translators.
AIT joins in the international community’s efforts to contain a pandemic, and we’d like to support translators at this challenging time.
To contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 virus, all medical translators can get software for FREE! Please, contact the AIT customer support to get your license.
We wish to support you in overcoming this difficult period, so even if you do not work with medical translations, you can get an unprecedented 80% discount on all our software products for translators, to work from home safely, and be on the top:
Stay home, take care of older loved ones, and above all, stay healthy!
P.S. If you have friends or colleagues who are engaged in medical translation, please share this email with them, so they will be able to get the software for free.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Free Translation QA Tool to Help Fight COVID-19

I repost this message which I have received from Yamagata Europe:

Yamagata Makes QA Distiller Free For All to Help Fight COVID-19

From April 2020 onwards, Yamagata Europe will offer its QA Distiller software for translators and technical documentation professionals free of charge. Instead of paying for the software, companies who download QA Distiller will be invited to donate to Translators without Borders. 
The partnership with Translators without Borders (TWB) represents Yamagata Europe’s commitment to making sure everyone has access to information in a language they understand, especially during the fight against COVID-19. TWB is a non-profit organization offering language and translation support for humanitarian and development agencies worldwide. Donations will help TWB fulfill its mission to eliminate language barriers that prevent the dissemination of critical health information. 
TWB uses language expertise and technology to help people access health-related information. TWB offers translation of content for partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Red Cross, monitors and prevents the spread of misinformation, and shares verified multilingual content. The need for this work is underlined by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “We’re not just fighting an epidemic, we’re fighting an infodemic.” 
The most trusted QA tool since 2004
QA Distiller is a stand-alone tool developed by Yamagata Europe that makes it easy to find formal translation mistakes in bilingual files. You can use QA Distiller to detect inconsistencies, terminology mistakes, wrong numbers, missing brackets and much more.
The free QA Distiller version will include all features of what was previously the Professional License, with support for over 90 languages. QA Distiller users will also benefit from regular updates, including new features and languages, and basic usability and functional support by Yamagata Europe.
Today, QA Distiller has over 1,000 satisfied users. Yamagata Europe developed the tool originally to fulfill its own need for improved language consistency checks after translation. QA Distiller was first presented to the industry at the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) congress in Saint Petersburg in 2004. A commercial release followed later that year.
QA Distiller was always offered on a ‘buy once, use forever’ basis, with the addition of an online license check. Basic support was always free and optional support & maintenance contracts with free upgrades were added a few years after the launch.
The software came in three versions: Freelance, Professional and Enterprise. From April 2020 onwards, only the Professional version will be available, free of charge. This version will not be limited in the number of languages and there will no longer be a license check.
The current version and license server will continue to be accessible until the end of April 2020. Current users can visit our QA Distiller support page to find info on how to switch to the new version.
Fight the COVID-19 infodemic: donate to Translators without Borders
A donation to TWB will help the organization fight the current infodemic. According to TWB’s Head of Fundraising and Communications, Sharda Sekaran, “Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people more than ever need access to accurate information in a language and format they understand. The donations through this partnership will support TWB, so that we can support the emergency response.”
Download and donate now!
You can make donations starting from $10, but we hope that companies will find the generosity to donate substantially more.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Translators’ Attitudes towards Machine Translation

I’ve received the following message, about a questionnaire regarding translators’ attitudes towards Machine Translation, together with the request to share it with other translators:
I’m a BA student from the English Studies Department of the University of Sheffield and I would appreciate it if you took the time to fill in the questionnaire for my dissertation regarding translators’ attitudes towards Machine Translation. It would also be very helpful if you shared it with other potential participants. Thank you in advance! Here’s the link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdgRSy8Ys-zlxXSKtw--oOELkvr5BjOcfzncua20l0HwGTK-g/viewform?usp=sf_link
Kind regards, Irene Chamali
The questionnaire includes, at the beginning, before any questions are asked, a full “Participant Information Sheet”. I’ve checked (and answered) the questionnaire, and I believe it deserves that translators answer it, as it comes from a legitimate study.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Spotlight on the Israeli Translation Market

A few months ago I published here a guest post: “Spotlight on the Israeli Translation Market”. I was recently made aware that the author of that post, in a separate article published elsewhere, advised new translators “Depending on your language, you may start as low as $0.01/word and aim to increase that ten-fold to $0.10 . . .”.

Since I completely disagree with such an approach to professional translation, I apologize for publishing the previous post, and will replace it with this same message. 

Monday, January 06, 2020

SDL Trados Studio 2019 - The Manual (3rd edition)

Mats Linder's SDL Trados Studio - The Manual has now been updated with a new edition - the third for SDL Trados Studio 2019, to cover changes introduced with service release 2 (SR2) of the program.

The manual is now grown to 612 pages, in all some 15 pages of new text. It includes updated text on several new AppStore applications, updated information on machine translation. A bookmark list for easier navigation is also now provided.)

The price is USD 52 or 49 Euro for new users (or half of that for those who bought previous versions of the manual).

I highly recommend it, since it complements (and mostly supersedes) SDL's own badly written documentation: Mats writes in a way that any user of SDL Trados studio will find useful.