5 maggio 2017

Come smettere di essere pagati a parola ma nei nostri termini

Da tempo sui Social come Facebook e Twitter, i traduttori si stanno schierando contro un meccanismo che li spinge ad accettare lavori sottopagati: il pagamento per numero di parole.

Il mercato è pieno di balordi, ma anche noi siamo bravi a rovinare il mercato accontentandoci di essere sottopagati, perché non siamo abili nella negoziazione con il cliente e lasciamo quasi sempre vincere lui, come si diceva oggi alla BP Conference.

Questo è un meccanismo da smantellare. Mortifica il nostro lavoro e riduce il potenziale del traduttore. Ragioniamo in termini di tempo. Per tradurre 300 parole, abbiamo bisogno di 30 minuti. Queste 300 parole possono essere tradotte in 30 minuti, ma anche in un’ora. Dipende dall’argomento. In alcuni casi c’è bisogno di approfondire, seguire blog del settore, leggere articoli, consultare riferimenti vari, chiedere consigli a esperti.

Il punto è che questo: il cliente lo deve sapere, fa parte della nostra professionalità. 300 parole nate dopo una fase di studio durata 2 giorni, non hanno lo stesso valore di 300 parole tradotte 30 minuti. No. Quelle parole valgono quelle ore di approfondimento.

E quelle ore di apprendimento si ammortizzano perché utilizzeremo quella ricerca terminologica (che convergerà nei glossari) per altre traduzioni dello stesso argomento, e in quel caso saremo più veloci, perché avremo acquisito esperienza e competenza in quell'ambito.

E allora, iniziamo a educare i clienti e le agenzie, rendiamo consapevole il cliente delle difficoltà intrinseche nella traduzione del testo, del rischio (anche economico) di una traduzione sbagliata e di una scelta di termini non corretta (alla BP conference si faceva riferimento anche alla possibiltà di redigere un contratto con il cliente). 

Iniziamo a liberarci della tariffa a parola iniziando a puntare su di noi, sul valore e sulla qualità della nostra traduzione, sul nostro tempo, sul processo decisionale dietro alla scelta del termine giusto, in poche parole, sulla qualità del nostro lavoro. Noi non lavoriamo semplicemente con le parole, noi gestiamo un patrimonio immateriale: la conoscenza.

9 gennaio 2017

How a terminologist can make your website great again

Hi WordLovers and happy New Year! It is never too late to wish you all the fun you can and a wonderful 2017 ahead!

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas holidays as much as I did and that you are finally back to work full of enthusiasm and positive energy.

An article that I recently wrote as guest blogger was published during Christmas holidays by SDL Translation Zone and I know you enjoyed it since it gained such a massive amount of likes! So thank you soo much for making my post great! If you didn’t read it yet, the article is still available online: 

4 ways a translator can make your website awesome

If you are too lazy, you can read the summary below.

Terminology and UI

Translating the User Interface (UI) of a website would appear to be an easy task. If you compare it to a normal translation project, you would think one only has to deal with a small bunch of words. This is where you would be mistaken – translating website UI is far more complex than it seems.

UI is the real and most interactive part of the website. It must be clear and intuitive; the users must immediately know how to interact with the website and how to find what they need. Wrong wording choices may have a devastating effect. In website UI, terminology is particularly important because UI terms are operational components of the websites themselves.

The speed with which a user can make decisions and the efficiency of browsing a website depends on how effective the chosen terms are. UI terminology is crucial, as it provides the most significant information for the user (e.g. login, payment, donate, cancel etc.) The user does not want to deliberate on how to complete a registration or how to transfer their money online. They need time-efficient procedures, which depend on the accuracy of the used terms.

How to improve the terminology of a website

Terminology is a resource made of information units that can improve the performance and effectiveness of a broad range of language and usability-related applications of websites, which is a separate issue from translation.

A “terminological makeover” might be needed when inconsistencies throughout the content are spotted. It might depend on the content being written by different editors, thus causing the website to suffer from a lack of uniformity in style and tone and consequently failing to express a clear message. In such case, you need to go through the whole content and review and replace inconsistent terms with the ones provided by the client.

A terminological makeover of the content might also be needed because the company or institution might want to stress its identity through a precise use of terms while simultaneously improving its visibility. This can be quite challenging at times.

When trying to improve a website’s visibility, you have to be acquainted with the topic and find out to what extent the terminology used can work in the informal web environment. If one works on a website for expert audiences, it is important to ensure the unambiguous understanding of the text by using the terms provided by the client.

Read the full article on: 

When the website is up and running, it is vital to use words that non-specialists use to increase visibility. The wording has to be chosen with the reader in mind; words and expressions have to be understood even by the occasional visitor, and they have to match the ones that are being typed in search engines.

I use Google search or the keyword tool on Google AdWords to identify and understand the most popular search terms in a given field, as well as to see what words people are typing in search engines. When search engines do not provide adequate solutions, I have to consult relevant websites to collect search-friendly keywords that users search on key elements of website including title, meta-description, header tags, alt keywords of images, category, etc.

Website content should be search engine optimized to communicate the right target, improve ranking on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), drive traffic, increase awareness in search engines, and improve website visibility in organic (unpaid) search engine results.
It does not take a specific certification or 20 years’ worth of experience to make web content search engine-friendly. It takes very little effort, but the impact of it, or rather the impact from the lack of it, is huge.

Glossaries also are very helpful, as they provide readers with explanatory information. On website glossaries, users can find the meaning of corporate/institutional terminology at a passing glance. Those glossaries not only cover an explicate function, but also improve the SEO of the websites, in being descriptive keywords for search engines to index.

Another solution is to include the layman’s terms in the metadata for the webpage so that users are more likely to find the page via search engines.

10 novembre 2016

New resolutions for translators: let's start to tell a different story!

Translating Europe Forum 2016 took place in the wonderful location of the European Commission in Brussels from 27th to 28th October. The discussion was centred around the translation tools and technologies, with a particular focus on the point of view of the end users - the translators themselves.

Taking into consideration that the vast majority of translators tend to be apprehensive of language technologies and machine translation, the speakers of the conference reassured us by saying that the human factor is still the crucial element of the translation process. As stressed by Jost Zetzsche, interviewed by the Director-General Rytis Martikonis himself: technology is driven by humans. As language professionals, translators need to be the leaders of technological change in the field of translation, simply for the sake of ensuring that they themselves are content with the accessible software.

Since translators are quite literally the main source of income for companies dealing in translation technology, we should focus on communicating with the developers. As buyers, and more importantly, as users of their products, translators have an obligation to give tech companies all the necessary feedback that they need in order to improve their translation-assisting products. The end users’ response can affect the development process, making the product more functional and intuitive, fixing bugs, and removing the unnecessary or impractical features. (It also goes without saying aside from improving the product from the user position, we should start developing independent solutions ourselves).

There is a prevailing sense of progress in the industry. To ensure that we make the most of the chances offered by it, we have to learn to be early adopters and early adapters: being able to adopt new technologies as they appear, as well as to adapt ourselves to continuous change in the market.

With the Internet exploding with an unimaginable amount of multilingual content day by day, the number or translators required in the future is to rise, not to decline. For the same reason, and for the issue of productivity, language technology is here to stay  - and if only translators embrace it, we will have an exciting future ahead.

The Forum has confirmed that to be successful as a translator, one also needs strategy, management, social skills, empathy, negotiation, and creativity. These irreplaceable human factors will never be replaced by machines. Indeed, the type of labour which is most vulnerable against the rise of technologisation is algorithm-based – the daily work of a translator is everything but. We are not just selling words or fuzzy matches; we are selling our time and the decision-making process behind our choices. It is a highly skilled, creative labour that deserves to be compensated fairly.

What is my personal take on the conference? Well, my most retweeted tweet of this year’s conference sums up its entire message: “99% of the news about translators on the web is about concern on cheap translation. Let's start to tell a different story!” It is time to change our mindset – as translators, we are not the victims of translation technology, but its greatest beneficiaries. It is time to abandon this terrible attitude we have towards technology and everything novel, and embrace the innovation not as a rival, but as an ally. (Well, except I won’t abandon my attitude - I am a terribly curious and creative person!)

Let’s start to tell a different story by – first and foremost - respecting ourselves and what we do. Nobody forced us to be translators. We chose it, we studied it, we loved the idea. I wanted to be a translator because I was captivated by Fernanda Pivano. Translation is a high-profile occupation that provokes admiration and fascination

Let’s turn the dust that covers our desks into stardust!

6 ottobre 2016

How would a collaborative platform improve terminology work?

Terminology work has never been a solitary activity: terminologists need subject matter experts while subject matter experts often need the input from language specialists.Collaborative platforms can bring researches and experts closer together in a common strategy.

I found my presentation I submitted for my ECQA certification in terminology management. In that presentation (see below) I proposed the idea for a collaborative platform to improve terminology collaboration.

Since then, nothing particularly impressive has been created, Most translators, terminologists, content creators do not store terminology in a database. Instead, the tools of choice (or necessity) are either spreadsheets or tables. Terminology management from a content creation perspective is most often a manual process. The terms are gathered manually. The terms are entered into the spreadsheet or table manually. The terms are maintained manually. And the terms are looked up manually.
These manual processes are extremely cumbersome. Terminology managed via spreadsheet is almost always out of date. Who has time to work on the terminology list? Usually, the term list is largely ignored until someone realizes that it is useless.

However, I have a clear image in mind of how I would implement a collaborative terminology platform.

The expectations of quantity and speed of terminology deliveries have changed over the last years, and so have technologies: emails have shortened the distance between a resource and the terminologist but they are more enough!

The opportunity of collaborative platforms for terminology management is remarkable: contribution, feedback and voting mechanisms can produce valuable input for many terminology scenarios. Of course, not all terminology tasks can be carried out on a collaborative platform.

A collaborative platform adapted to terminological needs would be so much useful to improve collaboration on terminology work. In being a networked, multiuser platform, it would contain functionalities enabling participants to share their knowledge quickly and efficiently. Ideally, terminologist can take the input by their colleagues and use it to produce terminological entries to be stored in termbanks and termbases.

The main asset of collaborative platforms is the amount of knowledge contained, access to which would not normally be open to a terminologist in his/her office.

A collaborative platform would also reduce the use of emails for terminology work in order to avoid the "depths" of email inboxes: valuable terminology conversations stay trapped in emails, being inaccessible by anyone else who might benefit from them. A collaborative platform captures this implicit knowledge so that it is never lost. Communication is thus made transparent by shifting communication scenarios into the content and social collaboration platform.

Benefits from using a collaborative platform for terminology work:
  1.  Single point of access for documentations on terminology projects;
  2. discussion groups;
  3. easily sharing information through blog posts, wiki, discussion fora;
  4. sharing terminology resources;
  5. improving collaboration with subject matter experts for validation,
  6. information integration and indexation of resources - a collaborative platform offers a combination of real-time data coming from the input of the users. A search functionality would suggests search results as the user types – pages, blog posts, files and documents, users everything would be immediately available.

16 settembre 2016

3 most effective usages of social media for terminology

Networking, personal learning, and crowdsourcing of terminology work, are among the most effective usages of social media for terminology.

1) Networking: "Do what you love, love what you do... And then SHARE"

Apart from expanding contacts and networking, terminologists can use social networks to get established as professionals who solve terminology problems. They can, for example, research and ask questions to followers and establishing their expertise by answering questions. Social networks make it also easier to improve collaboration with experts to validate terminology and getting feedback and contribution to the terminology work.

Social media and blogs enable us to easily focus on the latest news and trends on terminology, providing us with regular updates.
  • Social networks, if properly used, can be effectively used to find terminological resources.
  • Blogs are useful to provide own opinions, reflections and for being an optimal environment for discussing different point of view.
  • Twitter and Google Plus help us disseminate information, get visibility, link to useful information, follow interesting conferences we cannot attend through live-tweeting updates and live streaming (Periscope, Snapchat, Facebook live streaming).

2) Personal Learning Environment: "I am the owner of my learning"

Conscious strategies are involved by using social networks as technological tools to gain access to knowledge. 'Heutagogy' is the neologism hat fully embodies this new approach to technology mediated self education. It means, "I am the owner of my learning at the knowledge society".

3) Crowdsourcing terminology work: "Trust the network - it probably knows more than you do".

Since terminology work is expensive, why not involve the crowd to create and validate terminology? The crowd can help with coining new terms or names, vote for term name suggestions, comment on terminological entries. The crowd cannot do it alone but the terminologist has to be part of the process: terminologists, in this scenario, have to adapt themselves into a profile more similar to a mediator.
"Crowd" is by the way a generic term. “Nichesourcing” is a more suitable neologism, it stands for “complex tasks distributed amongst a small crowd of amateur experts...rather than the ‘faceless’ crowd” (B.I.Karsch).

The solitary terminologist vs the crowd powered terminologist 
Old-fashioned terminology is anin vitro work”: there is no research into term usage, it draws on a limited panel of experts, and takes a long time for validation.

Crowdsourcing instead, has proven to be a valuable model in terminology work in particular for:

  • Term collection;
  • Concept based structuring (concept+ "#" on Twitter);
  • Creation of new terms;
  • Control of terminology usage.

In brief:

  • Let's share knowledge! Disconnected experts are invisible to the network and irrelevant to the system.
  •  Let’s leverage the power of blogging and Social Media! Blogs are sometimes earlier than newspapers in discussing new topics and concepts and crucial to raise awareness on the importance of terminology

9 agosto 2016

BabelNet: a Wide-Coverage Multilingual Dictionary

BabelNet is the dictionary of the future, it provides the meanings of words with illustrations - and will soon come with videos and animation. It includes entities as well as words, so a search for apple produces results that contain a picture of fruit as well as the famous corporate logo. 

His creator, RobertoNavigli, a computer scientist and associate professor at Sapienza University in Rome, calls it BabelNet after the biblical tower and the technology he believes can bridge the world’s languages. 

The idea is to put a lot of resources together, all the resources that people usually access separately,” he says in an interview published on TimesBabelNet, with 14 million entries and information in 271 languages, is the largest multilingual encyclopedic dictionary and semantic network created by means of the integration of the largest multilingual Web encyclopedia - i.e., Wikipedia - with the most popular computational lexicon of English - i.e., WordNet, and other lexical resources such as Wiktionary, OmegaWiki, Wikidata, Open Multilingual WordNet, Wikiquote, VerbNet, Microsoft Terminology, GeoNames, WoNeF, ImageNet, ItalWordNet, Open Dutch WordNet and FrameNet.

Version 3.7 comes with the following new features:
  1. New resource integrated: FrameNet (lexical units)
  2. More than 2500 Babel synsets identified as key concepts
  3. Mappings with several versions of WordNet now integrated (from 1.6 to 3.0)
  4. More than 2.6 million Babel synsets labeled with domains (was 1,558,806 in v3.6)
  5. Babelnet is, and always will be, free for research purposes, including download. Babelscape, a Sapienza startup company, is BabelNet's commercial support arm, thanks to which the project will be continued and improved over time.

This is how concepts are displayed, one of the most beautiful features of Babelnet


14 luglio 2016

Consistent terminology is crucial for a user experience (UX)

The User eXperience (UX) describes the interaction of a user with a website. It refers to the communication between the visual and textual data represented on the screen of the computer and the user. One could say that the UX is ‘the smell of a website’.

How quickly a user can make decisions and how efficient he/she can ‘navigate’ a website depends on various factors which are studied by the developers of the website. The developers’ aim is to create a friendly and easy environment for their consumers by paying attention not only to the images, colours, templates or other attracting visual features of their website but also to the textual representation. That means that UX is about the interface between graphic and content. A user is firstly attracted by the colours, the visual representations and the general sense of the website but to the next and most important level he/she needs to take some information, complete a task and interact with the website. If we imagine a website consisted only of images and colourful boxes it is beyond shadow of doubt that no effective interaction can take place.

How do you interact with this pop-up?

Text, thus, is crucial as it provides the most significant information for the user (e.g. login, payment, donate, cancel, etc.). The user needs the textual data. Nevertheless, the user does not want to think. He/she does not want to spend hours looking for his information or completing a registration or doing an electronic payment. He/she needs efficiency in time and that relies on the accuracy and the consistency of the terms which are used. As Bill Gates had mentioned ‘Content is King’, however as I often highlight ‘Terminology is Queen’.

The text which is represented should be clear, simple, understandable, up to date and based on the perspective of the user. It should not cause any misunderstanding or confusion.

14 giugno 2016

Perché io valgo! Ancora sulla ricerca terminologica in fattura

Ho ricevuto molti commenti relativi all'ultimo post relativo all'integrazione del fattore della ricerca terminologica nella tariffa del traduttore. Tra tutti, il contributo di Elisa Farina mi è piaciuto particolarmente e ho deciso che valeva la pena trasformarlo in un post (previa autorizzazione di Elisa ovviamente!).

Secondo Elisa, sarebbe forse più efficace integrare il fattore della ricerca terminologica nella tariffa a parola. Come ho scritto in uno dei miei commenti su Google+, a volte si investe un'ora nella ricerca del giusto termine equivalente, e questa è una situazione in cui in molti ci ritroviamo spessissimo.

L'ingente dispendio di tempo per le ricerche terminologiche è senza dubbio un handicap per chi calcola il proprio compenso a parola.

Come fare, però, ad inserire questo aspetto nella fattura? Come voce a parte, in linea con quanto proposto da Debora? Ma in che modo? Aggiungendo una tariffa oraria basata su una stima del tempo che si prevede di dedicare alle ricerche? O calcolata a posteriori in base al tempo effettivamente investito?

Entrambe le soluzioni sembrano pericolose. Il più evidente svantaggio della prima opzione è che raramente il traduttore ha tempo di leggere per intero il testo da tradurre in fase di preventivo, quindi difficilmente la stima sarà precisa. Il secondo approccio, invece, rischia di spaventare il cliente (per la mancanza di un preventivo chiuso prima della conferma dell'incarico) o di farlo inviperire (in caso l'importo finale della fattura sia troppo al di sopra delle attese).

Secondo Elisa, quindi, una buona idea potrebbe essere quella di lavorare sull'educazione e sensibilizzazione del cliente ponendo l'accento sull'aspetto terminologico per giustificare l'aumento della tariffa a parola. Rendere consapevole il cliente, in fase di elaborazione del preventivo, delle difficoltà intrinseche nella traduzione del testo, del rischio (anche economico) di una traduzione sbagliata e di una scelta di termini non corretta. E naturalmente, a seconda dei casi, sugli altri aspetti citati da Debora (localizzazione, transcreazione, ecc.). Bisogna insomma spostare il campo di battaglia dall'articolazione della fattura alle trattative pre-preventivo.

Condivido anche il commento della cara Daniela Vellutino, che aggiunge, giustamente, che queste voci di costo dovrebbero essere incluse anche nei lavori dei web curator e dei comunicatori in generale.

E voi cosa ne pensate? Potete postare i vostri commenti su Google+!
22/06/2016: mi potete contattare anche su Facebook! Mi sono iscritta da un paio di giorni....

Ho trovato un post bellissimo post di Allison Wright: The terminological minefield, che vi invito a leggere, anche piu volte! 

Vi riassumo i passaggi che mi sono piaciuti di più: 

La terminologia va ben oltre la corretta scelta del termine equivalente nella lingua di arrivo. E' ben più che selezionare il giusto termine da glossari bilingue creati da altri traduttori o da altre organizzazioni. E' molto più che usare ciò che secondo il tuo sesto senso è la scelta più probabile da una memoria di traduzione creata da terze parti in un CAT.

Ciò che è necessario per utilizzare il termine corretto, è la conoscenza del mondo in cui questi termini appaiono - lo spazio in cui quei termini abitano.

A meno che non si sia esperti e altamente qualificati nel campo oggetto della traduzione, non sarà mai possibile garantire la correttezza terminologica se si va di fretta. La ricerca terminologica richiede tempo, tempo necessario per consultare diverse fonti e tempo per chiedere e ricevere suggerimenti e assistenza da parte dei colleghi.