10 novembre 2016

Translating Europe: 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. This year, 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!

At Translating Europe Forum with Emma Becciu,  DG Rytis Martikonis, Alice Bertinotti

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, but 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


2 agosto 2016

How translation started being a CAT's business

Interview with Jochen Hummel on translation, terminology, and language technology.

He is the person every translator has to blame, or be grateful for. Before Jochen Hummel, nobody could ever dare to think that translation would have anything to do with CATs.

So, 25 years have passed since you created TRADOS and yet I still don’t see the next big thing ...old system, new makeup. What do you think? It feels great...doesn’t it?

I hope the majority of translators are grateful. At least I know a few who have made big money using TRADOS. That indeed makes me happy. The fact that the basic translation memory architecture hasn’t changed much since TRADOS also makes me feel good. On the other hand, the lack of innovation is a bit scary for the industry. I mean, 25 years is an eternity for software.

There is a joke that the efficiency of the translation technology is greater when the linguists are not involved and indeed your background has nothing to do with translation. I’m sure there is an interesting story behind the creation of Trados...

There surely is. One story nicely illustrates the futility to plan innovation. TRADOS has a powerful function to compute the Translation Memory recycling rate for a given text. It has changed the industry. Till today this feature defines the way translation services are contracted. I had originally coded it as my sales tool, because translators didn’t want to believe me how repetitive their work actually is.

You gave superpowers to terms, turning them into “MultiTerms”. For the first time terminology was machine-readable. Unfortunately, today terminology management is still far from being fully adopted in the daily routine of translators. So what’s wrong with us? What’s wrong with terminology?

The same thing that seems to be wrong with other creative professions: people work under pressure and believe they cannot afford to invest in tasks which only pay off later. Big mistake!

While reading your articles and tweets I often encounter terms like “cross-border”, “interoperable”, “DSM”, they sound like gibberish to me! Let’s keep it simple and sweet, how are you going to break the language barriers now? What’s your plan?

I use EU speak because I am targeting professionals working on these issues. Look, breaking the language barrier is not a simple and sweet task. It’s hard and complex, which is also the reason why biz and eGov shy away from the language challenge, although there’s a lot of money to be made there, and for eGov it’s mandatory. I have only a piece of the plan and it would be too lengthy for here. If you want to learn more, go to the Multilingual Knowledge Blog.

You are active in so many other sectors: you are a startup mentor, you founded Metaversum, a 3D world video game and 3D chat community, and now you even run an affordable art gallery in Berlin, I’m impressed!

Oh, thank you. Yes, I am a generalist and interested in a lot of things. Entrepreneurs get quickly excited, be it a virtual world mirroring real cities or let people experience Berlin subculture in a downtown art gallery[1]. On the other hand, though, it means I am not truly exceptional in anything.

Do you like Social Media? What’s your favourite social media platform? I don’t see CEOs using SM very often...

I like social media, as any entrepreneur and manager should. It’s a perfect way to get direct feedback from outside your cage and even to interact with customers or prospects. I am very curious. I have to be careful not to waste time on SM. Therefore Twitter works best for me.

Have you ever tasted “fauxmage[2]”?? Are you familiar with “Virabhadra[3]”?

I confess, I had to google both terms. No, I haven’t tasted fauxmage. Why should I, if I can have the real thing? And Virabhadra?? Ask me rather about Han Solo[4].

How do you feed your mind? Please share with us your secret! What do you read?

Asking questions and listening carefully. I read a lot. Social Media, news, magazines, science and biz books, novels. But top of the list is definitely SciFi. Always loved it. I am sure that many good, and sometimes premature ideas originated from these stories and movies.

Then I can ask you if Han Solo will come back...
A certain T-800 would answer: He’ll be back!

Jochen Hummel at LT Innovate
Jochen Hummel at LT Innovate

Entrepreneur/director/mentor with coder background, Jochen Hummel founded TRADOS, the world leader in computer-assited translation, and Metaversum, a highly innovative startup combining Web 2.0 and virtual worlds.
He builds global organisations, raises venture capital, involves in M&A on both sides, executive positions in development, sales, and general management, board seats.
Jochen Hummel is CEO of ESTeam AB, a provider of advanced language technology and semantic solutions to EU organisations and corporations. He is founder and CEO of Coreon, the most advanced SaaS solution for multilingual knowledge bases. He serves as chairman of LT-Innovate, the Forum for Europe's Language Technology Industry.
You can follow him on Twitter and on Multilingual Knowledge Blog.

A more detailed and exhausive interview has been published by Alexander Drechsel on his blog, Adrechsel.de. There you can listen to the podcast of the interview and read the transcript.

[2] Fake Cheese: blend of "Faux" and "Fromage". It stands for vegan cheese
[3] Virabhadrasana  Warrior 1 is an asana, a yoga pose, commemorating the exploits of a mythical warrior, it means “Great Hero”.
[4] Han Solo is a character in the Star Wars, one of the greatest film heroes.

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.