I was fortunate enough to attend a demonstration of Portage, the statistical automatic translation project led by the National Research Council of Canada, and I was genuinely surprised by what I saw. Even if the translations weren’t directly publishable, they were a long way from the pitiful results arrived at a few years ago.
However, this initiative is not quite representative of what an automatic translation program can do, since it benefitted from highly favourable conditions.
In the previous post, we examined the criteria for producing a high-quality automated translation. Let’s now look at how things work in less ideal situations. Lire la suite
Automatic translation (AT)
Automatic translation, or machine translation, requires no human intervention. There are two major concepts: rule-based and statistical automatic translation. Some systems do, however, use a combination of both (mixed systems).
Rule-based machine translation
This type of translation relies on dictionaries and rules of grammar and conjugation. It is the classic method behind such commercially available programs as Reverso and Babelfish. While these programs may be widely available and are often free, they run into limitations as soon as a text is complex or contains ambiguous expressions.
To give an example, an automatic translation program will correctly translate “Être dans de beaux draps” (to be in a mess), but will struggle with “Il a dormi dans de beaux draps” (He slept in a mess). Lire la suite
Translation memories (TM): the reality
Although these programs may be called translation memories, some of them are designed with the manager in mind more than the translator.
Since TMs allow the user to instantly find parts of previous translations, it can be tempting to use them to automatically translate parts of a text and just give the rest to a translator (which some translators call “translating the holes”). This might sound like a good idea, but a word of caution: if you don’t know how to use the tool properly, the consequences can be disastrous.
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Automated translation continues to be afflicted by a major problem despite its increasingly popularity: if you’re not an expert, you don’t really know how to use it or what exactly it can do.
Moreover, two forms of automated translation must first be differentiated. They are often mistaken one for the other even though they operate very differently and do not have the same purpose: computer-assisted translation and machine translation.
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When you’re in business, you should take care of your customers. Not only because without them, we would not be paid, of course, but also because building a great relationship can be incredibly rewarding on a human level. And when you stop and think about it, we work for our customers.
This topic is then mainly meant for those of you who call upon translators, but I do hope that any curious person will find it interesting. Here is what I would like to share with you:
- Essential information about translation: Why should I ask for translation? What’s the truth about translation? How can I get more for my money? What can a translator do for me?
- A platform for setting straight the conventional (and often incorrect) assumptions about translation and translators.
- A place to share language-related tips.
Feel free to tell me about your experience with translation, your relationship with your translators, and what you would like them to offer you.
My goal is to help you better understand translation and those who do it so that you can fully take advantage of what they have to offer.