Thursday, September 29, 2011

Enhanced communication via an interpreter

The film is split into six modules and covers a spectrum of public sectors scenarios including scenes from a dentist waiting room, a Citizen’s Advice Bureau office, hospital ward and police interview and covers the following topics: Introduction, Language identification, Professional interpreter, How to meet, greet and brief your interpreter, Briefing your client on the role of an interpreter, Obtaining information via an interpreter, Summary.
To ensure you communicate effectively and efficiently through an interpreter you should use this good practise guidance.
  • Identify the language before booking the interpreter. Use a language identification chart if necessary. If the language is correctly identified you’ll be sure of booking the correct interpreter. This saves time and money. Always check if the client and interpreter share the same language.
  • Many languages have different dialects. It is your responsibility to ensure the interpreter and the client truly understand each other.
  • It is essential you use a professional interpreter. A professional interpreter will be qualified, experienced and security vetted and will have signed a professional code of conduct.
  • When you meet the interpreter it is important that you ask to see his of her identification badge to make sure this is the interpreter you’ve booked and not someone else.
  • Good interpreting comes from good preparation. You must brief your interpreter on the nature of the assignment, the subject of any discussion that will take place and any specialised terminology you’re likely to use. In some cases it’s necessary to prepare the interpreter emotionally for the assignment.
  • As an official it is your responsibility to ensure all parties understand the role of the interpreter and the ground rules for effective communications through an interpreter. The interpreter is there purely to help you overcome a language barrier.
  • As the official you must take immediate and complete control of the situation to ensure effective communication.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

USB Applications › AutoHotkey

AutoHotkey, usually abbreviated to AHK, is a great program to automate repetitive tasks in Windows. Among other things, you can use it to launch programs and to make hotstrings, i.e., auto-expanding abbreviations. AHK hotstrings work in any application that receives text input, be it a word processor, a text editor, an email client or a form in a web page.
What is more, since AutoHotkey is fully portable, you can use the same hotstrings file in any Windows computer or any Windows installation. You will never have to redefine your abbreviations again, unless you decide to switch to a different macro tool or to stop using Windows.

How is AutoHotkey portable?

AHK is a standalone program. Its installer simply adds some items to the context menu and the start menu, associates AHK files with the AutoHotkey engine (so that the system will know what program to use to execute them), and installs an uninstallation routine to undo all the above.

Portable AutoHotkey

  • Download and install AutoHotkey
  • Make a directory in the keydrive: X:\Apps\AutoHotkey (X: is the keydrive letter)
  • Copy AutoHotkey.exe to the directory X:\Apps\AutoHotkey
  • Make a script, say a4u.ahk (or copy/paste the sample below), and save it in the same directory
  • Open Notepad, paste the two lines below
    @echo off
    start ..\Apps\AutoHotkey\AutoHotkey.exe ..\Apps\AutoHotkey\a4u.ahk
    ... and save this as a4u.bat in the USB root directory. Double-click the batch file and enjoy!
  • To make changes (e.g., add abbreviations) while the script runs:
    • Right-click on the system tray icon and select Edit This Script. Right-click again and select Reload This Script.
    • Or, to be true to the AutoHotkey spirit, assign the appropriate hotkeys: See section SCRIPT-SPECIFIC HOTKEYS in the sample script below.

Sample script

This is a script with simple threads, drawing on examples from the AHK Help file. You can add or remove hotkeys and hotstrings, and you can also include external scripts. See section: EXTERNAL SCRIPTS TO INCLUDE. There are many wonderfully useful scripts in the AHK forum and in the AHK Help file,made by AHK experts.
The double modifier Ctrl+Win is used to avoid overriding system hotkeys such as Win+E. In case of conflict, non-AutoHotkey hotkeys are overriden while a script runs. If you don’t use native Windows hotkeys, you can start with a single modifier, e.g., Winkey.
Lines starting with a semicolon are comments, as are strings after semicolons. Comments are ignored by AutoHotkey. Blank lines are also ignored. They were inserted for readability. Indentation is optional and can be arbitrary; consistent indentation makes a script more legible and easier to maintain.
The script below works with the paths indicated in the relevant comment, and defined in the VARIABLES section.


; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

; !   Alt
; ^   Ctrl
; +   Shift
; #   Winkey

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

; SAMPLE PROGRAM PATH     X:\Apps\PortableFirefox\PortableFirefox.exe
; AUTOHOTKEY ENGINE       X:\Apps\AutoHotkey\AutoHotkey.exe
; AUTOHOTKEY SCRIPT       X:\Apps\AutoHotkey\a4u.ahk

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

; A couple of variables, to avoid typing long paths and to keep the script tidy.
; The first is the Apps directory (relative to the script location).

A = %A_ScriptDir%\..
H = %A_ScriptDir%\..\PortableFirefox\PortableFirefox.exe http://

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

; A file with many long scripts and threads can be difficult to maintain.
; You can save long scripts as separate ahk files in the same directory
; as the main script, and call them by means of the directive #Include.

; Below ISwitch.ahk is included, an excellent script for keyboard freaks
; who work with many open windows, especially many windows of the same
; program. It was submitted to the AutoHotkey forum by keyboardfreak:

#Include %A_ScriptDir%
#Include ISwitch.ahk

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

; All commands in this section are also available from the system tray
; menu. Edit opens the script in Notepad, or in the associated editor.
!^#e::Edit     ; Edit the script by Alt+Ctrl++Win+E.
!^#s::Suspend  ; Toggle hotkeys set by the script by Alt+Ctrl++Win+S.
!^#r::Reload   ; Reload the script by Alt+Ctrl++Win+R.
!^#x::ExitApp  ; Terminate the script by Alt+Ctrl++Win+X.

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

#Up::WinMaximize, A    ; Maximize active window by Win+UpArrow.
#Down::WinRestore, A   ; Restore active window by Win+DownArrow.
#Left::WinMinimize, A  ; Minimize active window by Win+LeftArrow.

; Single-line hotkeys and hotstrings like the ones above allow for a
; simplified syntax without a command to end the thread. Multi-line
; threads keep executing until a Return (or Exit) is encountered.

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

^#Numpad0::Send, {VOLUME_MUTE}    ; By Alt+Win+Numpad0 (2000/XP).
^#NumpadSub::Send, {VOLUME_DOWN}  ; By Alt+Win+Numpad- (2000/XP).
^#NumpadAdd::Send, {VOLUME_UP}    ; By Alt+Win+Numpad+ (2000/XP).

^#n::Run, sndvol32     ; Open Volume Control.
^#r::Run, regedit      ; Open the Windows Registry Editor.
^#t::Run, taskmgr      ; Open Task Manager (or, in XP: Ctrl+Shift+Esc).
^#y::Run, desk.cpl     ; Open Display Properties.
^#Right::Run, control  ; Open Control Panel.

; Eject/retract tray of main CD/DVD drive by Alt+Ctrl+Win+Space.
    Drive, Eject
    If A_TimeSinceThisHotkey < 1000
        Drive, Eject, , 1

; Make directory in Open/Save File dialogs by pressing F8.
; Elsewhere F8 sends itself (the $ is used to allow this). 
  IfWinNotActive, ahk_class #32770
    Send, {F8}
  PostMessage, 0x111, 40962

; Get information for selected drive. See AHK Help for details.
    FileSelectFolder, folder, , 3, Pick a drive to analyze:
    If folder =
    DriveGet, list, list
    DriveGet, cap, capacity, %folder%
    DrivespaceFree, free, %folder%
    DriveGet, fs, fs, %folder%
    DriveGet, label, label, %folder%
    DriveGet, serial, serial, %folder%
    DriveGet, type, type, %folder%
    DriveGet, status, status, %folder%
    MsgBox, , Drive information,
    ( LTrim
        All Drives: %list%
        Selected Drive: %folder%
        Drive Type: %type%
        Status: %status%
        Capacity: %cap% M
        Free Space: %free% M
        Filesystem: %fs%
        Volume Label: %label%
        Serial Number: %serial%

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

; Users of multiple languages or multiple keyboard layouts may have to use 
; some additional code to make this work properly. See FAQ in AHK Help.

::lm::Life is miserable. ; Type "lm" and then Space.
::lb::Life is beautiful.

; The pair of parentheses below defines a continuation section.
; Continuation sections preserve hard carriage returns (Enter) and tabs.
    ( LTrim
        Note to self
        Don't forget to bookmark this fabulous site,
        and to send the link to friends:

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

^#5::Send, {ASC 0128} ;  Type Euro symbol.
^#-::Send, {ASC 0150} ;  Type en dash.
^#=::Send, {ASC 0151} ;  Type em dash.
^#6::Send, {ASC 0162} ;  Type Cent symbol.
^#4::Send, {ASC 0164} ;  Type currency sign.
^#2::Send, {ASC 0178} ;  Type superscript two.

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

; Type current date and time by Ctrl+Win+F5. Format: 19991231-2359.
^#F5::Send, %A_Year%%A_Mon%%A_MDay%-%A_Hour%%A_Min%

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

; Paths below are relative to the directory of the script, (see variable
; %A% at the top). The string in the second parameter of Run is the working
; directory. Not all programs need this, but some do. Include it to be safe.

; The first hotkey starts Converber. The second starts i.Disk.
^#c::Run, %A%\Converber\Converber.exe, %A%\Converber
^#i::Run, %A%\i.Disk\i.Disk.exe, %A%\i.Disk

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

; Go to Portable Firefox, Tools, Options, Advanced, to define whether
; pages will open in a new window, a new tab, or the most recent tab.
; The variable H includes the full path to the Portable Firefox executable,
; then a space, and then the following seven characters: http://, so that
; you don’t have to type each time what is common in all commands.


; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

^#d::Run, %A_ScriptDir%\..\..\Docs   ; Open X:\Docs in default file manager.
^#a::Run, %A%\A43\A43.exe ..\..\Docs ; Open X:\Docs in A43.

; --------------------------------------------------------------------------

; The threads below start by looking for a window of the program.
; If one is found, it is activated; if not, the program is started.
; For programs that support single-instance, you can activate this
; program option and then use a single-line Run command instead.

; AHK can identify most windows by a unique string in the caption
; (the uppermost bar). Windows that display no such fixed string
; (like 1by1) can be identified by window class. To get the window
; class, use Window Spy, included in AHK and accessible from
; the system tray icon of the running script.

^#1:: ; Start 1by1, or activate it if already running.
    IfWinExist, ahk_class 1by1WndClass
        Run, %A%\1by1\1by1.exe, %A%\1by1
        WinWait, ahk_class 1by1WndClass

; MatchMode 2, used in all following threads, looks for the specified
; string anywhere in the caption. MatchMode 1 looks for the string in
; the beginning of the caption. MatchMode 3 looks for a window whose
; title matches the string exactly.

^#k:: ; Start KeePass, or activate it if already running.
    SetTitleMatchMode, 2
    IfWinExist, KeePass Password Safe
        Run, %A%\KeePass\KeePass.exe, %A%\KeePass
        WinWait, KeePass Password Safe

^#s:: ; Start SciTE, or activate it if already running.
; The first line sets the environment variable SciTE_HOME,
; to tell SciTE to look for user-specific files in its own
; directory, instead of the default Documents and Settings.
    EnvSet, SciTE_HOME, %A%\SciTE
    SetTitleMatchMode, 2
    IfWinExist, - SciTE
        Run, %A%\SciTE\SciTE.exe, %A%\SciTE
        WinWait, - SciTE

^#v:: ; Start VLC with parameters, or activate it if already running. 
; The long, parametrized command was split by means of ||.
    SetTitleMatchMode, 2
    IfWinNotExist, VLC media player
        Run, %A%\VLC\vlc.exe 
        || --no-plugins-cache --config=%A%\VLC\vlcrc",
        || %A%\VLC
        WinWait, VLC media player

Ten tips for court interpreters

Court hearings have their own nuances and particularities the interpreter may not appreciate if their experience is mainly from the health or business world.
Below are ten simple tips to help an interpreter for their first day in court.
1) Before attending the assignment make sure you have the court name, court room number, case/hearing name and also the defendant’s name as well as the solicitor/barrister’s.
2) If there is what is called a ‘trial bundle’ ask if you are able to review it. This will set out what the trial is about and each side’s (prosecution or defence) arguments.
3) For court interpreting you should always be dressed smartly as you are attending and representing both the translation company as well as the defence/prosecution (depending upon which side you are working for).
4) Be sure you arrive 10 – 15 minutes prior to the start time of the assignment. This ensures you are able to be prompt in case of a delay or change of court number.
5) Before the trial starts take time to speak the person you are interpreting for and to be briefed on the background to the trial. Make sure you ask questions so you are sure of your role in the proceedings.
6) If there is going to be any evidence used in the hearing or particular witnesses examined, ensure you are fully aware of what it is or who they are.
7) When interpreting be sure to speak loudly and clearly for all to hear. Be aware that you are allowed to stop proceedings at any time to ask for clarification or for people to slow down. If you need larger gaps between segment of speeches ask the judge to ensure this takes place. Your role is crucial in proceedings to be sure that you can do the job properly and effectively.
8) When interpreting do not veer from literal translations. In some contexts translating what has been said subjectively may be appropriate but in a legal environment everything must be translated even if it very uncomfortable to do so.
9) Remember you are there to support someone in most cases who may not be able to fully follow what is happening due to the language barrier. Try your best to keep them up to speed with proceedings, explain decisions and most importantly give them the chance to ask questions of their counsel.
10) In cases that are undecided or run on, you may be required to attend the court a following day or possibly at another time. Ensure the translation agency that booked you is made aware of this. Source:

Do you have the right personality to be an interpreter?

To be a good interpreter, you need to have complete mastery of two or more languages and… ” How would you finish that sentence? Chances are, the words, “You need to have the right personality” would not be the first thing to jump to mind. However, this month’s featured resourcea paper that looks at interpreter personality types, examines exactly this question.
The researcher, Nancy Schweda Nicholson from the University of Delaware (USA), used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in order to see which personality types would be most common among a sample of interpreter trainees (individuals who self-selected as having the right skills to do the job of an interpreter).
For those who are unfamiliar with it, the MBTI is a psychometric questionnaire based on the theories of Carl Jung in his book, Psychological Types. The 16 types are based on four areas — how people focus their energy, how they make decisions, how they perceive the outer world, and how they deal with the outer world.
Nicholson had a relatively small sample, but found that the trainees in her sample displayed an array of different personality types. She found that the most common type for interpreter trainees was ISTJ(Introverted-Sensing-Thinking-Judging), making up about18% of the interpreters in the sample. By comparison, other studies have shown that individuals with this personality type make up about 6% of the general population. If Nicholson’s findings are valid, it would appear that this type is more common among interpreter trainees.
Nicholson’s line of research raises many other questions: Do different types of interpreting (e.g. conference interpreting, legal interpreting, medical interpreting) attract interpreters with different personality types? Does interpreter personality type affect quality? Are some personality types more likely to make some types of mistakes (such as omissions) than others (such as embellishment)? Are certain types more likely to “step out of the role” of the interpreter? Are the best interpreters introverts or extroverts? It will be the job of researchers to more fully explore these kinds of questions. Source:

4 Steps to make software localization easier

1. Make sure that the texts in the software are easy to translate.

In this context, “easy to translate” refers to the situation when it is easy to have the right things ready to be translated. This may not be as simple as it sounds, because the translatable parts are written inside the code. Luckily all development tools have guidelines to write software in a localization friendly way. We usually recommend people to follow the instructions of their development tool.

2. Design the user interface in a way that also the translated texts will fit well.

It’s good to remember that the same expression in different language will require different amount of space on computer screen. Actually this applies to all cases when something is translated from one language to another. The amount of letters in corresponding words in different languages can vary remarkably. For example, if the software developer has fixed the space reserved for the text to be equal to the English text, the localization to German may be problematic because, German expressions and phrases tend to be much longer than their English correspondents.

3. Make sure all file names and links contain language parameter.

Unfortunately this step is often left overlooked. The reason for this may be the fact that this is not related to the actual text translation. But like the definition says, software localization is much more than just translation. The point here is that it’s not enough to have all the texts translated, also the other language related material should be double checked.

4. Make sure that the translation is easy to outsource.

If localization project includes many languages, you will most likely send the text-to-be-translated to several persons. And normally the effort needed to go through the translation outsourcing is multiplied by the number of languages you want to support. Thus it’s important that this step is as simple as possible. Sending translation packages back and forth between multiple project participants is both frustrating, risky and unnecessary. Read more. Source:

Ten ways to raise your profile in the translation

Now let’s look at how you become that translator who everybody knows!
  1. Volunteer for an association. When I first moved to Colorado, I volunteered to edit the Colorado Translators Association’s newsletter. I filled that role for three years, and by that time I knew almost everyone in the association by face or by name. About 50% of my new clients were either CTA members or referrals from CTA members, most of whom I met through my work for the newsletter.
  2. Share information. Sharing information (via e-mail lists, forums, blogs, lectures, websites, books, and yes, even Twitter!) establishes you as an authority and as someone who is helpful and available. Being “the person who knows everything” in your language pair or specialization is probably the best way to get referrals from your colleagues. Tip: why don’t more translators put their (non-proprietary) glossaries online? Riccardo Schiaffino (one of the “people who know everything” about translation technology) sent me this link to a tool that creates an HTML glossary with a hyperlinked letter index.
  3. Be an organizer. If you live in an area without a local translators’ association, start a low-commitment lunch or coffee meetup for translators (or people who speak your non-English language). If you want to take on something bigger, put together a niche conference. Witness the success of Chris Durban’s Translate in the Catskills conference for premium-market French translators (other languages welcome, too!) and apply the idea to your language pair or specialization.
  4. Become known for your specialization. If you’ve been translating patents for 20 years, you’ve probably read as many patents as many patent agents have, but you’ve done it in two languages. Speak at conferences, seminars, or webinars. Write for your blog or someone else’s. Write for industry newsletters and be the only translator those readers know! Teach online or offline courses for beginning translators who want to get started in your specialization.
  5. Get to know your potential partners. In order to raise your profile, you have to give up the bunker mentality. Instead of viewing other translators as threats or competitors, get to know people who do what you do and see if you can share ideas. Then the next time a high-paying client needs 20,000 words done in a week (at super-premium rush rates, of course), you can call on your new partner and solve the client’s problem.
  6. Help newcomers. All of us were there once, but how easily the memory fades once our businesses are thriving. I bet that your local association could use a new member contact person, or someone to hold a new member coffee every few months. I bet that if you wrote an “ask the experienced translator” column for a newsletter, magazine, website, or blog, people would read it.
  7. Use social media. I’ll give you my honest assessment of Twitter: I hate it, but it works. Be open-minded about social media’s potential. If you’re a German-to-English translator living in Berlin, your daily world may be filled with potential clients. For those of us who live far from our potential client base, social media gives us the reach that our location doesn’t.
  8. Make other people look and feel good. When someone helps you out professionally or writes something you admire, or when a client goes above and beyond to make your job easier and more pleasant, spread the love. A handwritten note with some specific praise is great, and so is a compliment directed to the person’s superior (“Of all the project managers I work with, Hillary stands out for her positive, professional attitude and her unflinching attention to detail”).
  9. Get out of the office. I know, you like it there. But one of the most common habits of the highest-earning translators I know is that they spend a lot of time talking to real live people. Go visit your clients and talk about them: what are their challenges, goals, and insights? What are the misconceptions about their industry? Give a presentation for your local chamber of commerce or business association, focusing on how to select and work with a translation provider.
  10. Be memorable, or at least be yourself. Don’t use your company name if the company is just you . . . be well-known for who you are! And if there’s something memorable about you, stick with it. Whether you’re Trash Girl (Abigail Dahlberg, a waste management translator) or Twin Translations (Judy and Dagmar Jenner, who even wore matching outfits at last year’s ATA conference!) or Ted Wozniak in his ever-present cowboy hat (if I had to pick the best personal brand in the ATA, Ted’s hat would be it!), being unique helps you stick in people’s minds. Source:

Outsource translation: how to order translations on online freelance platforms?

If you have a need for a translation seldom or irregularly, using an online outsourcing service is an excellent option. On many freelance sites there are a lot of translators waiting ready to start working on your project. Here are step-by-step instructions for ordering translations successfully on a freelance site.
1. Register on a platform for online employment. It’s usually free and simple. No credit card is required yet.
2. Post your job on the site. It is free and you are not committed to ordering anything. At this point you are just telling that you have a job to do and ask for quotes.
3. After you have posted your job you will start receiving bids. By now you should have set a criteria for the provider. If you are uncertain the following criteria may help you:
  • Make sure that you are dealing with a reliable provider. Check the feedback he/she has received (WWA). The better the feedback is, the better the provider is likely to be.
  • Check also whether the provider has worked with many clients and many times with the same client. Satisfied clients tend to hire the same provider repeatedly.
  • Use the quote as a secondary criterion when comparing the providers that you have found reliable.
4. If you are satisfied with the bids you have received select the best one for your case. Only at this point are you making a contract and commit yourself to paying anything. It’s probable that the translator asks you to deposit the agreed price on freelance site’s account (this is called “escrow”). It is a common and good way to show that you are indeed committed to making the payment. The translator does not receive the deposited money yet. It’s on the freelance site’s account. ((See Turn-key jobs at
5. Now the translator will start working. Prepare to be available if the provider has something to ask. E-mail is the most common communication channel in these cases when people can be located on the opposite sides of the globe.
6. When you have received the translated text in the agreed schedule you will make the payment. If you have deposited the sum on freelance site’s account you just give them the permission to make the payment to the translator’s account.
7. Finished! You have received the translation and the translator has received the payment. Source:

Life as a bilingual: those incredible interpreters

The following excerpts are from and article on Psychology Today:
Interpreting is one of the most difficult linguistic skills.
Have you ever sat down in an interpreter’s booth, put on the headphones and tried to interpret the incoming speech? I did when I was a young and rather naive student who thought that being bilingual meant one could interpret simultaneously. No sooner had I started that problems arrived. As I was outputting the first sentence, the second one was already coming in but I hadn’t paid enough attention to it. I remembered its beginning but not its ending. Very quickly I fell behind and I just couldn’t say anything more after a few minutes!
Many years later I still remember the scene vividly and because of it, but also because of my own research on the perception and production of speech, I have the utmost respect for interpreters and the training they have to go through to do their job well.
Interpreters come in various types (community, conference, sign language) and interpreting itself is diverse in that it can be consecutive or simultaneous. I will take two extreme cases of interpreting that differ on many aspects including age: bilingual children who act as interpreters and adult simultaneous interpreters. (…)
n addition to having all the skills of translators (see here), professional interpreters must have all the linguistic and cognitive skills that allow them to go from one language to the other, either simultaneously or successively. For example, simultaneous interpreting involves careful listening, processing and comprehending the input in the source language, memorizing it, formulating the translation in the target language, and then articulating it, not to mention dual tasking, i.e. letting the next sequence come in as you are outputting the preceding one. Researcher David Gerver has reported that interpreters overlap speaking one language while listening to another up to 75% of the time!
Interpreters must activate the two languages they are working with. They have to hear the input (source) language but also the output (target) language, not only because they have to monitor what they are saying but also in case the speaker uses the target language in the form of code-switches (see here). However, they must also close down the production mechanism of the source language so that they do not simply repeat what they are hearing (as they sometimes do when they get very tired!).
Given these processing requirements, in addition to knowing translation equivalents in numerous domains and subdomains (e.g. business, economic, medical), as well as stylistic variants, it is no wonder that interpreters, like translators, are considered special bilinguals. As the saying so rightly states:
It takes more than having two hands to be a good pianist.
It takes more than knowing two languages to be a good translator or interpreter.

Some thoughts on professional photographs

The following excerpts are from Thoughts on Translation:
Let’s say that you want to hire a professional services provider: maybe a business accountant, a copyright attorney, a web designer or a marketing consultant. You’re clicking through that person’s website, and on their About page, you see a photograph. Great! It’s always helpful to get a visual image of the person you’re thinking of working with. But then you notice that the person’s photograph is clearly from 20+ years ago, or was obviously taken in a drugstore photo booth, or features them and their pet ferret, or you can’t really tell what the person looks like because they’re facing away from the camera and their hair is in their eyes. Problem? Maybe! Let’s ponder the issue of professional photographs for a second.
(…) Why should you consider a professional photograph?
  • It shows that you’re willing to invest in your business. I am very frugal. I don’t own a clothes dryer and I wash Ziploc bags. But when someone hands me a business card with “Get your free business cards at…” printed on the back, my immediate reaction is that this person is not even willing to invest $25 in their business in order to get real cards. Ditto with the professional photograph: it shows that you care.
  • It conveys an impression of you as a person. Let’s face it: working with a freelancer is a very personal relationship. And if people don’t have a positive impression of you, they are less likely to work with you. A professional photograph can help establish you as approachable, personable, likable and other qualities that are desirable in a business associate.
  • It’s what other people do. I hate to play the “everyone else is doing it” card, but there’s some truth to this. If you consider yourself on par with other consultant-type service providers, your marketing materials need to be at that level.

Guide to regular expressions with examples

The regular expression, or regexp, are the most powerful, versatile and hated tool used by programmers and system administrators.
They allow to express with a few characters search for strings, characters or words, and if done well can lead to good results, but if they are wrong they can not give you any useful result, and the worst thing is that often it is difficult to understand whether or not a regepx it is written with a correct syntax to cover all the possibility.
But now as first thing let’s see what is a regular expression:
From WIkipedia
In computing, a regular expression, also referred to as regex or regexp, provides a concise and flexible means for matching strings of text, such as particular characters, words, or patterns of characters. A regular expression is written in a formal language that can be interpreted by a regular expression processor, a program that either serves as a parser generator or examines text and identifies parts that match the provided specification.

Syntax: it’s the same for all programs / languages​​?

Usually, yes in javascript and perl the syntax is similar, using preg_replace in php the syntax it’s the same of perl, and ereg … well, now ereg it is deprecated .
Even the IDE and text programs such as vim, notepad++, Komodo Edit, Dreamweaver, etc.. support search & replace with regular expressions.
In general the syntax may change, but not by much. Anyway, if you learn the syntax of perl you can still get away with any other variant


In regular expressions there are several “special characters ” with different functions:
. (dot) Means any character except those that identify a new line (\n \r)
$text = "espressioni regolari!";
preg_match_all('/./', $text, $ris);
// Will match all characters
^ identifies the beginning of a line, if at the beginning of a group denies the group itself
$text = "espressioni regolari!";
preg_match_all('/^./', $text, $ris);
// It will find only the character "e"
$ identifies the end of a line
$text = "espressioni regolari!";
preg_match_all('/.$/', $text, $ris);
// It will find only "!"
| it’s an OR condition
$text = "espressioni regolari!";
preg_match_all('/a|i|u|o|e/', $text, $ris);
// You will find all the vowels
() parentheses identify the groups of characters
[] Brackets indicate ranges and character classes
\ This character cancels the effects of the next metacharacter
$text = "espressioni.regolari!";
preg_match_all('/\./', $text, $ris);
// You will find only the . (dot)

Quantifiers, as the term itself, indicate how often search for a given sequence of characters.

* (star) indicates 0 or more occurrences
$testo = "Espressioni, pesi, piume!";
preg_match_all('/s*i/', $testo, $ris);
// Will match "ssi" of espressioni,
// "si" in pesi
// and "i" of word piume
+ indicates 1 or more occurrences
$testo = "Espressioni, pesi, piume!";
preg_match_all('/s+i/', $testo, $ris);
//  Will match "ssi" of espressioni,
// and "si" in pesi
? indicates 1 or 0 occurrences
$testo = "Espressioni, pesi, piume!";
preg_match_all('/s?i/', $testo, $ris);
// Will match "si" and "i" in espressioni,
// "si" in pesi
// and "i" si piume
{N} Research exactly n occurrences, to remember that the curly brackets are considered normal characters in all other contexts
Example with a replace
$testo = "ese, esse, essse, esssse!";
$testo = preg_replace('/es{2}e/', '*', $testo);
// Now $testo will be "ese, *, essse, esssse!"
{N,} Research at least n occurrences, see above
Example with a replace
$testo = "ese, esse, essse, esssse!";
$testo = preg_replace('/es{3,}e/', '*', $testo);
// Now $testo will be "ese, esse, *, *!"
{N,M} Research at least n occurrences, but not more than m, see above
Example with a replace
$testo = "ese, esse, essse, esssse!";
$testo = preg_replace('/es{2,3}e/', '*', $testo);
// Now $testo will be "ese, *, *, esssse!"

Quantifiers ungreedy

Almost everyone sooner or later stumble into this problem: if I use an expression such as /”.*”/ i will find all the words enclosed in double quotes? Unfortunately, no!
This is because the standard quantifiers are “greedy”, that seek the greatest possible occurrence.
Let’s look at an example:
$testo = 'class="pluto" id="pippo"';
preg_match_all('/".*"/', $testo, $ris);
// Will find a single occurrence:
// "pluto" id="pippo"
As you can see is not the desired result! How so?
Just add a question mark at the end of our quantifiers
$testo = 'class="pluto" id="pippo"';
preg_match_all('/".*?"/', $testo, $ris);
// Now it will find "pluto" e "pippo" !
This applies to any quantifier described above!

classes and ranges

The classes determine a list of characters, character classes or POSIX (see next section) to be searched. They are enclosed in square brackets and can be followed by the quantifiers.
$testo = 'Questa è una stringa lunga lunga di esempio';
preg_match_all('/[aiuoe]{2}/', $testo, $ris);
// The expression will search for two successive vowels,
// so it will find "ue" and "io"
To identify a range use the minus sign (-). For example, a-z identify all lowercase characters a through z, F-R uppercase characters from R to F, 0-5 numbers from 0 to 5 and so on.
$testo = 'caratteri 16sdf456 e un colore esadecimale 94fa3c ';
preg_match_all('/[0-9a-f]{6}/', $testo, $ris);
// The expression will search for 6 characters that are numbers or letters from a to f
// so it will find "94fa3c"
The ^, if, immediately after the opening bracket negates the whole range, indicating to not seek the characters included.
$testo = 'Questa è una stringa lunga lunga di esempio';
preg_match_all('/[^aiuoe ]{3}/', $testo, $ris);
// The term will search for 3 letters that are NOT vowels or spaces
// s oit will find only "str"

character classes and POSIX

The POSIX character classes and are used to specify a set of characters at the same time, without using the groups.
Class : \w
Matches : [a-zA-Z0-9_]
Description: Search a character “word” (w stands for word), ie letters, numbers and “_”
$testo = "[[Le_Regex sono_belle!!!]]";
preg_match_all('/\w+/', $testo, $ris);
// Will match "Le_Regex" and  "sono_belle"
Class: \d
Matches : [0-9]
Description: Research a number (d stands for digit)
$testo = "123 stella! 456 cometa!";
preg_match_all('/\d+/', $testo, $ris);
// Will match "123" and "456"
Class: \s
Matches: [ \t\r\n\v\f]
Description: research space, including tabs and newlines
$testo = "manuale sulle
          espressioni regolari!";
$testo = preg_replace('/\s+/', '', $testo);
// Now testo will be manualesulleespressioniregolari!
These 3 classes means the opposite if you use the same letter but capitalized.
Thus, for example, \D search anything that is not a number.
Class: [:ALNUM:]
Matches: [a-zA-Z0-9]
Description: Search alphanumeric characters, without “_”
$testo = "[[Le_Regex 123 sono_belle!!!]]";
preg_match_all('/[[:alnum:]]+/', $testo, $ris);
// Will match "Le","Regex", "123",
// "sono" and "belle"
Class: [:ALPHA:]
Matches: [a-zA-Z]
Description: Search alphabetic characters
$testo = "[[Le_Regex 123 sono_belle!!!]]";
preg_match_all('/[[:alpha:]]+/', $testo, $ris);
// Will match "Le","Regex", "sono" e "belle"
Class: [:BLANK:]
Matches: [ \t]
Description: Search only spaces and tabs
$testo = "questa è una prova
	con spazi e tabulazioni";
$testo = preg_replace('/[[:blank:]]+/', '', $testo);
/* $testo Now will be:
Class: [:UPPER:]
Matches: [A-Z]
Description: Research uppercase
$testo = "ESPRESSIONI regolari";
preg_match_all('/[[:lower:]]+/', $testo, $ris);
// Will match "ESPRESSIONI"


Each search operation can use several modifiers, which, as its name implies, can change the default search criteria.
These modifiers should be placed at the end of the search string, immediately after the character limitation.
You can combine multiple effects without appending modifiers spaces (for example: /imsu will apply all 4 the effects described below).
i the search becomes case-insensitive, ie upper and lower case are considered equal
$testo = "Le Espressioni Regolari sono regolari?";
preg_match_all('/regolari/i', $testo, $ris);
// Will match both "regolari" and "Regolari"
m the research will be considered “for each line”, ie the anchors like “^” and “$” will be applied for each line of text
$testo = 'Espressioni Regolari
Espressioni in perl
Espressioni php';
preg_match_all('/^Espressioni/m', $testo, $ris);
// will match all 3 "Espressioni"
// and not just the first
s the text is regarded as a single line and “.” now also identifies newline characters, which would not normally
$testo = 'Espressioni Regolari
Espressioni in perl
Espressioni php';
preg_match('/perl.Espressioni/s', $testo);
// research will be successful
u are enabled Unicode characters in full, as \x{10FFFFF}
$testo = '紫の触手、緑の触手';
preg_match('/\x{89e6}\x{624b}/u', $testo, $ris);
// research will be successful
U activated ungreedy for all quantifiers
$testo = 'class="pluto" id="pippo"';
preg_match_all('/".*"/U', $testo, $ris);
// it's the same as /".*?"/ will match both "pluto" and "pippo"

Anchors identify the location where to search our text.

^ Identifies the beginning of the string, with the modifier /m identifies the beginning of each line
$testo = 'Questo è un esempio
sulle Espressioni Regolari
nella sintassi di perl';
preg_match_all('/^[\w]+/m', $testo, $ris);
//will match "Questo", "sulle" e "nella"
$ Identifies the end of the string, with the modifier /m identifies the end of each line
$testo = 'Questo è un esempio
sulle Espressioni Regolari
nella sintassi di perl';
preg_match('/[\w]+$/m', $testo, $ris);
// Will match
// "esempio", "Regolari", "perl"
\A similar to ^ , identifies only the beginning of the string, even if there is the modifier / m
$testo = 'Questo è un esempio
sulle Espressioni Regolari
nella sintassi di perl';
preg_match_all('/\A[\w]+/m', $testo, $ris);
// will match only "Questo"
\Z similar to $, identifies only the end of the string, even if there is the modifier /m
$testo = 'Questo è un esempio
sulle Espressioni Regolari
nella sintassi di perl';
preg_match_all('/[\w]+\Z/m', $testo, $ris);
//will match only "perl"
\b identifies the point between two characters that are \w at the left and not \w at the right
$testo = 'condor daino dingo elefante';
preg_match_all('/\bd\w+/', $testo, $ris);
// The search will find only the words that begin
// with the letter d, so "daino" and "dingo"
\B identifies the opposite of \b
$testo = 'condor daino dingo elefante';
preg_match_all('/\Bd\w+/', $testo, $ris);
// The search will find only a set of characters
// beginning with d, which is not the beginning of
// a word, in this case "dor"

The special characters

If you have some knowledge of php or perl you will have already had to deal with that placeholder that identify special characters such as newline or tabs. All All of these placeholders begin with the character \
Here is a list with a lot of detail, to emphasize the importance of \Q!!
\t tab (HT, TAB)
\n line endings (LF, NL)
\r carriage return (CR)
\Q This disables any wild card up to \ It is very useful to insert variables into the string
$variabile = '[\w\s]+';
$testo = "Questo testo [\w\s]+[\w\s]+ ha regex al suo interno!";

$testo1 = preg_replace('/'.$variabile.'/', '', $testo);
// $testo1 will be "[\\]+[\\]+!"

$testo2 = preg_replace('/\Q'.$variabile.'\E/', '', $testo);
// $testo2 will be "Questo testo  ha regex al suo interno!"
\E see above
\nnn character in octal form where n is a number from 0 to 7
\Xnn character as a hexadecimal number where n is a hexadecimal …
\f form feed (FF)
\a alarm / bell (BEL)
\and escape (BEL)


The groups are enclosed by parentheses and become essential at the time of replacement, because you can recall them. An example to clarify everything:
$testo = "This is a date in mysql format: 2010-01-28";
$testo = preg_replace('/(\d{4})-(\d{2})-(\d{2})/', 'This is a date in European format: $3/$2/$1', $testo);
// Now $testo will be "This is a date in European format: 28/01/2010"
As you can see the expression has three groups and in the substitution there are dollars followed by a number: this number represents the found text from the corresponding group. So the first group will be $1, $2 the second and so on.
In groups you can also add a logical “OR”, ie to find a set of characters or another
$testo = "Si dice ha piovuto o è piovuto in italiano?";
$testo = preg_replace('/\s+((ha|è)\s+piovuto)\s+/', ' è nevicato ', $testo);
// This will search "ha piovuto" OR "è piovuto" followed or preceded by spaces;
// $testo now will be "Si dice è nevicato o è nevicato in italiano?"


Here finishes the introduction to regular expressions, i suggest to use some software like JRegexregexxer or KRegexpEditor to get some help, and also a cheat sheet can be really useful. Source:

Resources for interpreting students

Training resources
- Speech repository
An e-learning tool which contains a collection of speeches organised by language, difficulty level, type of use, and subject.
Access is granted to:
- Universities
- Candidates preparing for an inter-institutional test or an open competition
- Professional interpreters
- Other international organisations that train interpreters
- Interpreter Training Resources
This page contains a wide variety of resources to help students acquire the necessary skills to become conference interpreters.
- Online Resources in Conference Interpreter Training (ORCIT)
ORCIT is an EU-funded project producing interactive pedagogic tools for trainers and students of conference interpreting. Lessons are in English and Lithuanian.
- Documents and Terminology
Follow this link to expand your knowledge in terminology and documents that are used in many meetings in EU institutions and members states.
- Speech bank
A collection of websites containing political speeches.
- Multimedia reference on the history of Europe
Almost 3000 sound and video clips available in the Media Library
European Union media
- EC Audiovisual Service
The audiovisual portal of the European Commission. Live events are generally covered in the original language plus simultaneous interpretation into all Community languages when available.
- Europarl TV
Europarl TV, the official web TV of the European Parliament. With four channels in 22 languages, Europarl TV provides live speeches and interpretation.
- Council LIVE
Live and on-demand streaming from the Council of the European Union.
- Multimedia press rooms
All online press rooms within the EU institutions are listed here, giving electronic access to press releases, speeches, statements, briefings and other press material.
A blog in German coming to you straight from the interpreting booth. It contains interesting posts on conference interpreting and interpreting on film sets
A Spanish blog of a conference interpreter working for a European Institution
A blog by a conference interpreter, who teaches interpreting and is a PhD student in interpreting studies
A radio blog in Spanish by Department of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Salamanca
A brand-new blog written by a freelance interpreter at the EU institutions and interpreter trainer
Inspired by language lovers everywhere
Social Media
- Facebook:
The official Facebook page of the three interpreting services of the EU - of the European Commission, the European Parliament and The Court of Justice of the European Union
- Twitter:
Follow Interpreting for Europe on Twitter
- YouTube:
Watch our videos on YouTube

The world of interpreting: the ins and outs

Although translating and interpreting are often used interchangeably they are two entirely different professions, with the latter often being misunderstood or overlooked. While translators work with the written word, interpreters work with speech, thus requiring different skills and different types of training.
I always thought that simultaneous interpreting was just listening and speaking at the same time, impressive in itself no doubt, but through my experience as an administrative trainee in DG Interpretationat the European Commission, I have learnt that it is actually so much more than that. Interpreters have to listen, understand, analyse, summarise, capture nuances, translate and express someone else’s words…Simultaneously! Interpreting is nothing less than an intense verbal marathon.
Working as an interpreter for the European institutions is certainly not your average 9 to 5 job. To say the job is varied is an understatement, there is no such thing as a typical week. I have rubbed shoulders with colleagues who work in large conferences one day and then interpret at private lunches with President Barroso the next, before travelling to Budapest for a 3 day conference! It goes without saying that interpreters use their languages every day but they also have plenty of opportunities to learn new ones and are encouraged to do so. Many of you are probably still away or have just come back from your year abroad; as an interpreter you would be able to live overseas again and travel with your work.
However, this exciting and challenging profession is under threat for two main reasons; a) it is perceived as a difficult career path to follow, so many people disregard it as an option and b) international organisations, such as the EU institutions, are currently facing a severe shortage of interpreters in several languages, with English chief among them.
In order to become a conference interpreter within the EU institutions, you firstly need to have a Masters degree in Conference Interpreting before you can apply for their freelance accreditation tests or open competitions. In this current economic climate and with the impending rise of tuition fees in the UK, this option may seem arduous and expensive, but help is at hand. Many universities running Conference Interpreting courses have study bursaries available for students, but you will need to contact the universities directly to find out more. In addition, DG Interpretation at the European Commission also offers some bursaries to interpreting students each year. Additionally, you don’t necessarily have to study interpreting in the UK of course. There are many universities across Europe that offer top quality courses at a much lower cost, for example the ESIT in Paris offers the European Masters in Conference Interpreting for just 600€ a year.
Financial considerations aside, DG Interpretation also provides training support to its partner universities through study visits, teaching assistance and training materials, which helps students better prepare themselves for the assessments they need to take in order to become an interpreter for the EU institutions.  Read more. Source:

The future for translators looks bright...

Seven predictions and a survey presented at the 19th FIT Conference, San Francisco, August 2011
Translators in the 21st century find themselves in a difficult position.On the one hand there is a steadily growing demand for translation as a result of increasing global trade and communication generally. On the other hand it becomes harder and harder for the professional translator to meet this demand. Delivery times grow shorter and prices go down.
Technology is often thought of as an answer to this kind of pressure. But along with the technology come many new challenges. It is simply impossible for a translator who is trained in the language arts to keep up with the technology. And if she tries, frustration grows when she finds out that translation tools do not really work together very well. (See report Individual translators and data exchange standards.)
Then there are the economics. As the owner of a small business, translators must weigh the return-on-investment on time and money very carefully. Tools do not come for free and every new tool takes time to be mastered. What if these same tools – or machine translation – one day take over the job of human translators, as many of our colleagues fear. You might prefer to live on another planet, or at least work in another profession.
For the 19th FIT Conference held in San Francisco, 1-4 August 2011, TAUS ran a survey among the translators attending the conference. This article references a summary of the survey, and then makes seven predictions as a follow up to the keynote I gave to close the FIT event. The conclusion: the future for translators looks bright, but they will have to reinvent the profession first.

Crisis. What crisis?

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, sixty-four (37%) of the survey respondents reported that translation rates continue to be under pressure. There seems to be a slight decline in translation volume, while the palette of languages seems to be broadening slightly. Thirty-seven respondents (21%) see business continuing as usual, while respectively 12% and 10% of them see opportunities for automation and innovation in the currently unstable market.
Which of the following technologies and/or innovations will translators apply in the coming two years? Sixty percent of the respondents say ‘no’ to machine translation, while 19% are already using it, and 21% expect they will use MT within the next two years. The main concerns about MT are the poor quality of MT output (76%) and the poor quality of source documents (54%). Those who look at MT on the bright side see cost reduction as the greatest benefit (39%) and the possibility of real-time delivery of translation as a secondary benefit (35%).
A majority of the respondents are interested in sharing translation memories and terminology: 35% already do so and 39% expect to be sharing language data within two years. However, another much larger poll by of 1,000 translators indicates that 49% would not consider sharing their translation memories. Translators are concerned about ownership of TMs and their relevance to the job at hand. But they do see the benefits of terminology searches of massive TM resources and the productivity gains these bring.
Click here for a summary of the full survey.

The future looks bright, but …

… change is the name of the game. And reinventing the profession is extremely hard if your days are spent just getting the jobs done and trying to make a modest living. Yet, for the first time in the history of the planet, translation is a really strategic activity. Thanks to Google Translate, Yahoo! Babelfish and Microsoft Bing, every soul on our planet now knows what translation means.
Hundreds of millions people press the translate button every day which makes them realize how difficult it is to get a good, accurate translation. As professionals we must realize that our community is far too small (just 250,000 or so professional translators in a world of 6,000 languages?) to serve the needs of seven billion citizens.
We are only scratching the surface. As professional translators – and as a global translation industry – our mission is to help the world communicate better. (That sounds better than being a lawyer or a banker, right?) For we now have the means to deliver on that mission. We simply need to find a way to do it properly. Here is how TAUS sees the future in seven predictions.
1. MT is here to stay
Let’s face it: machine translation will never be perfect. Every speaker of a language has the right to introduce new words, give existing words new meanings and change the spelling and grammar of his language. The point is: that’s what people do every day – witness Twitter or online chat, popular songs or political revolutions.
Computers just cannot keep up with these evolving nuances and associations in hundreds of domains and linguaspheres created by speakers of just one language. Yet, MT for all its mechanical faults is here to stay. Why? For the simple reason that we humans just cannot deliver enough translations in real-time.
Two other factors will also influence the rapid growth of MT. First, MT is getting better and better as we keep feeding the engines with human translated sentences to improve their domain knowledge and we keep tweaking the rules to improve the word order and forms. Second, a new generation of users are growing up, they are more forgiving, and open to self-service. Users may even step in and offer better terminology and forms of expression as a way to help others and themselves.
MT is here to stay and will be called “translation”. It will be embedded on every website, mobile and car app. Translation will become a utility, just like electricity, water and Internet: a basic resource and a basic human right.
2. High-quality translation will gain recognition
As machine translation becomes so universally available, it is clear that there isn’t just one single translation of a text that fits all. To differentiate their product offerings and appeal to specific customer groups, buyers will recognize the need for high-quality translation - call it personalization, transcreation or hyper-localization. This means that, machines will not replace human translators.
On the contrary, non-perfect MT output will stimulate the need for high-quality translation in a broad range of communication situations. The challenge we face as an industry is to agree on the criteria and the measurements for the level of quality that is needed for each situation. Sometimes MT is simply not an option. Sometimes MT is the only option.
3. Post-editing will come and go
Information travels fast and loses its value quickly. This is especially true for news, entertainment, online shopping and customer support content, but increasingly also for business-to-business and government information.
There is a fundamental shift from static “cast in stone” content to dynamic “on the fly” content. Instead of one or two releases per year, companies are shipping product updates on a weekly if not daily basis. And consumers, citizens and patients are increasingly sharing their reviews, tips and tricks in user blogs and social media in almost real time. Any chunk of information may be relevant and interesting to someone somewhere.
The key attraction of MT in this new information age is that it can deliver real-time translation to meet these changes. Potential cost reduction is only a secondary benefit. And the widespread fear that all human translators will soon be downgraded to mere post-editors of MT output is ungrounded.
Why? Well, in the next few years post-editing will grow quickly, but then we will see it diminish. But if there is no time for translation, then there is time for post-editing either. Real-time is real-time, right? In any case, MT technology will get better, using machine intelligence to learn from its mistakes and not make them again.
Translators who choose to work with computers will customize and personalize MT engines to specific tasks, customers and domains, rather than do stupid, repetitive error fixing. They will be promoted to ‘language quality advisors’ if you like.
4. Translators win when supply chains get shorter
More so than most other industries, the translation industry consists of a complex cascade of suppliers. There may be three or four levels between the translator and the end-user: translation agency, global multi-language vendor, corporate translation department and often an external quality reviewer or subject matter expert.
All these functions add a cost to translation but are they adding any real value in proportion to that cost? Tasks are often replicated and functions overlap. Disintermediation (i.e., ‘cutting out the middleman’) hasn’t really bitten into the translation industry yet as it has in the travel and banking industries, for example. But change is on the way, under pressure from the overarching need to translate more words into more languages.
Corporate and government buyers will analyze their supply chains to reduce their costs, and functions such as project management, quality assurance, vendor selection and translation memory management, will probably be streamlined, simplified or shared. Yet there will be no question about the critical role of the translator at the end of the chain.
Even though MT will be used to translate content streams requiring real-time translation, there will always be a need for a professional translator to tell good from bad language in the communication process.
5. The list of languages keeps growing
As global business is shifting from an export mentality to a world of open trading on a flat playing field, the nature of publishing and communications is also changing fundamentally.
In the old 20th century model the global manufacturer and publisher used to push information out to the world. They would select their markets, pick their most important language communities and translate their own instructions for use, brochures and web pages.
They would probably start with four to six languages and gradually add more languages if the markets prove to be worthwhile. In the new 21st century model, companies are realizing that their customers are not sitting there waiting for the information to be pushed out by manufacturers and publishers.
They are browsing the Internet and pulling down information wherever they find it. And if they can’t find it, they write their own reviews and comments that yet others may then translate to help their local peers. In the old world, content was owned by publishers; in the new world content is shared and earned.
In this radically changing environment, the range of languages for content is constantly growing. Successful global companies need to facilitate communications in a hundred-or more languages instead of the old standard set of seven or at the most twenty.
Translators in many more countries will benefit from this “democratization” of globalization.
6. Sharing data becomes the norm
Our concept of a ‘translation memory’ is about to change. Translation memories and translation memory tools have long been cultivated as our proprietary productivity weapon, perhaps offering a competitive edge in an environment where one fifth of professional translators (according to a recent poll) still don’t even use translation memories.
Yet, we have now reached the limits of potential productivity gains, and, let’s face it, translation memory technology itself – in its current and mostly used form – is no longer state-of-the-art. Most translation memory tools are stuck in a technology time warp and cannot leverage the power of corpus linguistics (see article The Future is Corpus Linguistics). A new generation of translation productivity tools will emerge that allow us to leverage any length of strings of text from very large corpora of translations.
These new tools will in many respects be using features and components that emerged from statistical MT technology, except for the fact that they leave the professional translator in full control of the processes. They will unleash the translational power hidden inside very large corpora of text. They will allow us to do semantic searches and clustering, synonym identification, automatic cleaning and correction of language data, sentiment analyses and predictive translations.
In anticipation of this next generation translation technology, many translators and companies have already started consolidating their translation memory data into large, searchable repositories. Some (more than you think) are even harvesting these language data from the Internet, meaning that they have computers crawling translated web sites, aligning the sentences from these web sites, and reconstructing translation memory files.
Call them pirates if you like. But as we have seen in other industries, they are the drivers of innovation. We at TAUS truly believe that it is this kind of innovation that is needed to unleash the power of the translation industry and enable it to prosper.
The TAUS Data Association was established in 2008 as a legal, not-for-profit member-driven organization aimed at hosting and sharing translation memories for all stakeholders in the global translation industry. The publicly accessible and searchable database already contains four billion words of high-quality translation data in 350-plus language pairs.
7. Translation becomes a business of choices
The future of translation either looks bright or gloomy: it depends on whether you want to change, reinvent yourself and adapt. Admittedly, this is not an easy choice. Nor is there a lot of time to consider all the options, but at least translators now have the luxury of choosing. In the past, you became a translator and you were in it for life. Unless of course you became a literary translator, in which case none of the above applies.
Today, you can choose to be a ‘boutique’ translator, specializing in a domain and providing hyper-localization or transcreation services. In this case, you will drift away from the original concept of a translator once you start specializing in your domain. You may be asked to create local content instead of translating text written for a different culture.
You may be asked to do brand checking for new product names. Your job title may change to ‘language consultant’ or ‘communications adviser’. If what you like is linguistics and computers, you may choose to become a specialist in training domain- and customer-specific MT engines, or in translation optimization, or in new functions such as language data cleaning, data selection on the basis of semantic search, search engine optimization, or sentiment and cultural analysis using customer feedback data.
The availability of language data in so many languages will open a much larger range of choices for specialization and innovation. And yes, you can also opt for post-editing machine translation output. Not so much fun if it is not your first choice, but in many ways this option is similar to the first wave of automation our profession experienced in the 1980s with the arrival of translation memory tools.
The good news now, is that the MT engines will soon learn from the corrections made by post-editors, so you will not have to make the same corrections again and again. And translators (or whatever their new title might be) will become much less solitary and grow closer to their colleagues and end customers.
Collaborative networks will bring language workers together. And buyers of translation and language-related services will eliminate one or two handovers in the supply chain and be able to connect directly with you.
Translation may, in many ways, become a commodity and a utility but that does not spell the end of the profession. On the contrary, it will stimulate the need for differentiation, specialization and value added services. It is up to the world’s translators to rise to the challenge, and open up to these changes, and reinvent their future. Source: