Thursday, 9 December 2010

Patrons to the Mediaforall TakingStock conference

We are happy to announce that the European Commission Representation in the UK has become our latest Patron.

You can find more information about our patrons and sponsors on our conference website.

Mediaforall TakingStock on facebook

Dear all

As some of you already know the MScTrans is hosting a conference next year. The 4th International Media for All Conference – Audiovisual Translation: Taking Stock will run from Wednesday 29 June to Friday 1 July 2011, at Senate House. On Tuesday 28 June, workshops will take place at Imperial.

The event now sports its own facebook page, you are invited to join us there already.
You can find more information on as well.

best wishes
the M4A-4 team

Friday, 5 November 2010

Reminder for Call for Papers

4th international Media for All conference
Audiovisual Translation: Taking Stock

29 June – 1 July 2011


The 4th International Media for All Conference – Audiovisual Translation: Taking Stock aims to bring together professionals, scholars, practitioners and other interested parties to explore audiovisual translation (AVT) in theory and practice, to ascertain the language needs of distributors and broadcasters, to discuss the linguistic and cultural dimensions of AVT, to look into potential synergies between the industry and the academic worlds, and to investigate the relevance and application of translation theory for this very specific and rapidly expanding translational genre. Special attention will be given to the notion of accessibility to information and to the social and economic implications of implementing appropriate quality standards.

In the global village of today, AVT is a form of communication expanding at a mind-boggling rate. Its active engagement with social, cultural, political, and technological changes calls for increased specialisation and greater diversification on the part of practitioners, trainers, and researchers alike. AVT crosses many disciplinary borders and offers a world of possibilities and challenges to its users. Markets worldwide are changing fast with distribution policies and strategies being shaped by political decisions, economic factors and audience expectations. AVT, from both the traditional translational perspective as well as the more encompassing accessibility angle, is considered to be a tool for social integration. The conference organisers are especially interested in the progress being made in turning today’s information society into an information society ‘for all’ and in the links between AVT and other disciplines within translation studies, or even text production. The traditional notion of what constitutes a ‘text’ has been eroded and this has led to a converging of research areas and a need for more interdisciplinary approaches.

This conference aims to map the current status of AVT profession, research, production, and consumer needs. The complexity and the ways in which research input, technology, user needs and the business aspects of AVT intertwine, merits serious thought. By taking stock of developments on these and other fronts, Media for All 4 will address the many questions raised by the rapid expansion of audiovisual communication, rising to the challenges posed by translation in the global market.

Through papers, panels, and round-table discussions, we hope to investigate these issues and to be able to promote new perspectives. We are inviting presentations reflecting the developments of our rapidly changing times within the scope of the themes listed below, and with a focus on audiovisual translation and media accessibility:

· Language transfer on screen: dubbing, interpreting, narration, opera and theatre surtitling, subtitling, voice-over, localisation, fandubbing, fansubbing
· Media access / cultural access: subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, live subtitling, respeaking, audio description, audio subtitling, sign language interpreting
· Innovation and new technologies: formats, platforms, 3D
· AVT in the global market: production and distribution, new trends, tools, needs, project management
· Professional practice: labour market, working conditions, standardisation and harmonisation, productivity, costs
· Professional ethics: public image of translators, relationship with clients and public organisations, the role of professional organisations, intellectual property rights, crowdsourcing and amateur translation
· Lobbies, policies, legislation, law enforcement and audience involvement
· History of AVT
· Quality standards and quality assurance
· Literacy and language learning/acquisition
· AVT research, old and new: globalisation, cultural transfer and nationalism
· Different (interdisciplinary) approaches (cognitive psychology, linguistics, discourse analysis, cultural studies, film studies...)
· Reception research and audience needs, broadcasting for minority audiences
· Censorship and manipulation
· AVT training: curricula, new needs, standards, didactics and skills

Papers are allotted 20-minute slots to be followed by 10 minutes discussion (30 minutes in total). Proposals for papers should be presented on the attached abstract proposal form, also available on the conference website. Abstracts of 250-350 words should be sent to by 15th November 2010. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 10 January 2011.

Conference venue
The 2 day conference, 30 June – 1 July 2011, will take place at Senate House.

Workshops venue
The workshops will be held at the Department of Humanities at Imperial College London on 29 June 2011. The topics and prices can be found on the conference website.

Official Language

A selection of the papers presented at the conference will be published by the organising committee

Important Dates
Deadline for the submission of proposals 15 November 2010
Notification of acceptance of proposals 10 January 2011
Early bird registration deadline 31 March 2011

Fore more information about the fee, visit the conference website. The fee includes: programme, abstract book, lunches, coffee/tea and biscuits.

Organising Committee, TransMedia Research Group
Mary Carroll (Titelbild Subtitling and Translation GmbH, a Red Bee Media Company, Berlin, Germany)
Jorge Díaz-Cintas (Imperial College, London, UK)
Anna Matamala (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
Josélia Neves (Instituto Politécnico de Leiria, Portugal)
Pilar Orero (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
Aline Remael (Artesis University College Antwerp, Belgium)
Diana Sanchez (MundoVisión, Red Bee Media, Seville, Spain)

Imperial College Organising Committee
Christophe Declercq
Jorge Díaz-Cintas
Andrés García García
Marga Navarrete
Mark Shuttleworth
Adriana Tortoriello

Local Organiser
Jorge Díaz-Cintas, Imperial College, London, UK

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Monash University

We've had a visitor today, Shani Tobias, from the translation and interpreting studies at Monash University in Melbourne. Do have a look at their website.

The people there also publish the AALITRA Review, a peer-reviewed journal that publishes papers on literary translation into English. Do have a look a the website of AALITRA and download the first issue, for free.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

So we can all go home now?

At the Trieste Conference on New Pathways last week, I squeezed too many slides into a ppt again, but at the end of the paper, a leading academic who shall not be named here now, got up and commented "So we can all go home now?"

Admittedly, the way translation technology is going these days is not an easy one and requires continuous updating. Already groups on next generation localisation are formed and so on.

I would like to paraphrase a current MSc student of ours who mentioned that the last thing she was expecting to hear was that machine translation might very well be part of a future translator's life and that this future is pretty much around the corner.

I hope the people at my presentation in Trieste also got the idea that the main purpose of my paper was to express both interest in future developments and personal concern.

Facebook Translations nearly patented their concept, which is good because the consequences would be difficult to gauge otherwise. However, in that respect do have a look at how the Geni genealogy portal in the US is trying to implement something similar (and has its website translated in 7 languages in 2 weeks by sheer crowdsourcing only).

And yes, I would love to spend the rest of my days writing poems and translating fiction, but the control freak in me also wants to keep an eye on these technological developments.


Monday, 14 June 2010

YouTube subtitler - subtitling from a novice's perspective

This is not exactly new, subtitling material using content from YouTube has been around. However, I only started playing with it really thoroughly just now.

The YouTube blogspot explains how to get started. Of course I used a clip from 'The Thick of It', series 3, episode 8, the endings speeches and started providing English subtitles first and tried translating into Dutch after that.

Admittedly a translation approach in which you omit all the fucks does make the task of subtitling / translating a lot easier here! Translating into Dutch omitting the swear words as such but maintaining the register was an interesting exercise.

An overview of other software that could be used to play around all of these can be found at

A final word should be kept on how YouTube tried to apply voice recognition for the English first (clearly a BBC-beep equivalent as it does not (want to) recognize the four letter words. The MT into Dutch which was then applied even made it more hilarious. In fact, closer to the excilerating dialogue of the original than was aspired initially.

For anyone who has not been spending an evening on this, highly recommended. For anyone who has, fast forward to another blog post!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Translation: why faster isn't better

Straight from the profession of para-legals a quite sensible approeach to translation!

Legal Translation – Why Faster Isn't Better

"Some misconceptions about translation:
You just "run the document through your computer" and then print out the translation
There is special computer software that automatically translates from one language to another
Anyone who took a foreign language in high school or college can translate
All you need is a dictionary to translate
Any bilingual person can translate
There's a website that translates sentences as you type them"

And on it goes

freelance work

Came across this rather miscellaneous looking blog, outsource translation, which in fact includes an extensive list of possible rates in many language pairs.

Also interesting: an online translation rates converter. For what it's worth.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Today at Imperial College London's Humanities research seminar series

‘What’s that got to do with anything? Coherence and the translation of relative clauses from Chinese to English’

Thursday 6th May in room S303A, Sherfield Building Level 3, 4pm

More information about the research seminars via the Humanities web page.

From the BBC: 'Historic' day as first non-latin web addresses go live

Arab nations are leading a "historic" charge to make the world wide web live up to its name.

Net regulator Icann has switched on a system that allows full web addresses to contain no Latin characters.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the first countries to have so-called "country codes" written in Arabic scripts.

The move is the first step to allow web addresses in many scripts including Chinese, Thai and Tamil.

More than 20 countries have requested approval for international domains from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).

It said the new domains were "available for use now" although it admitted there was still some work to do before they worked correctly for everyone. However, it said these were "mostly formalities".

Icann president Rod Beckstrom described the change as "historic".

More on the BBC website
thnx Mark!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Will Self and language learning

Maybe language learning on the one hand and Will Self and French on the other hand not necessarily are related issues altogether, but still: the writer keeps up with learning French. The comments form an intriguing read too.

"I set out on my great adventure to the wilder shores of linguistic competence only six weeks ago – and yet already I feel I'm floundering. Those who read my earlier piece will recall that I had opted for the Berlitz method in order to take my French from the three-year-old-getting-along level: "Train station, where, go now, please?" to one where, by the autumn, when I have a new book out in France, I would be at least capable of conducting a basic press interview.

More on The Guardian's website

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Why machines do not understand human speech

So maybe the dreaded Wikipedia isn't that dreadful after all...

"Now the American Palo Alto Research Centre (Parc) is working on an ambitious project with the aim to take computers' language skills to the next level.

Parc's research on natural language processing was bought by search engine Powerset who combined it with data from online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

Users can search Powerset with keywords, phrases, or simple questions - the results are aggregated from multiple Wikipedia articles. The aim is to provide more accurate results and answer questions directly."

more on this in the BBC article with the same heading as the one title of this brief post, although an article in BusinessWeek might in fact give more details on the matter.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Interview with Jorge Diaz-Cintas

Portal 7, a website on translations for cinema television and theater, has an online interview with Jorge Diaz-Cintas.

Below, you can find two highlights from that interview.

hat exactly does AVT stand for?
"From a theoretical perspective, AVT is a scholarly field of study within the wider discipline of Translation Studies. Traditionally, it was considered to be a branch of translation parallel to literary or drama translation. One of the downsides of this perception is that the whole area was equated with the translation of films and many scholars used to refer to it as Film Translation or Cinema Translation. However, this is clearly a terminological misconception. AVT cannot be categorised only in terms of the genres it deals with, i.e. films, as it is obvious that audiovisual translators work with a panoply of programmes such as documentaries, DVD extras, sitcoms, advertisements, cartoons, reality shows, etc."

What is the cultural interest of AVT from a European perspective?
"In my opinion, and I think increasingly so in the EU’s opinion too, audiovisual communication in general, and AVT in particular, is truly essential for our (European) society. In these parts of the world, we’ve always needed translation to communicate with each other and it’s only natural that the increase in audiovisual output will bring a parallel increase in AVT. The European Parliament has clearly realised the power of the audiovisual word, as opposed to the printed word, to reach audiences and has taken swift action with the creation of their own television channel, EuroparlTV, where most material is subtitled in all EU languages."

You can read the entire interview, along with its various hyperlinks, by following this link.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Mona Baker - 3 March 2010 - 5-6pm Huxley Building 144

Mona Baker is Professor of Translation Studies at the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, UK. She is author of In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation(Routledge, 1992; second edition in preparation) and Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account (Routledge, 2006), Editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (1998, 2001; second edition, co-edited with Gabriela Saldanha, 2008); Critical Concepts: Translation Studies (Routledge, 2009); and Critical Readings in Translation Studies (Routledge, 2010). She is also founding Editor of The Translator (St. Jerome Publishing, 1995- ), Editorial Director of St. Jerome Publishing, and Vice-President of IATIS (International Association of Translation & Intercultural Studies.

Today's talk
Narrating the Arab World - ‘Accurate’ Translations, Suspicious Frames

Talk outline: Constructing and disseminating ‘knowledge’ about the Arab World is now a big industry in the West. Much of this industry relies heavily on various forms of translation, and in some cases is generated by a team of dedicated translators working on full-blown, heavily funded programmes that involve selecting, translating and distributing various types of text that emanate from the Arab World: newspaper articles, film clips, transcripts of television shows, selected excerpts from educational material, sermons delivered in mosques, etc. Examples of organisations engaged in such programmes and employing a large number of translators include the Middle East Media Research Institute, Palestinian Media Watch, and The Medialine, among others.

Drawing on narrative theory, this talk will attempt to demonstrate that recent efforts (for example, by MEMRI Watch) to discredit Zionist-led organisations like MEMRI by questioning the ‘accuracy’ of their translations miss the point. The narratives we elaborate about any aspect of the world through translation do not have to be linguistically ‘inaccurate’ in relation to their source in order to mystify and mislead. Because translation is a textual activity that is closely scrutinised and often treated with suspicion, undermining a narrative encoded in the source text does not necessarily mean direct intervention in the text itself. Often, this is done around the text (footnotes, prefaces, addition of visual material) and by the very selection of texts to be translated. This is particularly the case in politically sensitive contexts, where the translators or those who commission them are aware that other advocacy groups working on the same or similar issues will be scrutinising their translations carefully.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Borrowing and translation - Fatwa becomes "ruling" for the BBC

Has anyone noticed how the BBC has stopped using "fatwa"? Fatwa was borrowed into English a couple of decades ago but immediately acquired a completely negative "meaning". ie something like a death sentence. The distortion was dangerous, as it turns out: the BBC has now had to revert to a translation: an Islamic cleric is about to deliver a fatwa/ruling which condemns suicide bombings. Guess which they've chosen to use - borrowing or translation?!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

New modules on our MScTrans allow for even more specialised AVT

We are delighted to announce that from October 2010 we will be adding two brand-new modules on audiovisual translation to our MSc in Translation.

These two options - Translating for Voiceover & Dubbing and Accessibility to the Media - together with our existing module on Subtitling will allow participants to specialise in audiovisual translation.

For more information on these exciting changes please visit our website.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Imperial College has just launched the first International joint PhDs with the University of Hong Kong, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The first two of these are offered across all subjects at Imperial. See here for further details.

Mark Shuttleworth

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

ITR - a London-based translation and localisation company

ITR, International Translation Resources, is a translation and localisation company based in West-London. They provide the following services
Technical translation
Software localisation
Website localisation
eLearning localisation
Foreign language DTP
Translation project management
Translation quality assurance
Technology services
Training courses
Quite a few of the MScrans alumni work or have been working for or with ITR, in various roles ranging from in-house to freelance. Have a look at their current vacancy openings . The company's CEO, Helen Eckersley, has been a highly valued visitor to the MScTrans for years.

Alta language services

Alta language services is an American LSP based in Atlanta and with subsidiaries across the States. Other than some free resources, their website also includes an interesting blog called 'beyond words'. The last two blog posts include one on Language Testing as well as the upcoming Oscars , with brief reviews of the 5 feature films listed in the Foreign Film Language category. Quite cross-cultural indeed.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Varieties of medical practice

Of use to anyone translating medical texts, Dr. Rivera has an article in Translation Journal on "How Many Varieties of Medical Practice Are There?". You can find more on this via

Xinrans' new book is out in English

... translated by Nicky Harman

Friday, 5 February 2010

Latest words on translation from Lawrence Venuti

Internationally known translator and translation theorist Venuti wants both translators and readers of translation to be more mindful and appreciative of the cultural differences they encounter in a foreign text.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Jost Zetzsche

Jost Zetsche's e-letter for translation professionals is an interesting insight into various recent developments.

Its 158th issue includes a note on translation quality: in the brave new world of machine translation and crowdsourcing (now "sharecropping"), quality has been replaced by the concept of usefulness.

Also mentioned is the latest batch of Google Input Method Editors (IME) for 14 languages (Arabic, Bengali, Farsi, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu). They can be downloaded for free.

"Once installed, they become one of the keyboard languages you have available in Windows (just like the different languages you can install via Windows that are accessible through the small language icon on your taskbar). The concept is that you have easy access to those languages by being able to use a Western-language keyboard, type the pronunciation of the word in the respective language, and the IME will give you a number of auto-complete suggestions of alike-sounding real words in that language with the language-specific characters you can choose from (very much like Windows IMEs for Chinese, Japanese, or Korean)."

And finally, some free alignment editors:
"The alignment tool YouAlign from the same company as the above-mentioned SynchroTerm has now been declared free for good (it was originally supposed to be for a limited time). It's a fantastic offer -- it uses the same engine as the commercial counterpart AlignFactory; it offers the same wide range of file formats, including PDF; and the only limitations are file size (1 MB) and that you can align only one file pair at a time (the latter limitation can easily be circumvented with file concatenators -- I use Twins File Merger)."

More information on Jost can be found on this website. You can subscribe to the fortnightly free newsletter via this site.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

JoSTrans special issue (13) now online

This issue is devoted to Chinese<> English translation. All articles are free to view online here:

Translators Struggle to Prove Their Academic Bona Fides

I've already sent this round as an email, but I think it has a place on the blog too. See this article:

2010 EU English-language translation competition

"We are waiting for the 2010 EU English-language translation competition!" is the name of a new group on facebook.

If you are able to translate from at least two official EU languages into native-standard English and are interested in a varied, interesting, challenging and well-paid position as an EU institution translator, join this group now!

You must also hold an EU passport to be eligible.

When the competition is officially announced, all members of this group will be informed.

LionBridge survey

LionBridge, a numeronym for L10NBridge and one of the biggest companies in the localisation industry, has an interesting blog to which you can subscribe at

Until 31 January you can participate in their Global Social Media Survey on

Meet the Translation Group

The Translation Group was founded in 2001 when we launched the first MSc in Scientific, Technical and Medical Translation with Translation Technology in the UK. Since then, the Translation Group has gained itself an international reputation for the quality of its Translation Studies research and teaching, particularly in the fields of specialised and audiovisual translation.

We offer a wide range of stand alone courses in translation technology for those looking to learn more about this ever-changing area, we also run a very successful e-learning course focusing on software and game localisation, and an intensive summer course in audiovisual translation.

We organise a series of seminars delivered by leading Translation Studies scholars and practitioners of translation from other universities and companies in the UK and abroad. These seminars promote both professional and research-based aspects of translation and offer our students a unique opportunity for informal contact with leading academics and professional translators.

We invite applications from students wishing to study for the degrees of MPhil or PhD by undertaking research in a range of areas or disciplines within Translation Studies.
We also welcome academic visitors who are interested in our work and want to spend a period of research leave with us.

more information about the Translation Group via

Getting started - welcome!

Dear blog visitor

Welcome to the blog of Imperial College’s Translation Group. In an era where everybody feels entitled to voice opinions in blogs, and jury or voter based programmes make up a significant part of television broadcasts, it is not our intention to just add a blog for its own sake.

We intend to use this as a platform for events that are organised by the Translation Group and to make the things that happen around the department available to a wider public.

As such you can be expecting announcements of upcoming events such as Saturday or Summer Courses, a Getting Started in Translation Profession Week, visiting speakers, visiting academics as well as news and faits divers from both translation studies and the wider translation industry.

The blog is set to allow for visitors and users to add comments yourselves, so please feel free to contribute constructive content in any way, shape or form you consider appropriate.

Imperial College London’s Translation Group