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.