Donnerstag, 24. Mai 2018

In-ear interpreter - the future?

With the rise of MT and AI, the voices proclaiming the end of human translation and interpretation are getting louder. And if you look at all the headlines and the hype taking place surrounding DeepL & Co it certainly can seem that way. But is it really true?

The Tech-Savvy Interpreter (aka Prof. Barry Slaughter Olsen) took a very close look at one of the new devices that are supposedly going to take away our jobs as professional interpreters: the Lingmo Translate One2One Earpiece.
His test was very thorough and appropriate, I'd say, and his conclusion - rather less than flattering. The device, released only last year, has actually been taken off the market again, so we'll see what happens next.

Here is the whole video, published by InterpretAmerica:

Dienstag, 15. Mai 2018

Ein bisschen Bewegung am Schreibtisch

Wir sitzen ja in unserer modernen Zeit schon viel zu viel, aber als Übersetzer ist die Zeit am Schreibtisch ja oft noch viel länger als bei "normalen" Berufen mit festen Arbeitszeiten.

Auf dem Dolmetscher-Barcamp hatte ich das erste Mal Berührung mit Kabinen-Yoga, also Übungen speziell auch für den relativ begrenzten Raum in der Kabine, und nun bin ich über dieses nette Video auf stern.de gestolpert, das Übungen für Schreibtischtäter anbietet.

Viel Spaß beim Mitmachen und immer locker bleiben!

Freitag, 11. Mai 2018

The black box myth - The importance of terminology and asking questions

While reading a very informative article about machine translation and whether and how to use it by Alan K. Melby (you can read it here),  I was excited to read his very accurate description of the problem that often exists between translation customer and translator when it comes to terminology. He writes:
There is a widespread and dangerous myth that translation is a black box with one input and one output. A source text goes in and the one correct target text comes out. The one and only specification needed is the target language. A good black box produces good translations and a bad box bad ones. The ill effects of believing in this myth are felt by both the requester of translation [...] and the outside supplier (an individual translator or a translation company). The requester who is shackled by this myth approaches a supplier and asks for a bid on the translation of a document. If the supplier asks for specifications and a terminology file, the requester assumes that the supplier is incompetent (do you know how to translate or not?) and looks elsewhere. If, on the other hand, the supplier does not ask for specifications and terminology, the resulting translation is likely to be inappropriate. The fact of the matter is that there is no universal standard of how specialized terms should be translated. As some have put it, there is no "great [final, static] global glossary," nor can there be. Terminology is always changing. New terms are continuously being coined in huge quantities. And each organization has its own terms and custom equivalents for widely-used terms. Translation is not a black box. The specifications and terminology must be visible alongside the source text. If they are not provided initially by the requester, then there should be an extra charge by the translator or translation company for helping the requester develop them.

This is so true, I think! Asking questions and requesting terminology and clarification on terms and their usage should never be considered a sign of incompetence, quite the contrary!

I actually have a customer who came to me precisely because the previous translator never asked any questions and the resulting translation was to a large extent garbage.
The first time we spoke on the phone, the person in charge specifically asked me to ask as many questions as I deemed necessary to make sure the translation was accurate, and not just a rough estimation or guesswork or even (arbitrary) creation on the part of the translator.
And that's exactly what I have been doing. I have even spoken with the engineers and project managers in order to understand exactly what they are doing, so I could translate it correctly. And not once did anyone say or even imply that my questions reflected any kind of ignorance or incompetence on my part. Rather, they were very happy to explain everything in as much detail as I required, because they understood that a dictionary just isn't sufficient for a good and accurate translation (the fact that many terms aren't even in any dictionary or found anywhere else aside).

And that is as it should be. This is cooperation at its best, resulting in excellent translations. And good terminology is based on the same principle, benefiting both the customer and the translator.

So, please, ask away, dear colleagues, and, please, answer freely, dear customers!

Donnerstag, 3. Mai 2018

DSGVO - Mücke oder Elefant?

Ich mag langsam nicht mehr. Ehrlich. Es kommt immer wieder was Neues dazu, hier noch eine Vorschrift, da noch etwas zu beachten, und überhaupt hat man das Gefühl, man macht sowieso alles falsch, aber man bekommt auch keine Information, wie man es denn nun richtig machen kann.
Ich habe zwischenzeitlich sogar schon mit dem Gedanken gespielt, den Blog komplett zu schließen. Meine Facebook-Seite habe ich schon vom Netz genommen. Und alles nur wegen der neuen Datenschutzgrundverordnung, die ja am 25.05.2018 in Kraft tritt.
Nicht überraschend, stimmt - es gab schließlich eine Übergangsfrist - , aber irgendwie gab es vorher kaum Informationen, und jetzt blickt man vor lauter Informationsflut nicht mehr durch.
Panikmache auf der einen Seite, resigniertes Schulterzucken und Hilflosigkeit auf der anderen Seite - weder das eine noch das andere sind die richtige Reaktion, aber was ist die? Machen wir aus einer Mücke eine Elefanten? Oder macht das die Verordnung schon von ganz alleine?

Ich habe auch keine Antworten, aber irgendwas muss ich ja machen, damit ich Ende des Monats keine Probleme bekomme. Ich werde mich jetzt erstmal durch diverse Listen arbeiten, und hoffe, dass die Experten, die ich angeheuert habe, ihren Teil tun, und dann werden wir sehen... denke ich. (*leicht panischer, resignierter und hilfloser Blick mit Schulterzucken*)