24 January 2015

Conference report, TEnT update, Lisbon

(See also Kevin Lossner's post on Translation Tribulations.)

This is a short report on a one-day conference held in Lisbon on 22 January for translators and translation students. Details were posted on Kevin Lossner's Translation Tribulations. The event attracted a peak audience of around 50 including familiar faces from the Lisbon translation scene and a good mix of young and old. More importantly, the presenters included two big names and from the European TEnT community while the audience included several power users resulting in interesting exchanges and announcements.

Although I am not a TEnT (translation environment tool) user, I was pleased to update my understanding of what they offer. Some of the highlights listed below may be more indicative of my ignorance than anything else.


  • Demonstrations of voice recognition in Portuguese on a Mac running Yosemite (OS 10.10), Parallels Desktop, Windows 8.1 and a range of software with some running on Yosemite and other on Windows simultaneously, transparently and seamlessly. Impressive platform for anyone needing that combination of resouces, provided they have the budget. (This is currently the only dictation solution available for Portuguese but Windows 10 may include Portuguese in its new voice recognition suite.)
  • Both SDL Trados Studio 2014 and memoQ 2014 R2 appear to be good releases. Customer requirements and personal preferences appear to be the main criteria. Both can input and output in all standard formats, including handoff packages in the competitor's format with few shortcomings.
  • Kevin Lossner recommends that power TEnT users use just one suite for translation proper as the ramp-up to peak productivity is long. He further recommends that those with special file manipulation and conversion needs demanding access to multiple TEnTs, should stick to just one for translation proper.
  • For peak productivity [... if that's what you're into ...] a 'mixed mode' combining power use of a TEnT and voice recognition for dictation of passages that would otherwise take longer to keyboard [yet another tool to purchase, to master and keep working...] with a constant eye to the optimal use of dictation, keyboard, mouse, etc., etc.
  • Paul Filkin of SDL Language Solutions, who blogs on SDL Trados Studio 2014 at Multifarious, gave an excellent presentation and clinic. Paul focused on the fact that thanks to SDL's OpenExchangeStudio is the only extensible tool on the market (i.e. extensible by both users and the SDL development team) even if, surprisingly, this feature is still underused.
  • On MultifariousPaul's detailed analysis and discussion of word counts: Excellent!
  • Tool (free online) for pdf to XLIFF conversion (currently in beta, but expected to be available to the public soon): Infix.
    [Wikipedia article on XLIFF, the XML Localisation Interchange File Format.]
  • Pdf format: Wherever possible always attempt to obtain the source file and translate from that. All pdf conversion tools should be considered as last resorts.
  • Tools for TEnT users: CodeZapper and Translator's toolkit.
  • Window's .exe files: right-click/run is different from and also safer and better than just double-clicking on an exe file as the Window's administrator!
  • Word .docx format is actually a zip folder! To access Excel, Powerpoint and other components of a Word .docx file, change extension to .zip, unpack, translate, re-zip, then change extension back to .docx. Test, then deliver. Amazing!
  • .doc > .zip workflows: see posts in Translation Tribulations. KL recommends using Windows Explorer to open zip archives as many zip tools can mess up the compression.
  • SDL's MultiTerm is being throughly debugged and rebuilt. Sounds promising!
  • Gerhard Kordmann's MultiTerm Glossary Converter (from SDL's Open Exchange, works within SDL Trados Studio 2014) offers useful conversion capabilities.
  • TenT handoff packages are .zip folders. To access components, change extension to .zip, then unpack.
  • TaaS (Terminology as a Service) project is attracting attention. Tilde TaaS-powered search engine.
  • Anyone and everyone interested in the above should also subscribe to Jost Zetzsche's Tool Box Journal, basic subscription is free, and consider purchasing his exhaustive The Translator's Tool Box: A Computer Primer for Translators Version 11.

Some personal observations

  • Today, translators in many market segments need to master their target language, one or more source language(s), one or more areas of specialisation and one or more TEnTs while keeping tracking of issues such as those listed above. To say that they have their work cut out is a big understatement.
  • I spoke to two young translators and one agency owner. All agreed that the challenges just listed leave significantly less room for the pure intellectual buzz that translators of older generations experienced when younger and throughout much of their careers.
  • Re SDL Trados Studio 2014 and memoQ 2014 R2: One does some things better than the other, but the opposite is also true. Both have strong followings. Both have to keep improving just about everything including their compatibility with each other.
  • Very pleasing to see that, at least in public at this event, representatives of both SDL and memoQ fully recognised the strengths and weaknesses of each other's products. Most interesting and greatly appreciated, I suspect, by other neutral attendees.
  • The fact that the event was sponsored by the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of Lisbon's Universidade Nova undoubtedly contributed to the congenial atmosphere and sharing of concepts between rivals. The venue provided neutral ground, thereby allowing participants to focus on real value rather than marketing pitches. Special thanks consequently to the organisers, not least David Hardisty who has taught translation tools to undergraduate and postgraduate students since the inception of FCSH/UNL's Translation Programmes.

1 comment:

  1. Great summary of the day with some really helpful links! Hopefully this was one of many conferences to come for translators. Kudos again to David Hardisty for organising the day.


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