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The Role of Translation Tools in the Information Age


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Title: The Role of Translation Tools in the Information Age

The Role of Translation Tools in the
Information Age
  • Feng Zhiwei
  • Institute of Applied Linguistics, MOE, China
  • First Sino-German Symposium on Knowledge
    Handling, 2007, Beijing

  • We are in the information age. The snowballing
    acceleration of available information resulted in
    drastic changes in the way of translators work.
    The paper introduces the translation tools in
    information age machine translation system,
    translation resources on Internet and on CD-ROM,
    computer-assisted terminology management system,
    parallel corpora, translation memories and
    localization tools, computer-aided machine
    translation system. If translators use these
    translation tools properly, they shall improve
    the efficiency and quality of translation.

  • multilingualism, machine translation system,
    Internet, CD-ROM, translation resources,
    computer-assisted terminology management system,
    parallel corpora, translation memories,
    localization tools, computer-aided machine
    translation system.

English lingua franca?
  • 80 percent of all business transactions in
    Denmark are carried out in English.
  • Many large corporations have adopted English as
    their official language.
  • 85 percent of international organizations use
    English as their working language.
  • In Europe, 99 percent of all international
    organizations have English as one of their
    official languages.

English lingua franca?
  • 98 percent of all German physicists and 83
    percent of all German chemists publish their
    findings in English.
  • 90 percent of all scientific publications are
    written in English.
  • The majority of Nobel Prizes go to laureates who
    are citizens of countries where English is the
    official language.
  • English is the default language for
    international scientific conferences. No matter
    where they take place or what their specific
    topics are.
  • english-reader.JPG

Linguistic uniformity or multilingualism ?
  • In the world, there are 6000 different languages
    with different cultural backgrounds.
  • in Welsh of United Kingdom, the people speak
    welsh language.
  • In USA, some people speak Spanish.
  • The multilingualism is very popular and

Multilingualism in European Union
  • IN EU institutions, its original 15 member states
    have the privilege of using their state languages
    to conduct their official business.
  • This multilingualism is made possible by the work
    of about 4000 in-house translators, interpreters
    and terminologists and many more freelancers.
  • With 11 official languages (for 15 states) and
    110 possible language-pair combinations, in 1997,
    2 billion euros were spent on translation.
  • This does not include the more than 200,000 pages
    translated by EC-SYSTRAN MT system each year.

Multilingualism in European Union -- cont
  • Each additional official language increases the
    demands by 250 to 300 linguists.
  • With the expansion of the EU by as many as 12 new
    members and the integration of 10 new languages,
    the number of combinations would increase
    exponentially, resulting in 420 combinations of
    21 languages.

Localization in business
  • The clients will only buy in their own language.
  • The sellers need to speak the language of the
    customer and to adopt their conduct and products
    to the specific characteristics of the local
    market .
  • Localization is not only for products, but also
    for the methods of designing, producing,
    marketing and distribution.

Internet and translation
  • Internet becomes a multilingualism network.
  • 2000-2005, internet growth of English is only
    126.9, while internet growth of Russian is
    664.5, Portuguese 327.3, Chinese 309.6, French
  • Growth rate in number of Internet users in
    non-English speaking countries are much higher
    than in English speaking countries.
  • Dominant position of English was broken.
  • Translation becomes more and more important.
  • internet-langue.doc

Information explosion
  • In information age, the snowballing acceleration
    of available information resulted the information
  • The amount of knowledge to be processed within
    the next decade is larger than the amount of
    knowledge accumulated during the past 2500 years.
  • 165,000 scientific journals are currently being
  • 20,000 new scientific papers are produced every

Information explosion
  • The amount of data that is circulating on the
    Internet on any given day is larger than all the
    information available throughout the 19 century
    (Der Spiegel, 1996)
  • The combined vocabulary of technical and
    scientific disciplines amounted to 30 million
    words in 1991 (Siemens, 1991)

Translation market
  • According to the study by Allied Business
    Intelligence, the global translation market is
    10.4 billion in 1999 and 17.2 billion in 2003
  • In 1997, the EU-funded ASSIM study estimated the
    total turnover of the translation markets of 18
    member states of the EU and EEA (European
    Economic Area ) to be 3.75 billion euros with
    software, audio-visual and multimedia translation
    constituting 20 percent of the total turnover.

Translation market
  • According to ASSIM study, the total number of
    in-house and external translators in EU and EEA
    exceeds 100,000.
  • The total turnover of the translation market in
    China continent exceeded 10 billion Yuan.
  • Electronic translation tools will be helpful in

Using electronic translation tools
  • According to ASSIM study, more than 50 percent of
    translators interviewed for the 1997 ASSIM report
    were using electronic dictionaries, and about
    one-third of the translators were using
    translation memory systems.
  • A lot of translators in China continent and Hong
    Kong were using electronic tools in their

Electronic Translation Tools
  • Machine Translation System
  • Translation Resources on Internet
  • Translation Resources on CD-ROM
  • Computer-Assisted Terminology Management
  • Parallel Corpus as Translation Tools
  • Translation Memory
  • Localization Tools
  • Computer-Assisted Translation System

Machine Translation System
  • The first attempts to mechanize translation were
    made as early as the 1930s.
  • Weaver memorandum (1949)
  • I have a text in front of me which is written in
    Russian but I am going to pretend that is really
    written in English and that is has been coded in
    some strange symbols. All I need to do is strip
    off the code in order to retrieve the information
    contained in the text.
  • MT is a decoding system.

Warren Weaver (1947)
ingcmpnqsnwf cv fpn owoktvcv hu ihgzsnwfv
rqcffnw cw owgcnwf kowazoanv ...
Warren Weaver (1947)
e e e e ingcmpnqsnwf cv fpn
owoktvcv e e e hu
ihgzsnwfv rqcffnw cw owgcnwf e kowazoanv
Warren Weaver (1947)
e e e the ingcmpnqsnwf cv fpn
owoktvcv e e e hu
ihgzsnwfv rqcffnw cw owgcnwf e kowazoanv
Warren Weaver (1947)
e he e the ingcmpnqsnwf cv fpn
owoktvcv e e e t hu
ihgzsnwfv rqcffnw cw owgcnwf e kowazoanv
Warren Weaver (1947)
e he e of the ingcmpnqsnwf cv fpn
owoktvcv e e e t hu
ihgzsnwfv rqcffnw cw owgcnwf e kowazoanv
Warren Weaver (1947)
e he e of the fof ingcmpnqsnwf cv fpn
owoktvcv e f o e o oe t hu
ihgzsnwfv rqcffnw cw owgcnwf ef kowazoanv
Warren Weaver (1947)
e he e of the ingcmpnqsnwf cv fpn owoktvcv
e e e t hu ihgzsnwfv
rqcffnw cw owgcnwf e kowazoanv ...
Warren Weaver (1947)
e he e is the sis ingcmpnqsnwf cv fpn
owoktvcv e s i e i ie t hu
ihgzsnwfv rqcffnw cw owgcnwf es kowazoanv
Warren Weaver (1947)
decipherment is the analysis ingcmpnqsnwf cv fpn
owoktvcv of documents written in ancient hu
ihgzsnwfv rqcffnw cw owgcnwf languages
... kowazoanv ...
Warren Weaver (1947)
When I look at an article in Russian, I say to
myself This is really written in English, but it
has been coded in some strange symbols. I will
now proceed to decode.
FAHQT can not be achieved
  • But Full Automatic High-Quality Translation
    (FAHQT) can not be achieved using todays
  • Bar-Hillels example (1959),
  • John was looking for his toy box. Finally he
    found it. The box was in the pen. John was very
  • How we can decide the sense of pen is a
    play-pen, and is not the writing tool. It is very
    difficult using todays technology !

MT in SAP company.
  • SAP uses the mainframe-based Metal MT system for
    translations from German to English.
  • SAP see MT as enhancing productivity and of
    growing importance in the companys translation
  • SAP has found that using MT, under the best
    circumstances, can be two or four times faster
    than traditional translation methods.

Multilingual MT system -- Systran
  • The Systran translation from English to Chinese
    is readable.
  • Web of Systranhttp//
  • systran.JPG

Multilingual Intelligent hand-phone
  • Beijing city guide is a multilingual
    translation hand-phone (Beijing Information
    development Company, 2006-08)
  • hand-phone.jpg
  • Foreign visitor type in I want to Beijing
    Hotel, hand-phone can translate it as ???????.
  • Taxi driver type in ??????, hand-phone can
    translate it as You are welcome to Beijing

Translation Resources on Internet
  • Internet is the language resource for
  • Finding data on the Internet is no problem at
  • But finding reliable information is a rather
    difficult task.
  • Finding the information you really need can be
    very time-consuming and often frustrating.

Three strategies for Internet search
  • Institutional search through URL(Uniform Resource
  • Thematic search via subject trees.
  • Keyword search via search engine. Search engine
    basically consist two components
  • A large index of words contained in web
  • Retrieval software that lets you search for words
    in the index and then display the matching
    documents on the screen.

Libraries online and virtual bookstores
  • In order to understand the source text, it may be
    as necessary to access libraries and browse
    virtual bookstore.
  • Via OPAC(http//,you can search
    main libraries. catalog.jpg
  • Via Amazon(http//, you can browse
    the virtual bookstores on web. amazon.JPG

General encyclopedias
  • Via Britannica online, you can search
    Encyclopaedia Britannica on line.
  • http//
  • britannica.JPG

Specialized encyclopedias
  • PC Webopedia is to the world of specialized
    online encyclopedias.
  • It is a English reference work for information
    and communication technology (ICT). It contains a
    multitude of ICT terms, including elaborate and
    easy-to-understand definitions.
  • Via PC Webopedia(http//,you
    can search ICT encyclopedias on line.
  • webopedia.JPG

General monolingual dictionaries
  • Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary is
    available online.
  • Via Merriam-Webster(http//, you can
    search either the dictionary or the thesaurus.
  • Simply enter your search terms, and click the
    search button.
  • M-W.JPG

General multilingual dictionaries
  • One-Look Dictionary is a search platform allowing
    you to search simultaneously about 600 word
    lists, glossaries, dictionaries and databases.
  • Via OneLook(http//, you can
    search the online multilingual dictionaries.
  • Via ????(http//, you can
    search Chinese-English or English-Chinese
    dictionaries online. kingsoft.JPG

Multilingual Terminology databases
  • Via Termite(http//, you can search
    online multilingual terminology database of
    International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
  • Via Eurodicautom(http//
    ), you can search the online EU multilingual
    terminology database. In 1999, it contained 5.5
    million entries and 180,000 abbreviations in the
    EUs 11 official languages. eurodautom.JPG

Newspaper and magazine archives
  • Via Spanish newspaper ABC (http//,
    German newspaper Die Welt (http//,
    American magazine Newsweek (http//
    m), you can search the related background
    information for your translation.
  • abc.JPG
  • welt. JPG
  • Newsweek. JPG

Translation Resources on CD-ROM
  • Translation resources on CD-ROMs are offline
    language resources. CD-ROM can offer information
  • CD-ROMs are able to store vast amounts of data
    (in general around 650 Mb), They are highly
    suitable for storing multimedia information or
    huge amounts of textual data. The contents of the
    32-volume edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica
    can be stored on a single CD-ROM.
  • CD-ROMs are fairly cheap to produce.
  • Multimedia ability graphics, audio and video
    sequences are easily integrated.
  • The use of hyperlinks allows for effective
    networking of entries (for cross-references,
    synonyms, etc)

Encyclopedia on CD-ROM
  • Encyclopedia of China on CD-ROM?
  • encyclop.jpg
  • Britannica Concise Encyclopedia on CD-ROM?
  • concise-encyclo.JPG

Specialized encyclopedia on CD-ROM
  • Construction Installation Encyclopedia?
  • constrution.JPG

General dictionaries on CD-ROM
  • Oxford English Dictionary (OED) on CD-ROM?
  • Bibliorom Larouse on CD-ROM?larouse.JPG

Electronic dictionaries in palm
  • Children talking dictionary and spell corrector
  • Various English dictionaries
  • Bilingual dictionaries
  • Franklin. JPG

Computer-assisted terminology management
  • Professional translation is mostly technical
  • A technical translator is forced to keep up with
    the many fast changes that are taking place in
    the fields of information technology,
    manufacturing, business, medicine, biotechnology
  • It would be unrealistic to expect a translator to
    be a nature expert in all these fields.
  • But the translator must to be an expert in
    quickly finding the information that he is
  • Search for terminology can take up to 75 of a
    translators time).
  • Terminology management is a general term for the
    documentation, storage, manipulation and
    presentation of specialized vocabulary. It can
    help the translator to resolve the problems of

Trados MultiTerm
  • Main functions of Trados MultiTerm(http//trados.
  • Creating a new terminology database entry.
  • Importing terminology data.
  • Importing data from a word processor
  • Retrieving terminology data
  • Exporting terminology data
  • Creating word lists, glossaries or dictionaries.
  • Distributing terminology data
  • Exporting data via WinWord
  • Exchanging data between a word-processor and
  • trados.JPG
  • trados-term.JPG

Corpora as translation tools
  • Corpus constitutes the raw textual material for
    various forms of linguistic analysis. The
    parallel corpus can help translator to compare
    the source language and target language.
  • Using corpora to check the acceptability of
    translation text.
  • Using Internet documents to Create a corpus.
  • Retrieving data from your corpus with
  • Creating the wordlist.
  • Concordance shows the occurrence of a given
    search term in its textual context.
  • Finding the keywords from a short article.
  • Using Alta Vista Personal(http//
    index and search local documents. altvista.JPG

Bible bilingual parallel corpus
  • Following is the segments of bible
  • 11hb5 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?   
  • kjv In the beginning God created the
    heaven and the earth.    
  • bbe At the first God made the heaven and
    the earth.
  • 12hb5 ? ? ? ? ? ? . ? ? ? ? . ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
    ? ? ?    
  • kjv And the earth was without
    form, and void and darkness was upon the face of
    the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the
    face of the waters.    
  • bbe And the earth was waste and
    without form and it was dark on the face of the
    deep and the Spirit of God was moving on the
    face of the waters.
  • 13hb5  ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?    
  • kjv And God said, Let there be
    light and there was light.    
  • bbe And God said, Let there be
    light and there was light.
  • 14hb5  ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?    
  • kjv And God saw the light, that it
    was good and God divided the light from the
  • bbe And God, looking on the light,
    saw that it was good and God made a division
    between the light and the dark,
  • 15hb5  ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? . ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
    ? ? ? ? ? ?    
  • kjv And God called the light Day,
    and the darkness he called Night. And the evening
    and the morning were the first day.    
  • bbe Naming the light, Day, and the
    dark, Night. And there was evening and there was
    morning, the first day.

Translation memories localization tools
  • Since many products are based on previously
    existing products, the corresponding
    documentation is also based on prior
  • Research has shown that 50 or more of the
    elements in a text can be repeated in the same
  • If those elelments have been translated
    previously, it will be useful for translators to
    be able to recycle that prior work.
  • Translation Memories (TMs) recycle existing
    translations so as to reduce time and costs as
    well as improve quality and consistency.

Three categories of search results in TMs
  • Perfect or exact match The translation unit
    found in the database corresponds exactly to the
    new source text element (100 match).
  • Full match The translation unit found in the
    database is identical to a stored translation
    unit with the exception of variable elements such
    as dates, numbers, time, measurements, etc.
  • Fuzzy match All other matches that do not match
    an existing segment exactly but range within a
    user-defined minimum match value (e.g. 75) are
    fuzzy matches. The sentence match with the
    highest degree of similarity is displayed first.
    All other matches with a lower degree of
    similarity are added to a match list which can be
    accessed by the user.
  • If no match is found, the sentence has to be
    translated manually. The new translation is
    stored in the database.

Benefits of using TMs
  • With a Translation memory system, the level of
    benefits is proportional to the degree of
    repetition in the document.
  • The use of TM can result in enormous savings,
    both for the client and the translator or
    translation agency.
  • Increase in income.
  • Elimination of repetitive translation tasks.
  • Consistency.

Translation memory of TRADOS
  • Translators Workbench(http//
  • trados-TM.JPG
  • SDL-Trados 2006 freelance
  • SDL-Trados 2006 professional

Software localization tools
  • Localization is the process of adapting a product
    to the specific situation of its target market.
    This includes not only translating the texts
    accompanying the product but also adapting to the
    cultural norms of the local market.
  • Corel Catalyst (http//
  • Passolo (pass software localizer)
    (http// passolo.JPG

Computer-Aided Translation (Computer-Assisted
  • Computerized systems responsible for the
    production from one natural language to another,
    with or without human assistance. The central
    core of MT itself is the automation of the full
    translation process (Hutchins Somers, 1992)
  • According to the degree of automation or the
    degree of human involvement in the translation
    process, we use following terms
  • FAHQT Fully Automatic High-Quality Translation
  • FAMT Fully Automatic Machine Translation
  • HAMT Human-Aided Machine Translation
  • MAHT Machine-Aided Human Translation

  • FAHQT, based on the idea that MT systems were
    capable of producing translations of quality
    comparable to that of human translators, was
  • FAMT is possible, its output of translation is a
    raw translation. But the quality of translation
    is not good.

  • In HAMT, the source text is decoded and analyzed
    by the system, not by the human operator, whose
    task consists of assisting in the translation
  • Human involvement
  • Pre-editing
  • Interaction
  • Post-editing

  • Preparing the source text in order to avoid the
    problems from the outset.
  • Avoid idiomatic expression.
  • Avoid omitting pronoun before a verb.
  • Avoid omitting relative pronouns.
  • Breaking up long sentences into shorter ones.
  • Keeping to standard, formal English in which
    grammatical connection are clearly expressed.

Human-machine interaction
  • The system pauses during the translation process.
  • For example,
  • when MT can not resolve systematic or semantic
    ambiguities in source text analysis.
  • when it can not decide on one target language
    equivalent or the other.
  • Errors can be avoided in the analysis stage.

  • Correction of the target text which generated by
    the MT system.
  • Whether post-editing is conducted, and to what
    extent, largely depends on the quality required
    by the user.

  • MAHT includes the use of aids such as electronic
    dictionaries, terminology database, translation
    memory system, and other electronic tools.
  • In contract with FAMT and HAMT, in MAHT, the
    decoding and analysis of the source text lies in
    the hands of the translator.
  • CAT are sometimes used to cover both HAMT and

  • 1. ???,??????M,??????????,2004??
  • 2. ???,??????? ???????????M,???????,2003??
  • 3. D. Jurafsky,J. Martin,????????(???????)M,????
  • 4. F. Austermuehl, Electronic Tools for
    Translators, St. Jerome Publishing, 2001.

Thank you!
  • ??!