Extracting terminology from preparatory texts into a term database seems to be the hot topic of the moment, judging by what the two most active and innovative CAI (computer-assisted interpreting) tools, InterpretBank and InterpretersHelp, are working on at the moment. So while I am still waiting to become a Windows beta tester of Intragloss, the pioneer in this field, I am eager to have a go at both InterpretBank5’s (beta) and InterpretBank’s (experimental) new extraction features.
InterpretBank by Claudio Fantinuoli has been adding quite some time-saving features for conference preparation lately. Apart from searching online ressources on the go while building your glossary, it now promises to extract terminology from your glossaries, view original and translation in parallel and link documents to glossaries. This does indeed sound like Intragloss combined with the sophisticated booth-friendly terminology management system that InterpretBank has been for many years. So off we go!
As you can see in the picture, a new „documents“ icon has been added to the familiar three others (editing, conference mode, flashcards). When I press the magic button, the documents pane appears in the bottom left corner and lets me add documents like pdf or pptx in my two languages and display them next to each other. Unfortunately, there is no synchronised scrolling and no search function to look up word in the documents, but these functions are to be implemented soon. The selected documents are now linked to the glossary, so whenever this particular glossary is opened, they will appear in the documents pane. Highlighting words in the two texts and inserting them into the glossary or looking up translations in my favourite online resources (like IATE, Linguee, Pons, LEO and others more) works so swiftly, when I first tried it the terms were in my glossary before I had even noticed.
For English texts, context examples can be looked up using the right mouse button or using the icon in the list of extracted terms. And what’s great for sharing with colleagues and for using in the booth: The text can be opened in a separate window and annotated with records from the glossary:
Automatic extraction of terminology or key concepts so far only works for English, but will be implemented for other languages, too (German, Spanish, French and Italian are planned to be released in April). Quality of extraction, as always, depends on many factors, like the amount of text and the subject area, but it is good to get a first impression of the subject matter at hand.
InterpretBank as a locally installed application raises no confidentiality issues with your client’s documents being opened and processed, as everything InterpretBank does happens on your computer (unless you use the „send document to any device“ option).
If you are more of a team glossary and online networking person, InterpretersHelp by Yann Plancqueel and Benoît Werner is the other option to manage glossaries and manually extract terminology from texts. It is quite straightforward: Adding documents works via Copy & Paste, you just paste the text into a field for the respective language so you have the two language versions displayed next to each other (but with no synchronised scrolling either). When I tried it, inserting 20 pages from a pdf worked fine. Words can be looked up in the texts using the browser search function.
The highlighting and inserting also works very swiftly and you can look up terms in Google Translate and the Oxford Dictionaries. Once you have extracted all the vocab you need, you press a button to add all the new entries to your glossary. When changing back from the glossary view to the extractor, the texts have disappeared.
InterpretersHelp as a cloud-based tool addresses the data protection issue by encrypting the data that transit to and from the website (https://interpretershelp.com/help/secure_hosting).
Of course there are zillions of other functions interpreters need for CAI tools to support their workflow perfectly. But I think that both InterpretBank and InterpretersHelp have added one super useful feature to make our lives easier. Thanks a lot!
About the author:
Anja Rütten is a freelance conference interpreter for German (A), Spanish (B), English (C) and French (C) based in Düsseldorf, Germany. She has specialised in knowledge management since the mid-1990s.
Summary Table of Terminology Tools for Interpreters. <www.termtools.dolmetscher-wissen-alles.de>
Josh Goldsmith: The Interpreter’s Toolkit: Interpreters’ Help – a one-stop shop in the making?. In: aiic.net February 12, 2018. <http://aiic.net/p/8499>.
Anja Rütten: InterpretBank 4 Review. 31 July 2017. <http://blog.sprachmanagement.net/interpretbank-4-review/>.
Alexander Drechsel: App profile: Interpreters‘ Help. 2 Oct 2015. <https://www.adrechsel.de/dolmetschblog/interpretershelp>.
Anja Rütten: Booth-friendly terminology management revisited – two newcomers. 29 April 2014. <http://blog.sprachmanagement.net/booth-friendly-terminology-management-revisited-2-newcomers/>
Have you ever wished there was a terminology management system (TMS) that would provide all the functions you are looking for and prepare for the conference largely automatically? Wouldn’t that be splendid? You’d just have to type in the event’s title and the speaker’s name and the tool would sift through your existing terminology and the web, compile a list of useful terms – with their correct translations and including collocations, obviously – and present it to you as an audio file on your smartphone which you would “only” have to memorise. Thank you very much! We don’t yet have such a supertool but much is changing in the realm of TMS. This also holds true for flashterm.
Flashterm was designed to be used in enterprises, and most customers are large businesses. Its developer, Joachim Eisenrieth, does, however, find our profession very exciting and offered to create a new version for interpreters in which he would take my suggestions for improvement into consideration.
Naturally, I immediately came up with a tech shopping list: voice recognition, a field for collocations and 200 grams of fuzzy search, please. I’d also like a vocab learning mode – auditive, if possible – some nice and fresh terminology extraction mechanism – multilingual, please – and a simultaneous search in online dictionaries. But without the need for an internet connection, of course, and I’m afraid I can’t have the search slowing down.
None of the solutions on the market today is a panacea for all our woes, and the tools set different priorities. Flashterm focusses on knowledge management. This brings immense benefits because the tool stores very diverse data and lets us find and reuse terms more easily. It therefore provides useful features that most TMS targeted at interpreters lack:
Most TMS for interpreters are term-based, which means that their structure is similar to a bilingual or multilingual dictionary. Flashterm, in contrast, is concept-based and can therefore be used as a kind of thesaurus where everything revolves around the meaning rather than the wording. This gives us the opportunity to store more relevant information.
There are no collective data fields under a heading like “Additional information”. Every single piece of information has its allocated spot. This again enables us to use various filters, such as the admin and status filters. With their help we can quickly find abbreviations or acronyms, revise changes we made in the booth or have those terms displayed that still lack a target-language equivalent. Such filters do not only speed up the term search but also reduce the time needed for “tidying up” after the conference.
Terms receive tags for the subject areas and projects they are to be allocated to, which we can use to our advantage to be a little more creative. Subject areas do not necessarily have to be limited to the traditional ones, e.g. “automotive”. We can also define subject areas for “speaker”, “slogan”, or “product line”, for instance. This way we could create a term entry for the speaker’s name, add a photo and details from their CV and allocate them to our project tag for this event. The CV info would then be stored together with the terminology and we would not have to switch in between different sources. Also, if the same speaker were to give a talk on a different occasion and the name rang a bell but we couldn’t quite remember where we heard it before, we could just search for the name in our database and would immediately receive information on past events. Just get creative!
You can create internal links to other term entries which are likely to come up in the same context as the term you searched for. This can be very helpful in the booth and also during preparation to memorise information on the subject matter more effectively.
Joachim Eisenrieth and I have been able to add a few features that were not included in flashterm for businesses. How did we do this? Well, I’d usually express my desire for an, in my opinion, indispensable feature for interpreters and he’d get down to programming. Once the programming was done, I’d receive a new software version for testing, give feedback from an interpreter’s perspective and help detect bugs. This would go on until the feature ran flawlessly.
From a developer’s perspective, the most challenging programming task was probably designing an import and export feature that could be easily used even by non-techies. The data import and export used to be offered exclusively as a service by Eisenrieth Dokumentations GmbH but now interpreters can import all the information they have in their existing glossaries themselves via Excel. And this includes definitions, grammar details, context, subject areas, project allocation etc. Even if you wanted to use flashterm only for the booth, and otherwise preferred Excel, you could keep on using Excel to compile your glossary and then simply import it.
Of course, entries can also be created directly in flashterm. The interpreter version now includes fields for collocations and pronunciation so that the information is displayed right next to the term.
This description might be a little too theoretical but if you have a look at the user interface, you will understand why flashterm offers so many features and is still easy to use. The user interface is unbelievably intuitive, well structured and you can learn how to use the software in only a day. As an additional plus, the user interface can be reduced to a simple bilingual dictionary view should you prefer this in the booth. In accordance with current trends, flashterm can be used just as well on tablets and on the iPhone. Of course, that’s brilliant for assignments where you need to be mobile.
If you want to know more about flashterm, feel free to get in touch with me or visit one of my (free-of-charge) webinars or even just contact Joachim Eisenrieth directly for a trial version.
Wer kennt es nicht – die Suche nach dem einen Terminologiemanagementsystem (TMS), das alle Funktionen bietet, die man sich wünscht und einem die Konferenz, wenn möglich, weitestgehend automatisch vorbereitet. Wäre das nicht fantastisch? Ein Tool, bei dem man den Titel der Konferenz und den Namen des Redners eingibt, das Tool durchforstet dann automatisch den eigenen Terminologiebestand sowie das Internet auf brauchbare Vokabeln mit deren Übersetzung in die gewünschten Sprachen, extrahiert von alleine noch die passenden Kollokationen und bereitet uns diese Infos als Audiodatei auf, die wir natürlich über das Smartphone abrufen können und dann „nur“ noch zu lernen brauchen. Ganz so weit sind wir leider noch nicht, doch im Bereich der TMS tut sich tatsächlich Einiges. So auch bei flashterm.
Das Tool war ursprünglich auf Terminologiemanagement in Unternehmen ausgerichtet und zieht auch hauptsächlich Unternehmenskunden an. Doch der Entwickler, Joachim Eisenrieth, findet auch die Dolmetschertätigkeit sehr spannend und hat angeboten, mit meinen Verbesserungsvorschlägen eine neue Dolmetscherversion auf den Markt zu bringen.
Das war der Startschuss für das große Wunschkonzert: einmal bitte mit Spracherkennung, Anzeige von Kollokationen und fehlertoleranter Suche, aber bitte ohne das Programm zu verlangsamen, dann noch bitte Lernmodus, am besten auditiv, automatische Termextraktion, in mehreren Sprachen natürlich, und gleichzeitiger Suche in Online-Wörterbüchern, aber bitte ohne eine Internetverbindung zu benötigen.
Die eierlegende Wollmilchsau gibt es heute noch nicht und die verschiedenen Anbieter setzen ihre Prioritäten unterschiedlich.
Flashterm hat sein Hauptaugenmerk auf dem Wissensmanagement. Dies hat zum Vorteil, dass verschiedenartigste Informationen verwaltet werden können und die Auffindbarkeit von Termini sowie deren Wiederverwendbarkeit erleichtert werden. Es gibt zahlreiche Elemente, die flashterm zu einer wahren Wissensdatenbank werden lassen, die andere dolmetschorientierte TMS nicht derart anbieten:
Die meisten Terminologietools für Dolmetscher sind benennungsorientiert. Das bedeutet, dass sie eher mit einem zwei- oder mehrsprachigen Wörterbuch zu vergleichen sind. Flashterm ist begriffsorientiert, was bedeutet, dass sich das Tool nicht nur als Wörterbuch, sondern fast eine Art Thesaurus verwenden lässt, bei dem nicht das Wort, sondern das Konzept im Mittelpunkt steht. Das hat den Vorteil, dass mehr Informationen abgespeichert werden können.
Es gibt keine Sammelfelder beispielsweise mit dem Titel „Zusatzinfos“, in die alles Mögliche hineingeschrieben werden kann, sondern jede Information hat ihren gerechten Platz. Das bietet die Möglichkeit hilfreicher Filter, so zum Beispiel die Admin- und Statusfilter, die einen Abkürzungen/Akronyme ganz leicht auffinden lassen, einem geänderte Begriffe noch einmal vor Augen führen und einem diejenigen Begriffe aufführen, bei denen ein Äquivalent fehlt. Solche Filter erleichtern nicht nur die Suche nach Termini, sondern beschleunigen auch die Nachbereitung von Dolmetschaufträgen.
Die Zuordnung zu Sachgebieten und Projekten findet eher Tag-artig statt. Das bietet mehr Flexibilität und erlaubt es einem, mit den Möglichkeiten der Datenbank zu spielen. So könnte man sich z.B. überlegen, nicht nur traditionelle Sachgebiete (z.B. „Automobil“) zu definieren, sondern auch Sachgebiete mit den Titeln „Redner“, „Slogan“ oder „Produktlinie“ anzulegen. Zur Veranschaulichung: Im Sachgebiet „Redner“ ist der terminologische Eintrag dann der Name des Redners, ein Bild desselben kann auch hinzugefügt werden, sowie im Feld für Definitionen die Daten seines Lebenslaufs. So hätte man erstens auch diese Infos mit der Terminologie an einem Ort abgelegt und könnte zweitens bei einer künftigen Konferenz einfach den Namen des Redners in das Suchfeld in flashterm eintippen und überprüfen, ob man diesen vielleicht schon einmal gedolmetscht hat und, wenn ja, bei welcher Veranstaltung. Der Kreativität sind also keine Grenzen gesetzt!
Es können verknüpfte Begriffe angelegt werden. Bei einem terminologischen Eintrag können andere Begriffe, die diesem inhaltlich nahestehen oder häufig mit diesem in Verbindung auftreten, sehr einfach verlinkt werden, sodass sie gleichzeitig angezeigt werden. Dies kann sowohl in der Kabine hilfreich sein als auch während der Vorbereitung, um sich inhaltliche Zusammenhänge besser merken zu können.
Joachim Eisenrieth und ich konnten in der Kooperation noch einige Funktionen hinzufügen, die nicht Teil der normalen Unternehmensversion flashterms waren. Ich habe dann meist den Wunsch nach einer Zusatzfunktion geäußert, die ich als für Dolmetscher überlebensnotwendig erachtet habe und er hat sich daraufhin ans Programmieren gemacht. Wenn die Funktion dann einmal programmiert war, habe ich die neue flashterm-Version zum Testen erhalten und konnte somit als Teil der realen Zielgruppe eine Rückmeldung geben und dabei helfen, eventuelle Bugs aufzudecken. Herr Eisenrieth hat mit meinem Feedback dann, sofern nötig, noch ein paar Nachbesserungen unternommen, bis die Funktion einwandfrei zu verwenden war.
Zu diesen neuen Funktionen gehört als vermutlich größte Entwicklungsherausforderung die Anfertigung einer Import- und Exportfunktion, die auch von Laien problemlos genutzt werden kann. Zuvor wurde ein Datenimport oder -export lediglich als Dienstleistung von der Eisenrieth Dokumentations GmbH angeboten, nun können die Termini und alle weiteren unterstützenden Angaben (Definition, Kollokationen, Aussprache, Grammatikangaben, Kontextbeispiel, Sachgebiet, Projektzuordnung, Links etc.) ganz einfach aus Excel in die dafür in flashterm vorgesehenen Felder importiert werden. Man kann hiermit nicht nur seine bestehende Terminologiesammlung übertragen, sondern kann auch weiterhin, sofern man das bevorzugt, mit Excel arbeiten und seine Daten dann einfach in flashterm importieren.
Natürlich kann man auch direkt in flashterm arbeiten und dort neue Terminologieeinträge anlegen. Hier kam als Neuerung in der Dolmetscherversion hinzu, dass es nun Felder für Kollokationen und Aussprache gibt, sodass einem diese Informationen, so man sie denn angelegt hat, direkt neben dem Fachbegriff angezeigt werden.
Zum Teil klingt das nun vielleicht etwas theoretisch, doch wer sich die Softwareoberfläche selbst anschaut, weiß, warum so viele verschiedene Funktionen möglich sind und diese dennoch einfach zu handhaben sind. Die Oberfläche ist einmalig intuitiv, sehr übersichtlich und der Umgang mit dem Programm deswegen kinderleicht zu erlernen. Zudem kann sie minimiert werden, sodass man, wenn man dies in der Kabine bevorzugt, wirklich nur ein zweisprachiges Wörterbuch hat. Im Einklang mit der modernen Technik ist flashterm auch auf Tablets nutzbar und für das iPhone gibt es eine App, was für mobile Einsätze äußerst nützlich sein kann.
Wer an mehr Infos interessiert ist, kann gerne direkt bei Joachim Eisenrieth nach einer Testversion fragen oder mich kontaktieren bzw. eines meiner kostenlos dazu angebotenen Webinare besuchen.
Schöne Feiertage und ein spurenreiches neues Jahr! * Happy holidays and a new year full of footprints! * ¡Felices Fiestas y un año nuevo lleno de huellas! * Joyeuses Fêtes et une bonne année pleine de traces de pas ! * Prettige feestdagen en een spoorrijk nieuwjaar!
This year’s 39th edition of the Translating and the Computer conference, which Barry Olsen quite rightly suggested renaming to Translating and Interpreting and the Computer :-), had a special focus on interpreting, so obviously I had to go to London again! And I was all the more looking forward to going there as – thanks to Alex Drechsel’s and Josh Goldsmith’s wonderful idea – I was going to be a panelist for the first time in my life (and you could tell by the amount of tweets just how excited we all were about our panel, and the whole conference for that matter).
The panelists were (from left to right): Joshua Goldsmith (EU and UN accredited freelance interpreter, teacher and researcher, Geneva) Anja Rütten (EU and UN accredited AIIC freelance interpreter, teacher and researcher, Düsseldorf) Alexander Drechsel (AIIC staff interpreter at the European Commission, Brussels – don’t miss Alex‘ report about Translating and the Computer 39 including lots of pictures of the event!) Marcin Feder (Head of Interpreter Support and Training Unit at the European Parliament, Brussels) Barry Slaughter Olsen (AIIC freelance interpreter, Associate Professor at the MIIS Monterey and Co-President of InterpretAmerica), Danielle D’Hayer, our moderator (Associate Professor at London Metropolitan University)
If I had to summarise the conference in one single word, it would be convergence. It appears to me from all the inspiring contributions I heard that finally things are starting to fall into place, converging towards supporting humans in doing their creative tasks and decision-making by sparing them the mechanical, stupid work. This obviously does not only apply to the small world of interpreting, but to many other professions, too. „It is not human against machine, but human plus mashine“, as Sarah Griffith Masson, Chair of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Portsmouth, put it in her speech.
OK, this is easy to say on a conference called „Translating and the Computer“, where the audience is bound to be a bit on the nerdy side. And the truth is, Gloria Corpas Pastor, Professor of Translation and Interpreting of the University of Malaga, presented some slightly sobering results of her survey about the use of computers among translators and interpreters. It looks like interpreters are less technology-prone than translators, a fact that made most of us in the audience nodd knowingly. But no reason to be pessimistic, given the many interesting use cases presented at the conference, plus the efforts being made, for example, at the European Commission and Parliament to provide confererence interpreters with the tools they need for their information and knowledge management, as Alexander Drechsel and Marcin Feder reported.
So while for everyone who is not an interpreter, interpreters rather seem to be the frontier to be overcome by technology, the conference was all about new frontiers in interpreting in the sense of how technology can best be used in order to support interpreters and turn the relation between interpreters and computers into a symbiotic one. Here are the key ideas I personally took home from the conference:
Whatsappify translators‘ software
A question asked by several representative from international organisations like WIPO (who by the way have this wonderful online term database called WIPO pearl), EU, WTO and UN was what our ideal software support for the booth would look like. Unfortunately, the infallible information butler described back in 2003 has not become reality yet, but many things like intuitive searching and filtering, parallel reading/scrolling of documents in two languages, linking the term in its textual context to the entry in the term database have been around for twenty years in Translation Memory systems. Most international organisations have so many translation ressources that could be tapped if only the access to them were open and a bit more tailored to the needs of interpreters. Translators and interpreters could then benefit from each others work much more than they tend to do nowadays. Obviously, a lot could be gained by developing more interpreter-friendly user interfaces.
Which reminds me a bit of WhatsApp. People who wouldn’t go anywhere near a computer before and could hardly manage to receive, let alone write, an email, seem to have become heavy WhatsApp users with the arrival of smartphones. While good old emails have been offering pretty much the same functions AND don’t force you to use always the same device, it’s stupid WhatsApp that finally has turned electronic written communication into the normal thing to do, simply by being much more fashionable, intuitive and user-friendly. So maybe what we need is a „WhatsAppification“ of Translation Memory systems in order to make them more attractive (not to say less ugly, to quote Josh Goldsmith) to interpreters?
Making the connection between glossaries and documents
Clearly in the world of glossary or terminology management for simultaneous interpreting, of the nine interpreter-specific solutions I am aware of and had the honour to present in a workshop (thanks to everyone for showing up at 9 am!), InterpretBank and InterpretersHelp are the most forward-moving, ambitious and innovative ones. InterpretersHelp has just released a term extraction feature (to be tested soon) similar to that of Intragloss, i.e. you can add terms from parallel reference texts to your glossary easily. InterpretBank has even integrated a real term extraction feature similar to that of SketchEngine (also to be tested soon). If interpreters cannot be bothered to use translation memories after all, maybe that’s the way forward.
Claudio Fantinuoli from Germersheim presented InterpretBank’s latest beta function: It uses speech recognition to provide life transcription of the speech, extracts numbers, names and technical terms and displays them, the latter together with their target language equivalents from the glossary. This is the impressive demo video giving a glimpse of what is technically feasible.
Although it has to be admitted that it was made in a controlled environment with the speaker pronouncing clearly and in Britsh English. But still, there is reason to hope for more!
There was a nice coincidence that struck me in this context: Recently, I conducted a case study (to be published in 2018) where I analysed interpreters‘ booth notes. In this study, numbers, acronyms (mostly names of organs or organisations) and difficult technical terms (mainly nouns) were the items most frecuently written down – and this is exactly what InterpretBank automatically highlights on the transcription screen.
What I have always liked about InterpretBank, by the way, is the fact that there is always science behind it. This time Bianca Prandi, doctoral student at the University of Germersheim, presented the research she plans on the cognitive load of using CAI or computer-assisted interpreting or CAI tools. I am really looking forward to hearing more of her work in the future.
The second speaker who showed a speech recognition function to support interpreters was keynote speaker Prof. Alexander Waibel – not a conference interpreter, for a change, but Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany (who even has his own Wikipedia entry). During his extremely interesting and entertaining speech about deep learning, neuronal mashine translation and speech recognition, he also presented a life transcript function to support interpreters in the booth.
Paper and electronic devices all becoming one thing
I very much enjoyed talking and listening to the two most tablet-savy conference interpreters I am aware of (doubling as my co-panelists), Alexander Drechsel and Josh Goldsmith. I find the idea of using a tablet for note-taking very enticing, even more so after having seen Josh’s demo. And I don’t agree that the only reason to replace paper by a tablet is to look better or “just to try it out”. Alex and Josh could name so many advantages (consulting a dictionary or glossary in parallel, adjusting the pen colour, not having to turn the pages of your block after every two sentences). The most obvious to me is that don’t have to be afraid of running out of paper, by the way. And luckily, Josh’s study now tells us which devices are best suited to interpreters‘ needs:
When we discussed the use of computers among interpreters and interpreting students in the panel, it was interesting to hear about the different experiences. Everyone seemed to agree that young interpreters or interpreting students, despite being „digital natives“ and computer-savvy (which most panelists agreed is a myth), cannot necessarily be expected to be able to manage their information and knowledge professionally. On the other hand, common practice seemed to differ from using paper, laptop computers, tablets or even doing relying completely on smartphonse for information management, like our wonderful panel moderator Danielle D’Hayer reported her students did. She seemed to me the perfect example of not „teaching“ the use of technologies, but just using them right from the beginning of the courses.
Remote everything: cloud-based online collaboration and distance interpreting
Although in the panel discussion not everyone seemd to share my experience, I think that team glossaries, nowadays more often than not created in Google Sheets, are about to become common practice in conference preparation. Apart from being great fun, it saves time, boosts team spirit, and improves the knowledge base of everyone involved. Not to mention the fact that it is device and operating system neutral. There is, however, a confidentiality problem when using sensible customer data, but this could be solved by using encrypted solutions like interpretershelp.com or airtable.com.
Now once we are all able to collaborate, prepare and get to know each other online, we seem to be perfectly prepared to work in simultaneous interpreting teams remotely, i.e. from different places. Luckily, the two most knowledgeable colleagues in remote interpreting I know of, Klaus Ziegler (AIIC freelance interpreter and chair of the AIIC technical committee) and Barry Olsen), were at the conference, too. There is so much to be said about this subject that it would fill several blog posts. My most important lessons were: Remote interpreting technologies don’t necessarily imply lower rates in interpreting. The sound quality of videoconferences via normal (private) phone lines is usually not sufficient for simultaneous interpreting. The use of videoconference interpreting seems to be much more widespread in the U.S. than it is in Europe. It is a good idea for conference interpreters‘ associations like AIIC to play an active role (as Klaus Ziegler is thankfully doing) in the development of technologies and standards.
Simultaneous and consecutive interpreting merging into simconsec
The last thing to be noted as converging thanks to modern technology is simultaneous and consecutive interpreting, i.e. using tablets and smartpens to record the original speech and replaying it while rendering the consecutive interpretation. Unfortunately, there was not time to talk about this in detail, but here is a one minute demo video to whet your appetite.
And last but not least: Thank you very much to Barry Olsen for the lovely live interview we had (not to be missed: the funny water moment)!
And of course: Spread the word about next year’s 40th anniversary of Translating and the Computer!
[for German scroll down] What do you do when you receive 100 pages to read five minutes before the conference starts? Right, you throw the text into a machine and get out a list of technical terms that give you a rough overview of what it’s all about. Now finally, it looks like this dream has come true.
OneClick Terms by SketchEngine is a browser-based (a big like) terminology extraction tool which works really swiftly. It has all it takes and nothing more (another big like): Upload – Settings – Results.
Once you are logged in for your free trial, OneClickTerms accepts the formats tmx, xliff (2.x), pdf, doc(x), html, txt. The languages supported are Czech, German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional.
The settings in my opinion don’t really need to be touched. They include:
how rare or common should the extracted terms be
would you like to see the word form as it appears in the text or the base form
how often should a term candidate occur in the text in order to make it to the list of results
do you want numbers to appear in your results
how many terms should your list of results contain
When I tried OneClick Terms, it delivered absolutely relevant results at the first go. I uploaded an EU text on the free flow of non-personal data (pdf of about 100 pages) at about 8:55 am and the result I got at 8:57, displayed right on the same website, looked like this (and yes, the small W icons behind the words are links to related Wikipedia articles!):
It actually required rather four clicks than OneClick, but the result was worth the effort. There isn’t a lot of „noise“ (irrelevant terms) in the term candidate list, one of the reasons that often put me off in the past when I tried to use term extraction tools to prepare for an interpreting assignment. In the meeting where I tested OneClickTerms, at the end the only word I missed in the results was the regulatory scrutiny board. Interestingly, it was also missing from the list I had obtained from a German text on the same subject (Ausschuss für Regulierungskontrolle). But all the other relevant terms that popped up during the meeting were there. And what is more, by quickly scanning the extraction list in my target language, German, I could activate a lot of terminology I would otherwise definitely have had to think about twice while interpreting. So to me it definitely is a very efficient way of reducing the cognitive load in simultaneous interpreting.
The results list can be downloaded as a txt file, but copy & paste into MS Excel, for example, works just as fine, plus it puts both single and multi words into the same column. After unmerging all cells the terms can easily be sorted by frequency, which makes your five-minute emergency preparation almost perfect (as perfect as a five-minute preparation can get, that is).
Furthermore, even if you do have enough time for preparation, extracting and scanning the terminology as a first step may help you to focus on the substance when reading the text afterwards.
There is a free one month trial, after that the service can be subscribed to from 100 EUR/year (or 12.32 EUR/month) plus VAT. It includes many other features, like bilingual corpus building – but that’s a different story.
About the author:
Anja Rütten is a freelance conference interpreter for German (A), Spanish (B), English (C) and French (C) based in Düsseldorf, Germany. She has specialised in knowledge management since the mid-1990s.
Noch fünf Minuten bis zum Konferenzbeginn und ein hundertseitiges pdf zur Vorbereitung schneit (hoffentlich elektronisch) in die Kabine. Was macht man? Klar: Text in eine Maschine werfen, Knopf drücken, Terminologieliste wird ausgespuckt. Damit kann man sich dann zumindest einen groben Überblick verschaffen … Nun, es sieht so aus, als sei dieser Traum tatsächlich wahr geworden!
OneClick Terms von SketchEngine ist ein browser-basiertes (super!) Terminologieextraktionstool, das extrem einfach in der Handhabung ist. Es hat alles, was es braucht, und mehr auch nicht (ebenfalls super!). Upload – Einstellungen – Ergebnisse. Fertig.
Wenn man sich mit seinem kostenlosen Testaccount eingewählt hat, kann man eine Datei im folgenden Format hochladen: tmx, xliff (2.x), pdf, doc(x), html, txt. Die unterstützten Sprachen sind Tschechisch, Deutsch, Englisch, Spanisch, Französisch, Italienisch, Japanisch, Koreanisch, Niederländisch, Polnisch, Portugiesisch, Russisch, Slowakisch, Slowenisch, Chinesisch vereinfacht und Chinesisch traditionell.
Die Einstellungen muss man zuächst einmal gar nicht anfassen. Möchte man es doch, kann man folgende Parameter verändern:
wie häufig oder selten sollte der extrahierte Terminus sein
soll das Wort in der (deklinierten oder konjugierten) Form angezeigt werden, in der es im Text vorkommt, oder in seiner Grundform
wie oft muss ein Termkandidat im Text vorkommen, um es auf die Ergebnisliste zu schaffen
sollen Zahlen bzw. Zahl-/Buchstabenkombinationen in der Ergebnisliste erscheinen
wie lang soll die Ergebnisliste sein
Als ich OneClick Terms, getestet habe, bekam ich auf Anhieb äußerst relevante Ergebnisse. Ich habe um 8:55 Uhr einen EU-Text über den freien Verkehr nicht-personenbezogener Daten hochgeladen (pdf, etwa 100 Seiten) und hatte um 8:57 Uhr gleich im Browser das folgende Ergebnis angezeigt (und ja, die kleinen Ws hinter den Wörtern sind Links zu passenden Wikipedia-Artikeln!):
Es waren zwar eher vier Klicks als EinKlick, aber das Ergebnis war die Mühe Wert. Es gab wenig Rauschen (irrelevante Termini) in der Termkandidatenliste, einer der Gründe, die mich bislang davon abgehalten haben, Terminologieextraktion beim Dolmetschen zu nutzen. In der Sitzung, bei der ich OneClickTerms getestet habe, fehlte mir am Ende in der Ergebnisliste nur ein einziger wichtiger Begriff aus der Sitzung, regulatory scrutiny board. Dieser Ausschuss für Regulierungskontrolle fehlte interessanterweise auch in der Extraktionsliste, die ich zum gleichen Thema anhand eines deutschen Textes erstellt hatte. Alle anderen relevanten Termini, die während der Sitzung verwendet wurden, fanden sich aber tatsächlich in der Liste. Und noch dazu hatte ich den Vorteil, dass ich nach kurzem Scannen der Liste auf Deutsch, meiner Zielsprache, sehr viele Terminie schon aktiviert hatte, nach denen die ich ansonsten während des Dolmetschens sicher länger in meinem Gedächtnis hätte kramen müssen. Für mich definitiv ein Beitrag zur kognitiven Entlastung beim Simultandolmetschen.
Die Ergebnisliste kann man als txt-Datei herunterladen, aber Copy & Paste etwa in MS-Excel hinein funktioniert genauso gut. Man hat dann auch gleich die Einwort- und Mehrwort-Termini zusammen in einer Spalte. Wenn man den Zellenverbund aufhebt, kann man danach auch noch die Einträge bequem nach Häufigkeit sortieren. Damit ist die Fünf-Minuten-Notvorbereitung quasi perfekt (so perfekt, wie eine fünfminütige Vorbereitung eben sein kann).
Aber selbst wenn man jede Menge Zeit für die Vorbereitung hat, kann es ganz hilfreich sein, bevor man einen Text liest, die vorkommende Terminologie einmal auf einen Blick gehabt zu haben. Mir zumindest hilft das dabei, mich beim Lesen stärker auf den Inhalt als auf bestimmte Wörter zu konzentrieren.
Man kann OneClick Terms einen Monat lang kostenlos testen, danach gibt es das Abonnement ab 100,00 EUR/Jahr (oder 12,32 EUR/Monat) plus MWSt. Es umfasst noch eine ganze Reihe anderer Funktionen, etwa auch den Aufbau zweisprachiger Korpora – aber das ist dann wieder eine andere Geschichte.
Über die Autorin:
Anja Rütten ist freiberufliche Konferenzdolmetscherin für Deutsch (A), Spanisch (B), Englisch (C) und Französisch (C) in Düsseldorf. Sie widmet sich seit Mitte der 1990er dem Wissensmanagement.
Aus unserer Kurzdemo zum Thema „Teamglossare in GoogleSheets“ bei „Dolmetscher für Dolmetscher“ am 15. September 2017 in Bonn findet Ihr hier ein paar Screenshots und Kurznotizen. Detaillierte Gedanken zu gemeinsamer Glossararbeit in der Cloud findet Ihr in diesem Blogbeitrag.
Maha El-Metwally has recently written a master’s thesis at the University of Geneva on preparation for conferences of international organisations using tablets. She is a freelance conference interpreter for Arabic A, English B, French and Dutch C domiciled in Birmingham.
How come you know so much about the current preparation practice of conference interpreters at so many international institutions?
The answer is quite simple really: I freelance for all of them! I am also pro paperless environments for obvious environmental and practical reasons. So even if some organisations offer a paper alternative (ILO, IMO, UNHQ, WFP) I go for the electronic version. Paperless portals of international organisations may differ in layout and how the information is organised but they essentially aim to achieve the same thing. Some organisations operate a dual document distribution system (paper and digital) with the aim of phasing out the former over time.
The European Parliament is already on its second paperless meeting and document portal. It used to be called Pericles and now it is called MINA, the Meeting Information and Notes Application. This required a bit of practice to become familiar with the new features.
I recently heard someone working in one of these paperless environments complain about the paperless approach, saying that they often struggle to find their way through a 400 pages document quickly. My first reaction was to say that hitting CTRL-F or CTRL-G is an efficient way to get to a certain part of a text quickly. But maybe there is more to it than just shortcuts. What is the reason, in your experience, that makes it difficult for colleagues to find their way around on a tablet or laptop computer?
I think that tablets represent a change and people in general resist change. It could be that we are creatures of habit. We are used to a certain way of doing things and some of us may be having a difficulty coping with all the changes coming our way in terms of technology developments. It could also be that some interpreters do not see the point of technology so they are not motivated to change something that works for them.
How is the acceptance of going paperless in general in the institutions you work for?
This depends on individual preferences. Many colleagues still prefer paper documents but I also see more and more tablets appearing in the booths. Some organisations try to accommodate both preferences. The ILO operates a dual distribution system as a step towards going completely paperless. Meeting documents are available on the organisation’s portal but are also printed and distributed to the booths. The same goes for the IMO where the interpreters are given the choice of paper or electronic versions of the documents or both.
Right, that’s what they do at SCIC, too. I take it that you wrote your master’s thesis about paperless preparation, is that right? Was the motivational aspect part of it? Or, speaking about motivation: What was your motivation at all to choose this subject?
Yes, this is correct. I am very much of a technophile and anything technological interests me. I was inspired by a paperless preparation workshop I attended at the European Parliament. It made sense to me as a lot of the time, I have to prepare on the go. It happens that I start the week with one meeting then end the week with another. Carrying wads of paper around is not practical. Having all meeting documents electronically in one place is handy. It happens a lot that I receive meeting documents last minute. There is no time to print them. So I learned to read and annotate the documents on apps on my tablet.
So while you personally basically did „learning by doing“, your researcher self tried to shed some more scientific light on the subject. Is that right? Would you like to describe a bit more in detail what your thesis was about and what you found was the most interesting outcome?
My thesis looked at training conference interpreting students to prepare for conferences of international organisations with the use of tablets. I noticed from my own experience and from anecdotes of older colleagues that meetings were getting more and more compressed. As a result, especially in peak seasons, interpreters may start the week with one conference and end it with another. Preparation on the go became a necessity. In addition, there are several international organisations that are moving towards paperless environments. Therefore, I think it is important for students to be introduced to paperless preparation at an early stage in their training for it to become a second nature to them by the time they graduate. And what a better tool to do that than the tablet? I created a course to introduce students to exactly that.
So when you looked at the question, was your conclusion that tablets are better suited than laptop computers? Currently, it seems to me that on the private market almost everyone uses laptops and at the EU, most people use tablets. I personally prefer a tablet for consecutive, but a laptop in the booth, as I can look at my term database, the internet and room documents at the same time more conveniently. I also blind-type much faster on a „real“ keyboard. I hope that the two devices will sooner or later merge into one (i.e. tablets with decent hard drives, processors and operating systems).
Now, from your experience, which of the two option would you recommend to whom? Or would you say it should always be tablets?
I prefer the tablet when travelling as:
– it is quieter in the booth (no tapping or fan noise),
– using an app like side by side, I can split the screen to display up to 4 apps/files/websites at the same time so the laptop has no advantage over the tablet here,
– it is lighter.
You have created a course for students. What is it you think students need to be taught? Don’t they come to the university well-prepared when it comes to handling computers or tablets?
The current generation of students is tech savvy so they are more likely to embrace tablets and go fully digital. The course I put together for teaching preparation with tablets relies on the fact that students already know how to use tablets. The course introduces the students to paperless environments of a number of international organisations, it looks at apps for the annotation of different types of documents, glossary management, more efficient google search among other things.
I also like to use the touchscreen of my laptop for typing when I want to avoid noise. But compared to blind-typing on a „normal“ keyboard, I find typing on a touchscreen a real pain. My impression is that when I cannot feel the keys under my fingers, I will never be able to learn how to type, especially blind-type, REALLY quickly and intuitively … Do you know of any way (an app, a technique) of improving typing skills on touchscreens?
I’m afraid I don’t really have an answer to that question. I am moving more and more towards dictating my messages instead of typing them and I am often flabbergasted at how good the output is, even in Arabic!
Talking about Arabic, is there any difference when working with different programs in Arabic?
Most of the time, I can easily use Arabic in different apps. The biggest exception is Microsoft Office on Mac. Arabic goes berserk there! I have to resort to Pages or TextEdit then. Having said that, a colleague just mentioned yesterday that this issue has been dealt with. But I have to explore it.
As to glossary management, not all terminology management tools for interpreters run on tablets. Which one(s) do you recommend to your students or to colleagues?
I use and recommend Interplex. It has a very good iPad version. The feature I like most about it is that you can search across your glossaries. I can do that while working and it can be a life saver sometimes!
If I wanted to participate in your seminar, where could I do that? Do you also do webinars?
I offer a number of seminars on technology for interpreters to conference interpreting students at some UK universities. I will keep you posted. I also have an upcoming eCPD webinar on September 19th on a hybrid mode of interpreting that combines the consecutive and simultaneous modes.
That sound like a great subject to talk about next time!
InterpretBank by Claudio Fantinuoli, one of the pioneers of terminology tools for conference interpreters (or CAI tools), already before the new release was full to the brim with useful functions and settings that hardly any other tool offers. It was already presented in one of the first articles of this blog, back in 2014. So now I was all the more curious to find out about the 4th generation, and I am happy to share my impressions in the following article.
It took me 2 minutes to download and install the new InterpretBank and set my working languages (1 mother tongue plus 4 languages). My first impression is that the user interface looked quite familiar: language columns (still empty) and the familiar buttons to switch between edit, memorize and conference mode. The options menu lets you set display colours, row height and many other things. You can select the online sources for looking up terminology (linguee, IATE, LEO, DICT, Wordreference and Reverso) and definitions (Wikipedia, Collins, Dictionary.com) as well as set automatic translation services (search IATE/old glossaries, use different online translation memories like glosbe and others).
Xlsx, docx and ibex (proprietary InterpretBank format) files can be imported easily, and unlike the former InterpretBank, I don’t have to change the display settings any more in order to have all my five languages displayed. Great improvement! Apart from the terms in five languages, you can import an additional “info” field and a link related to each language as well as a “bloc note”, which refers to the complete entry.
Data storage and sharing
All glossaries are saved on your Windows or Mac computer in a unique database. I haven’t tested the synchronization between desktop and laptop, which is done via Dropbox or any other shared folder. The online sharing function using a simple link worked perfectly fine for me. You just open a glossary, upload it to the secure InterpretBank server, get the link and send it to whomever you like, including yourself. On my Android phone, the plain two-language interface opened smoothly in Firefox. And although I always insist on having more than two languages in my term database, I would say that for mobile access, two languages are perfect, as consecutive interpreting usually happens between two languages back and forth and squeezing more than two languages onto a tiny smartphone screen might not be the easiest thing to do either.
I don’t quite get the idea why I should share this link with colleagues, though. Usually you either have a shared glossary in the first place, with all members of the team editing it and making contributions, or everyone has separate glossaries and there is hardly any need of sharing. If I wanted to share my InterpretBank glossary at all, I would export it and send it via email or copy it into a cloud-based team glossary, so that my colleagues can use it at their convenience.
The terminology in InterpretBank is divided into glossaries and subglossaries. Technically, everything is stored in one single database, “glossary” and “subglossary” just being data fields containing a topic classification and sub-classification. Importing only works glossary by glossary, i.e. I can’t import my own (quite big) database as a whole, converting the topic classification data fields into glossaries and sub-glossaries.
After having imported an existing glossary, I now create a new one from scratch (about cars). In edit mode, with the display set to two languages only, InterpretBank will look up translations in online translation memories for you. All you have to do is press F1 or using the right mouse button or, if you prefer, the search is done automatically upon pressing the tab key, i.e. jumping from one language field to the next –empty– one. When I tried “Pleuelstange” (German for connecting rod), no Spanish translation could be found. But upon my second try, “Kotflügel” (German for mudguard), the Spanish “guardabarros” was found in MEDIAWIKI.
By pressing F2, or right-click on the term you want a translation for, you can also search your pre-selected online resources for translations and definitions. If, however, all your language fields are filled and you only want to double-check or think that what is in your glossary isn’t correct, the program will tell you that nothing is missing and therefore no online search can be made. Looking up terminology in several online sources in one go is something many a tool has tried to make possible. My favourite so far being http://sb.qtrans.de, I must say that I quite like the way InterpretBank displays the online search results. It will open one (not ten or twenty) browser tabs where you can select the different sources to see the search results.
The functions for collecting reference texts on specific topics and extracting relevant terminology haven’t yet been integrated into InterpretBank (but, as Claudio assured me, will be in the autumn). However, the functions are already available in a separate tool named TranslatorBank (so far for German, English, French and Italian).
Quick lookup function for the booth
While searching in „normal“ edit mode is accent and case sensitive, in conference mode (headset icon) it is intuitive and hardly demands any attention. The incremental search function will narrow down the hit list with every additional letter you type. And there are many option to customize the behaviour of the search function. Actually, the „search parameters panel“ says it all: Would you like to search in all languages or just your main language? Hit enter or not to start your query? If not, how many seconds would you like the system to wait until it starts a fresh query? Ignore accents or not? Correct typos? Search in all glossaries if nothing can be found in the current one? Most probably very useful in the booth.
When toying around with the search function, I didn’t find my typos corrected, at least not that I was aware of. When typing „gardient“ I would have thought that the system corrected it into „gradient“, which it didn’t. However, when I typed „blok“, the system deleted the last letter and returned all the terms containing „block“. Very helpful indeed.
In order to figure out how the system automatically referred to IATE when no results were found in my own database, I entered „Bruttoinlandsprodukt“ (gross domestic product in German). Firstly, the system froze (in shock?), but then the IATE search result appeared in four of my five languages in the list, as Dutch isn’t supported and would have to be bought separately. At least I suppose it was the IATE result, as the source wasn’t indicated anywhere and it just looked like a normal glossary entry.
Queries in different web sources hitting F2 also works in booth mode, just as described above for edit mode. The automatic translation (F1) only works in a two-language display, which in turn can only be set in edit mode.
Memorize new terms
The memorizing function, in my view, hasn’t changed too much, which is good because I like it the way it was before. The only change I have noticed is that it will now let you memorize terms in all your languages and doesn’t only work with language pairs. I like it!
All in all, in my view InterpretBank remains number one in sophistication among the terminology tools made for (and mostly by) conference interpreters. None of the other tools I am aware of covers such a wide range of an interpreter’s workflow. I would actually not call it a terminology management tool, but a conference preparation tool.
The changes aren’t as drastic as I would have expected after reading the announcement, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the old InterpretBank not having been completely user-unfriendly in the first place. But the user interface has indeed become more intuitive and I found my way around more easily.
The new online look-up elements are very relevant, and they work swiftly. Handling more than two languages has become easier, so as long as you don’t want to work with more than five languages in total, you should be fine. If it weren’t for the flexibility of a generic database like MS Access and the many additional data fields I have grown very fond of , like client, date and name of the conference, degree of importance, I would seriously consider becoming an InterpretBank user. But then even if one prefers keeping one’s master terminology database in a different format, thanks to the export function InterpretBank could still be used for conference preparation and booth work „only“.
Finally, whatwith online team glossaries becoming common practice, I hope to see a browser-based InterpretBank 5 in the future!
PS: One detail worth mentioning is the log file InterpretBank saves for you if you tell it to. Here you can see all the changes and queries made, which I find a nice thing not only for research purposes, but also to do a personal follow-up after a conference (or before the next conference of the same kind) and see which were the terms that kept my mind busy. Used properly, this log file could serve to close the circle of knowledge management.
About the author:
Anja Rütten is a freelance conference interpreter for German (A), Spanish (B), English (C) and French (C) based in Düsseldorf, Germany. She has specialised in knowledge management since the mid-1990s.
Videos als Vorbereitungsmaterial für eine Konferenz haben unzählige Vorteile. Der einzige Nachteil: Sie sind ein Zeitfresser. Man kann nicht wie bei einem schriftlichen Text das Ganze überfliegen und wichtige Stellen vertiefen, markieren und hineinkritzeln. Zum Glück hat Alex Drechsel sich in einem Blogbeitrag dazu Gedanken gemacht und ein paar Tools ausgegraben, die dem Elend ein Ende bereiten. Danke, Alex 🙂
Please enjoy Alex Drechsel’s blog post on how to make preparing video speeches less of a hassle.
Dear fellow conference interpreters! For a study on information management in the booth, I am currently collecting sample booth notes (those papers you scribble terminology, names, numbers, acronyms or whatever on). So if you would like to make your personal contribution to this study, it would be great if you could email or whatsapp me a scan or foto of your booth notes to firstname.lastname@example.org or +49 178 2835981. Your notes will of course be treated confidentially. Thanks a lot in advance!
Liebe DolmetschkollegInnen! Für eine informationswissenschaftliche Studie sammle ich derzeit Kabinenzettel, also die Blätter, auf denen Ihr Eure Notizen jeglicher Art verewigt, sei es Terminologie, Namen, Abkürzungen oder was auch immer. Wenn Ihr mir also einen Eurer Schriebe zur Verfügung stellen möchtet, würde ich mich sehr freuen. Gerne als Scan oder Foto emailen oder appen an email@example.com oder 0178 2835981. Natürlich wird alles vertraulich behandelt. Schon jetzt mein herzliches Dankeschön!