How to Make CAI Tools Work for You – a Guest Article by Bianca Prandi

After conducting research and providing training on Computer-Assisted Interpreting (CAI) for the past 6 years, I feel quite confident in affirming that there are three indisputable truths about CAI tools: they can potentially provide a lot of advantages, do more harm than good if not used strategically, and most interpreters know very little about them.

The surveys conducted so far on interpreters’ terminological strategies[1] have shown that only a small percentage has integrated CAI tools in their workflow. Most interpreters still prefer “traditional” solutions such as Word or Excel tables to organize their terminology. There can be many reasons for this. Some may have already developed reliable systems and processes, and don’t see a point in reinventing the wheel. Others believe the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to these tools and are yet to find a truly convincing alternative to their current solutions. Others may simply never have heard about Flashterm, InterpretBank or Interpreter’s Help before.

Even though a lot still remains to be investigated and demonstrated empirically, the studies conducted so far have highlighted both advantages and disadvantages in the use of CAI tools.  On the positive side, CAI tools can provide effective preparation through automatic term extraction and in-built concordancers[2] (Xu 2015). They seem to contribute to higher terminological accuracy than paper glossaries[3] or even Excel tables[4] when used to look up terms in the booth. They help interpreters organize, reuse and share their resources, rationalize and speed up their preparation process, make the most of preparation documents, work efficiently on the go and go paperless if desired. On the negative side, they are often perceived as potentially distracting and less flexible than traditional solutions. When working with CAI tools, we might run the risk of relying too much on the tool, both during the preparation phase and interpretation proper[5].

I would argue that, if used strategically, the pros easily outweigh the cons. Just as with any tool and new technology, it all comes down to how you use them. Whether you are still sceptical, already CAI-curious, or a technology enthusiast, here are three tips on how to make CAI tools work for you.

  1. Take time to test your tools

Most tools offer a free demo to test out their functionalities. I know we are all busy, but you can use downtimes to work on improving your processes, just as you would (should!) do to work on your CPD and marketing strategy. I suggest you do the following:

  • Choose one of your recent assignments, something you had to do research on because the topic was unfamiliar to you.
  • Set aside 1-2 hours a day, or even just 30 minutes, to simulate preparing for the assignment again.
  • Set yourself a clear goal for each phase of your workflow (glossary creation, terminology extraction, memorization, debriefing).
  • Build your baseline: dedicate 1 session to assessing your current approach. Then, dedicate each of the following sessions to testing out a different tool.
  • For a systematic comparison, keep track of the time needed for each activity, the pros and cons for each tool, your preferences and things that you found irritating.

You can conduct this analysis and selection process over a week or even a month if you are very busy. Once you have identified what might work for you, keep using those tools! Maybe test them out on a real assignment for a client you already know, where the risk of mishaps is lower.

  1. There is no perfect tool

Unless you can write code and develop your own tool, chances are there will always be something you don’t like about a tool, or that some functions you deem essential might be missing. But given the advantages that come from working with these solutions, it is definitely worth it to try and see whether you can find a tool that satisfies even just 50% of your interpreting needs. It may not seem much, but it’s already 50% of your workflow that you can optimize.

Once you get a feeling for what each tool can do for you, you might find out that there are some options you love that aren’t available in your tool of choice. My suggestion: mix and match. Most CAI tools are built modularly and allow users to only work with a specific function. For instance, I love Intragloss’ terminology extraction module, so I use that tool to work with documents, but I use InterpretBank for everything else. In a word: experiment and be creative!

  1. Tools can’t do the work for you

If you’re passionate about technology, you will agree that CAI tools are quite cool. However, we should never forget that they are a tool and, as such, they fulfil their function as long as we use them purposefully. Think before you use them, always make sure you follow a strategic course of action.

If you have the feeling you had never been as ill-prepared as when you worked with a CAI tool, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Am I sure this is the right tool for me? Have I taken enough time to test it out?
  • Did I have a clear goal when I started preparing for my assignment? Or was I simply trying to cram together as many terms as possible?
  • Am I aware of my learning preferences? If I’m an auditory learner, does it make sense to use a flashcard method to study the terminology?
  • Did I include in my glossary just any term that came up in my documents? Or did I start from the relevant terminology I found to further explore the topic?

As for many things in life, reflection and a structured, strategic approach can really go a long way. For busy interpreters needing some guidance, Interpremy is preparing a course series that will help you effectively use CAI tools to optimize all phases of your workflow and avoid potential pitfalls. Get in touch at!

[1] See for instance: Zielinski, Daniel and Yamile Ramírez-Safar (2006). Onlineumfrage zu Terminologieextraktions- und Terminologieverwaltungstools. Wunsch und Wirklichkeit noch weit auseinander.” MDÜ. and Corpas Pastor, Gloria and Lily May Fern (2016). A Survey of Interpreters’ Needs and Practices Related to Language Technology.

[2] See Xu, Ran (2015). Terminology Preparation for Simultaneous Interpreters. University of Leeds.

[3] Biagini, Giulio (2015). Glossario cartaceo e glossario elettronico durante l’interpretazione simultanea: uno studio comparativo. Università degli studi di Trieste.

[4] Prandi, Bianca (2018). An exploratory study on CAI tools in simultaneous interpreting: Theoretical framework and stimulus validation. In Claudio Fantinuoli (ed.), Interpreting and technology, 29–59. Berlin: Language Science Press.

[5] Prandi, Bianca (2015). The Use of CAI Tools in Interpreters’ Training: A Pilot Study. 37th Conference Translating and the Computer, 48–57.

About the author:

Bianca Prandi

  • Conference Interpreter IT-EN-DE, MA Interpreting (University of Bologna/Forlì), based in Mannheim (Germany),;
  • PhD candidate – University of Mainz/Germersheim. Research topic: impact of computer-assisted interpreting tools on terminological quality and cognitive processes in simultaneous interpreting;
  • CAI trainer and co-founder of InterpreMY – my interpreting academy: online academy for interpreters with goal-centered, research-based courses, (coming soon: July 2020).


  • Prandi, B. (2015). L’uso di InterpretBank nella didattica dell’interpretazione: uno studio esplorativo. Università di Bologna/Forlì.
  • Prandi, B. (2015). The Use of CAI Tools in Interpreters’ Training: A Pilot Study. 37th Conference Translating and the Computer, 48–57. London.
  • Prandi, B. (2017). Designing a Multimethod Study on the Use of CAI Tools during Simultaneous Interpreting. 39th Conference Translating and the Computer, 76–88. London: AsLing.
  • Prandi, B. (2018). An exploratory study on CAI tools in Simultaneous Interpreting: theoretical framework and stimulus validation. In C. Fantinuoli (Ed.), Interpreting and technology, 28–59.
  • Fantinuoli, C., & Prandi, B. (2018). Teaching information and communication technologies: a proposal for the interpreting classroom. Trans-Kom, 11(2), 162–182.
  • Prandi, B. (forthcoming). CAI tools in interpreter training: where are we now and where do we go from here? InTRAlinea.


Remote Simultaneous Interpreting … muss das denn sein – und geht das überhaupt?!

In einem von AIIC und VKD gemeinsam organisierten Workshop unter der Regie von Klaus Ziegler hatten wir Mitte Mai in Hamburg die Gelegenheit, diese Fragen ausführlich zu ergründen. In einem Coworkingspace wurde in einer Gruppe organisierender Dolmetscher zwei Tage lang gelernt, diskutiert und in einem Dolmetschhub das Remote Simultaneous Interpreting über die cloud-basierte Simultandolmetsch-Software Kudo ausprobiert.

Zur Einstimmung haben wir uns zunächst vergegenwärtigt, worüber denn nun eigentlich genau reden, denn in der ISO-Norm 20108 wird begrifflich folgendermaßen unterschieden:

Distance Interpreting (interpreting of a speaker in a different location from that of the interpreter, enabled by information and communications technology): Dieser Begriff des “Ferndolmetschens” umfasst alle Szenarien, bei der einer der Kommunikationsteilnehmer sind nicht im gleichen Raum wie die anderen befindet. Dies kann unter anderem bedeuten, dass einfach ein Sitzungsteilnehmer per Videokonferenz zugeschaltet wird oder man beim Kunden sitzt und ein Telefonat dolmetscht.

Das Remote Interpreting, um das es hier gehen soll, ist eine „Unterart“ des Distance Interpreting. Es bedeutet, dass die Dolmetscher remote sind, sei es im Nebenraum oder an einem ganz anderen geographischen Ort. Dabei kann durchaus sein, dass darüber hinaus auch die Teilnehmer an unterschiedlichen Orten sind (full remote).

Viele technische Fragen zum Remote Interpreting, etwa zu den Anforderungen an die Übertragungsqualität, hat Tatiana KAPLUN im November 2018 in ihrem tollen Blogbeitrag „A fresh look at remote simultaneous interpreting“ über das RSI-Seminar von AIIC Netherlands dargestellt – sehr lesenswert.

Was mich und viele andere Teilnehmer allerdings neben abgesehen von der technischen Umsetzbarkeit (wie gut sind die RSI-Softwarelösungen? Wo gibt es einen Premium-Hub, wie wir ihn uns wünschen?) am Ende des ersten Tages umtrieb, war die Frage, welche Remote-Simultan-Lösung für unseren Kunden in welchem Fall die beste ist. Wir hatten unzählige kritische Aspekte diskutiert, die jeweils für das Remote-Dolmetschen in gut erreichbaren Dolmetsch-Hubs oder die cloudbasierte RSI-Software am eigenen Rechner sprechen. Und da ich meine, nichts geht über eine knackige Entscheidungsmatrix, habe ich versucht, in einer Tabelle zusammenzufassen, welche Vorteile die jeweiligen Lösungen bieten:


(an einem zentralen Ort dauerhaft installierte Dolmetschkabinen mit RSI-Software und stabiler und sicherer Internetverbindung)


(Simultandolmetschen mittels cloud-basierter Software; Nutzung von Rechner, Kopfhörer, Mikrofon und Internetverbindung des Dolmetschers)

Vertraulichkeit Bei Sorge vor Industriespionage bzw. entsprechenden IT-Sicherheitsstandards sind öffentliche, cloud-basierte Lösungen für viele Unternehmen problematisch;

Hub mit sicherer Verbindung/eigener oder externer geschützter Serverstruktur sinnvoll

Werden keine vertraulichen Informationen ausgetauscht bzw. wird ohnehin seitens der Teilnehmer mit offenen Systemen/unkontrollierten Zugangspunkten gearbeitet (Privatrechner, Heimbüro), ist eine sichere Verbindung weniger entscheidend
Verlässlichkeit Wenn bei technischem Ausfall hohe Kosten oder große Probleme entstehen; Hubs können eher zwei oder drei Internetverbindungen vorhalten und so einen Verbindungsausfall praktisch ausschließen Wenn ein technischer Ausfall keine größeren Kosten/Probleme verursacht und die Teilnehmer evtl. auch mit wenig verlässlichen Systemen arbeiten; die wenigsten Dolmetscher halten in Ihrem Büro einen redundanten zweiten Internetanschluss vor
ISO-ähnliche Übertragungsqualität und Arbeitsumgebung Einwandfreie Übertragungsqualität (Frequenzband, Latenz, Lippensynchronität) notwendig, wenn störungsfreie, “unbemerkte” Verdolmetschung erforderlich Suboptimale Übertragungsqualität kann dazu führen, dass häufiger Rückfragen notwendig sind, Inhalte verloren gehen, Pausen notwendig sind; akzeptabel v.a. bei Einsätzen von kurzer Dauer bzw. Intensität
Zeit Zeitersparnis nur, wenn Dolmetscher in Hubnähe verfügbar; Vorteil: Hub ist immer einsatzbereit Praktisch bei kurzfristiger Terminierung, vor allem, wenn Dolmetscherpool vorhanden, so dass gegenseitige Vertretung möglich ist – Achtung: Technikchecks, Stand- und Wartezeiten evtl. trotzdem berücksichtigen
Kosten Vorteilhaft ist, wenn Dolmetscher in Hub-Nähe wohnen (bzw. näher am Hub als am Kunden) Praktisch wenn Dolmetscher weder in Hub- noch in Kunden-Nähe
Logistik Praktisch, wenn die Sitzungsteilnehmer an Firmenstandorten mit Hub-ähnlichen Bedingungen sind (Übertragungstechnik vorhanden) Praktisch, wenn Teilnehmer an beliebigen Orten auf dem Globus verteilt sind und/oder beliebig viele Zuhörer mit eigenen Geräten zuhören sollen (BYOD)


Zusammenarbeit Im Hub ist Teamarbeit in der Kabine wie in Präsenzveranstaltungen möglich Mikrofonübergabe, Unterstützung (Zahlen/Namen notieren, Terminologierecherche) und Abstimmung erschwert, Blickkontakt muss durch Softwarefunktionen simuliert werden

Neue Perspektiven

Vergleicht man die unterschiedlichen Aspekte, wird klar, dass das Dolmetschen aus einem Hub tendenziell eher die Bedingungen des konventionellen Konferenzdolmetschens abbildet bzw. abzubilden in der Lage ist – wenn dies auch bei Weitem nicht immer gilt. So wäre ein vollständig ohne Konferenzraum, rein virtuell abgehaltenes Event durchaus sinnvoll aus einem Hub zu dolmetschen und in eine „normale“ Präsenzveranstaltung könnten Dolmetscher (wie Teilnehmer) cloud-basiert aus allen Teilen der Welt hinzugeschaltet werden. Klar wird dennoch, dass Veranstaltungen, die aktuell nicht simultan gedolmetscht werden, durch Remote-Technik dafür nun eher in Frage kommen – so etwa Webinare oder informelle Besprechungen zwischen größeren Sitzungen  internationaler Gremien.

Der Praxistest

Am interessantesten und unterhaltsamsten war natürlich der Praxistest. In verteilten Rollen konnten alle Teilnehmer in die Rolle des Redners, Dolmetschers und Zuhörers schlüpfen und alle Perspektiven kennenlernen.

Remote-Simultandolmetschen im Hub

Das Kabinen-Feeling war dabei im ersten Moment ganz normal und gewohnt, mit der Benutzeroberfläche hatten wir uns alle schnell vertraut gemacht. Das Bedienen der „Knöpfe“ für Mikrofon, Räuspertaste und Lautstärke am Bildschirm erfordert dabei ein wenig Übung english college. Nicht, dass man nicht in der Lage wäre, mit der Maus einen Schieber zu bedienen – aber das blinde Drücken von ertastbaren Knöpfen, ohne das Sitzungsgeschehen oder den Redner dabei aus dem Auge lassen zu müssen, empfanden die meisten – eventuell auch aus Gewohnheit – als weniger aufmerksamkeitsraubend. Spannend war auch das Ausprobieren verschiedener Kopfhörer, Mikrofone und Betriebssysteme, was zu teils erheblichen Unterschieden in der übertragenen Lautstärke führte.

Da wir im Hub miteinander in den Kabinen saßen, wurde nicht ausprobiert, wie man ohne Blickkontakt das Mikrofon abgibt. Einen Übergabebutton hat Kudo nicht, im Gegensatz zu anderen RSI-Programmen. die teils recht pfiffige Lösungen hierfür bieten.

Zuhörer-Benutzeroberfläche (Android) von Kudo

Das Zuhören am eigenen Smartphone funktionierte bis auf die genannten Lautstärkeprobleme recht gut. Die noch ungeklärte Frage war eher: Was passiert, wenn 50, 100 oder 1000 Veranstaltungsteilnehmer ihr own device bringen und nach einem halben Tag des Zuhörens alle gleichzeitig ihren Akku laden müssen? First world problems, würde man sagen, bringt aber ganz gut auf den Punkt, mit welchem Eindruck mich ein spannendes und intensives RSI-Seminar zurücklässt: Tolle Chancen, faszinierende Technik – aber mitunter kritische technische Details, die dem Enthusiasmus (noch) ein Beinchen stellen.

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.

How to Build Your Self-Translating Glossary in Google Sheets

I am certainly not saying that Google can create your glossaries for you when preparing for a technical conference on African wildlife or nanotubes. But if you know your languages well enough to tell a bad translation from a good one, it may still be a time-saver. Especially for those words you don’t use every day, like Salpetersäure or grey crowned crane, and that you only put into your glossary to trigger your memory.

To integrate the automatic translation function in a glossary in Google Sheets, you can either enter the translation formula directly with the click over here now into the respective cells, or use the nice little add-on Translate My Sheet.

This is what the formula looks like:
being the cell with the orginal text, en the source language and es the target language.

Here is a short demo video on how to use the GoogleTranslate formula in a glossary:

If you want to use Translate My Sheet, you first need to go to the Add-ons menu and add it to your add-ons („get add-ons“, search for the add-on, add it). The user interface looks like this:

This video shows an example of Translate  My Sheet translating from English into Spanish:

And this one shows English into German:

I found the quality similar to that of the Microsoft Translator – not too bad as long as your language combination includes English, check out queens maid services.

And don’t forget: Never translate (or even handle) your client’s sensitive data in Google without their permission!

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.

Word Clouds – much nicer than Word Lists

I have been wondering for quite some time if word lists are the best thing I can come up with as a visual support in the booth. They are not exactly appealing to the eye, after all …

So I started to play around with word cloud generators a bit to see if they are of any use. Here comes a short summary of my conclusions:

The tool I liked most was WordItOut by Enideo from the UK. You can copy and paste text or tables easily and create nice word clouds in no time.

I tested it with three kinds of documents:

  1. My personal glossary
  2. Plain text
  3. Term extraction results from SketchEngine

Personal short glossary

I like to create a shortlist of my most-important-to-remember terms and have it on display permanently in the booth. Usually, there are no more than 10 to 20 terms on this list. So I copied in a short sample glossary with numbers from 1 to 10 added behind the terms (indicating frequency but meaning importance) and the result was this:

OK, it’s monolingual, but why not add some colour to the booth and print a second one?

Of course it does not help if you don’t know the equivalents. But especially when working mainly into one target language, some colleagues tend to write down terms in their target language anyway (more insight about this subject to be published in autumn!).

And if you really like a fancy booth decoration, you can always do some manual work and create a table with the equivalents in your working languages in one field

and get your bilingual word cloud:

By the way, you can choose the font and colour or simply press the „regenerate“ button again and again until you like what you get.

My conclusion: I love it! Easy enough to use from time to time as a nice booth decoration – or use it as a desktop wallpaper, for that matter.

Plain text

When using plain text, words are displayed in varying sizes depending on their frequency in the text. While this is not as useful as term extraction, where terms are extracted based on much more complicated algorithms, it still gives you an idea of what the most frequent words in the text are. This can be useful, for example, for target language vocabulary activation (or when learning a new language?).

One downside, however, is that multi-word terms like “circular economy” are torn apart, so you would need to post-edit the list of words adding a ~ between the words you wish to be kept together.

Another problem is that when using any language other than English, no stop word list is pre-determined (you can add one, though). This means that, for example in German, you end up getting a cloud of der, die, das, und, er, sie, es, aber, weil, doch.

My conclusion: A lot of potential but little real use cases.

Term extraction results

The nicest thing is of course to have an extraction tool with a built-in word cloud generator, like SDL Trados Studio has.

But if you use other term extraction tools, you can still copy the extraction results into the word cloud generator. I used a term list extracted by SketchEngine,  copied in the list of extracted terms plus scores and the result was this:

Multi word terms are no problem at all, and the size of the terms varies according to the scores calculated by SketchEngine for each term, check out carpet cleaners dublin. Much more relevant than frequency in most cases …

My conclusion: Very nice!

PS: If you are interested in terminology extraction for interpreters, Josh Goldsmith is conducting an interesting study on this subject. First results may be expected to be presented in November at the 2nd Cologne Conference on Translation, Interpreting and Technical Documentation (CGN18).


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.

Microsoft Office Translator – Can it be of any help in the booth?

When it comes to Computer-Aided Interpreting (CAI), a question widely  discussed in the interpreting community is whether information being provided automatically by a computer in the booth could be helpful for simultaneous interpreters or if would rather be a distraction. Or to put it differently: Would the cognitive load of simultaneous interpreting be increased by the additional input, or would it be decreased by providing helpful information that the interpreters would otherwise have to retrieve from their longterm memory.

Of course, interpreting is not about translating single words, but about ideas being understood in one language and then expressed in another. But on the other hand, we all (conference interpreters or not) know the occasional tip of the tongue, when we just can’t think of the German word for, say, nitric acid, and might appreciate a little trigger to remember a particular word or expression.

One scenario of CAI often discussed is that the source speech is analysed by a speech recognition software, critical terminology is extracted  and, based on the interpreter’s glossary, a dictionary or other sources, the equivalent in the target language is displayed on the screen. This technology still has many limitations, especially the speed and quality/reliability of the speech recognition function. But while we are waiting for this solution to become market-ready, I have recently come to like a tool which is altogether quite different in its original aim but can be used for a similar purpose: The Microsoft Translator.

In Powerpoint, for example, by just clicking on a text element the translator window opens next to the slide, and remains open. It translates complete texts or single words, and it has turned out to be quite useful for me in some situations, especially when interpreting presentations based on Powerpoint files I had not had the time to read before the meeting.

But would I say that the Microsoft Translator is a tool I consider a valuable support in the booth? The answer clearly is: it depends.

Quality varies considerably between language pairs. While English-Spanish seems to be one of the well-developed „premium“ combinations with sometimes impressive results, French-German did not really convince me.

You can never rely on the system to understand the message. And running a mental plausibility check in parallel to the normal interpreting job plus reading the translation on the screen is not an option.

But: If you manage to use the translator simply to prompt your brain when you are searching for a particular word, preferably one that leaves no room for mistranslations (like sodium, elderflower or forklift truck), it may make your life easier.

The nice thing is that this translator, which can also be used as a dictionary, runs within Powerpoint, so you can read your presentation and pre-translate texts very easily. It does not involve any typing or skipping between different windows.

After all, we are still at the beginning of what CAI brings. The Microsoft Translator is an easily accessible tools nice enough to play around with and get a flavour of what language technology brings for conference interpreters. And I am really curious to hear what your experience is!

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.

You love keyboard shortcuts? Meet GT4T!

GT4T – key shortcuts made for translators and interpreters

(for German and Spanish, scroll down)

If you asked me, everyone should learn key shortcuts at school together with their ABC. Once memorised, they are so convenient to use … unlike buttons on the screen, you just feeeeel them without having to look. It seems like this need for haptic feedback is quite human, by the way, as researchers are working on virtually emulating haptic feedback, and not only on touchscreens, for that matter.

Now, at least for translators and interpreters working with Windows, a new dimension is brought to the world of keyboard shortcuts: With GT4T, Cao Shou Guang (aka Dallas) from China has created a tool which is both simple and brilliant. By pressing CTRL+D, GT4T looks up words in different online dictionaries like Linguee, Glosbe, Microsoft Terminology, Wordreference and others, plus your personal glossary, and shows the results in one small popup window. If you want to see the search results right on the respective website (which is quite nice especially for Linguee with its valuable context display), you simply hit the O key.

Pressing CTRL+Win+D lets you look up the selected word in your GT4T glossary only, or open and edit this glossary – a very simple table indeed – in Excel. You can easily copy and paste your glossaries into this file, and it comes in really handy when preparing for a conference. Translations found with STRG+D (or otherwise) can be added to this personal glossary by pressing the A key, existing glossaries can be copied into this table, and of course the other way around.

What is more, pressing CTRL+J replaces the selected text by a machine translation from a preset source of your choice (e.g. Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, DeepL and others). Or you press CTRL+Win+J to get a list of translations from the different systems. Maybe that’s not exactly the most important feature in the life of a conference interpreter, but still I find it extremely interesting to check and compare the translations of the different machine translation systems from time to time.

GT4T works in any program, be it MS Word, Excel, Access, your browser, Google Docs or Sheets, or a Translation Memory system. This is great for conference interpreters, who have to switch between programs all the time as documentation may come in any possible format the digital world has to offer.

Unfortunately, this tools only works with language pairs, so if you interpret from or into more than one language (or you work back and forth between German and Spanish, but the documents are in English), you have to change settings all the time. It is not much hassle, but I will probably find it distracting when working in the booth. I absolutely missed IATE as an online dictionary option when I first tested GT4T, but when I emailed Dallas about it, it took him very few days to implement muy suggestion. I would also like to be able to look up phrases consisting of more than one word (e.g. “Best Available Techniques” or “Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid”). Theoretically, GT4T can look these up, the problem seems to be rather that not all online dictionaries contain such complex entries. And that’s about all I have to criticise after my first round of testing. After all, CTRL+D comes completely naturally to me – what more could one ask for?

More information and download:


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.

GT4T – Tastenkombinationen für Übersetzer und Dolmetscher

Tastenkombinationen sollten meiner Meinung nach in der Schule gleich zusammen mit dem ABC gelernt werden – einmal verinnerlicht, kann man sie im Unterschied zu einer Schaltfläche auf dem Bildschirm ohne viel Nachdenken blind spüren erspüüüüüüren. Offensichtlich zutiefst menschlich, dieses Bedürfnis nach haptischem Feedback, an dessen virtueller Nachbildung man nicht nur für Touchscreens eifrig forscht (

Nun tun sich es zumindest für die Windows-Nutzer unter den Sprachmittlern in Sachen noch einmal ganz neue Welten auf: Cao Shou Guang (auch Dallas genannt) aus China hat mit GT4T ein so einfaches wie geniales Tools entwickelt – entdeckt im MDÜ 1/2018 –, welches das Nachschlagen in verschiedenen Online-Wörterbüchern und maschinellen Übersetzungssystemen per Tastenkombination in jeder beliebigen Programmumgebung ermöglicht. Egal, ob in Word, Excel, Access, Google Sheets, Airtable, Powerpoint, Browser, oder in einer Translation-Memory-Umgebung:

Mit STRG+D erhält man für das markierte Wort Nachschlageergebnisse aus verschiedenen Online-Wörterbüchern (Linguee, Glosbe, Microsoft Terminology, Wordreference u.a.) oder dem eigenen GT4T-Glossar in einem kleinen Popup-Fenster angezeigt. Möchte man die Ergebnisse direkt auf der entsprechenden Webseite sehen (was bei Linguee mit den Kontextinformationen nicht zu vernachlässigen ist), drückt man einfach die O-Taste.

Mit STRG+Win-D kann man gezielt im GT4T-Glossar nachschlagen. Dieses GT4T-eigene Glossar ist eine einfache Tabelle und in der Dolmetschvorbereitung sehr praktisch, denn dort kann man mit STRG-D (oder anderweitig) gefundene Übersetzungen durch Drücken der Taste A hinzufügen. ­

Richtig nett wird es, wenn ich schon ein Glossar bspw. für einen bestimmten Kunden besitze, das zuvor in das GT4T-Glossar einkopiere und ganz bequem nachschlagen kann. Oder mein mit GT4T erstelltes Glossar den Kollegen schicken oder mit STRG+C und STRG+V in das Google-Teamglossar (link) oder eine andere tabellenartige Datenbank einfügen kann.

Mit STRG+J wird der ausgewählte Text sofort durch eine maschinelle Übersetzung aus einer vorher ausgewählten Quelle ersetzt.

Mit STRG+Win+J erhält man eine Auswahl verschiedener MT-Vorschläge, etwa von Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, DeepL oder anderen. Und wenn dies im Alltag eines Dolmetschers vielleicht nicht das wichtigste aller Features ist, so finde ich es doch spannend, die Varianten der verschiedenen Systeme zu vergleichen.

Leider funktioniert das Tool ähnlich wie ein TM nur mit Sprachenpaaren, d.h. wenn man mit mehreren Ausgangs- oder Zielsprachen dolmetscht oder auch nur das Vorbereitungsmaterial in unterschiedlichen Sprachen vorliegt, muss man die Sprachen umstellen Für den Schreibtisch ein bisschen lästig, aber ok – nur beim Simultandolmetschen wahrscheinlich etwas störend. Ich würde auch gerne nach Ausdrücken suchen, die aus mehr als einem Wort bestehen, so etwa „langkettige mehrfach ungesättigte Fettsäuren“ oder „beste verfügbare Technik“. Aber da liegt das Problem wohl weniger bei GT4T, sondern bei den Wörterbüchern, die nicht immer solche komplexen Mehrwortausdrücke im Angebot haben. Bei der Auswahl der Online-Wörterbücher habe ich beim Testen IATE vermisst. Aber als ich das Dallas schrieb, hatte er die Änderung binnen weniger Tage umgesetzt! Und viel mehr finde ich spontan nicht zu meckern. STRG+D ist mir jedenfalls schon jetzt in Fleisch und Blut übergegangen – und was will man schon mehr?

Mehr Infos und Download:



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.

Atajos de teclado hechos para traductores e intérpretes

Según yo, los atajos de teclado se tendrían que aprender juntamente con el abecedario. Una vez memorizados, resultan super útiles … simplemente se pueden sentir a ciegas, sin tener que pensarlo, o buscarlo en la pantalla. Por lo visto es muy humano este deseo de tener un feedback háptico, pues los científicos están trabajando en emularlo de forma virtual en muchas situaciones, y no solo en las pantallas táctiles.

Ahora, por lo menos para los usuarios de Windows entre los traductores e intérpretes, hay buenas noticias: Cao Shou Guang (alias Dallas) de China creó una herramienta tan sencilla como genial: nada más pulsando CTRL+D, el programa GT4T busca la palabra seleccionada, consultando varios diccionarios en línea a la vez, entre ellos Linguee, Glosbe, Microsoft Terminology, Wordreference, y muestra las diferentes traducciones en una pequeña ventana popup. Para abrir la página web respectiva con los resultados de búsqueda (lo que resulta muy útil para ver los contextos en, simplemente se pulsa la tecla O.

Con CTRL+Win+D se puede buscar la palabra seleccionada solo en el glosario GT4T propio, o abrir el mismo y editarlo en Excel. Este glosario es una tabla muy sencilla, y resulta muy fácil copiar y pegar glosarios ya existentes a esta tabla. A la hora de preparar textos para una conferencia es súper útil. También los términos encontrados mediante la búsqueda con STRG+D (o de otra forma) se pueden añadir muy fácilmente pulsando la tecla A. Y claro que también al revés se puede copiar el glosario GT4T a otra tabla, como por ejemplo un glosario compartido. GT4T funciona con cualquier programa, ya sea en MS Word, Excel, Access, el navegador, Google Docs o Sheets, o un programa de memoria de traducción.

Es más: con CTRL+J, el texto seleccionado se sustituye directamente por una traducción automática de un sistema preseleccionado (puede ser Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, DeepL y otros). O se pulsa CTRL+Win+J para ver una lista de posibles traducciones provenientes de diferentes sistemas de traducción automática. Y aunque esta no es precisamente la función más importante en la vida de una intérprete de conferencias, de vez en cuando me parece muy interesante ver y comparar lo que sugieren las diferentes máquinas como traducción.

Desafortunadamente, esta herramienta funciona con pares de idiomas, o sea cuando uno trabaja con más de dos idiomas en una conferencia (o trabaja entre dos idiomas y la documentación viene en un tercer idioma, como el inglés), hace falta cambiar los idiomas en las configuraciones. Aunque no es nada complicado, en cabina sí que es un poco molesto.

Lo que más extrañé en este programa era IATE como diccionario en línea. Pero cuando se lo sugirió a Dallas, ¡pocos días después ya lo tenía implementado! Otra cosa que me llamó la atención era que resulta dificil encontrar expresiones de varias palabras, como por ejemplo „ácidos grasos poliinsaturados de cadena larga“ o „Mejor Técnica Disponible“. Pero, por lo visto,  el problema es que muchas veces los diccionarios no contienen muchas de estas expresiones medio complejas. Y por ahora no se me ocurren más cosas que criticar después de mis primeras pruebas. Al final, ya tengo el CTRL+D completamente automatizado – ¿qué más se puede esperar?

Para saber más y descargar el programa:


La autora:
Anja Rütten es intérprete de conferencias autónoma para alemán (A), español (B), inglés y francés (C), domiciliada en Düsseldorf/Alemania. Se dedica al tema de la gestión de los conocimientos desde mediados de los años 1990.


selection of GT4T shortcuts | Auswahl von GT4T Tastaturkürzeln | selección de atajos de teclado GT4T

CTRL+j – replace text by MT

CTRL+WIN+j – check several MT

CTRL+D – check several online dictionaries

CTRL+Win+D – SimpleGlossary feature

Useful key shortcuts for anyone | Nützliche Tastenkombinationen für jedermann | Atajos de teclado útiles para todo el mundo

CTRL+S – Save/Speichern/Guardar

CTRL+F – Find/Suchen/Buscar

CTRL+Z – Undo/Rückgängig/Deshacer

CTRL-A – Select all/Alles auswählen/Seleccionar todo

CTRL+C – Copy/Kopieren/Copiar

CTRL+X – Cut/Ausschneiden/Cortar

CTRL+V – Paste/Einfügen/Pegar

Alt+Tab – skip to next open program window/ Cambiar entre programas abiertos

Speechpool, InterpretimeBank & InterpretersHelp – the Perfect Trio for Deliberate Practice in Conference Interpreting

After testing the practice module of InterpretersHelp last month, the whole practice thing got me hooked. Whilst InterpretersHelp gives us the technical means to record our interpretation together with the original and receive feedback from peers, there are two more platforms out there which cover further aspects of the practice workflow: InterpretimeBank and Speechpool.

To start with, you need source material to interpret – which is where Sophie Llewellyn-Smith’s fabulous speechpool comes into play. Just like InterpretimeBank and InterpretersHelp, it is a platform for practicing conference interpreters. It serves for exchanging speeches suitable for this purpose, i.e. you can upload speeches you recorded yourself and listen to those others recorded. Of course, there are zillions of speeches out there on the internet. But to practice purposefully, e.g. on everyday subjects like, say, sourdough bread, or dive into more technical subjects like ballet or fracking, it is sometimes difficult to find suitable speeches in the required source language. And this is where Sophie’s great idea of pooling speeches made by interpreters for interpreters kicks in. It currently has over 200 German, Spanish and French speeches and more than 900 in English. Obviously, the whole platform only works if many people participate actively and make contributions. Technically, you upload your video on and add it to Speechpool using the YouTube url. This makes it a perfect match for InterpretersHelp, which also uses YouTube to handle the source speech videos.

Once you have found your speech to practice with, there’s InterpreTimeBank, a platform to find peer conference interpreters from all over the world to pair up with and exchange feedback. My colleague (and former student) Fernanda Vila Kalbermatten drew my attention to InterpretimeBank recently:

Es una plataforma muy recomendable para continuar con la práctica después de terminados los estudios. La mayor ventaja es que nos conecta con intérpretes en otros países, que actúan como público en consecutivas y nos pueden dar feedback sobre nuestros retours. La comunidad necesita crecer, por lo que invito a todos los intérpretes en activo a participar.

InterpreTimeBank is still in its initial phase, so the community needs to grow. Once you have found your perfect practice buddy, you can start interpreting, be it doing consecutive interpretation over the web, or exchanging your simultaneous interpretations using the fabulous practice module of InterpretersHelp and give and receive feedback using its integrated feedback function.

How much more could you ask for to keep practicing after university, brush up a language combination or just keep your skills sharp? For, as Karl Anders Ericsson puts it, an automated level of acceptable performance is not improved by just going on for years. In fact, it may even deteriorate. But that’s for next time …

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.






Cleopatra: an App for Automating Symbols for Consecutive Interpreting Note-Taking – Guest Article by Lourdes de la Torre Salceda

+++ For Spanish scroll down +++

The perfect symbol has just come to mind! I’ve been racking my brain for ages and I got it, finally! I’ve been inspired! But where should I write it down, now that I’m sunbathing on the beach!

Has something similar ever occurred to you? As a millennial the first thing I did was to look for an app that could help me in that situation. I opened Google Play and… Surprise! Nobody had created it yet! That’s how Cleopatra was born. Born from the daily needs of a future master student in conference interpreting. Though my journey at Pontifical University Comillas hadn’t as yet started, I had already chosen a subject for my MA Thesis. I fondly recall the moment I explained the idea to my MA thesis director, Lola Rodríguez Melchor. With something between curiosity and scepticism, she asked cautiously: “Do you know anything about how to develop smartphone apps?” I answered: “Well, not yet. But if I take into account the huge amount of apps on the market, I don’t see why I couldn’t create one. I don’t think that every creator of an app must be a genius.” Lola helped me a lot to outline my idea for Cleopatra and I’m deeply thankful to her.

However, even before the app idea came to mind, I already had chosen its name. Perhaps you are wondering: but how could you choose a name before you even invented it? Let me explain: Like many others, I sometimes struggle to fall asleep at night; this meme neatly summarizes the problem:

Whenever I cannot sleep, I usually listen to a SER Historia podcasts. On one of those sleepless nights, somebody was talking about Cleopatra and I thought to myself: Cle-o-pa-tra… what a wonderful sonority and what an elegant woman! I should take advantage of her name somehow in the future. Her name is well-known universally and any variation of it in other languages is minimal. While developing the idea for the app, I quickly connected the dots. Cleopatra was polyglot, as are many interpreters, and historically she is linked to hieroglyphs, stylized pictures containing information that is not readable by everybody, just like interpreters’ symbols!

How Cleopatra works

Cleopatra  is the first smartphone app created for consecutive interpreting professionals. It has four main features: symbols storage, saved symbol checking, training mode, and a quiz.


The user can store his or her triads here. A triad comprises a concept, a symbol, and an explanation for the symbol. You can define the concept and explain it in the dedicated space via the virtual keyboard, and you can draw the symbols with your finger on the virtual notepad. Easy, right?

  • SYMBLARY or Library of Symbols

In order to look up a triad, users should tap on Selecciona un concepto. A list including all their saved concepts will appear. When selecting a concept, users will view what we see in this picture: in the upper-central part you can find the explanation of the symbol, and in the centre the symbols drawn by the interpreter for the chosen concept. At the bottom of the screen, you see three icons: the first –– the back-to-menu button; the second–– a quick-access button to Crear Símbolo; and the third, with which users can delete either one triad or the whole library of symbols.


This is the key feature of Cleopatra. Thanks to this feature, interpreters will be able to automate symbols and so, when needed, write or read them swiftly. Cleopatra has a stable academic basis and targets performance improvement during note-taking thanks to task decomposition and deliberate practice in symbol automation.

According to Gile (1995, 159-195) mental energy is paramount for consecutive interpreters. It is only available in limited supply and where processing capacity is lower than required, saturation can trigger quality deterioration. Furthermore, in his Tightrope Hypothesis, Gile warns that interpreters often work too close to saturation point. In order to protect an interpreter’s mental energy flow, some tasks should be automated.

Ericsson (2000-2001, 195-196) reveals that the secret to reaching expertise level in our field is practice, but it must be deliberate. It should be organised to improve specific aspects that guarantee the durability of the changes required.

Cleopatra is also based on deliberate practice for automating one of the elements that shapes consecutive note-taking (symbols). Regarding task decomposition, Gillies (2013) published a book in which he provided isolated training exercises for the component elements constituting conference interpreting in order to attain a comprehensive improvement in all interpreting skills. Likewise, Gillies (2005, 6-8) adduces that the complexity in the first phase of consecutive interpreting requires a high demand of mental energy, for all mental operations are operating simultaneously. During the second phase, clarity in our notes is crucial because our processing capacity dedicated at decoding them depends on the notes. In order to protect our limited mental energy, we should learn how to perform the same tasks but consume less mental energy; we can attain this goal by automation. Gillies maintains that if we succeed in reducing the mental energy required for those tasks, by automating them, the time and energy spared could be invested in other tasks. He affirms that any attempt to reduce the efforts required in taking good notes will positively impact both phases of consecutive interpreting.

To summarize: thanks to this easy and habit-forming game, interpreters will be able to train themselves to automate symbol with the aim of reducing their efforts during note-taking and note-reading. Consequently, they will be able to spare themselves, for they won’t have to think much about how to write what, and the energy they save can be invested in other tasks and/or of steering away from saturation point.


Can you imagine a Trivial Pursuit specifically for interpreters? Cultura del intérprete is designed with this in mind. It is a quiz with three possible answers, only one of which is correct, about many important issues for interpreters. The questions relate to geopolitics, institutions, political personalities, economy, sports and so forth. Most of the questions are atemporal (where is the Gaza Strip located?), but there are also questions about current circumstances (which country is currently holding the rotating Presidency at the Council of the EU?).

With Cleopatra, interpreters can store their symbols in an organized way, whenever and wherever they want. Of course, jotting down symbols on a piece of paper is also useful, but I think it is now time to draw symbols on our smartphones for storage purposes. For those who like to play games in their spare time, what better way of enjoying it than by revising your out-dated symbols. Cultura del intérprete quiz can be useful for users to learn or consolidate concepts and perhaps even to delve into the questions proposed autonomously. To date, the app has had a huge success, with already more than 200 Cleopatra sets in use around the globe.

Stop noting your symbols on paper-napkins and download Cleopatra now!

Currently, the app is just available for Android and costs only 0,99 €. In September 2017, I became an associate of Interpreters’ Help, and Cleopatra became part of IH. Soon Yann and Benoît (IH co-founders) will develop a version of Cleopatra for iOS. I’d like to take this opportunity given by Anja Rütten to introduce for the first time one of the next Interpreters’ Help features: The Symblary of Alexandria. On this platform, Cleopatra and/or Interpreters’ Help users will be able to contribute to the community through their symbols. With this collaborative space, every time interpreters need inspiration, we will be able to access to the Symblary of Alexandria in order to consult what symbols other community members are using for a given concept. Great feature, isn’t it? For those who may not know, at IH we already have a similar concept with the Glossary Farm. It is a space where interpreters publish and share their glossaries.

To sum up, I’d like to share with you this last picture on Cleopatra so that you know the meaning of Cleopatra’s icons. If you would like to download Cleopatra, or for further information about the app, please follow this link.

Cleopatra, la app para entrenarse en la automatización de símbolos para la toma de notas en interpretación consecutiva

¡Se me acaba de ocurrir el símbolo perfecto! Llevaba muchísimo tiempo buscándolo y, por fin, he encontrado la inspiración, ¡a ver dónde lo apunto ahora que estoy tomando el sol en la playa!

¿Alguna vez te ha pasado algo parecido? ¡A mí también! y yo, como buena millennial, lo primero que hice ante tal situación fue buscar una aplicación que me solucionase la papeleta. Entré en Google Play y… ¡sorpresa, nadie la había creado aún! Así nació Cleopatra, de una necesidad cotidiana de una futura estudiante de máster de interpretación de conferencias. Mi andadura en la Universidad Pontificia de Comillas aún no había empezado y ya tenía escogido el tema para mi trabajo de fin de máster. Recuerdo, con mucho cariño, el momento en que le expliqué mi idea a Lola Rodríguez Melchor, mi directora del trabajo de fin de máster. Creo que con una mezcla de curiosidad y escepticismo, me preguntó cautamente: ¿pero tú sabes desarrollar aplicaciones? yo, básicamente, le contesté: bueno, aún no, pero habida cuenta de todas las apps que hay en el mercado, no sé porqué yo no podría crear una. No creo que todo el que haya creado una app sea un genio. Lola me ayudó muchísimo a perfilar mi idea de Cleopatra y le estoy muy agradecida.

Pero eso no fue lo más precoz porque, incluso, antes de que se me ocurriera la idea, ya tenía pensado el nombre. Quizá te preguntes: ¿pero cómo vas a haber escogido el nombre de la app antes de concebirla?, pues te lo explico: yo, al igual que mucha gente, hay noches en las que me cuesta dormir, este meme resume muy bien lo que me suele ocurrir:

Cuando no puedo conciliar el sueño, suelo escuchar algún podcast de SER Historia y, en una de esas noches de insomnio, en mi programa de radio preferido se habló sobre Cleopatra. Enseguida pensé: Cleopatra, ¡qué sonoridad y qué elegante era esa mujer! Esto lo tengo que aprovechar de alguna manera. Ese nombre es mundialmente reconocido y su variación en otros idiomas es mínima. Así que cuando tuve la idea de crear la app, até cabos rápidamente. Resulta que Cleopatra era una mujer políglota, al igual que muchas intérpretes; además se le asocia a los jeroglíficos, que son dibujos que contienen información que no todo el mundo sabe interpretar, exactamente igual que nuestros símbolos.

Cómo funciona Cleopatra

Cleopatra es la primera aplicación móvil creada para los profesionales de la interpretación consecutiva. Dispone de cuatro funciones principales: almacenamiento de símbolos, consulta de símbolos guardados, modo entrenamiento y juego de preguntas y respuestas.


Aquí es donde el usuario puede registrar sus triadas. Una triada consiste en un concepto, un símbolo y una explicación de este último. El concepto y la explicación se deben escribir en los espacios habilitados con el teclado virtual y el símbolo se dibuja con el dedo sobre la libreta virtual. Fácil, ¿verdad?


Para que el usuario pueda consultar una de sus triadas, primero, debe pulsar en Selecciona un concepto; después le aparecerá una lista con todos los conceptos que haya guardado y, al seleccionar uno de ellos, verá lo que se muestra en la imagen: en la zona central-superior queda representada la explicación del símbolo y en la parte central, el símbolo que el intérprete dibujó para el concepto previamente escogido. En la parte inferior de la pantalla, se aprecian tres iconos: el primero es para volver al menú de inicio, el segundo consiste en un botón de acceso rápido a Crear Símbolo y, mediante el tercero, el usuario puede borrar o bien una triada, o bien toda la Simboloteca.



Esta es la función estrella de Cleopatra. Gracias a ella el intérprete podrá automatizar sus símbolos para que, a la hora de la verdad, los escriba y los lea a toda pastilla. Y no lo digo por decir, Cleopatra tiene una fundamentación académica bastante estable, a mi juicio. Con ella se pretende alcanzar una mejora del rendimiento en la toma de notas gracias a la descomposición de tareas y a la práctica deliberada en automatización de símbolos.

Según Gile (1995, 159-195), la interpretación consecutiva es una disciplina en la que los recursos mentales del profesional desempeñan un papel primordial. Estos son finitos y cuando la capacidad de procesamiento disponible es inferior a la necesaria, se produce la saturación, lo que acarrea una pérdida de calidad en la prestación. Además, con su teoría de la cuerda floja, nos advierte de que el intérprete a menudo trabaja cerca de dicha saturación. Para poder salvaguardar el caudal de recursos mentales, con el fin de poder satisfacer las necesidades requeridas, determinadas tareas se pueden automatizar.

Ericsson (2000-2001, 195-196), nos revela que el secreto para alcanzar el nivel experto en nuestro campo no es otro que la práctica y esta ha de ser deliberada. Además, debe orientarse a mejorar aspectos específicos que garanticen la durabilidad de los cambios alcanzados.

Por otro lado, Cleopatra se basa en la práctica deliberada para automatizar uno de los elementos que conforman la toma de notas para consecutiva (los símbolos). Con respecto a la descomposición de tareas, Gillies (2013) ha publicado todo un libro en el que da a conocer ejercicios para entrenarse de forma aislada en los distintos elementos que forman la interpretación de conferencias y alcanzar, así, una mejora de la pericia interpretativa en su conjunto. Igualmente, Gillies (2005, 6-8) aduce que lo complejo de la primera fase de la consecutiva es que supone una gran demanda de recursos mentales, pues todas las operaciones se ejecutan a la vez. Por otro lado, durante la segunda fase, la claridad de las notas es crucial, ya que de ella depende la capacidad de procesamiento destinada a descifrarlas. Para proteger nuestros recursos mentales finitos, debemos aprender a desempeñar la misma tarea, pero consumiendo menos recursos mentales y eso se alcanza gracias a la automatización. El autor declara que si se consigue que dichas tareas requieran menos esfuerzo intelectual, por estar automatizadas, el tiempo y la capacidad se podrán emplear en otras tareas. Gillies concluye que cualquier reducción de esfuerzos que implique tomar buenas notas, tendrá efectos positivos en las dos fases de la interpretación consecutiva.

En resumen: gracias a este sencillo y adictivo juego, el intérprete podrá entrenarse en la automatización de sus símbolos para poder reducir sus esfuerzos durante la toma de notas y la lectura de las mismas. Así, la energía que ahorra, al no tener que pensar demasiado cómo escribe qué, podrá invertirse en otros esfuerzos y alejarse de la saturación.


¿Te imaginas un trivial para intérpretes? Pues la Cultura del intérprete es algo parecido. Se trata de un juego de preguntas con tres posibles respuestas para poder estar al día de muchas de las cuestiones relevantes para los intérpretes. Geopolítica, instituciones, personalidades políticas, economía, deportes… las preguntas versan sobre todos esos temas. Normalmente se trata de preguntas que no cambian con el paso del tiempo (dónde se encuentra la franja de Gaza), pero hay algunas que sí son exclusivamente de actualidad (qué país ostenta la actual presidencia de turno del Consejo de la UE).

Gracias a Cleopatra, el intérprete podrá guardar sus símbolos, de manera ordenada, donde quiera y cuando quiera. Creo que lo de apuntarse los símbolos en un hoja también es muy útil, pero ya va siendo hora de aprovechar nuestros teléfonos móviles para almacenar símbolos. Además, para aquellos que utilicen sus ratos muertos para echar una partida a un videojuego, ¿qué mejor que divertirse y refrescar los símbolos? Por su parte, las preguntas de la cultura del intérprete podrán servir al usuario para conocer o afianzar conceptos y quizá para profundizar de forma de autónoma sobre las cuestiones que se proponen. La app está teniendo mucho éxito, pues ya tenemos a más de 200 Cleopatrers repartidos por los cinco continentes.

¡Deja de escribir tus símbolos en servilletas y descárgate ya Cleopatra!

De momento la app solo está disponible para Android y cuesta 0,99 €. En septiembre de 2017 me asocié con Interpreters‘ Help y Cleopatra ha pasado a ser uno de los activos de IH. Dentro de poco Yann y Benoît (los fundadores de IH) desarrollarán Cleopatra para iOS. Me gustaría aprovechar la oportunidad que Anja me brinda para desvelar en primicia una de las próximas funciones de Interpreters‘ Help: La Simboloteca de Alejandría. Se trata de una plataforma en la que los usuarios de Cleopatra y/o Interpreters‘ Help podrán contribuir a la comunidad mediante sus símbolos. Así, cuando los intérpretes necesitemos inspiración, podremos acceder a la Simboloteca de Alejandría para ver qué símbolos se utilizan en la comunidad para algún concepto que nos interese. ¿A que mola?

Para terminar aquí os dejo una última imagen de Cleopatra para que sepáis el porqué de sus iconos. Para saber más sobre la app y para descargarla podéis encontrarla en este enlace.




New Term Extraction Features in InterpretBank and InterpretersHelp – Thumbs up!

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 (

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.

Further reading:

Summary Table of Terminology Tools for Interpreters. <>

Josh Goldsmith: The Interpreter’s Toolkit: Interpreters’ Help – a one-stop shop in the making?. In: February 12, 2018. <>.

Anja Rütten: InterpretBank 4 Review. 31 July 2017. <>.

Alexander Drechsel: App profile: Interpreters‘ Help. 2 Oct 2015. <>.

Anja Rütten: Booth-friendly terminology management revisited – two newcomers. 29 April 2014. <>








InterpretersHelp’s new Practice Module – Great Peer-Reviewing Tool for Students and Grownup Interpreters alike

I have been wondering for quite a while now why peer feedback plays such a small role in the professional lives of conference interpreters. Whatwith AIIC relying on peer review as its only admission criterion, why not follow the logic and have some kind of a routine in place to reflect upon our performance every now and then. After having received our university degrees, we are not immune to developing bad habits or dropping in performance for the next decades to come.

In light of this I was all the more pleased to learn at Translating and the Computer 40 that InterpretersHelp had implemented a brand new practice and feedback module.

I decided to test it straight away with my students at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne. So instead of meeting in the classroom, I had my students interpret a video at home in the InterpretersHelp practice module and send their interpretation to me for feedback. I listened to eleven complete interpretations and gave detailed feedback using the evaluation criteria and the comment function InterpretersHelp offers. (First lesson learned: Listening to eleven interpreted versions of the same speech from start to finish is a safe way to drive anyone insane.) Later we met face-to-face at the university to discuss recurring issues and general patterns in interpreting particular parts of the speech.

Here are my lessons learned from a trainer’s perspective:

– Listening to all your students‘ recordings is extremely time-consuming. Make sure you plan accordingly.
– Giving structured feedback trains your sense of analysis and helps to discover similarities and differences between your students‘ skills, strengths and weaknesses.
– The discussions in the group were much more focussed on patterns, strategies and best practice than on individual mistakes.

Feedback from my students was:

– The tool was great and intuitive to use. They also used it after our first test session to practice on their own and prepare for their exams.

Some minor technical hiccups were reported, some of which were fixed immediately by the IH team. For example, a „Pause“ button and synchronous playing/reversing/forwarding were implemented immediately after we reported that we desperately needed them. There still seems to be an imprecision in the alignment of original and interpretation track, which makes it a bit difficult to measure decalage, but chances are this will be improved in the near future. A downloadable recording file in two-track format was implemented at short notice. Loading the recording can be a bit slow depending on your hardware and internet connection, but this is being worked on. So far, the practice module only works in Google Chrome, and it cannot be used on a mobile device. For technical reasons, the choice of source videos is currently limited to YouTube. I personally would love to see integrated as a source of video material, which seems to be an option InterpretersHelp  is not averse to either.

But back to the question of peer review practice among grown-up interpreters: Why don’t we make a habit of completing one practice interpretation per language combination once a year, just like our medical check-up, and sending it to several colleagues for review? If you are shy about exposing yourself to your peers‘ criticism, you can start choosing a good speaker and an easy subject, and once you feel a bit braver you go for the super fast-speaking and mumbling techie.

I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this, so feel free to leave comments here or on Twitter or Facebook 🙂

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.