Translating and the Computer Conference, London: Voice Your Opinion
The 33rd international Translating and the Computer Conference 2011 will be held November 16th and 17th at the Hatton in London, UK. ASLIB, or the Association for Special Libraries and Information Bureau, heads this important translation and technology conference every year, under their Association for Information Management.
So why is a conference that is still a good 5 months away, mean anything for translators right now?
True, the 2011 Translating and the Computer Conference itself is in November. But, the call for papers to suggest conference topics is currently open. Any professional freelance translator, as well as any translation agency, or international institution - are invited to submit abstracts suggesting conference discussion topics, research material, lecture topics, and key points. The deadline for papers, demonstrations and presentations is June 17th. All individual and agency translators are encouraged to submit abstracts with demonstrations, if possible.
The Translating and the Computer Conference 2011 translation topics are in relation to translation software, terminology management systems, memory databases, and any other type of CAT tools (computer-assisted translation). According to ASLIB, submitted papers and abstracts should focus on user aspects of MT, software, CAT or other appropriate topics (as opposed to the technology behind translation CAT development, for example). A full list of appropriate topics for abstracts are found here.
Translation Technology and CAT Tools: Good or Evil?
Translation memory software is one of the most commonly used programs in translation computer technology. Many translation agencies even require use of some type of translation memory system, such as SDL Trados, MemoQ. These can be very helpful to certain translators and translation agencies, saving them vast amounts of time; especially with document translations that have a lot of repetition. Freelance translators that primarily provide technical translation service can really benefit from translation memory software, because documents like technical manuals are full of repetition.
However, there are other agency-employed translators who find translation memory systems to rob them of proper paid compensation for the actual amount of work done and/or time spent on a given translation. Some very large translation agencies, many with in-house translators, often have a huge collective database of translation memories. Translators are required to use the memory system while working on a translation, and then paid for newly translated words only – not for words taken from the translation memory database. So for example, a translator who provides English to Spanish translation for technical user manuals, instruction manuals, manufacturer manuals, etc - translation memory software works well. On the other hand, for literary translators, marketing translators, and other types of creative content translations - translation memory software does not given them any major advantages.
Another disadvantage that memory software and other CAT tools can have on a translation, may occur somewhat subconsciously on the part of the translator. When using a translation memory system, it becomes all too easy to translate a document line by line, segment by segment. Translators can develop this habit without to stopping to compare the context of the segment or sentence being translated, with the previous and following content. The process of using translation memories inhibits the method of translating the overall message and meaning of the content - which is how translators are generally encouraged to approach any given professional language translation.
There are other software and computer assisted translation programs that have more or less advantages for translators, and some with little value at all, except for translation software developers. The Translating and the Computer Conference 2011 allows the chance for professional translation companies, services, agencies and individual translators to speak up and provide input as to what works, what doesn't, what to work on, and everything else that may be an issue for one or many translators. So speak up, write up, and maybe you'll see your abstract topic stand up, at the conference in November.