University Speak: The Future of Translation Technology with Swansea University

A few months back we were pleased to announce our Academic Partnership with Swansea University’s Department of Languages, Translation and Communication. The postgraduate students of the department were able to use the KantanMT platform to update or gain new skills in Translation Technology. With help of the KantanMT platform, the students learnt how to build and customise their own Statistical Machine Translation (SMT) systems in a real world scenario.

The MLTM11 Translation Technologies Module aimed to broaden and deepen students’ familiarity and expertise with current translation technologies. A number of students in the programme were interested in careers in the localization industry. Interests and aspirations ranged from working as an in-house IT specialist and/or localizer, a developer and tester with a major translation tools company, or working as an academic researcher (e.g. a PhD) in the field of language technology.

Now that the course is complete and the students are ready to contribute to the world of Machine Translation, we asked them a few questions about their experience of using the platform. We also asked the lecturer from the course to tell us a little bit about her experience of working with us. Here’s a few bites from each of our brilliant KantanMT users.

Dr. Maria Fernandez-Parra, Swansea University

LecturerDr. Maria Fernandez-Parra, Languages, Translation and Communication

About Dr Fernandez-Parra:

Dr Fernandez-Parra is interested in all aspects of translation and interpreting, particularly translation technologies, translation theory, technical and specialised translation and computer-assisted translation. She is also interested in many aspects of linguistics (especially formulaic language) as well as in the teaching of Spanish in Higher Education. One of her more recent interests is the introduction of technology into teaching in Higher Education.

What does Dr Fernandez-Parra think about KantanMT?

KantanMT is very useful for teaching purposes for various reasons but one reason that stands out is that it allows lecturers to show students an example of how to train data for MT output. This is not possible with other MT tools that I know of. Students can experiment with the creation of training data for their specific source texts, as opposed to general training data that might not be too relevant to some source texts. This allows them to get the best results possible when translating with MT and it gets students familiar with the concept of training MT engines on specific datasets.

It is good that students can start learning about this concept and have some practice and experience in it, as we know there are increasingly more career opportunities in this field of work. Another advantage of KantantMT is that it is very convenient to access it online for teaching purposes, as we do not have to worry about installing anything in our university server and there are no licensing problems involved. KantanMT staff were very helpful and quick to respond to queries. The use of KantanMT online is easy and intuitive and it does not take long for students to be working with their own training data in KantanMT. In addition, there is a wide range of useful information on the web site and a variety of useful resources too.

Student: Ms Min Luo

I think CAT Tools will become more and more helpful in China.

KantanMT: What made you choose this course, and how to do you think it will help your career?

Ms Luo: I think this course is useful. It will help the translator when they translate texts containing repetition.

KantanMT: What are your thoughts on using the KantanMT platform, what did you find good and do you have any suggestions for improvement?

Ms Luo: It is good. It is convenient. I have no suggestion.

KantanMT: What is your impression of the translation industry, and in your opinion, what do you think the industry will look like in the future?

Ms Luo: Technology changes quickly. I think CAT Tools will become more and more helpful in China.

Student: Ms Gwladys Petitfrère

KantanMT.com is very different from other MT I have used before. It is very easy to use and gives great results.

KantanMT: What made you choose this course, and how to do you think it will help your career?

Ms Petitfrère: I wanted to learn how to use various CAT tools for my career as a translator, if I needed it in the future.

KantanMT: Did you have any previous experience of Machine Translation, if so how does KantanMT.com compare?

Ms Petitfrère: KantanMT.com is very different than other MT I have used before. It is very easy to use and gives great results.

KantanMT: What are your thoughts on using the KantanMT platform, what did you find good and do you have any suggestions for improvement?

Ms Petitfrère: There is a lot of information available about every possible specificity of this tool.

KantanMT: What is your impression of the translation industry, and in your opinion, what do you think the industry will look like in the future?

Ms Petitfrère: I think CAT tools are very helpful for the translator, but hopefully we won’t act as proof-readers of the text produced by a machine.

Student: Ms So Mui Cheung

I see contradictory directions. On the one hand, MT is inevitable, welcoming and the way forward.

KantanMT: What made you choose this course, and how to do you think it will help your career?

Ms Cheung: I chose this course because firstly, it offers a PG certificate option and as I already have a Masters degree connected with the language I work with, so I didn’t want to complete another Masters degree.

Secondly, from the point of view of content, I needed a course that focuses on the technology for translation work, and lots of practical hands-on work using the tools. This course meets these criteria. The course sets a direction for a new way of approaching translation. It reflects the rapid changes happening in the field.

Question: Have you had you any previous experience of Machine Translation, if yes, how did you find using the KantanMT system?

Ms Cheung: Most people who use the internet now will have some experience of using MT if only to get a gist of internet content instantly. My comment here is based on very little interaction with the KantanMT platform. It is a tool aimed not at individuals/freelance translators but corporations/language services providers. As such, unless one is engaged to do quite a lot of work or on a regular basis, then the KantanMT platform is not one where one can get the most out of in a short time, as indeed an individual translator is unlikely to have access to it.

KantanMT: What are your thoughts on using the KantanMT platform, what did you find good and do you have any suggestions for improvement?

Ms Cheung: See my comment above – as an individual translator, I can only suggest improvements after having tested the different features thoroughly. I would welcome another chance to answer this question.

KantanMT: What is your impression of the translation industry, and in your opinion, what do you think the industry will look like in the future?

Ms Cheung: Firstly, in the translation industry, at least in the language pair of Chinese>English that I work with, good quality and relevant TMs for training the engine might be a problem. However, in the future – again, in the language pair I work with, I see contradictory directions. On the one hand, MT is inevitable, welcoming and the way forward. On the other hand, depending on the nature of the work, corporations subscribing to cloud-based MT platforms such as Kantan will have issues with confidentiality, and for this reason, I expect some adaption before a cloud-based platform is a widely or readily available tool on an LSP-freelancer basis in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I expect to see an increase in MT text for post-editing whether online or offline.

Note from the KantanMT team:

Read more about courses offered by Swansea University, or for more information on the KantanMT University Partner Program, please contact us, (info@kantanmt.com).

About Swansea University

Swansea is a top-30 UK research university (Research Excellence Framework 2014), with a record of teaching translation tools and technologies going back to 1999. Its MA in Professional Translation (formerly MA in Translation with Language Technology) has been a member of the European Master’s in Translation Network since its inception in 2009. It also offers a vocational MA in Translation and Interpreting, and a thriving PhD programme in Translation (including recent successful projects on translation tools).

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