Interview with Language Industry Veteran and GALA Executive Director – Laura Brandon

GALA

It’s coming to the end of a successful year and we are beginning to look back on our partnerships. We understand that being part of a network of experts, practitioners, solution providers and thought leaders is a very powerful tool for success. So, we were delighted catch up with Laura Brandon, Executive Director for the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) to find out more about GALA, its purpose, benefits of membership and future plans. Continue reading

Fun with Language at Dublin Culture Night

Culture Night 2016 KantanMT

A few of us from KantanMT went to the annual Culture Night in Ireland and ended up having an absolute blast. Since we are interested in everything to do with languages, we of course decided to go to the Dublin Language Garden and the Translation is Fun! events arranged by linguists at the Trinity Long Room Hub (TLR) in Dublin.

As a part of the Culture Night, TLR arranged these two language-related events, which saw a great turnout and were a huge success with the visitors. Seeing as all our readers are interested in language and translation, we decided to share some of the highlights from the evening with you. Continue reading

5 Best Practices for Checking Machine Translation Quality

Excel KantanMT

You have your finger on the pulse of latest technologies, and you are proud to use the latest automated technology for your localization needs. But, sometimes it might feel like you are still stuck in the 90s when it comes to reviewing your Machine Translation (MT) output for quality – especially, if you are using spreadsheets to collate your reviewers’ feedback on segments.

Traditionally language quality review for MT involves the Project Managers (PMs) sending copies of a static spreadsheet to a team of translators. This spreadsheet contains lines of source and target segments, with additional columns where the reviewers score the translated segments according to a set of predefined parameters.

Once the spreadsheets are sent off to the reviewers, PMs are completely in the dark – with no idea how the reviewers are progressing, when they might complete the review, or if they have even started the project.

If that sounds tiring, imagine what the PM has to go through!

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Student Speak: UCL Student on Using KantanMT.com

UCL_Portico_BuildingAs a leading Custom Machine Translation company, we at KantanMT believe that Academic Partnerships have a huge role to play in furthering the scope of research and innovation in the field of Machine Translation.

The students from our Partner Universities  go on to have very successful careers in the language industry. We are always looking for ways to improve the KantanMT platform, and to keep our finger on the pulse of the KantanMT user experience, we asked one of the students using the platform to answer some questions about the platform.

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Machine Translation Trend in 2016: The Age of Automatic Workflows and More Collaboration

2016Trends_1_ImageKantanMT recently published a brand-new white paper on what global companies can expect to see in 2016 for Machine Translation (MT). The MT industry is rapidly changing and moulding itself to the technical needs and globalization requirements of the present day. Our white paper puts forward six major MT trends that all businesses need to KNOW in order to stay relevant and ahead of their competitors.

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A Trip down Memory Lane: KantanMT in 2015

KantanMT Year in ReviewWhile chatting over a mouthful of mince pies, some tourtière and a few classy glasses of mulled wine this week, we at KantanMT were suddenly struck by the realisation that 2015 was perhaps one of the most sensational, successful and eventful years for us in the company! And the fact is, we can’t wait to start working on everything that we have planned for 2016 – we are certain that the new year is going to be even more exciting for us.

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Applications Of Machine Translation And Translation Memory Tools In Audiovisual Translation: A New Era?

Rafaella Athanasiadi, UCL KantanMTMaster’s student, Rafaella Athanasiadi of the University College London submitted her thesis as part of the MSc degree in Scientific, Technical and Medical Translation with Translation Technology. Rafaella was supervised by Teaching Fellow and Lecturer Dr. Emmanouela Patiniotaki and she used KantanMT.com for her research. This guest blog post looks at some of her conclusions on Machine Translation and the Localization Industry.

As Hutchins & Somers (c1992:1) argue, “the mechanization of translation has been one of humanity’s oldest dreams.” During the 20th century, the translation process changed radically. From spending endless hours in libraries to find the translation of a word, the translator has been placed in the centre of dozens of assistive tools. To name just a few, today, there are many translation software, terminology extraction tools, project management components, and machine translation systems, which translators have the opportunity to choose from while translating.

However, shifting the focus to audiovisual translation, it can be observed that not so many radical changes took place in that area, at least not until the introduction of machine translation systems in various projects (such as, the MUSA and the SUMAT project) that developed machine translation engines to optimise the subtitling process. Still, the results of such projects do not seem to be satisfactory enough to inspire confidence for the implementation of these engines in the subtitling process both by subtitling software developers and subtitlers.

Rafaella Athanasiadi, KantanMT UCLBased on my personal research that focused primarily on the European setting, in the subtitling industry it seems that only freeware SRT Translator incorporates machine translation while also offering the features that subtitling software usually incorporate (i.e. uploading multimedia files and timecoding subtitles) at the moment. Nonetheless, SRT Translator, which is not very famous among subtitlers, uses solely Google Translator by default, which is a general-domain machine translation engine and not suitable for the purposes of audiovisual translation, one could argue. The quality of the output of Google Translator was tested by translating 35 subtitles of a comedy series[1]. The output was incomprehensible and misleading in many cases.

Even though no further records of traditional subtitling software that incorporate machine translation could be found, there are many online translation platforms that allow users to upload and translate subtitles. Taking into consideration the European market, these can be either translation software like MemoQ, SDL Trados Studio and Wordfast that offer thability to load subtitle files and in some cases link them to the audiovisual content they are connected to, open source tools for translators like Google Translator Toolkit (GTT) or professional and private platforms like Transifex and XTM International that are used by companies and offered to their dedicated network of translators. Nonetheless, in order to enable machine translation in all the above applications, API keys must be purchased. GTT is an exception since it can be used for free anytime and only requires a Gmail account.

The fact that subscription fees have to be paid along with the costs of API keys for each machine translation engine provider puts their usability in question since costs may overweight subtitlers’ profits. Furthermore, these platforms cannot accommodate subtitlers’ needs; for instance, the option to upload and play multimedia files while translating the subtitles is not always possible nor any synchronization features for timecoding the subtitles to the audio track are offered. Transifex, however, is an exception since this localization platform offers users the option to upload multimedia files in the translation editor while translating the subtitles.

KantanMT Machine TranslationAccording to Macklovitch (2000:1) a translation memory is considered to be “a particular type of translation support tool that maintains a database of source and target language sentence pairs, and automatically retrieves the translation of those sentences in a new text which occur in the database.” Even though machine translation engines were developed through different projects to reduce subtitling time to the least possible degree, no attempts had been traced during this research to integrate a translation memory tool in a subtitling software for optimizing subtitling; at least in a European, Asian and Australian setting. As Smith (2013) argues, “traditionally subtitling has fallen outside the scope of translation memory packages, perhaps as it was thought to be too creative a process to benefit from the features such software offers.” However, as Diaz-Cintas (2015:638) discusses “DVD bonus material, scientific and technical documentaries, edutainment programmes, and corporate videos tend to contain the high level of lexical repetition that makes it worthwhile for translation companies to employ assisted translation and memory tools in the subtitling process.”

Even if such tools have not been integrated in subtitling software, translation memory components are used for subtitling purposes in cloud-based platforms such as GTT, Transifex and XTM International as well as in translation software, MemoQ, SDL Trados Studio, Wordfast Pro and Transit NXT by simply creating a translation memory before or while translating. It should be noted that Transit NXT is the only translation software that can accommodate the needs of subtitlers to a high level among the tools discussed in this research. Apart from the addition of specialized filters to load subtitles (that also exist in MemoQ, SDL Trados Studio and Wordfast Pro), subtitlers can upload multimedia files, translate subtitles while a translation memory component is active and also synchronise their subtitles with the Transit translation editor (Smith, 2013).

The translation editor of Transit NXT by Smith
The translation editor of Transit NXT by Smith (2013)

Figure 1: The translation editor of Transit NXT by Smith (2013)

The newly-founded company (2012) OOONA has taken a very interesting approach to subtitling by developing a unique cloud-based toolkit that is built exclusively for accommodating the needs of subtitlers. When asked the following question within the context of the MSc thesis,

Considering that other cloud-based translation platforms like GTT, Transifex and XTM International offer the option of uploading a TM or a terminology management component, do you think that it is important to offer it on a subtitling platform as well?

the representative of OOONA (Alex Yoffe) replied that not only will the company implement translation memory and terminology management components in the next phase of enhancing their platform but that they also consider these components to be very important for the subtitling process. In addition, Yoffe (2015) argued that OOONA intends to “add the option of using MT engines. Translators will be able to choose between Microsoft’s, Google’s, or customisable MT engines.” Therefore, it seems that OOONA will become a very powerful tool in the near future with features that will optimise the subtitling process to the maximum and shape the way that subtitling is carried out until now. The fact that Screen Systems, Cavena and EZTitles have partnered with OOONA is an indicator of how much potential there is in this toolkit.

As it can been argued based on the above, there is lack of subtitling software with incorporated translation memory tools. Therefore, this issue was further researched through the form of an online questionnaire that was disseminated to subtitling companies and freelance subtitlers. In addition, two companies that develop subtitling software, Screen Subtitling Systems and EZTitles, were asked to present their views on this topic. In both cases, their willingness to optimise the subtitling process in a semi-automated or a fully-automated way was apparent through their answers. The former company was in favour of a combination of machine translation tools with translation memory tools whereas the latter leaned towards a subtitling system with integrated translation memory and terminology management tools.

Nonetheless, the optimisation of the subtitling process has to coincide with the needs and preferences of subtitlers. Based on the respondents’ answers, it is clear that translation memory tools in subtitling software are desirable by subtitlers. In question,

Which tool would you prefer to have in a subtitling software? An integrated translation memory (TM) or machine translation (MT)?

more than half of the respondents (56.8%) chose TM. Interestingly, the answer Both received the second highest percentage (20.5%) which indicated that subtitlers demand as many assistive tools as possible.

One of the main conclusions that were drawn from this research was that machine translation engines need to be customised to produce good quality output and this can be achieved through customisable engines like KantanMT and Milengo. Moreover, translation memory tools are sought by subtitlers in subtitling software, while cloud-based platforms seem to occupy the translation industry today. Following this trend, subtitling software providers partner with online services/tools like the OOONA toolkit.

Based on the outcomes of this research, it could be said that we are certainly experiencing a new era in subtitling since the traditional PC-based subtitling software are now transforming into flexible and accessible platforms to enhance the subtitling experience as much as possible. It is a matter of time which tool and platform will rule the subtitling industry but one thing is for sure; the technologies of the future will bring a lot of changes in the traditional way of subtitling.

Works Cited

Diaz-Cintas, J., 2015. Technological Strides in Subtitling. In: S. Chan, ed. Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Technology. London: Routledge, pp. 632-643.

Hutchins, J. W. & Somers, H. L. (c1992). An introduction to machine translation. London: Academic Press.

Macklovitch, E. (2000). Two Types of Translation Memory. In Proceedings of the ASLIB Conference on Translating and the Computer (Vol. 22).

Smith, Steve (2013). New Subtitling Feature in Transit NXT. November 11 2013. [Online]. Available from: http://www.star-uk.co.uk/blog/subtitling/working-with-subtitles-in-transit-nxt/. [Accessed 01 Sept. 2015].

Yoffe, A (2015). MT and TM tools in subtitling. [Interview]. 13 August 2015.

[1] Relevant data are available in Appendix 1 of the MSc thesis.

 

Free Webinar: How Machine Translation Improves Translation Productivity

KantanMT Quick to deploy Machine TranslationIf you are in the language service industry, you are undoubtedly on the lookout for ways in which you can improve the productivity of your team – more translated words in less time – that’s what drives your clients as well as you. Automated Machine Translation (MT) seems to be the logical step forward in today’s world of content explosion and tightening deadlines. However, for most Language Service Providers (LSPs), the challenge lies in the actual implementation of this sophisticated technology.

For this reason, it is important that no matter what translation management tools you use, it should be integrated with a powerful MT engine that is reliable, scalable, flexible, and can be trained and re-trained constantly for maximum efficiency and quick turnaround times.

In today’s fast-paced world of content explosion on the Internet, the need for translating this organically growing content with the help of machines has become inevitable. While post-editing the machine translated content will always be required, choosing the right MT features will ensure that translators do not spend countless frustrating hours on those edits.

In this Kantanwebinar, The KantanMT Professional Services Team, Tony O’Dowd and Louise Faherty (Quinn) will show how you can improve the translation productivity of your team, and manage effort estimations and project deadlines better with a powerful MT engine.

During this webinar you will learn:

  • Translation challenges (co-ordinating and managing translation projects)
  • About the necessity of Machine Translation to be competitive
  • How KantanMT.com can be integrated with other Translation Management Systems

Register for KantanWebinar

To find out how KantanMT.com can improve your company’s translation productivity, send an email to demo@kantanmt.com

The ATC Conference 2015: Speaking in the MT Language

An avid sports fan, Tony KantanMT’s Founder and Chief Architect is very excited about aManU stadiumttending the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) conference this year because it takes place at Old Trafford, Manchester United Football Club’s world famous stadium (24-25 September 2015). However, between all the events, talks, meeting with the innovative industry leaders and attending award ceremonies, Tony might have very little time for a stadium tour. So it’s a good thing that he loves MT and the language industry more, and won’t miss the tour too much!

Tony has his plate full in the conference, which spreads over two days. He will be presenting a Master Class and a paper during the plenary session of the conference, and will also attend the evening award ceremony where he has been nominated in two categories – Project Manager of the Year category and for Outstanding Contribution to the Language Industry. If you are attending the conference, please say hello to Tony or simply cheer him on – he would love that!

Read about the nominations from ATC here. Below are the details of Tony’s talks in the conference and a teaser of a new stand-alone product that he is going to announce during the event!

Day 1: Masterclass, 09.00 – 11.00AM: How to use Machine Translation to Improve Translation Productivity
A commercially available and highly customisable Machine Translation (MT) workflow will undoubtedly increase translation productivity. However, the actual implementation of this sophisticated technology can sometimes seem challenging for Language Service Providers (LSPs) – Tony shows that KantanMT_qualityoptimising MT for your workflow does not have to be challenging at all. In fact, he demonstrates how MT can actually simplify the translation cycle and reduce effort.

After educating participants on the best way to implement MT in the translation workflow, Tony will introduce the audience to a tool that can improve MT engines with the help of professional translators. This collaborative project management tool can be accessed and deployed on a secure online platform, benefiting from the flexibility, power and immense security of the cloud.

It allows Project Managers to streamline the language quality review (LQR) process across locations and time zones by efficiently allocating reviewers to a project, and gaining real-time visibility into the progress of each reviewer as well as monitoring the quality and accuracy of the translated content. The transparent progress report accessed through this tool helps Project Managers create precise project effort-estimations and timelines, collate translator feedback and improve the MT engine quality.

To know more about when you can plug this new tool into your MT workflow, drop us a mail at demo@kantanmt.com or simply mail us at info@kantanmt.com and make an appointment with Tony for a coffee and a chat.

ATC

Day 2: Plenary Talk, 11.45 – 12.10 PM: Achieving Translation Scalability in an Era of Continuous Content Co-Creation

Session chair: Ruth Partington, R P Translate

In today’s fast-pace world of the Internet, ‘content-boom’ and ‘content-explosions’ are not merely buzzwords, but a business reality that enterprises face every day. With this organically growing content online, the need for translating this content for the consumption of global customers has become inevitable.

While this has opened up endless possibilities for those creating and consuming content, it has also created new challenges for the Language Service Providers (LSPs) responsible for translating and localizing all that content. Scaling translation workflows to meet the multilingual consumption demands, coupled with tight deadlines has led to many LSPs embracing and integrating MT solutions into their workflow.

Automated translation stands out as an efficient, reliable solution and ensures that LSPs can produce more translation, without losing out on the quality that defines their brand. New innovations in machine translation technology mean that MT can be used both as a tool to facilitate professional translators, but also provides a stand-alone tool capable of translating large volumes of content quickly – especially when the usefulness of the translated documents is more important than the accuracy of the content.

Tim Walters in his Forrester blog about MT succulently sums up the need for MT in the language industry:

The internet makes machine translation inevitable… raw output from machine translations is playing a larger role on web sites… MT plus post-editing reduces the cost of human-quality translations… MT drives global business and global business drives MT

Tony, in this presentation will demonstrate through client use cases how LSPs have carried out successful translation projects by using the dynamically scalable powers of MT engines. The final aim of this presentation is to demonstrate once again that integrating MT in translation workflows will not only increase productivity and allow project managers to deliver projects on time, but is also the only way forward when it comes to projects with a high velocity of industry-specific worlds.

To know more about KantanMT, or to arrange a meeting with Tony for a coffee and a chat at the conference, send an email to info@kantanmt.com. message on twitter @KantanMT.

About Tony O’Dowd

TonyTony O’Dowd is the Founder and Chief Architect of the Irish-owned KantanMT.com, a cloud-based statistical machine translation platform. He was the founder and CEO of Alchemy Software Development, the creators of Alchemy CATALYST. Tony has over 25 years of experience in the localization industry. He has a BSc in computer science from Trinity College, Dublin, and a Fellowship from the University of Limerick. Previously a Chairman of LISA and member of the governance board of the CNGL Centre for Global Intelligent Content at Dublin City University, Tony’s new research focus is on Statistical Machine Translation systems and how they can improve translation productivity.

Translation Machines in Sci-fi

Richard Brooks, CEO, K International KantanMT
Richard Brooks, CEO, K International

This blog post was written by Richard Brooks. He’s a firm believer that life imitates art, CEO of the UK-based LSP K International, a company specialising in translation services for the legal industry and director of the Association of Language Companies.

Translation Machines in Sci-fi

In science fiction, translation of the potentially infinite number of languages spoken by alien species presents a dilemma. How to deal with communication between interplanetary species without resorting to contrivance, or spending the first twenty minutes of each episode’s dialogue clumsily showing characters learning one another’s diphthongs?

The notion of a ‘universal translator’ emanated from Murray Leinster’s novella First Contact, published in 1945 (and clearly that isn’t the only debt Gene Roddenberry owes to Leinster). It’s a greatly helpful – borderline miraculous, in fact – convention of sci-fi: a technological solution to the language barrier, leaving more time for the actual narrative to unfold in one language, typically English.

With the incredible advancements in technology we’re witnessing at the moment such as Microsoft’s pilots of a Skype Translator and the industry leading work KantanMT is achieving in this area, are we seeing the beginnings of live translation – well ahead of Star Trek’s 22nd century deadline? In the meantime, let’s take a look at five of sci-fi’s finest translation machines, which beat anything real-life technology can offer – for now.

KantanMT Blog, Universal Translator

1. Star Trek: Universal Translator

An important part of Star Trek’s near-utopian vision of the future is the Universal Translator. Translating any language into another even while a person is speaking, this exceptionally handy tool means Starfleet craft in any quadrant of the galaxy can speak to new life and new civilizations without confusion.

Voiced by Star Trek creator Roddenberry’s widow Majel Barrett until her death in 2008, the development of a universal translator was, in the Trek universe, a portent of Earth’s cultures achieving universal peace. It’s difficult to imagine Google Translate having the same impact.

This convenient concept has been often copied, and occasionally parodied: in Futurama, everyone in the universe speaks English, rendering Professor Farnworth’s one successful invention – a translation device – useless, as it merely translates English into the dead language, French!

2. The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy: the Babel Fish

Some sci-fi plays with the concept in less serious ways. In Douglas Adams’ H2G2, to help Arthur Dent deal in some small way with anything that goes on around him, inserted into his ear is a Babel Fish, memorably described by the Guide as “small, yellow, leechlike and probably the oddest thing in the universe.”

The science (such as it is) behind the Babel Fish is that it can absorb the frequencies of outside speakers, and a translation is secreted by the fish into the hearer’s brain via his or her ear canal. In a witty reversal of Star Trek’s idealistic Federation, Adams reveals that, by allowing everyone to understand one another, the Babel Fish has actually caused more war than anything else in the universe.

3. Farscape: Translator microbes

In science fiction, as in reality, it is the individual idiosyncrasies of languages which are trickiest to master. When people in the UK from a hundred miles apart may speak different languages, not to mention a range of different dialects and accents, can auditory translation really be so smooth?

One series to acknowledge this is Farscape, where astronaut John Crichton is injected with bacteria-sized ‘translator microbes’, which are injected into – and colonise – his brain. The microbes work to make their host understand any spoken information in any language – except idioms are translated literally. This leads to a great deal of confusion for John, and opportunities for humour for the audience (all jokes are language, after all) – and also perhaps renders these microbes a more realistically-limited translator technology.

4. Doctor Who: The TARDIS’ Translation Circuit

As well as being telepathically linked with the Doctor, and granting the ability to travel to any time or place in history and the future, the TARDIS’ telepathic field is used to automatically translate what the Doctor and any companions hear or read into a language which they can understand.

While wonderfully convenient, the mind-meld involved does mean that the translation circuits won’t actually work when the Doctor is unconscious – not an outright impossibility. Also, because translations are time specific, ancient civilization won’t understand neologisms – and, neatly, the Romans have never heard the word ‘volcano’ – because they’ve not lived to see an eruption.

5. Star Wars: C-3PO

Luke Skywalker is the ultimate sci-fi everyman: he is every bit as much in need of a guide to the universe he finds himself in as the viewing audience are. Reinforcing this are his guides, C-3PO and R2D2, who Luke needs with him – despite their obvious drawbacks as travelling companions – because C-3PO is programmed with millions of languages, everything from Ewok to R2’s bleeps and whistles.

When the franchise returns with The Force Awakens later this year (which most fans will rightly consider the fourth, rather than seventh, Star Wars movie), C-3PO’s translation abilities are sure to make him at least partially useful to have around.

The KantanMT team say a big Thank You to Richard for a very savvy post on translation machines in science fiction.

Richard (@RichardMBrooks) will join Tony O’Dowd, (@TonyODowd1) KantanMT Founder and Chief Architect alongside other Language industry heavyweights at the ATC Annual Conference in the Old Trafford Stadium on 24th and 25th September 2015. Register here to attend the conference. 

KantanMT at ATC Conference

If you want to learn more about Machine Translation, send us email (info@kantanmt.com) with your questions and we will be happy to answer them!