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Dancing with a Dragon: Conference Session on Voice Recognition

November 17th, 2012 | by LTD | 5 Comments

Session LT-11 at ATA 2012
Presenter: Andrew D. Levine and Thomas Ennis Fennell
Reviewed by: Rubén de la Fuente

I have never used speech-to-text tools for translation work, so I was very eager to attend the Dancing with a Dragon session by Andrew Levine and Tom Ennis Fennel. They put up a good show, not only because they share interesting stuff, but also because they are funny. Here are a few highlights from their presentation:

Read on »

Online Tutorials For OpenOffice.org

November 16th, 2011 | by LTD | No Comments

Author: Corinne McKay

Last night I was at a Colorado Translators Association event at which the presenter (the ever-popular editing consultant Alice Levine), mentioned an online tutorial for the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word. This made me realize that there must be similar websites for OpenOffice.org. Here are a few that I’ve found:

A really comprehensive resource for OpenOffice.org users is Get OpenOffice.org, which offers all kinds of training materials, transition advice, tips on running OO.o on Vista, etc. Solveig Haugland, the founder of Get OpenOffice.org is also the author of the OpenOffice.org 2 Guidebook, so this website rates high on the reliability index! She also has a blog about OO.o, at OpenOffice.blogs.com.

Learn OpenOffice.org offers a variety of free online tutorials that focus on how to solve a particular problem using OO.o. Their tutorials look really helpful and you can choose between text-only or Flash mode (thank you!). The only drawback is that there are tutorials for Impress (OO.o’s presentation program) and Calc (spreadsheet), but not for Writer, which is the application that most translators are likely to use.

The official OO.o website has a tutorials page, with lessons written by various contributors. The topics are a bit random since they’re contributed by volunteers and most of the tutorials require you to download a file, but these are definitely worth a look.

A very helpful site is VnTutor, which has a lengthy list of tutorials for Writer, Base, Impress and Calc and allows you to view them right on the site. The tutorials also have lots of pictures to make their points clearer.

Although it’s not specifically a tutorial, my pick for online OO.o information would be Solveig Haugland’s blog, and you can use the Categories menu on the right to find the topic you’re interested in.

[First published in Corinne McKay’s blog Thoughts On Translation.]

Text-to-Speech Tools

April 25th, 2011 | by LTD | No Comments

Check out the article Naomi J. Sutcliffe de Moraes wrote in 2008 on Text-to-Speech tools which can be used for proofing translations! They can also read numbers for you out loud from the translation while you read the original.

Free PDF to Word converter – only today!

September 19th, 2008 | by Naomi de Moraes | No Comments

I have mentioned the site Giveaway of the Day in the past, and every once in a while there are pearls amongst the junk. Today (Friday) they are giving away a PDF to Word (rtf) converter. If you already have one of the popular converters by ABBYY or Nuance (see comparison here) I doubt this one will work better, but if you don’t yet have a converter, give it a whirl!

– Naomi de Moraes

Transcription Tools

June 7th, 2008 | by LTD | No Comments

Gururaj Rao is writing a blog, Translator’s Tools, where he has a post about freeware applications to (1) extract the sound track from videos, and (2) help to transcribe the voice on the soundtrack. The software he used: Free Video to MP3 Converter V. and Express Scribe.

You should visit this fairly new blog and see if he writes about other tools and utilities of interest to you.

Text-To-Speech (TTS) Tools for the Translator/Interpreter

February 10th, 2008 | by Naomi de Moraes | No Comments

Most translators work solely with the printed word, and some are beginning to use Speech-to-Text tools like Dragon Naturally Speaking, but few know about Text-To-Speech (TTS) Tools. In short, they convert text into audio, either on-the-go or in an audio file (mp3 or wav).

How can translators and interpreters use this kind of tool?

  • To proofread their work, by having the computer read the original or the translation. This is particularly useful for verifying numbers.
  • To record lists of terminology when preparing for an interpretation assignment.
  • To read aloud a text for interpretation, to practice simultaneous interpretation.
  • To read an original while translating (this might work if the original is read slowly and the translator uses a speech-to-text tool to capture a first draft of the translation).

How can anyone use this kind of tool?

  • To record newspaper or magazine articles for listening while away from the computer, washing dishes, jogging, etc.
  • To record study/reading material while taking courses on most subjects.
  • To avoid excessive eye strain by having program read emails or other text while listener does other tasks.

In my experience, the Microsoft voices, which are always free, are very painful to listen to for any length of time. If your objective is to simply proof a list of numbers or similar, you may be able to use a free product. Note that Dragon Naturally Speaking has a basic text-to-speech function that may be all you need, if you already have Dragon installed on your PC. The AT&T Natural Voices used by many TTS programs seem to me to be the best overall, but some of the Nuance RealSpeak voices are very good too.

The Text-to-Speech page on this site summarizes the features of the four main programs I was able to find on the Internet: NaturalReader, ReadPlease, Text2go and TextAloud.

I would be interested in hearing from readers (in the comments):

  1. Which tool you like best, and why.
  2. What you use TTS for, both when translating and otherwise.

Naomi de Moraes