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ATA56 Session Review: “Finding the Student’s Inner Technologist: Best Practices for Teaching CAT Tools, Localization and Terminology Online”

December 8th, 2015 | by LTD | No Comments

Panel: Julie Tay, Barbara Inge Karsch, Jon Ritzdorf and Kane Gao

by Matt Griffin

Members of NYU’s Department of Foreign Languages, Translation & Interpreting discussed teaching students about computer-assisted translation, localization and terminology.

Barbara Inge Karsch, owner of BIK Terminology (http://bikterminology.com/) and Chair of the ATA’s Terminology Committee, introduced her approach to teaching terminology, emphasizing the theory that informs the practical aspects of terminology work and glossary building. Courses are typically offered online as webinars, which creates a unique, technology-enabled learning environment. Useful resources cited were the online glossaries of Microsoft, SAP or IATE.

Freelancer and former student, Kane Gao, explained further how critical terminology can be to projects in business (http://clmgnyc.com/).

Jon Ritzdorf, CAT tool evangelist and instructor at NYU and Middlebury (formerly Monterey), spoke about “Best Practices for Teaching CAT Tools & Localization, Or: How I Found My 10%.” He began with the insight that his class participants have changed from digital immigrants to digital natives since he first began teaching (http://ritzdorfacademy.com/). In an age of short attention spans and distraction, Jon asked himself, what has made his CAT course successful over the more than ten years that he has offered it?

The 10% of course material that students may retain, Jon explained, is the result of struggling with a material. Borrowing from the advertising concept of “WIG” (wildly important goals), Jon says that he focuses on helping students retain a 10% of critical knowledge. The key, he told the audience, is to focus on two or three WIGs. For example, gain confidence, ensure that students can work with any CAT tool and acquire the skill in a short period.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times,” Jon said, citing Bruce Lee to explain his philosophy of teaching. The first few days and weeks matter most. Don’t overprotect students, Jon adds, make them work hard through drilling and repetition of drills. Let the students struggle to figure out things – doing is learning. Additionally, to improve as an educator ask students how they have used the knowledge they gained.

In conclusion, Julie Tay, educator and panel moderator, thanked the panelists for bringing their energy and passion for translation and technology to the classroom and educating students and translators about tools use (http://aceforum.org/). Students interested in testing and learning on tools can refer to several resources, among others the ATA’s Toolbar, Education and Language Technology divisions, and its resources committee.

Open Standards Can Improve Your Translations

January 4th, 2013 | by LTD | No Comments

Session LT-12 at ATA 2012
Presenter: Asa Ahlgren
Reviewed by: Rubén de la Fuente

Open standards are great. They allow to pick the best translator for a job based only on linguistic and subject matter expertise, and not on what particular CAT tool they use. In other words, they provide means to exchange files from one proprietary format to another. Some of the L10N open standards are:

TMX: the exchange format for translation memories, probably the oldest and most supported one.

TBX: the exchange format for term bases.

SRX: the exchange format for segmentation rules. Segmentation rules provide the guidelines for your CAT tool on how to break a text in translation units and might be slightly different from one tool to another. SRX allows to use rules from one tool in another one.

XLIFF: the exchange format for localizeable files. A few years ago, the process of extracting translatable text and protecting code and format information from one file was tool dependent, e.g. You could use Trados to prepare a file for translation, but then you would have to use Trados to translate it.

Unfortunately, commercial tools do not support open standards as much as they should, and you need to look for work-arounds. Okapi Framework, an open-source project initiated by ENLASO, provides a set of localization engineering tools that allow to convert from and to open standards, so that you have an alternative not to turn down a job because you don’t have a particular tool. Double check with your client first, though: not all companies are embracing open standards as much as they should.

Tools for Quality Assurance and Translation Memory Maintenance

November 7th, 2012 | by LTD | 1 Comment

Session LT-2 at ATA 2012
Presenter: Tuomas Kostiainen
Reviewed by: Katalin Varga

There were memorable milestones in translation technology over the past decades. The development of new tools and techniques is happening at an amazing speed, you really have to be watchful to keep up with the progress. Even though there are plenty of tools we can be grateful for, I still believe QA tools have gained a very good position in this race.

I clearly remember when many years ago I struggled with hundreds of translated TTX files, done by several translators, having enormous volume of technical data in them. Time was running so fast and my firm commitment as a project manager to check and fix everything seemed to lack any reality. I was eager to find a solution that could help me as I clearly felt that checking such volume from certain aspects truly exceeds the limit of what a human eye can check. That was the point when I met QA Distiller first. I felt as if I was in an amusement park with a daily pass and I could try out all the rides. And of course, later on I met many other members of the QA family.

When I planned my schedule at ATA 2012 I was absolutely certain that this presentation cannot be missed as I was really curious how Tuomas would summarize the current status of QA tools.

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