Jul 20, 2017

memoQ Web Search examples for Portuguese

This week I'm in Lisbon teaching a 24-hour Boas Practicas (best practice) evening course for translation technology with David Hardisty and Marco Neves. Tonight we're covering web search with various sites and tools, including memoQ Web Search.

Unfortunately, Kilgray provides examples of configuring the web search only for English and German, and many of the site configurations are defective. And if you have other languages as your working pairs there isn't much you can do with those examples.

In tonight's class we had students working in the following pairs:
  • Portuguese to English
  • English to Portuguese
  • Portuguese to Russian
  • French to Portuguese
  • Spanish to Portuguese
  • German to Portuguese
So we created some example configurations to do web look-ups in all these pairs. And they are available here.

I was a bit surprised to find that I never blogged the chapters of my books that dealt with configuring the web search - I'll have to get around to that one of these days - but the memoQ Help isn't bad for this if you need a little guidance on how to add more site searches or change the configurations of these.

Anyone is welcome to do with the configurations provided here as they please; I hope they will help friends, colleagues and students in the Lusophone world to go a little farther with a great tool.

Jul 3, 2017

Something new out of Africa!

Guest contribution by Obi Udeariri
Photographs provided by Sameh Ragab/EAITA

Many years ago, Pliny the Elder declaimed Ex Africa semper aliquid novi  – "(There's) always something new (coming) out of Africa". He was referring to the continent’s diverse natural resources, but that phrase has come true yet again, because something new has again come out from Africa with respect to its diverse human resources, Homo Africanus interpres.

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and the jewel of East Africa; the stomping ground of the famed Kenyan writers Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o and Grace Ogot and the Nobel laureate Wangari Muta Maathai. With its temperate climate and lush wildlife, it’s a favorite holiday destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, who come to enjoy its excellent hospitality and numerous attractions. It’s also home to the African headquarters of the United Nations and another emerging international organization – the East African Interpreters and Translators Association.

The EAITA was formed barely a year ago, with a membership comprising language professionals from across East Africa, and in its brief life it’s already held two major events aimed at boosting professional competence, featuring outstanding keynote speakers from abroad. This year’s event was held on Saturday 1st July, was focused on the use of CAT tools to promote productivity, and was deftly and professionally handled by Sameh Ragab, a vastly experienced translation professional, CAT tools trainer, and certified United Nations Vendor, who graciously gave his audience the benefit of this extensive experience at no cost.

Technology guru Sameh Rageb of Egypt - a favorite teacher at conferences around the world!
The uptake and use of CAT tools and other cutting edge techniques and the interest in doing so is widespread. This was shown by the mini-summit nature of the event whose attendees came from all across East Africa, from Kenya itself, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania and from as far afield as the lush and steamy tropical nation of Nigeria. An accentologist would have had a field day.

The immense expansion of language services occasioned by new communication methods and technology has definitely not passed Africa by, contrary to what some may think. African countries have largely overcome their infrastructural issues, and language professionals are busy tapping away, chuchotant in interpreting booths, leveraging latest software for transcription, project management and other needs and are doing all this in real-time, backed up by IT infrastructure to match the best in other countries.

Translation and interpreting have always been a part of life in African countries. Given the continent's ethnically heterogeneous communities and countries, there has always been a need to convey meaning in written or oral form between its peoples, and the average language professional here (who is usually already natively bilingual in one or more of its lingua francas or native languages) is simply taking this inbuilt familiarity with language manipulation to the next level.

In view of the nearly full turnout of EAITA members and the interest generated by this event, international language service providers would do well to screw their monocles firmly in place and divert some of their flighty attention towards the continent’s language professionals. Not as a source of cheap labor, but rather in search of skilled, competent, thoroughbred professionals whose skills and expertise are on a par with anything obtainable worldwide, and whose diverse peoples speak, read, write, translate and interpret an equally diverse range of languages with proficiency including lingua francas such as Swahili, English, Arabic, French, Spanish, Hausa, Igbo and many, many more.

Congratulations to the EAITA for the successful event, which was also supported by the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters; I’m looking forward to more new, good things coming out of Africa!

Focused on the future.


Obi Udeariry is a specialized legal translator who translates all kinds of legal documents from French, German and Dutch to English. He has a law degree and several translation certifications and has been a full-time freelance translator for 14 years. 

He is the Head of the Nigerian chapter of the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI), and lives in Lagos, Nigeria with his wife and two sons.

Jun 25, 2017

NOW is not the National Organization of Words...

... but with over 4 billion of them, that interpretation of the News on the Web corpus at Brigham Young University would be plausible. BYU is known for its high quality research corpora available to the public. The news corpus grows by about 10,000 articles each day, and its content can be searched online or downloaded.

The results are displayed in a highlighted keyword in context (KWIC) hit list with the source publications indicated in the "CONTEXT" column:

As a legal translator, I find the BYU corpus of US Supreme Court Opinions more useful. It displays results in a similar manner:

It is difficult or impossible to configure a direct search in these corpora using memoQ Web Search, IntelliWebSearch or similar integrated web search features in translation environments. However, these tools can be used as a shortcut to open the URL, and the search string can be applied once the site has been accessed. Since I perform searches like this to study context infrequently, a standalone shortcut with IWS serves me best; if I were using this to study usage in a language I don't master very well, like Portuguese (yes there is a Portuguese corpus at BYU - actually, two of them, one historical), then I might include the URL in a set of sites which open every time I invoke memoQ Web Search or a larger set of terminology-related sites in an IntelliWebSearch group.

One great benefit of using such corpora as a language learner, is that context and collocations (words that occur together with a particular word or phrase) can be studied easily, better than with dictionaries, enabling one to sound a bit less like an idiot in a second, third, fourth or fifth language. Or for many perhaps, even their first language :-)