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Feb 24, 2021

A memoQ must-have: the definitive guide to MT use!

People who know me and my work know that I have a very low opinion of machine translation use in most language service situations. Even in the best scenarios, it offers no value to me in my routine work as a translator of scientific and intellectual property texts (patent filings and litigation mostly). So why am I totally excited about the new e-book by my friend and colleague Marek Pawelec? For several reasons.

  • MT discussions bore the crap out of me. But when Marek asked me to review a pre-release copy, I was actually entertained by his clear, concise writing and the superb way he explained basic concepts of resource management in general that most memoQ users still don't master. I was shocked at how much fun I had reading about a subject I hate!
  • He talks about more than just how to configure memoQ to use DeepL, Gargle Trashlate or some other MT engine. He details strategies and best practices for effective use that many people might not be aware of. He talks about how to circumvent prohibitions on MT use and how to catch people who do that. And more. I didn't learn something on every page, but it's probably not an exaggeration to say I did on every other one.
  • Pseudo-translation using a special plug-in for the Pre-translation step is covered in wonderful detail. This technique has been very important to my work for nearly 20 years now. I use it to identify hard-coded interface strings in software I translate and to check and quote large documents that might have paragraphs or whole pages scanned and inserted as graphics that look like editable text - or charts whose text can be selected in the document but never show up on the memoQ working grid after import. Marek also discusses other uses of pseudo-translation I never thought of (layout checks, for example) which could have saved me a lot of grief over the years.
The only complaint I have about this book is that it's too cheap. The author teaches me more in its 36 pages than most can in 200 pages, and the learning is worth a Hell of a lot more to my business than fifty cents per page. Anyone else would probably have written much more and communicated far less of value, but that's a special gift that Marek has. Long ago, his talk at a memoQ Fest was the first time that regular expressions (regex) made any sense to me (as a casual programmer for about 40 years at the time I had approached the topic many times and mostly just found confusion). There aren't many people in this world who can take complex topics and make them seem simple and interesting to nearly anyone. Marek can. Richard Feynman could. I can't name many more on that list.

So... all I can really add is to tell you to go spend €18 here: https://payhip.com/b/tF62

The value you'll receive as a memoQ user at any level, even if you never use machine translation, is a large multiple of that price.



Jan 25, 2021

Is it worthwhile to upgrade to a newer version of memoQ?

 


I am often surprised how many people still work with very old versions of memoQ, though I shouldn't be. Royalties continue to dribble in from books I wrote covering memoQ versions 6 and 2013 R2, and I still see questions from people using versions 4 and 5 as many of us anticipate the release of version 10 later in 2021. In several of the guides I wrote, I tried to give a summary of important changes in versions which are relevant to individual translators, but that's really a rather subjective, moving target and a somewhat thankless task. Well, that task is now a little easier, and you can handle it yourself.

The new "memoQ Features You Missed" web page makes version comparisons a lot easier. In some cases.


Unfortunately, the current version of this page only permits comparisons from the horrible 8.0 ("Adriatic") version or later to the present version. I can hack the URL to make it appear that a comparison is made from version 6.0, for example, but only features introduced in version 8.1 or later will be listed. It is, nonetheless, rather useful for most of us.

I hope that the company adds more information to cover older versions, because - as stated - there are still quite a few people out there on rather old versions, and a more complete summary of improvements might prove helpful in decisions to upgrade.

This page has also helped to settle a few arguments about the extent to which some recent versions are useful or not to individual translators doing particular types of assignments. The most recent version changes have been largely focused on server-based processes of little relevance to individuals in most cases, but for certain specialties there have been new features of good value introduced.

I expect that the value of this tool - if it is maintained by the software provider - will continue to increase with time. It will certainly save ME a lot of time answering questions about whether it is "worthwhile" to upgrade.

Jan 8, 2021

memoQ Courses, Resources & Consulting at Translation Tribulations Tech

The new online school offers a variety of resources for new and experienced users of desktop and server editions

For many years now, I have advocated for better professional education for users of translation process support software at every level. I have tested curriculum delivery platforms, better ways of making information more accessible to those who need it, and more. In a limited scope, this has been a successful effort.

My greatest hope in these efforts was to encourage professional associations, technology providers and universities to do better by their clientele. I would judge the success there as mixed, at best. The wind of change discussed, for many of them, could fill one's sails... for a voyage off the edge of their flat Earth. Their reluctance to provide even minimal indexes for navigating copious video content is simply baffling, as an example.

Even with the current pandemic, I have seen little progress, though that may be as much for reasons such as those which kept me largely silent last year. It's hard to think about doing things better when you have to ask honestly which of the people you care for will be lost because of the refusal of so many national governments to do so.

In any case, I've always been one to advocate more personal involvement. If a person says they're hungry, give them food and listen to their stories. Cash may not be the answer. The courses, consulting and resources offered through my license of the Teachable platform will cover much of issues and assistance for which I have been an advocate in the translation sector for two decades. I also hope to involve other language service educators to offer their unique and valuable approaches in this venue. This is not to compete with any existing associations or companies, but rather to continue to show them how we can all work together to help users develop the competence and confidence so often needed and not found.

This, like all of us, is a work in progress. Check out Translation Tribulations Tech (here, or by clicking the school graphic at the top) and see if anything there provides missing elements for your professional toolkit.

Some of the initial offerings include:
Additional courses, consulting and tools for
  • regular expressions as an aid for translation of patterned information like currency expressions, dates, legal citations, coded information, etc.
  • better source document segmentation in projects
  • memoQ server basics for collaborating groups and small companies
  • memoQ and other technology for legal translation
will be available soon.

This platform provides a long-needed mechanism for providing more detailed learning assistance than I have enjoyed with this blog and my YouTube channel, and future publication habits on my part will reflect that. I'm excited about many ideas for moving ahead in quick and quicker steps with memoQ and so many other resources that many of us depend on for professional relief and productivity.