Apr 13, 2011

memoQfest 2011 off to a strong start training trainers

Though it's hard to have a bad day in Budapest, where even the police are uncommonly kind to stupid foreigners who can't deal well with their nightmarish traffic messes and troublesome parking, both serving to highlight the value of the city's excellent public transportation system, today was an especially good day thanks to a well-organized, superbly presented "train the trainer" session at Kilgray's headquarters. The instructors were Gábor Ugray, one of Kilgray's founders and current head of development, Gergely Vandor, Life Cycle manager at Kilgray, and Angelika Zerfass, one of Europe's finest trainers for translation environment technologies such as Trados and memoQ.
Angelika Zerfass sharing her expert understanding of
      effective training for any translation tools.
The guys from Kilgray shared important insights into memoQ technologies such as the termbases and recently introduced LiveDocs feature, and advanced tool for creating collections of reference information from monolingual and bilingual sources. Gábor gave an excellent summary of important configuration techniques in memoQ termbases to increase the value and effectiveness of the automated quality assurance tools for translations.Almost as an aside, he shared gold-plated tips on approaches to setting up projects to take advantage of folder structures, future plans for qterm, Kilgray's advanced server-based terminology module, which will soon include reporting features which will facilitate compensating translators for their contributions to a project's terminology. But the most valuable part of his presentation I think was the absolutely basic advice on how to use stemming techniques to improve term matching and QA in many languages. Trainers adopting his approach to sharing this information with memoQ users will make a great contribution to their clients' productivity.

Gergely gave a comprehensive overview of "LiveDocs", a simple yet sophisticated set of tools for automated alignment and collections of reference documents that currently has nothing on the market to offer it a real challenge for the convenience and efficiency it offers users for looking up information and applying it to their translations. His presentation was also sprinkled liberally with valuable tips such as the use of memoQ's backup feature to create "jump points" for training presentations. Another important point made was that a LiveDocs corpus can be a simple way to organize projects and create multilingual reference collections for large team projects involving many languages.

About half the day's training was offered by Angelika, whose presentations rank at the top of all the software training (and other training) I have attended in the past 25+ years. A respected leader for Trados training and project consulting, she has had an eye on memoQ since its earliest day and now gives the product her full endorsement as the best solution in most cases for SMEs. Although her presentation often included specific examples and structures relevant only to memoQ, the majority of what she shared is relevant to any training. I have been involved with adult continuing education in many forms for 27 years now, and the only training I have experienced in that time which offered clear, relevant insights at this level was the training for Apple Education Sales Consultants, which was one of the key factors for Apple's early dominance in the education markets. The high opinion I have had of her work for a decade now has been confirmed time and again by colleagues who have had the fortune to be trained by her. Every time she opens her mouth I learn something important, and she's one of those rare German trainers with modesty, subtlety and insight that would make her effective with most international audiences. And the partners in her consultancy are of equal caliber. It's a privilege to know people of their character and competence and an even greater one to be able to learn from them.

After a brilliant conclusion to the day's training (with a rhetorical trick that still has me smiling), there were a few hours to relax and eat before the evening party at Kilgray's headquarters. It was a great pleasure to meet familiar and new colleagues from Canada, Latvia, France, the US and many other countries and chat about anything and everything. The only downside to the evening was the shocking absence of Unicum. How a Hungarian company can hold such a gathering without one of the country's key drivers of innovation is utterly baffling to me. But then Kilgray is good at offering alternative solutions for the challenges faced in our profession, and Kilgray's general manager Peter Reynolds deftly mixed several Irish coffees that caused the Unicum problem to be forgotten quickly. Throughout the evening I was impressed time and again by the openness of Kilgray's team and the respect they have for their competitors. When I hear serious praise for other industry leaders backed by real expressed intent of cooperation, it's hard not to believe that some of my silly hopes for great advances in interoperability for competing translation tools might not in some way become a reality that will benefit all of us. In the next few days, some of these important competitors will be here in Budapest at memoQ to share ideas, build trust and explore models of cooperation and probably spy a bit on the most innovative provider of translation technology on today's market. I look forward to meeting them and doing all I can to see best practices combined in the interests of translators, translation project facilitators, and translation customers.

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