Sep 28, 2013

memoQ filters for static and dynamic views and navigation

The filtering functions for translation documents in memoQ are really cool. I'm not talking about the import filters for different types of documents, though most of these are rather good, and improvements are being made all the time. I mean the ways in which you can use filters to look at the content you are translating and sort and navigate it in different ways.

The filters can be used to create static views from one or more translation documents selected on the Documents tab of the Translations window of Project home using the Create view command.

Creating a view in memoQ

I use this function a lot to create comment and feedback lists for clients or select some particular part of my content that I want to save and work on or share separate from the rest. Exported as bilingual RTF tables, the content can be corrected or questions answered in the comments column, and all the changes and commentary can be re-imported to update your project.

What I use even more often are the dynamic filters in the translation window. There are three main types: sorting filters in a dropdown list, source and target text filters in the fields above the related columns, and the dilog filter with its many options, which is invoked with the funnel icon (2):

Source and target text filtering of the segments can be made case-sensitive by marking the icon (1). Any number of filtering operations can be applied cumulatively in sequence, and filters applied with the source and target text fields can be cleared with the red X icon (4). To clear a sorting filter, you must select "No sorting" from the dropdown menu.

These view filters can be very helpful for translation and quality assurance. But what many do not realize is that memoQ also allows you to navigate through translation segments using filter criteria. This is done with Edit > Goto Next (Ctrl+G). The filter criteria to apply for navigation are chosen under Edit > Goto Next Settings (Ctrl+Shift+G).

This often has the advantage over view filtering that all the segments remain visible and you can see the context better. Examples of this are shown for navigating to commented segments and navigating through the many footnotes in a document to check their formatting in the short (3.5 minute) video tutorial below. It was prepared with the most recent build of memoQ 2013 (6.5.15) and shows the new "golden" bubble icon for commented segments. The video demonstrates (with footnotes) how tag type can be used as a filtering or segment navigation criterion. This might come in handy for an academic thesis or a legal document with many footnotes to check.

Use the icon at the bottom right of the video to toggle full screen mode for viewing; this makes it much easier to see the details of this somewhat fast-paced clip.
0:17  Static views on the View tab of the Translations window
0:30  Dynamic source and target text field filtering
0:40  Dialog filtering with the funnel icon (3rd cumulative filter)
0:52  Using filters to navigate: Goto Next (rationale & contrast with view filter)
1:20  Goto Next settings for navigating commented segments
1:42  Navigating footnotes in a translation document with Goto Next
1:55  Setting the navigation filter for a tag type
2:30  Getting rid of a static view to allow segment joining
3:23  Oops! I join something I shouldn't and split the segment again, hoping nobody will notice.
Subscribe to my free YouTube channel and I think you'll receive updates of new video tutorials I add (or at least it'll be easier to find them). I would also like to thank Ulrich Scheffler of for providing me with a Camtasia license recently to support my teaching - it's much better than the free Open Source CamStudio I started working with months ago, though I can definitely recommend CamStudio as a good tool to get started with making demonstration or teaching videos.

Sep 26, 2013

Getting a grip on memoQ QA resources

I think the initial reaction of a lot of people to memoQ's QA functions is overwhelmed bafflement. And that's really a shame. This simple, versatile and power feature included in the translation environment can save a lot of time and grief. But perhaps Kilgray and many memoQ advocates and trainers (yours truly included) have not taken as user-friendly an approach to presenting this feature as we might. The problem starts, I think, with the default QA profile in memoQ - as far as I know the only configured profile that is delivered with the software. It has nearly every damned option turned on and drives many people crazy with long lists of uninteresting alleged "errors". Even with sorting to group the problems that are of interest, the huge list of QA warnings is often like a big, nasty finger wagging in one's face. It just pisses me off.

In my previous memoQuickie posts on QA profiles and terminology QA as well as a later post with a demo video showing terminology QA in a LiveDocs alignment/editing workflow for a dictated translation, I tried to show how one can create focused QA profiles that can accomplish specific, important tasks like verifying tag integrity or checking a translation against a list of critical, mandatory terminology, but when one of my frequent collaborators called for advice on how to use memoQ to check the integrity and format of more than one hundred footnotes in an OCR document and admitted that she still had not created a custom QA profile for tags and didn't know how, I realized that my approach up to now has probably been a colossal failure.

I keep telling people how easy it is to create some of those custom QA profiles. But why should they have to for common tasks? Why doesn't Kilgray help them out a little with some demo QA profiles than can be used for common tasks, avoiding the "noise" of the point-the-finger-at-everything default profile? After all, there are many demonstration configurations for that LQA feature that is of little or no use to the freelance community. Why not something that would benefit more users?

Well, there are now a few simplified QA profiles available on Kilgray's Language Terminal:

Kilgray Language Terminal - get your QA profiles

Language Terminal is a community resource with a growing number of features, most of which I haven't blogged about for lack of time. Its future is far more interesting to me than its present, but it currently includes a small but growing library of resources such as custom filter configurations and QA profiles which can help users with certain tasks. It also offers nice online backup integration for memoQ projects and a free InDesign server. The latter can be used by anyone (including those with other tools) to create PDF previews of InDesign files they have received or translated, and the integration of this InDesign server with memoQ desktop projects is expected to increase in the not-distant future.

The three QA profiles (MQRES files which can be imported to your memoQ installation in seconds) are the ones I use most often. "Tags only" allows me to verify that I haven't messed up my target file formatting by leaving out important tags, and "Terminology check" lets me use an approved list of terms to ensure that they are translated as agreed with the client.

The "Empty QA profile" is great for the ego. Apply that to your project, and the QA check will show no errors or warning at all. Fantastic, right? If you decide that there is some particular type of error or maybe a few types that you want to check in one go, it's a simple matter to clone this file, rename it and edit to activate the QA tests of interest. Much easier than turning off all the garbage in the default profile.

Any of those three simplified profiles might make a good basis for creating an automatic QA check that best meets your needs for a particular project. And if you want to share it with others, Kilgray's Language Terminal is a good place to do so.

Nonetheless, I do hope that future builds or releases of memoQ might include these or other QA profile examples in every memoQ installation. That would surely help more users get a proper grip on memoQ's best quality assurance features.

Sep 12, 2013

Stridonium's Third Way: freelance translation teams

On September 30th, Stridonium will host its second professional education workshop in Holten in the Netherlands, The Third Way, to discuss practical strategies for teams of freelance language service providers to overcome the barriers of distance and technology and keep pace with the latest demands for service in a rapidly evolving market. Participants can arrive the night before the workshop for a relaxed networking dinner, enjoying the venue's outstanding cuisine and a good night's rest (a limited number of rooms are available at no additional charge to early registrants as part of the workshop package) before the the 9:00 am start the next day with a discussion led by Chartered Linguist Christina Guy and Helen Gibbons on the benefits and practicalities of working in teams and the TagTeam concept.

Lunch at the Stridonium terminology workshop in Holten
"The three-course lunch ... was the best I
have experienced at a conference venue."
Demonstrations and hands-on practice with tools such as TeamViewer for coaching and work collaboration alone or in combination with other media will follow with Christina on-site and me at a remote location, and after lunch I will continue teaching how free online applications can be used for restricted sharing of reference resources for group work, including translation memories and terminologies. Novel possibilities for dynamic group translation and review - almost like translation management servers but without platform restrictions - will be presented for discussion and testing. The early afternoon session will also include a brief overview of interoperable file formats for different combinations of translation environment tools among team members.

After the afternoon tea break, colleague Riccardo Schiaffino will join us remotely from Colorado in the USA to present ideas for creative, collaborative thinking in distributed teams. Riccardo is a technical translator, language consultant and teacher with long experience in managing team processes for translation and developing cost-effective, intelligent solutions to challenges expected and spontaneous. I've followed him particularly over the years for his good advice on SDL Trados and tools such as ApSIC Xbench (a QA tool which I think he knows more about than anyone else in my circles... check out his Xbench training page!).

The workshop fee, including the hotel room Sunday night (but excluding the cost of dinner) is €250 (€225 for Stridonium members) ex VAT. The availability of rooms included in the workshop fee is limited, so book early. Further information and updates can be found on the Stridonium events page, which also includes a button link for registration and payment ("Register for the Holten Lectures 2").

Attendees should bring a WLAN-capable laptop to use for the practical exercises.

The workshop is designed for freelance translators, language resource managers and others interested in effective teamwork strategies and looking to optimize workflow and keep options open for flexible language teams.

CPD points have been applied for with Bureau BTV in the Netherlands. (Update: 6 CPD points have been awarded.)

Sep 11, 2013

Translation project management in Wiesbaden... no bull

Many corporate translation projects today are very complex. Fewer texts are based on paper documents, but all the more derive from web sites, software, databases, multimedia, engineering drawing files or publishing layouts, and they may often involve coordinated efforts for many languages for many formats. Project managers must work with specialists in a variety of fields such as translation, localization, software development and web design, advertising and commercial graphics. A roadmap is critical to cope with such challenges. Reliable roadmaps are based on grounded, practical knowledge of project management in general as well as the specifics relevant to localization.

Project management not only helps organize and define strategies, but also provides flexibility: the flexibility to refine something which works to work even better, and the flexibility to respond when things don’t go as expected. Good project management increases the probability of success and offers peace of mind, which increase customer satisfaction and provide opportunities for growth.

The workshop (in English) on November 4th and 5th in Wiesbaden, Germany will enhance your practical project management skills for translation and localization. It is designed for language service experts, corporate executives, project managers, heads of translation departments and translators interested in project management.

The workshop will be taught by Loctimize partners Angelika Zerfass and Martin Beuster. Ms. Zerfass is an independent trainer and consultant for translation technologies with more than a decade of experience in the field, a frequent speaker at localization conferences and university lecturer. Mr. Beuster is the managing director at Context (Ireland) and has over 25 years of success in the language services industry. As a training consultant, he offers services to corporate clients, professionals in multi-lingual environments and language service providers.

Further details and registration information are available here.

Sep 8, 2013

Erich Kästner reloaded with PEMT

What to do with a sangria'd Saturday night starting to cool after a long brain baked day of heat and chemical text transmogrifications? That was the question in my mind when the words came over the skypewire asking me to deal once again with the oh so important question of how machine translation advances transform our profession, like blacksmiths of old Ms. Kelley tells us we wait on the Brave New Future our wordforges make as we strike and turn the nails and shape them to drive deep and hold fast the lids of our cost-conscious coffins.

Why beat 'em? Just join 'em, what the Hell, give 'em the words well earned. So a thirty year break with Kästner I broke, took the first poem that popped with his name, slammed it through Google and off I went to a corner of quiet in the chaotic cantinho for lombo asado and well-washed postedit pleasure.

Erich Kaestner

Die Entwicklung der Menschheit

Einst haben die Kerls auf den Bäumen gehockt,
behaart und mit böser Visage.
Dann hat man sie aus dem Urwald gelockt
und die Welt asphaltiert und aufgestockt,
bis zur dreißigsten Etage.

Da saßen sie nun, den Flöhen entflohn,
in zentralgeheizten Räumen.
Da sitzen sie nun am Telefon.
Und es herrscht noch genau derselbe Ton
wie seinerzeit auf den Bäumen.

Sie hören weit. Sie sehen fern.
Sie sind mit dem Weltall in Fühlung.
Sie putzen die Zähne. Sie atmen modern.
Die Erde ist ein gebildeter Stern
mit sehr viel Wasserspülung.

Sie schießen die Briefschaften durch ein Rohr.
Sie jagen und züchten Mikroben.
Sie versehn die Natur mit allem Komfort.
Sie fliegen steil in den Himmel empor
und bleiben zwei Wochen oben.

Was ihre Verdauung übrigläßt,
das verarbeiten sie zu Watte.
Sie spalten Atome. Sie heilen Inzest.
Und sie stellen durch Stiluntersuchungen fest,
daß Cäsar Plattfüße hatte.

So haben sie mit dem Kopf und dem Mund
Den Fortschritt der Menschheit geschaffen.
Doch davon mal abgesehen und
bei Lichte betrachtet sind sie im Grund
noch immer die alten Affen.

— Erich Kästner    
The development of humanity

Once the guy who perched on the trees,
hairy and evil visage.
Then you have lured them out of the jungle
and the paved world and increased,
to the thirtieth floor.

There they sat, the fleas fled,
in centrally heated rooms.
As they sit on the phone.
And there is still exactly the same sound
as it did on the trees.

You hear far. Watch TV.
They are in touch with the universe.
You brush your teeth. You breathe modern.
The Earth is an educated Star
rinse with plenty of water.

You shoot the correspondence through a pipe.
They hunt and breed germs.
You mistaken the nature with all the comforts.
They fly steeply into the sky
and stay for two weeks above.

What makes their digestive left,
they process to cotton.
They split atoms. They heal incest.
And they realize by style investigation,
that Caesar had flat feet.

So they have with the head and the mouth
Created the progress of mankind.
But it apart and
they are considered in the light of the basic
still the old monkeys.

— Google Translate    

After the evening I had a look at what other masterful versions could be found of this work in English; many would indeed give the impression that Google is Good Enough. Like this, my God, or that (double-ack, farther down). This at least tried to rhyme but the translator failed to grasp the text, and the name on the best of the lot on page 5 of this PDF suggests that those coming late to English are not always the worst.

But all that came later. First I had before me the task of post-editing the silken syllables of Friend Google, which I still had not read as the jug of sangria arrived at the table. Somehow I was not quite in the mood. To be fair, I should first soak up the spirit, play a bit with the text, think about it and what I feel distinguishes Kästner and expresses his wit.

I can no more imagine a Kästner poem without rhyme than I can the work of Wilhelm Busch, and while a literal translation might help one learning German to appreciate some subtleties of the original, I think to render him without rhyme for a reader with no German is a criminal act for which there should be some terrible punishment I do not want to imagine. Better to fail at a rhyming Kästner translation than abandon hope of delivering some subversive punch with sarcastic swing he might approve.

So I scratched out tipsy lines in my notebook, thinking about this tale of Man's dubious ascent in the time since he descended from the trees and remade the world in His image.

The Descent of Man

Men once were but squatters in trees,
hairy, with faces of horror.
But drawn from the forest they please
to pave and pile a world on its knees
with their power to the thirtieth floor.

They sit now in comfort, flown from their fleas,
In chambers fine, with central heat.
on the phone voices chatter and freeze
the mind with that tone from the trees,
evolved to the very same beat.

They hear words so distant, see images far.
They are One with a cosmos so lush.
Their hygiene and breathing reveal how they are
One with the planet, this Shiningest Star
with no shortage of water to flush. 

Their missives fly straight and true through the wire.
They seek and cultivate germs and their why, 
and to Nature give comfort entire.
They fly Heaven high and boldly aspire
two weeks to remain in the sky.

What they cannot digest they do convert
to soft and pliable cotton mat.
They split the atom, heal incest's hurt. 
Their style analyses, smart and alert 
show Caesar's feet were flat.

With their heads and their words filled with such might
human progress they make which none do escape.
But considered soberly in the day's light,
for all their learning, creations and flight,
their remain at heart the same ape.

That quick hour of wine and wordplay settled my mood and my stomach and readied me for that Future of Post-editing which all the wisest noggins among Linguistic Sausage Producers say awaits us.

I tried to be true to the principles of Modern Quantitative Quality and keep the edit distance down to reduce the costs for my Imaginary Overseer, but I am a badly trained monkey and I kept wanting to do more with Google's dead words. It bothered me more than a little, moreover, that with the bad English text before me it was much harder to refer to the original German for guidance and inspiration. But the fact that PEMT proved five times faster in the end than the original draft translation will perhaps convince those with minds open like a sieve that MT is now the way to go for highly evolved marketing translation of which Darwin would surely approve.

The development of humanity

Once the fellows perched in trees,
hairy, with visages fell.
Then lured from the jungle
they paved and stacked the world
to thirty floors of Hell.

There they sat, their fleas they fled,
to sit in rooms well-heated.
As there they sit, phones in hand,
one hears the very echoes still
of their past arboreal chatter.

Far they hear and far they see,
their universe is One.
They brush their teeth; they breathe just right;
their Earth is a star alight
with the shine of rinsing water.

Conduits of correspondence swift sing
as they hunt and culture germs.
They give to Nature all their comforts
and ascend straight upward to the sky
and two weeks there above abide.

What digestion leaves,
they make to cotton.
Split atoms. Heal incest.
And their style investigations show,
that Caesar's feet were flat at best.

So they do with head and mouth
the world of mankind's progress shape.
But that aside and
in the light
one sees the same old ape.
Hm. I suppose if I were to meet Mr. Kästner in the afterlife, I'd get a fat shiner for that effort (and possibly for both). But what can one expect from a designated hater and naysayer who simply cannot make himself believe with the best of intentions and all the force of his scientific and technical training that the sound and fury about machine translations signifies anything fit for his purpose?

Sep 4, 2013

Genius lost and discovered: Seamus Heaney

"'Xxx' is dead." I dread such words usually. Too seldom do they speak of the passing of a Ceausescu or an Idi Amin, too often of some friend or family member or colleague who will in fact be missed, and if not by me so very much, then at least by some whose happiness is important to me.

Or Xxx is another who reminds me of my deep ignorance of the breadth of Western Culture. Thus it was with Seamus Heaney, who died last week. "Who was that?" I asked.

The usual exclamations of astonishment ensued. An Irishman. A poet. Aren't they all in their cups? And a translator. That inspired only a little more interest. Then I saw a tweet from Jost Zetzsche which mentioned Beowulf.

Seamus Heaney

The appreciation of his work Jost shared told of the inspiration this translation had given to a young boy, and I was hooked. Hard.

I have never been able to find much enthusiasm for this Anglo-Saxon classic. Too f-ing obscure in its stilted translations, with my command of older English forms barely managing Chaucer in the original and probably missing half of that.

Could this man in fact have raised this dead text to a living thing to capture the imagination of young boys and grown men? Such word-sorcery is too rare and always to be celebrated.

So. I downloaded the in fact monolingual bilingual Kindle version from and sailed to the land of the Shieldings, watched Beowulf's struggles with Grendel and his monstrous mother with tense fascination before the best part of the tale, as old Beowulf, a tired king of 50 years' reign bade farewell to his cowardly chosen guard and faced the ravaging dragon alone, meeting his doom with but one loyal man at his side.

And as I read on to the funereal mourning and the keening voices in Heaney's voice, which spoke of the hero lost and the dark days ahead, I felt that the world was indeed a little darker for the loss of the Bard who gave a hero's tale new life to last another thousand years and inspire new generations to stand firm against the wyrm.

Sep 2, 2013

The Holten Lectures: upcoming CPD events

Stridonium workshop venue in Holten, NL
After its debut with a day on corpus compilation and analysis for legal terminology last June, the Stridonium series of Holten Lectures will continue with two events planned for this autumn at the venue in the east of the Netherlands.

September 30th will present concepts and strategies for "The Third Way" - methods and technologies to support teams of translators collaborating and exchanging information effectively from any location. The day will include presentations and practice with simple tools for small "conferences" for project planning, content consultation and instruction, practical guidelines and hands-on practice for dynamic terminology exchange and maintenance, making translation memories available even to those who do not use CAT tools and a basic overview of "interoperable" formats to determine the most effective strategies for data sharing. Workshop instruction will be a blend of on-site and remote teaching to better emphasize the day's lessons. The fee for this workshop, including the hotel room Sunday night (but excluding the cost of dinner) is €250 (€225 for Stridonium members). The availability of rooms included in the workshop fee is limited, so book early. Online registration will open next week but arrangement can be made before then with the e-mail contact below.

On November 17th, there will be a one day workshop on the Open Source translation environment tool OmegaT, taught by Marc Prior, who has been involved in advocacy, education and coordination with that tool for many years. I've been frankly amazed by the range of function offered by this free software and the fact that it often provides features and file compatibility not available in leading commercial tools. And, as with many other tools, there are options for integrating various kinds of server resources. For individual or even corporate users this is a tool worth taking seriously and perhaps including in your workflows.

Each Monday event in Holten offers a Sunday night arrival and networking dinner to prepare for a refreshed start early the next day with the sessions running from 9 am to 5:30 pm. The days I spent at this venue last summer impressed me with the quality of its intimate meeting facilities, outstanding staff service and cuisine and beautiful natural environment around the hotel on the outskirts of the village.

An application for continuing professional education points has been made for these events with the Bureau BTV for those in the Netherlands who require them to maintain their certified status.

More information on these and other events will be forthcoming; for further details on schedules, content and availability, you can also contact info (at) stridonium (dot) com for updates.