May 25, 2018

Getting on Better Terms with memoQ

The pre-event webinar for the terminology workshop in Amsterdam on June 30th was held yesterday; for those who missed it, the recording is here, with a few call-outs added toward the end to make it easier to find information on other matters mentioned:

On the whole, I think the new presentation platform I'm using Zoom – works well. I was particularly happy to discover when my Internet router died suddenly and mysteriously about 50 minutes into the talk that the recording was not lost, and when the talk resumed a few minutes later with a different router connection, a recording of that part was made in a separate folder, so the parts could be joined later in a video editor without much ado.

I've held perhaps a dozen online meetings with clients since I licensed Zoom recently, and I'm very pleased with its flexibility, even though the many options have tripped me up in embarrassing ways a few times. So, time permitting, I'll try to do at least one talk like this each month on some aspect of translation technology in the interests of promoting better practice. The next will be held on June 21st and will cover various PDF workflows using iceni technology. Suggestions for later presentations are welcome.

The talk yesterday on terminology in memoQ was just a quick (ha ha - one hour) overview of possibilities; much more detail on these matters will be provided in the Amsterdam workshop and summer courses at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, which are open to the public at very reasonable rates (about €130 for 25 hours of instruction). There will be a lot more in this topic area in the future in various venues; right now there are some very interesting developments afoot with memoQ and other matters at Kilgray, and other providers also have good things in the works. So stay tuned.

May 21, 2018

Best Practices in Translation Technology: summer course in Lisbon July 16-21

As usual each year, the summer school at Universidade Nova de Lisboa is offering quite a variety of inexpensive, excellent intensive courses, including some for the practice of translation. This year includes a reprise of last year's Best Practices in Translation Technology from July 16th to 21st, with some different topics and approaches.

Centre for English, Translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies

The course will be taught by the same team as last year – yours truly, Marco Neves and David Hardisty – and cover the following areas:
  • Good translation workflows.
  • Using voice recognition in translation.
  • Using machine translation in a humane, intelligent way.
  • Using checklists to improve communication in translation.
  • Using glossaries, bilingual texts and other references in multiplatform environments.
  • Good practices for using terminology and reference texts in the target language.
  • Planning and creating lists for auto-translation rules and the basics of regular expressions for filters.

Some knowledge of the memoQ translation environment and translation experience are required.

The course is offered in the evening from 6 pm to 10 pm Monday (July 16th) through Friday (July 20th), with a Saturday (July 21st) session for review and exams from 9 am to 2 pm. This allows free days to explore Lisbon and the surrounding region and get to know Portugal and its culture.

Tuition costs for the general public are €130 for the 25 hours of instruction. The university certainly can't be accused of price-gouging :-) Summer course registration instructions are here (currently available only in Portuguese; I'm not sure if/when an English version will be available, but the instructors can be contacted for assistance if necessary).

Two other courses offered this summer at Uni Nova with similar schedules and cost are: Introduction to memoQ (taught by David and Marco – a good place to get a solid grounding in memoQ prior to the Best Practices course) from  July 9–14, 2018 and Translation Project Management Tools from September 3–8, 2018.

All courses are taught in English and Portuguese in a mix suitable for the participants in the individual courses.

May 10, 2018

Zooming inside iceni InFix for PDF translation: web meeting on 21 June 2018

Over the course of the last nine years, I have published a few articles about ways that I have found the PDF editor iceni InFix useful for my translation and terminology research work. Throughout that time iceni has continued to improve that product as well as develop other technologies for PDF translation assistance, such as the online TransPDF service now integrated with memoQ.
It's one thing to have a tool and in many cases quite another thing to know how to make the best use of it. This situation is further complicated by the very wide range of scenarios in which an editor like iceni InFix might be useful and the great differences one often finds in the needs and expectations of the clientele from one translator to another. In the product's early days I followed the commentaries of José Henrique Lamensdorf, a Brazilian engineer with long experience in technical translation, desktop publishing and other fields, and while I consider him to be among the most useful sources of good technical information for me in my early days as a commercial translator, his project needs were very different from mine, and most of the things he mentioned a decade or more ago, though very relevant to people heavily involved with publishing, weren't a fit for my clientele.
That changed as iceni expanded the feature set over the years and I began to encounter many cases where OCR and a full Adobe Acrobat license did not quite do what I needed in a simple way.

Some weeks ago I had an online meeting scheduled with a client company to discuss the advantages of certain support technologies with that company's translation and project management staff. We tried to use TeamViewer for the discussion, but unfortunately my license could not accommodate the 6+ people involved, and I was reluctant to fork over the extra cash needed for a 15 or 25 participant license, especially because some other clients had issues with TeamViewer which I never clearly understood, leading their IT departments to ban it. And the TVS recording files, while generally quite decent for viewing and of manageable size due to an excellent compression CODEC, are a nightmare to convert cleanly to MP4 or other common video formats. Just as I was caught in this dilemma, my esteemed Portuguese to UK English translation colleague and gifted instructor at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, David Hardisty, enthusiastically re-introduced me to Zoom videoconferencing.

I had seen Zoom before briefly when IAPTI decided to ditch the Citrix conferencing solutions and use it for webinars and staff meetings, but at the time I was too distracted by other matters to remember the name or notice the details. And, as we know, there one finds the Devil.

Zoom is powerful and flexible. For about €13 a month for my Pro license, I can invite up to 100 people for a web meeting, with quite a few useful options that I am still getting a grip on. Being used to the relative simplicity of TeamViewer, I am a little overwhelmed sometimes, and I have had a few recorded client meetings where the video was flawed because I got the screen sharing options mixed up. But the basics are actually dead simple if one pays a bit of attention.

A Zoom "web meeting", by the way, is what I would call a webinar, but that term means something else in Zoomworld, involving up to 50 speakers and something like 10,000 participants for some monthly premium. Not my thing. If the crowd is bigger than 10 in an online or a face-to-face class, I start to feel the constrictions of time and individual attention like an unruly anaconda around me.

But in any case, for someone who has spent many years looking for better teaching tools, Zoom is looking pretty good right now. And it enables me to share what I hope is useful professional information without dealing with the organizational nonsense and politics often associated with platforms licensed by some companies and professional associations. All for the monthly price of a cheap lunch.

So I've decided to do a series of free public talks using Zoom, not only to share some of a considerable backlog of new and exciting technical matters for translators, translation project managers and support staff and language service consumers, but also to get a better handle on how I can use this tool to support friends, colleagues and students around the world. Previously I announced a terminology talk (on May 24th, mostly about memoQ); now I have decided to share some of the ways that iceni InFix helps me in my work and what it might do for you too.

Soon Thursday, June 21st at 16:00 Central European Time (15:00 Lisbon time) I'll be talking about how you can get your fix of useful PDF handling for a variety of challenging situations. You are welcome to join me for this.

The registration link is here.

May 1, 2018

All-round Translator Terminology Workshop Pre-event Webinar

Link to registration for the webinar

As previously announced, on June 30th in Amsterdam, the All-round Translator (ART) is offering the workshop "Coming to Terms: Mining & Management" covering a range of practical topics for applied corpus linguistics, optimizing terminology management and efficient sharing of terms in teams. This technical workshop will cover a range of tools and techniques as described on the ART event page.

A month before the Amsterdam workshop I will be presenting a free webinar offering an overview of some of the material planned for June as well as related topics with a particular focus on one of the tools I use most - memoQ - with highlights of recent improvements in its terminology features with memoQ versions 8.3 and 8.4.

This webinar is open to anyone interested regardless of whether or not they plan to attend the June workshop. The talk will use Zoom, which I adopted for remote teaching of corporate clients and others because of its greater versatility and superior recording facilities compared to my old favorite, TeamViewer. (Technically it's also a "meeting", not a "webinar" in Zoom-speak, but that's a distinction without a difference for people who don't feel up to 50 simultaneous speakers and 10,000 viewers.) The platform is free for participants to use, and if I'm not mistaken, a web browser can also be used, though interaction is more limited via that medium. (Don't ask me how, I am still gathering experience with this tool and its myriad options.)

The presentation (approximately one hour, starting at 4 pm Central European Time = 3 pm Lisbon time on May 24th) is free, but registration is required: the link for that is here.