Sep 22, 2018

Technology for legal and financial translation: lecture video

memoQfest 2018, held this year in Budapest from May 31 to June 1, was a great event as I noted in my recent discussion of how Kilgray – or rather "memoQ" as the company is now called – is on track with changes to the product and additions to its development and support teams in the broadest sense. This year, I spoke on some of the benefits of technology in general and memoQ technology in particular for translating specialists for law and finance. This was, in part, an abbreviated and updated version of my talk last year at the translation program in Buenos Aires University's law faculty and it is of course simply an overview of possibilities with some examples. This is a subject which could easily make up a full course for a semester or year, and in less than an hour one can only discuss a few bones of the concept, much less the full skeleton or the vital and varied body of modern practice.

The recording of the talk was released recently on the memoQ YouTube channel, so here it is embedded for those who missed it and want to see what was said:

I'll be giving a similar talk at the end of this in Valencia, Spain at IAPTI's international conference this year, though from a little different perspective. I hope to meet some of you there.

Sep 21, 2018

Free TM source file data information utility

Just yesterday I was chatting with an Egyptian colleague about an interesting conference to be held in Cairo next April, and he told me how his wife sometimes gets annoyed with him because he gives away so much information. (I am a big beneficiary of his generosity, and some of the best improvements in recent presentations I've given are techniques I have taken directly from him.)

I've been criticized the same way for most of my life, but I've usually found that information shared freely in the right spirit can often feed more people than a bit of bread and some fish, and the occasional dividends that come back are often delightful surprises.

So it was today. I received a nice e-mail from a reader of this blog, who wanted to share a custom tool for which he had commissioned the development to solve a particular troublesome challenge. His letter is posted below along with a download link for this tool and an explanation of what it does. I hope that some will derive unexpected benefits from this.


Hi Kevin,

I've been using memoQ for a year, and some of your posts on Translation Tribulations have helped me do things and solve problems with memoQ that I wouldn't have been able to solve otherwise. So I want to give back to you and all your readers.

I commissioned from the great Stanislav Ohkvat, the author of TransTools, a program to automatically extract the names of all documents contained in a TM. Add ".exe" to the end of the link below to download.

My particular use case is that my colleague reviews my work and sends it back to me for adding to the Master TM, while also adding it to his own Master TM. He also sends me all documents he translates himself, and I review them, adding them to my own TM. However, I recently noticed our Master TMs differed by around 7k segments, meaning we forgot to share a few documents between us.

Rather than tediously sifting through tens of thousands of segments and manually copying the document names, the script does it for us.

I give you full permission to post it on your blog as you see fit.


Érico Carvalho
Pharmacist and translator-subtitler for BNN Medical Translations
Working languages: Brazilian Portuguese to English & vice-versa, Spanish to English, Spanish to Brazilian Portuguese
Specializes in: Clinical Protocols, Informed Consent Forms, Investigator's Brochures, Video Subtitling

Sep 14, 2018

Webinar: Sichere Basis-Workflows in memoQ (am 17.10.2018)

Nach dem Webinar über Auto-Übersetzungsregeln in memoQ, geht die deutsche Vortragsserie nun am 17. Oktober weiter mit einer praktischen Einführung in sichere, umfassende Basisverfahren für typische Projekte auf dem lokalen Rechner. Schritt für Schritt wird gezeigt, wie man bei einem größeren Projekt vorgehen kann, um Probleme zu vermeiden und wichtige Ressourcen zu erstellen und pflegen.

In den geplanten zwei Stunden dieser kostenlosen Präsentation, werden Sie u.a. erfahren wie
  • die technische Machbarkeit einer Lieferung der Übersetzungsergebnisse bestätigt wird,
  • der Umfang des Textes sicher geprüft und bestätigt wird,
  • wichtige Kundenressourcen im Projekt vielleicht besser eingesetzt werden können, 
  • die häufige Sonderterminologie im Projekt ermittelt werden kann,
  • neue Textversionen während der Arbeit effizient in die Bearbeitung einfliessen können, 
und einiges mehr.

Das Webinar findet am 17. Oktober 2018 um 15 Uhr MEZ statt und läuft bis zu 2 Stunden. Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos, aber registrierungspflichtig. Registrieren können Sie sich hier.

Falls Sie sich für weitere memoQ-Onlineschulungen interessieren, geht es hier zu der relevanten Umfrage.

Sep 11, 2018

Adding time codes to YouTube videos

For years now, I have advocated the use of tables of contents for long instructional videos, recorded webinars and suchlike. I saw these in a few instances, but it was never clear how the indices were produced, so I suggested merely writing a list of relevant points and their play times and scrolling manually. Understandably, not many adopted this suggestion.

Then I discovered that my video editor (Camtasia) could create tables of contents for a video automatically when creating a local file, an upload to YouTube or other exports if timeline markers were added at relevant points. The only disadvantage for me with this approach was the limit on the length of the descriptive text attached to the markers. Worse than Twitter in the old days.

But when I accidentally added a marker I didn't want and removed it from the YouTube video description (which is where a TOC resides on YouTube), I saw that things were much simpler than I imagined. And a little research with tutorials made by others confirmed that any time code written at the beginning of a line in the video's description will become a clickable link to that time in the video.

So I've begun to go through some of my old videos with a text editor opened along side. When the recording gets to a point that I want to include in the table of contents, I simply pass the cursor over the video, take note of the time, and then write that time code into the text file along with a description of any length.

Afterward, I simply paste the contents of that text file into the description field in YouTube's editor. When the Save button at the top right is clicked, the new description for the video will be active, and viewers can use the index to jump to the points they want to see. Because only a few lines of the description text are visible by default, I include a hint at the beginning of the text to let people know that the live table of contents is available if they click the SEE MORE link.

If Kilgray, SDL, Wordfast and others involved with the language services sector would adopt techniques like this for their copious recorded content on the Web, the value and accessibility of this content would increase enormously. It would also be very simple then to create hot links to important points in other environments (PowerPoint slides, PDF files, etc.) to help people get to the information they need to learn better.

Not to do this would truly be a great waste and a shame in many cases.

Sep 8, 2018

Editing inline tag content in memoQ

The topic of accessing and editing translatable text in tags comes up from time to time. I thought I had published instructions on this topic some time ago, but when a tech-savvy colleague who always does a proper search before asking questions couldn't find it, nor could yours truly, I concluded that it was time for another tutorial video. So here it is:

The video post on YouTube includes a hot-linked table of contents that will enable you to jump to key parts of the tutorial. This is a very simple function to implement with "markers" in Camtasia, and I recommend that those who make tutorials of any significant length or who post recorded webinars consider implementing such tables of contents to facilitate finding particular parts of interest without endless hit-and-miss searching in a long video.

Sep 2, 2018

Getting independence right: as simple as ABC!

There's been a bit of a buzz lately in professional language service circles regarding a recent ruling by California's Supreme Court, which establishes a new, simplified standard to determine independent contractor status. For example, the corporate interest blog Slator reported on the panic among large language brokerage firms sometimes known for predatory and abusive practices with the companies and individuals whom they contact to provide services, while independent interpreter Tony Rosado offered an interesting perspective on how the ruling can have a positive impact on independent professionals in his field and, I dare say, independent translators as well.

The Court's decision established the "ABC" criteria as the new standard for distinguishing employees from independent contractors:
A) The individual must be free from the control and direction by the hiring entity with regard to the performance of the work, under the terms of the contract for the performance of this work and in fact. 
B) The individual must perform work which is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business. 
C) The individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.
Failure to meet all three criteria will lead to a finding that the individual is an employee and is therefore not an independent contractor.

Now you might say – correctly – that California is a long way from New York, London, Paris, Berlin and Rome, what has that got to do contractor conditions there? A lot.

Over the past three and a half decades, since the rape and pillage of unions and workers rights in general began by the rapacious disciples of Ronald Reagan, a system of work and service practices has evolved which I think could fairly be called social strip-mining. (After I wrote this term, I wondered if others have used it as well, and found, unsurprisingly, that this obvious analogy has occurred to quite a number of people.) Very few of the present practices by large corporate providers of language services (interpreting, translation, writing and editing) are in fact sustainable.

Like strip mining companies tearing down a mountain and utterly destroying its ecology of flora and fauna, polluting waters underground and on the surface nearby as well as other ecosystems, companies like Lionbridge, thebigword, TransPerfect, RWS/Moravia and others and their downstream companies in the service sewer put the squeeze on individuals at the end of their corporate digestive system to extract maximum resources for minimum benefit in a manner which often cannot sustain the living of the writers, editors, translator, interpreters and other service workers at the butt end of things. These individuals may cling for some time to their desperate situation as an alternative to prostitution or delivering pizzas, but there is very little incentive and few resources provided for them to develop as professionals and acquire greater skills to deliver greater value with time.

Some, like abused children, learn the lesson of what the abusers can get away with and continue the cycle on small and large scales, outsourcing or even founding new companies with similar practices.

In truth, nobody is well-served by these practices on the end customer side – the individuals, companies and government bodies who contract with the intermediaries for services provided by individual interpreters, translators, editors, etc. – nor on the end-provider side – those very interpreters, translators, editors, etc. And in the middle? "Growth" seems to derive largely from acquisition and from refinement of their marketing deceptions (many in the bulk market bog of language services have SEO-tuned web pages designed to capture searches for independent individual service providers), not so much from actual organic growth of internal service and quality offered. Price dumping practices are also common; many small service companies are unable to compete with "loss leader" prices to end customers which are lower than those they pay to real independent service providers of good professional business standing.

None of these abusive practices are new; they have been known in many forms throughout the modern history of labor starting more or less in the early 19th century. These practices ultimately led to the rise of unions and bodies of protective legislation in the past, so it is not surprising that some have called for "unionization" of international service providers. ("Workers of the world, unite!", anyone?) But these well-meaning calls for unions of interpreters and translators are not really practical in most situations. So many say there is nothing to be done.

Wrong. The California Supreme Court decision points the way toward ending the worst of corporate abuses of individuals providing service by creating a situation in which the true costs of these services are emphasized in the relationship with the service provider. There is nothing standing in the way of companies like Lionbridge or much smaller companies from increasing salaried staff to write, translate, interpret, etc. under local statutory conditions for ordinary employment. To the extent they find this impractical, these companies can contract with other companies or with individuals who meet the ABC criteria.

Such a requirement would also give a fair break to those companies who do in fact invest in the socioeconomic maintenance and professional development of their employees providing service to end customers. Under current practices, these good companies are unfairly disadvantaged by laws and regulatory practices which now permit these service strip-miners to operate as they do. Local and national governments would also benefit from and increase of benefit payments from registered employees or from taxes assessed on work transactions which fail the ABC test.

In the environment of expanding globalized trade and sophisticated corporate shell games to avoid tax liabilities, enforcement of necessary and proper good social practice at the "source" – the intermediate provider level or at the end customer level where there is a direct relationship between a company or government body with a presumed independent service provider – is perhaps the most practical way to accomplish some of the reforms needed on a global scale.