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Dec 29, 2018

memoQ Terminology Extraction and Management

Recent versions of memoQ (8.4+) have seen quite a few significant improvements in recording and managing significant terminology in translation and review projects. These include:
  • Easier inclusion of context examples for use (though this means that term information like source should be placed in the definition field so it is not accidentally lost)
  • Microsoft Excel import/export capabilities which include forbidden terminology marking with red text - very handy for term review workflows with colleagues and clients!
  • Improved stopword list management generally, and the inclusion of new basic stopword lists for Spanish, Hungarian, Portuguese and Russian
  • Prefix merging and hiding for extracted terms
  • Improved features for graphics in term entries - more formats and better portability
Since the introduction of direct keyboard shortcuts for writing to the first nine ranked term bases in a memoQ project (as part of the keyboard shortcuts overhaul in version 7.8), memoQ has offered perhaps the most powerful and flexible integrated term management capabilities of any translation environment despite some persistent shortcomings in its somewhat dated and rigid term model. But although I appreciate the ability of some other tools to create customized data structures that may better reflect sophisticated needs, nothing I have seen beats the ease of use and simple power of memoQ-managed terminology in practical, everyday project use.

An important part of that use throughout my nearly two decades of activity as a commercial translator has been the ability to examine collections of documents - including but not limited to those I am supposed to translate - to identify significant subject matter terminology in order to clarify these expressions with clients or coordinate their consistent translations with members of a project team. The introduction of the terminology extraction features in memoQ version 5 long ago was a significant boost to my personal productivity, but that prototype module remained unimproved for quite a long time, posing significant usability barriers for the average user.

Within the past year, those barriers have largely fallen, though sometimes in ways that may not be immediately obvious. And now practical examples to make the exploration of terminology more accessible to everyone have good ground in which to take root. So in two recent webinars, I shared my approach - in German and in English - to how I apply terminology extraction in various client projects or to assist colleagues. The German talk included some of the general advice on term management in memoQ which I shared in my talk last spring, Getting on Better Terms with memoQ. That talk included a discussion of term extraction (aka "term mining"), but more details are available here:


Due to unforeseen circumstances, I didn't make it to the office (where my notes were) to deliver the talk, so I forgot to show the convenience of access to the memoQ concordance search of translation memories and LiveDocs corpora during term extraction, which often greatly facilitates the identification of possible translations for a term candidate in an extraction session. This was covered in the German talk.

All my recent webinar recordings - and shorter videos, like playing multiple term bases in memoQ to best advantage - are best viewed directly on YouTube rather than in the embedded frames on my blog pages. This is because all of them since earlier in 2018 include time indexes that make it easier to navigate the content and review specific points rather than listen to long stretches of video and search for a long time to find some little thing. this is really quite a simple thing to do as I pointed out in a blog post earlier this year, and it's really a shame that more of the often useful video content produced by individuals, associations and commercial companies to help translators is not indexed this way to make it more useful for learning.

There is still work to be done to improve term management and extraction in memoQ, of course. Some low-hanging fruit here might be expanded access to the memoQ web search feature in the term extraction as well as in other modules; this need can, of course, be covered very well by excellent third-party tools such as Michael Farrell's IntelliWebSearch. And the memoQ Concordance search is long overdue for an overhaul to allow proper filtering of concordance hits (by source, metadata, etc.), more targeted exploration of collocation proximities and more. But my observations of the progress made by the memoQ planning and development team in the past year give me confidence that many good things are ahead, and perhaps not so far away.

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