Not long ago in the East there appeared an invention known as “TeleScouter”, a small device consisting of a belt unit which analyzes speech and transliterates it, while the unit displays the text, which has just been translated on a server, onto the retina of the eye. This is the first step toward the realization of a fantastic idea, long known to science fiction enthusiasts. However, many such steps still lie ahead on the path toward the mechanization of the translation process.
The best that the world of cybernetics and linguistics has to offer right now is so called CAT-tools: computer-assisted translation tools. Before describing the essence of the tools of automatedtranslation (i.e., the so-called CAT-tools), it is worthwhile to examine the milestones along the path toward the merging of translator and computer.
The concept of machine translation is widely known. Even Google Corporation has produced its own translation product. Such a program works on the principle of substitution of the most often used meaning of a word in the text of the translation. In certain cases such mechanical translations have user-editable memory. And what do we see in such cases? “Forego”, instead of the conventional “precede” takes on a secondary meaning of “abandon”, totally changing the essence of the text. The maxim “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” unexpectedly loses its wisdom and, foolishly enough, takes on some meaning like “The spirit is mighty, but the meat is spoiled”. There are many such examples, which allowthe professional translator to sometimes have fun throwing texts into such “misery-machines”. And then there are the names John, Randy, and Mark; appearing in letters and documents, they unexpectedly take on a certain other aspect, which is simply inappropriate, and sometimes even offensive. The Internet is full of examples of such simple humor.
More comfortable and useful for the translator is a certain computer tool, the fruit of cybernetics and lexicography: the electronic dictionary. The huge sums previously spent on etymological dictionaries, synonym dictionaries, and thesauri now stay in the budget, and are now covered by the cost of a single licensed disk with memory, able to accommodate the entire library collection.
CAT-tools are currently the optimal means for the translator’s work. This is the memory base of the translation, which can be transferred together with the document to another translator. In this way, where the text is worked on by several translators, lexical variants of identical segments are unified.
How does the CAT memory work? All text is divided into segments, the parts being in length from a few words to sentences. In the case of detection of a similar segment in the subsequent text, the program gives a prompt of the translation, which may be approved, rejected, or easily changed. Such a method delivers economy of time for the translator. Regardless of the high cost of such a program, even freelance translators are getting CAT programs like Trados, MemoQ, Deja Vu, Metatexis, and Wordfast.Translation companies have long ago put its employees on the path to mastery of these programs – the greatest productivity is guaranteed by in-house employees.
Use of CAT-tools ensure the consistency of terminology throughout your documentation. At he same time, they are free from the flaw of mechanical translators; the last word belongs to the user, not to the system’s memory.
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