Automatic translation: what it means and what it represents

Automatic translation: what it means and what it represents

What is automatic translation? “Automatic translation” means substitution of words from one language to another. It is software that translates a text in a very short time with little human effort.  How does it work? It is usually (and hopefully) based on corpora. Words are translated automatically because of other words nearby. However because a machine can’t think, it can’t give a perfect translation. It lacks context and meaning. For more on this, take a look at our blog post about Common Mistranslations.  What does automatic translation mean for “human” translators? There are two opinions on the subject: It means that a machine with no faculty of thought could takes the translator’s place. The machine works rapidly.  On the other side, using a machine could be useful when the topic is technical. Likewise, when one just wants to understand the general meaning of a text. This can help the translator in post-production. That is to say, the translator can edit and proofread the machine-translated text until it reads naturally. Does automatic translation represent a real threat?  The answer is: it depends. If a machine translation is trained in a specific field, the obtained technical translation could be useful. It represents a threat if the translator is afraid to be replaced. However, it could also be an opportunity for the translator to save time by working with the text post-production. On the other hand, if one wants to translate a literary text, the machine translation will fail. Why? Because in literary text you will find metaphors, allegories, hidden meanings and more. And a machine translation is not able to identify these...
DeepL Translator – The New Wondrous Translating Machine

DeepL Translator – The New Wondrous Translating Machine

What Exactly is DeepL? The DeepL Translator has taken off like a rocket and is going strong. It is the new miracle in AI (artificial intelligence) translation because it translates as fast as other translation machines like Google Translate and Microsoft Bing Translator. However, its translations sound more natural. So, what is DeepL? DeepL is a German company founded by the developers of Linguee. DeepL’s focus is to develop more AI products for the language industry. The company released its DeepL Translator in late August 2017 featuring English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, and Dutch language translation. Russian and Portuguese were added in December 2018 due to user demand. They continue to add more languages and next they will release Chinese and Japanese. How Does the DeepL Translator Work? Since DeepL uses linguee.com as a resource, it already has a huge collection of curated translation data at its disposal. It uses neural machine translation. This is one of the many approaches for machine translation, predicting the sequence of words in a sentence. DeepL, however, does not want to talk about the specific model they use. Other companies have made theirs open source. Nevertheless, Jaroslaw Kutylowski, DeepL Chief Technology Officer, says that they keep on top of the current science of machine translation and combine their findings with their own ideas and experiences having developed DeepL. The “Men vs. Machine” Debate The release of this unexpectedly accurate machine translator by DeepL has enflamed the debate about human and machine translation once again. While some translators fear for their jobs, others stay calm. They are rather interested in what is technologically...
Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at UBC, Vancouver

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at UBC, Vancouver

The Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences will land soon in Vancouver The University of British Columbia will host this year the 88th annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Congress takes place from June 1st to June 7th. It is one of the most important academic events related to the above-mentioned fields. Also, the Congress “brings together academics, researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners”. Their aim? “To share findings, refine ideas, and build partnerships that will help shape the Canada of tomorrow”. The World-famous Congress of the Humanities and Social Science will be hosted at the UBC This Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Moreover, it usually attracts more than 8,000 attendees among scholars, students, researchers, academic associations and partners. So, for a full week, they offer public lectures, workshops and public events. Last but not least, they share their research findings. As a result, “Luminaries, researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and students from across Canada and abroad meet”. They also “share ideas and engage in discussions that have direct importance for Canada and the lives of Canadians.” The Congress’s Main Theme Even more, this year’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences will revolve around the following theme: “Circles of Conversation”. Also, it “will open up much-needed space for dialogue, debate, and dissent”. Plus, it will “showcase creative critical engagements within and across disciplines”. For example, topics will be as diverse as sustainability, accessibility, global mobility, health, culture, education, etc.”. Eventually, it will emphasize the importance of engaging on art to be investigated creatively in relation...
Translators Without Borders: Helping NGOs to Communicate

Translators Without Borders: Helping NGOs to Communicate

What Is Translators Without Borders? Translators Without Borders (TWB) is an independent, non-profit association. It started in 1993, helping non-governmental organisations (NGO) with language barriers around the world. TWB provides free and professional translations that could help those who are not multilingual to get useful information for their health and well-being. Translators Without Borders is associated with Traducteurs Sans Frontières, also a non-profit organization founded in 1993 by Lori Thicke and Ros Smith-Thomas. Goals and Achievements The goal of associations like Translators Without Borders and Traducteurs Sans Frontières is to connect the world’s volunteer translators with non-governmental organisations whose focal point is health, nutrition and education. By providing free translations, they allow the NGO to save money. Because they don’t have to spend money on translators, they can spend the savings on the cause itself. Every year, the two organizations contribute over six million translated words to non-governmental organizations. Among others for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Médecins du Monde, Action Against Hunger, Oxfam, UNICEF and Handicap International. However, this is not enough to cover all of the need. A large number of other organizations still need help breaking language barriers in many countries. TWB are doing their best to improve the situation. They have developed an open digital platform, established an organizational structure, opened better communication between NGOs and TWB workers and translators, and created a training center for translators in Kenya in 2012 to help translate life-saving health information into African languages. Working in Translation Is Important Are you a professional translator and wish to play a role in the success of TWB? Why not apply...
Professional Linguists Behind the Scenes of the Film Industry

Professional Linguists Behind the Scenes of the Film Industry

What we’ve been up to! It has been a long time since we updated you on our on-going projects! At LingoStar, we like to work on a wide diversity of topics and we learn from each of them. All of our professional linguists are fully-qualified and come from different backgrounds. Therefore, we will always have a team member able to meet your needs. In this new blog post, we would like to especially highlight the role of languages in the film industry. We will also introduce you to some outstanding projects we recently completed. What is the extent of the language professionals involvement ? The film industry counts on a wide range of linguists. You might think first of dubbing and subtitling, which are obvious jobs for professional linguists in film. But there are some others you may not have thought about! For example, production companies hire localization professionals for movies made in other countries, or which have plots that involve different cultures. Indeed, even if the director might know the target culture, it is likely that the actors, screenwriters, costume designers, etc., need to be trained on the particular culture in the film for accuracy reasons. Behind the scenes, language specialists can play a big role, too! As professional linguists, we contribute! Currently at LingoStar, we are working on an interesting project for a film series where we play both the role of a tutor and translator. The characters in the series often have to speak Latin, which is very interesting to us as Latin is often referred to as a dead language, but in this project, we...
Is the language of Emoji a mirror of our personality?

Is the language of Emoji a mirror of our personality?

A decade of change in communications Can you picture yourself answering a simple “Ok.” when receiving a text? Ten years ago you certainly would have and it is likely that you didn’t even know what an Emoji looked like. With the exploding increase in use of smartphones, you won’t have missed that the language of Emoji has been added to the 7,000 languages spoken worldwide. The 7001st language During the last decade, we have seen that people don’t use their phone as a simple tool anymore. It has quickly become a second version of one’s self.  Your smartphone is your reflection in the mirror. You can easily tell whether someone likes a little colour in their life or prefers minimalism by looking at their phone case. The apps they download reveal a lot about their lifestyle. The wallpaper hints about their personal life. But what is betraying us in our way of speaking? Guess! The language of Emoji allows us to transcribe our emotions and tone much more efficiently than using words. How and when did the language of Emoji appear? It all started with the emoji’s ancestors : the emoticons. Emoticons were the very first common digital language. Combining existing characters in chatrooms allowed to insert emotions in a message. For example, if something made you happy you would write “:-)”. The first actual Emoji is born in 1999, in Japan, by Shigetaka Kurita, by request of the mobile carrier company DoCoMo. Their aim was to offer their customers a catchy and effective new way to communicate. For example, one could send an icon of a raining cloud...