2013 / Events / May 2013

#SDLTF, 21st May 2013

Goodie-bag: pen, gummy bears, note book and folder with info.

Goodie-bag: pen, gummy bears, note book and folder with info.

Two weeks ago I had the chance to go to the SDL Translation Forum in London. A whole day learning from SDL professionals about their tools and the pros of using technology when translating.

The day started with Vicenta Soriano talking about the importance of translation and why it is still needed. When talking about technology, we can say this in a very simple way: new devices mean new content. And this new content needs to be created, proof- read and translated to reach the highest number of people possible.

Andy Reid gave the most memorable talk, thanks to his similes with animals regarding Machine Translation.

You can find his presentation ‘The post-editing evolution’ here. During his presentation, he talked about how mechanization is almost inevitable in every industry, so… why has it happened now in the translation industry? Well, it’s mostly because of technological advances, the tendency of consumers to use MT (Machine Translations) when surfing the web, and how easy is to get a free MT tool. It all brings us to one point: not everyone can understand English.


Having this in mind, and the different contents, we have a huge range to choose from between Machine Translation (MT) and Human Translation (HT).


So, as we can see, we still need humans, at one level or the other, as translators, proof-readers or editors.

If we still need humans, why do we need Machine Translation?

Andy added five points to the one just mentioned (“there are not enough bilinguals to translate all this”), which are:

– Ability to handle content explosion.

– Reduced production costs.

– Faster throughout.

– Greater industry acceptance for MT.

– But with publishable quality.

Post-editing is the process by which language professionals edit MT outputs to create human-quality translations.

We have to be careful and not confuse post-editing with reviewing, as post-editing replaces the translation stage, is not just a light review, and it is very different to reviewing a HT, as you can still have the reviewing step.

So, what are the advantages of MT?

–          MT + PE (post-editing) is faster than full HT.

–          MT gives you the opportunity to unleash even more value from your TM.

But don’t be afraid! Machine Translation will not replace Human Translation it’s just a tool to help us.


So, what is your stance on MT? Are you a stallion, a cat, a squirrel, a hippopotamus, or an ostrich?

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After his talk, he introduced us to Natalia, a Translation Coordinator, so she could tell us about her experience with SDL.

After her, David Morgan talked about the importance of terminology. He focused mainly on the technical field, with the technical knowledge growing between 5% and 15% per year.

He said that glossaries are not longer sufficient, that metadata is required more and more, and teams need experts from various scientific fields.

He used the shortcut key as example through all his presentation, as it is a term we all know, but that can be changed depending on the customer: adaptation, he called it.


He talked about the idea of smart data and managing the terminology:

As he said, we have various synonyms and variants for one concept in one language (the shortcut key example again). We need how and which one to choose depending on the product, the department, the medium (it’s not the same a PC than a Samsung device, as he said). And we have to be careful with this terminology. Unmanaged terminology can lead to delays, misunderstandings… among other issues.

So, which would our objectives be?

– Consolidate corporate terminology for:

  • Clarity.
  • Avoidance of redundancies.
  • Consistency.

– Quality assurance in source language.

– Quality assurance in target language(s).

We need to have two things in mind: the affected parties can be internal and external, and we have to know our audience.

Adaptation is the magic word.

The last talk before lunch was held by David Marshall and focused on how translation could learn lesson from other industries.

Lunch break and time to enjoy the beautiful venue, The Roof Garden in London, with a small river with its bridges and flamingos. Some sunshine would have helped, but some (the smokers, mostly) ventured out to have lunch. I went out for a short walk and some pictures after lunch (a selection of salads, tapas and breads) and before dessert and coffee. Yes, they treated us really well, and it was a big surprise, as the event was completely free.

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DSCN3957And with some more sweet treats we started the second half of the day, focused on SDL products, and mostly SDL Trados.

It was a really useful day and I want to thank them all for their help and attention.

Apart from this Forums, they give on-line webinars, some of them for free. You may want to check their Events page and see if there is something that interests you.



Really chic tea bags.

Really chic tea bags available at all times, as well as the coffee, water and candy.

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