Languages and translation play a vital role in helping commercial companies, educational and non-profit organisations communicate and grow. With the theme “New Horizons”, the Localisation Research Centre Conference aimed to bring these sectors together, and explore this fast-changing field.
A diverse group of researchers, developers and buyers gathered in Limerick, Ireland, for the 18th annual conference. They explored topics ranging from new technology to the need to preserve endangered languages.
There was also a lively discussion about the best ways for universities to teach translation and languages. With the translation industry developing fast, should they do more to prepare graduates for work, or focus on the basic underlying concepts?
Lingo24’s Senior Machine Translation Specialist, Sergio Penkale, presented a paper on the first day, devoted to sessions on technology. He was delighted to return for the third year running, and received a warm reception from the audience.
His paper on Coach: consolidating the localisation industry through technology introduced our new translation platform. He explained how it streamlines the translation process, integrating machine translation with professional linguists to create the ultimate, customisable translation solution. He also looked at the feedback from translators, and how they had been involved in testing and improving the software.
There were plenty of questions before and after the session, with many people keen to try Coach.
Sergio said: “They were interested in the key differentiators in Coach. As well as state-of-the art Machine Translation technology, we are implementing automatic terminology extraction. This is a way of automatically creating a terminology bank from clients’ translations. We can define which words or sequences are unique to the source text, and find the corresponding ones on the target side.
“Another key feature we’re working on is automatic subject detection. When a new document comes in, we can automatically detect the subject. Then we can select the most appropriate Machine Translation engine for the document, and automatically choose translators with experience in that subject.”
The first day of the conference focussed on technology, including open standards and operability. Then there were plenty of panel discussions, with the audience using Twitter to complement the exchange of ideas.
The keynote address was by Jack Shulman, Sony’s Global Director of Information Design and Development, who explained how they localised their Playstation for different markets.
There was also a fascinating discussion on the work to preserve endangered languages. Researchers are working on digitising resources in minority languages, and developing dictionaries and online resources to encourage people to use and learn them.
Sergio said: “It was a very diverse conference covering a wide range of topics. There was a bit of everything, with people talking about how localisation works in their company.
“Another theme I found interesting was the gap between what’s taught in universities and what companies need from fresh graduates. This was mainly about translators working for language service providers, but it’s something that comes up in many areas.”