Simultaneous bi-lingual publishing of high-frequency, compliant
documents in identical target- and source-language versions
originated in either language: a theoretical benchmark model?

METM 06, Barcelona
27-28 October 2006

George Witherington
Friday 27, 13:10-14:20, Room 2

Bilingual publishing system performance is measurable using various technical and non-technical parameters: degree of simultaneity of source and target language publication, accurate matching of published source and target texts after post-editing, system throughput volumes, source and target text compliance with local regulatory requirements, scope for author contributions in either language. A theoretical benchmark model based on integrated in-house systems that were operational in financial research translation in the late 1990s and early 2000s (French, Spanish and German source languages paired with English) is described.

The model’s salient feature is its two-way (author contributions in either language) dual-platform architecture, entailing mirror-image authoring, editing, DTP and management structures on source- and target-language platforms. The model’s preferred physical location for in-house target-language translators is the source-text platform. This heavy fixed-cost infrastructure not only permits high scores on all the aforementioned parameters but comes closest to meeting aspirations (nearly always unrealistic) for fully simultaneous bilingual publishing.

The model runs counter to today’s trend of English-only publishing. It provides a springboard for local source-language authoring as opposed to English-language authoring by non-native English speakers. It makes local content that would otherwise appear only in (post-edited) English available to source-language readers. These also benefit from translated English source-language content otherwise confined to English-readers.

George Witherington has spent his whole working life in translation, recently becoming a freelancer and writer on translation after 17 years heading up the French to English equity research translation team at BNP Paribas in London. He worked as an in-house agency translator in Paris during the 1980s and began his career as Russian to English translator at the BBC Monitoring Service.