METM09 poster presentation

Corpus-Guided Translation and Editing (CGT/CGE) with TransConc—a Tailor-Made Text Analysis Tool for Specialized Translators/Editors

Ingrid Friedbichler and Michael Friedbichler – Innsbruck, Austria

Background: About twenty years ago, electronic text analysis by means of so-called concordancing software was introduced for linguistic research, lexicography, and language teaching. More recently, concordancers have also conquered the translator-editor's workbench as a means of obtaining instant evidence of authentic language use by experts in the field. Overcoming many of the shortcomings of traditional dictionaries, glossaries, term bases, translation memory (TM) tools and online resources, concordancing software has become an invaluable asset for translators and editors which helps them to enhance the quality and productivity of their work.

Motivation: This poster aims at demonstrating how specialist translators/editors can efficiently research samples of domain-specific language with TransConc, a user-friendly concordancer that is tailor-made for their purposes. We will provide a few glimpses of the potential of the CGT/CGE approach based on the role the technique has come to play in our work over the past ten years. Our experience in the biomedical field suggests that the future in specialized translation will belong to those who are capable of compiling collections of machine-readable texts—so-called corpora—to suit their specific needs and mining them for linguistic data that cannot be accessed with any other resources.

Problem: Before the advent of electronic texts and online search engines, translating or editing highly technical texts was a tight-rope act which usually meant spending hours on end looking for references in parallel target-language texts to avoid producing translations containing phraseological artefacts, translationese, and stylistic inadequacies. Translation memory software, Googling and other online resources—indispensible though they are in many respects—have their pitfalls and limits, many of which can be overcome by a corpus-guided approach using concordancing software. Today, a wide spectrum of text analysis tools is available. However, most of them are designed to suit the purposes of linguists, language teachers and lexicographers. This is why many of these tools are far from ideal for translators and editors, whose needs are quite different in many ways.

Expected Outcomes: This poster presentation is intended to make translators/editors of highly technical texts aware of:

  • the potential of corpus-guided translation/editing to enhance both the quality and productivity of their work,
  • how text analysis software can provide straightforward answers that cannot be obtained with web searches, term bases, TM or other computer-assisted translation software,
  • the features that make TransConc more efficient than general-purpose text analysis software,
  • timesaving and efficacious ways of collecting, arranging and mining specialized corpora with TransConc,
  • the WebAsCorpus interface that can be used to enrich a specialized corpus with supplementary -˜ad hoc' corpora from the web that are fine-tuned to the translation or editing job at hand.

About the presenter: , MA, is a certified translator for English, German and Russian who has been teaching medical translation at the Department of Translation Studies, Innsbruck University, Austria since 1979. She also works as a freelance medical translator and editor. Her special fields of interest are medical terminology, international communications in science, and corpus-based lexicography. Together with her husband she has published the first corpus-based medical production dictionary for international health professionals who need to communicate in English. Both Ingrid and Michael Friedbichler, MA, also teach EMP (English for Medical Purposes) at Innsbruck Medical University.